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Marketers Face a Digital Imperative in Staying Two Steps Ahead of the Game

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

We’ve reached a point where marketers agree that the way business is done has fundamentally changed. In almost every case, they’re ready to rethink strategies, tactics and technology, but most are struggling with how to make smart, durable, effective changes that don’t look like wasted effort in a few months. Wasted effort and lack of vision are a CMO’s nightmare and lead to a short tenure.

One Step Ahead

The CMO needs success in turbulent economic times, with rapid change and constant disruption. Success is defined in this environment as being two steps ahead. That doesn’t necessarily mean one step ahead of the competition, the customer, or the next big trend—it means being multiple steps ahead of all of those things.

Ouch.

That’s a tough prescription in the best of times, but a really big challenge when the only thing that will work is business transformation, which today means digital transformation. There’s no Band-Aid approach that will get you there. It has to be change that goes to the core of the business.

A Digital Imperative

An article published in the MIT Sloan Management Review focuses on the fact that companies now face a “digital imperative.” The digital imperative means companies must:

“…adopt new technologies effectively or face competitive obsolescence. While there is consensus on the importance of adopting digital technology, most employees find the process complex and slow. Many say their leaders lack urgency and fail to share a vision for how technology can change the business.

The report broaches on the widespread problem of “digital immaturity.” One survey finds that 78% of companies recognize the need to digitally transform, but 63% feel the current pace is too slow; and 38% don’t believe it is a permanent fixture on their CEO’s agenda. If these numbers are realistic, there’s a great deal of disruption about to occur for most enterprises.

What, then, can a marketer do? For one, push hard for alignment within the organization and embrace the digital imperative—tackle it with urgency. Secondly, respond effectively and quickly to emerging digital technologies—don’t be left behind. Lastly, use the technology you have more effectively—integrate what you have so that legacy systems have value and aren’t a showstopper.

To learn more about the digital trends that will keep you ahead, download the whitepaper and watch the webinar, “Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.”

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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Monetizing the Game by Turning Customers Into Fans

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Turning customers into fans is more than a catchy phrase; it’s the goal of every marketer to get beyond the next purchase and into the heart and head of the customer. The same rule applies for sports teams—it’s one thing to bring a customer to a game, but quite another to use technology to create an outstanding experience, win or lose. Whether the business is an NFL team like the Oakland Raiders or a grocery retailer, better experiences have a profound impact on loyalty and create far more revenue than traditional approaches.

Creating True Fandom Through Technology

In the case of the Raiders, TIBCO’s mobile apps draw fans closer by offering a more contextual real-time experience that draws on fan preferences and details of the games and the team. It allows fans to feel a level of participation that wasn’t possible before, and allows the team to compile important preference and interaction data.

The Principles Apply Everywhere

The same principles apply to any brand that sells a product, not just professional sports teams. By knowing what’s happening in the customer’s world and being responsive, brands pull fans closer and optimize their experiences. In the game, it might be a score; in the retail world, it could be reaching a status level or entering the website or brick and mortar store. As humans, we love to cheer for the things that define our life, be it a local team or the places we like to shop. Turning customers into fans is as simple as giving a customer a reason to feel appreciated and informed.

Are You Turning Customers Into Fans?

Marketing is changing thanks to technology that makes mobile and other data a key part of getting to know your customers, and giving them a much better experience—the kind that makes them fans.

Learn what technologies smart marketers must master to stay ahead of the pack. Watch the webinar and read the whitepaper, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

Sochi Olympics Shows Us the Future of Marketing…and It’s Very Cool

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Coverage of the Olympic games in Sochi gives us beautiful insight into the future of marketing. This is the first time we’ve seen wholesale use of drones, sequential photography, and the use of virtual leader lines to show how competitors stack up in every race that has a finish line. We can see winning strategy in full detail and dissect where things went wrong within moments of their occurrence. We’re seeing video Big Data that describes what’s happening in real time that, in effect, segments performances.

Segmentation at an Even Higher Level

Segmentation in the past has been a matter of studying transactional behaviors. More advanced systems today are able to see patterns in non-transactional customer behavior and the most advanced are capturing and using what’s happening right now to create ever more accurate segmentation. Now, before most of the world has caught up with real-time customer context, along comes a new way to understand and interact—video data.

The physical patterns that shoppers create as they move through the buying experience are incredibly valuable. Seeing the Winter Olympics coverage, it is an easy leap to the world of brick-and-mortar retail where knowing who lingers, who moves quickly and purposefully, and who sits down to study products has meaning for the marketer. It tells a story of consumer behavior, how choices are made, and, most importantly, what influences buying decisions.

Making Patterns Personal

For those marketers clever enough to blend loyalty programs with video data, the shopping experience can be captured in a way that maps back to the patterns of their loyal customers. A world of real-time video data can be used to analyze and then influence buying decisions of the most loyal shoppers and greatest brand advocates. Imagine prompting brand advocates to test out a new product likely to fit their lifestyle, shopping profile, and personal preferences, but doing so when the product is within reach. Video data offers a very rich new source of personalization that allows each customer’s “technique” to be understood and seamlessly brought into the marketing equation.

