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The World Will Compete on Customer Experience

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The time is fast approaching where the stiffest competition for a customer’s wallet share will come from customer experience and the ensuing loyalty. You might think from everything you hear that we’re already there, but we’re not. Despite the rapid growth of smartphones and tablets, we haven’t yet reached the point where the majority of consumers are shopping digitally—yet. That leaves a little time, but very little, for brands to gear up to compete on customer experience.

Brands Are Already Investing

The brands that recognize what’s approaching are already investing in a platform approach to gain their customer’s trust and loyalty. A platform approach, rather than cobbling together point solutions, is a key part of making sure that the data necessary to create great customer experiences is available to the marketer, and ready for analysis and action.

Why a Platform?

The world will compete through customer experience platforms because we’re in a fast-moving digital data age that requires significant integration to make the concept work. This is due to the fact that customer experience is affected by a rapidly increasing number of touch points with the customer. What used to be face-to-face is now on the web or on a smartphone, any time of the day, and in many different contexts.

The diversification of context, in fact, is what makes customer experience such a challenge and, at the same time, such an opportunity. Context used to be far more simple. Is the customer on the website or in the store? Are they known or unknown? Going forward, the questions will range far further and have far greater dependence on interconnected data and systems. The new questions will include: When did the customer last interact? What was the outcome? What’s most likely to be an effective response in this moment?

And from the customer side, there are also far more questions: Does the brand recognize me quickly and easily? Does the brand value me as a repeat customer in a way that matters to me? Can I maintain my expectations regardless of the time, place, and platform that I prefer in the moment? The answers to these questions will determine whether a brand is able to compete on customer experience.

If you can’t answer those questions for your customers, it could be time to take a step back and change your approach.

For more on improving your customer experience, don’t miss our webinar, Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.  


How Relevant Is Your Marketing and How Do You Know?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

By definition, for something to be relevant, it needs to be important to the matter at hand. For marketing, the matter at hand was once simply reaching the public’s consciousness through mass media with hopes that your product would be remembered at buying time. Being relevant today, however, is another matter entirely. Today’s consumer has a shorter attention span and is living in a noisier world. Today’s marketer needs to tunnel through the noise and meet customer expectations in ways that are completely tied to customers’ “matter at hand”—their preferences, history with the brand, and current context.

The Matter At Hand

For a marketer, knowing a customer’s preference, history, and current context isn’t a simple matter. It requires a platform that brings together the right information quickly enough to engage the customer in the moments that matter.

That information includes:

Transactional data – Knowing what your customer has done before is a head start to being relevant today. It’s not just about purchases—transactional data includes all interactions with the customer, including inquiries, returns, product reviews, and more.

Online data – Knowing how your customer has surfed your sites, both web and mobile, will tell you which pages or products have receive the most attention.

Social data – Getting your customers to engage socially provides a rich look into their interests, travel, and other information that supports relevant messaging.

Location data – Perhaps the most relevant data of all, a customer’s location allows a brand to reach out at moments that are fleeting, like proximity to a store.

These pieces of information, together, feed an ability to determine when and where a customer is most likely to respond positively to a message. Every communication needs to be relevant and should feel more like a service than a marketing push. A customer that finds a brand relevant feels served with useful and meaningful information rather than noise and pressure.

Customers are increasingly able to filter out noise and irrelevant information. This is a critically important concept and core to relevance. Focusing on this gives brands an ability to separate themselves from the crowd and be more effective marketers. These efforts feel like special treatment rather than promotion and allow customers to feel comfortable providing more information about themselves. When your customers feel like your marketing is a service, you know you’ve reached the point of relevance.

When the CMO and CIO Collaborate, Anything’s Possible

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Forrester’s Sheryl Pattek wrote a few months back on the hot topic of cooperation between CMOs and CIOs. Summaries of Pattek’s thoughts were captured in this SlideShare.

Pattek cites three reasons why these two organizational leaders are finding themselves as allies in ways that were unthinkable a few years ago:

  • Digital changes the game – As organizations become infused with data, more and more are finding ways to use dynamic data to create digital experiences. In this new world, attracting and retaining customers is closely connected to developing customer insights, and having the right process and technology in place to respond quickly and appropriately in a variety of situations.
  • Traditional departmental boundaries no longer apply – Where Marketing and IT were once silos of differing skills, CIOs are becoming much more business-minded and CMOs are having to learn more about technology. The two need each other to succeed as the CMO’s business knowledge and the CIO’s understanding of integration and risk are two halves of their shared challenge.
  • CIOs feel the pressure of a strong business technology agenda – Where IT was once the keeper of enterprise data and information flows, Marketing is rising as a business priority, increasingly using business-focused apps delivered through SaaS, and asking for support for a new generation of digital customer experience technology.

