Amaury Martin - Emarsys is an Austrian company that has established itself as a pioneer in Machine Learning and the application of artificial intelligence to digital marketing (AIM – Artificial Intelligence Marketing), also called marketing cloud. Based on the customer data we collect and centralize, our software calculates aggregates according to which the platform itself decides to launch marketing actions: the best incentive, depending on the customer status, the best time to send emails, text messages, push notifications on applications… For companies, the information collection points are either physical (stores), or digital (websites or applications), or they can even use the phone.
Premium Beauty News - Why is the omnichannel strategy so crucial?
Amaury Martin - Buyer behaviours are changing. Consumers and companies used to work in silos: stores and websites were separate, and sometimes you could even ask your network of friends for some advice. Today, with smartphones and constant connectivity, mobile applications, comparative websites, etc., people are much more cross-channel-oriented: they ask their friends what they think, they compare what their friends say with what they find online, and they buy products in stores because they want to test them. They have “un-siloted” the way they act, buy, compare, and interact with brands.
And yet, many brands are still structured in silos, which means they have store managers/network managers with their own way to solve problems, web managers and social media, and customer service managers. Most often, they do not get all customer information and feedback, because they can only focus on their own work or field. For example, only the web manager will hear about a dissatisfied customer who chose Facebook to express himself. Companies are still very compartmentalized, while customers have changed: they expect a unified experience, whatever the channel they use to interact with the brand.
Premium Beauty News - Technologically speaking, it seems easier to grab information on digital channels than in stores: how can you optimize fluidity between the various channels?
Amaury Martin - It is definitely easier to collect digital information. Online, you always leave a trace, which is not always true in a store. At a point of sale, there are two ways to collect information: either on the cash register software, through the loyalty card – that is what happens in 90% cases – or via the shop assistant, on a tablet or smartphone. Of course, it is more difficult when there is a distributor in-between. Be it as it may, globalized companies like L’Oréal have been adapting to the customer knowledge trend and are becoming Customer-Centric, as they collect navigational or declarative data.
Asia is a good incubator: its population comprises 50% young people under 20, digital adoption is very strong, and consumers are prone to provide personal data.
Premium Beauty News - Once you have collected the data, what are the aggregates that determine the marketing action?
Amaury Martin - Engagement is taken into account. When someone opens and clicks on such or such e-mail, then we send them an e-mail. And if they have also downloaded the app, then we provide e-mails and push notifications, etc. The idea is to simplify Marketers’ lives as much as possible. We let the machine calculate the aggregates on a large scale (left brain), and the Marketer makes a decision about the content and strategy (right brain). The combination of the two makes it possible for the platform to interact depending on the customer’s engagement and decide which channel is best to contact them.
We can even go farther if we record the history in a database. The machine can choose the most timely day and time to send the message, depending on the individual, i.e. the time when, statistically, we will have the best opening rate. That is called send time optimization. Among our French customers, we have already achieved an opening rate 3% to 15% higher than with a standard campaign!
Lastly, it is the platform that decides which offer is the best (incentive recommendation). Among a whole range of offers of 10, 15, or 0 euros, or a free delivery, the platform itself decides what it needs to transform the message into a purchase, according to customer engagement. We have realized it tends to spend 20% to 30% less than a human being.
Premium Beauty News - Has the cosmetics industry made any progress on this new relationship with customers?
Amaury Martin - The cosmetics industry is starting to understand that you win the race with declarative and transactional customer data more than with the product. A few companies have started to adapt, others still have quite outdated a vision, due to their disconnection with final customers because of the filter of distributors. There is a reconnection digital change coming, but everyone is not moving at the same pace. The machine is running.