Category Archives: Customer Acquisition & Retention
From marketing automation to analytics software, there were countless technology offerings showcasing how to best assist the modern marketer in making every customer interaction personal. Throughout the week, I had numerous conversations with retail professionals about the importance of personalization in marketing and what it means to their organization’s future plans.
At the heart of their plans was the need to understand the data that they have today, and how to verify the data that they will inevitably acquire in the future. If it’s accurate, if it’s reliable, if it’s complete – customer data can fuel your ability to engage and interact.
The data driven marketer derives insight and ultimately provides a personalized experience by leveraging this valuable data for each customer.
And why is this important?
Well, according to McMurrayTMG, 78% of buyers believe that organizations providing a personalized experience are interested in building good relationships. But it all starts with accurate data.
Knowing who your customers are, how you can contact them, and what they are interested in are essential in order to engage with your customers. With the abundance of data available today, you have to figure that if you aren’t ensuring that your customer interactions are personalized, then your competitors are gaining ground. Every interaction, every correspondence counts towards a positive perception as well as increased sales and customer satisfaction.
By fueling your interactions with Data as a Service (DaaS) for accurate customer data, you will ensure that your customers have a personalized experience with your brand and ultimately accelerate your business.
Like me, you probably just returned from an inspiring Sales Kick Off 2015 event. You’ve invested in talented people. You’ve trained them with the skills and knowledge they need to identify, qualify, validate, negotiate and close deals. You’ve invested in world-class applications, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, to empower your sales team to sell more effectively. But does your sales team have what they need to succeed in 2015?
Gartner predicts that as early as next year, companies will compete primarily on the customer experiences they deliver. So, every customer interaction counts. Knowing your customers is key to delivering great sales experiences.
But, inaccurate, inconsistent and disconnected customer information may be holding your sales team back from delivering great sales experiences. If you’re not fueling Salesforce Sales Cloud (or another Sales Force Automation (SFA) application) with clean, consistent and connected customer information, your sales team may be at a disadvantage against the competition.
To successfully compete and deliver great sales experiences more efficiently, your sales team needs a complete picture of their customers. They don’t want to pull information from multiple applications and then reconcile it in spreadsheets. They want direct access to the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products within their Salesforce Sales Cloud.
Watch this short video comparing a day-in-the-life of two sales reps competing for the same business. One has access to the Total Customer Relationship in Salesforce Sales Cloud, the other does not. Watch now: Salesforce.com with Clean, Consistent and Connected Customer Information.
Is your sales team spending time creating spreadsheets by pulling together customer information from multiple applications and then reconciling it to understand the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products? If so, how much is it costing your business? Or is your sales team engaging with customers without understanding the Total Customer Relationship? How much is that costing your business?
Many innovative sales leaders are gaining a competitive edge by better leveraging their customer data to empower their sales teams to deliver great sales experiences. They are fueling business and analytical applications, like Salesforce Sales Cloud, with clean, consistent and connected customer information. They are arming their sales teams with direct access to richer customer profiles, which includes the Total Customer Relationship across channels, touch points and products.
What measurable results have these sales leaders acheived? Merrill Lynch boosted sales productivity by 15%, resulting in $50M in annual impact. A $60B manufacturing company improved cross-sell and up-sell success by 5%. Logitech increased across channels: online, in their retail partner’s stores and through distribution partners.
This year, I believe more sales leaders will focus on leveraging their customer information for competitive advantage. This will help them shift from sales automation to sales optimization. What do you think?
A friend of mine recently reached out to me about some advice on CRM solutions in the market. Though I have not worked for a CRM vendor, I’ve had both direct experience working for companies that implemented such solutions to my current role interacting with large and small organizations regarding their data requirements to support ongoing application investments across industries. As we spoke, memories started to surface when he and I had worked on implementing Salesforce.com (SFDC) many years ago. Memories that we wanted to forget but important to call out given his new situation.
We worked together for a large mortgage lending software vendor selling loan origination solutions to brokers and small lenders mainly through email and snail mail based marketing. He was responsible for Marketing Operations, and I ran Product Marketing. The company looked at Salesforce.com to help streamline our sales operations and improve how we marketed and serviced our customers. The existing CRM system was from the early 90’s and though it did what the company needed it to do, it was heavily customized, costly to operate, and served its life. It was time to upgrade, to help grow the business, improve business productivity, and enhance customer relationships.
