We’re at a critical conjuncture of the digital revolution in marketing. On one hand, the market has seen a proliferation of digital and tech tools. On the other, marketers, bombarded by the aforementioned tools, are still seeking that one measurement that would allow them to not only accurately measure consumers’ current needs, but also to predict their future desires.
That was also the sentiment at the first Alimama Marketing Summit in Hangzhou, PRC on September 17, where industry leaders gathered to discuss the future of digital marketing under the theme, ‘Inaugurate Future Digital Marketing’.
Alimama defined the “new marketing for the digital age” during the conference, with a view to advance marketing reform guided by such core concepts as “Consumer-Centered, Artifical Intelligence (AI) Driven Data Empowered”. Solutions are proposed for marketing in the digital age: know your consumers’ mind, influence your consumers’ behaviors, and measure shifts in consumers habits, needs and desires.
“We discovered consumers have a non-linear decision-making journey,” noted Yvonne Chang, president of Alimama. “Their journey is a meandering process where new marketing access-points may be triggered at any time and place, which in turns influence consumption decision-making. There are no rules to go by, and therefore marketing should be fluid, fully adaptable to ever-evolving needs.” The Summit marked the first time Chang made a public appearance after becoming president of Alimama.
New marketing is not just about satisfying what the consumers needs, Chang continues, it is also about taking the extra step to predict and create demands.
“Decisions are made using data. And only with data and AI can we achieve communication that is fully tailor-made for huge masses of consumers. There’s no other way to meet the challenge posed by the ever-changing, unpredictable decision-making cycles of the current consumer base.”
Aside from the need to adapt to ever-changing tastes, commercial amplification was also a hot topic at the Summit. Alimama has long evolved from being just an e-vendor and a visual effect producer to is becoming an integral part of Alibaba’s commercial operating system, designed to provide digital marketing solutions and help realise consumer-centered operation through digital capabilities.
Daniel Zhang, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Alibaba, said this in the private C-level meeting at the summit. “Today, Alimama is also evolving with the times. We’re now more consumer-oriented, and our team is constantly exploring ways to add value to the brand in the long-run. It means taking drastically different approaches of defining our products and building our service systems.
Xue Siyuan, Alimama’s general manager, says, "marketing strategies should always be linked with the commercial side of the business. Content amplification should be executed in more targeted ways."
During the summit, Alimama launched its “Alimama Purchase Intent Index” (or “Alimama PI”). The Index aims to solve a key problem for marketers: how to measure the impact of marketing?
”Every marketer is asking: half the money I spend on advertising is waste--the trouble is, I don't know which half," says Chang. “Alimama PI can scientifically predict the correlation between marketing inputs and business growth.”
Alimama PI quantifies consumers’ purchase intent through its exclusive data and technological capabilities by measuring the impact every single marketing decision has on consumers’ purchase decision. By bringing about data augmentation, Alimama PI allows for operational efficiency—something that is at the top of the list for CMOs and the marketing department.
Chang adds, “since investment in marketing activities is enormous for every brand, it is important for CEOs and CMOs to know how to measure the impact marketing has on business growth. With the introduction of the index, we’re also acknowledging that CMOs play important roles in the company. They’re not just chief money officers but also chief growth officers."
With the launch of Alimama PI, traditional ways to evaluate the effects of marketing will eventually make way for new measurements. It no longer suffices to think only in terms of traffic and linear deployment of marketing resources. In the new age of marketing, it mightn’t take long for Alimama PI to become the go-out for companies looking to better evaluate what their consumers need—at present and in the future.