Good Enough Marketing Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Marketing in the modern digital age has done great damage to the term “good enough.” It wasn’t that long ago when good enough was a quality standard that meant, “This will work well enough and nothing better is needed.” But in times of great change, the term good enough needs to be seriously rethought.

Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

So what changed? For starters, we’re a decade or so into the challenges of Big Data—also known as the digitization of nearly everything a marketer cares about. Customer information, including their past history, preferences, and even where they are in this moment, are flowing across many different devices and channels. What was good enough to work with the data we used just five years ago is very unlikely to be good enough today.

Secondly, our ability to analyze past behaviors to predict future ones has grown as quickly as the data that feeds those analytics. Once we can know what’s likely, we have a need to do something with that information, meaning we need new ways of interacting, nudging, and influencing our customers digitally, and otherwise. The old execution tools and techniques simply aren’t good enough.

Lastly, the customer has transformed into an always-connected, mobile—and much, much pickier—shopper. The customer has the ability to know and choose like never before. Good enough for the new customer is also a moving target that will certainly be not good enough at a point in the not-too-distant future.

What Can You Do About It?

When good enough is such a moving target, maybe the term itself needs to be tossed out in favor of something that better defines the marketer’s needs. But what, exactly, does the marketer need? Today’s marketer needs to tool up with technology that goes beyond the needs of right now. Choices need to reflect that we don’t know what’s coming, but we can be sure that things will evolve to become more digital, faster, more predictive—and that customers will expect a better experience than we can even imagine right now.

Hear more in the webinar, Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

Mobile Is More Than a Channel—It’s a Lifestyle

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

When it comes to marketing, mobile is too often considered a channel—one of several ways to reach the buying public. In reality, mobile is far more than one of many pathways to and from the consumer. Mobile is, in fact, a world apart from Web, in-store and kiosk. It’s not only a channel for purchase, but also a pathway to a brick-and-mortar store or website, and it’s certainly a channel for engagement. Are you treating mobile as the nuanced channel that it truly is?

Taking Advantage of Mobile’s Differences

The differences matter and here’s a breakout of each:

Mobile for purchases - Purchases on mobile have been the long-sought-after goal of many retailers, but are a challenge in the real world. Small screens and being on the go aren’t the best circumstances for getting consumers to buy. We love rich visuals (bigger screens or being there live) when we make our decisions.

Mobile as a pathway to other channels – Consumers are easily encouraged to head for the website or the store by communication on a mobile device. Quick research and location-based searches are mobile’s stock in trade. Notifications of special deals and location-specific events are also ideally suited for mobile, where the goal is to intercept the consumer and steer them to the best places for purchases to occur.

Mobile as a channel for engagement – Engagement is highly contextual, which makes mobile the ultimate channel—it travels with us, sharing the context of our lives. Consumers who are engaged with a brand through a mobile channel are more likely to share the context that makes engagement more relevant and allows for brand advocacy in the perfect moments, like being with friends and family.

A Bigger Mobile Opportunity

These factors, when used together, make mobile a bigger opportunity for those who recognize its subtleties. Capturing the value of mobile’s differences involves understanding the user’s individual motivations and varieties in paths to purchase. This is a modeling exercise of its own, not unlike the way other propensities are discovered, modeled, and executed in real time. Brand awareness, engagement, loyalty, advocacy, and creating a path to other channels are all valid outcomes of a great mobile strategy.

Learn more in our webinar: Success with Mobile Loyalty.

The World Cup Reminds Us That Marketers Are Architects of Passion

Watching the World Cup 2014 in Brazil is an excellent reminder of the power of passion and the role of marketing. World Cup passion is found on the football pitch, in amazing quantity in the stands and streets of Rio, and in pubs and offices around the world. It would be safe to say that the tournament has become synonymous with passion, excitement, and shared experience.

The Roots of Passion

In the World Cup, passion comes from players and fans putting all of their energy into something bigger than themselves. For a short period, footballer players aren’t free agents taking in millions—instead, they are playing for their countries. None of the passion of the World Cup is accidental, and there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into whipping it up and serving it. This is no different than what happens between a strong brand and its most passionate customers. Today’s marketer needs to be an architect of passion.

Passion Defines

For consumers, passion drives nearly everything they do—what to eat, what to wear, and how and where to spend their time. Connecting with that passion involves making the brand a part of how consumers define themselves and live their lives. Tapping into it requires a different flavor for different products and services, but here are common ways to foster and benefit from consumer passion:

  • Create a strong, omni-channel loyalty program that ‘returns the favor’ for your customers’ business.
  • Give your customers an outlet for expressing their passion that includes social media.
  • Capture the context of your customer’s buying moments, and serve the most relevant interaction possible.
  • Find ways to surprise and delight your best customers and draw them even closer to your brand.
Fire up your customers by stoking their passion, and turn them into fans! For more ideas on how, download our whitepaper, Marketing Transformed: Big Data Sciences and the Revolution of Customer Engagement and Loyalty.

Using Nudges, Influence, and Rewards For Marketing Success

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Success in customer loyalty marketing doesn’t arrive from just a single contact with a customer or even from a single approach to interaction. Customers are growing more savvy every day; their expectations are shifting. Marketers need to know and take advantage of the many different factors that will draw in and delight, and—most importantly—the factors that will increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Nudges, Influences, and Rewards

Customer loyalty marketing is all about working to make a brand top of mind, the first place customers thinks of for spending their money. Success comes from using a series of well-timed and relevant nudges, finding places and channels of influence and creating rewards that drive customer spending behaviors.

