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Don’t Let Irrelevant Messaging Cause Your Customers to Leave. Learn What ULTA Is Doing.

"…It's worrying how many consumers feel misunderstood and [feel] that brands aren't listening to them."

These are the thoughts of Jeremy King, CEO of Attest, regarding his company's consumer study, which revealed that over a third of UK consumers feel 'misunderstood' by brands. This could be why, according to Teradata, nearly all (90%) of marketers now believe individualized messaging is the future of marketing moving forward, "beyond segmentation to true one-to-one personalization."

If you don't already have voice of consumer-driven relevancy at the top of your marketing priority list consider this; in a study by Janrain and Blue Research it was noted that 94% of survey respondents took at least one of these actions in response to irrelevant messaging:
  • Automatically deleted the emails (68%);
  • Unsubscribed from emails (54%);
  • Categorized emails as "junk" or "spam" (45%);
  • Became less likely to buy products (29%);
  • Visited the website less frequently (13%); and
  • Never visited the website again (10%).

The study also found that the irritation threshold is now so low that it takes only a few mistakes to turn off consumers: almost half said they automatically delete emails or categorize them as "junk" after being mis-targeted twice; 38% unsubscribe after receiving two mis-targeted emails.

One brand that has re-evaluated how they personalize the customer experience to ensure relevance is beauty retailer, ULTA, which has more than 16 million active loyalty members. And, Fortune recently selected ULTA's CEO, Mary Dillon as one of the most powerful women for 2016.

One of the main reasons ULTA has grown so quickly was the realization that because their products are available through multiple channels, their differentiating factor had to be their consumer experience. To facilitate their omnichannel personalization strategies, they leveraged technology in a campaign they named "connected beauty," which integrates in-store, mobile, social, online and app experiences. "Our concept of connected beauty is really about making sure that we connect with our guests across all touch-points in the same way," says Diane Randolph, CIO at ULTA Beauty.

And according to Lockie Antonopoulos, IT director of mobility at ULTA Beauty, "Technology is giving ULTA the opportunity to strive toward its goals. By giving information at a quicker pace to both our executive team and our store associates, they are able to react in a more timely manner."

Technology allows ULTA customers to get real-time inventory for their local store so they know whether their chosen product is available before they arrive. Consultants can use tablets in-store to access customer information such as shopping history, previous purchases, loyalty point balances, and previous loyalty program redemptions. "We're thinking about the loyalty experience every day... We then attach the info we get from the [in store] consultation to our loyalty program, which enables further personalization," Antonopoulos stated.

ULTA's CMO Dave Kimbell goes on to state, "We're trying to innovate to meet her needs and get ahead of her expectations to personalize the experience whenever she wants it in the store, online or on an app. It's critical to our competitive success because that's how she wants to shop and other retailers that are focused on one or the other can't do that."

TakeAways
  1. Irrelevant marketing now has unprecedented consequences. It has become a reason to sever ties with a brand. If consumers feel their preferences aren't requested or respected, they see little reason to buy from that brand, given the many other choices.
  2. True relevancy is based on an omnichannel strategy which prioritizes getting to know your customer's individual preferences.
  3. Understand how your customer shops your brand and their preferred touchpoints. Build ways to connect these touchpoints so no matter how they engage, they are getting relevance and consistency.



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/

Preference Data ROI: The Road Ahead

Preference Management Video Series

As we've moved through the layers of customer relationship maturity levels – the degree to which the experience offered by a brand engenders engagement and loyalty to earn long-term relationships – you're well on your way to identifying and thus improving your company's standings with customers.

With this information, you can be more prepared to leverage preference data to interact with customers in ways that build affinity, loyalty, and relationships. Moving from company-centric all the way through to customer-centric is a journey, but it's a worthwhile one.


Whether you see yourself as reactive, customer-centric, or somewhere in between, it's beneficial to recognize certain truths.

First, the Customer Relationship Maturity benchmark scale is merely a reflection of what's already going through the mind of your customers. Brands and interactions are constantly being graded and earning reactions whether they know it or not. The data proves this.

Second, the good news: It is possible to improve. Technology paired with expertise can untangle and address complex, disparate enterprise systems and shift them toward flexible, permission-based models.

Last, savvy companies recognize that the customer-centric movement is only speeding up. Broad trends are apparent as we shift toward empowered, eager consumers – meaning that each day without interactive, permission-based relationships represents lost ground.

Learn more about the road ahead in this short video and by reviewing 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

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/

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

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

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/

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

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

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/

The One Thing Mobile Wallets Lack

Mobile wallets are on the rise for certain segments of the population, but they haven't yet taken off at the rate some were hoping, and no single mobile wallet has emerged as a go-to option for users. So what's lacking in the consumer's eyes? A recent survey of 1,500 consumers by Points, "The State of Mobile Wallet Loyalty and Engagement in 2016," had one particular finding that illuminated a pathway to higher engagement.

