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ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Amazon to Add Dozens of Brands to Dash Buttons, but Do Shoppers Want Them?

With just the push of a button, Amazon's thumb-drive-sized Dash Buttons enable shoppers to reorder favorite products as they begin to run low—and now users have 50 more brands to choose from. Marketed toward use of recurring items like laundry detergent, dog treats or toilet paper, the devices have increased available offerings, but data isn't clear on how frequently the buttons are used. (The Dash Buttons also face competition from Amazon's virtual assistants, which can help with automatic re-orders.) Click here to read more. 

Facebook Offers Tools for Those Who Fear a Friend May Be Suicidal

Facebook is unrolling tools that allow users to flag a friend's status they believe warrants intervention. For posts appearing suicidal, users can alert Facebook's review team who can then communicate with and provide resources to the user at risk. While mental health professionals are applauding the move, the social network is navigating digital privacy and overreach into personal lives. Click here to read more. 

Even launches $99 earphones that adjust to your hearing

Using tiny microphones within the earphone, Even is able to run wearers through 8 frequency tests in 90 seconds, setting them up for a personalized audio experience. The company's CEO is a classically trained composer and was frustrated that headphones don't account for the different ways people hear sounds, even between left and right ears. Click here to read more. 

Amazon's Alexa Now Lets Users Turn On New Skills By Voice Command

Amazon's virtual assistant software, Alexa, continues to grow its number of abilities. Previously users had to set up new skills using an app, but improvements now mean users can use a voice command to enable the skills, just as they do to request any other response. The software's skill set has grown nearly 50 percent in a month and boasts 1,400 skills, up from 1,000 skills in early June. Click here to read more. 

Facebook Is Now Recommending Events Based on Human Opinions, Not Algorithms

Select cities will have expanded events recommendations on Facebook, the social network announced. In addition to algorithm-based featured events—based on friends and interests—Facebook's new featured events team will highlight entertainment, arts, family, fitness, food, learning, music, sports events and more. The team will include factors like location and capacity, but not whether the event paid for 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

Are You Talking, or Walking?

"It's summer! Is your body ready for the beach?"

How many times have you heard that headline, reminding you to join a gym or order the salad or put down that beer? It's trite, but there's a lesson in it – if you want an outcome, you've got to work toward it in some way. 

All too often I meet with people who know what they're supposed to be doing. They know their business goals: increased loyalty, meaningful relationships with customers, seamless cross-channel recognition. Yet they simply aren't taking the steps to get there. 

A recent survey by Boston Retail Partners investigated personalization tactics used by North American retailers, with findings suggesting retailers were on the whole not acting on customer data, nor doing much to gather more or increase its utility. 

While many retailers use suggested-selling tools—using previous purchases to suggest next ones—only 4% of those surveyed do so and believe that it works well. Meanwhile, 16% of surveyed retailers are currently using personalized digital content and think it needs improvement. On the other hand, the same survey showed that 44% of retailers state that increasing customer loyalty is a focus for the next 12 months. Well then what are they doing? They're talking a big talk.

Suggested-selling is one technique for personalizing a customer's experience, but it's based on a moment in time, not a relationship. If retailers really want to walk the walk, preference management would ensure that relationship building is on the customer's terms – the best way to net loyal, return customers. The best way to meet all those goals you're supposed to be working toward, remember?

Preference management – the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication – optimizes ongoing relationships using personalization. By offering opt-ins to customers and indicating the benefits and limitations to sharing their preferences for communications and content, they become both informed and engaged. 

As channels diversify and customers move between platforms, it's essential to lay the groundwork for loyalty by capturing preferences in the beginning. Lagging in loyalty now only means that your customers are getting scooped up and engaged elsewhere. 

You know what your goal is, don't you? Do something about it now and get a jump on those that are just talking. And then call me from the beach.



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 last summer. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.



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

CMOs, Here's Why You Should Care About Explicit Data

It's time to take the next step with your data strategies. According to our recent research, customers, especially Millennials, want to drive the customized experiences and interactions they have with brands. To meet these expectations, marketers must make a profound shift and enrich their implicit data with the power of explicit, self-profiled preference data.

You have no doubt been using implicit data, that is, information which you've data mined or your customers provided to indicate short-term interests or needs—but not to intentionally indicate deeper or longer-term preferences. Examples of implicit data include web browsing behavior such as page views, items placed in the shopping cart, wait-listed items, items purchased and data mined from social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook.

This implicit data certainly has value, but per findings from our more than 2,000 hours of VoC research interviews for clients such as Gilt, MassMutual, IBM, HP and QVC, it is not delivering the response rates or meeting the expectations of many BtoB and BtoC customers. Research findings indicate that today's customers want to drive high levels of relevance and personalization through explicit preferences they provide.

