The Left and Right Brain of Digital Experiences

Marina Kalika
by Marina Kalika 02 Nov, 2015

By Marina Kalika, Sr. Director of Product Marketing at TouchCommerce

When the term "big data"¬ù became popularized many years ago, companies scrambled to take advantage of the huge amounts of information coming in from their business activities and customers.

At the time, however, enterprises were looking at the data in an isolated silo of technology and didn't see the appropriate places where it could be utilized. Simultaneously, customer service teams and marketers were largely conducting initiatives without getting any insights from the vast amounts of customer data that was being accumulated. As a result, their campaigns were more generalized and out of touch with who their customers really were. Even less effective were the results of their personalization efforts. These were, in essence, two sides of the digital experience brain that were not working together. Eventually, though, with technology relentlessly progressing in the management of big data, the practice became less intimidating.

As data was tamed, marketing teams began to discover new ways to leverage insights offered to create more targeted, and creative, campaigns. Since enterprises have come to a clearer understanding of data, they are better able to link the numbers with the inspiration, the insights with the vision. Companies have learned the powerful combination of left-brain analytics and right-brain creativity to develop a holistic approach to customer experience and marketing.

Left-Brain Data Basics

In the beginning of the big data era, companies would look at the giant mounds of data and get overwhelmed. Fortunately, over time, they have learned how to organize their data in order to better understand customer behavior and create appropriate targeting algorithms. The two basic data sets to consider have always been, and continue to be, (1) website visit history and (2) purchase history of the consumers. From these two sets flow other customer behavior metrics including page or content area viewed, time on site, previous engagement, campaign lead source, opt-out activity, cart value and many others. As mobile has emerged over the last several years, so have data sets. Additional segmentation information such as source channel and cross-channel journey data are now in use.

Possibilities are endless when businesses can deconstruct the mountain of data and look at it in meaningful sets. Joining with Right-Brain Strategy

When companies concentrate too much on optimization, however, they may overlook creative considerations and ideas that may result in greater returns. Conversely, customer experience should tap into people's emotions and play into popular culture, but focusing on creative doesn't mean ignoring data. It's akin to a sports team focusing on defense at the expense of an offensive strategy. Merging key performance indicators (KPIs), consumer insights and channel data with a right-brain creative strategy is a stellar combination. In fact, data plays an important role in directing creative. Incorporating both data and creativity means maintaining a balance between insight-driven ideas and compelling execution.

Many of today's top brands are using customer information to strengthen the service side of their operations, as well as to optimize the content marketing they publish to their owned media properties (e.g. blogs, microsites and social media).

Produce Better Digital Experiences

How can today's companies take advantage of both left- and right-brain strategies to improve the bottom line?

Better listening: Customer experience feeds off of the knowledge of customer behavior and their preferences. The more real-time information companies have about what customers are thinking and what they are talking about, the better they are able to meet their needs. Big data opens the windows to an in-depth view of the customer's mind, as well as where trends may be leaning in the future.

Better engagement: Once brands have the right data and metrics, they can interact with and engage those prospects that are most relevant, most likely to buy and most likely to wield the greatest market influence.

Better strategies: By learning from the data received and analyzing it, brands can improve their strategies for engaging customers. Collecting insights from different data streams helps to identify patterns in their customer engagement strategies, as well as those of competitors.

Better offerings: Digital is transforming the enterprise and forcing companies to continually come up with new and better offerings. Fortunately, data provides companies an opportunity to see trends that their customers may or may not be aware of and can give them an edge that will make a huge impact. The ability to see beyond the horizon sets great companies apart from everyone else.

Working Together

Just as the brain's right and left hemispheres work together to complete the human experience, so too must data and creativity if the aim is to enrich the customer experience. Alone, each of these components of digital experience is indispensable, but their greatest power lies within working together.

Marina Kalika is the senior director of product marketing at TouchCommerce, the innovative leader in omnichannel customer engagement solutions for market-leading brands.