More than 94 percent of consumers said they would use a mobile wallet more frequently if they could earn and redeem loyalty points and miles with every transaction. This proves that the idea of convenience isn't enough for consumers to change habits – mobile wallets needs to offer added benefits.

Yet another study found that mobile loyalty reminders drive in-store traffic. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. respondents and 58 percent of U.K. respondents are likely to visit a store if they receive coupon reminders when they're near a store's location and the coupon is soon to expire.

These two data points suggest that mobile wallet users would rather feel even more integrated with their loyalty programs while they're untethered from a bulky wallet or bag. This means that mobile wallet technology has to integrate more omnichannel opportunities using preference management.

Preference management, the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication can help mobile wallet developers access consumers' loyalty memberships and create opportunities for customers to engage. By collecting and leveraging this data, consumers could and should be alerted to existing deals that they're eligible to receive, and would be doubly rewarded for their follow-through with additional loyalty points. Integrations like these would bring in the rest of the population – the less tech-savvy and those looking for deals – and be a welcome option for those already experimenting with mobile wallets.




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

ICYMI – Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Google now tells you when to book cheap flights and hotel rooms

Google's latest update to its travel tools includes improved information on pricing and predictive data that helps users decide if and when to purchase a flight. Using fares, historical data, and nearby airports or alternative travel dates, the notifications can suggest ways to find cheaper trips. Click here to read more. 


Your Phone's on Lockdown. Enjoy the Show.

Comedians, musicians and other entertainers are using special lockable pouches with phone-limiting technology by Yondr. While phones are enclosed, users are unable to use their phone – either taking a distracting call or making recordings of the performances. The pouches can be unlocked when the show is over and are gaining in popularity at schools, restaurants, wedding venues and movie screenings. Click here to read more.


Watch Charlie Rose interview a realistic-looking robot and ask her if she has feelings

Sophia, a robot with realistic facial expressions, moving lips and blinking eyes, has been programmed with enough artificial intelligence to converse about human emotions and her capability to feel them. Click here to read more.

Clinton camp resurrects dead Facebook tool

In 2012, the reelection campaign for President Barack Obama was able to leverage a Facebook tool that synchronized contact lists between phone contacts and users' Facebook friends. Two years ago Facebook removed the feature, which had allowed users to contact friends with campaign messages via personal text. However, the Clinton campaign has replicated the method using Facebook's iPhone app. Click here to read more.


How incentives are key to driving mobile wallet use

A survey by Points found that mobile wallets are gaining in popularity, with nearly 64 percent of consumers saying they've used one in the past year. One improvement users are after is integration with loyalty programs, and centralization for memberships in multiple loyalty programs. 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

Is Your Brand Committed To A Personalized Customer Experience? (Part 1)

Too many companies are still struggling to achieve deep and high-value relationships with customers. As a result, churn, attrition, and high opt-out rates continue to be significant problems. This is especially true among Millennial customers, who expect unprecedented levels of value and personalization from brands.

These findings are based on results from more than 160 VoC research studies our firm, ERDM, has conducted for brands such as Microsoft, HP, MassMutual, Gilt, and QVC.

In response to requests from CMOs, who are understandably frustrated and concerned by these persistent issues, we prepared eight questions to help determine whether your company is truly committed to personalizing the customer experience (CX) and building loyalty.

This article will be presented in two parts. Here are the first four questions, along with some possible answers and action items.

Question 1: What is your company's true appetite for CX and loyalty transformation?
According to Mike Polner, director of product marketing for Five Stars, a mobile loyalty app provider: "The most successful businesses ensure their staff is engaged and understand the value of loyalty."

And according to Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone UK: "Transformation needs to take place both internally and externally. ... Listening to customers and understanding customer value from their perspective will allow customer-centric transformation to take place."

Action Items:
  • Your brand culture and senior management need to support CX and loyalty initiatives by creating a customer-focused culture, customer-focused metrics, CX-based compensation, integrated consumer communication across all touch points, and an adequate CX budget allocation.
  • Keep the company engaged in the CX journey by establishing formal and regular means of providing the organization with progress report cards and performance against CX metrics.


Question 2: Do your fellow execs have a deep understanding of why you are focusing on CX and loyalty?
Brands that have successful consumer engagement strategies put consumer understanding at the top of their priority lists.

Bloomingdale chairman and CEO Tony Spring noted that consumer understanding is paramount in every aspect of the company's marketing. Here are some key quotes:

  • "This is the age of empowered consumers. We need to connect with customers on their terms."
  • "Consumers demand personalization and privacy. It’s a push-and-pull thing. We must instill trust as we build our relationship with our customers."