Pattek has advice for both the CMO and CIO on working together closely:

  • Be customer-obsessed and develop a joint strategy for innovation.
  • Make sure goals, priorities, and metrics are aligned between the two organizations. Only when organizations have alignment can they trust each other to act in predictable, mutually beneficial ways.
  • Speed up! The need for constant innovation means that the traditional pace for projects and introduction of new technologies isn’t sufficient. What took years needs to take months and what took months need to take weeks.

CIOs and CMOs are a powerful team if they can see through individual agendas and put the organization first. The key is to rely on each other for domain-specific expertise and put in place a spirit of (and system of rewards for) collaboration between their teams.

Marketers or technologists: Don’t miss our upcoming webinar, Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

The Word for Modern Marketing is “Programmatic”

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The real story of the value of big data, the Internet of Things, and data analytics is bigger than any of these trends by themselves. In fact, each of those descriptors is merely a part of a much bigger trend; the backstory that has even greater impact on our lives is the transition to a programmatic world where fast-moving flows of information create automated, immediate, and purposeful actions. Nowhere is this more evident than in the world of a marketer.

Where we once were happy to automate work performed by individuals, modern marketing’s programmatic trend is a step well beyond to the automation of whole complex systems of interaction.

Learn more about trends in the convergence of big data, analytics, and loyalty in this webinar and whitepaper.

Powering this shift is a reliance on the discovery, movement, processing, and consumption of data by machines that can digest and decide in a fraction of the time that it would take a human. Human process isn’t lost—it just happens earlier, in the setup of systems to run in real time as customer interaction takes place. In a programmatic world, it’s all about getting the setup right.

Programmatic Marketing’s Many Flavors

The programmatic world comes in many flavors, but the basic ingredients are common to much of what’s happening in business today—sensors, integration systems, analytics, more integration, event processing, and business rules, feeding intelligent processes that execute autonomously to create value on a scale that scores of humans working diligently could never match. And then even more integration…

Few places show this more clearly than the reminted marketing function of today’s top brands. The creativity of the past is still a requirement, but the new hot skill is in technology—how it works and how to implement and manage it. That’s a risk for many marketers as their past success is no indicator of future performance. It takes a mindset shift and retooling to match the needs of a programmatic marketing paradigm. No single app will do nor will simply hiring a team of data geeks. Moving to programmatic marketing goes well beyond any quick fix, and starts with development of powerful use cases that will drive strategy and choices for skills and technology. The biggest mistake? Choosing foolishly and painting yourself into a technology corner.

Orchard Supply Hardware and TIBCO on How to Localize Customer Loyalty

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Big-box stores are everywhere these days. While these giant retail locations offer massive floor space and an even larger parking lot, they come with distance, traffic, and a surprising level of inconvenience for the local shopper. There’s certainly a place in the market for something a bit more local and a lot more convenient. Orchard Supply Hardware suits that market need perfectly with mid-sized stores that offer something far more local and personal. Its goal is to create strong customer loyalty and it competes against the giants in very smart ways.

CRMC 2014 and Localized Loyalty

This year’s Customer Relationship Management Conference (CRMC) kicks off this week at the Chicago Hilton and the agenda includes a Day 2 session with Orchard Supply Hardware’s Roxanne Joe, director of strategic marketing and analysis. Joe presents with David Rosen of TIBCO Loyalty Lab on the unique approach that Orchard Supply Hardware has taken to localize its customer loyalty.

Its local approach is an extension of its strong historical and local roots, dating back to the founding of Orchard Supply Hardware as a farmer’s co-op early in the 19th century in San Jose, California. Still today, customers know their store managers by name, and this desirable and profitable customer segment is a high-value target of Orchard Supply Hardware’s customer loyalty program.

Working with TIBCO Loyalty Lab, Orchard Supply Hardware’s customer loyalty program is tuned to identify its customer, visualize purchase patterns, segment its audience, and interact in timely and personally relevant ways that increase basket size, average order value, and, ultimately, customer lifetime value. For mid-sized retailers, customer loyalty is the path to level the playing field against the giants that can out-advertise and out-market, but can’t boast of the same connection to their customers.

