tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/customer-experience Latest Customer Experience content from Econsultancy 2016-12-08T15:40:00+00:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/4351 2016-12-08T15:40:00+00:00 2016-12-08T15:40:00+00:00 The New Marketing Reality <p>There can be no doubt that marketers are keen to embrace new platforms and technologies to help them drive growth. Sadly, it would appear that there is still a <strong>gap between those goals and the methods they have at their disposal to achieve them</strong>.</p> <p>The challenge is that while new technologies and the data that underpins them have the potential to create a truly omnichannel customer experience, marketers' methodologies are still forcing everything through the same <strong>outdated, siloed processes</strong>.</p> <p><strong>The traditional funnel no longer works.</strong> It assumes audiences are linear and predictable in their behaviour. At the same time, it doesn't take into account the fact that people will act the way they want to act, rather than sticking to a sequence designed by marketers.</p> <p>To help marketers break free from these processes that are stopping them from capitalising on the opportunities that more agile, disruptive companies are enjoying, this report identifies some <strong>key areas ripe for change</strong>.</p> <p><strong>The New Marketing Reality</strong> report, produced in association with <a title="IBM Watson Marketing" href="https://www.ibm.com/watson/marketing/">IBM Watson Marketing</a>, explores the challenges that marketers face in the three key battlefields of data, customer experience and business outcomes.</p> <p>Findings include:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>Audience segmentation</strong> is the topmost priority, with 72% of executives stating that they are using their data to support this activity. It is viewed as a standard tactic by even the most laggard of companies. The next most popular data-related activity is <strong>customer journey mapping</strong>, with 67% practising it.</li> <li>The vast majority (80%) of those who rate their ability to understand the customer journey across channels and devices as 'advanced' or 'intermediate' find customer journey mapping or analysis 'highly valuable' and the remaining 20% claim it is 'quite valuable'.</li> <li>Most respondents are still <strong>finding it hard to move out of the channel-focused mindset</strong>, hampered by both technology and organisational structure.</li> <li>Considering that 83% of more advanced companies claim to practise customer journey mapping, we might expect less channel focus but 59% still have <strong>difficulty unifying their data sources</strong> and a further 61% are struggling with the <strong>complexity of their customer touchpoints</strong>.</li> <li>From a business buy-in and organisational perspective, there is still some work to do. The customer journey is still to see the sort of formalised approach that data strategies are only now beginning to enjoy.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Download a copy of the report to learn more.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68612 2016-12-08T14:21:54+00:00 2016-12-08T14:21:54+00:00 How the Internet of Things will fundamentally change marketing Seán Donnelly <p>It’s always nice to receive comments and questions on posts as they provide great opportunities for us here at Econsultancy to challenge our own thinking. </p> <p>In this case, the subscriber asked about the implications of IoT for marketing and in particular digital marketing. These questions provide a nice opportunity to delve a bit more deeply into the topic that perhaps I didn’t do well enough in my first post.</p> <p>With that in mind, let’s start with marketing.</p> <h3>What are the links between IoT and marketing?</h3> <p>Perhaps this isn’t articulated clearly enough in my earlier post despite my intent. I would suggest that the link between IoT and marketing may depend upon how one views the role of marketing.</p> <ol> <li> Is marketing a tactical activity that focuses on the 4Ps of product, price, place and promotion?</li> <li> Or is it a broader strategic activity that positions marketing as the key function of a business?</li> </ol> <p>I would take the second view. If the goal of a business is to create and satisfy a customer, then marketing and product / service innovation are the key strategic activities that add to the bottom line.</p> <p>If we expand on that view even further, then it is up to marketers to understand the market. This means understanding consumer demand and continually observing the competitive landscape.</p> <p>Clearly this positions marketers as leaders and every other business function as a supporting activity.</p> <h3>Strategic marketing</h3> <h4>IoT and the competitive landscape</h4> <p>If we take this second view and then we need to be aware of what impact the Internet of Things might have on our competitive environment.</p> <p>In my earlier post I provided examples of how GE changed its business model from focusing on transactional relationships to designing systems to tap into closer client relationships, effectively making clients more reliant on GE and so making it difficult for those clients to change provider.</p> <p>And so I think marketers will need to consider what impact IoT may have in terms of the key competitive forces at play in their own industries. By competitive forces I am referring to bargaining power of suppliers and buyers and threats of new entrants and substitutes.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2255/Uber_homepage.png" alt="" width="800" height="419"></p> <p>I mentioned Uber which is effectively mobile software that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire. Before the saturation of smartphone usage, Uber may not have succeeded. Here’s why.</p> <p>Buyers (of taxi services) had less bargaining power and for the taxi industry, the threat of new entrants was moderate.</p> <p>In countries with regulated taxi industries, drivers have to study and take tests to be awarded with a license to drive a public service vehicle. They may also have to spend a lot of money to purchase their taxi license and in some jurisdictions, a specific vehicle for taxiing; a black cab for example.</p> <p>Uber has bypassed much of this red tape although in fairness, regulatory bodies in many countries are scrambling to catch up due to concern about safety and protecting incumbent players. Since its launch in San Francisco in 2010 it has expanded into over 20 countries and significantly disrupted the taxi industry.</p> <p>In my first post I discussed attending Web Summit. Considering so many companies at Web Summit want to be the next Uber of [insert industry!], then marketers really do need to consider the impact that ubiquitous connectivity of devices with each other, the internet and the wider environment might have on their industry.</p> <p>They may consider this from a defensive point of view but equally, they may see it as an opportunity to innovate and find ways to create new and better customer experiences.</p> <h4>IoT disrupting industries</h4> <p>While taxi drivers couldn’t see Uber coming, car manufacturers can see self-driving coming. Beyond Uber, connected cars may be the most familiar example of IoT related technology.<br> </p> <p>Connected cars, autonomous driving systems, artificial intelligence and cloud computing are driving huge changes for car manufacturers. IoT has had a hand in all of these. </p> <p>IoT related technologies are going to redefine the automotive industry. Car manufacturers are now finding themselves operating in an environment where they need to keep an eye on the likes of non-traditional competitors like Tesla, Google and Apple. Two of these companies didn’t exist 20 years ago.