After 90 days of rolling out SFDC, we ran into some old familiar problems across the business. Sales reps continued to struggle in knowing who was a current customer using our software, marketing managers could not create quality mailing lists for prospecting purposes, and call center reps were not able to tell if the person on the other end was a customer or prospect. Everyone wondered why this was happening given we adopted the best CRM solution in the market. You can imagine the heartburn and ulcers we all had after making such a huge investment in our new CRM solution. C-Level executives were questioning our decisions and blaming the applications. The truth was, the issues were not related to SFDC but the data that we had migrated into the system and the lack proper governance and a capable information architecture to support the required data management integration between systems that caused these significant headaches.
During the implementation phase, IT imported our entire customer database of 200K+ unique customer entities from the old system to SFDC. Unfortunately, the mortgage industry was very transient and on average there were roughly 55K licenses mortgage brokers and lenders in the market and because no one ever validated the accuracy of who was really a customer vs. someone who had ever bought out product, we had a serious data quality issues including:
- Trial users who purchased evaluation copies of our products that expired were tagged as current customers
- Duplicate records caused by manual data entry errors consisting of companies with similar but entered slightly differently with the same business address were tagged as unique customers
- Subsidiaries of parent companies in different parts of the country that were tagged again as a unique customer.
- Lastly, we imported the marketing contact database of prospects which were incorrectly accounted for as a customer in the new system
We also failed to integrate real-time purchasing data and information from our procurement systems for sales and support to handle customer requests. Instead of integrating that data in real-time with proper technology, IT had manually loaded these records at the end of the week via FTP resulting in incorrect billing information, statement processing, and a ton of complaints from customers through our call center. The price we paid for not paying attention to our data quality and integration requirements before we rolled out Salesforce.com was significant for a company of our size. For example:
- Marketing got hit pretty hard. Each quarter we mailed evaluation copies of new products to our customer database of 200K, each costing the company $12 per to produce and mail. Total cost = $2.4M annually. Because we had such bad data, we would get 60% of our mailings returned because of invalid addresses or wrong contact information. The cost of bad data to marketing = $1.44M annually.
- Next, Sales struggled miserably when trying to upgrade a customer by running cold call campaigns using the names in the database. As a result, sales productivity dropped by 40% and experienced over 35% sales turnover that year. Within a year of using SFDC, our head of sales got let go. Not good!
- Customer support used SFDC to service customers, our average all times were 40 min per service ticket. We had believed that was “business as usual” until we surveyed what reps were spending their time each day and over 50% said it was dealing with billing issues caused by bad contact information in the CRM system.
At the end of our conversation, this was my advice to my friend:
- Conduct a data quality audit of the systems that would interact with the CRM system. Audit how complete your critical master and reference data is including names, addresses, customer ID, etc.
- Do this before you invest in a new CRM system. You may find that much of the challenges faced with your existing applications may be caused by the data gaps vs. the legacy application.
- If they had a data governance program, involve them in the CRM initiative to ensure they understand what your requirements are and see how they can help.
- However, if you do decide to modernize, collaborate and involve your IT teams, especially between your Application Development teams and your Enterprise Architects to ensure all of the best options are considered to handle your data sharing and migration needs.
- Lastly, consult with your technology partners including your new CRM vendor, they may be working with solution providers to help address these data issues as you are probably not the only one in this situation.
CRM systems have come a long way in today’s Big Data and Cloud Era. Many firms are adopting more flexible solutions offered through the Cloud like Salesforce.com, Microsoft Dynamics, and others. Regardless of how old or new, on premise or in the cloud, companies invest in CRM not to just serve their sales teams or increase marketing conversion rates, but to improve your business relationship with your customers. Period! It’s about ensuring you have data in these systems that is trustworthy, complete, up to date, and actionable to improve customer service and help drive sales of new products and services to increase wallet share. So how to do you maximize your business potential from these critical business applications?
