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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly! Experiencing Great (and Not So Great) Data-Driven Marketing in Day-to-Day Life

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Experiencing Great (And Not So Great) Data-Driven Marketing in Day-To-Day Life

I spend my professional life helping marketers get the most out of their data. So it really hits me when I experience real life case studies in my day-to-day personal life. When I do run across these great (and not so great) experiences, it broadens my perspective and helps me figure out new ways that I can help our customers use clean, safe, and connected data to revolutionize their marketing efforts.

I feel compelled to blog about these great customer experiences in hopes that other marketers can learn from these encounters like I did. So this is the first installment of an ongoing series of blog posts about where I’ve experienced great (and not so great) data-driven marketing experiences.

The Good
The GoodI love my insurance company for many reasons, but the last experience I had with them was truly exceptional. I had been on their website getting an insurance quote for a new home. I still had a few questions, so I initiated an online chat. The online representative there quickly and efficiently answered my question and I left the experience with a thorough understanding of the potential policy. About a week later, seemingly unrelated, I put in a claim through a local vendor for a chipped windshield repair. Then two weeks later, I called back and the phone system recognized my mobile number and through the automated system asked me if I was calling about the homeowner’s policy quote I had received a few weeks ago. I pressed 1 for yes, and here’s where the impressive part begins…

A representative quickly answered the phone. He was able to view all of the information I had put into the online quote tool. He then referenced the question I had asked the representative in the online chat, and asked if I had any further questions about it. Within minutes I had my new policy set up, but it didn’t stop there. He asked if the windshield chip I had the previous week had been repaired to my satisfaction. Then he noticed that although I do have a credit card through them, I haven’t used it in some time, and offered me a 0% balance transfer offer for 36 months with no transfer fee on that card. Heck, we just bought a new house and I know there will be plenty of expenses, so sign me up! Finally, he noticed that because I was about to move to a new zip code, my car insurance rates would be going down slightly and offered to send me to the automobile insurance team to make the change to my policy.

The system clearly tied all of my recent and past activities from various channels together, analyzed them, and leveraged some sort of recommendation engine to guide the customer support representative to provide truly customized service. You can be assured I love my insurance company even more, and I will be dusting off a stagnant account that I hadn’t used in years. A+.

The Bad
The BadOh how I wish my bank would embrace Total Customer Relationship. My husband, my children, and I have far too many accounts at our bank. Each child has a savings account, we have a joint checking account, we have a savings account, he has a personal savings account, I have a personal savings account, and then there’s the cash reserve line, the credit card and a few CD’s. We recently sold a home and the now-paid-off mortgage was through them. Plus we’ve been customers for almost 20 years. So sufficed to say, we have been loyal customers.

Well the other day, I had to go get a cashier’s check for a school activity for one of my children. I know, it’s pretty strange that they needed a cashier’s check, but I digress. I went to pull half out of my son’s minor savings account and half out of my individual checking account. Neither of those accounts have much money in there, nor have they been opened for very long. Call me spoiled, but I’m used to getting these types of service fees waived for my long tenure and deep relationship with our bank. But because the accounts I had pulled the money from didn’t have that kind of history, they weren’t willing to waive the fees. I was in a hurry because I was running late from shopping at a shoe store (see “The Ugly” below) so I didn’t have the time or energy to fight it, so I paid the darn $5 fee, but I was irritated. Clearly they couldn’t easily see the total customer relationship I have with their institution. The aren’t leveraging their data to tell a complete story, and missed an opportunity to show a loyal customer a great experience.

And The Ugly
The BadA few days ago, I was at a shoe store picking up some new soccer cleats for one of my children. I had gotten an email offer for 30% off, so I pulled up the email and prepared to use it at the cash register. For whatever reason, the email didn’t had a blank where a code was supposed to be, and the woman at the register, despite her best efforts couldn’t use it. So, trying to be helpful, she looked at my loyalty account and, low and behold, I had $40 worth of rewards points that I didn’t even know existed. But I had to first download an app to try to issue a coupon using those points. I downloaded the app, put in my loyalty number, and no points were available.

Turns out, I had two accounts, but they weren’t linked despite having the same phone number and names. One had an address that was misspelled in the system, so it apparently wouldn’t merge with the other account – oh data quality and address validation how I missed you at that moment! She corrected the address, and informed me that it would now merge the two accounts and to try to log in again. Of course, I knew that there was no way this was a real time, or near real time process, but she was insistent. So I tried again, nothing.

The woman couldn’t have been nicer, but poor data quality processes and long batch windows had her hands tied. I was advised to call the customer support line, but of course it was a Sunday afternoon and nobody was there to pick up. So 45 minutes later, I left the store, irritated and very late, and without the shoes I was going to purchase out of principle. In the future, I’ll be going down the street and shopping at another shoe store – it’s my own personal strike against antiquated, inaccurate, incomplete, and painfully slow data processes which result in bad customer experiences!

In The End…
In the greater scheme of things, these varying degrees of customer experience “misses” aren’t exactly a crisis. It’s not curing cancer or solving world hunger, but to consumers, having a great customer experience is really important. Wouldn’t you rather have your customers raving about a great experience, than grumbling about a bad one, or losing a customer due to an ugly one?

