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GDPR 101: Clear and Conspicuous Consent

An educational series on the EU's soon-to-be-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Under GDPR, companies must earn unambiguous consent in order to communicate with an EU consumer or collect data from them. However, this consent cannot be hidden in the terms and conditions language or tied to a condition of service.

Instead, consent must be clear and conspicuous. So what does that mean?

On a web page, consent language should be prominently featured immediately above or below the "submit" button where a user would request or volunteer information.

For some marketers, this will mean a fundamental reconsideration of page design and conversion opportunities. It will likely lead to a new design approval processes as companies pivot to GDPR risk mitigation strategies. Regardless, it demands that anyone collecting info from EU consumers consider the definition of "unambiguous" and re-orient sales, marketing, support and billing communications accordingly.



For more informative videos about GDPR, click here, or to view a full webinar on GDPR and consent capture best practices, click here.




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

GDPR 101: Controllers and Processors

An educational series on the EU's soon-to-be-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Understanding your company's GDPR risk exposure is essential. To this, it is often helpful to identify how regulators would categorize your company.

In other words, are you a controller or a processor?

A "controller" is the party that ultimately owns the relationship with the consumer and determines what happens with their data. A "processor" is the party contracted by the controller to execute its decisions with regard to consumer data.

For example, imagine an insurance company that represents EU citizens. It collects information from its customers and emails them from time to time. To do this, the insurance company uses an Email Service Provider (ESP). The insurance company is the controller and the ESP is the processor.

Under GDPR, most of the regulatory onus is on the controller. But there are some obligations that processors must meet as well.

In many cases, controllers are liable for the actions of their processors. Companies must ensure compliance across all vendor relationships that manage data in and out of EU sources.

In turn, processors can get their clients (and themselves) into very hot water with GDPR violations. They must understand their responsibilities and in fact can gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating their GDPR preparedness as full implementation of the rule approaches.



For more informative videos about GDPR, click here, or to view a full webinar on GDPR and consent capture best practices, click here.




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

GDPR 101: Specific Use Requirement

An educational series on the EU's soon-to-be-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR will govern more than just permission to communicate with EU consumers. It will also influence how companies use data collected from EU citizens and limit their ability to use personal data for multi-channel marketing.

Simply put, GDPR requires companies to clearly identify the "specific use" a piece of information will serve. While the exact definitions around specific use are still gray, experts recommend that companies select and declare specific uses for any and all data collection.

For example, student loan provider might request an email address specifically for loan payment reminders. A financial services company might seek a birth date in order to make an investor aware of change-of-life effects to insurance or other financial products.

Regardless, GDPR prohibits the collection of personal data for one purpose (loan payment reminders) and its use in other purposes (email marketing).



Specific use definitions will likely be clarified in court as early challenges and violations come to light. In the meantime, consider your intended uses and declare them clearly at the point of collection.

For more informative videos about GDPR, click here, or to view a full webinar on GDPR and consent capture best practices, click here.




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

GDPR 101: Right to Know?

An educational series on the EU's soon-to- be-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR doesn't just limit the rights of companies. It empowers consumers to hold greater leverage against the companies that collect and use their personal data.

Once implemented in May 2018, GDPR will enable EU citizens to request explanations from companies about the personal data they have, the uses they intend for it, how long they plan to keep it and more.

Experts suggest that companies will likely face 30-day deadlines to comply with such requests and if they want to file an extension, they should be prepared to demonstrate very convincing reasons for needing more time.

What's unclear is how consumers will react to this newfound power. Will they bombard companies with requests, questions and objections? Or largely ignore their right to know out of indifference or trust in the companies that serve them?



Regardless, any company communicating with EU citizens must be prepared to answer right to know requests accurately and in a timely fashion.

For more informative videos about GDPR, click here, or to view a full webinar on GDPR and consent capture best practices, click here.




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

GDPR 101: Right to be Forgotten

An educational series on the EU's soon-to-be-implemented General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Over the course of this series, we've written quite a bit about the rules that govern company-consumer relationships under GDPR. But what happens when a consumer wants to end their relationship with a company?

Moving forward, EU citizens will hold the "right to be forgotten." In certain circumstances, consumers will be able to request that companies destroy all records related to them. Having done so, the burden of proof will lie on the company in any instances where records must be stored or maintained to comply with other, superseding regulation.

Even in instances where all data can be destroyed without repercussion, doing so is much easier said than done. Companies with siloed data storage systems, whether by division, language, geography or something else, will have to track down everything related to that customer and prove that it has been erased.