</p> <p>IoT can enable new approaches to driving and potentially new business models:</p> <ul> <li>A landscape of connected cars could lead to a significant uptake in autonomous vehicles that can communicate with other vehicles, traffic management systems and sensors in the road to manage safety and optimise journey routes.</li> <li>IoT can and perhaps is turning car manufacturers into technology companies. Like mobile phones before cars, could cars, like mobile devices (think Nokia) become secondary to the software that is running them?</li> <li>Like the GE example I provided before, sensors in cars can create new services models, giving owners a better understanding of how their vehicles are running and predict potential breakdowns.</li> <li>Internet-enabled sensors in cars can also monitor driver behaviour and so also be used by insurance companies to charge more appropriate premiums.</li> <li>Car mobility data could be used by marketers to figure out ways to target drivers / passengers with personalised offers.</li> <li>For the likes of Google and Apple, companies which have entertainment platforms, they might also make money from selling in car services and entertainment. This makes sense if passengers aren’t actively involved in driving and so can spend time on other pursuits.</li> <li>If a connected car can recognise that something is wrong, it can diagnose the issue and optimise the driving experience to manage the issue. For example, it could turn off air conditioning to conserve energy. It could also communicate with other cars around it to identify that there is a potential issue and also find the closest service centre.</li> <li>In fact, a new connected landscape could lead to an end to car ownership altogether as more and more peer-to-peer services proliferate. In London at least, there are ZipCars in many neighbourhoods. </li> </ul> <p>As well as new opportunities, car manufacturers will also need to think about software security and the risk of being hacked.</p> <p>That changes the paradigm for tactical marketing in terms of producing communications not just about car performance and safety but also cyber security.</p> <h3>Tactical marketing</h3> <p>Let’s bring things back to a more tactical level and look at what IoT could mean for digital marketing in particular.</p> <p>I mentioned in the previous post that IoT could enable marketers to provide enhanced value and services. I also mentioned that IoT can provide real-time, contextualised data that can come from many touchpoints over a period of time.</p> <p>Let’s dig a bit deeper. The keywords here are touchpoints and data and could lead to functional changes in terms of how marketers do their jobs.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends/">Econsultancy’s 2016 Digital Trends report</a> found that seven out of 10 respondents identified the mapping of the customer journey as a strategic priority for the next few years. This suggests getting an understanding of touchpoints along that journey, both online and offline.</p> <p>The beauty of IoT is that the deployment of internet-enabled sensors could provide marketers with real-time, contextualised data from online and offline touchpoints over a period of time. In this sense, IoT may provide marketers with the final piece of the jigsaw that’s been missing to provide a unified approach to marketing activities, online and offline.</p> <p>Consider that in Econsultancy’s 2016 Digital Trends report, personalisation and content optimisation topped the priority list for marketers this year.</p> <p>However only 20% of marketers have an actionable ‘single customer view’ that combines data sources about individuals (Source: <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-pursuit-of-data-driven-maturity/">Quarterly Digital Intelligence Briefing: The Pursuit of Data-Driven Maturity</a>). Clearly there is a huge disconnect between the aspiration of truly personalised marketing communications and the reality.</p> <h3>Analytical marketing </h3> <p>As internet-enabled sensors such as beacons become more prevalent, the implications may be significant. I would suggest that the data from those sensors may be used to enable marketers to more accurately map offline touchpoints and develop a single customer view based on online and offline behaviour.</p> <p>This could lead to all sorts of functional changes to marketing activities:</p> <ul> <li>Real-time market research versus traditional market research methodologies.</li> <li>Access to a single customer view.</li> <li>Ability to deliver real-time, contextualised and personalised communications depending on where a customer is in their decision journey.</li> <li>Access to data that can be used not just for personalised marketing activities but also to inform product and strategic decision making. </li> </ul> <p>Consider that a million connected devices sending an update two times per second create the equivalent of 333 times the number of tweets per second that Twitter has to deal with.</p> <p>Then consider that Cisco forecasts 50bn such devices by 2020. That’s a lot of data to slice and dice. </p> <p>As organisations continue along their journey to digital maturity, marketers will be expected to deal in proven and impactful metrics. IoT may provide some of those metrics.</p> <h3>IoT and Customer Experience</h3> <p>A world of interconnectivity provides an opportunity to improve products and services in real time. </p><p>IoT could provide marketers with the information that they need to improve customer experiences and thereby effectively balance marketing activities between customer acquisition and customer retention.</p> <p>Clearly this has implications for the marketing function in terms of budgeting, operations, service design and approach to advertising. Interestingly, the concept of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67168-so-what-exactly-does-customer-experience-cx-mean/">Customer Experience (CX)</a> has been gaining traction in recent years as a key strategic priority for many organisations to create sustainable competitive advantage.</p> <h3>Conclusion </h3> <p>Ubiquitous availability of bandwidth, limitless computational capacity via cloud computing as well as near infinite amounts of storage means that we are increasingly going to see new and innovative use cases for IoT.</p> <p>In fact, I would suggest that the Internet of Things will bring things that we can’t even predict yet.</p> <p>With that in mind, I recall the words of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68374-10-quotes-from-unilever-cmo-keith-weed-at-the-festival-of-marketing-2016/">Keith Weed, CMO of Unilever when he spoke at our Festival of Marketing in October</a>. On the subject of learning, experimentation and success, he said “Pull the future forward and the outside in”.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2261/keith_weed.jpg" alt="" width="271" height="271"></p> <p>As we move towards an ‘Internet of Everything’ the only constant left on the table for marketers is that change is inevitable. The goal of this post and my original post is to encourage marketers to think about IoT beyond what it can do to support marketing campaigns today.</p> <p>With that in mind, as marketers I think we need to keep our eye on the horizon and consider what IoT means for us as professionals, for our business and for our industry.</p> <p>As always, comments, critique, questions and positive discussion are most welcome. It will be interesting to see how industries will continue to change as consumers acquire more internet-enabled devices and more of our everyday products are connected to the internet.