Heard on the Street, Episode 43: Inferring User Intent with Viral Gains

One elusive component of effective marketing is knowing what consumers are thinking. But even with advances in AI, traditional ad targeting practices often commit basic errors like showing people the same ad several times … even though they may not be interested in any way in the product in question.

This is the area where Viral Gains is innovating. The latest guest on Street Fight’s Heard on the Street podcast, Viral Gains CEO Tod Loofbourrow tells us how his longstanding affinity for robotics and AI has influenced his path to solving this problem by better inferring intent and consumer sentiment.

Three Essential Steps toward Omnichannel Success

Consumers have limited time, detectable habits, and preferences about how they interact with brands. Marketers have become increasingly empowered to know and respond to these preferences on all channels.

As brands leverage opportunities offered by omnichannel marketing and further embrace the technology that unlocks each channel’s capabilities and insights, they will give customers the personal experiences they crave. Beginning the journey toward true omnichannel can be daunting, but the immense value it creates for both customers and brands far outweighs the rethinking, reinvention, and innovations it demands.

Crossing the B2B-B2C Divide: The Next Frontier in Customer Experience

In recent years, the marketing industry has started to discuss the increasingly blurry line between the disciplines of B2B and B2C marketing. For the most part, the conversation to date has been a discussion of tactics and methodologies—but this is only the tip of the iceberg. 

Over the next five years, the breakdown between the B2B and B2C worlds will be dramatic, and the resulting marketing landscape—as well as people’s expectations for messaging—will look quite different than they do today. Let’s look at how this blurring line will soon vanish altogether.

The Marketing Landscape will Transform in 2020. Are You Ready?

Data privacy laws such as CCPA and GDPR are inevitably going to reshape the practice of marketing. In response, we will need to create new avenues to extract value from omnichannel data sources. We will have to use data in more creative ways for personalization that is sensitive to regulations and consumer demands.

We will refocus on optimizing new channels in the customer journey. Permission-based marketing, cognitive uplift, and transparency will be the buzzwords of the year. In some ways, the marketing industry might look fundamentally different this month than it did only weeks ago.

Here are my top predictions for the ways marketing will transform in 2020.

Carriers, It’s Time to Weld the Lid Shut on Customers’ Data

Personalization and privacy seem inherently at odds. After all, media companies such as Facebook act like vacuum hoses for data – collecting much more than they need. That’s problematic in a world where data breaches dominate headlines nearly every week. However, where Facebook and others go low, mobile carriers can go high. In fact, mobile carriers that aim to be media companies have a huge opportunity to respect privacy while providing great personalization in their original content.  

So, how can carriers take this high road — that is, deliver personalized content experiences without storing consumers’ personal information? By focusing on the device itself – leveraging local storage and client-side execution (rather than requiring server interaction) to help carriers deliver a personalized experience that is incredibly safe. This allows carriers to implement the industry-changing trend of device-centric discovery (DCD), which makes it easy for subscribers to find news/sports/entertainment/games without having to wade through multiple apps and searches. With DCD, carriers can create personalized content experiences that don’t expose subscribers’ personal data to external privacy risks, and in the process, become mobile media leaders.

Valuing Diversity, Gen Z Searches for Tailor-Made Holiday Experiences

Gen Z shoppers, in particular, have more friends with different races, gender identities, and sexualities than previous generations. They are more likely to be influenced by social media stars, who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, than traditional Hollywood celebrities. As a result, members of this generation value diversity more than other generations, and that value influences their purchasing decisions year-around.

“If you look at baby boomers from this lens, they’re far more homogenous. Millennials and Gen Z are the antithesis [of] homogeneity,” Hebets says. “Brands need to understand that millennials and Gen Z don’t want to be put in the traditional box with respect to marketing or otherwise. They want brands to embrace and recognize their diversity.”

95% of Consumers Plan on Buying Most Holiday Gifts Online

While brick-and-mortar sales remain a robust part of the holiday shopping experience, online shopping is asserting clearer dominance than ever before this year. A walloping 95% of consumers plan to do the majority of their holiday shopping this season online, according to multi-channel engagement platform Leanplum.

Finding New Audiences: How To Win with the Next Generation of Consumers

The youngest generation of consumers is not only ad-averse, but also prefers to consume content when and where they want. With 71% of Gen Z claiming to prefer streaming services over traditional TV, the formula for successful content platforms is simple — provide consumers the content they want to see on the devices they use outside of the house. 

It’s equally important for platforms to cut through the noise and remove commercials and ads if they want to secure Gen Z support moving forward. While we all have specific tastes in what shows we watch, older generations of consumers were perfectly content sitting through commercials and ads. Gen Z is not of this mindset.

Why Your Location-Based Ad Campaign Isn’t Working (And How to Make It Better)

Many low-accuracy solutions produce horizontal location data only – location in multi-story buildings is not even a possibility. The result is that advertisers are designing campaigns with the equivalent of one hand tied behind their back, generating two-dimensional campaigns for a three-dimensional world.

What advertisers really need is the ability to reach consumers wherever they are, including the floor level in a multi-story mall, and entice them to enter the store. To achieve this, high-accuracy 3D location is needed. Fortunately, new capabilities are in place to help retailers design more effective campaigns, which will drive better results and raise consumers’ expectations to new heights (pun intended!). 

From Personal To Individual: Why Engaging Unique Consumers Requires Unique Communication

People everywhere receive “personalized” emails daily from brands greeting them by their first names. For a long time, brands have assumed this conveys genuine care for each customer. It’s certainly not the case anymore. Technology has evolved, and consumer expectations have risen to such a level that marketers must do much more. It’s no longer about saying, “We know you,” but rather, “We understand you.” To do this requires a major shift from personalization to individualization. 

