Amazon, Facebook and Google sit on the majority of today’s marketing data, and they use the information to maintain their dominance. There are many lessons marketing professionals can learn from what each of these companies are doing well and where they fall behind. While each of these case studies provides a full college course in leveraging marketing data, below are a few quick examples for take away.
The Good: Where Amazon has the biggest advantage is the company’s insight into the customer journey all the way from search to transaction, where traditional CPG companies have narrower visibility into a customer’s search and decision points. As such, today, we are seeing traditional retail brands striving to take into account the ecommerce experience. For example, how PepsiCo is thinking about eCommerce today and how WalMart and traditional CPG brands are making online purchasing easier.
Could Be Better: Where Amazon falls short compared to other brands is the actual customer experience. If you know what you want, Amazon makes it very easy to be a repeat customer. However, for an investigative customer (e.g., reading FAQs, relying on reviews and comparing product), Amazon’s website is a matrixed rabbit hole. The site is product feature focused, where websites with a better user experience help a customer by focusing more on benefits to help arrive at a purchase decision.
Take Away: Amazon excels as using transaction data, but falters when it comes to leveraging the rest of its data along the customer journey. Brands should be using all the data available to improve the entire customer experience. Additionally, help your customers by focusing on the benefits, instead of creating a mind-numbing feature comparison exercise for the customer.
The Good: Facebook’s “product” is the attention of its user base to advertisers, and they can sell ads as long as people are spending time on their website. Thus, Facebook cares about creating a very sticky product and plugging advertisers in at the “right” moments, and they are succeeding. In May 2017, the company reported 1.9 Billon users. The social network owns the relationship, and brands must work through Facebook to get to the customer.
Could Be Better: Facebook has received criticism for allowing advertisers target consumers at vulnerable moments. Specifically, Facebook had to apologize for using data to identify the emotional state of 6.4 million young people who indicated “moments when (they) needed a confidence boost.” People are willing to let a brand into their life, but it should feel like it’s on their own terms. Facebook too often reminds people that they are the product, which erodes people’s trust.
Take Away: Like Facebook, brands can learn how to know the customer in a very personal way, be there at the right emotional moment, capture your target customers’ attention and create an experience with that brand. All of this can be done with data.
The Good: While Google, like Facebook, curates content, Facebook is about the experience, and Google is about information. From an intent perspective, Google knows more than Facebook. Google is constantly optimizing their algorithms to reduce the impact of those who are working to game the search engine. Google prioritizes showcasing pertinent content.
Could Be Better: Google should learn from brands about how to connect with customers on a human level. Currently, when you turn to Google to find something, your first step is to figure out the best phrase to return the best results for your question. It feels very much like interacting with technology vs. the experience you have when turning to a friend to ask for information. Google provides information, but the human experience is missing.
Take Away: Brand managers should be using intent data for a strong emotional connection, which can be woven into every aspect of marketing. Technology is great, but people like human connections.
As you leverage data to increase your brand’s dominance, think about how Amazon, Facebook and Google capture data and act on that information across the customer journey, and how you can crush the competition with more advanced strategic moves.Photo by Lou Levit on Unsplash