EU citizens right to be forgotten underscores the urgent need for centralization of customer data inside companies along with accurate causation, transition and changed state records to track down every last trace.

For more informative videos about GDPR, click here, or to view a full webinar on GDPR and consent capture best practices, click here.




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

Does Your Brand Experience Align with Customers’ Voices? Elizabeth Arden Shows How

"Our leaders quickly realized that before we could use digital to transform our customers and the world, we needed to transform ourselves." This according to General Electric Co. CMO, Linda Boff, "Over the last few years the company changed its way of doing business at every level." And, per Boff, "When we apply these technologies in our teams and facilities, our customers and markets can reach their potential."

"Listening" has been the industry buzz word for years and is key to building relationships for both BtoB and BtoC businesses. And although many companies have put in place extensive systems for "listening" very few are responding to what they are "hearing."

So, the action companies must take is to share customer listening insights across all departments involved in product development and marketing. They must ensure that the actual brand experience and products align with BtoB and BtoC customer's voices.

Elizabeth Arden Goes Inside to Get Insights
Going beyond traditional focus groups has been a strategy for beauty company, Elizabeth Arden who looks to their "Arden Insiders," insight community of more than 4,000 women, to inform the direction of innovation and critical product and design decisions. Utilizing consumer opinions and feedback, the company can make educated decisions to stay aligned with consumer sentiment.

Celia Tombalakian, the senior director of global insights and product development commented on their new customer-insight driven marketing, "…[The] Customer intelligence platform allows us not only to identify our customer's likes and dislikes…but to stay current on who she is and where she is going from a beauty point of view—typical focus groups or questionnaires just can't capture this."

The company uses this insight group to test copy, print ad concepts, promotional offerings, product claims, model photography, and branding and new product ideas. The feedback drives decisions on all aspects of creative and design. Per Tombalakian, "We launched our community as a one-year pilot and within the six months we were discussing plans for geographic expansion. The ROI was very apparent to all stakeholders."

The company uses real time feedback on initiatives they are working on through their Arden Insiders insight community customer intelligence platform. Noted Tombalakian, "Arden Insiders transformed how we are making many decisions…this is critical because they can weave [the customer] point of view through all stages of product or program development rather than just key junctions."

The company also implemented a dedicated market research and customer insight department to assure that their customers' voice is incorporated in all decisions. Tombalakian summed up the investment payoff, "We launched our community as a one-year pilot and within the six months we were discussing …expansion. The ROI was very apparent to all stakeholders."

Use Insights to Connect
Findings from 15,000+ hours of VoC research interviews indicate that customers want deeper engagement throughout their brand lifecycle. This means that marketers should utilize Voice of Customer (VoC) insights from your customers and prospects to improve their experience during all these key points: acquisition, activation, loyalty—and critically, deepening the relationship.

Here are a few quotes from recent VoC research to consider as you develop your strategies:
"When a supplier proactively works to understand my needs, we can develop a personal connection. That forms the basis of a long-term relationship that will remain when we are approached by their competitors or have the occasional problem with their solution."

"I appreciate you asking for feedback and clearly listening and taking action based on what we are saying. Very few companies ask for our opinions regarding how they can get better and what I would like to see them do. That’s cool. It means you are trying to get bigger and better."

It's not just BtoC companies that are seeing results from customer listening, BtoB brands such as GE have devised campaigns to target niche audiences to gain insights on sentiment. GE's #CC9900 GEEKS GO campaign connected with coders in a challenge environment on social media that used a game-style conversation to spark interactions.

Make Listening an Everyday Marketing Practice
In a research report by Wharton, Listening to the Online 'Voice of the Customer', the following points were cited:
  • Large online customer discussions boards carry the potential to revolutionize the world of market research, offering businesses a massive and free data base of what customers think about their products.
  • Traditional surveys and focus groups are flawed because the process of identifying the specific product attributes in a customer survey [are] typically guided by company marketing managers, [and] often ignore issues being raised by customers. In addition, focus groups might not always reach the most passionate and engaged customers who are voluntarily discussing products and brands on the Internet.
  • [There are] "unseen attributes of a product" – that is, issues that buyers are discussing which executives back at the headquarters are not even aware of.

The takeaway for brands is that actual customer sentiment needs to be a prime focus and that listening (rather than assuming or modeling) must become a regular part of everyday marketing practices.