It may sound relatively straightforward, but what this shift entails and how companies can incorporate individualization in their everyday communications presents a whole new set of challenges.

Consumerizing AI to Drive Stickiness and Usability

Organizations investing billions in enterprise software realized the obvious: that easier-to-use technology was not only more scalable internally, but that it delivered better ROI. Accessible platforms could be optimized faster and were “stickier” across teams. This gave way to the consumerization movement in IT and enterprise. 

As we head into 2019, the enterprise’s consumerization is well established. Yet when it comes to AI, which will see over $235 billion in investment by 2025, this idea of consumer-like UI has largely fallen by the wayside. 

That has to change.

5 Proven Strategies for Ramping Up Your Mobile Coupon Marketing Program

The United States is one of the largest smartphone markets in the world, with some 96% of people owning a cellphone. Those consumers most likely to own a smartphone fall into the sweet spot of retail marketing demographics—those ages 18-29 (96%) and those ages 30-49 (92%), according to Pew Research. Retailers are realizing that mobile coupon marketing is the best way to get special offers in the hands of consumers. 

Retailers that take advantage of the power of mobile marketing when combined with coupons have a new and effective means of driving foot traffic and purchases. Here we offer a look at five mobile coupon marketing strategies.

Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Winning at Personalized Messaging. Here’s Why

According to new research conducted by Braze, a company that specializes in growth marketing automation, direct-to-consumer brands beat non-direct-to-consumer brands with 58.6% higher messaging open rates across channels.

One reason for the higher open rates is because direct-to-consumer brands show greater willingness to use automation and iteration to personalize messages and speak to customers at a point in the journey when it makes sense for them.

Physical Stores May Resemble Our Newsfeeds in the Near Future

We’re currently living in a time of unprecedented change in the marketing and advertising industries. One of the most interesting emerging trends is the incorporation of new advertising opportunities within physical stores, in ways that will remind you of your social media newsfeeds.

If you’re a member of Generation X, or even an older Millennial, you probably remember walking through the aisles in grocery stores and grabbing coupons out of plastic dispensers. What we will see occurring in the future is the 21st Century’s version of the coupon machine — the personalized newsfeed-ification of physical stores.

A Return to Contextual Advertising?

Digital advertising and marketing have long been positioned as “the future” of advertising. But with the rapid changes in media and information technology of the past two decades, the future has arrived. Google recently promoted the idea that “we’re now in an era where digital marketing is just marketing.” But as the industry advances and as new protective regulations around personal data privacy are introduced, it’s also possible that some of the change could involve relying more on previously established methods. Specifically, it is possible that we are on the verge of a return to contextual advertising as the dominant form of online ads.

3 Reasons Facebook CPMs are Exploding

There are many issues that are causing the cost of advertising on Facebook to go up, but the benefits of Facebook advertising — reaching a logged-in audience with highly targeted and measurable campaigns — isn’t restricted to just Facebook. It’s time for marketers to diversify their ad spend and turn elsewhere to reach new audiences with a high return.

Communities: The Next Generation of Customer Engagement is Here to Stay

Today, it’s clear that the way businesses are communicating with customers is coming to another inflection point. Not only can end users opt out of messages from brands they don’t want to hear from, but they have become numb to the “spam” they receive on a daily basis. Now, new age technologies have opened up a plethora of avenues for organizations to push messages out to end users, and it begs the question, what can be done to find even more information about your audience? 

A new mode of engagement is needed to help supplement customer communication in the next generation, but how will this manifest? My money would be on community. 

How to Identify and Connect with Your Ideal Podcast Ad Audience

While just over half of Americans have listened to them, podcasts are finding new audiences every day. U.S. advertisers spent $479 million on podcast ads in 2018, up 53% year-over-year; that figure is expected to hit $1 billion in 2021. And those people who do listen to podcasts listen to them a LOT. Podcasts are the number one audio source by time of consumption among podcast listeners, and weekly listeners consume an average seven podcasts per week, according to Edison Research.

Podcast advertising is rapidly evolving, as are podcasts themselves. It’s no wonder, then, that advertisers could use help identifying the right podcasts for their products and connecting with podcast audiences. Here’s what you need to know about podcasts and their audiences to find the right home for your podcast advertisements. 

12 Years After the iPhone, Marketers Need to Lean Into Digital Wellness

Once upon a time, “getting a Starbucks coupon as you walk by a Starbucks” was the Holy Grail example of the potential power of mobile marketing. With the iPhone turning 12 years old this week, it’s a great time to observe how drastically more sophisticated digital relationships between consumers and brands have gotten thanks to the supercomputers in our pockets.

Mobile is now about building a customer journey and taking patrons to the next level rather than a single, location-based transaction. You hear it a lot: the customer journey reigns supreme, but there’s a good reason for “customer journey” becoming like the Greek chorus in marketing. Consumers are inundated with messages from brands, so marketers need to be judicious about how, when, where, and why they reach out to customers.

Embracing Hyperlocal Creative at Scale

The challenge of authentic content is doing it at scale, in a way that is brand safe, across all markets. While creating custom content could seem like a feasible task for international companies with endless resources at their fingertips, even legacy brands all too often struggle with personalized, custom, local content at scale. It’s equally as challenging for local businesses like franchises, small agencies, and Mom-and-Pop shops who are charged with many business tasks outside of content creation. One of the pivotal concerns in digital marketing as it applies to content and content creation is having an efficient process to scale content production. 

So, how can franchises, local businesses, and brands scale their creative marketing content to better reach local markets?