Whether you are adopting your first CRM solution or upgrading an existing one, keep in mind that Customer Relationship Management is a business strategy, not just a software purchase. It’s also about having a sound and capable data management and governance strategy supported by people, processes, and technology to ensure you can:
- Access and migrate data from old to new avoiding develop cost overruns and project delays.
- Identify, detect, and distribute transactional and reference data from existing systems into your front line business application in real-time!
- Manage data quality errors including duplicate records, invalid names and contact information due to proper data governance and proactive data quality monitoring and measurement during and after deployment
- Govern and share authoritative master records of customer, contact, product, and other master data between systems in a trusted manner.
Will your data be ready for your new CRM investments? To learn more:
- Download Salesforce Integration for Dummies
- Download a new Whitepaper on how to Maximize Integration ROI with a Hybrid Approach
- Consolidating Multiple Salesforce Orgs: A Best Practice Guide
- Sign up for a 30 Day Trial of Informatica Cloud Integration
Follow me on Twitter @DataisGR8
Consumer demand is driving the adoption of IoT as they embrace the new technology to improve health (Garmin Vívoactive), energy savings (NEST), safety (BeClose) and a better overall experience including shopping (beacons?). However, getting the balance between privacy, intrusion and relevance can be tricky for both the retailer and shopper.
While shoppers are willing to give up some level of privacy in return for personalization, I am not convinced most are ready of what the “Internet of Things” brings. I recently purchased a smart TV and was surprised when I was asked to accept terms and conditions before using, what are they capturing, how will it be used, will I see any benefits? Retailers need to demonstrate value and trust to the consumer.
While RFID has been around for many years the next wave of intelligent “things” bring both opportunities and challenges. Retailers need to decide which ones truly enhance the shopping experience.
“Psst! It’s Me, the Mannequin. This Would Look Great on You.” (Rachel Abrams, NY Times)
Smart Dummies (mannequins) – Last year House of Fraser started rolling out beacon-enabled mannequins to engage directly with shoppers and passers-by. Shoppers within a 50-metre range will receive information from the mannequins, which may include details about the clothes on display, with links to make a purchase from a website, or details of where the outfit can be found in the store. The next step could link customer preferences, profile and past purchases and suggest matching accessories, check customers size availability or monitor how long they browsed and offer a digital coupon.
Connected Hangers – While you browse through the racks, real-time reviews are displayed on the hanger, size availability or images & videos displayed on screens showing the garment in use. Retailers can capture how popular an item is but never purchased. Taking the clothes and hanger try on could provide personalized recommendation on shoes and accessories.
Personalized Mirrors – I recently read an article in Time (Dec 29th) about Rebecca Minkoff’s new store in Manhattan, where they installed a giant mirrored panel showing images of models walking down the runway. The panel acts as a mirror and touchscreen, where shoppers can order up a personalized fitting room, offering style tips based on their selection. This is connected to a mobile app that saves their browsing history and style preferences for their next visit. When a customer is ready to purchase a sales assistant takes payment on an iPad.
In future blog I will discuss how location based services are machine-to-machine technologies are impacting retailers and consumers.
With so many devices connected and larger volumes of data captured this raises concerns around data privacy and security. In the past year we have seen too many stores on data breaches and retailers. While shoppers are prepared to share more information for relevance they expect you to keep it safe and secure. Retailers must have a solid data governance framework and process in place or risk losing the trust and loyalty of their customers.
Sensor Driven Analytics
The Internet of Things presents retailers with a wonderfully opportunity to understand and engage the customer like never before. However, retailers need to manage the explosion of data available through smarter devices to gain insight into shopper behaviours and preferences and turn into a more rewarding experience for the consumer.
However, before loading an analytics engine they need to ensure the data is clean, connected and safe. Without this any decisions made are flawed and will impact their brand and ultimately the bottom line.
I recently refinanced an existing mortgage on an investment property with my bank. Like most folks these days, I went to their website from my iPad, fill out an online application form, and received a pre-approval decision. Like any mortgage application, we stated our liabilities and assets including credit cards, auto loans, and investment accounts some of which were with this bank. During the process I also entered a new contact email address after my email service was hacked over the summer. The whole process took quite a bit of time and being an inpatient person I ended up logging off and coming back to the application over the weekend.
