The personalization of marketing hasn’t made much progress in the past two or three years. It seems everyone is trying to personalize their messages in the same way. Now IBM’s customers are about to receive an unprecedented competitive advantage.
IBM and Facebook
So far, personalized marketing and product recommendations have mainly relied on the segmentation of large customer masses. The best players have successfully utilized statistical models to predict dependencies between the products purchased by customers. This in turn enables them to display the next best offers to customers.
This innovation has been available as a service for a few years, which means everyone is using the same tool that works in exactly the same way. The majority of online store customers are plagued with product ads that are displayed if you have simply viewed the product in an online store. These products haunt you from one eCommerce site to the next, even if you have already purchased them or similar products in another online store. Not exactly brilliant, is it?
The world of marketing is now finally entering the next level. This week, IBM and Facebook announced their partnership agreement at the Amplify Conference in San Diego. Their collaboration will turn mass-personalized marketing into genuinely personal marketing.
The heart of IBM’s and Facebook’s marketing alliance lies in Facebook’s ample customer data and IBM’s expertise in marketing, analytics, and big data. In plain terms this means 1.4 billion active customers who feed 2.5 million pieces of personal information into the system per second, combined with data-crunching supercomputers, omnichannel marketing and expertise in making it effective, as well as statistical analysis and cognitive intelligence (yep, Watson indeed).
What does all this mean in practice?
It means, for example, that a retailer can single out customers who are interested in fly-fishing. This data is fed into IBM’s new Marketing Cloud that combines data about customers’ location, local weather, and customers’ purchase history from different channels. This results in highly targeted and personal offers.
Marketers can test out their campaigns in Facebook’s ad service using IBM technology and then publish the most successful ones in a variety of channels, such as online stores, e-zines, brick-and-mortar stores, mobile channels, or even print. This is genuine omnichannel marketing.
The cognitive intelligence provided by IBM allows marketers to observe customers’ reactions to marketing activities and purchased products on Facebook and either deepen the customer relationship or switch marketing tactics in a customer-specific manner.
Deepak Advani, the General Manager in charge of IBM Commerce made a very valid point in an interview published by Fortune magazine: “This isn’t about running personalized email campaigns. It’s about having a conversation that is both personalized and in context.”
To speed up the innovation process, IBM has started a collaborative environment called Commerce ThinkLab and invited Facebook to join as their first partner. The goal of Commerce ThinkLab is to join forces with top experts from IBM, Facebook, and IBM’s customers and partners in order to invent new solutions to meet customers’ marketing needs. This gives IBM’s customers an unprecedented opportunity to create completely unique customer experiences and to stand out from the competition.
You won’t find this elsewhere. This is a once-in-the-lifetime opportunity to become a trailblazer in personalized marketing.