Additionally, John Gerhardt, senior vice president, creative branding direction, at LVMH-owned DFS Group, noted: "Every person has a story to tell about where their loyalty lies, and we were thrilled to explore that concept ... to celebrate and thank our customers for the immense loyalty they show us. ... We wanted to celebrate the value of loyalty, which is at the core of all these experiences."

Action Items:

  • A CX program without a clear-cut goal is a useless CX program. Know what you want to accomplish by engaging your customers, understand what engagement actually means to your customers, and understand what it will take to accomplish this goal.
  • Define the criteria for evaluating the success of your CX and loyalty strategies. Set benchmarks and determine what factors and data will be monitored on a regular basis to determine progress, success, and improvements.


Question 3: Do you have the right data, metrics, and segments to measure CX impact and success?
In structuring its loyalty program, Safeway examined many data factors, some of which were surprising. Here is an important note from the agency that structured the program: "You will run the danger of cannibalizing your business by giving rewards to people who are going to shop with you anyway. ... It is better to target your programs mainly to those whose behavior you want to change."

Prior to instituting the program, Safeway surveyed its customers and asked: How much do you spend on groceries every week, and where else do you shop? Answers were combined with the actual spending data to determine Safeway's "share of wallet" and gain understanding of new opportunities that could be uncovered with a loyalty program.

Action Items:

  • How are consumers interacting with your brand? Does your data provide that answer? If not, it's time to rethink how you collect and interpret incoming information to be sure that the data you are collecting is useful and brings actual insights to drive marketing initiatives.
  • Reinvent your data to put consumers into segments based on preferences, purchases, communication methods, inquiries/customer service issues, lapsed, new, loyal, etc. Then rethink communication and engagement strategies for each segment, not for customers in general.


Question 4: Does your staff have the right CX and loyalty skills, and do you have a customer advisory group?
Nick Mehta, CEO of marketing firm Gainsight, noted that having a dedicated customer success team, as well as a group of consumer advocates, is a necessity for building successful loyalty and CX. "The customer success team should be your eyes and ears. ... CS can tell you which users love using your service. ... Many times, users can offer informal advocacy and on-the-ground feedback that decision makers can’t. In addition, there are usually far more users than decision makers."

Action Items:

  • Who on your team could offer customer success insights? Take a look at your entire staff and hand pick representatives who can report on real-life CX interactions, problems, and successes for key learnings that can prompt new actions.
  • Arrange a consumer advocacy program with your most engaged customers to gain insights on how and why consumers are or aren't motivated to engage with the brand.


Part 1 Takeaways

  1. Active consumer listening with a goal of deep understanding is a key element of CX transformation because it lets brands look at touch points and interactions from a value-driven experience standpoint that cultivates ongoing loyalty, not just an end-point transaction goal.
  2. Building CX means building trust. If consumers do not trust a brand or trust that the brand will deliver value or appreciation for their loyalty, the consumer will go elsewhere for a better experience.
  3. Correct data interpretation is essential in developing CX innovation. True understanding of who and how consumers interact with the brand will shape every strategy, communication, and the CX program's success.
  4. Put together a customer success team with representatives from all aspects of CX and loyalty so that your company can continually have a 360-degree view of engagement wins and losses. Cultivate consumer advocacy so that you are regularly receiving input from those who interact with the brand most.



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/

MyPreferences 2.0 Debuts

When we introduced MyPreferences in 2011 it was designed to consolidate the collection, management and reporting of consumer preferences from an entire enterprise into a centralized system that seamlessly integrates with a company's CRM and marketing automation systems. MyPreferences cemented our reputation as the leading provider of customer engagement and enterprise preference management solutions.

Five years later, we've released an updated version with groundbreaking improvements. MyPreferences 2.0 continues to enhance customer engagement and provide enterprise preference management solutions, with added control and customization features designed to help marketers improve customer engagement.

Our new version offers marketers unprecedented control over the data that defines how their companies communicate with customers and prospects. It was designed for the permission-based, personalized future of marketing. The newest release continues a tradition of product innovation with new administration, analysis and international utilization capabilities.

The new features include:

Preference Manager – the next-generation application for preference management administration. Supports all your preference and consent management configuration needs. Built with an intuitive interface and responsive design that supports multiple device types.

Customizable/Extendable Data Model – leverage newly deployed custom property capabilities for driving customized user experiences across Lines of Business, Product Lines, Customer Types, or any other preference segments. User Interface driven setup and management, and API driven access.

Business Rules Repository – leverage preference manager User Interface expressing business rules capable of driving jurisdictional specific implementations, and designing multi-channel preference capture strategies that support compliance globally.

Advanced Data Segmentation & Data Export – leverages a powerful and flexible query builder with an easy-to-use user interface for constructing preference data segments, applying custom filters, and defining relationships between segment groups to feed into data export schedules for deep or wide data export.