We marketers can make the difference! We own that end-to-end omni channel experience. We need to make sure that our data is clean, safe, and connected so we can provide our customers what they expect and frankly deserve from us.

Informatica’s Total Customer Relationship Solution empowers organizations 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 blog posts like this one.

Want to learn more? Check out these webinars to see how Informatica and our customers and partners are revolutionizing the customer experience.

How Citrix is Boosting Lead Conversion by 20% with Better Customer Data

Overcoming 3 Barriers to Delivering Omnichannel Experiences

Data-Driven Retail: The Path to Maximize the Shopper Experinece

And be sure to follow @informaticacorp and The Data Ready Marketer on twitter for daily insights on the topic!

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The Super Bowl of Data-Driven Marketing Potential

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!

NFL Experience Field GoalOn 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 NationwideNFLExperiencetheir 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!

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The Data-Driven CMO: A Q&A with Glenn Gow (CEO of Crimson Research)

Q&A with Crimson Research

I recently had the opportunity to have a very interesting discussion with Glenn Gow, the CEO of Crimson Marketing.  I was impressed at what an interesting and smart guy he was, and with the tremendous insight he has into the marketing discipline.  He consults with over 150 CMOs every year, and has a pretty solid understanding about the pains they are facing, the opportunities in front of them, and the approaches that the best-of-the-best are taking that are leading them towards new levels of success.

I asked Glenn if he would be willing to do a Q&A in order to share some of his insight.  I hope you find his perspective as interesting as I did!

 crimson_logo

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Q: What do you believe is the single biggest advantage that marketers have today?

A: Being able to use data in marketing is absolutely your single biggest competitive advantage as a marketer.  And therefore your biggest challenge is capturing, leveraging and rationalizing that data.  The marketers we speak with tend to fall into two buckets.

  1. Those who understand that the way they manage data is critical to their marketing success.  These marketers use data to inform their decisions, and then rely on it to measure their effectiveness.
  2. Those who haven’t yet discovered that data is the key to their success. Often these people start with systems in mind – marketing automation, CRM, etc.  But after implementing and beginning to use these systems, they almost always come to the realization that they have a data problem.

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Q:  How has this world of unprecedented data sources and volumes changed the marketing discipline?

A:  In short… dramatically.  The shift has really happened in the last two years. The big impetus for this change has really been the availability of data.  You’ve probably heard this figure, but Google’s Eric Schmidt likes to say that every two days now, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.

We believe this is a massive opportunity for marketers.  The question is, how do we leverage this data.  How do we pull the golden nuggets out that will help us do our jobs better.  Marketers now have access to information they’ve never had access to or even contemplated before.  This gives them the ability to become a more effective marketer. And by the way… they have to!  Customers expect them to!

For example, ad re-targeting.  Customers expect to be shown ads that are relevant to them, and if marketers don’t successfully do this, they can actually damage their brand.

In addition, competitors are taking full advantage of data, and are getting better every day at winning the hearts and minds of their customers – so marketers need to act before their competitors do.

Marketers have a tremendous opportunity – rich data is available and the technology is available to harness it is now, so that they can win a war that they could never before.

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Q:  Where are the barriers they are up against in harnessing this data?

A:
  I’d say that barriers can really be broken down into 4 main buckets: existing architecture, skill sets, relationships, and governance.

  • Existing Architecture: The way that data has historically been collected and stored doesn’t have the CMO’s needs in mind.  The CMO has an abundance of data theoretically at their fingertips, but they cannot do what they want with it.  The CMO needs to insist on, and work together with the CIO to build an overarching data strategy that meets their needs – both today and tomorrow because the marketing profession and tool sets are rapidly changing.  That means the CMO and their team need to step into a conversation they’ve never had before with the CIO and his/her team.  And it’s not about systems integration but it’s about data integration.
  • Existing Skill Sets:  The average marketer today is a right-brained individual.  They entered the profession because they are naturally gifted at branding, communications, and outbound perspectives.  And that requirement doesn’t go away – it’s still important.  But today’s marketer now needs to grow their left-brained skills, so they can take advantage of inbound information, marketing technologies, data, etc.  It’s hard to ask a right-brained person to suddenly be effective at managing this data.  The CMO needs to fill this skillset gap primarily by bringing in people that understand it, but they cannot ignore it themselves.  The CMO needs to understand how to manage a team of data scientists and operations people to dig through and analyze this data.  Some CMOs have actually learned to love data analysis themselves (in fact your CMO at Informatica Marge Breya is one of them).
  • Existing Relationships:  In a data-driven marketing world, relationships with the CIO become paramount.  They have historically determined what data is collected, where it is stored, what it is connected to, and how it is managed.  Today’s CMO isn’t just going to the CIO with a simple task, as in asking them to build a new dashboard.  They have to collectively work together to build a data strategy that will work for the organization as a whole.  And marketing is the “new kid on the block” in this discussion – the CIO has been working with finance, manufacturing, etc. for years, so it takes some time (and great data points!) to build that kind of cohesive relationship.  But most CIOs understand that it’s important, if for no other reason that they see budgets increasingly shifting to marketing and the rest of the Lines of Business.
  • Governance:  Who is ultimately responsible for the data that lives within an organization?  It’s not an easy question to answer.  And since marketing is a relatively new entrant into the data discussion, there are often a lot of questions left to answer. If marketing wants access to the customer data, what are we going to let them do with it? Read it?  Append to it?  How quickly does this happen? Who needs to author or approve changes to a data flow?  Who manages opt ins/outs and regulatory black lists?  And how does that impact our responsibility as an organization?  This is a new set of conversations for the CMO – but they’re absolutely critical.

