Tag Archives: marketing

Four Ways Retailers Turn Away Customers

retailers

Four Ways Retailers Turn Away Customers

If you take a company that is already delivering a great customer experience and add time to the equation, what do you get?

For the answer, take a look at this observation from Shoebuy’s SVP of Customer Experience and Retention, Kavita Baball (published in this new article):

“Customer expectations change over time, so even though you may deliver a good experience now, you have to always consider the customer and their changing needs and expectations.”

In all areas of their business, Shoebuy’s MVP is their customers. One more interesting thing about Shoebuy: They offer over 1 million products on their website.

A study reported in Multichannel Merchant magazine analyzed numerous products sold online by retailers. It found that when a new product is added to an ecommerce website, it directly contributes to growth in gross merchandise value. Today, more products (and more unique selections for the customer to choose from) create more revenue overall.

The rules of inventory, selection, price, and placement are bent and broken by changing customer preferences and innovations from the rise of online retailing. It wasn’t so long ago that retailers started creating niche options in their stores and online to appeal to changing consumer preferences. In retail, the unique, personalized, special option is highly valued by consumers today.

Limitless options are available online, so a consumer can find nearly anything he or she wants from a variety of sources. What can retailers do when customers want something unique, just for them, and can get it anywhere?

The only answer is adding value by providing a great customer experience. An amazing thing to note here: Gartner predicts that by 2016, companies in all industries will be competing on customer experience alone.

Until then, retailers should assess how they lose customers over time because of a poor experience. As Shoebuy knows, customer preferences continue to change. What works now may not always be a solid strategy. Fewer than 50% of companies in a Gartner survey said their customer service was exceptional today. If you aren’t putting customers at the center of everything, throughout your business, Gartner’s prediction shows that you are essentially turning away customers. Here are four ways this can happen:

1. Not being able to contact customers. If your contact data is invalid, including email addresses, phone numbers, and postal addresses, it can be really tough to call yourself customer-centric. Bounced emails, returned packages, and wrong numbers hurt the customer experience. When e-receipts aren’t received, or a customer service call isn’t successfully made, or an order is sent to the wrong address, customers are unlikely to be loyal and come back for what they believe will be the same experience.

2. Not providing a single experience across channels. When customers contact you for service or support in your call center, the representative should be able to pull up a full contact record, including past buying histories and other contextual information that helps make the interaction a success. The same applies to your ecommerce site, in-store at point-of-sale, and any other channel. According to Forrester Research, 42% of customer service representatives said they were not able to resolve customer issues effectively due to disconnected systems across multiple applications with outdated interfaces.

3. Offer no additional value. Part of a great customer experience is adding stand-out services, conveniences, and speed to every interaction. Customization options, online support and knowledge centers, and membership for exclusive perks are just a few ways to help your customers while building your authority in the market. Loyalty memberships are a great way in particular for marketers to use, as they provide great perks to customers while giving retailers insight into who their customers are. Add-ons may be perceived as expensive to provide, but 86% of buyers said that they would pay more for a better customer experience, according to survey results from Harris Interactive.

4. Not increasing investments in your marketing technology. More and more, improving every customer interaction throughout all channels is becoming part of the job description for marketers. According to eMarketer, the top reason marketers said they needed new technology investments was to improve customer service and satisfaction. See more on steps you can take to avoid wasting your marketing budget in 2015 in this blog post.

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Being faster, more reliable, innovative, and being there for your customers are all going to be important for retailers in 2015. For more on this topic for retailers, check out this new infographic, “4 Ways Retailers Can Improve Customer Centricity” on the Retail TouchPoints website.

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A True Love Quiz: Is Your Marketing Data Right For You?

questionnaire and computer mouseValentine’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?
Connect My 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?
My Data is So Good Looking□ (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?
I Heart Safe 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”?
Home is where my data is□ (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?
My data is ready on time□ (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?
My data tells the truth□ (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?
My data helps me out□ (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?
Learn to love your dataNo 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!

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Posted in 5 Sales Plays, Business Impact / Benefits, CMO, Customers, Data First, Data Integration, Data masking, Data Privacy, Data Quality, Data Security, Intelligent Data Platform, Master Data Management, Operational Efficiency, Total Customer Relationship | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 New Marketing Technology Landscape Is Here… And It’s Music to Our Ears!