There’s a disclaimer, however, for getting to this level of sophistication. Marketers that struggle to gather the right data to accurately segment today will struggle with this inevitable version of tomorrow. Those who have just plastic and points (read: transactional) loyalty programs will be several steps behind. For those keeping pace with the new technology of marketing, however, this is within reach and a reward for keeping up with change. Where are you on the path to taking advantage of the new wave marketing technology?

To learn more about how to stay current as a marketer, download the whitepaper or watch the webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

Photo credit: The Guardian

Customer Experience Truth: Eighty Percent Right Better Than Three Months Late

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

There’s a truth in customer experience management brought about by rapidly changing technology—marketers are better off 80% right today than 100% right three months from now. Today’s marketing math delivers better results from fast turnaround with good data rather than perfect data that takes far too long to assemble. Traditional marketing approaches looking for perfect data segments simply aren’t competitive any longer.

Intersection of Big Data and Real-Time Information

The math has changed because of a combination of new technologies like mobile, social, and in-memory storage, all creating and managing enormous amounts of data that feeds remarkably powerful analytics. At the intersection of Big Data and real-time information, marketers are finding that analytics changes the game of interactions in the moments that count, in the context of the customer.

Visualization and self-discovery performed against a growing list of available digital information shows patterns we could never see before that allow us to test and learn with every interaction. But there are challenges to taking full advantage of marketing’s new math. The biggest challenge comes from the fact that customer data is found in many places, never in just one.

Customer Systems Evolved Separately

As computerization of commerce progressed over the past few decades, the many things we need to know to provide the best customer experience evolved separately. Information today is stored in many disparate systems, which are even located both on and off premise. Waiting for change won’t help—no monolithic system is going to show up that can replace what already exists, and anything that does is too rigid to be useful as consumers and markets evolve rapidly.

Connecting The Dots

This is precisely why integration is hot technology for marketers, feeding analytics with all kinds of current and historical information that allows marketers to be mostly right very quickly—right enough and fast enough to make a difference.

Discover how companies are making up with volume and speed what they lack in accuracy and completeness. Download the whitepaper Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

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.

What Are Your Purple Lights?

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

If you’ve ever flown on Virgin America, you know from the moment you enter the aircraft that you’re in for a different kind of experience. For starters, they have purple lights along the top of the cabin that give off a very soothing, modern vibe. At TUCON 2013 in Las Vegas this past fall, TIBCO CEO Vivek Ranadivé talked about the Virgin America experience and how important it is for businesses to set themselves apart from their competitors. He called it, “Finding your purple lights.”

What Sets Virgin America Apart

What sets Virgin America apart, other than their cabin lighting, is the real-time approach they’ve taken to customer loyalty. Virgin America’s award point values are dynamic and transparent—each dollar spent on the airline or its affiliated hotels, rental cars, shopping, or credit card partners earns points according to the amount spent.

Virgin America’s redemption process is instant and seamless as well. Dollars-to-points pricing gives their loyal Elevate flyers the clear message that there are no hoops to jump through, no matter whether you pay cash or redeem points. Virgin America makes it easy and simple to be a loyal customer.

A Very Slick Technology Backend

With their slick technology backend to support these customer-facing benefits, Virgin America doesn’t have to use blackout days or other restrictions to manage cash flow the way other airlines do. Point prices are calculated based on day of the week, load, cabin class, and the customer’s history that includes lifetime value and recency. Virgin America can adjust the number of points needed to motivate customers to redeem points when that’s what makes sense for the airline.

Virgin America can only do this because they rely on a real-time infrastructure provided by TIBCO that is rare in the travel business. The airline is very aware that this capability is one more “purple lights” way to serve its customers.

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.

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 in a Real-Time, Noisy World

We’re reaching a point of saturation where the noise of the connected world can easily outweigh the value of listening. As social media use continues to increase alongside constant connectivity, the voices that matter most to us—the voices we’re loyal to—end up being the only voices we can hear.

The Saturation Point

When consumers hit the saturation point, they’re highly likely to take a step back from the marketing chaos and ask themselves “What matters most?” and “How can I escape the chaos?” They’re likely to limit their focus to the things and places they hold dear. This is exactly where brand loyalty matters more than ever.

The world won’t get any quieter. To make sure they’re heard, a brand needs to make up for increasing noise with better customer engagement that leads to greater loyalty. When a brand is in a trusted relationship with its customers, it knows its customers far better and offers a respite from the need to filter out the irrelevant. It offers peace from the dark aspects of constant connectivity.

Brands and Noise Filters

When a brand engages loyal customers wisely, it offers a noise filter and creates an appreciation from the customer; that leads to brand advocacy. Strong customer appreciation—strong enough to create advocacy—is a hallmark of the brands that enjoy much higher lifetime customer value and powerful networking benefits as their customers are more than willing to vouch for the brand and introduce others to its benefits.

A focus on customer loyalty is an excellent strategy for a real-time, noisy world.

For more on how to cut through the chaos in 2014, check out this TIBCO Loyalty Lab webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.