Richard Foster, UK managing director, LiveRamp
The rapid pace at which the internet has developed over the years has meant that the marketing industry is often struggling to keep up. Where the high-street retailers once drove buying trends, consumers have now gained control to dictate the market. At a time where it seems almost impossible to keep up with rapid innovations, is it fair to assume marketers are playing a losing game?
Often, things once considered ‘the next big thing’ end up consigned to the history books. As the internet and technology develops, traditional websites are rendered obsolete, with everyone quick to adopt the next novel trend.
We are now in a time where the consumer knows the most, more than marketers themselves. This once-impressionable customer base now has access to all the same information that marketers have, but on top of all of that, they also know their motivation and interests, and that drives their purchases.
The power is with the people
Millennials are the largest living generation, and they are hugely shaping how marketers interact with consumers. Today’s population has access to online shopping at their fingertips, and 22% of them primarily use their phone to do so. The purchasing power is quite literally in the hands of millennials. Their shopping habits are also different to the generations before them; only 7% of millennials identify themselves as brand loyalists, while 75% are influenced to shop during a retail sale or promotion.
In a consumer survey, 74% of millennials said they were frustrated with too many marketing communications, and 60% said they receive too many irrelevant ads. Unless marketers find a way to adapt and combat these issues, they will suffer, and risk being left in the internet’s shadow. Marketers will no doubt suffer; they will be doomed to repeat broken processes, waste money, miss opportunities, deliver inconsistent experiences and treat even their very best customers as if they’ve never met them before. Which isn’t what they set out to do.
It is very easy in this situation to assume that technology is a silver bullet solution to surviving these changes, but a business model must be strong before it can be digitalised. It is imperative that the customer journey is mapped right.
It is not too late for marketers to use technology wisely to enhance their organisation and map their business model to ensure they prosper through the inevitable digitalisation. Marketers have adapted to new technologies since day one so why can’t they embrace this new wave?
Channels as islands
The problem is, every single one of the channels marketers use to reach their audiences is its own little island. Each of these islands – whether mobile, social, banner ads, native advertising or email – has dozens of third party partners who can help them reach people. Each of these has its own platform to automate engagements, and each with its own way of identifying people and devices. And you guessed it, each is speaking its own language.
This issue is what caused marketers to fall behind. Today’s marketing ecosystem is an exploded universe of channels, partners, platforms, data sources, APIs, and integrations. This leads to the biggest problem. Because of this complexity, marketers are limited by how much they can impact the customer experience: they can’t simply take what they know about their customers and prospects and apply it everywhere they see fit, as they run the risk of diluting their message, or disengaging their target audience through generic or irrelevant content.
A person we recognise in our store as a left-handed, horse-riding smoker gets the same messages as any other person when they see ads in print, or online on a desktop, smartphone, or tablet. This means inconsistent, uninformed, wasteful marketing – leading to consumers who think Marketers are clueless, or foolish, or both (they’re not. They’ve just been rendered blind).
We desperately need someone to come along and resolve identities back to real people across the marketing ecosystem in order for marketers to step out of the internet’s shadow.
This ability to resolve identities just may be the most important part of every marketer’s technology stack. And it just might be the only way over the wall that stands between all of the smart marketers out there and the kind of marketing they know they can deliver.
STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19
By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe
The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and more forced to close their doors following the Government’s orders that they should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While this is expected to flatten the curve and reduce the number of coronavirus cases, it will of course have an impact on businesses and employees alike. For small businesses especially, there are many concerns about how they can claim on their insurance to weigh the fall of this impact.
In response to calls to help struggling businesses, the Government has informed the public that companies who are facing turmoil will be able to claim on their business interruption insurance during this difficult time. For most, this is wrong.
The insurance industry has also been extremely vocal that there is no cover for any coronavirus-hit businesses during this tough financial period. This isn’t strictly true either.
How can businesses see through the mixed messaging and best secure their future and their livelihoods and reduce money worries? It’s an extremely stressful time for many companies, and confusion over whether or not they can be covered can only cause more unnecessary stress.
Since it’s a new disease, most businesses will not be covered for business interruption due to COVID-19. In fact, the vast majority of policies do not cover anything related to COVID-19.
That said – don’t rule out the idea that you may be covered. There is a chance that you will be covered against COVID-19, but not know it. This is a very small chance, but your current cover may already protect your business against the consequences of coronavirus, and the nationwide response to it – though those with this cover are unlikely to realise it.
How Could I Be Covered?
Not everyone has business interruption insurance, as it’s not a legal requirement. It is entirely up to the policy holder to weigh up the benefits of having it, and their ability to trade should a disaster happen.
To be considered for cover for COVID-19, there are two types of policy extensions to your business interruption cover that can potentially cover you for this situation:
Infectious Disease Extension
Many policies expressly state which diseases fall within the realm of being an infectious or notifiable disease. If this is the case, your policy will not provide cover. As it is a new disease, these policies will not have included COVID-19.