Don’t miss TIBCO Loyalty Lab at CRMC!
Day 1, 11:30AM | Best Practices in Loyalty Marketing with Michael Greenberg
Day 2, 2:30PM | Orchard Supply – Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The CMO’s Massive Transformation

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Customer expectations have always been tough to match, but never has the challenge been as great as right now, in our always-on world. CMOs face the daunting task of striking the perfect balance between being relevant and safeguarding a customer’s privacy—a tough job when relevance involves leveraging customer data. A brand can only disappoint a customer once when it comes to privacy; managing customer trust is a difficult job.

And Then There’s the Data

Beyond the relevance and privacy concern, CMOs need to find and manage massive amounts of data, both historical and real time. This data isn’t found in one place—it’s found in many, and it needs new levels of connectivity to make sense and be useful. Without it, marketers can’t discover patterns themselves using visualized analytics and can’t apply the math that seeks trends and data combinations that the eyes can’t see.

From Creative to Technical

To top it off, the traditional CMO often has a creative background and isn’t necessarily an expert in data science and information technology. Suddenly, new rules call for the CMO to be able to go far beyond brand steward and to scrutinize every expenditure to understand the ROI of using emerging technologies.

In the heat of battle, many CMOs have spent money on SaaS and in-house point solutions that simply don’t play well together, or have the flexibility to morph with the marketplace and customer demands. Managing this massive transformation takes a more thoughtful approach, and the combination challenges CMOs face require an approach that preserves creative engagement while applying the right focus to technology and analytics. Rather than make each technology purchase separately, smart CMOs are building out from a common platform that provides the technology foundation to support analysis while carefully managing privacy, and supports creative flexibility while keeping the focus on being accountable for marketing spend.

The platform approach, starting with access to an unlimited amount of disparate data, is the only plan that makes sense for true transformation.

Get Creative With Customer Engagement and Loyalty!

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Just yesterday I was in one of my favorite stores, a nationally known co-op. The benefits of membership at this retailer are very straightforward—the more I spend, the more I can expect to receive back at the end of the year. I happened to get a manager as a cashier, and she suggested the store credit card and reminded me of the cash-back benefit of being a member. She was enthusiastic, so I thought I would try out a few suggestions on her. It went something like this:

Me: “Thanks, I’m already a member, but I have a couple of questions: Why don’t you have achievement levels and published milestones for members?”

Manager: “We want all of our shoppers to earn benefits on the first day.”

“Can’t they do that and still be rewarded at increasing levels for bringing more of their business to this brand?

“Yes, but wouldn’t that have to be paid for somehow, meaning the lower-status customers would suffer?”

“What if you could change the math? Wouldn’t rewarding higher purchase levels incent customers to bring more of their shopping to you, increase your average basket size, and also repay your cost of customer acquisition sooner with larger average business per customer?”

“I guess that could.”

“So let’s just play that out. What if status levels could give you another layer of segmentation of your market and an ability to test personalized messages? Wouldn’t that allow you to better engage your highest-spending customers, making them feel rewarded for their high level of loyalty?

“Yes. I can see where you’re going. What’s your name?”

This was one of many conversations I have had when I shop in the stores that aren’t getting creative with customer engagement and loyalty. I’m there for convenience and because I like their offerings, but they’re missing the big picture with me (and losing a chunk of business to other retailers). There is a world of opportunity for brands to not only know their loyal shoppers well, but to use creative ways to tease out the many natural segments within their customer base.

Those segments provide a remarkable platform to test and learn the best ways to build a 21st-century business. Besides, chances are your competition is headed that way.

Creative engagement requires advanced analytics. Learn what you need to know in this webinar co-presented by TIBCO Loyalty Lab and TIBCO Spotfire.

Modern Marketing Focuses on Actionable Analytics

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

It would be really hard to overstate the changes happening in marketing as our world is immersed in burgeoning amounts of all types of data. We suddenly have data that allows us to measure marketing performance through platforms that accumulate historical and real-time data from mobile, web and in-store sources like never before in history.

Actionable Analytics

This definitely gives us visibility into how our campaigns performed, but there’s something more urgent happening that not everyone realizes—the need to see the marketing business from a new and powerful perspective. We need to understand the game before it even begins—before the campaign is executed—through actionable models and analytics that tell us what the rules are, where the game takes place, and how to play.

