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If we want digital to be effective, we need to really read customers

Any digital activity throws up a huge, almost infinite array of metrics that can be used to understand its impact – there are opens, clicks, visits, plays and other singular actions and then there’s the whole deeper science of understanding a user’s behaviour and what mindset that behaviour actually denotes.

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We term this “reading digital body language”. If we can understand someone’s purchase intention from looking at how they are engaging in a digital experience we can unlock massive value.

For example, if we can discern what clicks and interactions through a car configurator separate the tyre-kicker from the serious buyer then we can proactively shower our attention on that user and we can build ways of identifying them as they walk into a dealer for their test drive. Effectively we can tell sales staff who is really hot to buy and who is just browsing and we can know their key motivation points for purchase. This is powerful stuff.

Matching behavioural traits in digital against end goals in the real world of sales is often made difficult by legacy infrastructure but eventually making it happen is tremendously exciting for the management and optimisation of marketing spend.

However there is a hidden handicap in working in such an accountable media; it can pigeonhole the way digital is used into solely driving an individual transaction when digital experiences also can be used to ignite desire in a brand. As an industry we need to shift more investment into the creation of the latter types of experience.

The interaction itself needs to be something that you aspire to spend time with and then to share with your friends. When the interaction achieves this value it provides a truly irresistible user experience and one which ultimately ignites the desire to buy.

Technology is broadening the creative playing field for the marketing industry. There’s never before been so much possibility to create unique brand experiences which help differentiate and build value. The digital marketers’ goal is shifting in a really fascinating way from trying to out-communicate the competition to beating them through invention and innovation.

We just need to make sure that we’re not solely focused on using digital to advertise and to drive a single transaction when we should be applying the full weight of our creative technology to solving fundamental business problems and building great brands along the way.

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