Cognitive Marketing will bring a lot of vagueness out of digital marketing and digital business. Most areas of marketing will benefit from becoming cognitive. Lets start with four bullets that you will recognize.

  1. Conversation
  2. Personalization
  3. Retention
  4. Conversion

Now, these are in no way new to anyone who have worked in digital marketing or anything digital for that matter, what is new though is naturally how it is done. Prior to this new era we have struggled to talk to people in a way so they feel engaged and intrigued to continue (1), this manly since the information that has been talked about have not been “for me”, we want the “other end” to know me that much so the information is very much personalized (2), it often feels like it is for someone else and often oversold as well, it is simply not engaging enough and it is often hard to find why I should continue, easier to unsubscribe / cancel / de-register etc (3). we struggle with conversion rates and penetrate all goals and metrics in Google Analytics to see why people drop off at different places, trying to iterate with small technical and graphical details, all to convert more people, that is after all the end-game. As a potential customer we often feel like we are in a real-life store and the staff is putting things in our basket and then pushing us towards the cashier (4), this without knowing what we want or if we want to ask something etc, if we just could get some personal service, we would “convert” much faster…and naturally return to us over and over again (3 again).

I know what people from the different marketing department are saying. “We are doing that, we are listening, we are personal, we do participate in conversations and are accessible….and our conversion-rate is way higher then average in our vertical / category”.

Let me say this, you are all doing a great job, this considering the tools at hand, but if you are honest with yourself, how much do you really know about your customers, how individual is the information you are pushing, how good is your retention or is it mainly campaign-spikes….and lastly, if you think about it a bit, the conversion-rate you are so proud of, if being really honest towards yourself, is it high or simply extremely low, just high compare to competition?

Cognitive marketing is mainly about taking all the techie stuff out and putting some humanity in there. Make our potential customers feel like they are seen and heard and that we offer them things they really want to buy.

As with most cognitive this is a way to make the digital world very much more like the real world, so if you think of my last section and the numbers you are so proud of, if you had the same amount of visitors in your “real-life-store” would you still be proud of how you communicate, sell and the conversion-rate you have?

  • Offline world: Low amount of visitors, more personal, recognition, high retention and conversion.
  • Online world: High amount of visitors, little to not at all personal, limited recognition, ok retention, low conversion.
  • Cognitive world: High amount of visitors, personal, recognition, high retention, high conversion.

Naturally above is simplified, but you get the picture, now lets dig into who it actually could play out.

Cognitive Marketing

Let´s immediately look at an example. You want to sell more ecological clothes, but do not know how to reach your potential customers, get their attention, keep it and then hopefully get them to like your products, buy once and then have an ongoing relationship that includes frequent purchases in your store. You want to get to know your customers and have a conversation with them so they feel engaged and recognized.

Your goal is to attract X customers within X months. First we need to figure out who is most likely to buy our products (below are facts made up by me, I have not done any digging into who want to buy eco-friendly clothes, so entirely made up).

  • Female 20-25
  • Often express opinion on politics, relationships and culture.
  • Open to change, curious and often follow their own path. Can be philosophical.
  • …etc

To be able to match these details we also need to know how our product is liked and disliked.

  • Overall people are positive towards our product
  • Our product is often mentioned and shown in pictures with X and Y products
  • Our product is often mention in information that is classified as cultural, sub.cultural, design and environment.
  • In pictures our products are often seen together with X and Y and in outdoor environment.

Given that we also have access to a simple monitoring solution that monitors our own brand / products as well as maybe some competitor (not necessary) we have everything we need to get started.

Traditionally we do not know most of the above, we are simply screaming of joy over the number of sign-ups or subscribers we have, we rarely know even a subset of above.

In cognitive marketing we actually do.

Lets play

To play with the entire process would be a 10.000 word post and you would put in the time to read it so I used the identification and personalization part as examples. The “who to engage” part that is. One of the most important parts to have a high retention and conversation rate, get the right people in the door and talk to them in the right way.

So, when I found someone that is interested in this area of products I simply run them through Personality Insight, all we need to get an analytics like below in a Twitter username, but naturally the more info you feed the better.

watson personality insight

This person seem to be quite a good fit for our company, lets see if we can find out even more so we can be even more precise when reaching out, so we can adress the person in the right tone and message etc.

Lets continue with the case where we only have the Twitter username. Now lets grab the Twitter avatar and analyze that. From before we knew a lot about the personality, needs and values. Not so much facts, but with the avatar we get some interesting facts, even without asking.

  • Gender
  • Age
  • …and that the photo actually contains a person

alchemy vision

This process is a start of building something really great. As you see in the image above the person that I have used is Lady Gaga (both for personality insight and for the image), which was also discovered in the analysis. I think she is slightly younger though, but a hard life in the music industry might impact the, by Watson, presumed age.

Just to be certain of what tone to use when interacting you can always analyze the tone in the text that we found written by the person about our products or area of products, this so we address with the expected tone. It could look something like this.

watson tone analyzer

I could create examples like above for the entire chain I described above, but I hope and guess that the description might suffice as an overview of how Cognitive Marketing could look like in real-life.

To summarize, cognitive marketing will bring out a lot of vagueness and replace that with a relationship that is very similar to how we interact in real-life.

Even though I am not entirely comfortable with IBM CEO Ginny Rometty in her statement Digital Intelligence + Digital Business = Cognitive Business it is really applicable to marketing.

This is the second post in my Real-life Cognitive Business series. Below is part 1 and the other parts will be added as they are posted.

Cognitive Business Part 1: Internal Communication