This article was updated in November 2020.
Until recently, ads were usually static objects that were simply displayed to an observer. You could target ads based on your knowledge of consumer wants and needs, but the ads themselves didn’t have the capacity to adapt based on user input. That’s no longer the case.
When you make a purchase, you generally do so based on both logic and emotion. Cognitive marketing relies on techniques that focus more on the emotional and behavioral aspects of consumer decisions, so that ad effectiveness can be improved. This results in “ads that think” which use cognitive systems to analyze consumer data. This ensures that they display the most appropriate ads to each person.
IBM Watson has played a major role in championing cognitive marketing and its use across various industries. In fact, its push towards improved data collection and analytics is likely to shape the future of these marketing techniques.
The field of cognitive research is aiming to change marketing. This entails increasing marketing and campaign automation; providing marketers with real-time insights; and enabling the personalization of online advertisements in order to improve their effectiveness.
In short, understanding the emotions behind consumer behaviors, and developing software that can analyze and develop strategies based on that personal information is the wave of the not-too-distant future.
While not all industries have embraced cognitive marketing yet, there’s no doubt that it can prove beneficial in your business. Here are just three reasons you should consider getting a head start with this new style of marketing.
Segment Your Audience More Effectively
As a marketer, audience segmentation enables you to categorize your leads and promote your goods or services to each separate set. This is crucial to success. In order to deliver a relevant message to your audience, you first must understand who they are and what they want. Audience segmentation enables you to do this, and cognitive marketing makes it even easier.
With the use of cognitive marketing, you can segment your audience more effectively. This will improve your reach, and enable you to provide specific messaging to various target audiences.
To get started, we recommend that you:
- Collect consumer data: This includes key demographics (such as age, gender, and income), as well as on-site activity and behaviors (which can be gathered with the help of tools such as Google Analytics).
- Focus on developing an audience persona: This will guide many of your decisions and enable you to create more effective campaigns.
Once you’ve collected the above information, you’re better able to understand your audience and their pain points. This enables you to deliver more relevant and effective messaging to them through cognitive advertisements.
Engage Customers More Authentically
Customer engagement is the practice of speaking to your consumer base on a deeper, more emotional level than normal. Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign was a perfect example of this in action. When consumers see that you clearly understand their wants and needs, they’re more likely to trust your brand.
While you may not have the marketing budget of Dove, there are many things you can do to engage with your customers more authentically. Through the use of cognitive marketing, you can:
- Humanize your brand: This means including real customers in your advertisements (as with the Dove example above), and showcasing the connection that your brand has to its customer base.
- Personalize your communications: From social media postings to online ad campaigns, it’s important to address your audience on a personal level. This means understanding who your audience is, and addressing their needs specifically through adaptive ads.
It’s easy to think of your customer base as a monolith, but it’s really made up of individuals. You’re best off treating every campaign as a chance to communicate with each of your consumers personally, as this will yield more genuine results.
Create More Effective Marketing Campaigns
What makes for an effective marketing campaign will differ from company to company. In general, it’s one that brings you closer to your consumer base and differentiates you from the crowd. One stellar example of this is Spotify, which was able to distinguish itself successfully from Apple. Setting your business apart this way is great for improving your Return on Investment (ROI), while also increasing profits.
As you can probably guess, cognitive marketing places these benefits easily within reach. For example, you can:
- Study your customers’ thought processes: This will help you to understand how your customers come to purchasing decisions, as well as the role that emotions play.
- Use images and copy that evoke an emotional response: Cognitive marketing considers how human behavior and emotions shape decisions. With this in mind, you can aim to evoke specific emotions in your target audience.
In addition, be sure to look to previous campaigns (both failures and successes) to see how your audience responded. This will enable you to tailor your future campaigns more expertly.
There’s no doubt that cognitive marketing, and more specifically “ads that think,” will play a major role in the future of marketing online. These techniques enable ads to come alive for consumers, delivering them a more customized and compelling experience.
Do you have any questions about cognitive marketing, or how you can prepare your business for this near-future phenomenon? Let us know in the comments section below!