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Thursday, December 1, 2016

How Dove Engages Customers with Sincere and Authentic Cause Marketing

According to Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction, consumers are increasingly skeptical about insincere cause marketing efforts which just push products. Almost half (41 percent) of the agency's survey respondents said that insincere cause marketing was perceived as "just a spin" and 25 percent are annoyed by it. "Every brand has a corporate social responsibility … [but it shouldn't] be furthered as a marketing opportunity," said Kleinberg. "You have to put your money where your mouth is, and the consumers will see that."

This is consistent with our ERDM Learnings from 15,000+ hours of VoC Interviews regarding innovation-based customer listening. Here's what consumers said:
  • "With today’s technology, I expect brand communications to reflect my interests."
  • "I don’t want marketing when it comes to major issues."

Aligning your brand with a cause which is meaningful to your customers is an effective way to build long term relationships—if done authentically. According to statistics from the Cause Marketing Forum:
  • 72% of consumers have donated to charity at the register and 65% of consumers felt positively about the retailer after giving.
  • 80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues.

The "Dove Self Esteem Project" is a prime example of a brand listening to consumers and supporting their interests and concerns. The campaign offers resources for parents, educators, youth leaders and mentors to run their own "self esteem workshops." Additionally, The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report demonstrated the brand's sincere dedication to help its consumers by interviewing 10,500 women across 13 countries to get viewpoints and thoughts regarding body image.

According to Victoria Sjardin, Senior Global Director, Dove Masterbrand. "For over 50 years, Dove has been committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. With this new research, we hope to inspire women and girls everywhere to develop a positive relationship with the way they look."

The company states that since its campaign launch, the "Self Esteem Project" has impacted the lives of more than 19 million young people across 128 countries. It now has a new goal to up its social reach by 2020 – committing to positively impact an additional 20 million over the next four years.

TakeAways
1. Aligning your brand authentically with a cause of importance to your customers is vital among all demographic groups, but especially significant with Millennials.

According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 87 percent of Millennials believe that a company should have a larger purpose than sales and profits. Additionally in the Cone Millennial Cause Study, 79 percent indicate they’re likely to purchase a product from a company they consider socially responsible.

2. Efforts in cause marketing need to be authentic or you run the risk of turning off consumers.

"There has been a shift in perception among customers of what an authentic expression of a brand is," said Max Lenderman, CEO of cause-marketing specialist agency, School. "And jumping on a cause is increasingly being viewed as not authentic."

"With every passing day, it's getting harder and harder to pull the wool over people's eyes … " notes Jim Moriarty, director of Brand Citizenship. "We all crave authenticity. Brands can and should change the world. And the best way to do that is to initiate, support and amplify causes that are connected to the brand's business and mission."

3. For a cause campaign to be perceived as sincere, brands need to back up their commitment by providing resources, information, and opportunities for involvement rather than merely marketing messages.

The Harvard Business Review looked at top cause marketing campaigns and put together a list of key factors for success which included inspiring messaging; an element that people can experience in the real world and a big issue coupled with a request for a small personal action. Their bottom line recommendation? "[Create] public service engagement, not a public service announcement."

While consumers are looking to brands to take action on matters of importance to them, insincere cause marketing is perceived as simply another sales opportunity, and consumers do not want blatant marketing on major issues. Listening to your consumers and developing innovative means of reacting sincerely to meet their needs is a key way to build long term relationships—but only if done authentically.



About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

ICYMI – Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Why the New Pixel Smartphone Has Been a Modest Hit for Google

While Google gambled by targeting the high-end smartphone market, it's paid off due to its distinctive product-specific tools. The Pixel phones are the only smartphones that include the company's new new voice-driven digital assistant and are among the first to run on the Snapdragon 821 chip, the fastest processor offered by Qualcomm. The phones also include a highly rated camera that some reviewers said rivals the camera in iPhone 7 Plus. Click here to read more.


How this quirky clothing brand uses Snapchat to sell more shorts

Chubbies, a five-year-old apparel company, has taken a cue from its customers and moved to new social channels—including Snapchat. By creating interesting and entertaining videos and photos that entice consumers to add them as a "friend" on the app, the brand is able to reach a wider audience with compelling, creative content. Currently, Snapchat has more than 150 million daily active users globally, and says it reaches 41 percent of all U.S.18 to 34 year-olds. Click here to read more.


Cyber Monday: How mobile shopping and free shipping are shaking up our holiday traditions

Shopping on smartphones and tablets is becoming easier and more ubiquitous, changing purchasing habits and blurring the traditional lines between the designated days of the holiday shopping season. Mobile traffic was responsible for 55 percent of traffic to retail websites on Black Friday, and 36 percent of sales, according to Adobe's data. Click here to read more. 