Explicit data is self-profiled preference information customers provide in the Preference Center of a site or through dialogue boxes. Here's a b-to-c example: A customer specifically tells a merchant she is interested in trendy professional clothing for the workplace. Here's a b-to-b example: A customer tells a company that they want training programs on digital marketing for new hires.

In an IBM blog it was noted, "from a customer loyalty perspective, personalization is more than just using some fancy technology to message a customer by name or upsell them a complementary product based on "people like me." True personalization … [offers] the right incentive, in the right amount, targeting the right behavior, in the right channel, at the right time. In essence, it means building a unique strategy and set of program rules for each customer, not a one-size-fits-all approach."

The VoC research also identified eight critical points in brand lifecycles where customers want explicit data-driven personalized engagement:
  1. Purchase
  2. Onboarding
  3. Anticipatory responses to decreasing engagement (visits, responses, purchases)
  4. Immediate responses to negative experiences
  5. Surprise-and-delight thank-yous
  6. Value-added cross-selling and upselling
  7. Repeat sales
  8. Renewals

Life Time Fitness uses personalized content to improve the health of their marketing. The company sets consumer journeys and sends 7 million personalized emails per month according to predetermined segments and has seen a 154% return on its investment.

Personalized content improved Life Time Fitness' open rates by 80% over two years to help the company add memberships and increase conversion rates. Member experiences were improved by adding communications before, during and after their time at a Life Time facility. Targeted follow-up emails addressed any issues or concerns which reduced unsubscribes by 15% and created additional cross-channel sales from existing members.

"As marketers, it's less about us understanding what products and services we put in front of [members]. It's more about how we continue to enrich the experience that they're having … as well as the relationship they have with Life Time," said Keith Dieruf, vice president of digital marketing.

"The content of every communication via email, online, mobile texts, or mobile notifications [help members] walk through that journey to get them to where they personally want to go," said Renee Main, VP of marketing, member acquisition, and retention.

Explicit Data Takeaways
  1. Use customer insights to determine:
    • How your customers define appropriate explicit data
    • Value exchange for requesting explicit information
    • Earning the right for progressive profiling
    • Design of high value Preference Centers
  2. Test to determine the right mix between implicit and explicit data. Using only implicit data is not enough to drive true personalization.
  3. Design preference data capture for every channel, digital and physical. Every channel must respect preferences and aversions.

Customers understand personalization. But they want it to be appropriate and they want to explicitly customize it. Test this and you will see that it drives increased conversion rates, return visits, overall engagement and decreases email unsubscribe rates.



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/

Interpreting Preference Data: Analysis of Preference Collection and Management

Preference Management Video Series

Have you been keeping up with our videos for interpreting preference data? Last time Eric Holtzclaw walked us through hard and soft KPIs, without which we would have a hard time defining what success really looks like. Tangible ROIs make it possible to create reports, highlight trends and pinpoint opportunities for action.

By identifying and applying unique rules and measurements, you're able to give context to behavioral data. You're then able to leverage preference data as part of a broader set of initiatives to improve engagement.

Improving the preference management process is a question of listening to the broader themes behind individual choices. For example, reacting to a single customer's preferences about mobile messaging will ensure that customer stays happy. But a broader view of preferences may indicate that mobile messaging should be reconsidered. More effective strategies can then be built around the breadth and depth of self-reported data, impacting the levels of success that your business can reach.

Is your company read for transformational growth through customer loyalty and preferences?




If you haven't yet explored our Resource Center, you can download the Interpreting Preference Data 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

When a Relationship Improves Your Worth

It's tempting to believe that with smartphones in every pocket, consumers are relying on lightning-fast access to information at their fingertips instead of resorting to brand loyalty. Connected consumers are quicker to compare products, but does the simple fact of access to information affect buying decisions as much as we think it does? Not necessarily. How do I know? I cut through the case studies and looked at ten years worth of data.

Data from over 6,000 mergers and acquisitions between 2003 and 2013 shows us valuation trends over the decade. Pulling data from the Markables database shows us the dollar valuation of a company's assets, which include the trademarks and customer relationships—an ideal data set to provide answers for those hypothesizing marketers. An analysis by the Harvard Business Review showed that over ten years the trend lines are clear: brand valuations declined while customer relationship values rose.


So it's less about whether customers can or will sift through information to make (or not make) decisions about brand purchases—it's about whether or not you have a relationship with them. That relationship is quite literally more valuable than your brand.

Luckily, marketing technology now allows brands to optimize the consumer's journey and leverage effective communications. 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 engage with customers and ensure that they are leading that relationship on their own terms. When they have an affinity for the brand, it's due to their personal relationship with it, not necessarily the research and development behind the product.

Think about how your company would be valued—are relationships with your clients worth double your brand? Investing in those relationships now has an increased ROI for your company as a whole.



