I attended the Google Partners Executive Brand Summit at Google NYC offices yesterday (6-9-16) and picked up a ton of great new ideas from exceptional people in the industry, which is typical of such Google gatherings.
I also got the chance to reconnect with my former inside sales partner, Suzie Reider, Managing Director/Brand/Google. Suzie and I worked together on the launch of PC/Computing Magazine at Ziff Davis in 1988 before she launched her brilliant career as YouTube’s CMP in 2006. Suzie, along with others, discussed excellent reasons for why advertisers should be shifting TV budgets to YouTube in 2016.
I was especially drawn to the presentation by Ernan Roman (President ERDM) “Innovation in CX and Personalization”. While Ernan’s comments on staggering ROI gains derived from the anticipating users’ and customers’ preferences and giving them what they want, he referred to his methodology of conducting 15,000 customer interviews.
He discussed how, based on his studies, users would go to great lengths to improve their own shopping experiences. Shoppers would willingly share all sorts of confidential data with a brand in order to improve their experience with a brand. Offered as an example was “Rent the Runway”, in which users provide body measurements as part of their shared reviews in order to help other users find exactly what they are looking for.
I found his emphasis on interviews and data collection to be very “retro” in this forward world of machine learning (ML) algorithms and Big Data. I doubt that Google itself spends much time interviewing users, but we know they been applying machine learning to its massive data sets for years in order to improve its products and services.
For the first time in history, it is indeed possible that the forward-thinking brand knows more about the customer than the customer knows about himself or herself. Our medium to larger-sized Google Premium clients are pumping millions of rows of data into BigQuery every day. A typical customer interaction with a website often generates hundreds of rows of hit data revealing every aspect of the customer journey in mind-numbing detail.
Match these users with offline CRM data, and you have a customer profile that can accurately predict what the user is most likely to buy once they arrive on your website. Enable dynamic displays on the home page or landing page for an email or paid campaign, and you have the tools in place to generate those staggering ROI increases described by the more manual process of matching users to their preferences.
What does it take to do this kind of work? It all starts and ends with data.
The key to acquiring this kind of data is Google Analytics 360 and its free export to BigQuery. There are some charges for storing and querying BigQuery but they are minuscule compared to the other cloud platforms at the moment. Once your data is in place, talk to your agency about applying ML to these data sets and you’re ready to enter the modern world of brand marketing 2.0!