Category Archives: CMO
On Saturday, I got a call from my broadband company on my mobile phone. The sales rep pitched a great limited-time offer for new customers. I asked him whether I could take advantage of this great offer as well, even though I am an existing customer. He was surprised. “Oh, you’re an existing customer,” he said, dismissively. “No, this offer doesn’t apply to you. It’s for new customers only. Sorry.” You can imagine my annoyance.
If this company had built a solid foundation of customer data, the sales rep would have had a customer profile rich with clean, consistent, and connected information as reference. If he had visibility into my total customer relationship with his company, he’d know that I’m a loyal customer with two current service subscriptions. He’d know that my husband and I have been customers for 10 years at our current address. On top of that, he’d know we both subscribed to their services while live at separate addresses before we were married.
Unfortunately, his company didn’t arm him with the great customer data he needs to be successful. If they had, he could have taken the opportunity to offer me one of the four services I currently don’t subscribe to—or even a bundle of services. And I could have shared a very different customer experience.
Every customer interaction counts
Executives at companies of all sizes talk about being customer-centric, but it’s difficult to execute on that vision if you don’t manage your customer data like a strategic asset. If delivering seamless, integrated, and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points is one of your top priorities, every customer interaction counts. But without knowing exactly who your customers are, you cannot begin to deliver the types of experiences that retain existing customers, grow customer relationships and spend, and attract new customers.
How would you rate your current ability to identify your customers across lines of business, channels and touch points?
Many businesses, however, have anything but an integrated and connected customer-centric view—they have a siloed and fragmented channel-centric view. In fact, sales, marketing, and call center teams often identify siloed and fragmented customer data as key obstacles preventing them from delivering great customer experiences.
According to Retail Systems Research, creating a consistent customer experience remains the most valued capability for retailers, but 55 % of those surveyed indicated their biggest inhibitor was not having a single view of the customer across channels.
Retailers are not alone. An SVP of marketing at a mortgage company admitted in an Argyle CMO Journal article that, now that his team needs to deliver consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points, they realize they are not as customer-centric as they thought they were.
Customer complexity knows no bounds
The fact is, businesses are complicated, with customer information fragmented across divisions, business units, channels, and functions.
Citrix, for instance, is bringing together valuable customer information from 4 systems. At Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, it’s about 25 systems. At MetLife, it’s 70 systems.
How many applications and systems would you estimate contain valuable customer information at your company?
Based on our experience working with customers across many industries, we know the total customer relationship allows:
- Marketing to boost response rates by better segmenting their database of contacts for personalized marketing offers.
- Sales to more efficiently and effectively cross-sell and up-sell the most relevant offers.
- Customer service teams to resolve customers’ issues immediately, instead of placing them on hold to hunt for information in a separate system.
If your marketing, sales, and customer service teams are struggling with inaccurate, inconsistent, and disconnected customer information, it is costing your company revenue, growth, and success.
Transforming customer data into total customer relationships
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution fuels business and analytical applications with clean, consistent and connected customer information, giving your marketing, sales, e-commerce and call center teams access to that elusive total customer relationship. It not only brings all the pieces of fragmented customer information together in one place where it’s centrally managed on an ongoing basis, but also:
- Reconciles customer data: Your customer information should be the same across systems, but often isn’t. Assess its accuracy, fixing and completing it as needed—for instance, in my case merging duplicate profiles under “Jakki” and “Jacqueline.”
- Reveals valuable relationships between customers: Map critical connections—Are individuals members of the same household or influencer network? Are two companies part of the same corporate hierarchy? Even link customers to personal shoppers or insurance brokers or to sales people or channel partners.
- Tracks thorough customer histories: Identify customers’ preferred locations; channels, such as stores, e-commerce, and catalogs; or channel partners.
- Validates contact information: Ensure email addresses, phone numbers, and physical addresses are complete and accurate so invoices, offers, or messages actually reach customers.
This is just the beginning. From here, imagine enriching your customer profiles with third-party data. What types of information help you better understand, sell to, and serve your customers? What are your plans for incorporating social media insights into your customer profiles? What could you do with this additional customer information that you can’t do today?
We’ve helped hundreds of companies across numerous industries build a total customer relationship view. Merrill Lynch boosted marketing campaign effectiveness by 30 percent. Citrix boosted conversion rates by 20%. A $60 billion global manufacturer improved cross-sell and up-sell success by 5%. A hospitality company boosted cross-sell and up-sell success by 60%. And Logitech increased sales across channels, including their online site, retail stores, and distributors.
Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution empowers your people with confidence, knowing that they have access to the kind of great customer data that allows them to surpass customer acquisition and retention goals by providing consistent, integrated, and seamless customer experiences across channels. The end result? Great experiences that customers are inspired to share with their family and friends at dinner parties and on social media.
