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.
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.
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?
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
Customer engagement involves having access to the information that allows right-time marketing to happen, based on interaction channel, context, and customer’s preferences. For some, this is the definition of Big Data’s role in creating brand loyalty, but what if the Big Data conversation wasn’t enough?
Going Beyond the Data Set
In a recent Venture Beat piece, TIBCO CTO Matt Quinn brought up a flaw in the discussion of Big Data. Quinn says that the way we talk about Big Data is an attempt to put a scope around it, or “compartmentalize it.” We do this because it’s what makes us feel comfortable in a world that has long been transactional. Comfort that doesn’t solve the problem eventually becomes discomfort when it becomes clear that something’s missing:
“That’s the reason we talk about data sets and batch jobs. It fits a paradigm we’re comfortable with, but at the same time, aren’t we missing something? Aren’t we failing to take into account all of the data being created everywhere, every day? The perceived value of different types of data today will grow exponentially in the future. Just because today certain types of data may not appear useful, valuable, or be too difficult to process—I can guarantee that your future self will see things differently.”
Going Beyond the Transaction
Quinn recommends thinking of the bigger picture by linking data together, allowing for broad analysis, and making that information available to anyone in the organization who needs it. In the marketing world, that sounds like the requirements for a loyalty platform that isn’t full of silos, isn’t only aware of transactions, and doesn’t only find answers through batch processing. A great loyalty marketing platform offers a unified way to see all data.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
Beaches, believe it or not, are a fantastic way to analogize customer engagement, Big Data, right-time marketing and real time marketing. Everyone loves the beach and its complex interaction of soil, wind, sea, geography, and physics. It has a course-grained scale like wave breaks and dunes, and is also very discreet at the level of drops of water and grains of sand. It has periodic events like storms and long-term interactions like erosion. Studying a beach thoroughly requires a great deal of knowledge. That’s why a beach is Big Data.
Customer Engagement and Big Data
Customer engagement’s wave breaks and dunes are the lifetime customer value and brand advocacy that are driven by customer loyalty. Its drops of water and grains of sand are each interaction that a brand has with its customers, not only in the form of transactions and customer service, but in every opportunity to engage across the channel of the customer’s choosing.
Missing out on the complex interaction is seeing a beach as simply water and sand: Customers come and go as waves and tide, during good months and poor. Without a way to gain insight into each customer’s needs and expectations as complex interactions, a brand is missing the nuances that explain how and why customers buy and advocate.
Surfing Customer Engagement
So where do right-time marketing and real time marketing enter this scene? Have you ever sat on the beach or stood on the pier and watched experienced surfers in action? A very good surfer is patient and understands the big picture, like the wave break’s direction and frequency, and the slope of the sea floor. They know the effect of the wind and are willing to pass on a wave because a better one is coming next. They know their beaches and give them their own names and protect them fiercely. A surfer is loyal to a beach as much as a beach delivers value to the surfer.
Companies that understand their customers with a surfer’s insight of a beach are far better at customer engagement and know when and where to interact. The outcome is much higher lifetime customer value and a much more symbiotic relationship that turns customers into lifetime fans.
We have the tools to make this happen, so what are we waiting for? A sunny day?
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.
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.