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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.

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