Do you have a terrible customer experience or great customer experience to share? If so, please share them with us and readers using the Comment option below.
I found a truly cringe-worthy article today that shows what popular websites looked like more than a decade ago and what they look like today. Looking back to what was cutting-edge in 1996, or even 2006, is as bad as fingernails on a chalkboard compared to the modern homepages of popular sites today.
These websites are still well-used today, staying with the times and leading the way we design digital experiences. The key was change over many years of research and understanding of user experience. These sites stay modern, adapting to different web-enabled devices and experiences that the end user will encounter. Common among them are beautiful imagery, clear calls to action, and a sophisticated understanding of what people want on a homepage.
Can you imagine if any of those sites had stayed the same and never changed? We would not be using them today if that were the case. Their popularity would wane. Change is never easy, but it is usually necessary to stay relevant.
Web designers in 1996 could not imagine what the internet would be like in 2015, although they would probably agree there was a lot of potential. A modern equivalent is the implications of big data throughout the enterprise.
Data-driven marketers today are wondering how they can gain insight from big data. The answer? The ability to change is the connection between big data and insight. Data-driven marketers today know that their roles are changing: 68% of marketers think that marketing has seen more changes in the last two years than it has in the past 50 years, according to a recent survey. The changes are due to a renewed focus on customer experience within their jobs, and the need to use big data to improve that experience.
Big data should drive insights that change businesses, but is the real reason marketers aren’t sure about how to use big data tied to the change that it requires? Leading change in an organization is never easy, but it is definitely necessary.
What insights do you want from big data, and what value can you derive from them? If your reason for using big data is customer behavior insights, how will knowing how a customer behaves influence any changes in your approach?
The National Retail Federation recently reported that retailers say these are the three top reasons for using big data in a survey:
- Analyzing customer behavior (56 percent)
- Bringing together different data sources (49 percent)
- Improving personalization (48 percent)
What are your reasons for using big data?
Data-driven marketers can drown in too much information if they look at massive datasets without a question in mind that they want to answer. The question being asked often implies that a business must change to stay modern and relevant to its customers. Could concern over a need for great change be the roadblock to data-driven marketers who could be using data for valuable insights?
Big data has gotten a lot of buzz in the last few years. Data-driven marketers can move the big data concept from fuzzy, unrealized potential to a major part of how their business operates successfully.
Learn more in this white paper for marketers, The Secret to a Successful Customer Journey.
I recently got to meet with a very enlightened insurance company which was actively turning their SWOTT analysis (with the second T being trends) into concrete action. They shared with me that they view their go forward “right to win” being determined by the quality of customer experience they deliver to customers through their traditional channels and increasingly through “digital channels”. One marketing leader joked early on that “it’s no longer about the money; it is about the experience”. The marketing and business leaders that I met with made it extremely clear that they have a sense of urgency to respond to what it saw as significant market changes on the horizon. What this company wanted to achieve was a single view of customer across each of its distribution channel as well as their agent population. Typical of many businesses today, they had determined that they needed an automated, holistic view into things like its customer history. Smartly, this business wanted to put together its existing customer data with its customer leads.
Using Data to Accelerate the Percentage Customers that are Cross Sold
Taking this step was seen as allowing them to understand when an existing customer is also a lead for another product. With this knowledge, they wanted to provide them with special offers to accelerate their conversion from lead to being a customer with more than one product. What they wanted to do here reminded me of the capabilities of 58.com, eBay, and other Internet pure plays. The reason for doing this well was described recently by Gartner. Gartner suggests that increasing business success is determined by what they call “business moments”. Without a first rate experience that builds upon what this insurance company already knows about its customers, this insurance company worries it could be increasing at risk by Internet pure plays. As important, like many businesses, the degree of cross sell is for many businesses a major determinant of whether a customer is profitable or not.
Getting Customer Data Right is Key to Developing a Winning Digital Experience
To drive a first rate digital experience, this insurance company wanted to apply advanced analytics to a single view of customer and prospect data. This would allow them to do things like conduct nearest neighbor predictive analysis and modeling. In this form of analysis, “the goal is to predict whether a new customer will respond to an offer based on how other similar customers have responded” (Data Science for Business, Foster Provost, O’Reilly, 2013, page 147).