Internationalization – an enhancement to existing capacities that enables organizations to personalize preference collection user interfaces by driving the user interface language associated with the use of custom or industry standard locales.



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

Holiday Inn’s Ortiz Answers 4 Questions For Marketing Innovators

Raul Ortiz is marketing director for the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands in the Americas. He has oversight for the teams that develop the annual marketing plans for the brands, execute integrated marketing programs behind one big brand campaign idea, and develop long-range, demand-generating, brand-building capabilities.

Ortiz recently participated in the "4 Questions for Marketing Innovators" series.

1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
Building and developing advertising that adds value to consumers' lives. Most brand and product leaders have put the consumer at the heart of their innovation strategy. Usually this is done by focusing on improving some aspect of their target's life. Unfortunately, we are not always as disciplined when it comes to advertising, and we far too often put our needs and wants ahead of those of our audience.

2. Why is this so important?
Technology has allowed consumers to be bombarded with more advertising than ever before. When you add this to the fact that there are a plethora of brands asking consumers to buy this or that, overcoming consumer apathy toward advertising is one of the biggest challenges to marketing ROI. In order to break through to consumers and drive purchase behavior, we need to be smarter about developing creative that connects with consumers' minds and their hearts. Technology has narrowed competitive product advantages so significantly in the past couple of decades. While striving to build continually improving product experiences, we also need to have holistic advertising that is relatable and improves the lives of our viewers/readers after experiencing it.

3. How will the customer experience be improved by this?
This disciplined approach to advertising would help consumers in numerous ways. Call me idealistic, but I aspire to help create a world where commercial breaks are a source of intrigue versus a source for groans. I want to be in a world where digital advertising anticipates the needs of our guests and connects them proactively not just with a product but, ultimately, to answers to questions they have at a life level.

If we are able to meet these ideals, we are giving consumers something no product or solution can replace, and that is time. The less time they spend fretting over where they're going on vacation or where they'll stay for their next big business trip, the more time they have for doing things that drive the most enjoyment or productivity in their lives.

4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
The more we respect the time of our audiences and consumers, the more they will reward us with trial and brand loyalty. The more trial and loyalty we drive with every dollar we spend, our brands will be rewarded with improved ROI. In order for advertising to have an effect, consumers have to engage with it. As I mentioned before, consumers are flooded with advertising, which means we need to give them a reason to engage with our social posts, content marketing, or 30-second ads.

I think that our campaign for the Holiday Inn brand, "Journey to Extraordinary," provides a great case study on the impact that heart- and mind-opening advertising can have on a business. The campaign started in 2014 as a traditional campaign, called "Change Your View," that had the goal of informing consumers about the significant investment our franchisees have made to improve our hotels and our service. We were effective with this approach, but our creative lead at Ogilvy & Mather, Jason Aspes, challenged us to tweak our approach and have our real guests tell consumers about their Holiday Inn travel experiences and share how the brand is helping them to make travel more memorable, more productive, and ultimately more enjoyable. The change to move the campaign from the perspective of the brand to that of our guests has worked out brilliantly for the business. We have been able to build the equity attributes we are targeting and drive unaided awareness and consideration in consecutive years. We have also seen big decreases in cost per conversion in both our TV and digital buys.

Bonus: Favorite activity outside of work?
Just one? I really love coaching my son's soccer team, but I probably most enjoy exploring the awesome restaurant scene in Atlanta with my wife and friends.



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/

The Technology to Solve Compliance Needs

With Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) class action lawsuits on the rise, compliance is more important now than ever before. In 2007, just 14 suits were filed nationwide. Last year that number jumped to more than 3,700. Because of broad interpretations of the statute by the Federal Communications Commission, lawsuits have found legal traction paired with uncapped statutory damages ranging from $500-1000 per violation.

Originally passed into law in 1991 in an effort to reduce unwanted telephone calls, TCPA has been amended over the years to include governance of SMS text messages, prerecorded voice messages and the use of automated dialing systems. That's why we recommend technology solutions and data verification services to help companies comply with privacy regulations – thereby avoiding the rising tide of class action lawsuits. 

"Any company that calls or texts consumers must understand the requirements of TCPA and use the right technology to process their campaign lists and verify permission," says Ron Patrick, Director of Product Architecture at PossibleNOW. 

It should also be noted that TCPA lawsuits are not limited to account recovery or outbound marketing companies. Lawsuits have been filed across many industries, including against sports franchises, social networking companies, retailers, pharmacies, travel and entertainment companies and online service providers.

PossibleNOW's MyPreferences collects and manages consent while DNCSolution scrubs and verifies contacts, empowering companies to engage in marketing, sales, support, account recovery and more. No matter your industry, there is a solution that fits your business and keeps you compliant. 



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

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