The MT Essays: The Digital Economy and the clicks that count, by Autonomy

As the UK economy moves online, companies are finding they can achieve significant improvements to sales by optimising their marketing strategy for the web, says Autonomy's Mike Lynch.

by Mike Lynch
Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Creating economic growth is the UK's biggest challenge, as the manufacturing and retail sectors struggle, unemployment rises and the spectre of inflation looms. UK businesses are all asking themselves the same question: how can we enhance our value? At Autonomy, we have found that this tense climate is driving companies to embrace innovative online strategies to do just this. The reality is that companies are seeing sales uplifts of up to 20%, improving margins and increasing customer satisfaction by employing technologies that understand the consumer in the digital age.

As the web takes over physical retail spaces as the primary revenue channel in today's market, companies are investing in ways to put their online presence at the forefront of what they do. Advanced technologies, such as website optimisation, can yield results that are simply too good to ignore for all those companies successfully manoeuvring themselves out of the recession.

For example, online clothing retailer Boden increased revenue by 4.5% per visitor by using our multichannel optimisation platform to monitor, test and improve the digital customer experience in real time. lifted conversion rates by 50% on one webpage, while British Airways saw a 54% increase in flight upgrades during the online booking procedure - all this by using closed-loop website optimisation.

By automatically identifying and executing the most optimal marketing strategy, based on the results of multiple customer interactions, companies are then better engaging their customers on their websites and increasing revenue, without changing the fundamentals - their infrastructure, inventory, or costs. We are also seeing our customers using this technology to identify with different types of customers, and create personalised online experiences, through the technology's ability to discover customer segments in real time, and automatically match those customer sets with relevant creative content.

Enhancing customer experience

To remain competitive, companies are also turning to social media to enhance customer experience and track consumer sentiment. We have seen the emergence of the social media manager, who does just this. But with 20 billion tweets worldwide and social media profiles held by 65% of the UK population, and counting, the model is nowhere near sustainable. We, at Autonomy, are seeing customers turning to automation to deal with all this diverse information. Technologies that can automate the process by understanding the meaning of social media, and filtering and tracking that information in real time, have proven to be of great value - also from a compliance perspective, as social media sites are deemed discoverable and thus must be classified and stored in a way that is compliant with regulations and defensible in court.

And we are only at the beginning. In the advent of smartphones and even smarter phones, the processing power that we carry around in our pockets enables us to view ever more content - video, blogs, animations, websites, apps - on the move. Mobile has become a given. And, more importantly, technologies are rapidly progressing to the point where all this virtual information can be served up automatically, according to our physical surroundings and user profile. There will come a day when typing a URL into a browser or a keyword into a search engine will seem ridiculously antiquated. In the age of Augmented Reality, the real world in front of you and the virtual world, in all its richness, will be seamlessly combined.

In today's hard fight for margin, customers and reputation, it will be difficult to compete against such powerful weapons of the future. But those who embrace them will profit from better customer relationships, and light the way for all of us on the path to a fuller, brighter and savvier digital economy.

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