What has limiting this business like so many others is that their customer data is scattered across many enterprise systems. For just for one division, they have more than one Salesforce instance. Yet this company’s marketing team knew to keep its customers, it needed to be able to service them omnichannel and establish a single unified customer experience. To make this happen, they needed to for the first to share holistic customer information across their ecosystems. At the same time, they knew that they would needed to protect their customer’s privacy—i.e. only certain people would be able to see certain information. They wanted by role that the ability to selective mask data and protect their customer in particular consumers by only allowing certain users in defense parlance, with a need to know, to see a subset of the holistic set of information collected. When asked about the need for a single view of customer, the digital marketing folks openly shared that they perceived the potential for external digital market entrants—ala Porter’s five forces of competition. This firm saw them either as taking market share from them or effectively disintermediating them over time them from their customers as more and more customers move their insurance purchasing of Insurance to the Web. Given the risk, their competitive advantage needed to move to knowing better their customer and being able to respond better to them on the web. This clearly included new customers that are trying to win in the language of Theodore Levitt.
Competing on Customer Experience
In sum, this insurance company smartly felt that they needed to compete on customer experience to pull out a new phrase for me and this required superior knowledge of existing and new customers. This means they needed as complete and correct view of customers as possible including addresses, connection preferences, and increasingly social media responses. This means competitively responding directly to those that have honed their skills in web design, social presence, and advanced analytics. To do this, they will create predictive capabilities that will make use of their superior customer data. Clearly, without this prescience of thinking, this moment will not be like the strategic collision of Starbucks and Fast Food Vendors where the desire to grow forced competition between the existing player and new entrants wanting to claim a portion of the existing market player’s business.
Blogs and Articles
On our recent webinar with Omer Minkara from Aberdeen Group , we learnt that“94% of companies are not satisfied with their use of customer data”, yet retailers still want more data to gain valuable customer insights to drive improvements in the shopper experience. But the top challenge they face when managing customer data as part of their business activities is the quality of the data. Data-Driven retailers are characterized by their ability to balance quantity and quality of data effectively.
Shoppers expect consistency in their interactions with you, whether it’s the same price across channels, accurate shipping information or when they are calling a contact center. However, one of the top frustrations for consumers is the need to provide the same information over and over as they interact with the retailer. This data is already captured in multiple systems but is not connected or clean. Fragmented views of customer data across multiple systems makes it harder to personalize shopper interaction and enhance the overall customer experience.
Bring your data management to today’s omni-channel world
By standardizing customer data across the organization and having a centralized repository of product and service information available to all customer facing roles, data- driven retailers have enjoyed increased margins, higher returns on marketing investments, shorter delivery times and improved time to market for products and services.
Data-driven retailers are not just meeting customer expectations, they are exceeding them.
In my next blog I will look at some of the questions we did not get to answer during this session. In the meantime, why not register for our next webinar “Calculating Omni-Channel Customer Experience – March 19 Webinar” with Arkady Kleyner, Solution Architect, Intricity.
Don’t to follow us on twitter @INFARetail.
With a total B2C e-commerce turnover of $567.3bn in 2013, Asia-Pacific was the strongest e-commerce region in the world in 2013, as it surpassed Europe ($482.3bn) and North America ($452.4bn). Online sales in Asia-Pacific expected to have reached $799.2 billion in 2014, due to latest report from the Ecommerce Foundation.
Revenue: China, followed by Japan and Australia
As a matter of fact, China was the second-largest e-commerce market in the world, only behind the US ($419.0 billion), and for 2014 it is estimated that China even surpassed the US ($537.0 billion vs. $456.0 billion). In terms of B2C e-commerce turnover, Japan ($136.7 billion) ranked second, followed by Australia ($35.7 billion), South Korea ($20.2 billion) and India ($10.7 billion).
On average, Asian-Pacific e-shoppers spent $1,268 online in 2013
Ecommerce Europe’s research reveals that 235.7 million consumers in Asia-Pacific purchased goods and services online in 2013. On average, APAC online consumers each spent $1,268 online in 2013. This is slightly lower than the global average of $1,304. At $2,167, Australian e-shopper were the biggest spenders online, followed by the Japanese ($1,808) and China ($1,087).
Mobile: Japan and Australia lead the pack
In the frequency of mobile purchasing Japan shows the highest adoption, followed by Japan. An interesting fact is that 50% of transactions are done at home, 20% at work and 10% on the go.
Valentine’s Day is such a strange holiday. It always seems to bring up more questions than answers. And the internet always seems to have a quiz to find out the answer! There’s the “Does he have a crush on you too – 10 simple ways to find out” quiz. There’s the “What special gift should I get her this Valentine’s Day?” quiz. And the ever popular “Why am I still single on Valentine’s Day?” quiz.
Well Marketers, it’s your lucky Valentine’s Day! We have a quiz for you too! It’s about your relationship with data. Where do you stand? Are you ready to take the next step?
Question 1: Do you connect – I mean, really connect – with your data?
□ (A) Not really. We just can’t seem to get it together and really connect.
□ (B) Sometimes. We connect on some levels, but there are big gaps.
□ (C) Most of the time. We usually connect, but we miss out on some things.