I walked into my local branch the following week to do a withdrawal with my bank teller and asked how my mortgage application was going. She had no clue what I was talking about as though I was a complete stranger. When I asked her if they had my updated email address that I entered online, she was equally puzzled stating that any updates to that information would require me to contact all the other groups that held my brokerage, credit card, and mortgage services to make the change. That experience was extremely frustrating and I felt like my bank had no idea who I was as a customer despite the fact my ATM card as printed on it “Customer Since 1989″! Even worse, I expected someone to reach out to me after entering my entire financial history on my mortgage application about moving my investment accounts to their bank however no one contacted me about any new offers or services. (Wondering if they really wanted my business??)
2015 will continue to be a challenge for banks large and small to grow revenue caused by low interest rates, increasing competition from non-traditional segments, and lower customer loyalty with existing institutions. The biggest opportunity for banks to grow revenue is to expand the wallet with existing customers. Though times are ahead as many bank customers continue to do business with a multitude of different financial institutions.
The average U.S. consumer owns between 8-12 financial products ranging from your basic checking, credit card, mortgages, etc. to a wider range of products from IRA’s to 401K’s as they get closer to retirement. On the flip side the average institution has between 2-3 products per customer relationship. So why do banks continue to struggle in gaining more wallet share from existing customers? Based on my experience and research, it stems down to two key reasons including:
- Traditional product-centric business silos and systems
- Lack of a single trusted source of customer, account, household, and other shared data syndicated and governed across the enterprise
The first reason is the way banks are set up to do business. Back in the day, you would walk into your local branch office. As you enter the doors, you have your bank tellers behind the counter ready to handle your deposits, withdrawals, and payments. If you need to open a new account you would talk to the new accounts manager sitting at their desk waiting to offer you a cookie. For mortgages and auto loans that would be someone else sitting in the far side of the building equally eager to sign new customers. As banks diversified their businesses with new products including investments, credit cards, insurance, etc. each product had their own operating units. The advent of the internet did not really change the traditional “brick and mortar” business model. Instead, one would go to the bank’s website to transact or sign up for a new product however on the back end the systems, people, and incentives to sell one product did not change creating the same disconnected customer experience. Fast forward to today, these product centric silos continue to exist in big and small banks across the globe despite CEO’s saying they are focused on delivering a better customer experience.
Why is that the case? Well, another reason or cause are the systems within these product silos including core banking, loan origination, loan servicing, brokerage systems, etc. that were never designed to share common information with each other. In traditional retail or consumer banks maintained customer, account, and household information within the Customer Information File (CIF) often part of the core banking systems. Primary and secondary account holders would be grouped with a household based on the same last name and mailing address. Unfortunately, CIF systems were mainly used within retail banking. The problem grows expotentially as more systems were adopted to run the business across core business functions and traditional product business silos. Each group and its systems managed their own versions of the truth and these environments were never set up to share common data between them.
This is where Master Data Management technology can help. “Master Data” is defined as a single source of basic business data used across multiple systems, applications, and/or processes. In banking that traditionally includes information such as:
- Customer name
- Account numbers
- Household members
- Employees of the bank
Master Data Management technology has evolved over the years starting as Customer Data Integration (CDI) solutions providing merge and match capabilities between systems to more modern platforms that govern consistent records and leverage inference analytics in to determine relationships between entities across systems within an enterprise. Depending on your business need, there are core capabilities one should consider when investing in an MDM platform. They include:
|Key functions:||What to look for in an MDM solution?|
|Capturing existing master data from two or more systems regardless of source and creating a single source of the truth for all systems to share.||To do this right, you need seamless access to data regardless of source, format, system, and in real-time|
|Defining relationships based on “business rules” between entities. For example: “Household = Same last name, address, and account number.”||These relationship definitions can be complex and can change over time therefore having the ability to create and modify those business rules by business users will help grow adoption and scalability across the enterprise|
|Governing consistency across systems by identifying changes to this common business information, determining whether it’s a unique, duplicate, or update to an existing record, and updating other systems that use and rely on that information.||Similar to the first, you need the ability easily deliver and update dependent systems across the enterprise in real-time. Also, having a flexible and user friendly way of managing those master record rules and avoid heavy IT development is important to consider.|
Now, what would my experience have been if my bank had capable Master Data Management solution in my bank? Let’s take a look:
|Process||Without MDM||With MDM||Benefit with MDM|
|Start a new mortgage application online||Customer is required to fill out the usual information (name, address, employer, email, phone, existing accounts, etc.)||The online banking system references the MDM solution which delivers the most recent master record of this customer based on existing data from the bank’s core banking system and brokerage systems and pre-populates the form with those details including information for their existing savings and credit card accounts with that bank.||
|New email address from customer||Customer enters this on their mortgage application and gets entered into the bank’s loan origination system||MDM recognizes that the email address is different from what exists in other systems, asks the customer to confirm changes.The master record is updated and shared across the banks’ other systems in real-time including the downstream data warehouse used by Marketing to drive cross sell campaigns.||
The banking industry continues to face headwinds from a revenue, risk, and regulatory standpoint. Traditional product-centric silos will not go away anytime soon and new CRM and client onboarding solutionsmay help with improving customer engagements and productivity within a firm however front office business applications are not designed to manage and share critical master data across your enterprise. Anyhow, I decided to bank with another institution who I know has Master Data Management. Are you ready for a new bank too?