There are key things to know before you can expect to find success,  including:

  • Critical pieces of program setup
  • Investing in the right places
  • Generating customer insights
  • Building your context platform
  • Increasing meaningful frequency
  • Effecting racking and monitoring

Join me for a webinar with TIBCO Loyalty Lab’s Michael Greenberg as he takes us through the critical factors best correlated with success in customer loyalty marketing. Greenberg is an expert at laying out the latest successful approaches to customer loyalty marketing and has extensive experience with top international retail brands. I hope to see you there. Register here.

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.

Customer Experience Hinges on What You Know and When You Know It

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Today’s marketers needs to be focused intently on all of the data that can be gathered about their customers. This modern reality means that data’s two dimensions—”what we know” and “when we know it”—take on a completely new and higher level of importance. This is exactly why CRM falls short when it comes to capturing interaction with the customer in a way that tracks and improves the relationship.

Marketing Is About the Context

The limited data model of traditional CRM systems lacks the context required to engage customers in the best ways possible. That’s because the data available to marketers today isn’t simply historical interaction like transactions. With the data generated by mobile, Web, social and location technology, we can have the context of the customer’s current moment, where decisions are being made, enriched by the over-the-shoulder information from systems like CRM.

Managing Data’s Two Dimensions

This data coming from all directions presents an enormous opportunity for marketers to know more and to know it much more quickly than ever before. Excellent management of data’s “what” and “when” dimensions makes customer engagement a carefully analyzed, modeled, and orchestrated event, instead of an unwanted intrusion. It has relevance and value rather than being noisy and ignored.

Order In Data Chaos

If you’ve ever been to an air show, you know that the planes involved appear to be on the edge of chaos as they make high-speed passes and other stunts. Marketing data today is the same carefully orchestrated but high-speed exercise that we see in the sky. As marketers expand what they know and shorten the time to know it, the customer feels a seamless and immediate experience with the brand. With the right technology, interacting in the “now” moment, despite the noise, looks elegant and easy. Most importantly, brands know what to expect in real time and what will likely happen next.

To learn more, visit www.loyalylab.com/expertise

Location Tells You So Much More Than Where I Am Right Now

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Location is an incredibly hot segment of loyalty marketing for a couple of factors. For one, we’ve come a long way from using cell-based and GPS-based services. Today we have location-based services through products like Apple iBeacon, PayPal Beacon, and Estimote Beacon, which all allow users to benefit from receiving micro-location information associated with products and offers. These sensors, attached to physical locations, also allow brands to know where their customers travel within their stores, suddenly making physical location as precise as website tracking.

Loyalty Marketing Consistency

This has a remarkable effect—the store now supplies data in the same way as online interaction and makes loyalty marketing more effective across all channels. In-store information that is gathered is key to having contextual conversations in the moment, but also serves for analytics purposes in designing better ways to merchandise and interact in consistent ways—whether on a computer, a mobile device, or in person. For loyalty marketing, this is data nirvana: I can serve each and every customer, no matter where they are, based on their history and value to the brand.

Location-Based Simplification

Even more powerful, location-based services include the ability to confirm identity for purchases, meaning anything bought online can be picked up quickly and painlessly in a physical location. Order ahead and beat the lines, or act as your own cashier. Know if something is in stock in your size without having to ask and wait. Even serve as your own sales assistant as loyalty to a brand allows for past purchases, shopping cart abandonments, and other indications of interest to be analyzed and then superimposed on recommendations and offers for today’s purchases. This is shopping without the hassle and with remarkable context.

Each one of these behaviors is an incentive for consumers to share more information with a brand and to become more loyal in the process.

The Tricky Part

The tricky part is no longer the technology—we have that and it works. The challenge is to have the tools and techniques within the brand to make smart use of information at our fingertips and in the timeframes that matter for business. It takes a loyalty platform that manages any and all context, integrated with the data that drives powerful analytics.

To learn more, visit www.loyaltylab.com/expertise

What It Takes to Become a Digital Business

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Business and technology are on a collision course that changes nearly every aspect of the organization. The term being thrown around to describe this is “digital business,” where mobile, analytics, social, and cloud are being married up to legacy systems like CRM, supply chain, inventory, and others so that data—sometimes called big data—has uninterrupted pathways to people, and vice versa.

Right Person, Right Time, Right Context 

This is what defines the new way work is being done—the ability for information to be available to the right person, at the right time, and in the right context. For a marketer, this is having fingertip access to all of the data that defines the customer, the organization’s ability to deliver products and services, and what’s happening at the interfaces in the current moment.

That’s not a description of the latest cloud app or a report being generated by traditional business intelligence tools. It is much, much more and involves bringing data together from across legacy systems and the latest technologies for social, mobile, and visual analytics.

Why a Digital Business?

A digital business has the ability to move and use the data that drives their business in new ways, whenever necessary. A digital business can disrupt itself time and time again because they can change product and customer attributes as necessary and create new combinations that form business ecosystems. A new channel, product, or customer pattern is no problem for a business that defines itself and its operations digitally.

Fundamentally, a digital business is flexible to change as the world changes; this is the secret to being the disruptor and not the disrupted. It is the only way businesses will survive into the future. What does it take? Leadership commitment and an ability to integrate legacy systems with the best and latest technologies.

To learn more, visit www.loyaltylab.com/expertise.

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.

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.”