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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 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."

  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:

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