For more information on Informatica’s Master Data Management:
As we renew or reinvent ourselves for 2015, I wanted to share a case of “imagine if” with you and combine it with the narrative of an American frontier town out West, trying to find a new Sheriff – a Wyatt Earp. In this case the town is a legacy European communications firm and Wyatt and his brothers are the new managers – the change agents.
Here is a positive word upfront. This operator has had some success in rolling outs broadband internet and IPTV products to residential and business clients to replace its dwindling copper install base. But they are behind the curve on the wireless penetration side due to the number of smaller, agile MVNOs and two other multi-national operators with a high density of brick-and-mortar stores, excellent brand recognition and support infrastructure. Having more than a handful of brands certainly did not make this any easier for our CSP. To make matters even more challenging, price pressure is increasingly squeezing all operators in this market. The ones able to offset the high-cost Capex for spectrum acquisitions and upgrades with lower-cost Opex for running the network and maximizing subscriber profitability, will set themselves up for success (see one of my earlier posts around the same phenomenon in banking).
Not only did they run every single brand on a separate CRM and billing application (including all the various operational and analytical packages), they also ran nearly every customer-facing-service (CFS) within a brand the same dysfunctional way. In the end, they had over 60 CRM and the same number of billing applications across all copper, fiber, IPTV, SIM-only, mobile residential and business brands. Granted, this may be a quite excessive example; but nevertheless, it is relevant for many other legacy operators.
As a consequence, their projections indicate they incur over €600,000 annually in maintaining duplicate customer records (ignoring duplicate base product/offer records for now) due to excessive hardware, software and IT operations. Moreover, they have to stomach about the same amount for ongoing data quality efforts in IT and the business areas across their broadband and multi-play service segments.
Here are some more consequences they projected:
- €18.3 million in call center productivity improvement
- €790,000 improvement in profit due to reduced churn
- €2.3 million reduction in customer acquisition cost
- And if you include the fixing of duplicate and conflicting product information, add another €7.3 million in profit via billing error and discount reduction (which is inline with our findings from a prior telco engagement)
Despite major business areas not having contributed to the investigation and improvements being often on the conservative side, they projected a 14:1 return ratio between overall benefit amount and total project cost.
Coming back to the “imagine if” aspect now, one would ask how this behemoth of an organization can be fixed. Well, it will take years but without management (in this case new managers busting through the door), this organization has the chance to become the next Rocky Mountain mining ghost town.
The good news is that this operator is seeing some management changes now. The new folks have a clear understanding that business-as-usual won’t do going forward and that centralization of customer insight (which includes some data elements) has its distinct advantages. They will tackle new customer analytics, order management, operational data integration (network) and next-best-action use cases incrementally. They know they are in the data, not just the communication business. They realize they have to show a rapid succession of quick wins rather than make the organization wait a year or more for first results. They have fairly humble initial requirements to get going as a result.
You can equate this to the new Sheriff not going after the whole organization of the three, corrupt cattle barons, but just the foreman of one of them for starters. With little cost involved, the Sheriff acquires some first-hand knowledge plus he sends a message, which will likely persuade others to be more cooperative going forward.