</p><p>Econsultancy has published a <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/search/?q=internet%20of%20things&amp;only=BlogPost" target="_self">number of blogs about the Internet of Things</a> as well as these reports:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-the-internet-of-things" target="_self">A Marketer’s Guide to the Internet of Things</a></li> <li> <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-wearable-technology" target="_self">A Marketer’s Guide to Wearable Technology</a> </li> </ul> <p>Readers may also be interested in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/predictive-analytics-report/">Econsultancy’s Predictive Analytics Report</a>, published in association with RedEye.</p> <p>This report looks at adoption levels of predictive analytics and the types of strategies and tactics organisations are using.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68602 2016-12-05T13:59:00+00:00 2016-12-05T13:59:00+00:00 Brand Commerce: Navigating through online customer indecision Michael Sandstrom <p>As marketers we tend to think that abundance of choice in products is one of the key strengths of ecommerce.</p> <p>But without proper management and structure, this can become a hindrance and not necessarily result in more sales.</p> <p>For this article we will go through some of the most common reasons behind customer indecision and showcase the brands that are successfully circumventing them through active “Choice Reduction”.</p> <h3>Facing the tyranny of choice</h3> <p>Now faced with the possibility of finding and buying anything online, we see more and more customers unable to commit to making a purchase then and there.</p> <p>They instead become afflicted by choice paralysis. Unfortunately choice paralysis isn't something only suffered by your new customers. Even those that enter your site having already made a decision can find themselves inundated by all the options available to them and start to question whether theirs is the right one.</p> <p>In the worst-case scenario, the customers will leave the site and never re-enter the customer journey, instead reverting back to their existing shopping behaviour and just buy from the brand they normally do.</p> <p>This is because when we fear making a bad decision, we would often rather remove ourselves from the situation and make no decision at all. </p> <p>The answer to this is simple, albeit for many brands an impractical one; reduce choice paralysis by limiting the number of visible alternatives available to your consumers.</p> <p>When this isn't a possibility, there is a need to clearly differentiate between the different options available.  </p> <h3>Relatable product taxonomy</h3> <p>Up until recently, when visiting IKEA’s website you were served with over ten categories in the top navigation.</p> <p>In a more recent version rolled out as a test in September in the UK and Ireland, the Swedish furniture company moved towards a much clearer taxonomy, organising all the content under just four categories; ‘Products', ‘ Rooms’, ‘Ideas' and 'This is IKEA’. </p> <p>Allowing users to find products not only through ‘Products’ but also through ‘Rooms’ allows for a more natural categorisation of products.</p> <p>The addition of ‘Ideas’ to the mix allows the brand to bundle content while suggesting related products. All in all, providing the user with a simple and easy to navigate experience and an organisation of products more relatable to the customers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2063/IKEA_Customer_Indecision.png" alt="IKEA UK" width="700" height="436">    </p> <h3>Ending shopper procrastination</h3> <p>The introduction of shopping lists has allowed online shoppers to save products and make sense of the vast selections available from e-retailers such as ASOS.</p> <p>A tool initially designed to single out products, for many it ends up introducing both procrastination and complexity into the customer journey.</p> <p>Without a limit to amounts of products you can add to a list, you end up mimicking the main ecommerce experience, risking further choice paralysis. ASOS has introduced some limitations to its lists, namely only allowing products on the list for 60 days before being automatically removed.</p> <p>There are also some other examples e-retailers can learn from. One such example is Priority, O2’s deal oriented app for its subscribers.</p> <p>For many of the deals run on the app, O2 cleverly links discounts and rewards with time limits. Before choosing to redeem an offer, users are warned that they have a limited amount of time to use said offer.</p> <p>By adding <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64420-now-now-now-five-quick-ways-to-create-consumer-urgency/">a sense of urgency</a>, the app pushes the user to commit to the purchase and cuts down on potential procrastination.</p> <p>This same mechanic can be adapted to e-retailers as well. For example, in cases of prolonged user inactivity, by triggering time limited discounts or free shipping if the purchase is completed within a pre-determined time frame.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2064/O2_Customer_Indecision.png" alt="O2 Priority" width="700" height="525"> </p> <h3><strong>Removing the last obstacles</strong></h3> <p>When asked in research done by <a href="http://baymard.com/lists/cart-abandonment-rate" target="_blank">Baymard Institute</a>, 61% of customers declare extra costs as the key reason behind abandoning their online shopping cart.</p> <p>For many e-commerce sites, shipping costs, insurance and other things are hidden until the last minute. While it might be to mask and lower the perceived cost of making an online purchase, these operators are in fact undermining themselves.</p> <p>Others such as the fashion brand Reiss are instead upfront with their extra costs. On Reiss’ website, the brand clearly states the different levels of shipping available and the cost the customer can expect. The brand also allows those more concerned with shipping costs to collect their purchase in store. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2066/Reiss_Hidden_Costs_Choice_Reduction.png" alt="Reiss UK" width="700" height="345"> </p> <p>In the same study, 24% of respondents say they abandoned their cart because they couldn't see the final cost upfront. ASOS counteracts this by allowing the customer to change the type (and cost) of delivery from a dropdown in the shopping basket.</p> <p>At the same time, through a notification ASOS cleverly tries to trigger the customer into a sale by offering a next-day delivery promo code.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2069/ASOS_Hidden_Costs_Choice_Reduction.png" alt="ASOS" width="700" height="451"></p> <p>While there are several other very effective tactics such as retargeting ads and basket reminder emails, these should be seen more as remedies to treat symptoms and not as relevant solutions to the problem; getting more people to commit to a purchase while on your site.</p> <p>The methods referenced are some of the simplest and easy-to-implement ways of removing customer indecision from your customer's journey and nudging them into making a purchase.</p> <p>Ultimately it comes down to “Choice Reduction”, one of the key sales triggers in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68176-brand-commerce-a-new-planning-model-for-marketers/" target="_self">our new planning model for marketers</a>. </p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:TrainingDate/3120 2016-12-05T07:43:04+00:00 2016-12-05T07:43:04+00:00 Econsultancy's Certificate in Digital Marketing & Google AdWords Qualified Individual Certification **HRDF Claimable** - Malaysia <h3><strong>Course Details</strong></h3> <p>Econsultancy and ClickAcademy Asia are proud to launch the first world-class Certificate in Digital Marketing programme in Malaysia catering to senior managers and marketing professionals who want to understand digital marketing effectively in the shortest time possible. Participants who complete the programme requirement will be awarded the <strong>Econsultancy's Certificate in Digital Marketing</strong> and <strong>Google AdWords Qualified Individual</strong> <strong>Certificate</strong>.