In today’s world, technology is moving at speed. Disruption is occurring so frequently across so many industries even the biggest businesses are concerned about survival. They are right to be worried. Just look at the Netflix example, they are a classic disruptor. They have come into a world of TV and movies and changed the game. The idea was simple. So simple that Amazon joined the bandwagon. TV and communications companies like Comcast, Sky, Virgin Media, Time Warner and BT are having their lunch eaten by Netflix on a daily basis and it’s getting worse. If you don’t believe it, take a look at our version of the changing face of the internet minute. There is no doubt that Netflix have created a powerful, magnetic attraction to their brand. How?
They use data. In a really smart way. No, they didn’t just get all the data they could and throw it into a database. They focused on customer data. They asked two very simple questions of the data: Who are our customers and what do they like to watch? They didn’t go hunting for obscure 3rd party data such as random comments on social media, they looked at how they could use the data they already had. When you know what your customer’s interests are, you can tailor your service to their needs. It’s not rocket science (it is data science though). You can evolve your products by purchasing or even producing content that your existing customers want. Surprise, it actually works and now Netflix have successfully disrupted the industry.
Now is the time to fight back.This is a limited time opportunity so are you going to take the red pill or the blue pill?
Take the blue pill and remain in your comfort zone, like Blockbuster. Your customers are crying out for a personalised experience. Numerous research articles confirm this fact. A recent Accenture survey highlights that 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognise, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations. The same survey discovered that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalised experience. The Boston Consulting Group observed that companies in technology-based industries, who deliver a personalised experience, are seeing a >10% revenue increase, achieved 2-3 times faster than those that don’t. And companies are responding - according to a recent Sitecore study over 83% of C Level and Marketing leaders have increased their investment in personalisation this year.
Take the red pill and begin your fight back. Right now, it probably seems like a mountain to climb but actually it’s not as scary as you first think. There’s a paradox. TV networks and communications companies have just as much data. Those with multi-play and quad-play offerings have even more opportunities to understand their customers. However, they are losing this battle despite having plenty of powerful ammunition. We call this the Great Competitive Paradox. When you own the transport, instead of just understanding one destination with a limited set of content, you can understand multiple destinations with multiple sets of content. In a way, the more data you have, the more challenging it becomes to derive insights. 10 years ago this was a barrier but now technology exists that can help you make sense of all that data.
Once you have that understanding of who your customers are and what they like, you need to use that insight to improve the customer experience by making every interaction relevant and useful. When you reach out to your customers they have an expectation. That expectation is fuelled by businesses like Netflix and Amazon. They expect you to know them; know their history, know their needs, know their desires. If you try and sell them something when they have a problem they become irritated; If they have to explain the same story 5 times, they become annoyed; If you bombard them with irrelevant offers they ignore you. In a brutal, hyper-competitive world your interactions are more important than ever.
You have invested heavily in acquiring the technology so that you are able to provide the best customer service, deliver the best marketing campaigns and serve the best online content to your website, app and elsewhere. It’s great technology from the best vendors around, providing an amazing ecosystem but you’re still struggling to deliver a customer experience that rivals Netflix. If your customer gets a better offer tomorrow and can easily leave, they will. Genuine Customer loyalty seems a long way off.
There’s nothing majorly wrong with the overall vehicle. You could swap out parts here and there and tune the engine but if you’re using the wrong fuel then those efforts will have zero impact. You will never get off the ground. What Netflix realised very early on was that they needed better fuel. A data-driven fuel that provided them with the customer intelligence that turbo charged customer experience. It’s a simple formula:
FUEL = (1st party data + AI-driven intelligence)
For network operators the same formula applies, the technology just needs to be more intelligent. When you only have one set of content you can happily tag it with metadata to make sense of it. When you have millions of content variations, many of which you don’t own, you have to make the technology work for you. Let the customer intelligence machine deliver the meaning.
The Matrix is a sci-fi movie with Keanu Reeves. Quite a lot of people just know that but you could you name 10 Keanu Reeves movies? Point Break, Bill & Ted, …. er… hang on, let me Google it. You can’t do that millions of times and then maintain that searching approach. Using AI enables that search to be done for you. Through the use of Natural Language Processing (NLP) it is possible to understand what a piece of content relates to and automatically ‘tag’ your data with meaning. Graph technology enables you to understand how one tag relates to another so the question ‘name 10 Keanu Reeves movies’ is suddenly very easy, if still largely unnecessary!
This capability is a game-changer. As a network provider you have access to all the content your customers engage with; a TV Network provider has the viewing data; A mobile network has the websites and app behaviour as well as calls and messages; a broadband network has website and app behaviour data too. If you provide everything then you’re sitting on a goldmine ( or an oil reserve) So what are you waiting for, you’ve got the fuel to turbo charge that customer experience and start taking back wallet share lured away from you by the over-the-top players like Netflix.
So Neo, are you ready to take the red pill?