What do you think? Is new management the only way to implement drastic changes around customer experience, profitability or at least understanding?
Maybe the problem lies in the widespread confusion about omni- vs. multi-channel initiatives. An omni-channel system takes a connected approach to multiple channels, seamlessly integrating customer activities into a single conversation, even when the customer decides, for whatever reason, to switch channel. In omni-channel retailing, the customer can select and change channels in any way that suits them – and the retailer can respond instantly to deliver the experience that the customer needs. Each time the customer interacts with the brand, they generate data that the retailer can use to better anticipate and serve the customer during the next conversation.
So, if omni-channel initiatives are so powerful, why are retailers not taking the next step?
In a multi-channel system, a retailer grows from a single channel to multiple channels with each channel essentially operating as a separate business unit. Each has its own pricing, promotions, inventories, and back office systems. The omni-channel system integrates all of these channels and their accumulated data into one cohesive view of the business and customer. But many retailers wrongly believe that their organizational structure and systems don’t lend themselves to the new environment.
Many feel that a fundamental redesign of the corporate retail organization – from a single P&L regardless of channel, to “rip and replace” of IT systems – would need to occur at the most basic levels. And many organizations are unsure if the extra time, money and risk to reorganize is worth the advantages promised by an omni-channel strategy. In short, many retailers have adopted a wait-and-see stance before they invest.
However, these retailers can take comfort and guidance from the conclusions of the IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Retail 2015 Predictions conference. Based on a survey of top retailers, the conference predicts that “In 2015, CIOs will invest in omni-channel integration technologies as a top priority to support growth in the omni-channel shopper sales premium of 30%.“
The Future is Now
When retailers invest in omni-channel integration, they essentially design an entirely new supply chain of unified capabilities that can simultaneously handle the demands of their “brick and mortar” stores, their ecommerce sites, and any other channel that they have in place. The retailers that have already done so are already seeing the benefits:
- Corporations that have invested in omni-channel services are already witnessing an average of 30% increase in sales.
- The IT departments of these corporations are spending far less time performing the redundant or duplicate tasks required by a multi-channel system.
- Both structured and unstructured data are more successfully and easily integrated across the company than with a multichannel operation.
- IT departments can retire older technologies that are no longer performing at their previous levels of efficiency.
- Consumer impacts on individual channels can now be identified almost immediately and the channels adjusted accordingly.
While many businesses may be cautious about taking the next step, the shopping characteristics of today’s consumer are rapidly changing. Customers are moving into an omni-channel world, whether the retailer is ready or not. This means that the business might be forced to play catch-up to their customers, and perhaps sooner than they might like. Omni-channel initiatives simply reflect, improve and realize the value of this customer behavior. Omni-channel initiatives are about making the individual consumer the main focal point of the business model.
In 1991, when the World Wide Web was created, email then had the opportunity to evolve into the mainstream form of communication it is today.
The statistics for modern day email are staggering. Worldwide, there are 2.2 billion email users as of 2012, according to MarketingProfs.
With all these messages flying about, you know there’s going to be some email overload. Google’s Gmail alone has 425 million users worldwide. ESPs know people have too much email to deal with, and there’s a lot of noise out there. More than 75% of the world’s email is spam.
Gmail is one of the applications that recently responded to this problem, and all email marketers need to be aware.
On October 22, Google announced Inbox.
Google’s Inbox takes several steps to bring structure to the abundant world of email with these features:
- Categorizes and bundles emails.
- Highlights important content within the body of the email.
- Allows users to customize messages by adding their own reminders.
This latest update to Gmail is just one small way that the landscape of email marketing and audience preferences is changing all the time.
As we integrate more technology into our daily lives, it only makes sense that we use digital messages as a means of communication more often. What will this mean for email in the future? How will marketers adjust to the new challenges email marketing will present at larger volumes, with audiences wanting more segmentation and personalization?One easy way to stay on top of these and other changes to the e-mail landscape is talking to your peers and experts in the industry. Luckily, an opportunity is coming up — and it’s free.
Make sure you check out the All About eMail Virtual Conference & Expo on November 13. It’s a virtual event, which means you can attend without leaving your desk!