</p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">This is a part-time programme with 64 contact hours (total 8 days) spread over 8 weeks. Participants will only be certified after passing the Google AdWords exams and the digital marketing project, and complete at least 52 contact hours. </p> <p style="font-weight: normal;">The part-time programme covers topics ranging from the overview of digital marketing, customer acquisition channels to social media marketing.</p> <p>A special early bird rate of RM10,000/pax is applicable for participants who register one month before course date. (6% GST applicable)</p> <p>For more information and to register, please click <a href="http://www.clickacademyasia.com/classgroup/econsultancys-certificate-in-digital-marketing-google-adwords-certification-my/?id_class=868&amp;utm_source=econsultancy&amp;utm_medium=website&amp;utm_campaign=doublecert-my-aug2016" target="_blank">here</a> <a href="http://www.clickacademyasia.com/training/digital-marketing/certificate-in-digital-marketing"><br></a></p> <h4>For any queries, please call +65 6653 1911 or email <strong><a href="mailto:apac@econsultancy.com" target="_self">apac@econsultancy.com</a></strong> </h4> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68575 2016-11-30T09:57:00+00:00 2016-11-30T09:57:00+00:00 Start Me Up! Bulb, the green energy company focusing on CX Ben Davis <h3>In one sentence, what is your product/service?</h3> <p><a href="https://bulb.co.uk/energy">Bulb</a> provides affordable renewable energy to homes and businesses across the UK.</p> <h3>What problem(s) does it solve?</h3> <p>Bulb solves two main problems that energy consumers experience.</p> <p>First, renewable energy has traditionally been seen as an expensive, luxury product. Today, only ~1% of UK homes have chosen to switch to a 100% renewable electricity supplier.</p> <p>By using cutting-edge IT systems and taking smaller profits than our competitors, Bulb has been able to make 100% renewable electricity 20% cheaper than other 100% renewable suppliers and ‘Big Six’ standard tariffs. </p> <p>Second, generally people don’t switch, despite the potential savings. According to Ofgem, 45% of people cannot recall ever having switched supplier.</p> <p>Switching is commonly perceived as a long and complex process. So, we’ve come up with a new ultra fast way for consumers to switch: it takes 30 seconds, and we do the rest.</p> <p>On top of that, Bulb is the only supplier to refund new joiners the unfair ‘exit fees’ their old supplier might have charged them to get out of their contracts.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1888/Screen_Shot_2016-11-30_at_09.24.13.png" alt="bulb energy" width="615" height="339"></p> <h3>What were the biggest challenges involved in building the tech or growing your team?</h3> <p>As with all high growth businesses, a big challenge has been building our team quickly.</p> <p>We’re putting a lot of effort into recruiting people that are comfortable in a high-performance environment, keen to get involved in a growth business in its early stages, and crucially, will question the status quo.</p> <p>As a result, we’re building a team with diverse range of skills and backgrounds. </p> <p>We're also working hard to keep things simple. We knew that our switching journey, the portal where our members can submit meter readings and manage their usage and the whole online experience needed to be simple, clear and easy to use.</p> <p>However, simplicity and clarity do not come easy, and we are continually using technology to improve our online experience and automate our processes for faster, better service. </p> <h3>How will the company make money?</h3> <p>There are 29m energy consumers in the UK of which 45% don’t recall switching energy suppliers.</p> <p>There is also huge support for renewables, in particular among young people, a group not targeted by traditional energy companies. As more people realise they are able to switch and that renewable energy can be truly affordable, we’re confident the market will continue to grow.</p> <p>We have developed an advanced in-house IT system that automates a lot of the issue-resolution normally done by teams of employees at larger energy companies. We also keep all our wholesale energy trading in-house.</p> <p>This allows us to keep costs far lower than our competitors and we pass this saving onto our members and retain a fair margin to build the business.</p> <p>We believe that you can make a profit while at the same time being aware of our impact on people and the planet.</p> <p>We’re the first energy company in the UK to be certified as a B Corp. That means we hold ourselves to the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1889/Screen_Shot_2016-11-30_at_09.24.23.png" alt="bulb energy" width="615" height="304"></p> <h3>Who is in your team?</h3> <p>A rapidly growing group of technology-minded people that think about energy differently.</p> <h3>Where would you like to be in one, three and five years' time?</h3> <p>In one year’s time, we would like to be continuing to grow at a rapid rate while providing a market leading service. We’d also like our vibrant online community of members to have grown at a similar rate.</p> <p>Three years from now all our members will have had a smart meter installed. Smart meters will provide a truly accurate measurement of how much energy people are using at home and mean, as a supplier, we won't have to rely on manual meter reads from our customers.</p> <p>We’re going to develop a two-way relationship with our members based on the rich usage data smart meters produce. That will allow us to help our members manage their usage and reduce their bills.</p> <p>In five years time, we want to have democratised renewable energy and be helping people reduce their usage by enabling new technologies like electric cars and domestic solar.</p> <p>We want to provide an example to energy suppliers all over the world that there’s a better way to provide energy. </p> <h3>Other than your own, what are your favourite websites/apps/tools?</h3> <p>One of the three large screens we have in the office is a Geckoboard. We love the convenience of being able to visualise our key metrics at a glance.</p> <p>In such a fast-moving, startup environment it’s great to be able to quickly and conveniently take stock and review what really matters.</p> <p><strong><em>Now read:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67099-hive-a-startup-culture-in-a-corporate-behemoth/">Hive: A startup culture in a corporate behemoth</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68574 2016-11-30T01:00:00+00:00 2016-11-30T01:00:00+00:00 The five pillars of an online to offline tracking programme Jeff Rajeck <p>One thing which is still eluding brands, though, is how to continue tracking customers when they move from online to offline.  </p> <p>That is, <strong>marketers know their customers' online behaviours but when customers step foot in the store they lose track.</strong></p> <p>Some companies have come up with a number of solutions to this problem, as shown in a recent Econsultancy report, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/understanding-the-customer-journey">Understanding the Customer Journey</a>. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1872/graph.png" alt="" width="800" height="486"></p> <p>As none of the systems listed in the graph are being used by more than two in five marketers, however, it seems that <strong>many companies are still struggling with how to track customers from their various online platforms to offline locations.