□ (D) We are a perfect match! We connect about everything, no matter where, no matter when.
Translation: Data ready marketers have access to the best possible data, no matter what form it is in, no matter what system it is in. They are able to make decisions based everything the entire organization “knows” about their customer/partner/product – with a complete 360 degree view. And they are also able to connect to and integrate with data outside the bounds of their organization to achieve the sought-after 720 degree view. They can integrate and react to social media comments, trends, and feedback – in real time – and to match it with an existing record whenever possible. And they can quickly and easily bring together any third party data sources they may need.
Question 2: How good looking & clean is you data?
□ (A) Yikes, not very. But it’s what’s on the inside that counts right?
□ (B) It’s ok. We’ve both let ourselves go a bit.
□ (C) It’s pretty cute. Not supermodel hot, but definitely girl or boy next door cute.
□ (D) My data is HOT! It’s perfect in every way!
Translation: Marketers need data that is reliable and clean. According to a recent Experian study, American companies believe that 25% of their data is inaccurate, the rest of the world isn’t much more confident. 90% of respondents said they suffer from common data errors, and 78% have problems with the quality of the data they gather from disparate channels. Making marketing decisions based upon data that is inaccurate leads to poor decisions. And what’s worse, many marketers have no idea how good or bad their data is, so they have no idea what impact it is having on their marketing programs and analysis. The data ready marketer understands this and has a top tier data quality solution in place to make sure their data is in the best shape possible.
Question 3: Do you feel safe when you’re with your data?
□ (A) No, my data is pretty scary. 911 is on speed dial.
□ (B) I’m not sure actually. I think so?
□ (C) My date is mostly safe, but it’s got a little “bad boy” or “bad girl” streak.
□ (D) I protect my data, and it protects me back. We keep each other safe and secure.
Translation: Marketers need to be able to trust the quality of their data, but they also need to trust the security of their data. Is it protected or is it susceptible to theft and nefarious attacks like the ones that have been all over the news lately? Nothing keeps a CMO and their PR team up at night like worrying they are going to be the next brand on the cover of a magazine for losing millions of personal customer records. But beyond a high profile data breach, marketers need to be concerned over data privacy. Are you treating customer data in the way that is expected and demanded? Are you using protected data in your marketing practices that you really shouldn’t be? Are you marketing to people on excluded lists
Question 4: Is your data adventurous and well-traveled, or is it more of a “home-body”?
□ (A) My data is all over the place and it’s impossible to find.
□ (B) My data is all in one place. I know we’re missing out on fun and exciting options, but it’s just easier this way.
□ (C) My data is in a few places and I keep fairly good tabs on it. We can find each other when we need to, but it takes some effort.
□ (D) My data is everywhere, but I have complete faith that I can get ahold of any source I might need, when and where I need it.
Translation: Marketing data is everywhere. Your marketing data warehouse, your CRM system, your marketing automation system. It’s throughout your organization in finance, customer support, and sale systems. It’s in third party systems like social media and data aggregators. That means it’s in the cloud, it’s on premise, and everywhere in between. Marketers need to be able to get to and integrate data no matter where it “lives”.
Question 5: Does your data take forever to get ready when it’s time to go do so something together?
□ (A) It takes forever to prepare my data for each new outing. It’s definitely not “ready to go”.
□ (B) My data takes it’s time to get ready, but it’s worth the wait… usually!
□ (C) My data is fairly quick to get ready, but it does take a little time and effort.
□ (D) My data is always ready to go, whenever we need to go somewhere or do something.
Translation: One of the reasons many marketers end up in marketing is because it is fast paced and every day is different. Nothing is the same from day-to-day, so you need to be ready to act at a moment’s notice, and change course on a dime. Data ready marketers have a foundation of great data that they can point at any given problem, at any given time, without a lot of work to prepare it. If it is taking you weeks or even days to pull data together to analyze something new or test out a new hunch, it’s too late – your competitors have already done it!
Question 6: Can you believe the stories your data is telling you?
□ (A) My data is wrong a lot. It stretches the truth a lot, and I cannot rely on it.
□ (B) I really don’t know. I question these stories – dare I say excused – but haven’t been able to prove it one way or the other.
□ (C) I believe what my data says most of the time. It rarely lets me down.
□ (D) My data is very trustworthy. I believe it implicitly because we’ve earned each other’s trust.
Translation: If your data is dirty, inaccurate, and/or incomplete, it is essentially “lying” to you. And if you cannot get to all of the data sources you need, your data is telling you “white lies”! All of the work you’re putting into analysis and optimization is based on questionable data, and is giving you questionable results. Data ready marketers understand this and ensure their data is clean, safe, and connected at all times.
Question 7: Does your data help you around the house with your daily chores?
□ (A) My data just sits around on the couch watching TV.
