On the Third Day of Loyalty Marketing Nirvana: Ideate and Validate

You didn’t think you could achieve loyalty marketing nirvana without ideating, did you?

Thinking is exactly what we’re doing on Day 3 of loyalty marketing nirvana—ideating and validating for effective event-driven marketing.

Effective customer engagement is all about good, creative, and clever ideas. Start by brainstorming as many good ideas as you can, using the no-idea-is-a-bad-idea approach. Really stretch the imagination to create new initiatives. Then, think through execution.

The ideation process has nothing to do with your finance team (unless they have some good ideas, in which case they might be in the wrong department), however you may need validation from finance before proceeding further with new initiatives.

Once you have selected your best ideas, it’s a good idea to develop a rigorous business case to support them. This will help you achieve early commitment from your financial stakeholders we discussed in step one—organize and commit stakeholders. Remember that?

When you think of marketing ideas, your mind probably shifts to catchy slogans and compelling messages, which are needed in this scenario. But to be effective, you need to take it further. What are the events that occur in your customer’s life on either a regular or random basis? How can you deliver value to your customers during these events? Answering these questions will help you create the processes that allow you to consistently deliver contextual, valuable messages with ease.

Event-driven marketing is all about identifying these events and creating meaningful customer experiences to go along with them.

Here are a few strategies you can use to help you ideate and validate:

Strategy session – The goal here is multiple concepts. Start simple and then stretch each concept out into more detail.

Focus groups – Use focus groups to enrich your strategy session ideas and narrow them down to what really matters.

Quantitative research – This will help you select and set base expectations for your initiatives.

For example, The North Face leveraged qualitative research to validate whether to offer points or perks for its VIPeak loyalty program. No guesswork needed.

Do you have questions about the ideating and validating process for event-driven marketing? Tweet us @TIBCO using the hashtag #LoyaltyLab.

It’s All Relevant in Event-Driven Marketing

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Marketers have a challenge on their hands: the public that they need to reach and convince to buy is increasingly using PCs and laptops, mobile devices, and social platforms to decide when and where to shop. That puts enormous pressure on brands to understand the changing nature of exactly why, where, and how customers make buying decisions.

Event-driven marketing customer segments

And it isn’t just the changing nature of customer loyalty. With the arrival of smartphones and Big Data technologies, the amount of data available is increasing. As the data grows, it is becoming more diverse in source and structure, and accumulating faster than ever before.

Data Carries Events

Smart brands realize data isn’t just discreet bits of information. Data carries a series of occurrences (and non-occurrences) that technologists call “events.” These events are more than transactions and include anything that has meaning to the brand.  Events can be historical or immediate, one-at-a-time, or in correlated occurrences (as this event-driven marketing whitepaper and webinar explain).

Analyzing events in aggregate reveals patterns that are equally meaningful and were previously invisible to the naked eye.

Events are Relevance

It has never been more promising or challenging at the same time to pay attention to events. There is relevance “gold” in events, including the ability to understand very specific factors relating to event-driven marketing:

  • The customer’s immediate context – Is it daytime or nighttime? Where are they? Is there an open retail store nearby? How is the weather?
  • The brand’s immediate context – What inventory do I need to move? Where are my hottest items located? What is my competitor offering?
  • The customer’s historical contextWhat level of fan is the customer? What do they typically buy? When do they buy?
  • The brand’s historical context – What are my sales patterns for this type of customer? What do I normally sell in this weather or time of the year?

Relevance is Everything

Understanding the customer comes down to the ability to follow the precursors to a buying decision and understand the sequence of events as they happen. Event-driven marketing is the ability to know each discreet thing that leads up to a purchase and to be able to anticipate when and how to react as those events play out.  The ability to anticipate and react at just the right time is the true meaning of marketing relevance. (Learn more on right-time marketing in this webinar coming up on 7/18.)

These are exciting times to be a brand in a fast-evolving customer and technology landscape. Are you ready to be relevant?

Sense and Respond: Event-Driven Marketing

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The concept of “sense and respond” has been around for years, but it’s a relatively new concept for marketers. Times are changing very rapidly, and the rise of mobile, social and far faster cache memory applications gives the field a whole new way to interact with customers. It is an ability to sense the environment and respond immediately.

This isn’t the kind of interaction that a call center handles, or the idea of ‘touch point management’. From a process perspective, sense & respond gets much closer to the customer than ever before.

From a technology perspective, it means being able to move the marketing function out of a database-centric world and into a real-time, location-aware, flow-based marketing opportunity.

This new world is both context aware and cross channel at the same time. It differs from traditional marketing, even its most recent developments, by focusing on interaction optimization more than just the nuts and bolts of interaction.

Operational real-time

Most companies, including startups, lack the ability to assemble and respond to context fast enough to change customer behavior.  Unfortunately, real-time too often means gaining important information in the moment but doesn’t go the extra distance to meeting the customer in the moment.

What’s more, many of the systems implemented in the last three to four years are already outdated in their approach. They are not operationally real-time.

Truly operational, real-time sense and respond takes interaction to in-location, in-store or even in-basket levels of timing. It means having innovative analysis of what to expect and sensing a combination of factors in the moments they occur.

More of the same

If we stop for a minute to consider how much has changed in the recent past, we can easily assume that the change will continue and the opportunity for greater context and interaction in real-time is only going to grow. Likewise, customer expectations will shift to a demand for rewards in real-time – wherever they are and for whatever they’re doing.

Anyone who isn’t taking advantage of sense and respond will see their competition pulling away in the very near future.  Time to get started.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our webinar on 2/12, Event-Driven Marketing: Success with Real-Time Omni-Channel Engagement.

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Moving Far Beyond Mad Men

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Retailers have gone miles beyond the traditional print, TV and radio marketing of the Mad Men era, for sure, but even the more recent digital campaign-based marketing isn’t the best way to gain loyalty while maintaining profitability.

I’ll tell what works best, but first let’s take a look at how we got here.

Don Draper style

Traditional marketing was about coming up with the best tag line and finding the best audience and channel for delivery. Mad Men’s Don Draper is the perfect traditional marketing guy/ad man (there were very few women). Don is masterful at getting into the heads of the paying client with a promise that he will get his message into the heads of the end customer.  Even with focus groups testing those messages, it was an enormous leap of faith for the firm’s clientele.  It was all about selling an idea and less about proven execution.

Costly setup

Computing brought us beyond Mad Men and gave us the ability to watch for signs of a receptive audience. Those signals, or triggers, are certainly a step beyond Don’s famous tag lines, like London Fog’s, “Limit your exposure.” Campaign or old-style trigger-based marketing delivers personalized, relevant content based on the best knowledge in advance.  That sounds like a great idea but is hampered by structure and slowed down by potentially costly setup and execution.

Getting a trigger wrong means sending messages people don’t want. Missing the timing means marketing into thin air.  Because triggers are structured and reactive, campaign development is based on a cycle that has several steps: Identifying triggers, creating responses, testing and evaluating, operationalizing and then optimizing campaigns.  Traditional trigger-based marketing doesn’t bring the speed necessary to for today’s business.

Getting it right

There’s a new and better way that’s gaining ground with some of the best marketers in the business. The modern Don Draper operates in real-time and with event-driven marketing instead. Events are simply ‘things that happen’ (or don’t). Powerful systems can anticipate combinations of events and fire responses in real-time that can take into effect an unlimited number of factors. Events include location, sentiment analysis, inventory levels, previous purchases and more. These are highly dynamic factors that can’t be correlated in traditional systems.

Event-driven is the marketing answer to mobility, social, cloud and big data. It is a true differentiator in an increasingly complex marketplace.

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