</strong></p> <p>To find out more about what successful companies are doing, we spoke to a number of marketers at our recent Digital Cream Singapore at a table sponsored by Universal Data Hub provider, <a href="http://tealium.com/">Tealium</a>.</p> <p>The result was five key requirements, or 'pillars', for an online to offline tracking programme.</p> <h3>1. The business case</h3> <p>According to one participant, tracking customers from online to offline is a long-term project and will require resources and buy-in from senior management.</p> <p>In order get buy-in, though, the project needs to be a priority to the business and so <strong>marketers need to draw up a business case.</strong></p> <p>It doesn't have to be extensive, but the business case should include resources required and let management know why tracking customers from online and offline is important to the business.</p> <p>Ideally, it will also include data which gives the business a reason to invest. One source of this data is the <a href="https://www.consumerbarometer.com/en/">Google Consumer Barometer</a> which offers data about how customer behaviour has changed in recent years.  </p> <p>This can form the basis for the argument that if the business doesn't cater to these new behaviours, customers will start doing business elsewhere.</p> <p>Additionally, one attendee noted, the business case should offer a 'clear vision' of why the department heads should support the project. Otherwise, an initiative of this size may never get off the ground.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1873/1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>2. Responsibility</h3> <p>Once senior management is bought-in, <strong>marketers need ensure that the right departments are on-board.</strong>  </p> <p>Tracking customers between online and offline is not just a marketing project, said one participant. IT and sales, at the very least, should be involved from the start, as well.</p> <p>Responsibilities need to be assigned, too. Without defining roles, it is likely that the project managers will face resistance from departments which will, naturally, be protecting their domains.</p> <p>One participant noted that, at their firm, IT initially protested that adding tracking tags slowed down the website. Additionally, the CRM team was hesitant about sharing customer data with marketers.</p> <p>Getting support from the CTO and the CIO was the only way to overcome these objections.</p> <p>Through ensuring that these departments are on-board at a senior level, marketers will have the leverage they need to access the relevant data and push through the changes required to implement customer tracking.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1874/2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>3. Goals</h3> <p>In addition to drafting a business case and assigning responsibilities, <strong>project leaders will also need to set goals for the initiative.</strong> That is, what exactly is the team trying to achieve?</p> <p>One suggestion was that the goal should be to 'stitch together online and offline data' to obtain 'a single view of the customer' throughout the organisation.</p> <p>To find out more about what this goal achieves for the project team, and indeed the business, watch this short video by the table subject matter expert, Andy Clark.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/193306758" width="480" height="360"></iframe></p> <h3>4. Tactics</h3> <p>After plans are signed and goals are agreed upon, marketers need to get to work.  </p> <p>The consensus at the table was that<strong> the team should not try too many tactics at one time</strong>, but instead they should 'chip away at small blocks'.</p> <p>This could be as simple as implementing tracking codes on online coupons or collecting customer data at point-of-sale.</p> <p>Participants encouraged those just starting out to use free services at first and learn about how the technology works. After some time, they will likely need to upgrade to a more feature-rich solution but, having learned from their initial efforts, they will have data to support their requests for more budget and resources.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1875/3.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>5. Measuring success</h3> <p>The final pillar of tracking customers from online to offline is to agree from the outset about how the team should measure and report success.</p> <p>This should not be an afterthought, said one delegate, as project members will have so much data on their hands that it will be 'coming out of their ears'.  </p> <p><strong>Agreeing on metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) beforehand will help the team avoid 'data overload'</strong> and assist them in producing reports which are meaningful to the team and to the business.</p> <p>One suggestion was that<strong> marketers should look at customer-based metrics as well as ones which are more business-oriented</strong>.  </p> <p>This is because tracking the customer between their device and an offline location may not immediately demonstrate financial ROI and so expectations need to be set accordingly.</p> <p>Marketers should, instead, look for uplifts in customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty and include these both as goals and as ongoing KPIs.</p> <p>Without agreeing on achievable success criteria, one attendee suggested, a programme which takes this much effort and resources will struggle to get the continuous support from management that it requires.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the marketers who participated on the day, our table moderator, Econsultancy trainer Martin Ross, and our table sponsor for the day, Tealium.</p> <p>We hope to see you all at future Singapore Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1877/4.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68565 2016-11-28T09:18:14+00:00 2016-11-28T09:18:14+00:00 Four top digital priorities for B2B marketers: Report Nikki Gilliland <p>Here are some key charts taken from our latest B2B Digital Trends report in association with Adobe, highlighting four areas of focus right now. </p> <h3>Playing catch up on content optimization </h3> <p>While the below chart shows content optimization to be the biggest digital priority for B2B organizations in 2016, it is interesting to note that this was top for B2C marketers two years ago.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1779/Top_priorities_in_2016.JPG" alt="" width="743" height="589"></p> <p>Today, while optimization still remains important for B2C, personalization and targeting have taken precedence.</p> <p>If this is anything to go by, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see B2B marketers citing the same in 12 to 24 months down the line. </p> <p>For now, catching up on optimization remains the most pressing matter, as does marketing automation, in part reflecting the continued importance of email campaigns.</p> <h3>Data-driven marketing will be key</h3> <p>Looking even further into the future, it appears that B2B marketers aren’t thinking too much in terms of technology innovation or major channel shifts. </p> <p>Rather, they foresee improvement within a current area of opportunity – data. </p> <p>More specifically, mastering the tools needed to analyse customer data correctly and optimize the customer experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1780/Five_years_time.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="578"></p> <p>While B2B marketers clearly understand the opportunity data presents, many companies report barriers due to lack of training, resources and involvement from management.</p> <h3>Implementing a strategy to underpin CX</h3> <p>With optimising customer experience cited as the most exciting opportunity now <em>and</em> in five years – what are the elements needed to achieve it?