□ (B) When I nag my data will help out occasionally.
□ (C) My data is pretty good about helping out. It doesn’t take imitative, but it helps out whenever I ask.
□ (D) My data is amazing. It helps out whenever it can, however it can, even without being asked.
Translation: Your marketing data can do so much. It should enable you be “customer ready” – helping you to understand everything there is to know about your customers so you can design amazing personalized campaigns that speak directly to them. It should enable you to be “decision ready” – powering your analytics capabilities with great data so you can make great decisions and optimize your processes. But it should also enable you to be “showcase ready” – giving you the proof points to demonstrate marketing’s actual impact on the bottom line.
Now for the fun part… It’s time to rate your data relationship status
If you answered mostly (A): You have a rocky relationship with your data. You may need some data counseling!
If you answered mostly (B): It’s time to decide if you want this data relationship to work. There’s hope, but you’ve got some work to do.
If you answered mostly (C): You and your data are at the beginning of a beautiful love affair. Keep working at it because you’re getting close!
If you answered mostly (D): Congratulations, you have a strong data marriage that is based on clean, safe, and connected data. You are making great business decisions because you are a data ready marketer!
Do You Love Your Data?
No matter what your data relationship status, we’d love to hear from you. Please take our survey about your use of data and technology. The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part. https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DataMktg
Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer – for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing. And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!
I absolutely love football, so when the Super Bowl came to our hometown Phoenix, it was my paradise! Football on every.single.channel. Current and former NFL players were everywhere – I ate breakfast next to Howie Long and pumped gas next to Tony Romo. ESPN & NFL Network analysts were commentating from blocks away. Even our downtown was transformed into a giant celebration of football.
People often talk about the “Super Bowl of Marketing”, referring to the advertising extravaganza and the millions of dollars spent on hilarious (and sometimes not) commercials. But spending so much time immersed in the Super Bowl festivities got me thinking about one of my other fascinations… data! It was the Super Bowl of data too!
On Sunday morning, before the big game (of the Superb Owl as Stephen Colbert would say), I got to witness first-hand the data-driven marketing potential at the NFL Experience in Downtown Phoenix. The NFL did an amazing job putting on this event – it was truly exceptional with something for everyone.
Once we purchased our tickets, we decided to take the kids to do some Play 60 activities. Before they could participate, we were shuttled to a bank of computers to “get a wristband” and to sign a waiver. I’m sure the lawyers made sure that everyone participating in anything physical wouldn’t sue the NFL or the sponsors if they got a hangnail or twisted ankle. But the data ready marketer in me realized that these wristbands were much more than a liability waiver. They were also a data treasure map!
To get the wristband, you had to provide the NFL (and their sponsors) with your demographic & contact information, your favorite teams, your children’s names and ages, and give them permission to contact you. You also received an emailed QR code that you could use to unlock certain activities throughout the Experience.
As we moved around the Experience, they scanned our wristband or QR code at each activity. So now the NFL knows that we have 3 children and their names and ages. They now know our two youngest love to play football (because they participated in a flag football Play 60 clinic). They now know that we are huge Denver Bronco fans and purchased a few new jerseys of our favorite players at their shop (where they again scanned our QR code for a small discount). They now know we use AT&T wireless and our phone numbers. They know that our boys really want to improve the speed of their throws because they went through the Peyton Manning Nationwide arm speed and throw accuracy activity five different times… and that nobody ever got over 35MPH. And they also now know that none of us will ever become great kickers because we all seriously shanked our field goal tries! And we happily gave them all our data because they provided us with a meaningful service – a really fun, family experience.
Even better for them, for the first time, I actually logged into the NFL Mobile app and turned on location permissions so that I could get real time alerts to what was going on in the area. Since I use the app all time, that’s a lot of future data that I’ve now given them.
GMC sponsored the Experience and had a huge space in the main area to show off their new car lineup, and they definitely took full advantage of the data provided. They held a car giveaway that required you to scan your NFL QR code to start the process, and then answer several questions about your vehicle likes and future purchase plans. You then had to go around to your favorite three vehicles and answer questions about their amazing features (D all of the above was the answer of course!). After you visited your favorite vehicles, you took your QR code back to see if you won. My 13 year old was hopeful that we were going to win him a new Denali, but sadly, we did not! And sadly for him, had we been fortunate enough to win, he wouldn’t be driving it anyway!
I waited a few days to write this blog because I was hopeful that I would receive some sort of personalized experience from the NFL that would blow my socks off. I’m not sure what technology the NFL & GMC marketing teams use, and if they are data ready. If they were though, I would have hoped they already would have engaged me with a personalized experience based on the data I have given them.
GMC has sent me a few emails, one with a photo that was taken green-screen style of my kids. And yes, I’ve downloaded it and have a photo of them with the GMC logo loud and proud on my desktop.