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 last summer. 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

Under Armour's New App Will Tell You What to Buy

Baltimore-based athletic apparel company Under Armour debuted a new app dedicated to "elevating the consumer shopping experience." The app will use customer data to make more accurate suggestions for shoes and apparel, even drawing in the data from existing accounts on MapMyRun and MyFitnessPal to learn users' athletic habits. Running in warm weather will suggest short-sleeve running tops, for example. Click here to read more.

Facebook tests more discreet notifications, instead of tagging friends

If an item on Facebook's news feed piques the interest of a user and they'd like to point it out to a friend, the usual method was to tag the friend in the comments section so they'd get an alert. Facebook is now testing a newer, more discreet method where users can "Notify a few friends about this post" without the post being considered as content for the friends' Facebook page. Click here to read more.

This Clever Pedestrian-Safety App Turns Down Your Earbud Volume When You're Near a Road

Thailand's LMG Insurance teamed up with BBDO Thailand to create Safe&Sound, a music app that uses GPS to lower earbud volume when the wearer nears roads or railways. The app also uses the phone's microphone to add the street's sounds into your earbuds at 30 percent volume for greater auditory awareness of surroundings. Click here to read more.

Researchers Uncover a Flaw in Europe's Tough Privacy Rules

Europe's "right to be forgotten" has long been held as strong privacy law, but an academic team has found faults in the operations of the internet privacy regulations. The researchers were able to find records of individuals who had expressly asked to be removed from search results using basic coding. Their research will be presented in July. Click here to read more.

Mom uses Siri to save toddler's life

An Australian mom saw her daughter turning blue on a baby monitor and dropped her phone en route to check on the child. When the mom realized she needed medical help and didn't have her phone, the iPhone's voice-activated "Hey Siri" function allowed the mom to call for an ambulance – which made it in time to save the one-year-old. 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

Current State of Customer Experience and Personalization: Not a Pretty Picture

During the May 26 session titled, "Today's Personalization is Broken. Learn the Breakthroughs that Work!" at the 9th annual Loyalty Expo, presented by Loyalty360, Ernan Roman, President, ERDM Corp. talked about the current state of customer experience and personalization among loyalty marketers.

Roman's findings were based on learnings from more than 15,000 hours of Voice of the Customer interviews.

"The perception is we're just putting lipstick on a pig," Roman said.

To give a better picture of that, Roman offered several quotes:
"What we receive is not smart personalization. They aren't personalizing the things that matter to me!"
"What they consider personalization is so old-fashioned."
"I want more than just buying history-based emails."
"With today's technology, I expect emails to reflect my interests and preferences."

A CMO of a Fortune Company added: "We are using new CRM technology to automate old bad behaviors … not guided by how customers define improved CX. Result; high tech, irritating and brand damaging spray and pray."

Roman said that customers want deeper engagement at eight lifecycle points:
  • Acquisition
  • Onboarding
  • Anticipating responses to decreasing engagement
  • Immediate responses to negative experiences
  • Surprise and delight thank-yous
  • Value-added cross-selling/upselling
  • Repeat sales
  • Renewal/activation

Despite increased privacy concerns, Roman said B2B and B2C customers are willing to provide trusted brands with deep business and personal information in exchange for more personalized offers and communications. "This fundamentally reframes data privacy concerns because of reciprocity of value!" Roman said.

Roman touted the VoC-based Reciprocity of Value Equation.

Consumer Reciprocity
Recognition that, to receive true personalization, must provide deep personal or business preference information. This marks the shift to explicit vs. implicit personalization.

Business Reciprocity 
Commitment by marketers to provide smart personalization; to be truly personalized, must be based on more than transactional, overlay, and inferential data.

Human Data
B2B or B2C opt-in self profiled information
Key issues, needs, expectations
Decision-making process
Messaging and media preferences
Self-described personality types, attitudes, life stages

Consumer reciprocity + Business reciprocity + Deep Human Data = CX innovation.

What's more, Roman offered a 13 point CX Innovation Check List:

1. Three strategies for delivering on customer expectations;
Capture individual preferences
Use preferences to drive true personalization
Establish guidelines for safeguarding data privacy.

2. Don't ruin the hard fought gains by sending spray and pray blasts which disregard preferences in hopes of generating extra sales.

3. Find the right mix between implicit and explicit data; using only implicit data is not enough to power true personalization.

4. Consumers define personalization as much more than "those old-fashioned transaction-based communications."

5. Communications should reflect my individual preferences.

6. Change company culture and thinking;
From "How does this benefit us?" to "How does this benefit the customer?"

7. Insights from customers are a privilege, not something you are entitled to.

8. Understanding the Seller's Journey (your sales channels) are as critical as knowing the Buyer's Journey.

9. Enable preference-based personalization across every channel.

10. Motivate customers to provide ongoing feedback about the relevance of your offerings and communications.

11. To drive change, shift focus from E (Expense) to R (Revenue).

12. Ensure that every department and channel uses and respects customer preference information.

13. Create programs that recruit your best customers to drive social engagement.


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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