Why Marketing for Machines Should Be a Part of Your Strategy
The new marketing reality
Marketing has been largely done digitally for the best of the last 15 years, though, it has evolved dramatically over this time. Most of the transitions it has gone through have been mandated by advances in technology, the way we communicate and do business. Perhaps the biggest shift we are experiencing today is not in the way marketing is conducted but who is being marketing to.
Marketers used to define their target audiences by conducting user research and defining specific user personas that would be most likely to buy their products and services. Today, to even reach those personas, marketing teams must get through walls of computer algorithms that are making it harder and harder to access them. The rules of the game have changed and so must the ways, in which it is played.
Big data, actionable insights
While data is plentiful today, meaningful insights about consumer behavior aren’t. Machine learning can help analyze user or consumer behavior, and this is yet another area where marketing and technology are intrinsically connected. Making data count is a different matter, entirely, and one that many marketing teams are yet to master.
Applying deep consumer knowledge to enact change is difficult, as knowing how to use it is different than doing it. Many large organizations today are struggling to make sense of their data and improve consumer understanding. The larger the organization, the more challenging it is to let insights permeate all levels of decision making. From an overlooked function, marketing has become one of the best ways to differentiate a company’s offerings over the years. Involving IT departments, data scientists, and coders throughout the entire process is a key to succeeding at it.
Mastering e-commerce and optimizing for algorithms
Consumers no longer use search engines to find everything, especially products. For shopping, they move directly to the e-retail website that sells the desired product, or to a more general marketplace like Amazon or Alibaba. Therefore, when it comes to marketing your products online and on e-retailer websites, optimizing for search algorithms is key.
Whereas previously Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was the main preoccupation of digital marketers, today they are having to master e-commerce algorithm optimization, which is less universal and more specific to individual e-retailers and online marketplaces. While before optimizing content for Google and search engines was enough, today, it’s important to look at every e-retail portal individually, heeding its own rules and guidelines.
Figuring out the new rules of engagement
Gearing up for a new phase in digital marketing – one ruled by automated and predictive commerce – is going to occupy marketers’ minds for the next decade. Whereas marketers previously thought they could more easily influence human consumers with targeted messages, merciless retargeting strategies, and personalized product and service recommendations – getting through to them is going to become much more difficult.
This shift is happening thanks to sophisticated e-shopping algorithms that want to decide what consumers need. Certainly, what’s best for consumers isn’t necessarily what’s best for advertisers or e-commerce sellers but this is the reality that the marketing teams of tomorrow will need to contend with, and master.
Rethinking existing marketing strategies
The new rules of e-commerce and algorithm optimization aren’t made public knowledge, most of the time – not that Google’s algorithms have ever been fully transparent. How to position one’s offerings in the best possible light, outshining the competition, is largely left to marketers and data scientists to figure out through trial and error.
Conducting extensive A/B testing, analyzing product reviews semantically, achieving an extreme level of personalization, and optimizing ad spend are going to be some of the new world strategies that can help your brand and products stand out. Staying on top of e-commerce algorithm changes (that often go completely unannounced) is not going to be easy or straight-forward but is essential to succeeding in the new marketing-to-machines reality.
Sometimes, large marketing software suites that promise to do it all, don’t, and companies need to develop more specialized and effective alternatives to solve their marketing teams’ biggest challenges. Luckily, there are custom business applications that you can build, with the help of a reliable development firm, to help you take advantage of algorithm marketing.