How Do You Like It? How Do You Like It? More, More More!
Andrea+True+Connection+ANDREAChiefmartec 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.”

Marketing_Technology_Jan2015

Middleware: I’m Coming Up So You’d Better Get This Party Started!
pinkOne 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?
avril-lavigne-avril-lavigne-34900869-1280-1024Ok, 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!
David-Bowie-1973I 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
TemptationsNow 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!

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Posted in 5 Sales Plays, Big Data, CMO, Customers, Data Integration Platform, Enterprise Data Management, Intelligent Data Platform | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Keep the Ring, Get Me an iPad: Emotional Vs Rational Marketing

Rational Marketing

Rational Marketing

The holidays that just passed weren’t the only thing to celebrate, according to historical trends. As we moved from December into 2015, how many of you were seeing a lot more engagement announcements on Facebook, or even became engaged yourself?

December is the most popular month to get engaged (according to wedding website TheKnot.com), so it’s likely many of us gearing up for the typical spring/summer calendar full of weekend weddings.

While December is not known as a big month for weddings, it is a big time for jewelers, including the months leading up to it. Diamonds, gold, and other fine jewelry become very popular purchases at this time.

Fine jewelry is an emotional buying decision, which you can see from the jewelry store commercials that evoke sentiment for our loved ones.

But that emotional pull to purchase diamonds, gold and precious stones could be changing significantly.

Diamond sales are down this year – but what is up? Technology-related gifts, including smart phones, tablets, and other functional devices. To understand why, all you have to do is think about the ages of people getting engaged: 18-34 year-olds.

People in that age range who are getting engaged right now just aren’t drawn in by the emotional purchase of fine jewelry anymore, if they ever were. They value technology purchases.

But it’s not just function over form. The emotional motivation behind a purchase (whether technology or fine jewelry or any high-dollar item) is always there.

“Status for this generation isn’t about money — it’s about attention,” said psychology professor Kit Yarrow in a recent Pacific Standard magazine article. Therefore, a smart phone is considered a better gift (and better use for the money) than fine jewelry, since it allows you to share your life and stay connected much more than a gold and diamond ring can do.

As the article notes, using technology to create “an everlasting Facebook album from that scuba diving trip in Bali says so much more than one lone photo of a pave diamond necklace.”

WHAT FUELS YOUR BUSINESS DECISIONS?

The average decision process for a consumer making a purchase is estimated at 80% emotional and 20% rational, according to an annual customer loyalty report from Brand Keys.

It’s interesting to think that the car in your garage, or the shoes on your feet, could have ultimately been something you felt you wanted (80%), and then justified the need for later (20%). Brands, especially in the luxury market, depend on this ratio.

This realization brings us to your business planning as we begin 2015. What guides your business decisions as a data-fueled marketer: emotions, or rationale?

How do brands make decisions about how to operate, what customers to market to, where to locate stores, what marketing campaigns to do, and many more strategic plans? It needs to be much more in the “rational” category – but how do you do that as a data-fueled marketer?

As consumers, we are emotional creatures without even realizing it. That can be a habit we bring to other things in our lives as well, including decisions at work.

Since your customers still have emotional reasons for making a purchase or using a service, the only thing that should be emotional is your messaging to your customers; not your planning. Creating customer profiles and making decisions from them should never be solely a ‘gut feeling’ or only based on your professional instincts.

At the same time, we all know that in our work, over time we develop good instincts about what we do. We learn to trust our sense of what will work or won’t work in the market, or in the supply chain, or within product development – whatever it is you do. You can never ignore that, because no one can completely predict the future with total accuracy. You have to trust your experience and knowledge to lead you.

Turn the 80/20 ratio on its head, and instead focus 20% on emotional thinking and 80% on rational thinking. Make your brand’s business decisions and planning based on good data.

Who are your customers? Where do they live? What do they do and what are their preferences? Basing the answers to these questions only on what has worked in the past, or what you think your customers should want, will only lead to bad business decisions.

The first step, however, is to know that your customer data is valid and complete. Gartner estimates that 40% of failed business initiatives are due to bad data. Validate, correct, and enrich your customer data before you use it. Then as a truly data-fueled marketer, you can use the 20/80 ratio properly and steer your brand to a great 2015.