</p> <p>On a scale of one to five, 50% of marketers rank strategy as ‘most important to success’.  </p> <p>While the aforementioned element of data is crucial to developing compelling customer experiences, it is likely to be lost without an overarching strategy to guide decision-making.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1781/Strategy_for_CX.JPG" alt="" width="735" height="573"></p> <h3>Optimising across multiple touchpoints</h3> <p>Lastly, we can see that a big priority for B2B marketers is bringing together all of the above, combining them to create a seamless experience for customers across all channels.</p> <p>Despite <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68474-b2b-digital-marketing-trends-for-2017-finally-catching-up-with-b2c" target="_blank">a lack of focus on mobile</a>, delivering a consistent message across all customer touchpoints is still thought to be most important priority.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1782/mobile_optimization.JPG" alt="" width="740" height="575"></p> <p><strong>For lots more information, download the full <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-digital-trends-2016-2017/" target="_self">B2B Digital Trends report</a>.</strong></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:Report/3008 2016-11-23T09:45:00+00:00 2016-11-23T09:45:00+00:00 Internet Statistics Compendium Econsultancy <p>Econsultancy’s <strong>Internet Statistics Compendium</strong> is a collection of the most recent statistics and market data publicly available on online marketing, ecommerce, the internet and related digital media. </p> <p><strong>The compendium is available as 11 main reports (in addition to a B2B report) across the following topics:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/advertising-media-statistics">Advertising</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/content-statistics">Content</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-experience-statistics">Customer Experience</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/web-analytics-statistics">Data and Analytics</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/demographics-technology-adoption">Demographics and Technology Adoption</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/uk/reports/ecommerce-statistics">Ecommerce</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/email-ecrm-statistics">Email and eCRM</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-statistics">Mobile</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/search-marketing-statistics">Search</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/social-media-statistics">Social</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/strategy-and-operations-statistics">Strategy and Operations</a></strong></li> <li><strong><a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B</a></strong></li> </ul> <p>Updated monthly, each document is a comprehensive compilation of internet, statistics and online market research with data, facts, charts and figures.The reports have been collated from information available to the public, which we have aggregated together in one place to help you quickly find the internet statistics you need, to help make your pitch or internal report up to date.</p> <p>There are all sorts of internet statistics which you can slot into your next presentation, report or client pitch.</p> <p><strong>Those looking for B2B-specific data should consult our <a title="B2B Internet Statistics Compendium" href="http://econsultancy.com/reports/b2b-internet-statistics-compendium">B2B Internet Statistics Compendium</a>.</strong></p> <p> <strong>Regions covered in each document (where available) are:</strong></p> <ul> <li><strong>Global</strong></li> <li><strong>UK</strong></li> <li><strong>North America</strong></li> <li><strong>Asia</strong></li> <li><strong>Australia and New Zealand</strong></li> <li><strong>Europe</strong></li> <li><strong>Latin America</strong></li> <li><strong>MENA</strong></li> </ul> <p>A sample of the Internet Statistics Compendium is available for free, with various statistics included and a full table of contents, to show you what you're missing.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68532 2016-11-22T13:30:00+00:00 2016-11-22T13:30:00+00:00 The case for chatbots being the new apps - notes from #WebSummit2016 Seán Donnelly <p>I counted 23 bot related companies exhibiting at the early stage (Alpha) area at Web Summit last week.</p> <p>These included bots for different kinds of services as well as bot building platforms. A year ago, this area might have been taken up by start-ups working on mobile apps.</p> <p>Is this a clear sign that bots are about to move beyond the nascent stage? Perhaps.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1501/web_summit_bot_start_ups-blog-flyer.png" alt="Start Ups exhibiting at Web Summit 2016" width="470" height="364"></p> <h3>What is a bot?</h3> <p>We’re actually a lot more familiar with bots than we might realise. Think of Apple’s Siri or Microsoft Cortana. They’ve been around for a while but until recently, haven’t really gained traction for various reasons.</p> <p>Search engines may be considered as a type of bot. A user types in a command or request in the form of a search query and the search engine returns a number of results based on that query. </p> <p>Or let’s go even further, remember Microsoft’s paper clip virtual assistant? That was discontinued years ago but bots have been taking off again recently as advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence make them more accessible and versatile than before.</p> <p>In terms of the more recent bot experiences, brands are starting to use them for more personal, proactive and streamlined interactions with people. In this sense, a bot is just a new type of user interface.</p> <p>According to Ted Livingston, CEO and founder of messaging app Kik, speaking on the digital marketing stage at Web Summit, "people think bots are about chatting. They're just a better way to deliver software. It's just a user interface.”</p> <p>Chatbots are just automated computer programs that can simulate conversation with people to perform tasks or answer questions. </p> <h3>How sophisticated are bots?</h3> <p>There is a scale of complexity when it comes to bots. At the most sophisticated level, a bot is an artificially intelligent creation capable of understanding complex interactions.</p> <p>At the lower end of the spectrum, a bot is just a simple interface that can respond to a limited number of pre-programmed commands.</p> <p>For an idea of how basic bots can be, there is a plethora of basic bot-building platforms online. I created Seanbot at robots.me. It’s not going to do my work for me anytime soon. </p> <p>As basic as some bots may seem, Kik’s Livingston says “calling bots basic today is a bit like calling websites basic 20 years ago”. We’re going to see bot sophistication increase far more quickly than we did for website functionality. </p> <h3>Why are bots getting popular so quickly?</h3> <p>According to Ted Livingston, one answer might be the growth and use of messaging platforms which is providing some of the infrastructure for delivering bot interfaces.</p> <p>Back in April 2016, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67799-facebook-s-f8-updates-mark-shift-from-screens-to-experiences/">Facebook opened up its Messenger platform</a> to developers at its F8 developer conference. That means that brands that want to reach people on mobile can build bots to share weather updates, order pizza, confirm flight reservations or send receipts after a purchase. </p> <p>For example, Mark Zuckerberg presented the use case of ordering flowers by chatting with the 1-800-Flowers.com bot, ironically bypassing dialling the telephone. As of July 2016, there were more than 11,000 bots on the Facebook Messenger platform. </p> <p>Also in April, Kik launched its own bot store, which according to Livingston, has already attracted more than 20,000 bots.