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/

GDPR 101: What is GDPR?

Many marketers and customer experience professionals have heard the acronym – GDPR. But what does it mean? And why are so many people talking about it?

GDPR stands for "General Data Protection Regulation," the EU's new universal standard for consumer privacy and data protection. It will go into effect on May 25, 2018 and that means it's time for any company that communicates with EU citizens to start getting ready.



Understanding GDPR begins with a very simple premise: it standardizes certain regulations across all member nations. That's a good thing given all the competing languages and rules that exist today. From there, it gets a little scarier for companies that need to comply. Central to the regulation is a high standard for consent and fines as great as 20 million euros or four percent of total worldwide annual revenue, whichever is larger.

"Wait a minute," you may be thinking, "I work for a US company with US employees and customers so this doesn't apply to me."

Are you certain that every single email address in your database belongs to a US national living outside the EU? That all of your company's vendors, partners, contractors and service providers are outside the EU? Unless you can verify complete and total non-involvement with EU citizens, GDPR will likely affect your company.

For more informative videos about GDPR, click here, or to view a full webinar on GDPR and consent capture best practices, click here.




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

Walmart Is Looking to VR to Prep Workers for Black Friday

In preparation for the holiday season, Walmart is adding virtual reality training to 30 of its training centers to help employees experience a real store environment, massive crowds and long lines. The virtual experiences can help train those who may be familiar with the store already, but who haven't yet experienced a holiday season in-store yet. The company says they'll roll out the virtual reality training to all of its 200 training facilities by the end of the year. Click here to read more. 

Customer Records For Millions Of Verizon Wireless Subscribers Exposed

A cyber security firm says that it found millions of Verizon Wireless customers' data on an unsecured web server. The data included names, addresses and personal identification numbers associated with the accounts. Verizon is investigating the breach but disputes the number of customers affected, stating it was closer to 6 million than the firm's estimate of 14 million. Click here to read more. 

Try, Then Buy? Amazon's Move Is Part of a Shopping Trend

Amazon's recent announcement that they'd allow Prime members to order, receive and try on up to 15 items for a week without charge, made consumers take note, but the trend was in effect already. Online boutiques catering to consumers offer personalized shopping assistance, few or no upfront charges, and other time-saving measures that leverage technology. Click here to read more. 

Pandora Is Teaming With Foursquare to Show Its Advertisers Whether Their Campaigns Drive Offline Sales

Thanks to 2.5 million Foursquare app users who opt-in to share their location at all times, the Attribution by Foursquare service is able to share the information with Pandora advertisers. Retail and food clients get access to geo-based data like store visits and foot traffic, as well as reach numbers as they pertain to impressions and devices. Click here to read more. 

Your next Android might come with a 'panic button' to exit shady apps

For those that click with abandon, technology may be on its way to add a bit of extra security in case of poor decisions. Reports indicate that Google has added a feature to its smartphone software that would allow uses to quickly exit worrisome apps. Once a user realizes they've clicked on something unsafe, the panic button would allow the app to shut down. 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

Head Of Neiman Marcus' iLab Answers 4 Questions For Marketing Innovators

Scott Emmons is focused on innovation for the Neiman Marcus Group (NMG), where he is responsible for evaluating, designing, testing, and piloting cutting-edge technologies and applications for luxury retail. Emmons founded and built the Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab (iLab) in 2012, which has grown to become the company's hub for innovation projects and has earned a world-class reputation for retail innovation. Recent innovation projects include Memory Makeover, connected fitting room technology, intelligent mobile phone charging stations, and voice-controlled sales associate communicators.

Emmons recently participated in our "4 Questions for Marketing Innovators" series.

1. What is one marketing topic that is most important to you as an innovator?
I would start by saying I am not a marketer. However, after being given the opportunity to help create the Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab, it didn't take long to figure out that marketing was going to be one of the most important partners when it came time to introduce new technology into the retail customer experience. One of the biggest contributions that the Innovation Lab has made is that it has helped open doors between IT, marketing, and other areas of the business. It has also allowed for a much more collaborative relationship to evolve. The most important topic has been solving problems for the customers. It is a topic that is always top-of-mind throughout the retail organization.

2. Why is this so important?
For one thing, it has allowed me to focus on the fact that we are in the luxury retail business. The most important thing everyone does at Neiman Marcus is contribute to our customer's experience, making sure it is the best one possible. I am a retailer first and a technologist second. In IT, we have to be great at delivering information services to our business partners, but our customer is first and foremost. It is possible to lose track of that in the day-to-day activities of keeping everything humming along.

