Today’s information-rich, socially exhaustive environment has changed consumers’ approach to decision-making. Consumers do not simply expect better customer experiences—they feel that they’re entitled to them. Brands have almost universally accepted that digital is reshaping consumer behavior and shopping habits, yet many are still unable to reshape with them. Part of the problem may be that marketing leaders fail to understand just how profoundly digital technologies are influencing consumer expectations.
Back in the early days of brand management, there were fewer brands, competitors, and product or service offerings in most categories and industries. Not surprisingly, in a world with fewer alternatives, it was far easier for any single brand to position itself as distinctive from all others. Marketers and brand strategists simply conducted market research and determined how they wanted to be perceived in the minds of consumers. They then created 30-second ads and reached audiences on one of only three broadcast networks.
The term “artificial intelligence” undoubtedly evokes daunting images of robots replacing humans. In reality, however, the most successful use of AI is when machine-learning automation is combined with human directive to engage with customers more effectively.