Elevating the Customer Experience: Analytics and the Universal Screen
The Future Project: Vol. 4
Envisioning the Impact of
Big Data & Analytics on Commerce
Through Online and
Interview with Anne Ward, @annebot
CEO at CircleClick
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The rise of big data and analytics allows organizations to understand the customer
journey like never before. Customers are no longer traveling a single path to purchase.
Sophisticated analytics tools are providing greater visibility into understanding all the
different places that buyers are entering the marketing funnel.
More personalized and relevant offerings can be presented – across multiple channels
– allowing buyers to meet their specific purchasing needs, from nearly any device or
location. But with customers requiring more engaging, meaningful and consistent
brand experiences, across all channels, how can enterprises leverage big data and
analytics to deliver these experiences?
Anne Ward was recently interviewed to shed light on these challenges and unveil what
the coming years hold for the future of commerce.
About Anne Ward
Anne Ward sees a future where online and offline experiences are more successfully
integrated as organizations begin viewing all devices as a single universal screen.
Anne Ward is a Futurist, growth hacker and CEO of CircleClick Media. She was an early
entrant into the field of search engine optimization and currently specializes in analytics
and social media.
Anne was named one of Entrepreneur magazine’s 27 Masters of
Marketing and PR Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From for 2014.
Her list of clients includes Inc. magazine, Apple Computer,
Breathometer, DCT, Heroku, Twilio, A&E Interventionist
Ken Seeley and Rikki Rockett from Poison.
Follow Anne on Twitter @annebot or connect with her on LinkedIn.
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Analytics is the only way to understand what customers are looking for, what they need
and how long they’re spending on your website. It’s the key to understanding customer
acquisition on every level.
In regard to gaining the ability to harness qualitative analytics, people talk a lot about big
data; however, less is more in this area. It’s the quality — not the quantity — that is most
important. I suggest selecting a few key metrics and sticking with them. Because by taking
a few items and reporting on those items regularly, you will see more improvement than by
just looking at a giant data set that can feel overwhelming.
Analytics is the key to understanding customer
acquisition on every level.
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Uncovering Consistent Metrics
How will the introduction of more
sophisticated analytics tools change
our understanding of the customer
journey? And what has been the
impact of being able to harness
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Customizing the experience based on what the user has done prior
to visiting your site is very easy with retargeting and other types of
advertising. We already see this with Facebook, Twitter and other
social media sites, and even the Web as a whole, because when
you put information out on the Web, it’s going to get used.
Whoever can figure out how to target those customers while combining
offline and online experiences in a meaningful way will be the winner.
We’ve come to understand a lot of information about online and offline activities
with the advent of mobile. We know the location of people and oftentimes what
they’re doing — such as walking or traveling. Information is key, and we have all
of it; now everybody is trying to figure out what to do with it.
One of the most compelling cases for predictive and cognitive analytics on the
commerce side is related to the supply chain. Theoretically, retailers should be
able to tell if a shipment is late before it’s late.
If a supplier tends to be late, then we’ll actually know ahead of time and say, “OK, we
should allow for a few extra days.” Capturing this information and pulling it together
into one place can be very powerful, giving companies the ability to forecast and plan
Connecting the Insights
How do you predict companies will take
advantage of personalized marketing
efforts in the future with so much
customer data available now?
And what role will predictive and
cognitive analytics play?
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When developing a new campaign, consider the “nth screen.” We need to think about
mobile phones and desktop computers as well as laptops, tablets, smart TVs and a
multitude of other devices.
Everything must be considered with the omni-channel experience. If devices are missing,
then organizations will suffer because they will create a poor user experience. Usability is
also one of the most crucial elements of SEO. If users aren’t staying on the site, they won’t
purchase from you.
Most companies are truly struggling with mobile, especially with mobile monetization.
Organizations that have a lot of people on mobile and make money from advertising aren’t
seeing a clear path as to how to produce that revenue from a mobile platform, especially if
traffic was previously coming from the Web on traditional browsers from computers.
I haven’t observed many companies that nail both mobile and desktop; it tends to be an
either/or situation. Organizations should start thinking in terms of one universal screen that
is going to resize itself.
The “Nth” Screen
How can analytics empower an
organization to deliver a seamless
omni-channel experience? And which
channels are organizations struggling
with the most?
Organizations create poor user experiences when
they don’t consider all devices.
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The idea of data talking back to me is attractive, but inherently, I don’t think of the data.
I think like a user. It’s important to be an advocate for the user. So when you’re embarking
on a marketing program or you’re redoing your website, you really need to think, “Who is
the person on the other end of the tube? What do they look like? What are they going to
do? How are we going to compel them to take action?”
You may have a hunch, but the data is the tool that verifies that hunch, or tells you that
you’re wrong. Data shouldn’t have a voice. It needs to stay agnostic so that you can take
away from it what you need to in terms of individual campaign or effort.
Advocating for the User
What if your data talked to you like a
trusted business adviser? How would
that help your business?
It’s important to be an advocate for the user when
working on new marketing efforts.
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Moving into the Future
It’s exciting to see what other people are doing with their
data and their plans for the future. I have my own ideas
of what data should be, and what we should do with it.
But as experts get together and share what they are doing
with their data, there will be many changes in business in
the coming years. It’s a good idea for organizations and
leaders to start preparing.
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IBM Commerce Can Help
There is an alarming gap between what brands
believe they deliver and what customers actually
experience. Eighty-one percent of consumer brands
say they have a holistic view of their customers while
only 37 percent of consumers believe their favorite
retailer understands them.
IBM Marketing Cloud helps close the customer
experience gap-making it easier to understand
and design meaningful customer experiences across
applications, devices and time to accelerate today’s
results and tomorrow’s ambitions. It powers the delivery
of exceptional experiences for customers across the
buyer journey by leveraging customer data, providing
analytical insights and automating relevant
• Quickly design and automate consistent cross-channel experiences
• Make better decisions and deepen customer engagement with purpose-built
• Gain faster time to ROI and increased agility through a cloud-based digital
marketing platform that integrates easily with other customer data sources
To learn more about IBM Marketing Cloud solutions,
go to IBM.com/NewWayToEngage
Also, join the conversation on Twitter with Futurists
like Anne Ward using #NewWayToEngage