For more about data quality best practices, check out this white paper written for marketers that goes beyond the basics.

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Marketers, Are You Ready? The Impending Data Explosion from the New Gizmos and Gadgets Unveiled at CES

What Marketers Can Learn from CES

What Marketers Can Learn from CES

This is the first year in a very long time that I wasn’t in Las Vegas during CES.  Although it’s not quite as exciting as actually being there, I love that the Twitter-verse and industry news sites kept us all up to date about the latest and greatest announcements.  Now that CES2015 is all wrapped up, I find myself thinking about the potential of some very interesting announcements – from the wild to the wonderful to the leave-you-wondering!  What strikes me isn’t how useful these new gizmos and gadgets will likely be to myself and my consumer counterparts, but instead what incredible new data sources they will offer to my fellow marketers.

One thing is for sure… the connected “Internet of Things” is indeed here.  It’s no longer just a vision.  Sure, we’re just seeing the early stages, but it’s becoming more and more main stream by the day.  And as marketers, we have so much opportunity ahead of us!

I ran across an interesting video interview on the CES show floor with Jack Smith from GroupM on Adweek.com.  Jack says that “data from sensors will have a bigger impact, longer term, than the Internet itself.”  That is a lofty statement, and I’m not sure I’ll go quite that far yet, but I absolutely agree with his premise… this new world of connectivity is already shifting marketing, and it will almost certainly radically change the way we market in the near future.

Riding the Data Explosion (Literally)

Connected CycleThe Connected Cycle is one of the announcements that I find intriguing as a marketer. In short, it’s a bike pedal equipped with GPS and GPRS sensors that “monitor your movements and act as a basic fitness tracker.”  It’s being positioned as a way to track stolen bicycles, which is a massive problem in Europe particularly, with the side benefit of being a powerful fitness tracker.  It may not be as sexy as some other announcements, but I think there is buried treasure in devices like these.

Imagine how powerful that data would be to a sporting goods retailer?  What if the rider of that bicycle had opted into a program that allowed the retailer to track their activity in exchange for highly targeted offers?

Let’s say that the rider is nearing one of your stores and it’s a colder than usual day.  Perhaps you could push them an offer to their smart phone for some neoprene booties.  Or let’s say that, based on their activity patterns, the rider appears to be stepping up their activity and is riding more frequently suggesting they may be ready for a race you are sponsoring in a few months in the area.  Perhaps you could push them an inspirational message saying how great they’re progressing and had they thought about signing up for the big race, with a special incentive of course.

The segmentation possibilities are endless, and the analytics that could be done on the data leaves the data-driven marketer salivating!

Home Automation Meets Business Automation

smart-homeThere were numerous announcements about the connected “house of the future”, and it’s clear that we are just beginning of the home automation wave.  Several of the big dogs like Samsung, Google, and Apple are building or buying automation hub platforms, so it’s going to be easier and easier to connect appliances and other home devices to one another, and also to mobile technology and wearables.   As marketers, there is incredible potential to really tap into this.  Imagine the possibility of interconnecting your customers’ home automation systems with your own marketing automation systems?  Marketers will soon be able literally serve up offers based upon things that are occurring in the home in real time.

Oh no, your teenage son finished off all but the last drop of milk (and put the almost-empty jug back in the fridge without a second thought)!  Not to worry, you’ve linked your refrigerator’s sensor data with your favorite grocery store.  An alert is sent asking if you want more milk, and oh by the way, your shopping patterns indicate you may be running out of your son’s favorite cereal too, so it offers you a special discount if you add a box to your order.  Oh yeah, of course he was complaining about being out just yesterday!  And whala, a gallon of milk and some Cinnamon Toast Crunch magically arrives at your door by the end of the day.  Heck, it will probably arrive within an hour via a drone if Amazon has anything to say about it!  No manual business processes whatsoever.  It’s your appliance’s sensors talking to your customer data warehouse, which is talking to your marketing automation system, which is talking to a mobile app, which is talking to an ordering system, which is talking to a payment system, which is talking to a logistics/delivery system.  That is, of course, if your internal processes are ready!

