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Marketing in the Eye of the Storm: The Trends You Must Understand

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

To say marketing is in the eye of the storm may sound a bit overblown, but it’s an accurate analogy. Customer experience management (CEM), driven by Big Data, mobile, analytics, social media, and a host of other rapidly changing trends, are fundamentally shifting the game away from everything we knew just a short time ago. In the midst of so much change, the most important action to take first is to break down the components of change so that a clear marketing strategy can emerge from that understanding.

Top Marketing Trends for 2014

The trends that are changing marketing this year include the following:

  1. Highly valuable customer data will go unused.
  2. At the same time, marketing will become even more data driven.
  3. Analytics will become a very hot skill.
  4. CIOs everywhere will cede control over marketing data to the CMO.
  5. Actionable models and analytics will steal the show.
These are just some of the topics that will be covered in detail in our upcoming webinar, Top 10 Trends Marketing Trends for 2014, on Thursday, February 13.

Marketing in the Eye of the Storm

Storms aren’t necessarily a bad thing when they bring renewal and fresh business opportunities. For those caught napping, a storm is a bad event that only brings risk of potential failure. Don’t miss the webinar and learn how to make the most of the storm.

Customer Experience: Where CRM Falls Short

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems were built to do exactly what it stands for—to capture interaction with customers in a way that tracks and improves the relationship. In the new world of always-on, real-time, Big Data-driven customer experience management, a CRM is no longer even close to sufficient. They simply weren’t built to manage the key data available today.

Not in the CRM

When a customer opens their mobile browser, a CRM can’t capture this. When a customer enters a store, or browses the product catalog or team schedule with the intent to buy, there’s no way for a CRM to capture that information. Likewise, when a customer enters their hotel room, rental car or aircraft, the CRM has no idea. These moments are critically important in the new world of customer experience as each represents an opportunity for a better, more personal experience than ever before. Today’s CRM can’t manage the information necessary to turn that moment into a meaningful interaction.

Meaningful Interaction

It takes an ability to manage real-time information alongside data captured from the past. This is why data squirreled away in a CRM database isn’t enough to create great customer experiences. The goal must be to make all engagement more personal and intentional—every customer touchpoint, every interaction. Each discreet point adds to the amalgam of contextual information that makes it possible to better understand where the customer has been and what they’re doing right now, in real time. This connecting of the dots is what makes a customer respond, creates loyalty, and turns customers into fans, brand advocates, and far more valuable assets.

The point isn’t to pick on CRM systems. There’s still a need to have a source of data about opportunities. That source, however, only satisfies a much larger need to manage the complete customer experience.

Don’t miss TIBCO Loyalty Lab’s next webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

The 8 Days of Loyalty Marketing Nirvana

The holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of year to give thanks and celebrate with those we hold dear.

So how does this translate to loyalty marketing?

For loyalty marketers, the customer is the person we hold dear. We know that establishing a trusting, mutually beneficial relationship with our customers is the key to year-round success—and it’s a year-round effort. But there is also a special loyalty marketing holiday that can happen at any time…the investment.

This is that moment when a business realizes that, to achieve long-term goals, their current loyalty marketing initiatives need to be expanded and improved. It sounds great on the surface, and most all of your colleagues will agree on its importance, but it’s easier said than done. It takes a cohesive effort among a team of stakeholders. But luckily, we’re here to help.

Join us as we celebrate the almighty customer. Unfortunately, there are no songs or elaborate decorations. We tried, but “build consensus on improvement” doesn’t align with “five goooooooolden riiiiiiiiiiiinnnnngs.”

The eight days of loyalty marketing nirvana will address each critical step in championing your loyalty investment. And here is a preview of what we will cover in our celebration of the almighty loyal customer.

Day 1: Organize and commit stakeholders

Who needs to sit down over a cup of eggnog and agree on a plan?

Day 2: Identify value drivers

The ways to make your loyalty investment seem like a Black Friday special.

Day 3: Ideate and validate

Get the creative juices flowing.

Day 4: Baseline existing performance

How good are your customer tidings now?

Day 5: Build consensus on improvement

Let’s agree on how we can build a stellar, year-round celebration that keeps getting better.

Day 6: Assess total cost of program

We don’t want you to break the budget.

Day 7: Calculate hard ROI

Be sure what you are about to embark on is an investment.

Day 8: Understand sensitivity and risk

What can spoil your celebration, and how can you ensure it doesn’t happen?

Subscribe to the blog feed and join us as we celebrate the 8 days of loyalty marketing nirvana. See you next time as we discuss organizing and committing stakeholders.

To learn more, download the whitepaper, 8 Essential Steps: Championing Your Investment in Loyalty Marketing.

Everyone Shops for a Different Reason

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Customers are rarely a homogenous group. They differ greatly in revenue potential, levels of loyalty, and frequency of contact. What makes loyalty work, therefore, is an ability to segment your customers using powerful analytics. Segmentation allows the right amount of effort and right offers to be applied in the right moments to the right customers.

