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INFOGRAPHIC: Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014

 

 

To learn more about TIBCO’s Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014, download the whitepaper and watch the webinar.

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Get Ready to Sense the CEM Future

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The Internet of Things is bringing all new possibilities to retail and customer experience management. Sensor installation in stores and on newer smartphones communicates steady streams of rich information from customer to retailer and vice versa. This trend is growing very quickly. As reported in TechCrunch recently: Apple projects 250 million of their iBeacon devices in the world by the end of 2014. Others will certainly get into the game.

Not as New as You’d Think

This story is even bigger than those 250 million purpose-built devices just now coming into the market:

“…every iOS device since the iPhone 4s and iPad 3rd gen is already capable of being either an iBeacon receiver or transmitter, as long as it’s properly configured.”

This will have enormous implications for the retail marketplace. The amount of data collected up until now has been limited mostly to very rough geolocation technology that doesn’t work well indoors.

Relevance Like Never Before

Suddenly, we have access to far more granular data on where and when customers move, and what catches their attention. We know with high accuracy when to deliver just the right message, having just the right context, and through the ideal channel. This is the marketer’s dream, but only if their tools and techniques can keep up with the opportunity this presents.

A New Way to Look at Loyalty

This also presents a remarkable opportunity for a loyalty platform. The permissioning that loyalty offers means that customer interactions are welcome, and even more relevant based on loyalty tiers and better segmentation data.

This will be a fascinating trend to watch as retailers retool to take full advantage of new levels of customer interaction.

To learn more, catch TIBCO Loyalty Lab’s webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

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.

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.

Surprise: iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S are a Killer Customer Engagement Platform

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Apple gave customer engagement management a tremendous boost with its release of the iPhone 5S and iOS 7, and most people don’t even realize it. While much of the world is talking about the smartphone’s fingerprint sensor and other obvious features, Apple quietly (very quietly, in fact) introduced much faster, separate processors that make their new smartphone offering extremely location-aware using iBeacons. The potential benefit this brings to right-time marketing is enormous.

There will be those focused on the other features of Apple’s latest releases, like the snazzy new interface, fingerprint sensor, or maybe even the new gold color choice (really, Apple?). But anyone who watches the company’s technology moves closely knows better. The iBeacons feature, combined with the new platform, is a game-changer for brand loyalty.

Location, Location, Very Specific Location

Rather than try to detect location through a device’s GPS—which can be inaccurate, especially indoors—iOS 7’s iBeacons uses a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) profile that provides micro-location, opening the door to an unlimited number of geofencing ideas.

Brands and customers can carry on a conversation based on information about the customer’s environment, with a very high degree of accuracy.

Any brand that combines this capability with the power of a customer loyalty platform stands to capitalize on the blending of a customer’s history and preferences with a constant stream of the most contextual, real-time information available. When those three components come together, you have the perfect formula for right-time marketing, square at the intersection of Big Data and loyalty.

This is so much bigger than anything brands have been able to do in the past, but also far more rewarding. While data grows exponentially, companies like Apple are helping us get far more specific in how we engage with our customers. To learn more, download this whitepaper.

The Intersection of Marketing and Big Data

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

There are few topics hotter than Big Data. There are few professions being transformed by Big Data more than marketing, with the conversation rapidly shifting to customer engagement through loyalty programs; these include mobile, social, and other channel data as part of an omni-channel loyalty platform. Just as quickly as we digitize our world, we figure out how to use newly liberated data to find and keep more of our customers. At least that’s what we need to be doing.

Spy vs. Spy?

We don’t really have a choice. As data gets bigger, our ability to make use of it better than our competitor is core to our survival. Adaptation is the new black.

It may sound like one of MAD Magazine’s Spy vs. Spy scenarios, but it isn’t about having a bigger weapon. Instead, it is about an ability to adapt to the challenges and opportunities found in Big Data—whatever they are today and also tomorrow—faster than the competitor. Success won’t come from a bigger, monolithic chunk of engineered software sitting on pre-canned scenarios suitable for yesterday, when it was developed.

Successful Big Data Marketing

Instead, successful marketing in the Big Data age comes with the ability to see data as it arrives and being able to use it when most appropriate. This isn’t always real-time marketing, though that’s a common term, and is best expressed as right-time marketing—the ability to respond at the right moment based on the customer’s characteristics, the channel of communication, and the contextual situation. The platforms that can best manage right-time marketing and all of its fast-moving changes are data source agnostic and very easy to integrate with other software and processes.

Platforms in many industries, including and perhaps especially in marketing, are in effect becoming Big Data applications; they’re able to connect to many sources to give unified analytics, predictive capabilities, and a way to execute anytime, anywhere.

Analytics at the Core of Customer Engagement

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

There’s so much customer data around us, and it gets richer and faster each and every day. People are talking non-stop about Big Data and its many uses in various parts of the market. But what’s not really getting as much attention is how analytics are used to make loyalty platforms effective for meaningful customer engagement.

Powerful analytics are on the critical path to understanding customers and when to engage, something we call right-time marketing. Right-time marketing is more nuanced than real-time marketing because it takes into account the data that supports the best time for the right kind of customer interaction. It isn’t a simple action-reaction cycle that turns customers off and can even come across as creepy and opportunistic.

Analytics Done Right

Analytics, used appropriately, allow a brand to understand many aspects of customer engagement, including:

  • Social media likes, shares, and follows
  • In-store, website, and mobile interactions and their context
  • Customer service history
  • Purchase history
  • Customer preferences

By understanding this kind of data, which is often ignored or unavailable because of silo’d systems, brands understand exactly when, where, and how to interact with their customers. This changes the model for customer engagement, and makes the customer much more than a pitch and transaction.

