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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

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