It’s Friday night and you find yourself scrolling on your phone. You stop on a post where a TikTok influencer (#TikTokMadeMeBuyIt) is raving about your product. That’s when you celebrate because you know the marketing campaign you have worked on for the last 6 months is working. But with that recommendation, that person potentially shifted the demand for your product for the entire upcoming holiday season.
Let’s continue to play this scenario out. Your website traffic is up by 50% and all available inventory is gone. You know how this market works - customers are fickle and they will move to your competition if you don’t do something quickly to keep them engaged with your brand.
Do you have the ability to see these warning signs and signals? If you can see them, can you take multiple different sources of customer data and bring it together to know that you are over/under performing in a particular brand, SKU, location, demographic, etc?
Social media and influencers have changed the way we look at products, purchase products, and influence others to buy products. In a recent New York Times article, titled “Will TikTok Make You Buy It?, the author states that in three short years TikTok has gone from an app for dancing teens to an engine for driving trends in music, food, news, politics, and changing the way people communicate online. The article goes on to state that it has become something else - a place where people buy things - a lot of things. Social media isn’t going anywhere. So how use it to stay relevant and competitive? Can you take data from “social listening”, search data, website visits, abandoned carts, likes on TikTok, Instagram loves, etc. to drive recommendations and better decision making ultimately giving you a competitive edge?
Companies are realizing that data in their four walls is only part of the equation. You must be able to gather the data referenced earlier and marry it to your internal data to drive better recommendations and decisions. That’s where enterprises that employ cognitive automation (or intelligent automation) are changing the way they operate. Cognitive automation is emerging in the marketplace and its value is proven in areas of enhanced visibility and a better understanding of the current state of an enterprise. In addition, it is driving cross-functional optimization from sales and marketing to supply chain management. Ultimately, letting you run your business through recommendations and autonomous decision-making.
Can you gain a competitive edge with cognitive automation? Below are a few areas where companies have seen value.
Bringing data from your customer into your enterprise is the foundation of cognitive automation. Through crawler technology, data can be pulled from multiple sources to give you a rich data set to drive better decisions. This data can be monitored for accuracy, completeness and ultimately used to compare and drive automated decisions around how best to meet your customer’s expectations.
Getting smarter and faster about revenue management in an increasingly complex market is critical to staying ahead of competitors and in front of buyers. Most companies operate in a manual way when it comes to making decisions around revenue. They do manual data pulls from multiple sources, try to layer in competitive activity, plan by plan leaving them to utilize the 80/20 rule. Through cognitive technology, you can spend more time on transformative activities such as: improving marketing spend ROI, tightening channel relationships and coordination, and aligning promotions with inventory to maximize spend and service levels. Cognitive automation generates optimized plans taking into account data in and outside the enterprise, enables retailer negotiations, automatically creates plans in your TPM, executes, monitors and recommends any corrective action needed for deviations from the plan.
Now more than ever, customers want a customized experience. Taking your data to ensure that you are meeting customers’ needs and creating a personalized experience makes them feel engaged and invested in your brand. Companies are taking data to determine what products to promote, where to promote, how to segment, and even personalize outreach messages/mailers. Cognitive automation technology can be utilized to identify changes from what was expected, create recommendations on ways to capitalize on opportunities, and even automate decisions like changes to forecasts in real-time.
Every article you read lately is about the state of supply chains. Visibility and resiliency are themes I see mentioned time and time again. I was a supply planner and leader and I have often been heard saying, “If you get the demand as close to reality as possible, then everything else downstream (supply planning, inbound/outbound logistics, etc.) is easy. But, getting the demand as accurate as possible is hard. Getting as close to the customer as possible helps with this process. Imagine if you could tap into all that data - social listening, clicks, demographics, regions, etc. and combine that with historical data, orders, and shipments to create a better forecast. Cognitive automation can help with that and even take it a step further. Once the data is combined, machine learning and artificial intelligence can then run the analytics and recommend changes you need to make in your supply chain to ultimately ensure you have a delighted customer.
How do you compile the data you get from avenues outside your enterprise? What do you do to drive better decision-making from this data?