Some of the More Weird and Wacky, But There May Just Be Something…

Smart MirrorPanasonic’s Smart Mirror allows you to analyze your skin and allows you to visualize yourself with different makeup or even a different haircut.  Cosmetics and hair care companies should be all over this.  Imagine the possibilities of visualizing yourself looking absolutely stunning – if only virtually – with perfect makeup and hair.  Who wouldn’t want to rush right out and capture the look for real?   What if a store front could virtually put the passer-byer in their products, and once the customer is inside the store, point them to the products that were featured?  Take it a step further and send them a special offer the next week to come back buy the hat that just goes perfectly with the rest of the outfit.  It all sounds a little bit “Minority Report-esque”, but it’s closer to becoming true every day.  The power of the interconnected world is endless for the marketer.

BeltyAnd then there’s Belty…  it’s definitely garnered a lot of news (and snarky comments too!).  Belty is a smart belt that slims or expands based upon your waist size at that very moment – whether you’re sitting, standing, or just had a too-large meal.  I don’t see Belty taking off, but you never know!  If it does however, can’t you just see Belty sending a message to your Weight Watchers app about needing to get back on diet?  Or better yet, pointing you to the Half Yearly Sale at Nordstrom because you’re getting too skinny for your pants?

The “Internet of Things” is Becoming Reality… Is Your Marketing Team Ready?

The internet of things is already changing the way consumers live, and it’s beginning to change the way marketers market.  With the It is critical that marketers are thinking about how they can leverage the new devices and the data they provide.  Connecting the dots between devices can become a marketer’s best friend (if they’re ready), or worst enemy (if they’re not).

Are you ready?  Ask yourself these 6 questions:

  1. Are your existing business applications connected to one another?   Do your marketing systems “talk” to your finance systems and your sales systems and your customer support systems?
  2. Do you have fist-class data quality and validation technology and practices in place?  Real-time, automated processes will only amplify data quality problems.
  3. Can you connect easily to any new data source as it becomes available, no matter where it lives and no matter what format it is in?  The only constant in this new world is the speed of change, so if you’re not building processes and leveraging technologies that can keep up, you’re already missing the boat!
  4. Are you building real time capabilities into your processes and technologies?  You systems are going to have to handle real-time sensor data, and make real-time decisions based on the data they provide.
  5. Are your marketing analytics capabilities leading the pack or just getting out of the gate?  Are they harnessing all of the rich data available within your organization today?  Are you ready to analyze all of the new data sources to determine trends and segment for maximum effect?
  6. Are you talking to your counterparts in IT, logistics, finance, etc. about the business processes and technologies you are going to need to harness the data that the interconnected world of today, and of the near future?  If not, don’t wait!  Begin that conversation ASAP!

Informatica is ready to help you embark on this new and exciting data journey.  For some additional perspectives from Informatica on the technologies announced at CES2015, I encourage you to read some of my colleagues’ recent blog posts:

Jumping on the Internet of Things (IoT) Band Wagon?

CES, Digital Strategy and Architecture: Are You Ready?

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Marketers Can Use Big Data By Applying Their Strength: Storytelling

What do all marketers have in common? Marketing guru Seth Godin famously said that all marketers are storytellers. Stories, not features and benefits, sell.

Anyone who buys a slightly more expensive brand of laundry detergent because it’s “better” proves this. Godin wrote that if someone buys shoes because he or she wants to be associated with a brand that is “cool,” that brand successfully told its story to the right market.

Big Data and Storytelling

Big Data and Storytelling

A story has heroes we identify with. It has a conflict, which the heroes try to overcome. A good story’s DNA is an ordinary person in unusual circumstances. When is the last time you had an u­nusual result from your marketing campaigns? Perhaps a pay-per-click ad does poorly in your A/B testing. Or, there’s a high bounce rate from your latest email campaign.

Many marketers aren’t data scientists. But savvy marketers know they have to deal with big data, since it has become a hot topic central to many businesses. Marketers simply want to do their jobs better — and big data should be seen as an opportunity, not a hindrance.

When you have big data that could unlock great insight into your business, look beyond complexity and start with your strength as a marketer: Storytelling.

To get you started, I took the needs of marketers and applied them to these “who, what, why and how” principles from a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by the author of Big Data at Work, Tom Davenport:

Who is your hero? He or she is likely your prospective or existing customer.