But other than that, nothing very exciting as of yet, and definitely nothing innovative or engaging yet. But I truly hope that the NFL & GMC use this data to provide me with a better, personalized experience. Isn’t that why our consumers freely offer their information? To receive something of value back.
Here are a few ideas for you NFL:
- Special discounts on Denver Broncos apparel
- Alert from the NFL ticket exchange the next time the Broncos play the Cardinals in Arizona, and 5 tickets become available
- Information about how to sign up for NFL kids clinics
- Sorry GMC, I’m not quite sure what to suggest because we just bought a new Toyota a few months ago (but you know that I’m not in the market for a new car right now because I gave you that information too).
Thank you for a really wonderful experience NFL & GMC! In this age of data-driven personalization, I am anxiously awaiting your next move! Now, are you ready for some football (sorry couldn’t resist!)? But in all seriousness, are you ready to reach your data-driven marketing potential.
Will this be the beginning of the Super Bowl of Data Ready Marketing! As an NFL fan and consumer, I know I’m ready!
Are you ready? Please tell us in our survey about data ready marketing. The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part. You can find the link here.
Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer (@StephanieABest) for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing.
And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!
You Say Big Dayta, I say Big Dahta
Some say Big Data is a great challenge while others say Big Data creates new opportunities. Where do you stand? For most companies concerned with their Big Data challenges, it shouldn’t be so difficult – at least on paper. Computing costs (both hardware and software) have vastly shrunk. Databases and storage techniques have become more sophisticated and scale massively, and companies such as Informatica have made connecting and integrating all the “big” and disparate data sources much easier and have helped companies achieve a sort of “big data synchronicity”. As it is.
In the process of creating solutions to Big Data problems, humans (and the supra-species known as IT Sapiens) have a tendency to use theories based on linear thinking and the scientific method. There is data as our systems know it and data as our systems don’t. The reality, in my opinion, is that “Really Big Data” problems now and in the future will have complex correlations and unintuitive relationships that need to utilize mathematical disciplines, data models and algorithms that haven’t even been discovered or invented yet and when eventually discovered, will make current database science positively primordial.
At some point in the future, machines will be able to predict, based on big, perhaps unknown data types when someone is having a bad day or a good day, or more importantly whether a person may behave in a good or bad way. Many people do this now when they take a glance at someone across a room and infer how that person is feeling or what they will do next. They see eyes that are shiny or dull, crinkles around eyes or sides of mouths, then hear the “tone” in a voice and then their neurons put it altogether that this is a person that is having a bad day and needs a hug. Quickly. No one knows exactly how the human brain does this, but it does what it does and we go with it and we are usually right.
And some day, Big Data will be able to derive this and it will be an evolution point and it will also be a big business opportunity. Through bigger and better data ingestion and integration techniques and more sophisticated math and data models, a machine will do this fast and relatively speaking, cheaply. The vast majority won’t understand why or how it’s done, but it will work and it will be fairly accurate.
And my question to you all is this.
Do you see any other alternate scenarios regarding the future of big data? Is contextual computing an important evolution and will big data integration be more or less of a problem in the future.
PS. Oh yeah, one last thing to chew on concerning Big Data… If Big Data becomes big enough, does that spell the end of modelling as we know it?
How Do You Like It? How Do You Like It? More, More More!
Chiefmartec came out with their 2015 Marketing Technology Landscape, and if there’s one word that comes to mind, it’s MORE. 1,876 corporate logos dot the page, up from 947 in 2014. That’s definitely more, more, more – just about double to be exact. I’m honestly not sure it’s possible to squeeze any more in a single image?
But it’s strangely fitting, because this is the reality that we marketers live in. There are an infinite number of new technologies, approaches, social media platforms, operations tools, and vendors that we have to figure out. New, critical categories of technology roll out constantly. New vendors enter and exit the landscape. As Chiefmartec says “at least on the immediate horizon, I don’t think we’re going to see a dramatic shrinking of this landscape. The landscape will change, for sure. What qualifies as “marketing” and “technology” under the umbrella of marketing technology will undoubtedly morph. But if mere quantity is the metric we’re measuring, I think it’s going to be a world of 1,000+ marketing technology companies — perhaps even a world of 2,000+ of them — for some time to come.”
Middleware: I’m Coming Up So You’d Better Get This Party Started!
One thing you’ll notice if you look carefully between last year’s and this year’s version, is the arrival of the middleware layer. Chiefmartec spends quite a bit of time talking about middleware, pointing out that great tools in the category are making the marketing technology landscape easier to manage – particularly those that handle a hybrid of on premise and cloud.