San Francisco transit hack hints at possible attacks to come

When a hacker recently breached the fare system of the San Francisco Municipal Railway, officials responded by giving fare rides until further notice. The hacker then demanded a ransom to stop the attack. Experts believe that digital assaults are more likely to target institutions, which are more likely to pay a ransom than individuals, since like other victims of "ransomware" attacks, including schools and hospitals, transportation systems need to be open and operational in order to provide their services and make money. Click here to read more. 


How Google Knows When Your Bills Are Due

Through connected Gmail programs, the Google Now/Google Assistant software can remind users of need-to-be-paid bills, as well as notices about package deliveries, flight times, restaurant invitations and more. The information shown shouldn't include account numbers or anything too specific, but by adjusting the app's settings you can increase your privacy and avoid bill-payment (and similar) alerts, but you'll lose out on targeted advertising. Click here to read more. 




Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Consumer Expectations vs Overconfident Marketers

Ready to capture that Black Friday and Cyber Monday consumer data? Last year 243 million shoppers hit the stores over the four-day weekend – no doubt many of them will be loyal, return customers.

Collecting customer information in one place to provide personalized consumer experiences is at the core of most marketers' customer engagement strategies. That's because shoppers choose to return to these retailers, providing them with additional data including things like purchase history, communication preferences, and online shopping habits. Yet if customers come to feel like retailers don't understand who they are or what they need, that disconnect can put loyalty at odds, especially when other businesses are racing to catch up.

A study from Econsultancy and IBM reported that 81 percent of marketers believed their organization had "a view of individuals and segments across interactions and channels." But while most brands think that they already know and understand their customers, only 37 percent of consumers believe that their favorite retailers actually understand them.

How can you more fully capture your customer's preferences? And beyond capturing a breadth and depth of your customer's preferences, how can you ensure you have not only captured, but also reflected a unified view of him or her across channels. All the data in the world won't help if your customers don't recognize themselves in your company's interactions.

This disconnect between the understanding marketers have of their consumers and what the consumers actually want shows the urgent need for marketers to take action on the information they collect. But what does this disconnect mean: Do marketers truly not understand their customers? Or do consumers overestimate what retailers are capable of? Perhaps it's both.


Using preference management, which is the active management, maintenance, and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, retailers can address this issue at both ends.


On one hand, using preference management to collect consumer preferences can help marketers and the brands they represent create the more personalized buyer experience that their customers want. Giving consumers control over the conversation will also help marketers reassure their customers that their favorite brand is committed to gaining a better idea of what their customers want and need.



On the other end of the spectrum, preference management, when used correctly, can help retailers subtly show their customers a better idea of what level of consumer understanding they should realistically expect brands to have. One way they can do this is by letting their customers know during the collection process how they will use the gathered information.



So, how well do you really know your customers? Leverage the data your loyal customers are already giving you to create the personal experience they want and they'll keep coming back for more.




About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores in the summer of 2013. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.


Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Are You Delivering Cross-Channel Personalization? Learn What Under Armour and Saks Are Doing Right

There is a chasm between what customers are expecting in terms of personalization and what marketers are providing. According to findings from research conducted by TimeTrade: "93 percent of retail decision makers claim that personalization is a strategic focus but only 25 percent of shoppers say they receive a consistent, personal experience across channels." According to TimeTrade CEO, Gary Ambrosino, "to remain successful … brands must … ensure that service is prompt, personalized and consistent across channels."

Personalizing per your customer's individual needs is a 360-degree pursuit. It doesn't stop at the home page of your website or your consumer's email inbox. Personalizing the entire brand experience with Human Data that addresses individual's lifestyle and interests is critical for building long term relationships versus one-shot sales.

Per recent research conducted by our firm, marketers must make a profound shift from implicit data (information data mined or provided by customers for short-term interests or needs) to explicit self-profiled preference Human data (information provided by customers in the Preference Center of a site or through dialogue boxes). Findings from 2500+ hours of VoC research interviews for clients such as Gilt, MassMutual, IBM, HP and QVC, indicate that implicit data is simply not delivering on customer's expectations of value. To drive high levels of relevance and personalization, Millennials in particular, are willing to provide deep explicit Human Data regarding their preferences.

Fitness company, Under Armour offers "UA Shop", a lifestyle-based Custom Shopping App for their customer that provides a deeply personalized experience based on a shopper's athlete inspiration, workout history, and previous purchase history. For example, depending on the type of activity logged into a connected fitness tracker and their geographical location, a shopper will be presented with specific product suggestions relevant to their situation.

Jason LaRose, Senior Vice President, Revenue, at Under Armour noted about the app, "This app was created to … complement our existing in-store experiences … We are now able to provide custom experiences across our various categories specific to our diverse customer base."