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Q:  Are the CMOs you speak with concerned with measuring marketing success?

A:  Absolutely.  CMOs are feeling tremendous pressure from the CEO to quantify their results.  There was a recent Duke University study of CMOs that asked if they were feeling pressure from the CEO or board to justify what they’re doing.  64% of the respondents said that they do feel this pressure, and 63% say this pressure is increasing.

CMOs cannot ignore this.  They need to have access to the right data that they can trust to track the effectiveness of their organizations.  They need to quantitatively demonstrate the impact that their activities have had on corporate revenue – not just ROI or Marketing Qualified Leads.  They need to track data points all the way through the sales cycle to close and revenue, and to show their actual impact on what the CEO really cares about.

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Q:  Do you think marketers who undertake marketing automation products without a solid handle on their data first are getting solid results?

A:
  That is a tricky one.  Ideally, yes, they’d have their data in great shape before undertaking a marketing automation process.  The vast majority of companies who have implemented the various marketing technology tools have encountered dramatic data quality issues, often coming to light during the process of implementing their systems. So data quality and data integration is the ideal first step.

But the truth is, solving a company’s data problem isn’t a simple, straight-forward challenge.  It takes time and it’s not always obvious how to solve the problem.  Marketers need to be part of this conversation.  They need to drive how they’re going to be managing data moving forward.  And they need to involve people who understand data well, whether they be internal (typically in IT), or external (consulting companies like Crimson, and technology providers like Informatica).

So the reality for a CMO, is that it has to be a parallel path.  CMOs need to get involved in ensuring that data is managed in a way they can use effectively as a marketer, but in the meantime, they cannot stop doing their day-to-day job.  So, sure, they may not be getting the most out of their investment in marketing automation, but it’s the beginning of a process that will see tremendous returns over the long term.

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Q:  Is anybody really getting it “right” yet?

A:  This is the best part… yes!  We are starting to see more and more forward-thinking organizations really harnessing their data for competitive advantage, and using technology in very smart ways to tie it all together and make sense of it.  In fact, we are in the process of writing a book entitled “Moneyball for Marketing” that features eleven different companies who have marketing strategies and execution plans that we feel are leading their industries.

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So readers, what do you think?  Who do you think is getting it “right” by leveraging their data with smart technology and truly getting meaningful an impactful results?

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Marketing in a Data-Driven World… From Mad Men to Mad Scientist

Are Marketers More Mad Men or Mad Scientists?

I have been in marketing for over two decades. As I meet people in social situations, on airplanes, and on the sidelines at children’s soccer games, and they ask what it is I do, I get responses that constantly amuse me and lead me to the conclusion that the general public has absolutely no idea what a marketer does. I am often asked things like “have you created any commercials that I might have seen?” and peppered with questions that evoke visions of Mad Men-esque 1960’s style agency work and late night creative martini-filled pitch sessions.

I admit I do love to catch the occasional Mad Men episode, and a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon one that had me chuckling. You may remember the one that Don Draper is pitching a lipstick advertisement and after persuading the executive to see things his way, he says something along the lines of, “We’ll never know, will we? It’s not a science.”

How the times have changed. I would argue that in today’s data-driven world, marketing is no longer an art and is now squarely a science.

Sure, great marketers still understand their buyers at a gut level, but their hunches are no longer the impetus of a marketing campaign. Their hunches are now the impetus for a data-driven, fact-finding mission, and only after the analysis has been completed and confirms or contradicts this hunch, is the campaign designed and launched.

This is only possible because today, marketers have access to enormous amounts of data – not just the basic demographics of years past. Most marketers realize that there is great promise in all of that data, but it’s just too complicated, time-consuming, and costly to truly harness it. How can you really ever make sense of the hundreds of data sources and tens of thousands of variables within these sources? Social media, web analytics, geo-targeting, internal customer and financial systems, in house marketing automation systems, third party data augmentation in the cloud… the list goes on and on!

How can marketers harness the right data, in the right way, right away? The answer starts with making the commitment that your marketing team – and hopefully your organization as a whole – will think “data first”. In the coming weeks, I will focus on what exactly thinking data first means, and how it will pay dividends to marketers.

In the mean time, I will make the personal commitment to be more patient about answering the silly questions and comments about marketers.

Now, it’s your turn to comment… 

What are some of the most amusing misconceptions about marketers that you’ve encountered?

– and –

Do you agree? Is marketing an art? A science? Or somewhere in between?

Are Marketers More Mad Men or Mad Scientists?

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