"Customer first" is not just a checkmark on a review form; it is what has driven the Neiman Marcus brand for 110 years and is what will take us through the next 100 years. I believe the iLab has played a role in helping us maintain that customer focus in this time of constant change. By making experimentation with new customer-facing technology available and applying it in ways that make the customer experience better, I believe our innovation program has helped the IT organization evolve from order takers to business partners that are part of the ideation and innovation process. That, in turns, means we can better position resources to support initiatives and to be able to say yes a lot more often when asked to support new capabilities. The innovation program is allowing Neiman Marcus to be first to leverage the latest and greatest technology and help drive our reputation as an innovative retail technology leader.

3. How can this improve the customer experience?
This translates into a more agile organization that can build and deliver new capabilities for our customers at a much faster pace. Given the ever-increasing speed that change and new technology is being introduced, it is only natural that the business has had to adapt to meet this challenge. Removing the internal silos allows us to be better and faster at delivering a cohesive and compelling experience to our customers. It allows us to bring the right resources to the never-ending circle of evaluating, experimenting, learning, and refining how we deliver value to our customers. The iLab can quickly deliver technology that enables new surprise-and-delight moments to the customer. This same technology has brought new capabilities for collecting data that delivers new insights for the marketing team.

4. How will this improve the effectiveness of marketing?
Essentially, I have been talking about blurring the lines between the technology team and marketing, as this translates into combining skill sets. Bringing marketers together with technologists and combining people that know how to communicate and resonate with the customer can effectively identify, integrate, and implement cutting-edge technology to support the efforts. It is a powerful combination.

Bonus Question: What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I love to travel abroad with my wife and daughter. It is important to see and experience different cultures and perspectives. This also comes in pretty handy for my innovation work!



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/

GDPR: What You Need To Know, Part 1

In recent years, governments have undertaken revisions to privacy regulations. Originally written in a world that hadn't yet conceived of how the internet would impact our lives, updated regulations define consent and data protection. Last year's approval of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) by the European Union Parliament has far-reaching effects – and enforcement begins in less than a year.

Beginning in May 2018, organizations will have to receive explicit consent from customers and be subject to fines if they aren't in alignment with the regulations.

"GDPR is simply the next step down the road to universal, unambiguous consent," said PossibleNOW President and CEO Scott Frey. "Knowing that we're entering the age of permission-only interaction between company and consumer, we've spent more than 15 years engineering the tools enterprise companies need to earn consent, manage preferences and maintain a single repository of customer data for demonstrable compliance."

Adopted to strengthen data protection for individuals within EU countries, GDPR is designed to give people more control over their personal data. Here's what your company needs to know:

Who should be concerned about GDPR?

Companies with employees, customers or goods for sale in the European Union must bring their marketing and customer contact operations into alignment with the regulation. This means companies around the globe will need to update their data collections processes.

What are the penalties for non-compliance?

Companies that don't comply with GDPR can receive fines as great as 20 million euros or four percent of total worldwide annual revenue, whichever is larger.

What does "consent" mean?
The conditions for consent have been strengthened in GDPR regulations. Companies will now be required to state terms and conditions in plain, clear, accessible language. Furthermore, consent must be as easy to revoke as it is to give.



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 You Should Engage at These 7 Points in the Customer Lifecycle

Here's how Fran Horowitz-Bonadies, chief executive officer, Abercrombie brand/Hollister & Co. describes consumer communication in 2017:

"For the past year, we spoke to one-and-a-half million consumers on what they are looking for in their shopping experience… There's been almost a 180-degree turn on making sure we keep the customer at the center of everything we do. It's been [our] most important singular focus…"

But, it's not only about keeping customers at the center of your communication and engagement strategies. Research findings from thousands of hours of VoC research conducted by our firm, ERDM, indicate that customers want unprecedented levels of personalization at 7 very specific points in their lifecycle with a brand. Think about how savvy customers are to identify the following points where they want brands to engage:
  • Purchase
  • Onboarding
  • Reach out when you see Decreasing Engagement
  • A Poor Experience
  • Surprise & Delight / Thank You
  • Value Added Cross Selling
  • Value Added Repeat Sales.

However, to deepen relationships at these key points, brands must shift to truly relevant and value-driven communications. Per the research, traditional transaction / persona / implicit data based communications are not viewed as relevant.