Three Areas of Understanding

The game is decided by three key areas of understanding that are critical to being competitive:

  • A focus on segmentation – Marketing segmentation is becoming more complex and more powerful. In a noisy world, great segmentation is the arbiter of who engages with the right messages at the right time.
  • The power of propensities – There are far more propensities than simply the propensity to spend or act on a particular offer. Marketers need to get to the heart of why customers attrite, act on social media and a host of other behaviors.
  • A culture of test & learn – Measuring the effect of a hypothesis on a segment of the network allows us to understand the impact of rolling campaigns out to a broad audience.

These trends mean that advanced analytics aren’t simply a nice-to-have. They’re a key part of being competitive and also building brand loyalty, customer retention and brand advocacy.

Upcoming Actionable Analytics Webinar

Learn detailed best practices in actionable analytics in our joint webinar with TIBCO Spotfire on Thursday, May 22nd.

You will learn:

  • The types of analytic skills expected of nearly every marketer in today’s digital and big data world
  • Eight key metrics that get to the heart of measuring loyal customers
  • How to most effectively present information visually and dive more deeply for greater insights
  • Which mathematical models have the greatest impact on success
  • How to separate what causes behavior versus just knowing that it correlates
  • What is the difference between an actionable segmentation versus a descriptive segmentation

Click on the link to register today for our May 22nd webinar, Marketing Analytics: What You Need to Know Now.

Demandware and Loyalty Lab: Seamless E-Commerce and Customer Loyalty

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Context is quickly becoming the definitive item that makes the deeper relationships of e-commerce and customer loyalty so attractive to brands. That attractiveness is justified by the amount of contextual information that can be gleaned from customer relationships when the personalized data of loyalty programs meets the in-the-moment experience of e-commerce. The TIBCO Loyalty Lab integration for the Demandware Commerce platform makes it easy for brands to develop and launch a powerful customer engagement program, and gain that rich context faster with fewer IT resources than ever before.

E-Commerce and Loyalty 

Loyalty is a great match for e-commerce. The marketplace has higher expectations each and every day as more customers access more information across more channels, around the clock. Each commerce touchpoint is an opportunity to strengthen the customer engagement experience in ways that create better segmentation and more precise targeting while also offering a better customer experience.

This has to be a seamless experience for the customer across all channels. Customer loyalty programs are the perfect way to create right-time engagement while making your customers an enthusiastic part of the equation. As a bonus, customers who feel loyal to your brand are true fans and willing to be your brand advocates.

TIBCO Loyalty Lab is now a certified Demandware LINK partner. As a result, customer engagement attained through loyalty can be a part of a richly combined and seamless loyalty, browsing, and shopping experience. The loyalty information, vital to engagement and personalization, is used to present offers in the Demandware Commerce platform. Purchase data, key to segmentation and targeting, is sent to Loyalty Lab. We’ve empowered marketers to connect nearly any customer-facing touchpoint with the best possible way to motivate profitable customer behavior.

Download the datasheet to learn more.

The Customer Experience Redefined

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

What happens when any customer can find any product in many places, even far away in an entirely other economy; while at home, work, or on the go; and at any hour of the day? What happens when those products can be delivered, for free, as soon as the next day?

Customer experience management (CEM) as we know it is being completely redefined to meet the needs of a massively shifting buying landscape. Toss out the old assumptions and get ready to break the rules—CEM has a whole new meaning.

How Much Can You Manage Customer Experience?

A brand can’t expect to be able to truly manage the experience in the old way. The concept of managing anything is based on having a customer’s full attention and a certain expectation for a selling cycle (time, messages, process, follow-through). Those are assumptions that no longer exist when a customer can buy from anywhere, even in another brand’s physical location. Customers themselves are now in charge.

So what can a marketer do given these significant changes? For one, there needs to be a new consideration of how to get a customer’s attention. Customer loyalty programs are an obvious fit for getting the customer focus despite the distractions. Second, the experience can’t start and end at the point of purchase. A longer, deeper interaction with a customer guarantees the decision will, at minimum, include the brand when the time to buy arrives. Third, a brand needs to be where the customer’s interactions are taking place. Today, that includes physical locations (but not always), mobile, and social media.

Participating in Customer Experience

In the end, what a brand can realistically achieve is to participate in the customer’s experience. That participation involves having faster access to a customer’s circumstances, better analytics that explain the likelihood the customer will respond when engaged, and a smarter way to test and learn the best ways to improve that customer’s experience. This is the new reality of CEM and a better way to understand the changing task of managing what can be managed, and participating in the rest.

Fast track your customer experience management with Jumpstart from TIBCO Loyalty Lab. Learn how.