The Future of Customer Profiles

By Mattias Ward

2017-07-13

What does the future of consumer profiles and data-driven marketing hold in store? 

 
They say the best indicator of future behaviour is to look at past behaviour. But when it comes to data-driven (profile) marketing, where innovation is at the very core of the practice, the minute details of the future are impossible to decipher. 
 
However, we can pinpoint some trends that might give us valuable insights about the future of marketing.
 

Why All the Uncertainty?

Like we said before: when innovation is the nucleus, the future is uncertain. Society as a whole has evolved in a rapid pace since the industrial revolution, and technical and social advances are unlikely to stagnate. Think about it: if you’d be able to travel back in time, would people of the past believe your technical tales of the future, or would they call you a lunatic? Probably the latter. 
 
The same goes for creating a waterproof prognosis for the future. We simply do not know how many technical or social innovations will change the way we think. But that’s also what makes data-driven marketing so enticing, don’t you think?
 

The Past Era of Traditional Media

Even though data-driven fortune telling is comparable to stumbling in the dark with just a flashlight for guidance (in some respects), we shouldn’t disregard our marketing heritage. After all, it has brought us to where we are now.
 
Our rendezvous with data-driven marketing begins in 1991. In that year, an invention that would come to revolutionise society as we knew it was born: the Internet. The conception of the World Wide Web shrunk distances and created an unprecedented interconnectedness. 
 
What’s more, it truly put the marketing industry on its toes. Before the Internet, marketing was confined to a monologue that fed the mass market messages through traditional one-way channels, such as televisions and printed media. The cost created a lack of competitiveness, as smaller brands simply couldn’t compete with the air-time occupied by power brands.
 

The Effect of the Web

With the birth of the Internet, the new standard of interactivity shifted the focus away from the brand and onto the customer. The Internet opened up the arena for a dialogue that kicked the one-way communicative traditional media to the curb. This opened the doors to a media and marketing landscape, where smaller, niche companies started to weave their way into consumers’ minds and needs.
 

Agreeing on the Importance of Data

Right now, data-driven marketing and customer profiling are still partially in their infancy, at least when it comes to adaptation. However, data-driven marketing is undoubtedly on everyone’s lips, and it’s being embraced by early adopters who realise that the future is now. 
 
Because marketing never stands still. And if you do, you’ll be beaten down by the force of continuous innovation.
 
 

The Future is in the Customer’s Hands

Let’s be blunt: if you choose to remain rooted in yesterday’s tactics and technologies, you will lose in the hands of consumer profiling via big data. The key to the future lies in knowing who your customer is and how to attend to the current and future demands of personalised interactivity. Marketing is no longer static – it’s highly dynamic.
 
The interactivity of the business present is hardly going to fade; a more probable development is that the demand for a personalised customer experience will be accelerated into new heights. 
 
As we live (now and tomorrow) in a customer-centric reality, customers will become the very force that drives innovation. The conception and birth of future inventions will be derived from their needs and wishes - so you see, knowing your customer is a way to anticipate innovation. It’s a consumer’s world, after all...
 

Discover Their Preferences Before They Do

Remember the heavyweight entertainment brand Blockbuster? Perhaps you don’t. Blockbuster fell into the pit of brand stagnation and failed to accommodate to the needs of the new market. They simply couldn’t handle, nor keep up with, interchangeable trends.
 
Now take a look at Netflix. They seized the opportunity where Blockbuster did not. The online entertainment platform creates a subscription-based entry to the exciting world of  films. Your selection of suggested movies and series are based on what you’ve viewed in the past and what other people with similar taste would like. Netflix surely is an example of a product that satisfies customer needs and demands - with a bonus of personalised content. The success is written in the stars, as the brand has reached the salience of becoming a verb.
 

Make Data Your New Standard

It’s worth pointing out is that Netflix doesn’t necessarily collect more data than other businesses - the difference rather lies in what they do with it. They ask the right questions, and truly take advantage of their retrieved information – even down to the design of the covers of their own productions. 
 
Netflix demonstrates something quite crucial in the face of marketing: the eminent force of personalisation and profiles. The company knows what you’ll like, before you know it yourself.
 
Like we said in the beginning: mapping out the future of data-driven marketing and consumer profiling with complete accuracy is an impossible task. However, we’re starting to get a rough sketch of what challenges the future will bring. And a conviction that the very nucleus of marketing will be the customer. They are (and will continue to be) the real heavyweights of market innovations.
 
And in the face of this vision, admit it: you’re the only one who can decide whether to adapt, or become extinct. 
 

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