Text and photo: Noora Kaurissaari, Customer Engagement at Microsoft

This blog is a part of SCALED’16 Marketing Technology Forum guest blog series

Digitalization has changed marketing dramatically. Today – more than ever – we need to think how to best reach and engage customer over in the ever-expanding number of online channels. It is evident that customers today are actively talking about their personal experiences with a particular brand or product on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and various other online channels. So how are we as brands joining these conversations? Are we able to extract actionable insights out of all that data we gather? How can we use the data to segment our customers, identify customers at risk, find new opportunities and develop best possible offerings?

Satisfied customers is everybody´s key objective. In the fast paced digital world, brands need to be ready to react to customer needs on a timely and useful manner. Every engagement with our existing and potential customers need to bring value to the customer. Ultimately, satisfied customers use social channels to evangelize and refer their friends to their favorite products. So how do you make sure that you not only identify detractors but also your champions – the ones who are outspoken and are proud to advocate your brand, products and services? These individuals are your strongest equity in marketing.

Vast majority of the brands today understand the need to have a social media strategy. And we all have one – in one form or another. But often, we forget that it is not just about creating content but also listening and interacting. It is a dialog, a two-way communication. Out of all these multiple conversations, we need to be able to identify the most relevant discussions and react to them in a timely manner. And the competitive environment requires continuous iteration and learning to reach the most effective messaging.

One helpful tool that can help you listen, measure, refine and repeat effectively, is Microsoft Social Engagement. Microsoft Social Engagement is an intuitive tool that gets you started promptly by simply adding a few brand related and generic keywords and channels you would like to listen to. Microsoft Social Engagement also allows you to respond and engage directly on any discussions, connect a possible lead to your CRM system and identify influencers. It even enables you to enrich the company databases with big data to be able to get more leads.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • LinkedIn

Your marketing becomes smarter

At the end of the day our job as marketers is to understand our customers and engage with them in the most meaningful way. Microsoft Social Engagement has some machine learning features built-in. This functionality enables us to listen and detect the sentiment of conversations in social media. It also learns by time to identify the best sales opportunities from your social media marketing efforts by automatically recognizing and linking tweets with opportunities to CRM.

There are many more ways we can use machine learning in marketing. Let’s look at the Cortana Analytics Suite as an example. We all know that it is cheaper to retain customers than to acquire new ones; therefore predicting possible customer losses is a critical action. Cortana Analytics Suite allows us to segment our customers and identify the ones who are at risk, so we can follow-up with various types of customer retention programs. Including machine learning in our marketing efforts will also enable us to identify the best scoring leads for the sales teams, making them more productive and help them with landing the deals.

Sensors build the bridge between the physical and digital world

While a lot of our engagements are taken place online, we should not forget that the physical world is also full of sensors and devices that can help us to create more personalized experiences for our customers.

A great example of connecting physical sensor with our digital world has been done by the Italian retail chain Coop. Coop is Italy’s largest retailer, serving more than 7 million customers. In partnership with Microsoft, Avanade, Intel and Accenture, Coop created The Supermarket of the Future – an ultramodern and sustainable solution for a local food market. The Supermarket of the Future utilizes sensors, robots, interactive screens and apps that make the purchasing experience interactive and help customers to learn more about the products they are planning to buy. A well-informed customer, who receives all possible support during the decision making process will ultimately become a more satisfied and more loyal customer. And the concept will also open a new era of customized marketing opportunities.

Our customers are talking about our brand, they are using social media and they are expecting more from us: more relevant information, more relevant offers and a better understanding of their needs. Technology is required to make sense of the overwhelming amount of data available. Insights derived from the data enables us to create more automated, personalized marketing and make our marketing and sales processes more productive. It looks like the key to survive and succeed in the future will be depended on our ability to solve the challenge of integration, automation and the analyzing of the data. Who do you see will be the winners in this race?

Microsoft will be hosting a hands on workshop at SCALED’16 to help you put your finger on the pulse of the conversations around your brand and get insights from all the data that is already available. We look forward to seeing you at Scaled’16 at Microsoft Talo to continue this conversation.

Follow us in social media: on Facebook Microsoft Suomi, on Twitter @MicrosoftOy.

Try Microsoft Social Engagement now – no registration needed.

Social Engagement somekuuntelussa (video in Finnish)

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