Using the 7 VoC research-based lifecycle points, here are ways that marketers can add value to communications.

New Purchases and Onboarding—You Need to Become Part of the Consumers' Lifestyle
Bacardi Limited Chief Marketing Officer Mauricio Vergara recently noted:
"We need to get our brands back into culture, so we're moving away from a traditional marketing model of talking to consumers to really being part of their lifestyle…If we are true to that philosophy of being part of their lifestyle, a brand that they actually relate to in their day-to-day life, we cannot just be present in the high-selling moments… It's been a learning process…but we're definitely seeing the payback."

When You See Decreasing Engagement/Poor Experiences – You Need to Understand How to Win Back Trust
V. Kumar, a marketing professor at Georgia State University outlined in a Harvard Business Review article, the key factors marketers need to keep in mind when attempting to win back lost consumers, "Too many companies go after whoever they've lost, throwing all these offers at them, hoping something will work," Instead what he recommends is fully understanding which group of lost consumers will yield the best bet to come back and not depart again, then crafting an offer or message that is compelling to that segment.

Here is what the study advises: "firms will be more efficient if they focus on people whose prior behavior suggests a predisposition to return. The researchers found that customers who have referred others, who have never complained, or who have had complaints that were satisfactorily resolved are the best bets. Reasons for leaving are also predictive: Customers who canceled because of price are more likely to come back than those who left because of poor service, and people who cited both reasons for quitting are the least likely of all to return."

For Cross Selling/Thank You/Repeat Sales – Use Value Added and Emotional Engagement to Strengthen Connections
Recently, Yeti — a manufacturer of coolers used primarily for outdoor and camping pursuits — decided to open their first retail location. But, rather than building a transaction based store, the brand decided they wanted an experiential, emotional, connection-building brand immersion. The brand noted, the goal was less to "find a way to sell a lot of coolers to people who come inside and more to create a permanent brand activation that allows people to interact with Yeti in ways that they'll hopefully take with them in the future."

Corey Maynard, Yeti's Vice President of Marketing explains "It's meant to be much more of an immersive Yeti experience…than it is to be a transactional space… Yes, we're selling coolers…but it was much more important to us that people could have fun with the Yeti brand and see it brought to life …than just be a place that's driven by transaction." Tony Kaplan, YETI Director of Consumer Experience "YETI's flagship is not a typical retail store… [it is an] authentic experience that allows our customers to interact with the YETI brand in a whole new way."

In summary, think about the 7 stages in the lifecycle which emerged from the research and see how many opportunities exist for you to deepen your relationships with customers!



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/

Be Human with Birthdays

Memorial Day Doorbuster!

Fourth of July Bonanza!

Labor Day Deals!

Every other month marketers have an opportunity to connect with customers – reminding them of a promotion, providing them an opportunity to interact, increasing the likelihood of positive customer experiences.

The issue at hand is that pretty much everyone is getting the alert, even if it's personalized in some way. On the one hand, it's an easy opportunity. On the other hand, it's a catchall.

Yet when presented with simple opt-ins, customers can lay the groundwork for more individualized communications that allow us to be human in a digital world, avoiding mass messages. One easy way to cut through the promotional noise, be human and meet expectations? Wish your customer a happy birthday.

It's one of my favorite simple statistics – 52 percent of millennials in the US and UK expected retailers to remember their birthdays. The survey, by retail research agency Conlumino, found that remembering birthdays and responding accordingly was more expected than retailers remembering a size or even past purchases.

Here's why I love this stat: we spend a lot of time thinking about how much information a consumer might be willing to share and how we can leverage that data to better position our products and services. But we don't think nearly enough about social and emotional impact of our work and how it plays into loyalty and engagement.

The simple truth is that millennials expect companies to wish them a happy birthday. They've shared that information, along with their likes and dislikes, wish lists, dream vacations and more. And if the point of customer engagement is to form a sort of friendship, shouldn't we remember their birthdays along with purchase history and billing information? We stay human in a digital world by listening, remembering and responding – especially when we want to wish someone a happy birthday.

Have you forgotten your customer's birthdays? If so, what do you plan to do about it?







Rob Tate
As Vice President of Sales, Rob is responsible for growing the client base and market share and helping his sales team achieve their goals. He also develops partnership opportunities and industry relationships. Rob focuses on generating consistent results, utilizing sales and opportunity management tools and implementing best-of-class sales methodologies all of which have enabled him to build a scalable sales organization. He continually studies how metrics, leadership, culture, and innovation drive business value in the SaaS and marketing automation fields.

