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Are You Simulating Your Way to Success or Just Simulating Success?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Are you on a marketing team that closely plans, tests and measures what it does? Marketing can be a funny thing—a place for people who create perceptions of effectiveness—or it can be quite the opposite, full of people who design, simulate and create measurable marketing success. Judging by the sheer volume of “blind” pitches that arrive in our mailboxes (digital and physical) each day, there are still plenty of organizations simulating success rather than doing the hard work of simulation.

Spray and Pray

They are practicing an age-old method called “spray and pray” which has been just effective enough over the years to stay alive. It relies, however, on a cheap way to distribute offers and an expectation that a certain, if small, number of recipients will respond. It relies on the right message accidentally falling into the right hands. It relies on those “right hands” being predictable, which is less and less true every day for two reasons: One, as the world becomes more digital, we’re moving away from expecting offers in physical form; and two, the online world, where we’re rapidly moving, is noisy enough to require mental and technology “filters” that are reasonably good at blocking out the accidental message.

Don’t Get Filtered Out

Marketers, then, need to up their game or get filtered out. And there’s nothing more expensive than failure. Fortunately, there are techniques and tools that are effective at getting through the filters because the audience is actually receptive to the message. The most effective marketers are collecting key attributes of their customers and segmenting to a degree that allows smart matching of message and recipient. Knowing a segment well enough allows simulations to be run so that what eventually makes its way out to customers has been tested for likely success.

Simulation Makes All of the Difference

This simulation is what makes all of the difference. If a marketer knows that a segment has a high propensity to buy items in combination, a targeted offer comes through the “filter” as a beneficial suggestion rather than an insensitive cross sell. Not only is success much more likely, but customer loyalty increases thanks to the positive shopping experience. What started with simulation ends with very tangible success.

To learn more, contact TIBCO Loyalty Lab for a demo. Email loyaltylab@tibco.com.

Are You On The Front Lines Of The Data Analytics Revolution?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Make no mistake, there’s a digital revolution happening, and that revolution is completely changing the world as we know it. What’s more, it’s happening with the greatest impact in the way consumers and retailers interact. In a McKinsey report published this week, the management consulting firm summarized its interviews with eight companies that are leaders in data analytics. McKinsey came to the conclusion that data and analytics aren’t overhyped, but are oversimplified—it takes real work and strong knowledge for organizations to take full advantage of the power of increasing levels of information and the patterns therein.

In regard to retail, specifically, McKinsey said the following:

Retailers, for example, can harness data to influence next-product-to-buy decisions and to optimize location choices for new stores or to map product flows through supply chains.

This statement is actually a highly nuanced challenge to retailers.

The Landscape of Retail

While some brands have invested in new technology and techniques to take advantage of data analytics, many are still on the sidelines trying to decide when and where to react, if at all. Those who have invested are finding out that many packaged applications don’t have the flexibility to manage new channels or take advantage of advanced data analytics.

These are challenging times for those on the front lines, trying to actively decide what steps to take next. Retail has always been about margin, and maintaining margin had settled into a fairly predictable place before the world went digital and mobile. The amount of data being generated offers each brand the chance to create new business and take it away from the competitor by knowing far more precise details about the customer, the product, and the sales channel. Traditional margin models are being exposed as outdated and ineffective in the face of these changes. Those who will survive the revolution will need to move off the sidelines and build new business models supported by flexible, smart technology.

To learn more about the latest trends in retail customer analytics, big data and loyalty, download our whitepaper.

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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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.

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.

The Strategy for Not Wasting Money on Retail Technology

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Getting the basics right in retail means transparent pricing, understandable offers, and good service and product availability. Most retailers have these down by now and are consistent across the web or the store. But competition never lets us rest on our laurels for very long. In retail, the new battle is over the use of technology to take the game to the next level.

The Path Behind Us

Technology, however, can be a roll of the dice. The path behind us is littered with so-called game changers that never met their promises to revolutionize an industry. Companies have invested significant money in applications that took too long to roll out and recoup their costs.

