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A Brief History of Consumer Engagement: Part 2

A four-part series chronicling the origins of today’s permission marketing landscape


By the close of the 20th Century, unrelenting (and ever-faster) technological innovation democratized media and shattered the one-way communication model. The rise of the Internet in the 1990s1, coupled with micro-processing power that brought it (and voice, and video, and photography and everything else) into the palm of the consumer’s hand created a landscape where companies spoke to consumers and consumers held the power to reply. Now fully liberated from the trappings of geography and availability, consumers demand personalization and recognition of unique preferences.
“Permission doesn't have to be a one-way broadcast medium. The internet means you can treat different people differently, and it demands that you figure out how to let your permission base choose what they hear and in what format.”
- Seth Godin
 As consumers gained a voice in the engagement paradigm, marketers and advertisers were quickly forced to recognize the new reality. Two key themes converged to initiate this landmark change: brand-side efforts to capture a customer's expectations, preferences and aversions through Voice of the Customer methodology and a powerful consumer-side backlash to behavior tracking, interruption advertising and unwanted communications in the form of phone calls, spam and direct mail.

The result? Marketing guru Seth Godin dubbed it “permission marketing,” the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. According to Godin, brands needed to recognize the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing and realize that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

Fast-forward to today and the opportunity to risk ratio on consumer engagement looms even larger. In their 2013 US Consumer Confidence Index, TRUSTe found that 89 percent of adults worry about their privacy online, 43 percent do not trust businesses with their personal information, and 89 percent avoid doing business with companies that do not take steps to protect their privacy.2Even the most tech-savvy customers are skeptical. According to a study by Cisco, three-fourths of generation Y consumers don’t trust marketers to use their data in a way that doesn’t compromise privacy.3

At the same time, consumers are rewarding companies that engage them responsibly and deliver personalized experiences. According to Forrester Research, more than 75 percent of consumers say companies should let them decide how they can be contacted.4 Moreover, 45 percent of global consumers are willing to share personal information with brands in exchange for relevant ads, according to research from IPG Mediabrands and Microsoft.5

Ignoring the self-reported preferences of prospects and customers leads to enormous missed opportunity costs while misusing or abusing that information is even worse. In order to remain competitive, marketers must implement smart processes for the collection, maintenance and distribution of consumer information. Enter “preference management,” a relatively new addition to the marketing lexicon and the logical extension of Voice of the Customer methodology and permission marketing insights.

Companies must be able to listen to consumers and learn from what they say. The key to that process is preference management – the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication.

These preferences are not derived by profile data, purchase history or where they are on a website; rather, they are expressly stated by the consumer themselves. In other words, preference management means giving customers and prospects the ability to conveniently communicate with a company, recording the information in a central location and acting on what they say.

4 http://www.forrester.com/Marketers+Stop+The+Abuse+Adopt+Preference+Management/fulltext/-/E-RES53621



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

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Here's our roundup of recent news and views worth checking out:


Is Your Contact Center a Compliance Target?

The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) continues to impact and affect call centers across the country. To avoid falling victim to expensive class-action lawsuits, work towards a unified system that collects and manages customer data. Learn about the importance of maintaining compliance and what can happen if it is neglected. Click here for full article.





Let Customers Drive Your Business Strategy

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, customers are a valuable asset. Top CEOs discuss the importance of putting your customer in the driver’s seat and letting them steer business strategy. Consumer input can inspire groundbreaking ideas and shake up stale practices. Read real examples of how businesses have successfully implemented their customers’ ideas and made them a part of their decision-making process. Click here for full article.



Creating a Stronger Customer Experience

How do companies make a lasting impression on (maybe “with”) customers? They go above and beyond what is expected to create a positive consumer experience. Companies are raising the bar and providing exceptional service, and customer expectations are following suit. Brooks Brothers may have had a hiccup in quality, but it was able to make up for it by listening to customers and expeditiously responding to the issue. Click here for full article.



Improved Customer Experience Revolutionizes Dining

To the delight of many, Panera is in the process of introducing iPads to its ordering process. In an effort to curtail long lines and congested pickup areas, this national chain is looking to enhance the customer experience. Its bold decision echoes the move that many companies are making to cater to customers. It won’t be long to see whether this move revolutionizes the dining experience and attracts a new and curious clientele. Click here for full article.







Mass Information And Effective Personalization

Thanks to the many channels consumers use to indicate their preferences, likes, and interests, we have the ability to learn a great deal about them. Unfortunately, sometimes the sheer amount of data can be overwhelming. Don’t get lost in a sea of information and miss out on learning about your audience and responding to their preferences. Click here for full article.