</p> <p>He told users at Web Summit that in China there are more bots launched on TenCent’s WeChat every day than websites added to the Internet. In other words, according to Livingston, “WeChat is the Internet” in China. </p> <p><em>Kik bot store</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1502/kik_bot_store-blog-flyer.png" alt="Kik Bot Shop Interface" width="470" height="193"></p> <p>Google revealed its chatbot strategy in May. Unlike M, the virtual assistant in Facebook’s Messenger, the Google Assistant will respond to voice queries and not just text input.</p> <p>Microsoft also has its own open source bot builder. Unlike Messenger and Kik bots, these bots can be deployed on other platforms.</p> <p>Amazon has also opened up its bot building platform, Echo, to developers since 2015.</p> <h3>What do bots mean for the future of apps?</h3> <p>Chatbots can be delivered via website interfaces for managing basic customer service queries.</p> <p>There could be a time though when instead of visiting an ecommerce site, we simply message the relevant stores bot on Facebook Messenger which would ask us what we are looking for and we simply tell it. </p> <p>If we think about mobile apps, there are a number of reasons why bots may in fact be the new app.</p> <h3>Why might bots succeed apps?</h3> <p><strong>1. Difficulty getting cut through on mobile app stores</strong></p> <p>If we examine mobile, according to Livingston, three quarters of American smartphone users download zero apps per month. Also, research suggests that users only use 3–4 apps on a regular basis. </p> <p>Getting cut through in the app store and then retaining users is also incredibly difficult. Bots on the other hand are available via some of the most popular messaging apps and so can provide a new way to manage frictionless interactions with consumers. </p> <p>Livingston says that if you can create a great bot experience, that experience can spread virally.</p> <p>"The problem with the app store is that they (apps) can't go viral. The top 50 apps take up the majority of downloads. Bots make it easy for experiences to go viral via mentions which allow bots to be put into conversations”.</p> <p>He gave the example of a fun chatbot Kik built called Roll that went from 0 to half a million users in 30 days.</p> <p>95% of the user base came by being shared peer to peer. It now has 1 million users.</p> <p><strong>2. Ubiquity of messaging apps</strong></p> <p>Considering the incredible growth in the number of bots available via Messenger, Kik, WeChat and other platforms, then according to Livingston "if you are a developer at this point and you are still building an app, you are crazy”. </p> <ul> <li>WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, is the most popular messenger app in the world with 1bn monthly active users (Source: Statista).  </li> <li>Facebook Messenger takes second place with over 900m monthly active users (MAUs). This number has been consistently growing since 2014 when it had 200m MAUs.</li> <li>Chinese company Tencent’s instant messenger QQ isn’t far behind with about 880 MAUs (ChinaInternetWatch).</li> <li>Tencent’s WeChat is also on the list with 806 million monthly active users as of October 2016 (Statista). </li> </ul> <p>Further, the number of mobile messaging app users is forecast to nearly double between 2014 and 2019 (Statista). That means a projected total of 2.19bn people using mobile messaging apps by 2019.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1503/900_million_people_using_facebook_messenger-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="260"></p> <p><strong>3. There is less friction using a bot than installing an app</strong></p> <p>To make user of a bot, a user just needs to search for the bot within their preferred messaging app and start “chatting”. Because you are interacting via your installed messaging app, the bot will have access to your identity.</p> <p>This contrasts with searching for an app, installing and creating an account. This may be problematic if you are outside a wifi zone and don’t want to use data to download the app.</p> <p>I tried using 1800 Flowers this morning. While I didn’t actually order anything, connecting with the bot and starting the interaction was quite easy.  </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1505/1800_flowers-blog-flyer.png" alt="" width="470" height="275"></p> <p><strong>4. Bots may be better options for businesses that don’t have an immediate business case for an app</strong></p> <p>Users can add a bot to their contact list rather than downloading an app.</p> <p>What this means is that small businesses or companies that don’t have a clear use case for downloading and keeping an app on your phone may benefit from a bot instead.  </p> <p>Think of hotels or your local hairdresser / barber. To spend the time, effort and money to build an app for these services wouldn’t be worth it but there may be a long tail in having them in your contact list to make bookings etc. </p> <p><strong>5. Bots don't use up valuable memory on users smartphones.</strong></p> <p>Enough said.</p> <h3>Use case - how KLM is starting to use bots for customer service</h3> <p>At Econsultancy’s Festival of Marketing 2016, KLM’s Social Media Manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer discussed the airline’s approach to customer service via social media. </p> <p>KLM has been a poster child for using social media as a customer service tool. Karlijn told FoM attendees that KLM has 235 agents dealing with social mentions around the world, 24/7.  </p> <p>To put it into context, the KLM team responds to 15,000 social mentions per week in 12 different languages.</p> <p>They used to have a 60 minute promised response time but in reality, most customer don’t want to wait that long. These interactions are managed manually but the volume of interactions is increasing year on year. </p> <p>For this reason, KLM is exploring AI and bots to help reduce the strain, whilst working to maintain a human feel.</p> <p>KLM added in a Facebook Messenger chatbot in March. Since its launch, it is receiving 5 questions per hour via Messenger. This number can increase to 13 in a peak hour.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/1504/klm_social_mentions-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="KLM’s Social Media Manager Karlijn Vogel-Meijer speaking at FoM 2016" width="470" height="368"> </p> <p>The brand is using Messenger for automated updates around checking in, potential delays and sending boarding passes. However Karlijn was clear that if a customer has a more complex question, a KLM agent will still get involved. </p> <p>Bots right now may not be in a position to interact in a personal way she says. In that sense, KLM’s social customer service strategy hasn’t changed. They’ve just added a layer of technology to support common requests.</p> <p>KLM is exploring adding more functions to Facebook Messenger and expanding its chatbot to other platforms like WhatsApp and WeChat. These are expected to roll out within the next year.</p> <h3>Learn more about bots </h3> <p>Econsultancy has published a number of posts and reports about bots and artificial intelligence in the last year. In particular, readers may find the following helpful: </p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68388-how-klm-uses-bots-and-ai-in-human-social-customer-service/">How KLM uses bots and AI in ‘human’ social customer service</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-in-the-age-of-artificial-intelligence/">Marketing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence</a></li> </ul> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68544 2016-11-22T11:00:00+00:00 2016-11-22T11:00:00+00:00 Disrupting loyalty: How can hotels become enablers, not just destinations? Anton Schubert <h3>Power to the people</h3> <p>In recent months Futurice has created eight retail trends that focus on a 2020 vision for the retail and consumer markets.