Knowing enough to segment properly takes powerful analytics. Unless analytics are a key part of your loyalty platform, odds are you won’t be able to do much more than old-fashioned transactional loyalty.

But segmentation isn’t such a simple thing. There are common segments based on how people shop—like price or convenience—but below those broad categories, there are more subtle ways to segment based on what is required to engage a customer in the right moment with the right offer. This is the description of behavioral segmentation, and takes a capability to test and learn that wasn’t available until recent times.

Test and Learn

Test and learn provides a way to find segments that may not otherwise be visible to marketers. By choosing existing segments and testing offers on a smaller scale, new segments can be developed and marketed to in a larger way. The opportunity to test and learn is a benefit of a customer loyalty platform that includes powerful visual analytics.

In the end, everyone shops for a different reason. Marketers armed with the tools to not just segment along traditional lines of age, race, and other factors—but also to test and learn—have a distinct advantage over those who don’t.

 

Why Is Great Customer Experience Management So Elusive?

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Forrester updated its view into Customer Experience Management (CEM) earlier this year, with very interesting survey data. Retail continues to score highest among consumers and airlines stayed near the bottom. That’s why it came as no surprise when airlines moved quickly to be the first to announce that they would allow device use during takeoff and landing, just days after the FAA recently changed the regulations.

Airlines Aren’t Alone in the Struggle

Airlines aren’t the only ones to improve customer experience management. While retailers lead Forrester’s CEM survey, customer experience scores vary greatly between brands. Several of the highest scores were cost-cutting retailers—not surprising during a downturn in the economy.

But not all retailers mentioned were cost-cutters. For brands that want to compete on more than simply price, customer experience takes on a new urgency. At least one retail chain listed in the survey scored higher than cost-cutting brands, even though they don’t compete on price.

Rather than racing to the pricing bottom, brands are increasingly taking advantage of strong loyalty programs, executive through loyalty platforms, to improve the customer experience and retention.

The Danger of Competing on Price Alone

Competing on price alone is a cutthroat business model with a constant threat of disruption. It only takes a lower price to take the customer elsewhere. Competing on great customer experience, on the other hand, is a virtuous model that offers customer advocacy, revenue lift, and forgiveness for the occasional slip up.

Great CEM is elusive for brands that lack a focus on customer service, don’t know their customers well, or have outdated, transaction-focused loyalty programs.

 

Customer Loyalty Is The New Customer Service

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

In a recent post, 3 Reasons Loyalty Programs Aren’t Optional, I pointed out why loyalty programs are a critical part of customer engagement. A sudden surge in tablets and smartphones, the phenomena of Big Data, and the need for customer permission to avoid creepiness were reasons every brand needs to have a loyalty program.

But the reasons go even deeper than technology and privacy. In today’s climate of increasing choice, customer loyalty takes on many of the traditional aspects of customer service. By knowing your customer’s history, preferred channels of communication, current context and—most importantly—your service options, the chance of turning around a bad situation or delighting your customer are significantly improved (learn more in this whitepaper).

Sounds Good, But How?

Understanding your customer’s history, preferences and current context is the job of a loyalty platform for a loyalty program, but taking on the customer service opportunity requires the same knowledge of the customer. By studying customer responses with a test-and-learn approach, customer service based on customer loyalty data allows for segmentation and can be improved upon just like customer loyalty programs. It’s a win-win.

Customer service today is an opportunity to create customer loyalty in new ways and with far better results than in the past. And the best part? It is a by-product of having an excellent customer loyalty platform…and the tools are already available.

Customer Engagement Requires Knowing Your Crowd

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

How well do you know your customers? While most brands would say they know their ideal shopper, how many can break down their customer engagement into finely tuned segments based on analytics? Some can, but too many are still behind the curve when it comes to having the loyalty platform to gather data, visualize and discover patterns of people and behaviors, and respond with the right engagement at the right time. Having a high level of customer intimacy enables right-time marketing and it’s within reach of most businesses (learn about right-time marketing in this whitepaper). We’ve entered a data-rich age where there are fewer and fewer excuses for not knowing your customer crowd.

How to Know Your Crowd

For starters, every customer has unique attributes that we refer to as their characteristics. That set of information includes permanent things like gender and age, but also includes things like past history of interaction and purchases that paint a clearer picture than simple demographics. While age, gender, affluence, and other factors give us broad stroke indicators of buying propensity, finely tuned segmentation requires a richer set of information than traditional groupings.

The second aspect of knowing your crowd is tightly coupled to how your customers communicate with you, which we refer to as channel. These are the pathways of interaction preferred by your audience, and getting the channel right is the difference between having a seamless conversation and being intrusive. Brands that can’t listen and respond across the many, sometimes simultaneous, channels of today’s marketing can’t say they truly know their customer.

The third aspect of knowing your customer is having a context for each moment of interaction. Knowing whether a customer is currently in the act of shopping, at the time of purchase, or just in the information-gathering phase has a strong effect on what interactions are most appropriate and what the timing should be for engagement.

