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.”

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

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.

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.

Simply Spending More Won’t Improve Your Marketing

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

For most organizations, the digital marketing budget is growing at a rate far greater than traditional technology spend, or even revenue. This represents an acknowledgement that consumer buying activities are migrating to digital channels at a faster rate than anyone expected even a short time ago. Organizations recognize the need to do something differently.

But just spending more isn’t necessarily the way to achieve success in the new marketplace. Simply putting more dollars into digital channels won’t create greater customer engagement and will in fact just add to the noise of an already noisy marketplace.

Characteristic, Context and Channel

Marketing today is less about broad-based spending and more about understanding the characteristics of the customer, the context of the moment of engagement, and the preferred channel for communicating. These are the three elements that matter more than budgetary spend and have a better shot at increasing engagement and spend.

Make Investments in Marketing Technology

The wise way to spend on marketing activities involves investment in technology and techniques that allow an organization to hit all three requirements:

Characteristics of the customer are directly tied to knowing the customer’s history and personal information. This is something a loyalty platform is exceptionally good at managing.

The context of the moment of engagement involves knowing as much about the circumstances of the customer’s interaction as possible. Is the customer online or in the store? What is their recency with the brand? Again, a loyalty platform is the technology that makes this happen.

The channel for communicating not only depends on personal preference, but the moment as well. A text may be welcome at the point-of-sale, but an email may be the preferred channel when a customer isn’t on the website or in the store. Keeping track of communication channels is best done through—you guessed it—a loyalty platform.

The changes happening rapidly in marketing are more than just a chance for a brand to spend more…they are a perfect opportunity to rethink the way a brand interacts with the customer. They are a chance to invest in a loyalty platform that can make the most of the marketing budget.

Learn more about how characteristics, context, and channel are used to engage customers at the right time in this whitepaper.

2014: Five Powerful Trends in Marketing

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The new year is an opportunity for a torrent of predictions of what will happen in the days to come. There’s no shortage of opinions, but most look a lot more like trends than solid prognostications. That’s because trends are easier to get in front of than predictions that may or may not come true.

I like the idea of trends because spotting them early offers a chance to move more quickly than a competitor. With that in mind, here are the trends you can capitalize on in 2014:

  • Most customer data will go unused, even as marketers work to increase relevance and engage more with customers. IDC predicts this number to be as high as 80% and bases that on “immature enterprise data ‘value chains.’” The lack of maturity in managing data is very common and costly to the brand that wants to build brand awareness, increase sales, and create customer loyalty.
  • Despite the immaturity of the data value chain, marketing will become even more data-driven, requiring integration of data silos within marketing applications as well as across the enterprise information technology landscape. Managing marketing data effectively will involve the use of platforms that have integration capabilities built in. As reported in Forbes, “Tearing down silos isn’t easy.” It will take a strategy and cooperation with other parts of the organization, especially IT.
  • Analytics will be a highly sought-after skill on the CMO’s team. Data discovery, developing hypothesis, and test and learn approaches will become crucial to compete with a broad array of brands gradually increasing their data management capabilities. CMO’s will actively recruit analytics talent and will increasingly look for marketing platforms with business-friendly analytics in the mix.
  • Data sources will continue to increase. Even more smartphones, more tablets, and the Internet of Things means brands will increasingly be able to directly find consumers and deliver highly relevant, situational, and personalized messages. This is the very near-term future for customer engagement management.
  • Loyalty will be the increasingly important target of engaging customers. The high cost of customer acquisition, and the trend toward analytics and data-driven marketing, make loyalty an over-arching trend of marketing for 2014.

As with any trend, you have the option of waiting it out and seeing how the marketplace develops. For these trends, however, smart marketers realize the importance of staying ahead.