What problem did the hero have? This is the action of the story. Here’s a real-life example from the Harvard Business Review article: Your hero visits your website, and adds items to the shopping cart. However, when you look at your analytics dashboard, you notice he or she never finishes the transaction.

Why do you care about the hero’s problem? Identifying with the hero is important for a story’s audience. It creates tension, and gives you and other stakeholders the incentive you need to dig into your data for a resolution.

How do you resolve the problem? Now you see what big data can do — it solves marketing problems and gives you better results. In the abandoned shopping cart example, the company found that people in Ireland were not checking out. The resolution came from the discovery that the check-out process asked for a postal code. Some areas of Ireland have no postal codes, so visitors would give up.

Remember it’s possible that the data itself is the problem. If you have bad contact data, you can’t reach your customers. Find the source of your bad data, and then you can return to your marketing efforts with confidence.

While big data may sound complicated or messy, if you have a storytelling path like this to take, you can find the motivation you need to uncover the powerful information required to better engage with your audience.

Engaging your audience starts with having accurate, validated information about your audience. Marketers can use data to fuel their campaigns and make better decisions on strategy and planning. Learn more about data quality management in this white paper.

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Swim Goggles, Great Data, and Total Customer Value

Total Customer Value

Total Customer Value on CMO.com

The other day I ran across an article on CMO.com from a few months ago entitled “Total Customer Value Trumps Simple Loyalty in Digital World”.  It’s a great article, so I encourage you to go take a look, but the basic premise is that loyalty does not necessarily equal value in today’s complicated consumer environment.

Customers can be loyal for a variety of reasons as the author Samuel Greengard points out.  One of which may be that they are stuck with a certain product or service because they believe there is no better alternative available. I know I can relate to this after a recent series of less-than-pleasant experiences with my bank. I’d like to change banks, but frankly they’re all about the same and it just isn’t worth the hassle.  Therefore, I’m loyal to my unnamed bank, but definitely not an advocate.

The proverbial big fish in today’s digital world, according to the author, are customers who truly identify with the brand and who will buy the company’s products eagerly, even when viable alternatives exist.  These are the customers who sing the brand’s praises to their friends and family online and in person.  These are the customers who write reviews on Amazon and give your product 5 stars.  These are the customers who will pay markedly more just because it sports your logo.  And these are the customers whose voices hold weight with their peers because they are knowledgeable and passionate about the product.  I’m sure we all have a brand or two that we’re truly passionate about.

Total Customer Value in the Pool

Total Customer Value

Total Customer Value in the Pool

My 13 year old son is a competitive swimmer and will only use Speedo goggles – ever – hands down – no matter what.  He wears Speedo t-shirts to show his support.  He talks about how great his goggles are and encourages his teammates to try on his personal pair to show them how much better they are.  He is a leader on his team, so when newbies come in and see him wearing these goggles and singing their praises, and finishing first, his advocacy holds weight.  I’m sure we have owned well over 30 pair of Speedo goggles over the past 4 years at $20 a pop – and add in the T-Shirts and of course swimsuits – we probably have a historical value of over $1000 and a potential lifetime value of tens of thousands (ridiculous I know!).  But if you add in the influence he’s had over others, his value is tremendously more – at least 5X.

This is why data is king!

I couldn’t agree more that total customer value, or even total partner or total supplier value, is absolutely the right approach, and is a much better indicator of value.  But in this digital world of incredible data volumes and disparate data sources & systems, how can you really know what a customer’s value is?

The marketing applications you probably already use are great – there are so many great automation, web analytics, and CRM systems around.  But what fuels these applications?  Your data.

Most marketers think that data is the stuff that applications generate or consume. As if all data is pretty much the same.  In truth, data is a raw ingredient.  Data-driven marketers don’t just manage their marketing applications, they actively manage their data as a strategic asset.

Total Customer Value

This is why data is king!

How are you using data to analyze and identify your influential customers?  Can you tell that a customer bought their fourth product from your website, and then promptly tweeted about the great deal they got on it?  Even more interesting, can you tell that that five of their friends followed the link, 1 bought the same item, 1 looked at it but ended up buying a similar item, and 1 put it in their cart but didn’t buy it because it was cheaper on another website?  And more importantly, how can you keep this person engaged so they continue their brand preference – so somebody else with a similar brand and product doesn’t swoop in and do it first?  And the ultimate question… how can you scale this so that you’re doing this automatically within your marketing processes, with confidence, every time?

