Two forces come together to make an intelligent campaign. First, marketers need to define the mechanism for identifying a customer with a specific need. Second, they must present the offer at the right moment, precisely when the customer is seeking a solution that meets the need. With all the power of big data, if we can devise ways to observe the customer and deliver a campaign to the right customer at the right time with appropriate packaging, we have graduated to an intelligent campaign.
I will start with an example in which the marketer failed to deliver the campaign at the right time. I love ice cream and often go to my favorite ice cream parlor, which will remain nameless so that I can continue to receive my coupons for a discounted scoop of ice cream. The store offered to deliver ice cream coupons to my smartphone if I registered my smartphone with them. With my frequent travels, the ice cream coupon was hit-or-miss. It always carried an expiration date with a “please present the coupon by xxx date," and if I was traveling on that day, a scoop of ice cream was too far away. The worst delivery timing was when I was visiting Sao Paulo, Brazil. Not only I was too far away to use the coupon, but I also paid $0.50 in international short message service (SMS) charges. This inspired me to create a cartoon to illustrate a not-so-intelligent campaign (see figure 4.6).
Figure 4.6 A Not-so-intelligent Campaign
The prepaid wireless market is fairly competitive in the growth markets. In most situations, consumers buy their mobile device directly from cell phone manufacturers, while telecom providers sell subscriber identity module (SIM) cards to enable these devices to use their network. If a consumer runs out of SIM card minutes, he/she looks around for a SIM card retail outlet and buys the next SIM card, which might possibly belong to another telecom provider, thereby resulting in brand switching. However, the first telecom provider has a running balance of remaining minutes for each subscriber and can possibly remind the customer to buy the next SIM card when the balance is low and there is a SIM retail center nearby. An intelligent campaign engine can keep track of location data and remaining minutes, and configure a campaign appropriately at the right moment.
I wish my car would do the same. Most of the time, I see a flag for an empty gas tank on my dashboard right after I have passed a gas station. The car has a navigation system with a full understanding of the location of gas stations. It also has an understanding of my current location and has a flag that tells me when I am running out of gas. This would require an additional capability of combining three data items from two sources, and I would be relieved of tense moments when I am praying the car will not run out of gas before I find the next gas station.
Customers may have the best intentions to use promotions targeted to them, but may not act upon those promotions. Let me take the example of coupons from the consumer products. Traditionally, these coupons were delivered in a printed form, such as Sunday newspapers, coupon booklets, and so on. Many coupons were printed, but unfortunately were not seen by customers. The precious few coupons that attracted customer attention still had a small chance of being redeemed. Customers had to cut out the coupon, bring it to the store, find a product, and redeem the coupon. There was a chance of leakage in each of these steps. Electronic coupons started to bridge the gap. Groupon offers coupons that can be organized in a mobile wallet on smartphones and can be redeemed, thereby reducing the number of items a consumer carries to the point of consumption. The use of smartphones for grocery shopping has provided grocers with the next level of automation in coupon redemption. If the store offers a Wi-Fi spot, customers’ walking through the grocery lanes can be tracked, and the smartphone can be used to identify lanes where marketed products are placed. At the end of the shopping experience, the shopper can link the phone to the point of sale, offering the coupons to be automatically uploaded for redemption.
Campaign success can be traced across customers and used for fine-tuning the targeting of the campaign. It is possible to trace customers who are not likely to respond to a campaign and improve campaign yield. Also, the impact that a campaign has on customers can be studied using experiment design, as a marketer may test several treatments to different subsets of the target market, comparing their effectiveness and choosing the one with the best results.