Marketers have long since cared about the things on the top – the red “Marketing Experiences” and the orange “Marketing Operations”. They’ve also put a lot of focus in the dark gray/black/blue layer “Backbone Platforms” like marketing autionation & e-commerce. But only recently has that yellow middleware layer become front and center for marketers. Data integration, data management platforms, connectivity, data quality, and API’s are definitely not new to the technology landscape, and have been a critical domain of IT for decades. But as marketers are becoming more and more skilled and reliant on analytics and focused customer experience management, data is entering the forefront.
Marketers cannot focus exclusively on their Salesforce CRM, their Marketo automation, or their Adobe Experience Manager web management. Data Ready marketers realize that each of these applications can no longer be run in a silo, they need to be looked at collectively as a powerful set of tools designed to engage the customer and push them through the buying cycle, as critical pieces to the same puzzle. And to do that, they need to be looking at connecting their data sources, powering them with great data, analyzing and measuring their results, and then deciding what to do.
If you squint, you can see Informatica in the yellow Middleware layer. (I could argue that it belongs in several of these yellow boxes, not just Cloud integration, but I’ll save that for another blog!) Some might say that’s not very exciting, but I would argue that Informtaica is in a tremendous place to help marketers succeed with great data. And it all comes down to two words… complexity and change.
Why You Have to Go and Make Things So Complicated?
Ok, admittedly terrible grammar, but you get the picture. Marketers live in a trendounsly complex world. Sure you don’t have all 1,876 of the logos on the Technology Landscape in house. You probably don’t eve have one from each of the 43 categories. But you definitely have a lot of different tecnology solutions that you rely upon on a day-to-day basis. According to a September article by ChiefMarTech, most marketers already regularly rely on more than 100 software programs.
Data ready marketers realize that their environments are complicated, and that they need a foundation. They need a platform of great data that all of their various applications and tools can leverage, and that can actually connect all of their various applications and tools together. They need to be able to connect to just about anything from just about anything. They need a complete view of all of their interactions their customers. In short, they need to make their extremely complicated world more simple, streamlined, and complete.
Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes. Turn and Face the Strange!
I have a tendency to misunderstand lyrics, so I have to confess that until I looked up this song today, I thought the lyric was “time to face the pain” (Bowie fans, I hang my head in shame!). But quite honestly, “turn and face the strange” illustrates my point just as well!
There is no question that marketing has changed dramatically in the past few years. Your most critical marketing tools and processes two years ago are almost certainly different than those this year, and will almost certainly be different from what you see two years from now. Marketers realize this. The Marketing Technology Landscape illustrates this every year!
The data ready marketer understands that their toolbox will change, but that their data will be the foundation for whatever new piece of the technology puzzle they embrace or get rid of. Building a foundation of great data will power any technology solution or new approach.
Data ready marketers also work with their IT counterparts to engineer for change. They make sure that no matter what technology or data source they want to add – no matter how strange or unthinkable it is today – they never have to start from scratch. They can connect to what they want, when they want, leveraging great data, and ultimately making great decisions.
Get Ready ‘Cause Here I Come. The Era of the Data Ready Marketer is Here
Now that you have a few catchy tunes stuck in your head, it’s time to ask yourself, are you data ready? Are you ready to embrace the complexity of marketing technology landscape? Are you ready to think about change as a competitive weapon?
I encourage you to take our survey about data ready marketing. The results are coming out soon so don’t miss your chance to be a part. You can find the link here.
Also, follow me on twitter – The Data Ready Marketer (@StephanieABest) for some of the latest & greatest news and insights on the world of data ready marketing.
And stay tuned because we have several new Data Ready Marketing pieces coming out soon – InfoGraphics, eBooks, SlideShares, and more!
This blog post initially appeared on CMSwire.com and is reblogged here with their consent.
Friends of mine were remodeling their master bath. After searching for a claw foot tub in stores and online, they found the perfect one that fit their space. It was only available for purchase on the retailer’s e-commerce site, they bought it online.
When it arrived, the tub was too big. The dimensions online were incorrect. They went to return it to the closest store, but were told they couldn’t — because it was purchased online, they had to ship it back.
The retailer didn’t have a total customer relationship view or a single view of product information or inventory across channels and touch points. This left the customer representative working with a system that was a silo of limited information. She didn’t have access to a rich customer profile. She didn’t know that Joe and his wife spent almost $10,000 with the brand in the last year. She couldn’t see the products they bought online and in stores. Without this information, she couldn’t deliver a great customer experience.
It was a terrible customer experience. My friends share it with everyone who asks about their remodel. They name the retailer when they tell the story. And, they don’t shop there anymore. This terrible customer experience is negatively impacting the retailer’s revenue and brand reputation.
Bad customer experiences happen a lot. Companies in the US lose an estimated $83 billion each year due to defections and abandoned purchases as a direct result of a poor experience, according to a Datamonitor/Ovum report.