All marketers need to understand their data – what exists in your information ecosystem , whether it be internally or externally.  Can you even get to the systems that hold the richest data?  Do you leverage your internal customer support/call center records?  Is your billing /financial system utilized as a key location for customer data?  And the elephant in the room… can you incorporate the invaluable social media data that is ripe for marketers to leverage as an automated component of their marketing campaigns?
This is why marketers need to care about data integration

Even if you do have access to all of the rich customer data that exists within and outside of your firewalls, how can you make sense of it?  How can you pull it together to truly understand your customers… what they really buy, who they associate with, and who they influence.  If you don’t, then you’re leaving dollars, and more importantly, potential advocacy and true customer value, on the table.
This is why marketers need to care about achieving a total view of their customers and prospects… 

And none of this matters if the data you are leveraging is plain incorrect or incomplete.  How often have you seen some analysis on an important topic, had that gut feeling that something must be wrong, and questioned the data that was used to pull the report?  The obvious data quality errors are really only the tip of the iceberg.  Most of the data quality issues that marketers face are either not glaringly obvious enough to catch and correct on the spot, or are baked into an automated process that nobody has the opportunity to catch.  Making decisions based upon flawed data inevitably leads to poor decisions.
This is why marketers need to care about data quality.

So, as the article points out, don’t just look at loyalty, look at total customer value.  But realize, that this is easier said than done without a focusing in on your data and ensuring you have all of the right data, at the right place, in the right format, right away.

Now…  Brand advocates, step up!  Share with us your favorite story.  What brands do you love?  Why?  What makes you so loyal?

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Is Thanksgiving the Most Data-Driven Holiday?

Is Thanksgiving the Most Data-Driven Holiday?

Thanksgiving: The Most Data-Driven Holiday?

Turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie… and lots and lots of data on the side. Thanksgiving has to be the most data-driven holiday we have. After Black Friday, we will see a slew of reports and headlines describing how the retail industry’s sales performed.

What are retailers all abuzz about right now as we get closer to the Black Friday / Cyber Monday dates?

This year, retailers are using between 31-50% of their online marketing budget on holiday-related efforts alone, according to the National Retail Federation.

The NRF also projects that almost 20% of the retail industry’s annual sales will come from the holiday period.

This sounds like so much pressure, any retail marketer would crack like a chestnut under it. What’s a marketer to do? Here are some tactics and results around peak season holiday marketing.

Segmentation is a great way to see a big lift in sales. If you have the data to understand your customers and identify emerging segments in your market, you can find new business and directly target it with specific messaging. One recent case reported by Target Marketing Magazine showed a 40% year-over-year sales increase from a new segment that was identified and targeted with tailored messaging. Learn more about getting the most from your customer data in this white paper, “Data Quality Management: Beyond the Basics.”

Know your email sender reputation. You spend so much effort getting the right message out via email marketing with the right timing over different days leading up to Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Green Monday into December. But a poor email sender reputation can lead to those efforts being blocked or sent to the junk folder instead of to your customers. Global retailer BCBG proactively avoided this, using data validation and cleansing techniques to send their sender reputation sky-high (which you can read more about here.) Don’t let a bad sender reputation limit you during the holidays — especially when it can take up to 15 days to fix a major issue like this. Find out more in this short informative video, “Email Sender Reputation: What Does it Mean to Marketers?”

Everyone, positively everyone, is talking about mobile. Practically every article you come across on the subject of retail industry sales around the peak season holiday mentions mobile in some respect – for very good reason. Shoppers take their phones and tablets shopping with them to compare prices, look for deals, and research their purchases beforehand. The NRF reports that 7 out of 10 retailers they surveyed are putting major investments into their mobile-friendly websites. A well-timed SMS message to your customers with a special deal just for them could work wonders. You can take advantage of the huge popularity of SMS mobile messaging in just a few steps. See how in this SMS Quick-Start Guide created for marketers like you.

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How Citrix is Using Great Data to Build Fortune Teller-Like Marketing

Build Fortune Teller-Like MarketingCitrix: You may not realize you know them, but chances are pretty good that you do.  And chances are also good that we marketers can learn something about achieving fortune teller-like marketing from them!