No one doubts that retail requires significant investment in technology, but how does a brand choose wisely and avoid wasting precious time and money?

Strategy

Brands need a strategy flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and changing technologies. The best approach is to run short trials of ideas where an idea is killed quickly if it doesn’t work or is rolled out quickly if it does. Technology needs to support this by being flexible to sources of data and to have baked-in capabilities to analyze data, create a hypothesis, and then run continuous cycles of testing and learning. Technology that falls short of this capability will join history’s trash heap.

Learn how to justify spending on the right kind of retail technology in this webinar and whitepaper. Questions? Tweet @TIBCO with the hashtag #LoyaltyLab.

Shopping, Engagement and the Digital Self

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

For all that’s been said about customer experience management, customer loyalty, and engagement, there’s a simple statement that explains what’s happening today that’s so different from the past:

The customer is becoming increasingly digitally defined. 

Both people and machines are creating data about themselves and their circumstances at a rapidly increasing rate. That information includes location, sentiment, preferences, and a host of other factors. That data forms patterns that reveal even more information about a customer than can be seen at first glance.

If a customer feels that a brand offers better engagement and choices because of that digital definition, they’ll be willing consent to data being collected and put to use. They’ll gladly take part in customer loyalty programs if they see a two-way street of value exchange between themselves and a brand.

That Gives Us Two Choices

Some brands understand that and are taking the steps to digitally define customers by capturing an increasing amount of information that data starts as real-time data and gives context to in-the-moment engagement. After the moment has passed, that same data becomes a part of a historical record of interaction, used to segment the customer base and create propensity models that analyze when and why a customer is most likely to buy, tweet, or attrite. It is a virtuous cycle.

The alternative to becoming digitally savvy is to rely on impersonal offers for discounts made to an anonymous audience. There will likely always be a market for the impersonal, but that market is a hotly competitive place where price is the only driver and increasing volume is the only path to success. This is a vicious cycle. Is that where you want to be?

Have questions? Tweet us @TIBCO with the hashtag #LoyaltyLab.

On the Eighth Day of Loyalty Marketing Nirvana: Understand Loyalty Program Sensitivity & Risk

We have arrived on the final step in the journey to loyalty marketing nirvana. Hopefully our series has helped you develop or bolster your customer loyalty initiatives. Before you rush off to form a new program, however, it’s important to fully understand the sensitivities and risks associated with them.

First, as pointed out by Meg Haynes, news editor of Strategy Online, there is always the risk of overestimating the value of the reward offered—and underestimating the cost (time) associated with earning the reward. To avoid this misstep, recognize some honest projections about the sensitivities and risks.

To ensure our loyalty program is successful, we must identify the best-case scenarios, worst-case scenarios, and project risk points. There are three reasons why we address these factors:

1.   Any new venture comes with inherent risk, but it’s best when everyone understands it.

2.   You want to determine how far you can go. How pessimistic can your assumptions be when you still feel optimistic about the outcome?

3.   You want to raise flags on critical areas of the program.

For example, you might identify that your program is sensitive to factors such as enrollment rates, repeat purchases, or in-cart conversions. Once those metrics are determined, the entire organization can be armed with that information—and it can then drive focused efforts to support a positive outcome. If enrollment is a key driver for success, efforts can be focused on achieving a high enrollment rate.

This final step is a very critical one. When you address risks prior to launching any program, those risks can be mitigated and hopefully avoided. Of course, this also allows for the whole organization to buy into the strategic execution of your loyalty program.

What else have we considered on our road to loyalty marketing nirvana? Well, we organized stakeholders, established value drivers, ideated and validated, gathered a baseline of existing performances, built consensus on improvements, calculated the costs of the program, calculated true ROI, and recognized the sensitivities and risks.

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we hope your loyalty program initiatives lead to a successful year!

Have more questions about calculating loyalty program ROI? Tweet us @TIBCO with the hashtag #LoyaltyLab.