Don’t Be Shy: Opt-in Customer Data is Essential for CX Success

A full 96% of digital marketers say personalization advances customer relationships, according to a new study from Evergage and Researchscape International. Yet more than 55% say the industry isn't getting personalization right. And nearly 50% give their company's personalization efforts a "C" grade or below.

So how do CMOs raise the bar?

To develop an effective personalization strategy, CMOs need to start with a solid foundation of traditional customer data. But that is not enough. The essential next step is building deeper levels of human data gained via preferences and attitudes.

Some brands already understand that.

"To achieve truly meaningful personalization and CX, we needed more than traditional purchase history and overlays of behavioral/inferred data. We needed to get customers to opt-in and tell us their individual preferences," said Scott Emmons, head of the Neiman Marcus Innovation Lab. "But to earn that deeper level of information, we had to offer something meaningful. Our Memory Makeover smart mirrors are a high-value way for customers to share their individual preferences regarding cosmetic products. We make it clear that this information will be used to serve them in the stores and as part of ongoing email communications to reorder products or learn about new products that are uniquely relevant to them."

Why Traditional Data Approaches No Longer Work
Findings from over 16,000 hours of Voice of Customer research conducted by our firm indicate that traditional customer experience, personalization, and personas are no longer effective. That's because the B2B and B2C decision-making journey is neither linear nor simplistic, and customers are complex humans, not cohorts.

However, marketers must realize that they are not entitled to deep customer information. They have to earn it. A reciprocity of value is required, where customers opt in to provide deep preference data in exchange for smart, useful personalization.

But here's the caveat: This data must be explicit data, meaning it is self-profiled preference information delivered via a site's preference center or through dialogue boxes. Explicit data indicates deeper or longer-term preferences versus traditional implicit data, such as data-mined information or short-term consumer interests or needs.

"Too often, personalization relies on statistical inferences from a customer's purchase and browsing history. This will likely be subject to error and spurious correlations, one reason why many customers are unimpressed with today's attempts at personalization," said Wayne Duan, director of merchandising and merchandising operations at Walgreens Digital Commerce. "The retailers who will win are those that successfully collect explicit customer input and harness those direct and intentional actions to improve the customer experience."

Duan cited as an example Walgreens' Beauty Enthusiast program, which asks customers their preferences, such as makeup style and skin needs. "We use this clearly expressed data to personalize the customer offering and experience within our beauty category," he said.

Kevin Lindsay, director of product marketing at Adobe, built onto that with a point about context. "Historical customer data, such as purchases, is important but not predictive," he said. "It must be enriched with contextual information to drive truly relevant personalization and CX. Contextual information provides the uniquely rich opportunity to understand the human dimension and situation of customers."

Betabrand, a crowdsourced apparel company, is another brand that understands the fundamental shift in personalization. "Betabrand has a unique ability to measure and react to every click, vote, comment, purchase, etc., on our site," said CMO Aaron Magness. "We use this rich data to provide a personalized shopping experience that goes way beyond the old-school segmentation mindset and truly serves you what's relevant, not what's relevant to people like you. Having data is one thing; understanding how to act on the important data is what matters."

And while having the technology to analyze the data is important, equally important is not solely relying on it. "Companies tend to be lazy and arrogant by trying to mass-produce marketing or solve the problems by buying the latest march tools," said Silver Star Brands CMO Kathy Hecht. "One cannot achieve true personalization without deep human data from your customers."



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

These Color-Changing Tattoos Monitor Your Health, No Wearable Needed

Researchers at MIT and Harvard University are exploring the possibilities of real-time bio feedback using tattoo methodologies that turn the skin into an interface. Traditional tattoo ink is replaced with biosensors that change color depending on changes in your body's system, like blood sugar, hydration, sodium, or pH levels. The researcher in charge has also experimented with other "beauty technology" like smart fake eyelashes, conductive makeup and RFID-enabled nail polish. Click here to read more.

Gatwick Airport now has 2,000 beacons for indoor navigation

Smartphone navigation using GPS tends to suffer in places like malls or airports. One solution had been 3D sensors on smartphones, another option has been to outfit an interior with "Bluetooth beacons," creating location-based information that can relay to your smartphone where exactly you are. The latter has been implemented at Gatwick, the United Kingdom's second-busiest airport. The beacons allow digital map users to get a more accurate location, can also power a wayfinding tool for use within terminals, and allow airlines or airport retailers to connect with users in the future. Click here to read more. 

