How Technology Changed the 5 W’s of Customer Communication

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How Technology Changed the 5 W’s of Customer Communication

Technology in the digital transformation has changed every aspect of business—especially how we communicate with customers. In fact, I’d venture to say anyone who earned a marketing degree before 2015 has experienced a pretty sharp learning curve in the past few years, using new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) to map what used to be a fairly short customer journey. Nowadays, the journey is personalized, connected, and complex, full of touch points mapped and managed by our AI tools. As noted by my colleague Shelly Kramer in her piece “Competing on Customer Experience: The Best Bet for the Win,” customer experience—which relies 100 percent on communication—is now one of the most important signifiers of success in the digital marketplace. The following is a brief overview of the 5 W’s of customer communication, and the tech that makes them all possible.


It used to be that marketing teams needed to take their best guess where to publish ads and promotions based on general demographics, readership, and viewer profiles. Today’s customer relationship management (CRM) platforms have taken the guessing out of that process. Using AI, they can help trend customer behaviors, including identifying new potential customers most likely to buy one’s product. Gone are the days of launching a marketing campaign, only to find out later if it was a successful one. What’s more, thanks to AI, marketing teams can launch and adjust messages in real time, ensuring that every campaign is optimized to its best potential. For instance, one Harley Davidson store used an AI-driven marketing platform to increase its qualified leads from one per day to 40 per day. The software, created by Adgorithms works across channels like Facebook and Google to measure and automatically optimize outcomes. Talk about taking the guess work out of prospect identification!


Thanks to the IoT, tracking each individual customer’s place in the buying journey has also become must easier. Using AI, companies can now track customers who leave their websites mid-sale or abandon online shopping carts, automatically sending them incentives to come back and finish the transaction. Even the incentives can be personalized, based on their individualized shopping history. Imagine: there’s officially no such thing as a “lost sale.” The sales process can continue, even after a customer leaves the store.


Many of us learned the hard way from poorly scheduled email marketing campaigns that timing makes a huge difference in a campaign’s success. Four hours can mean the difference between huge hit rates—and sales—and zero opens. AI can help optimize the timing for marketing campaigns, releasing the message when each specific customer is most likely to read it—not when the average population is most likely to open it.


There’s a tremendous amount of data available these days—far too much for humans to process on their own. AI can use that data to determine where your customers are most likely to shop, communicate, or talk about your company, be it social media, email, or even chat. After all, there’s no point sending someone an email if they rarely open their inbox. The best way to communicate with customers is how they prefer it most.


We can answer this question one of two ways—from the part of the company, or the part of the customer. On the company’s side, there are lots of reasons to begin using smart tools like AI and the IoT to create better, more tailored marketing campaigns. For one, personalized incentives and messages go a long way. Customers feel more loyal and are likely to buy again if they feel like a company know and appreciates them. That in turn leads to better sales, better social media brand ambassadors, and fewer customer service complaints. Oh, and of course, higher sales.

On the customer side, the answer is equally compelling. Facing what I call a “retail revolution,” Customers want this technology just as much as your marketing teams do. Just like your teams are faced with an overload of information, they are equally faced with a barrage of ads, email blasts, marketing texts, and web ads vying for their attention. Just like Slack helps overloaded employees sort through the “muck” of communication overload, personalized marketing communication helps customers sort through the overwhelm of the mass marketing brigade.

There are so many new ways to talk to our customers—via human, bot, chat, text, or email. Today’s technology allows you to communicate to your customers in the way they like best—forming a stronger relationship and more satisfied customers through every step of the always changing customer journey.

Additional Resources on This Topic
How Technology Has Changed the Customer Journey
Technology’s Influence on the Customer Journey
Mastering Customer Experience Starts With Customer Journey Mapping
Finding and Targeting the Right Customer with AI
Competing on Customer Experience: Your Best Bet for the Win

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Daniel Newman is the Principal Analyst of Futurum Research and the CEO of Broadsuite Media Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise. From Big Data to IoT to Cloud Computing, Newman makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology projects, which leads to his ideas regularly being cited in CIO.Com, CIO Review and hundreds of other sites across the world. A 5x Best Selling Author including his most recent “Building Dragons: Digital Transformation in the Experience Economy,” Daniel is also a Forbes, Entrepreneur and Huffington Post Contributor. MBA and Graduate Adjunct Professor, Daniel Newman is a Chicago Native and his speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.

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