Characteristics, channel and context together are what define truly knowing your customer crowd. Without them, your ability to increase intimacy, gain loyalty, and increase total lifetime value are negatively impacted.

Watch the webinar on right time marketing and learn how to use characteristics, channel and context to determine the best time to market.

3 Reasons Loyalty Programs Aren’t Optional

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

If you happened to be at TUCON 2013, TIBCO’s user conference, you heard about Turning Customers into Fans from Head of Client Technical Services Wen Miao. In Miao’s words, “It is no longer acceptable to have only a transactional relationship with customers.” He’s absolutely correct. We are in an age where we can use our loyalty platform as the way to capture each and every engagement with our customers.

Here are three compelling reasons why loyalty programs are no longer an optional part of marketing:

1.  Mobility – Consumers are on the move and accessing information about brands from traditional sources like stores and the Web, but also on laptops and tablets, sometimes from within physical locations. Keeping track of the use of multiple, even simultaneous interactions, are impossible without a platform that listens and knows the customers voice over any channel. The same goes for outbound engagement—brands need to instantly discern a customer’s preferences, the channel for communication, and the context for each moment of engagement.

2.  Big Data – The amount, variety, and speed with which data moves in today’s marketplace are growing rapidly; but so have the tools and techniques to keep track of what’s happening. Some of that data is in systems of records as transactions and stock, and some is on the move, like geolocation. Brands require a platform that can keep track of historical information, inventory and sell-through, and what’s happening now in the customer’s ambient environment. This amount of data creates analytical treasure troves that can be used to better position offers, test and learn, and increase revenue and loyalty.

3.  Permission – This may be coming last, but the permissioning aspect of a loyalty program is critical to avoid being creepy. Loyalty is more than a reward for spending—it is a customer raising their hand to be part of something more than just a purchase. Loyal customers are advocates as well and spread the good word about a brand. Lastly, loyal customers are forgiving of a brand’s faults and less likely to create “negative press.”

These three reasons for loyalty programs are in themselves enough to compel most brands to start down the path to customer loyalty marketing. This reminds me of the fourth reason for loyalty programs: Your competitor has or is about to launch one.

Loyalty Marketing and Picking Pumpkins for Halloween

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Would you associate loyalty marketing with Halloween? You will when you finish reading this.

When we were kids we headed each October to the local farms to find the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. The biggest constraint was the size of the pumpkin…it was a rule that we had to be able to carry our choice to the car.

We were a highly motivated bunch, but in the end the size of our pumpkin was always a little less than we would have liked. There was always next year.

The Weight of Loyalty Data

Today’s loyalty marketing has the same challenge. We know intuitively that the more customer engagement data we can “carry,” the higher the value of our loyalty programs. We know that our customers communicate across many channels, including in stores and on the website. We also know we need to engage with them at the time, place, and through the channel of their choosing.

This is a very heavy load for the systems that were built for an earlier time.

Carrying the Load

But, there’s a way out of this challenge that isn’t available in the world of pumpkin picking. As children, we had limitations that very gradually fell away as we grew older. Customer loyalty programs, on the other hand, have the ability to surge forward and manage significantly more data by deploying a loyalty platform that scales with the need for customer engagement. Suddenly, engaging customers is much easier, whether through a mobile platform or across social media and at any time of the day or night. Loyalty marketing just went through a serious growth spurt.

There’s a fantastic opportunity emerging from the heavy load of today’s Big Data and it centers on customer experience management, supported by customer loyalty.

Are you ready to choose your pumpkin?

 

Customer Loyalty is a Bird in the Hand

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

We’ve heard the phrase, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” since childhood. We were being told by wiser adults to value what we have over the things we don’t. Customer engagement has the same lesson at its heart: We can more easily achieve our goals by creating better, more loyal relationships with our existing customers than by focusing our energy on acquiring the customers we don’t already have. Figures vary, but there’s a consistent theme in the marketplace that it costs five times as much to gain a new customer than it does to retain the one that’s already with you.

Enter Loyalty

Loyalty programs are the cornerstone of a successful foundation that supports customer retention and makes that ratio so important. Think of the marketing and advertising budget applied to creating new relationships. Is it one-fifth of the spend on loyalty platforms for most companies? Too often, it isn’t. In fact, many companies spend far more on acquiring new customers than they do on loyalty and customer service combined.

Big Data Heavily Favors Loyalty

In our data-driven times, driving your business through loyalty is a powerful approach. Loyalty programs provide the permissioning that allows for greater information collection, analytics, and actions based on data your customer has agreed to provide. The creepy factor is greatly reduced and over time, your ability to collect and use data only increases. Customers willingly give detailed information to a brand that they trust, to provide a mutual benefit in the relationship. Loyalty programs create a virtuous cycle of brand and customer engagement.

When companies use the same data-driven approach to customer acquisition, the odds of crossing the creepy or annoying line are greatly increased. That challenge alone holds brands back from being nearly as effective when it comes to gaining new customers using personal data. Our Big Data world favors customer engagement and loyalty by a wide margin. Are you ready to engage your customers and benefit from the bird in the hand?