Other infectious disease extension policies will define the disease with reference to the actions of the government. Since the UK Government has named COVID-19 as a notifiable disease throughout the UK, it is possible that your business may fall into this definition, thus meaning you may be able to make a claim.
However, again, it’s not always that simple. Many policies require the disease to have been on your premises, while others specify a radius from your premises in order to qualify.
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage)
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage) policies may cover you if you’re prevented from accessing your property. This could be due to an event, or by the actions of a competent authority, which could cause your business interruption cover to engage.
If covered by this clause, there are often very subtle differences in wording in your policy. This could depend on the insurer or policy. You may well be covered, but it will depend on your particular circumstances, and the specific policy wording.
It’s clear that the Government needs to do more in ensuring there is clear messaging for businesses, and to help the insurance market look after policy holders. This is an unprecedented situation, and with many people looking to claim on their insurance, we’re already seeing major delays which could have a domino impact.
People throughout the world are understandably facing all kinds of worries because of the current pandemic. Our ways of living have changed, and many business owners will not have experienced a situation like this in their life times. If you own a business and are unsure about whether you can claim for business interruption, or are confused about ambiguous wording, get in touch with a loss assessor.
These claims are not simple, but loss assessors will be experts in business interruption insurance, and will specialise in large and complex claims. They will be able to help and guide you along the way, check your wording and work on your behalf to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.
HARNESSING ANALYTICS IN THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD
By Anna Lykourina, EMEA Fraud Analytics Expert at SAS
In the past, the fight against fraud has been a bit hit-and-miss. It has relied on auditors to identify patterns of behaviour that just didn’t quite fit. They often only detected problems months after the event. And then organisations had to claw back stolen funds through legal processes.
In a world where transactions happen in under a second, however, this is no longer acceptable. We need to be able to detect fraud immediately, if not before it happens. Customers want safe and protected data that is not vulnerable to identity theft through company systems. But they still want to be able to pay online and in seconds. The stakes are high, but fortunately new tools and techniques in fraud analytics are enabling companies to stay ahead of fraud.
Trusting machines to do the work
Machines are much better than humans at processing large data sets. They are able to examine large numbers of transactions and recognise thousands of fraud patterns instead of the few captured by creating rules. On the other hand, fraudsters have become adept at finding loopholes. Whatever rules you set, it is likely that they will be able to get ahead of them. But what if your system was able to think for itself, at least to a certain extent?
New approaches to fraud prevention combine rules-based systems with machine learning and artificial intelligence-based fraud detection systems. These hybrid systems are able to detect and recognise thousands of fraud patterns and learn from the data. Automated analytical-based fraud detection systems can reveal novel fraud patterns and identify organised crime more consistently, efficiently and quickly. This makes them a good investment for businesses across a wide range of sectors, including public sector, insurance, banking, and even healthcare or telecommunications.
How, though, can you harness analytics as a tool in your fight against fraud?
Identifying needs and solutions
The first step is to identify which options you need. Probably the best way to do this is through a series of company-wide workshops with the fraud analytics experts to determine what analytics you need, which data to include and techniques to use, and what results to report. They can also identify the ideal combination of rules-based and AI/ML approaches to detect fraud as early as possible.
Companies looking towards advanced analytics for fraud detection will need to make a number of decisions. They will need to optimise existing scenario threshold tuning, explore big data, develop and interpret machine learning models for fraud, discover relevant information in text data, and prioritise and auto-route alerts. There may be industry-specific decisions to make, too, such as automating damage analysis through image recognition in the insurance sector. By automating these areas, companies can both significantly reduce human effort – reducing costs – and improve their fraud detection and prevention.
Benefits of an analytical approach to fraud detection and prevention
Companies that are already using an analytical approach for fraud prevention have reported several important benefits. First, the quality of referrals for further investigation is better. Investigators also have a much clearer idea of why the referral has been made, which improves the efficiency of investigation. Analytics also improves investigation efficiency by reducing the number of both false positives (that is, alerts that turn out not to be fraud) and false negatives (failure to spot actual frauds). This improves customer experience and reduces risk to the company.
Analytics makes it possible to uncover complex or organised fraud that rules-based systems would miss. Companies can group together customers and accounts with similar behaviors, and then set risk-based thresholds appropriate for each scenario.
There are several sector-specific benefits too. For example, insurance firms can identify fraudulent claims faster to prevent improper payments from going out. Claims investigation is likely to be more consistent because claims are scored through technology, algorithms and analytics, rather than by people. Finally, it becomes possible to shorten the claims process through automated damage analysis. It is no wonder that organizations across a wide range of sectors are placing analytics at the heart of their anti-fraud strategy.
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