SXSW, the annual conference is all about today’s inspiration becoming tomorrow’s innovation. The current disruptive environment challenges the retail industry the way we know it, and expert panels and speakers give new directions in how to move customers from inspiration to action.
To lead customers in their customer journey, the retailers’ traditional marketing and advertising has changed to content marketing, and the question raised at SXSW is: Have we reached peak content? Millennial’s spend 18+ hours a day consuming content, yet the democratisation of content is creating infinite amounts every day.
So, how do leading retailers cope with this increasing number of visuals and content? Developing and measuring the return on investment of content marketing in retail, is among the new challenges according to Home Depot and L’Oreal. They are both in a process of changing their KPI’s.
“In order to restore my model, failure helps,” says Melanie Babcock, executing a holistic audience-led marketing approach for The Home Depot.
Well learning by failing is what most marketers experience, yet to master the focus on consumer’s wants and needs with technology and the creative to deliver content in highly relevant ways is key. To know and not guess what customers truly want, has become the marketing mission.
But what happens next if we have already reached max consumption of content? Conversational marketing is what will emerge from content marketing, but we are at an early stage as the tools are not yet at our fingertips. Among the questions the marketing experts try to answer, is what do hundreds of millions of humans, billions of things at large, and trillions of engagement signals tell us about what people truly want? This is where machine learning comes into play for real in marketing, as presented by Arun Ranagathan, Pinterest’s Creative Technology Lead. He reveals that they are working on an ad delivery platform, based on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Machines can actually “see” things and understand what they are. Processing huge amounts of data about the relationship between the products customers are seeking and the customer themselves, will help marketers to better understand how to be relevant for targeted customer groups.
I will definitely keep an eye on how Pinterest develop further, and how they provide new insight related to machine learning for a future ad platform. This will give way for other actors trying to find a way out of overwhelming amounts of content. One thing is for sure, people constantly increase their visual search and the camera is the new keyboard when people seek to find their lifestyle and look.