High-end retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue have long offered in-store shopping services, but with today's busy on-the-go consumer, that service needed to be upgraded and expanded to include a virtual component. Today, Saks lets its customers connect with Saks Associates 24/7 to create personally curated saks.com boutique pages, via a dedicated URL. Interaction also includes live chat, email or scheduled appointments. In addition, Saks Associates can showcase personalized "storefronts" to customers through email and social media or via a mobile app.

"This is a highly personalized online solution to selling …" commented Marc Metrick, President, Saks Fifth Avenue, "with access to Associates 24/7, personalized services and more, we finally have the ability to bring the high-touch Saks experience and store environment online."

TakeAways
  1. Your customer, BtoB or BtoC, is a human being, not a cohort or data segment. Personalizing their full brand experience across all channels and touchpoints lets them know that you are listening and customizing interactions/solutions per their individual needs.
  2. Showing your shoppers how a product can solve a problem or enhance their lifestyle in a meaningful way lets them envision the brand as a true partner in their life. The brand becomes less about the sale of and more about a long-term ongoing solution.
  3. Today personalization is about putting the consumer in the driver's seat to determine how they want to engage, what they want to engage about, and when that engagement should take place. Brands need to become nimble in order to provide the types of personalized experiences their unique customers require.

Using Human Data for 360-degree personalization is about using consumer-supplied preference data to address lifestyle and interests, not to sell, but to build long-term relationships. Consumers now expect brands to know their needs and present them with highly personalized solutions and experiences.



About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Preference Data ROI: Preference Informed Relationship

Preference Management Video Series

It's tempting to believe that big data collection equals immediate insight, but those of us who've been at it for a while know that informing and supporting better customer relationships is dependent on much more than ordinary data. In fact, the best insight is dependent on customer-provided preferences.

In our last video series blog, we talked about TERM, which stands for "Technology Enabled Relationship Management" – the concept of forming an enterprise-wide view of your customers across all contact channels. And of course, the technology to do so has expanded rapidly. But now, in an effort to connect in a more authentic way, we advocate for PIRM, or "Preference Informed Relationship Management." However not all existing technology is capable of providing this information, because PRIM is about obtaining detailed information about a customer's behavior, needs, and buying patterns and then layering that data with consumer-provided preferences to enrich your view of the customer. And it's only at this point a company can fully use collected information to customize the relationship, thereby creating and supporting customer loyalty.

Preferences are key to unlocking and understanding existing, already-collected data and creating a layered and complex view of your customer. But because preference data comes directly from your customers, you know it's the most accurate starting point to understanding their wants and needs.

Are you operating from a company-centric point of view, or a customer-centric point of view? If you're not customer-centric, how can you get there?

In this short webinar, Eric Holtzclaw describes the ways in which companies often begin at the bottom of the pyramid by thinking big data is the best way forward. Learn more about re-conceptualizing an approach to data and preferences in our Preference Data ROI whitepaper.




In the following weeks, we'll continue to roll out videos to guide you through the power of preference data. If you haven't yet explored our Resource Center, you can download the Preference Data ROI whitepaper here.



Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Deck the Halls & Check Your Data

Grumbling about holiday d├ęcor in your local store? You're not alone. In fact, nearly three-quarters of Americans agree. A Creditcards.com poll showed that 73 perfect of polled adults agreed with the statement "it is annoying that the holiday shopping season has gotten earlier." Yet that doesn't mean they're boycotting the shopping lists – in fact 14 percent of survey respondents said they had started holiday shopping. One percent says they're already finished!

The good news is that aside from the over-achieving 1 percent of holiday shoppers, the rest are either at it already or about to be. As marketers, we've got work to do. Since the majority of shopping takes place in the month of December, right now marks the point at which you should be double-checking that your customer-facing systems are presenting a cohesive message to consumers. Avoiding unnecessary frustrations across touchpoints ensures they have a unified experience across platforms. Over time, your trustworthiness and familiarity proves that consumers can return to your brand for many of their holiday needs.



But even more important than the immediate to-do is following up on any advances you've put into place to capture consumer preferences. Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication, is the best way to encourage customers to engage with you on their terms. By acting on data provided by customers themselves throughout the year, you're able to shape and build relationships over time. Which means that come holiday shopping season, even that one percent of earlybird shoppers will have made their purchases thanks to guidance and communications from you that reflect their stated needs.

Another finding of the same survey? "Younger shoppers are also more likely to welcome an earlier start to the holidays. About one-third of millennials said they are not annoyed by early holiday shopping, double the rate of baby boomers... Not surprisingly, millennials are the most excited about shopping via mobile. One in five people ages 18 to 35 said their mobile devices would be their primary way to shop for the holidays."