</p> <p>One of these trends is particularly important for hospitality and especially hotels in terms of how they engage with their guests to improve loyalty and re-booking.</p> <p>The trend is called <strong>“Power to the People”</strong> and has three aspects:</p> <ul> <li> <strong>1. Crowd-sourced: </strong>As services become increasingly powered by peers, what are the different implications for customers and companies? What does trust and loyalty look like in a crowd-sourced market?</li> <li> <strong>2. Be the enabler: </strong>How can brands flex their power and use their network better to enable engaging customer experiences far outside their core offer?</li> <li> <strong>3. Global localist: </strong>Customers trust traditional brands and are simultaneously excited by boutique / bespoke experiences. The future might bring a combination of the two. Can your company start preparing for this now?</li> </ul> <p>For this blog, I’d like to talk about the second aspect; Be the enabler.</p> <h3>Be the enabler</h3> <p>IKEA recently set up a space in Shoreditch, London called <a href="http://www.ikea.com/gb/en/ikea/campaigns/the-dining-club/">the Dining Club</a>.</p> <p>This is one really cool example of what we mean when we talk about brands enabling people to have an experience that is often outside the company’s core offer.</p> <p>IKEA built on the insight that there has been a 22% drop in social groups, especially families, spending time together eating.</p> <p>They have also understood that it’s becoming harder for people to afford the cost of eating out. But the real magic about this concept is that it enables a human moment, a shared experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1678/Picture2.png" alt="ikea dinner club" width="550" height="310"></p> <p>An experience that is social and long lasting in the memories of the people involved. A moment much more compelling than a Sunday trip to IKEA to buy crockery and curtain rails.</p> <p>In essence <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67694-10-examples-of-great-ikea-marketing-creative/">IKEA</a> is using its core products and brand to enable a more fulfilling experience that helps create robust brand loyalty.</p> <h3>So how could this apply to the hotel business?</h3> <p>Hotels are in a pretty good starting position, especially ones that are well networked and in great locations, be it city central or countryside.</p> <p>The hotel is a fantastic hub for the location it’s in and could be doing much more to help guests get the most out of their trip. Don’t get me wrong - I’m not talking lobby leaflets to local attractions or even the most helpful and knowledgeable front desk staff.</p> <p>I’m a business traveller, and a gold member of a large hotel chain that is affiliated with many travel and hospitality partners around the world. I get all the usual benefits.</p> <p>An upgrade here and there, free early check in, hotel restaurant vouchers, discounts from certain car rentals, a MasterCard with no annual fee, and last but not least a free bottle of water when I check in.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1679/Picture3.png" alt="mastercard fees" width="600" height="368"></p> <p>This is all well and good but honestly, I don’t want any of the above. I stay in so many hotels that the last thing I want is a benefit that makes me spend even more time in the hotel doing boring hotel stuff.</p> <p>I’d rather be given something exclusive that makes me feel special, something that I couldn’t do without the help of my hotel.</p> <p>My advice to hotel brands is to leverage their local networks and partners, allowing them to widen their offer. This includes connecting with locals who bring a different kind of value into the mix.</p> <p>I think a mindset change is needed <strong>from hotel as destination, to hotel as enabler</strong>.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68541-all-the-digital-news-stories-you-missed-this-week-13/">Airbnb’s decision to add “whole trips” to its offer</a> in the form of curated local experiences is a great example of a travel brand leveraging its connections and reach to enable travellers to get more out of their trip.</p> <p>The experiences, which range from samurai sword-fighting to truffle hunting, see Airbnb move into the travel agency space, increasing pressure on hotel chains and travel websites like Trip Advisor and Last Minute.com in the process.</p> <h3>Local experiences</h3> <p>When it comes to hotels as enablers, the best example I have come across is <a href="http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/rs/stay-inspired/">Conrad Hotel’s 1/3/5 program</a>, part of the hotel chain’s Stay Inspired initiative.</p> <p>1/3/5 is a list of experiences based around the hotel group’s different destinations designed for guests who may only have 1, 3, or 5 hours to discover their new location.</p> <p>Curated by Conrad’s Director of Inspiration Peter Jon Lindberg, a former executive editor of Conde Nast Traveller, the 1/3/5 experiences range from edgy neighbourhood tours, reinvented icons and landmarks, to late-night cocktails.</p> <p>While I have yet to enjoy one myself, the 1/3/5 experiences are designed to give visitors a local perspective on culture, art, food, and adventure, so they can make the most of even a short trip. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/1680/Picture4.png" alt="conrad hotel" width="600" height="333"></p> <h3>Disrupting loyalty</h3> <p>If hotel groups were prepared to disrupt their traditional loyalty programmes and give customers experiences that are more relevant and valuable, then I would expect my business trips to become much more enjoyable and rewarding going forward.</p> <p>Imagine, for example a future where my hotel secures me a table at Stockholm’s coolest new restaurant on its opening night? Maybe my designer hotel in London is hosting a fashion show of new London talent, and I get first chance to buy exclusive items not yet available to the public.</p> <p>Or my Berlin hotel enables an easy way for me to buy local goods from the trendy Hackescher Markt without having to rush around the town in the limited time I have outside business meetings. Maybe they even deliver those goods to my home address the next day so I don’t need to carry them through the airport chaos. </p> <p>How about instead of using my loyalty points on an upgrade, I could use them to secure a ticket to the top music event in the city that night? What if all the gold members in my hotel could chip in to a community reward scheme where we decide which rewards are relevant to us and how much we want to contribute?</p> <p>Maybe hotels could just scrap the traditional loyalty scheme altogether and give me any of the above as a gift every now and then just to say thank you?</p> <p>Hotels are in prime position to experiment with this kind of change. They have millions of guests walking through their doors every day.</p> <p>They may not yet feel they have strong loyalty within their customer base but the opportunity to create it is undoubtedly there and ready to be seized. After all, people who travel whether on business or leisure appreciate memorable experiences and AAA hotel locations are no longer the only differentiator. The hotel is the perfect springboard for the guest experience.</p> <p>It’s time to help your guests to spring a little higher.</p> <p><em><strong>Now read:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67658-how-hotels-can-personalize-the-customer-experience-to-compete-with-airbnb/">How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb</a></li> </ul>