The Future of Digital Marketing - The Key Is Taking a Data-Driven Approach to People (Part II)

With the coming of the IoT (Internet of Things) era, the possibilities of digital marketing are drawing more attention than ever before. Fujitsu has succeeded in developing various advanced technologies, including Gaze Tracking. The time has arrived in which technologies can recreate and provide the experience of three of the five human senses (except taste and smell). Continuing from Part I, Yasushi Kobayashi, General Manager of the Digital Marketing Promotion Department (Business Application Promotion Division, System Product Strategy Headquarters), who is responsible for digital marketing at Fujitsu, spoke with us about the future of digital marketing.

The Future of Digital Marketing - The Key Is Taking a Data-Driven Approach to People (Part I)

Please tell us about some of Fujitsu's success in digital marketing.

As I mentioned in Part I, one advantage of digital marketing practices is that a customers' purchasing behavior is visualized from their pre- and post-purchase histories. By analyzing all customer-related data, it becomes possible to propose the most appropriate services and products by focusing on "people as individuals."

I will give an example of a company that is a brand leader in bags and leather accessories with approximately 500 stores in North America. The company had problems with backorder management and sharing information in real time among its stores while focusing on people as individuals. To address these issues, the company used an omni-channel template by adopting salesforce.com; as a result, it successfully integrated the PCs, tablets, and POS terminals in its stores in only six months, thereby enabling easy access to the customer information stored in its mission-critical and store systems, increasing sales by 150%.

In addition, if a customer is logged in to his or her Facebook account when visiting a store, the store can check the customer's reactions by monitoring the customer's access to the store's official website and whether the customer has clicked the Facebook "Like" button. Even if the customer does not purchase the product they "Liked" at the store, the store can remind the customer about the product through Facebook after he or she leaves. In addition, by directing the customer to the e-commerce site selling the relevant product, the sales clerk can guide them to buy the product through intelligent, sophisticated communication techniques even if the opportunity at the store was missed.

This digital marketing approach can also be applied to Internet supermarkets and other channels. Many store managers now worry that only attracting customers by conventional advertising inserts is not sufficient to cope with diversified consumer behaviors. To solve this problem, home-delivery businesses that combine Internet supermarkets and supply chains are attracting attention.

The social phenomenon referred to as "shopping refugees" (people who have difficulty in shopping) is currently a serious problem; due to the closure of a nearby shopping mall or supermarket, residents in some areas have trouble purchasing daily necessities and other goods.

Of course, there are also some managers who focus on brick-and-mortar stores due to feelings about the region and business conditions in the area. However, the best way to shop varies completely based on a range of consumer environments: office workers and businesspeople who do not have time to go shopping during the day; people in a region where there are no stores within walking distance even if they want to go shopping; the elderly, who find it difficult to go out; and still others. On the other hand, the digital native generation can use Internet stores and brick-and-mortar stores as necessary depending on their needs. In the end what is most important is to provide optimal purchase experiences for individual users.

Fujitsu will continue to support customer-centric corporate marketing that focuses on people as individuals - both online and offline - by combining operational data stored in mission-critical systems with customer behavior and reaction data gathered through digital strategies.

Could you tell us more about the new initiative using Fujitsu's telecommunication technologies?

To increase brand penetration for goods and services, television still offers exceptional value. However, the way people spend time in the living room has changed considerably; for example, each family member holds their own personal smartphone and spends time using messaging applications or pressing the "Like" button on Facebook while watching television. While consumers' ears and eyes contribute to TV viewer ratings, at the same time they access social media, e-commerce, and other sites. In other words, they are enjoying "dual simultaneous access."

Japanet Takata and Fujitsu quickly predicted the advent of the lifestyle of "dual simultaneous viewing" across television and mobile devices at home. For mail-order programs, a new shopping style has been developed by which consumers automatically and immediately connect to a website by pointing their smartphones at the TV screen that allows the smartphone to read additional information that is invisible to the human eye. From the perspective of sales promotion, this system is very useful for gaining insights into consumer behavior and it dramatically improves customer conversion rates.

Underscoring this case is Japanet Takata's enthusiasm for improving CX (customer experience) value. To minimize the workload associated with creating videos for the program, Fujitsu built a simple system that embeds product website information in the form of captions. The cross-media strategy of combining three types of media- owned media (the company's own site), paid media (sites secured for advertising), and earned and shared media (social media)-has recently become an important theme in companies' advertising and sales promotion strategies. Against the backdrop, the fusion with television, which is the core of old media (television, radio, and magazines), has attracted great attention in the industry. Fujitsu's telecommunication and video technologies are now available for use in companies' sales promotion activities. "Making ICT proposals using all available data to contribute to increased sales for companies"-this is precisely the true value of digital marketing.

Another new technology Fujitsu announced is Gaze Tracking technology. There is a proverb that suggests: "The eyes are as eloquent as the mouth." When people become interested in something or take some kind of action, they unconsciously turn their eyes toward that object of interest or action. Fujitsu focused its attention on these movements of the human eye, and at last developed a technology to read human interest and actions using special data analysis logic which allows us to subtly provide supplemental information and details about products and services. Application of Gaze Tracking technology has enabled data collection and analysis, leading to marketing activities where products that visitors to stores show interest in can be identified. By providing devices using Gaze Tracking technology for sales floor guides or foreign tourists (expected to rapidly increase in Japan as we approach the Olympics and Paralympics) will become possible to display information and provide voice guidance where interest is shown. Whatever approach is chosen, these advanced technologies are now able to provide real-time experiences and value in response to individual customers' and consumers' interests, making brick-and-mortar stores and public places into extremely innovative spaces.

How will digital marketing evolve in the future?

In the IoT era, the largest benefit of digital marketing practices is that consumers connected to the Internet 24 hours a day continue to generate various types of data that indicate psychological changes. The digital marketing field is still in its infancy, but going forward it will become deeply entrenched in customers' businesses. In the IoT era, all human-centric smart objects-cars, home electrical appliances, medical equipment, clothing articles, and so on-will generate data with new value, and utilization of huge and complex big data sets will continue to be a source of new business value creation.

Fujitsu has successfully developed a technology we call a "Haptic Sensor Tablet" that can bring a new type of experience to users. If this technology is applied to products on e-commerce sites, users can enjoy realistic tactile sensations (e.g., smooth or rough) by touching and feeling with their own hands. Today, touch panel technology can recreate three of the five human senses (except taste and smell). These human senses should be used in digital marketing. Looking globally, I believe only Fujitsu can provide total support that covers data, devices used by customers, and sensing technologies as a customer-centric, data-driven marketing strategy partner. Fujitsu is determined to open up a horizon of new businesses with customers by offering the technologies and proposal capabilities that only we can offer.