That contingent represents a massive opportunity to coordinate across touchpoints for preferences. By offering personalization, time-saving opportunities or anticipatory answers to questions, you can be the big win in a hectic season that ends all too quickly.



Ninety-nine percent of customers are waiting for you. Have you spent the year earning your spot on their must-shop list?




About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores in the summer of 2013. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.


Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Is Your Brand Committed To A Personalized Customer Experience? (Part 2)

Recently I wrote about how to determine whether your company is truly committed to personalizing the customer experience (CX) and building loyalty. I presented the first half of eight questions to ask yourself; now I offer the rest.

My goal: to help you develop the strategies, action plans, and employee initiatives to satisfy unprecedented customer expectations for high-value engagement, personalization, and loyalty.

Question 5: Do you have in place the necessary CX/loyalty/CRM technology to connect with customers?
"Forward-looking organizations are making strides by focusing on three key ingredients: technology, data, and ownership," said Jefrey Gomez, managing director, Asia Pacific at Econsultancy, in this B&T article. Michael Kustreba, managing director of Epsilon, Asia Pacific, agreed: "The good news is that there are valuable insights from data, technology and proven methodologies that organizations can adopt to help them improve their customer experience delivery."

Case in point: Online retailer Zappos has devised "Zappos Labs," which focuses on solving consumers' pain points and creating optimized customer experiences across all channels. The brand's mobile app allows consumers to send Zappos employees a photograph of items seen on the street via text, email, or Instagram. A link is then sent back to the consumer to purchase it online.

Additionally, Zappos' customer service agents are reminded of their CX commitment with a "Happiness Experience Form," which reminds them to attempt at least two personal connections with consumers throughout interactions to address any needs and provide an "overall wow experience."

Action Items:
  • Examine the technology your company has in place to see what measures can be put in place right now to boost CX, such as reminders to staff, per the Zappos example. Also, explore how you can expand the technical capabilities and possibilities at each touch point to deliver improved CX.
  • Audit for the necessary level of collaboration of information sharing across the various departments and systems.

Question 6: Do you have a dedicated budget for new research to drive innovative CX/loyalty strategies?
Per research conducted by Epsilon, "Only 7% of companies have a single, dedicated budget for understanding the customer journey, and 27% have a dedicated budget split across different departments."

Jonathan Serebrin, user experience researcher for The Home Depot, advises that companies include all teams in research results and learnings to make them part of the company culture. Make sure that all departments understand how customers feel about the brand and products, he said. Every step of the testing and development process needs to assure synchronization with customers.

While CMOs are now understanding that a dedicated CX budget is essential to transformation, in the "Spotlight On 2016 CX Helps And Hurts" study by Forrester, a notation was made regarding budgets: "CMOs won't simply write blank checks. Instead they'll require CX teams to prove that their projects improve key performance indicators that marketers care about, like customer acquisition and engagement."

Action Items:
  • Take a closer look at carving out a slice of digital, social, marketing, sales, and IT budgets for one combined CX budget. Rather than depleting one department's funds, multiple stakeholder departments should contribute to the overall CX cause.
  • Be sure you have in place a solid benchmark of customer value and how/when milestones can be measured so that budget investments can be justified or adjusted in the future.

Question 7: Do the highest levels of management in your company support CX programs and staff?
The "Shifting Sands Of Marketing: Gartner 2015-2016 CMO Spend Survey" reported, "Business leaders understand that consumer expectations for fast, informative, convenient, and personalized transactions will continue to grow and that staying ahead of the competition is paramount."

And according to the Forrester/Heidrick & Struggles "2016 Evolved CMO report," "Evolved CMOs will need to commit to understanding customers and to driving that philosophy throughout their organizations with a customer-obsessed mindset."

Action Items:
  • In order for CX to succeed in your company, it is essential that there is buy in and commitment from every involved department at all levels.
  • CX innovation is a top-down change process.
  • However, it is marketing's responsibility to provide the vision and criteria for success.

Question 8: Does your company have a cross-functional and integrated culture?
The Deloitte "Global Human Capital Trends 2016" report stated that in today's evolving marketplace, companies need to adopt a new organizational structure to be more of a "network of teams" with strong communication and rapid information flow cross functionally. Additional data points from the report include:
  • 92% of companies said they believe redesigning the organization is very important. More than 80% of respondents reported that they are either currently restructuring their organizations or have recently completed the process.
  • The growth of the Millennial demographic, the diversity of global teams, and the need to innovate and work more closely with customers are driving a new organizational flexibility.

Action Items:
  • Understand what employees can bring to your CX efforts and place them in mission-focused teams by their contribution potential and experience.
  • Empower teams to set their own goals and make their own decisions in order to achieve CX goals.
  • Replace silos of information with information sharing cross functionally.



About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

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