On the Seventh Day of Loyalty Marketing Nirvana: Calculate Loyalty Program ROI

Every company strives to calculate accurate ROI for their marketing programs. How else can you judge if your efforts are paying off? On Day 7 of loyalty marketing nirvana, we’re here to help you calculate the expected ROI of your loyalty initiatives. After this step, you will be able to clearly demonstrate the benefit of the program. Sounds like nirvana, right?

Because you’ve knocked steps five and six of loyalty marketing nirvana out of the park (building consensus and calculating total cost), Day 7 is easy because it’s just math. You can certainly keep it simple and run a profit and loss on your loyalty program. It’s a straightforward method for determining incremental revenues generated that also provides a summary executives can easily and quickly understand.

How can you go one step further in proving your loyalty program success? The key steps to help marketers understand ROI are outlined in the Loyalty Lab whitepaper, How To Measure Your Loyalty Program’s Incremental ROI.

Loyalty Lab recommends three ways to start looking at data in order to prove true incremental ROI. These three measurements are especially useful when attempting to calculate what loyalty program members would have spent if the program didn’t exist.

The first way is to compare members against nonmembers. This is a simple measurement, and it is also easy to show and understand. New customers are a particularly good segment on which to focus.

The second way of measuring loyalty program impact is to isolate and compare like groups. Like groups could be those who made one purchase over the first three months of a loyalty program versus those who made more purchases in that same time frame.

The third method of calculating true incremental lift for your loyalty program is to have a control group. Ideally this group would never be exposed to the loyalty program, so when you compare members versus nonmembers versus a control group, you will have a very clear picture of how the loyalty program drives revenue and ROI.

If your team prefers the simple profit and loss, then the math is easy. However, if they are looking for a little more detail about the loyalty program ROI, then these methods will help you deliver.

Our journey to loyalty marketing nirvana is almost complete. On Day 8, we will attempt to understand the sensitivity and risks of your loyalty program. Doing so will help ensure calculating ROI remains a blissful experience.

Have more questions about calculating loyalty program ROI? Tweet us @TIBCO with the hashttag #LoyaltyLab.

2014: Five Powerful Trends in Marketing

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The new year is an opportunity for a torrent of predictions of what will happen in the days to come. There’s no shortage of opinions, but most look a lot more like trends than solid prognostications. That’s because trends are easier to get in front of than predictions that may or may not come true.

I like the idea of trends because spotting them early offers a chance to move more quickly than a competitor. With that in mind, here are the trends you can capitalize on in 2014:

  • Most customer data will go unused, even as marketers work to increase relevance and engage more with customers. IDC predicts this number to be as high as 80% and bases that on “immature enterprise data ‘value chains.’” The lack of maturity in managing data is very common and costly to the brand that wants to build brand awareness, increase sales, and create customer loyalty.
  • Despite the immaturity of the data value chain, marketing will become even more data-driven, requiring integration of data silos within marketing applications as well as across the enterprise information technology landscape. Managing marketing data effectively will involve the use of platforms that have integration capabilities built in. As reported in Forbes, “Tearing down silos isn’t easy.” It will take a strategy and cooperation with other parts of the organization, especially IT.
  • Analytics will be a highly sought-after skill on the CMO’s team. Data discovery, developing hypothesis, and test and learn approaches will become crucial to compete with a broad array of brands gradually increasing their data management capabilities. CMO’s will actively recruit analytics talent and will increasingly look for marketing platforms with business-friendly analytics in the mix.
  • Data sources will continue to increase. Even more smartphones, more tablets, and the Internet of Things means brands will increasingly be able to directly find consumers and deliver highly relevant, situational, and personalized messages. This is the very near-term future for customer engagement management.
  • Loyalty will be the increasingly important target of engaging customers. The high cost of customer acquisition, and the trend toward analytics and data-driven marketing, make loyalty an over-arching trend of marketing for 2014.

As with any trend, you have the option of waiting it out and seeing how the marketplace develops. For these trends, however, smart marketers realize the importance of staying ahead.