It Takes a Platform

It takes a loyalty platform to bring together, analyze, and respond appropriately to all of the fast-moving, rich data available today. Are you ready?

Learn more at http://www.loyaltylab.com/platform.html and watch the webinar, The Power of Analytics to Drive Loyalty.

Real Time Marketing is the Intersection of Big Data and Loyalty

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

It would be hard to overstate the level of attention being given to Big Data over the last several years. Is it really what The Economist calls a “data deluge,” and is Popular Science accurate when they say, “Data is Power”? It would be completely understandable to be cynical of the hype driven by analysts, journalists, and a myriad of vendors, large and small.

real time marketing street sign

But behind the hyperbole, there is something very real when it comes to what customers want and brands need to understand about real time marketing: Customer loyalty is driven by context, channel, and characteristics of the consumer.

The Three Cs

At TIBCO Loyalty Lab, we call those concepts the Three Cs. Each is driven by an ability to manage a wide variety of data coming from many different sources, and is used by organizations that need to respond to their loyal customers at just the right time, with just the right real time marketing interaction.

The real time marketing magic starts early, with an ability to manage historical data to better understand what’s likely to happen in the “real world” of fast-moving information. Those analytical results become the touchstone for what to look for and how to respond in the moments that count.

Real time marketing is much bigger than any one piece of data; or having an immediate response ready to go the moment a customer shows up on a website, app, or in the store. Real time marketing is being able to combine the context of the situation, the channel where the interaction is occurring, and the characteristics of each individual customer as they interact. It takes all three to make the best decisions and each represents an ability to manage data, large or small.

Are you ready to interact in real time? To learn more, download this whitepaper.

 

When We Say, “The Customer is in Charge,” What Do We Mean?

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

We hear those words constantly in conversations about customer engagement.  There’s a broad perception that changes in technology, and buying patterns have upset any previous balance in brand loyalty.  Nowhere is this greater than in retail loyalty marketing, where an explosion of mobility and the growth of social media have blown away any short-lived retail loyalty equilibrium that might have formed between online and brick and mortar retail.

retail loyalty strengthening customer

What Makes Mobile Different?

Mobility changes the dynamics of when and where a customer shops, and also how and why a brand would engage in ways that could deepen customer loyalty.  While online retail changed the “where” of buying decisions, mobile devices change the entire engagement model by adding geolocation, events, proximity, accessibility, and a host of subtle changes.

Having more choices for engaging with a brand—including the choice to participate in retail loyalty programs while engaged in the store, on the mountain, or any other circumstance—means the customer chooses the moment. That moment may not coincide with the Weekend Sale, customer service hours, a new campaign, or any other timing the retailer attempts to establish and measure.

Mobile loyalty has become a key component of creating brand loyalty.

How Social Changes Things

Social media also gives customers the benefit of mass communication and wrestles for control of brand image. Social media is now a channel for the customer to be the brands biggest critic or advocate. Brands need to find ways to execute social loyalty programs or face enormous perception risk or loss of customer advocacy.

This is the meaning behind “always-on,” “omni-channel,” “customer first,” and other ways of describing that we’re in a new world.  This new world heavily favors the brands that see retail loyalty programs as a holistic approach to understanding the customer characteristics in all of their environments and contexts, and across any engagement channel (learn more in this whitepaper on Right-Time Marketing).

That’s a very tall order, especially for companies with existing programs that need to be recharged and remodeled. Most are finding that the way to manage characteristics, context, and channel is through a loyalty platform that provides the technical means to put the customer in charge, while also meeting the brand’s goals.

 

What Have You Done For Me Lately?

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Today, I found out that a major electronics retailer no longer considers me a high-value customer. As I left the register, they reminded me that I had 15 days to return my items, a significantly shorter period than the last time I shopped. Surprised, I asked what had changed, and the clerk said, “Let me see…ah, you’re no longer a high-value customer.”

customer loyalty mass produced boxes

There it was, just like that. My history of customer loyalty dismissed.

Never mind that I have spent thousands of dollars each year with that retailer, both online and in the store. Never mind that my lifetime total is likely significantly higher than the average. Never mind that I go to their site or store as my default. It only mattered what I spent since New Year’s Day.

Their problem, whether they know it or not, is that customer loyalty is a fast-evolving practice. While other brands are coming up with “Lifetime ________” to recognize a customer’s overall value over time, some are keeping it simple in ways that won’t ultimately reward the customer or the ongoing relationship, and thus, the brand.

Dynamic Customer Loyalty Initiatives

I doubt what happened today was due to the retailer’s lack of appreciation for my business. I suspect, instead, that their customer loyalty initiatives are behind the times, and they have lost their competitive edge. I also suspect that what they’ve set up took some time to create, isn’t easy to change, and simply can’t keep up with the dynamic capabilities of modern customer loyalty management..

In short, it isn’t personal.

Making Customer Loyalty Initiatives Personal

The data, channels, and processing available today to the modern retailer makes retail loyalty very personal in several ways. We can absolutely know the lifetime spend of a customer; we can know each and every customer’s preferences; and we can know when they’re likely to respond favorably to a particular interaction. In fact, analytics and right-time, real time marketing make growing customer loyalty pretty easy.

When we know these things, we can decide when and where to engage with the customer in ways that are the most relevant and meaningful. We can make loyalty the common thread of their purchases and other interaction rather than transactions and math.

Like never before, we have the chance to make loyalty a key factor in a customer’s buying decision, rather than a seemingly opportunistic program with a very short memory.