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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Executive Q&A: Gaining Visibility into Consumers’ Online Journeys with Data Analytics

Marketers have been using data analytics to help increase the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. Learning about its customers’ journey to purchase is critical. Here’s how Danielle Michaely, co-founder and CRO of Konnecto, recommends you put analytics to work to learn more about those journeys.

Upside: What barriers do brands face when it comes to creating a successful online customer journey that drives engagement and conversions?

For Further Reading:

Prescription for Business Success: A New Breed of Analytics 

CEO Perspective: How Marketers Can Get the Most from Analytics 

Executive Q&A: How Data Privacy Regulations Are Changing Marketing

Danielle Michaely: I believe there are four main barriers.

First, enterprises suffer from a lack of competitor insight that matters. Brands don’t have a clear understanding of what leads consumers to purchase directly from competitors online or purchase competing products on e-commerce sites. This is a missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to consumers’ online journeys -- and it causes brands to have to guess where to effectively reach these potential customers before they convert with competitors.

Second, data privacy requirements are escalating. Data privacy and changing regulations limit an enterprise’s ability to gain a complete picture of consumer online behavior and restrict the capability to clearly know consumer segments. This impedes the potential effectiveness of personalization in messaging, placement, and creative -- all of which are critical in building brand trust and loyalty in a highly competitive landscape.

Third, enterprises are missing consumer motivators to action. Today, brands often lack visibility into what motivates a consumer to take action online and the enablers that reduce the time from intent to conversion.

Finally, marketing budgets are shrinking. With budget cuts taking place across the board, even brands that in the past had higher budgets can’t afford to just spread their marketing messages everywhere. Brands that don’t know the most effective place to focus their limited marketing resources are effectively throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what may stick.

How can brands gain insights into consumers’ needs and digital behaviors while meeting privacy regulations, including GDPR and the California Privacy Act?

Gaining this visibility is critical for brands to encourage conversions with their business versus competitors. However, in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult for marketers to determine which touchpoints influence consumers’ purchase decisions along their path-to-purchase. This challenge has escalated significantly with the ever-changing landscape of data privacy and the sunset of third-party cookies.

There are a few ways that brands can evaluate consumers’ digital actions that also maintain consumers’ privacy. For example, brands need to obtain insights into what’s happening online with consumers beyond their own data to determine where opportunities lie. They can do this by leveraging solutions that reverse engineer consumer purchase journeys on competitors' assets. It’s particularly valuable to understand the early stages of consumer journeys with competitors and which types of consumers are following the same specific patterns. This allows brands to then uncover the motivations that led each consumer group to take those initial actions and to determine where they can then influence consumer actions in their favor.

In addition to understanding consumers’ path-to-purchase with competitors, it’s essential to be aware of where else consumers go when seeking information early in their shopping process. With certain data science models, brands can discover hidden opportunity gaps by mapping out the entire landscape of the customer journey.

For example, when consumers are shopping for home appliances, they visit different affiliate review websites, but not all of these actually impact their decision. Now imagine that as a brand you were able to know which of these are worth investing in because they are attributed to the end conversions with competitors versus those that are part of the journey but not worth your marketing dollars because they won’t generate ROI.

It's critical for brands to identify vulnerability points in the journeys that have the highest impact on losing consumers with high purchase intent.

It’s particularly important to gain a live analysis of purchase attribution gaps brands have against their competitors, based on a variety of angles (journey stage, segments, purchase behaviors, topics, etc.). These kinds of insights can help brands determine where targeted marketing efforts will drive customer acquisition and conversion.

What is early funnel purchase attribution in marketing? How can brands leverage data analytics for early funnel purchase attribution?

Attribution in marketing is the practice of evaluating the touchpoints a consumer encounters on their path-to-purchase. Early funnel purchase attribution determines the initial actions by a consumer that drive a conversion.

For Further Reading:

Prescription for Business Success: A New Breed of Analytics 

CEO Perspective: How Marketers Can Get the Most from Analytics 

Executive Q&A: How Data Privacy Regulations Are Changing Marketing

One of the best ways for brands to influence decisions in their favor is to secure consumers’ interest long before they make the decision about what to buy when they are still at the beginning of their journeys. This requires visibility into the initial motivators that lead consumers to enter the path-to-purchase and the ability to tie those customers to the end conversion.

Knowing what early funnel activities are responsible for driving sales -- including consumers’ behaviors, patterns, and trigger points -- brands can intervene at the right stage with information consumers need, which can shorten the time from intent to action and can maximize the ROI of marketing dollars.

Without the insights generated from analytics, brands would miss out on opportunities to nurture these prospective customers early in the funnel. With a complete picture of consumers’ journeys, particularly in relation to competitors, brands can focus their marketing efforts to increase sales and conversions as well as reduce the cost of acquisitions, identify untapped segments, and reduce dropouts and abandonments.

What is prescriptive analytics, and how does it differ from predictive analytics?

Predictive analytics is a form of advanced analytics that uses current and historical data to forecast activity, behavior, and trends. It looks for patterns in data and projects them forward to help businesses mitigate risks and capitalize on opportunities.

Prescriptive analytics prescribes a next best course of action based on intelligence generated by both descriptive analytics (which provides an account of what has happened in a business) and predictive analytics.

How can brands use prescriptive analytics to increase conversions and reduce acquisition costs online?

With prescriptive analytics, such as Konnecto’s solution (full disclosure, I am one of the co-founders of the company), recommendations are based on how different audiences are buying from competitors, the trigger points that have the highest score, and what actions across each stage of the journey will drive the most impact. This is all done while taking into account a brand’s strategy, budget, and speed to action on each channel.

Up until now, brands have had to use monitoring platforms that require them to query, analyze, hypothesize, and hope for the best when deciding about the next best action. With prescriptive analytics, the decision-making process require much less effort. Each recommendation contains the “why should I care?” and what exactly needs to be done. This helps to drive conversions and reduce costs.

How is Konnecto unique?

Konnecto offers a prescriptive marketing platform that provides consumer brands with daily recommendations for increasing their online sales by reverse engineering their competitors' journeys and identifying path-to-purchase vulnerabilities. The platform was built without reliance on cookies and with complete compliance with global privacy regulations. Konnecto works with companies across industries, including Coca-Cola and AON.

Konnecto’s platform is holistic, granular, and comprehensive. Its technology can both analyze and prescribe for optimal marketing effectiveness. It delivers product-level insights to enable highly targeted marketing investments, and it addresses the entire digital footprint of consumers to identify all trigger points that drive conversions.

[Editor’s note: Danielle Michaely is the chief revenue officer and co-founder at Konnecto, where she is responsible for revenue streams, marketing, and customer success. You can reach the author via LinkedIn.]

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