Citrix is the company that brought you GoToMeeting and a whole host of other mobile workspace solutions that provide virtualization, networking and cloud services.  Their goal is to give their 100 million users in 260,000 organizations across the globe “new ways to work better with seamless and secure access to the apps, files and services they need on any device, wherever they go.”

Citrix LogoCitrix is a company that has been imagining and innovating for over 25 years, and over that time, has seen a complete transformation in their market – virtual solutions and cloud services didn’t even exist when they were founded. Now it’s the backbone of their business.  Their corporate video proudly states that the only constant in this world is change, and that they strive to embrace the “yet to be discovered.”

Having worked with them quite a bit over the past few years, we have seen first-hand how Citrix has demonstrated their ability to embrace change.

The Problem:

Back in 2011, it became clear to Citrix that they had a data problem, and that they would have to make some changes to stay ahead in this hyper competitive market.  Sales & Marketing had identified data as their #1 concern – their data was incomplete, inaccurate, and duplicated in their CRM system.  And with so many different applications in the organization, it was quite difficult to know which application or data source had the most accurate and up-to-date information.  They realized they needed a single source of the truth – one system of reference where all of their global data management practices could be centralized and consistent.

The Solution:

The marketing team realized that they needed to take control of the solution to their data concerns, as their success truly depended upon it.  They brought together their IT department and their systems integration partner, Cognizant to determine a course of action.  Together they forged an overall data governance strategy which would empower the marketing team to manage data centrally – to be responsible for their own success.

Citrix Marketing EnvironmentAs a key element of that data governance / management strategy, they determined that they needed a Master Data Management (MDM) solution to serve as their Single Trusted Source of Customer & Prospect Data.  They did a great deal of research into industry best practices and technology solutions, and decided to select Informatica as their MDM partner. As you can see, Citrix’s environment is not unlike most marketing organizations.  The difference is that they are now able to capture and distribute better customer and prospect data to and from these systems to achieve even better results.  They are leveraging internal data sources and systems like CRM (Salesforce) and marketing automation (Marketo).  Their systems live all over the enterprise, both on premises and in the cloud.  And they leverage analytical tools to analyze and dashboard their results.

The Results:

Citrix strategized and implemented their Single Trusted Source of Customer & Prospect solution in a phased approach throughout 2013 and 2014, and we believe that what they’ve been able to accomplish during that short period of time has been nothing short of phenomenal.  Here are the higlights:

Citrix Achieved Tremendous Results

  • Used Informatica MDM to provide clean, consistent and connected channel partner, customer and prospect data and the relationships between them for use in operational applications (SFDC, BI Reporting and Predictive Analytics)
  • Recognized 20% increase in lead-to-opportunity conversion rates
  • Realized 20% increase in marketing team’s operational efficiency
  • Achieved 50% increase in quality of data at the point of entry, and a 50% reduction in the rate of junk and duplicate data for prospects, existing accounts and contact
  • Delivered a better channel partner and customer experience by renewing all of a customers’ user licenses across product lines at one time and making it easy to identify whitespace opportunities to up-sell more user licenses

That is huge!  Can you imagine the impact on your own marketing organization of a 20% increase in lead-to-opportunity conversion?  Can you imagine the impact of spending 20% less time questioning and manually massaging data to get the information you need?  That’s game changing!

Because Citrix now has great data and great resulting insight, they have been able to take the next step and embark on new fortune teller-like marketing strategies.   As Citrix’s Dagmar Garcia discussed during a recent webinar, “We monitor implicit and explicit behavior of transactional leads and accounts, and then we leverage these insights and previous behaviors to offer net new offers and campaigns to our customers and prospects…  And it’s all based on the quality of data we have within our database.”

I encourage you to take a few minutes to listen to Dagmar discuss Citrix’s project on a recent webinar.  In the webinar, she dives deeper into their project, the project scope and timeline, and to what she means by “fortune telling abilities”.  Also, take a look at the customer story section of the Informatica.com website for the PDF case study.  And, if you’re in the mood to learn more, you can download a complimentary copy of the 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM of Customer Data Solutions.

Hat’s off to you Citrix, and we look forward to working with you to continue to change the game even more in the coming months and years!

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