Google Is Going Ahead With Controversial Ad Blocking Plans For Chrome

Google's internet browser, Chrome, will now include ad-blocking filters by default – hiding ads that don't fit Google's new standards. If a website has too many ads requiring blocking, then no ads will be shown at all. Being blocked are ads like pop-ups, auto-play videos and ads that time out on a countdown before a reader can view the page's main content. While it's expected to improve the web experience, it still raises questions about the reach of Google's digital reach. Click here to read more. 

Pandora Is Building Branded Radio Stations That Offer On-Demand Listening

As Pandora works to compete with other streaming music services, it's beginning to incorporate a selection of on-demand music for subscription members. Gatorade-owned Propel recently launched a campaign on Pandora that offers curated playlists by fitness personalities – within each playlist are options to save specific songs. The fitness influences campaign is the first time on-demand streaming has been built into an ad since the subscription service launched last year. Click here to read more. 

Google's A.I. Program Rattles Chinese Go Master as It Wins Match

A computer program called AlphaGo is two-for-three in a competition centered on Go, considered the world's most sophisticated board game. Nineteen-year-old Ke Jie, a Chinese prodigy, was hopeful during the second match – but the emotion may have been his downfall. The "cold focus" of artificial intelligence makes it preferable in some cases, yet computer scientists say that often the best use of artificial intelligence is not to pit it against humans, but to pair it with them. 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

When It Comes to Personalization, Good Intentions Won’t Get it Done

If your company is working toward personalization, you're on the right track. But if you're overwhelmed at the possibilities, remember that all you're trying to do is be human: Listen to your customers, remember what they say, and respond to them. Personalization is immensely valuable, but the longer you wait to get started, the further you get from your goals.

Research out this spring indicates that 95 percent of World Retail Congress retailers surveyed by Periscope By McKinsey say that personalization is a strategic priority for their business. In fact, just about two-thirds (64 percent) say that personalization is one of their brand's top three priorities. Yet implementation stunts progress across the board. A mere 15 percent say they've fully implemented personalization and 43 percent saying they're somewhere in the process of aligning efforts for this or next year.

We're well aware of the challenges that companies face once they've realized the power of personalization and the interconnectedness it entails from within the company's departments. Not to mention, how the proliferation of channels and touchpoints that the customer uses to communicate back to you complicates matters.

Ordinarily, collected preferences per channel would be stored in siloed databases across business units. And in many cases, data comes from both internal and third-party systems. Synthesizing all that data (and keeping it compliant!) is one of the biggest hurdles companies encounter. With all the incoming information, it may seem easy for your company to listen to its customers, but it gets increasingly difficult for your company to then remember and respond to customers.

The survey I mentioned earlier? Sixty-seven percent of respondents said that "gathering, integrating, and synthesizing data was their greatest challenge, with the same volume admitting they did not have the correct tools to execute personalized offers and marketing."

We've heard it before and we know that preference management can help enterprises make sense of data in ways that are simple, actionable and effective.

Your customers are expecting personalization – if you’re listening to them, how have you responded?




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

Forrester: Enterprise Preference Management is “Marketing’s Most Overlooked Tool”

As marketers, we're constantly chasing better, newer technology as we refine the ways in which we can gain insight and engage with our customers. As we've know, technology is moving along at the rate of our customers – that's to say, quickly and creatively, crunching data as fast as it's created.

An April 2017 report by Forrester affirms the broad selection of technology options available to marketers – a difficult-to-classify collection of thousands of products – while helping us navigate the essentials.

"The Top Emerging Technologies for B2C Marketers: Eleven Technologies to Future-Proof Your Customer-Obsessed Marketing Strategy" is a helpful report for those B2C marketers who want to match technical capabilities with the range of opportunities available to them. Download your own copy here.

Forrester describes the martech stack as "terrifyingly dynamic" – writing about the rapid pace of change within the market, the expansion of touchpoints and a glut of trendy, niche solutions. Yet the report identifies 11 technologies split between three categories: systems of insights, systems of engagement, and enabling technologies, all of which contribute to long-term success in customer-obsession.

Enterprise preference management, or as Forrester calls it, "marketing's most overlooked tool," was cited for having a "critical and direct impact" on both the customer-led and connected criteria, two principles of customer obsession. Forrester's rubric defines "customer-led" as "[understanding] customers and [cocreating] value with them," while "connected" relates to technology's ability to "link both internally across silos and with partners, suppliers, and customers."

