How Real-World Intelligence Empowers Marketers

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As humans, we create our own realities based on what we show, say and do. We’re predictable in many ways, but also fickle. If you’re a marketer, while you’re also (of course) human, you need to have a deeper understanding of real human behaviour, because you can only find success when you engage with other humans. Marketers need to understand the complexities around making purchase decisions in a world with unlimited possibilities and choices.

The growth of data-driven marketing and proliferation of social media should make marketing easier, but these are often not the most reliable sources of information. What people show on social media or even in their online behaviour can be easily misinterpreted, as humans tend to have different offline and online personas. For example, a person who “likes” a local gym on Facebook may never go to that gym – or any gym. A person who searches for ‘Maserati’ on Google may just want to look at pictures of a nice car and not necessarily end up buying one. Social, search and other data sources may be significant and used to define human behaviour, however these may not always give us the complete and holistic picture of your audience.

“Do” trumps “show” and “say”

What people do is actually the most significant factor in determining who they are, what they want, and when they’re ready to make a purchase. To a marketer, data that is derived from real-world intelligence is much more important, because these build out a true understanding of real human behaviour. Often, it’s the final piece to the puzzle, telling us what consumers’ real-life behaviours actually are.

While you might catch the ‘micro moment’ that someone posts on social or searches for online, reflecting their aspirational life, you may be missing the ‘macro moments’ that are much more telling about their actual habits: where they go and what they do.

“Where” is a state of mind.

At Blis, we’ve always said “Where you go defines who you are.” This is evolving for us now, and in our world, ‘where’ has become a state of mind – not just a location. It’s also where you are in life: Are you graduating university? Starting a family? Changing careers? Each of these important moments in life represent an important “Where.”

Every aspect of the purchase journey has changed

Within each of these moments, there are decisions to be made – and those decisions are typically made quickly. In the era of ecommerce, people make decisions quickly and expect gratification instantly. When consumers have a question, Google delivers answers in a fraction of a second. If you’re hungry, UberEats or a similar service will have food at your door in minutes. And Alibaba will deliver anything from a diamond necklace to new tires to your door within 24 hours of your clicking on it. Because of this, loyalty as we know it is dead. Today’s shoppers buy based on convenience, instant gratification, and accessibility.

Technology and innovation have dramatically changed the way we engage and buy. The store is no longer a destination; it’s a source of inspiration. Yes, the majority of purchases still occur offline, but more and more transactions are completed on mobile or web every year. Ecommerce (including mobile) still only accounts for about 10 percent of all retail purchases, but that number is expected to grow by 15 percent every year.

Per Blis original research, almost one-third of consumers report that in-store browsing is still their primary product discovery channel, and more than half of shoppers will visit a store at least two to three times before making a sizable purchase. However, mobile is increasingly important at every stage of the customer journey as consumer reliance on mobile devices continues to grow. Bricks and clicks has evolved into bricks and mobile, as mobile is a significant part of the purchase journey today. Consumers are expected to spend three hours and 22 minutes of each day on their mobile devices – and making calls is only the sixth most-used function. We check our mobiles literally 250 times each day. With the advent of 5G, content will be delivered within the blink of an eye and opportunities to reach consumers will increase – and that only means mobile becomes more relevant.
Mobile is the constant; location is the variable.

Today, to be awake is to be online. We use our mobiles – and other devices – to access information. To deliver that information, our devices send and receive all kinds of data, including our operating system, device type, network operator, the type of content we’re downloading, our device ID, and – 25 percent of the time – our current location.

Location is the key variable: it reveals more about what marketers and brands traditionally care about – factors including consumer behaviour, preferences, intentions, and habits. Therefore, an understanding of location is literally a deterministic understanding of real-world behaviours.

Location is at the core of our identity. The places we go and our real-life behaviour as humans define us; they’re a very honest signifier of who we are.

Consumers aren’t always who they say they are; marketers need to know the truth

As noted earlier, what we show and say may appear to reflect a great deal about who we are, but it may not be honest – or it may be misinterpreted. Someone may have checked in at a gym, but they only purchased a sport beverage at the snack bar or toured the facility. This doesn’t necessarily mean that person is interested in fitness. In another scenario, someone may post regular workout photos, but in reality, they only go to the gym once a week – and the other six days, they’re potentially watching TV and eating chips.

In still another scenario, one could consume vast amounts of content that reflect their interests but are an absolute distortion of that consumer’s behaviour. The person who loves reading about Ferraris and Lotuses can’t necessarily afford to buy those cars, or be in a position to buy them, so targeting them with ads might not yield adequate results.

However, if that same consumer had actually visited Rolls Royce and Bentley dealerships, that’s a far better signal to consider. It’s dramatically more indicative of a consumer’s purchase intent and power because it reflects actual, real-world behaviour. It’s data that has far more meaning and significance than self-reported lifestyles.

Humans are naturally contrary creatures. The way we present ourselves can change based on what we think people want to hear, or what we want them to think. For marketers, inferring behaviour solely from social media is potentially only getting half the picture and hence not driving the most effective campaigns.

Real-world data saves us from making inaccurate assumptions. Businesses that understand real-life human behaviour will win and outperform their competition by engaging better with consumers delivering stronger results.

Contact us today to learn more about real-world intelligence from Blis.

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