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 http://www.cemsummit2013.com

A Brief History of Consumer Engagement: Part 1

A four-part series chronicling the origins of today’s permission marketing landscape

Over the course of the 19th Century, the steady rise of industry and the formulation of a market economy (fueled by wage labor instead of the traditional system of apprenticeship) as well as the establishment of national banking standards created a sound, firm base for modern, capitalist economics. From an increasingly industrialized and urbanized landscape, the concept of modern advertising – direct messages from brand to consumer – emerged in American society.

Advertising and the nascent brand identities it created grew as transportation, production methods and access to capital were combining to produce the first definition of consumerism. To date, consumer engagement (such as it was) existed in the form of simple, static advertising messages on signs or leaflets and physical patronage of a store or marketplace. Interactions occurred, preferences were stated and some form of relationship took place. But that relationship existed inside the strong boundaries of geography, availability and value. 





As true national consumer markets grew and solidified, a new dynamic emerged: a competition of ideas instead of mere availability. And this competition was most evident in the fast-growing mass communication channels of the era. By 19221, radio advertising was reaching large, geographically disparate audiences with compelling messages. Television advertising soon followed and the golden age of one-way, interruption advertising had begun. Consumer engagement had evolved into an active competition for brand recognition, affinity, loyalty and evangelism. But it had yet to become a true conversation between company and consumer.




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 http://www.cemsummit2013.com

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Here's our roundup of recent news and views worth checking out:

Empower Customer-Facing Employees to Engage Customers

Who doesn't appreciate it when a company goes above and beyond? Customers welcome an experience where they feel like time is being saved or their lives are being made simpler. Cater to your customers and encourage your customer-facing employees to take the necessary time in creating a thoughtful and positive customer experience. A little extra effort can go a long way. By personalizing your customers' experience, they're more likely sharing their enthusiasm for your brand. Click here for the full article.

Beware of Customer Experience Management Shortcuts

Shortcuts can be appealing but they don't typically pay off. Customer experience management requires careful planning and seamless execution. Don't waste time trying to cut corners when it comes to creating an efficient and effective platform. You’re better off taking the time to outline your program architecture, maximize your survey data and key performance indicators, and include your stakeholders in on the process. Unless you're willing to roll the dice and come out on the bottom, take the necessary time and steps to be successful and reach the top. Click here for the full article.

Persuasion and the Empowered Consumer

Consumers are bombarded with messages on a daily basis. Rather than overwhelm them with meaningless content, be strategic and respond to their preferences by paying attention to their behaviors and habits. Jason Silva discusses the concept of "engineered serendipity" and how companies can quantify and measure their consumer base to create more appealing messages. Take advantage of the empowered consumer and create a customized and personal experience. Click here for the video.

Zappos, Sephora Leverage Selfies For Customer Engagement, Sales

With 71 percent of consumers likely to make purchases based upon social media referrals, retailers like Zappos and Sephora have started utilizing the power of the selfie. Websites have launched personal shopping services aimed to enhance the customer experience by eliciting the help of personal stylists and hashtags. Consumers are now receiving a more personalized shopping experience from the comfort of their own home. Using this technology to draw attention to particular products and trends gives retailers more power to reach their consumers. Click here for the full article.

Why CEOs Should Care About Mobile Security

CEOs aren't expected to have all the answers when it comes to mobile security, but they should be asking questions and doing their due diligence to make sure their infrastructure is secure. Mobile devices have changed the landscape of workplace security and require additional measures to insure safety and security. Secure web connections should not, but often times do, instill a false sense of security. Companies large and small need to have a supported and trained IT team to avoid costly and dangerous security breaches. Click here for the full article.



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 http://www.cemsummit2013.com

Webinar: Eric Holtzclaw on Benchmarking Your Customer Maturity Level


As CMOs seek to deepen customer engagement and leverage new tools for feedback and personalization, they often face a troubling question: how are we doing? Lacking the benchmarking tools to understand their position, they struggle through budget battles and wonder about competition and relevancy in an increasingly crowded marketplace. 

With this dilemma in mind, PossibleNOW Chief Strategist Eric Holtzclaw has introduced a new benchmarking methodology designed to create clarity and transparency around customer engagement. He spoke about this in a recent webinar available for viewing here.



Viewers can expect to:
  • Gain insight into the ways companies should adjust their communication efforts to meet the changing needs and expectations of their customers.
  • Learn why it’s important to move away from silos that create a fractured and limited understanding of customers.
  • Determine if your company is missing the mark when it comes to creating a customer-centric experience.
Throughout this webinar, data, trends and studies are shared and explained to illustrate the pivot that companies have made from technology-enabled relationship management to preference-informed management.

Not sure how you measure up? View the webinar today and start the discovery process. 

View other interesting videos at our Resource Center





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 - hits bookstores this summer. Eric leads the professional services organization to strategically guide companies on the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.

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

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