More than just simple opt-ins and opt-outs, enterprise preference management's place as a system of insight arms B2C marketers with "an understanding of their customers and the visibility to craft highly relevant interactions."

Moreover, Forrester notes that as a system of insight, enterprise preference management allows companies to "harness data in new ways to orchestrate customer experiences that are more personalized, timely, and consistent." That's a big deal and a leg up for those of us trying to stay competitive in a constantly changing digital world.

Read Forrester's full report here and let us know if we can help answer questions about preference management or whether you’re ready to get to work gaining accurate data and building trust with your customers.



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

Lifetime Value, to Your Customer

If you've been following our new video series, you've just read about how to organize your preference center and you know that it's crucial to think from the customer's point of view.

So as you unroll facets of preference management and begin to listen, remember and respond, don't forget to think about all you're offering your customers and what that means for them. These initial conversations lay the groundwork for a lifetime of value to them, not (just) your company. By being human in a digital world, your brand positions itself as a partner in communications, ready to respond – that's essential in our changing world.

By taking these first steps, your company's long-term ability to provide value is enhanced. What does that mean? Thank about it like this: While the future might see your customers' preferences change, your company's initiatives change, or even the channels themselves changing, your preference center and ability to be human means that the company can continuously provide value to customers – staying up to date, in compliance and able to talk to the customer on their own terms.

This short video features Eric Holtzlcaw, Chief Strategist of PossibleNOW, who talks about the ways we should think about managing communications and how we can effectively use our tools and expertise to listen, remember and respond to customers across an enterprise.






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

Webrooming vs. Showrooming: Are You Engaging Both Types of Shoppers?

According to Forrester, "webrooming consumers will bring in $1.8 Trillion in sales in 2017."

Marketers need to understand this new type of shopper. If you are not adjusting your strategies to keep pace with this new reality, you could be setting your brand up for missed opportunities.

Here's a quick overview:
  • Webrooming Consumers: research products online before buying them in a physical store. (78% of consumers say they have webroomed in the past 12 months.)
  • Showrooming Consumers: visit store(s) to examine a product before buying it online. (72% of consumers say they have showroomed in the past 12 months.)

Understanding why consumers engage in these practices is critical for strategy development. Per the Forrester study,
Webroomers don’t want to pay for delivery and want instant gratification. Showroomers want to touch and feel a product prior to purchasing.

What can marketers do to engage this new shopper?
In a Think with Google report it was noted that 82% of shoppers say they consult their phones on purchases they're about to make in a store.

Beauty retailer Sephora has embraced the showrooming and webrooming concept. Mark Alexander, director of mobile product management at Sephora USA Inc. commented, "Mobile continues to be our fastest growing channel," Alexander says. "We're really excited about what mobile can do for online and in-store sales."

Sephora's mobile app offers an "in-store" mode which consumers can use while they browse to scan in a product to read online ratings and reviews and access the loyalty program to check reward points. The store can also send personalized messages and alerts to consumers with the app via Bluetooth beacon technology.

Recently, Walmart also embraced the Webrooming/Showrooming trend and responded with some innovative offerings. Understanding that two of the big "asks" of today's consumer are immediacy and free shipping, the company has adjusted its online shipping policies to make it easier, cheaper and faster for consumers to get their selected merchandise. Walmart's new 2-Day Shipping is available on popular products and applies to orders over $35. The company also offers free shop on line/pickup in store as well as free grocery shop online/pickup in store.

Marc Lore, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. eCommerce noted that "Two-day free shipping is the first of many moves we will be making to enhance the customer experience and accelerate growth… In today's world of e-commerce, two-day free shipping is table stakes. It no longer makes sense to charge for it…"

And, taking things one step further, Home Depot not only offers order online and pickup in store, but the company also offers to "do the heavy lifting" by letting customers order online and have it delivered from the store at their chosen delivery time and date that can be selected from a scheduling calendar.

Take the time to listen to the Voice of your Customer
More so than ever before it is no longer about how brands want to sell, rather it is all about how today's omnichannel consumer wants to shop and buy. Marketers need to meticulously watch, learn, and re-evaluate shopper behaviors so new practices and technologies can be developed in response to demands.

Understanding the ever-changing purchase journey is the first step in meeting a new type of shopping expectation. Not embracing Webrooming or Showrooming actions could jeopardize current and future relationships as consumers gravitate to brands that step up to deliver innovative purchase options.



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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