Customer Experience is the New Marketing
Gartner believes that by 2016, companies will compete primarily on the customer experiences they deliver. So who should own customer experience?
Twenty-five percent of CMOs say that their CEOs expect them to lead customer experience. What’s their definition of customer experience? “The practice of centralizing customer data in an effort to provide customers with the best possible interactions with every part of the company, from marketing to sales and even finance.”
Mercedes Benz USA President and CEO, Steve Cannon said, “Customer experience is the new marketing.”
The Gap Between Customer Expectations + Your Ability to Deliver
My previous post, 3 Barriers to Delivering Omnichannel Experiences, explained how omnichannel is all about seeing your business through the eyes of your customer. Customers don’t think in terms of channels and touch points, they just expect a seamless, integrated and consistent customer experience. It’s one brand to the customer. But there’s a gap between customer expectations and what most businesses can deliver today.
Most companies who sell through multiple channels operate in silos. They are channel-centric rather than customer-centric. This business model doesn’t empower employees to deliver seamless, integrated and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points. Different leaders manage each channel and are held accountable to their own P&L. In most cases, there’s no incentive for leaders to collaborate.
Old Navy’s CMO, Ivan Wicksteed got it right when he said,
“Seventy percent of searches for Old Navy are on a mobile device. Consumers look at the product online and often want to touch it in the store. The end goal is not to get them to buy in the store. The end goal is to get them to buy.”
The end goal is what incentives should be based on.
Executives at most organizations I’ve spoken with admit they are at the very beginning stages of their journey to becoming omnichannel retailers. They recognize that empowering employees with a total customer relationship view and a single view of product information and inventory across channels are critical success factors.
Becoming an omnichannel business is not an easy transition. It forces executives to rethink their definition of customer-centricity and whether their business model supports it. “Now that we need to deliver seamless, integrated and consistent customer experiences across channels and touch points, we realized we’re not as customer-centric as we thought we were,” admitted an SVP of marketing at a financial services company.
You Have to Transform Your Business
“We’re going through a transformation to empower our employees to deliver great customer experiences at every stage of the customer journey,” said Chris Brogan, SVP of Strategy and Analytics at Hyatt Hotels & Resorts. “Our competitive differentiation comes from knowing our customers better than our competitors. We manage our customer data like a strategic asset so we can use that information to serve customers better and build loyalty for our brand.”
Hyatt uses data integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) technology to connect the numerous applications that contain fragmented customer data including sales, marketing, e-commerce, customer service and finance. It brings the core customer profiles together into a single, trusted location, where they are continually managed. Now its customer profiles are clean, de-duplicated, enriched and validated. Members of a household as well as the connections between corporate hierarchies are now visible. Business and analytics applications are fueled with this clean, consistent and connected information so customer-facing teams can do their jobs more effectively.
When he first joined Hyatt, Brogan did a search for his name in the central customer database and found 13 different versions of himself. This included the single Chris Brogan who lived across the street from Wrigley Field with his buddies in his 20s and the Chris Brogan who lives in the suburbs with his wife and two children. “I can guarantee those two guys want something very different from a hotel stay,” he joked. Those guest profiles have now been successfully consolidated.
According to Brogan,
“Successful marketing, sales and customer experience initiatives need to be built on a solid customer data foundation. It’s much harder to execute effectively and continually improve if your customer data is a mess.”
Improving How You Manage, Use and Analyze Data is More Important Than Ever
Some companies lack a single view of product information across channels and touch points. About 60 percent of retail managers believe that shoppers are better connected to product information than in-store associates. That’s a problem. The same challenges exist for product information as customer information. How many different systems contain valuable product information?
Harrods overcame this challenge. The retailer has a strategic initiative to transform from a single iconic store to an omnichannel business. In the past, Harrods’ merchants managed information for about 500,000 products for the store point of sale system and a few catalogs. Now they are using product information management technology (PIM) to effectively manage and merchandise 1.7 million products in the store and online.
Because they are managing product information centrally, they can fuel the ERP system and e-commerce platform with full, searchable multimedia product information. Harrods has also reduced the time it takes to introduce new products and generate revenue from them. In less than one hour, buyers complete the process from sourcing to market readiness.
It Ends with Satisfied Customers
By 2016, you will need to be ready to compete primarily on the customer experiences you deliver across channels and touch points. This means really knowing who your customers are so you can serve them better. Many businesses will transform from a channel-centric business model to a truly customer-centric business model. They will no longer tolerate messy data. They will recognize the importance of arming marketing, sales, e-commerce and customer service teams with the clean, consistent and connected customer, product and inventory information they need to deliver seamless, integrated and consistent experiences across touch points. And all of us will be more satisfied customers.