Many firms are evolving from their passive, rigid, and product-centric state to a more flexible, dynamic, and customer-centric environment. Technology is enabling data-driven companies to monitor and detect any changes in consumer sentiment. Savvy technology giants, including Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are capturing (and analysing) the online and mobile activity of online users.
Their analytics capture the consumers’ interactions with brands and companies through digital media. Big data is enabling them to target and re-target individuals and online communities with instantaneous pricing and access options, across multiple channels (via website activity, mobile, video, social media, e-commerce, among others).
Mobile tracking technologies are being utilised by big technology conglomerates as they gather information on the online users’ behaviours, including their shopping habits and lifestyle preferences. Businesses have learnt how to take advantage of on-demand, real-time information from sensors, radio frequency identification and other location tracking devices to better understand their marketing environments at a more granular level. This way business could come up with personalised products and services that are demanded by individual customers. From a business perspective, it is important to acquire this data, quickly, and in high velocities.
Many businesses are already benefiting the programmatic advertising environment, where buyers and sellers of digital advertising connect online to exchange available inventory. The challenge for tomorrow’s businesses is to recognise the value of smart technologies as effective tools that can help them analyse their marketing environment that comprise their customers as well as their competitors.
Smart technologies, including big data analytics are shifting how organisations collect, analyse, utilise and distribute data
The predictive-analytical tools can examine different scenarios as they can anticipate what will happen, when it will happen, and can explain why it happens. These technologies can also monetise data by identifying revenue generating opportunities and cost savings.
Other innovations, including blockchain’s distributed ledger technologies are improving data privacy. This technology involves the verification and the secure recording of transactions among an interconnected set of users. Blockchain tracks the ownership of assets before, during, and after any online transaction. Therefore, this technology could be used by different businesses to facilitate their transactions with marketplace stakeholders, including suppliers, intermediaries, and consumers across borders. The blockchain will probably be more convenient than other payment options, in terms of time and money. Therefore, blockchain’s ledger technology can possibly lead to better customer service levels and operational efficiencies for businesses.
Smart technologies, including big data analytics, are shifting how organisations collect, analyse, utilise and distribute data. A thorough literature review suggests that the crunching of big data analytics is generating meaningful insights and supporting marketers in their decision making. Moreover, other technologies, including the programmatic advertising as well as blockchain are helping them to improve their financial and strategic performance, whilst minimising costs. Table 1 illustrates how businesses are capturing, analysing and distributing data.
Tomorrow’s businesses will be serving customers from geographically-diverse regions. They will have to cater to different demographics, including senior citizens and individuals with special needs, as the populations are getting older in many countries. There will be more consumers from emerging markets and developing economies.
Therefore, smart technologies can be used to anticipate the demanding consumers’ requirements. For instance, the use of programmatic advertising will probably increase the individuals’ intuitive shopping experiences and can tap into the individuals’ discretionary purchases.
It is very likely that the third-party retailers will continue to form part of the distribution mix. However, many service providers will be using their direct channels to reach out to their targeted customers.
The sales of products will continue to rely on mobile devices with increased consumer interactions through speech and voice recognition software. The service providers may possibly rely on artificial intelligence and other forms of cognitive learning capabilities, like machine learning and deep learning.
The businesses’ distributive systems could interface with virtual reality software to help online intermediaries to merchandise their products in captivating customer experiences. Many online prospects may use blockchain’s secure technology to purchase products and services in the foreseeable future.
I believe that further studies are needed on smart innovations for individuals and organisations, including mobile social networking, mobile visualisation, personalisation and behavioural modelling for mobile apps, programmatic advertising, blockchain, AI, and the internet of things, among other areas.
Table 1: Data-driven approaches for tomorrows’ businesses
Online and mobile users’ behaviour in real-time
Customer service records
Referral sources and product recommender systems
Consumers’ personal preferences
Social media networks
Comprehensive information in a database
Blockchain distributed ledger technology
Mark Anthony Camilleri is a senior lecturer at the Department of Corporate Communication at the University of Malta.
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