It’s a one-day event with the busy email marketer in mind. Register for free and be sure to join us for our presentation, “Maximizing Email Campaign Performance Through Data Quality.”
Other strategic sessions include email marketing innovations presented by Forrester Research, mobile email, ROI, content tips, email sending frequency, and much more. (See the agenda here.)
This conference is just one indication that email marketing is still relevant, but only if email marketers adjust to changing audience preferences. With humble beginnings in 1971 email has come a long way. Email marketing has the best ROI in the business, and will continue to have value long into the future.
The digital industry is increasingly discussing the topic of Commerce Relevancy. Commerce Relevancy makes information relevant to consumers at the right time and place. Specifically, it ensures sales and marketing offers and materials are personalized at the highest level and consistent across all customer touch points. This post will talk about how much Commerce Relevancy matters and will explain the six building blocks that comprise it.
Commerce Relevancy in Fashion
I am a runner. For motivation, I track the majority of my runs on my iPhone. I use an arm band from a leading sports apparel company to carry my iPhone. I’m a great supporter of this apparel brand in general. I love their style so I shop from them frequently. Sometimes, when I travel the US, I shop in their outlet stores. Primarily, however, I shop on their official web-store using my iPad or mobile phone. Since I am a “fashion victim”, it is not easy for me to remember all the channels, shops and websites I have used to buy this brand’s products.
Why am I telling you all this?
For the past few weeks, I’ve repeatedly received email newsletters from this brand, promoting sporting outfits that don’t match my style or size. (Most of the promotion has been products for women, rather than for men, etc.) As a repeat customer, this lack of promotional accuracy has frustrated me. I have purchased many items from this brand. I’ve even shared their logo on twitter and Facebook. Despite my commitment to the brand, the brand still does not know which products I need or which styles I prefer.
Commerce Relevancy in Automotive
I have had a similar experience with my favorite car manufacturer. My wife and I have purchased three of this brand’s cars in the past. We currently lease one of their cars. When I need maintenance, I only visit this brand’s authorized repair garages. I only use official spare parts. Despite my loyalty to the brand, every time I call their stores, I am asked for my phone number. No one from the brand has ever approached me to test a new car, even though my current lease will soon end.
Once, when my current car was being repaired for several days, I requested permission to test drive a particular model, until my current car was ready. I was interested in this new model as a potential next purchase. I was told “it is not possible to test drive the car you’re interested in during the repair process. You may only use the official car rental service.”
Can Relevant Information Make the Difference?
The chapter of “Commerce Relevancy” started in 2013. The eBook on the “Informed Purchase Journey” mentions that consumers use average of 10.4 sources of information before taking a purchasing decision.
What this means for all companies and business people who sell products and services:
They have to earn every new sale to customer who is demanding more information than ever before.
The Meaning of Commerce Relevancy
In order to enable Commerce Relevancy, companies are now asking themselves how to connect the dots between supplier, location, customer and product information. In this business use cases customer profiles or target group personas get match with product information in sales and marketing. The key challenge his to connect the data but also to provide them to customer facing apps and touch points.
6 Building Blocks of Commerce Relevancy
- Product powered: Inside and outside your organization customer and employees have a consistent view of the products you sell, regardless of the touch point.
- Customer centric: No matter, where or how a client interacts with your company, you are able to generate a single view of the customer with address, interaction, and relation data.
- Relationship driven: The biggest value today and tomorrow lays in “connecting the dots” between different information like the availability of a product, from a supplier or warehouse, to the client who demands it.
- Bi-directional: Serving clients with really tailored marketing is only one way – the other way is the feedback on products and services and how this can be re-used.
- Predictive power: With Commerce Relevancy, companies take simple eCommerce recommendations to the next level. This means predicting the next logical action, based in information. This can empower business users to do the right things, data-driven. This makes the customer spend more, data-driven. Happy to give you examples if you reach out to me @benrund
- Real-time data: Customer always want it now. Changes on product offerings, transactions customer make, service centers they call – a service agent always needs to have the complete view with real time data.
Stay tuned for the next chapter of this blog series: “How companies can achieve commerce relevancy step by step.” It impacts, people, processes and technology.