tag:econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/personalisation Latest Personalisation content from Econsultancy 2016-05-04T01:00:00+01:00 tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67791 2016-05-04T01:00:00+01:00 2016-05-04T01:00:00+01:00 Personalising the customer journey: Key trends from our Singapore roundtable Jeff Rajeck <p>Another <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/state-of-email-and-marketing-automation-in-south-east-asia">recent Econsultancy survey</a>, however, revealed that only 8% of marketers in South-East Asia are doing anything more than 'basic' content personalisation for their email marketing.</p> <p>Why do so many marketers see personalisation as a priority and so few spend significant resources on it?</p> <p>To find out, Econsultancy invited dozens of client-side marketers from the equatorial entrepôt of Singapore to discuss CX at roundtable discussions on April 7th.  </p> <p>The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4382/personalisation_2.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <p>Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group. </p> <p>Below is a summary of the main talking points taken from the Personalisation table.</p> <h3>Trends</h3> <p>Participants started by discussing the industry trends which are leading to the increased interest in and adoption of personalisation technology.</p> <h4>1. Competition for digital customers is increasing</h4> <p>Attendees noted that digital marketing strategies which used to work are now widely-used and, as a result, no longer as effective.</p> <p>The ROI on simple segmentation has dropped significantly, one marketer reported, and so ecommerce sites are now using more sophisticated behavioural-based segments, such as 'brand loyalists' and 'impulse buyers'.</p> <p>The inevitable next step, one participant argued, is providing personalisation to create 'segments of one' with the aim of providing a great, and unique, customer experience.</p> <h4>2. Organisations are becoming more customer-focused</h4> <p>The digital customer experience has traditionally been owned by marketing and driven by increasing conversions.</p> <p>According to attendees, this is now changing. Departments such as branding and dedicated customer experience (CX) teams are starting to have more influence on the website and other digital touchpoints.</p> <p>Because these departments are less conversion-driven, initiatives which improve qualitative metrics, such as personalisation, are enjoying a higher priority than they did previously.</p> <h4>3. CX technology is improving</h4> <p>Another reason why personalisation is receiving more attention now is that CX solutions are improving.</p> <p>Participants noted that omnichannel marketing has been available for a few years now and online to offline (O2O) solutions are becoming more common.</p> <p>For these solutions, marketers are integrating customer data which was previously siloed and managing marketing campaigns centrally.</p> <p>This approach, which companies are now using to provide omnichannel and O2O, is ideal for providing personalisation.  </p> <p>This means that the technology barriers to entry are not as high as they were.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4383/personalisation_1.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> <h3>Best practices</h3> <p>For those looking to get started with personalisation, participants had a few suggestions.</p> <h4>1. Focus on improving single touchpoints</h4> <p>One participant felt that their organisation tried to do too much personalisation at once. A better way is to look at individual channels and personalise the 'low-hanging fruit' first.</p> <p>Making marketing more personal through programmes such as retargeting is one way to start. Email is probably next, attendees claimed, and then start looking at the call centre and the website.</p> <p>What participants found challenging with some of the channels was integrating data from the CRM.  </p> <p>One participant felt that partnering with a bespoke CX provider, <a href="http://www.jetlore.com/">Jetlore</a> in their case, helped collaboration between the teams who each 'owned' part of the customer data.</p> <h4>2. Have a 'personalisation plan'</h4> <p>Once you know what channels to address, then come up with a plan for what customer data you are going to use to personalise the channel.</p> <p>Trying to use all the customer data at once is too difficult. Instead, start of with the name and perhaps an event such as a birthday or a relevant holiday.  </p> <p>From there you can start collecting behavioural (purchasing) and interest (browsing) data to improve your personalisation.</p> <h4>3. Make personalisation personal</h4> <p>Attendees also pointed out that personalisation does not have to be only something managed by databases and systems.</p> <p>One participant said that they have improved customer experience by contacting engaged customers to find out about their experience.</p> <p>Doing so broke down the 'digital barrier' between the company and the customer and provided an experience which could not be more personal.</p> <p>This can be done on a larger scale with surveys and a reward which is, of course, designed specifically for them, personally.</p> <h3>Challenges</h3> <p>Finally, attendees discussed some of the challenges they faced when trying to implement personalisation programmes.</p> <h4>1. Different customers have different roles</h4> <p>A participant from a B2B-focused company pointed out that they found it difficult to personalise as they had multiple customers from each organisation, and each one had a different role in the buying process.  </p> <p>Some of their customers are information-seekers whereas others are only interested in price.</p> <p>One participant from a B2C ecommerce company agreed with this notion. In a B2C context, it is difficult to discern someone who was buying for themselves and someone who was buying for someone else.</p> <p>Another attendee noted that this might be why recommendation engines struggle to provide meaningful recommendations.</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4385/Amazon-Ducks.jpg" alt="" width="600" height="250"></p> <h4>2. Customer needs change over time</h4> <p>Another challenge marketers face when trying to provide a personalised service is that customer priorities change over time.</p> <p>Addressing the customer by name is useful to get attention, but doing so again can be infuriating when they are frustrated.  </p> <p>Also, as providing personalisation often means prioritising information on the page, it is possible that you will be highlighting items which are totally irrelevant to them and hiding what they are looking for. </p> <p>Marketers need to be aware of how customer needs change in order to provide a personalised service which delights rather than irritates the customer, said one participant.</p> <h4>3. Organisations have to address many issues to prevent roadblocks</h4> <p>Now that digital is being used to improve customer experience through initiatives such as personalisation, organisations have some new issues to address.</p> <p>Participants mentioned a few questions that organisations have to answer before rolling out large-scale personalisation: </p> <ul> <li>How can the organisation manage 'send limits' of emails from different departments?</li> <li>Who gets priority on a personalised web page? Branding? Marketing? Sales?</li> <li>How is the organisation going to measure success an allocation budget?</li> </ul> <p>Most felt that many of these issues haven't been discussed previously because everyone in digital was focused on one thing, conversions.</p> <p>It seems that along with new opportunities to improve CX, personalisation will also require a lot more work from marketers.</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.</p> <p>We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!</p> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4386/team.jpg" alt="" width="800" height="533"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67767 2016-04-20T14:15:00+01:00 2016-04-20T14:15:00+01:00 Will conversational marketing become a reality in 2016? Ashley Friedlein <p>For thousands of years’ markets have been “conversations between people who sought out others who shared the same interests."</p> <blockquote> <p>Buyers had as much to say as sellers. [..] markets were places where people met to see and talk about each other’s work. Conversation is a profound act of humanity.</p> </blockquote> <p>The voices taking part in marketing conversations have also proliferated.</p> <p>Andy Hobsbawm, founder of one of the first digital agencies and now founder and CMO of Internet of Things platform, EVRYTHNG, talks of three ages of ‘voice’:</p> <blockquote> <p>The first age of broadcast media was built around the brand having a voice, and the second social-media driven age centred on what we might call consumer voice.</p> <p>The third age will need to focus on product becoming both a media channel and an interface for service delivery.</p> </blockquote> <p>One of digital’s great promises, along with accountability, is <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/website-personalisation-buyers-guide/">personalisation</a> at scale.</p> <p>And similarly to accountability, it is questionable how far digital has yet fully delivered on personalisation.</p> <p>The idea of personalised, one-to-one marketing, was popularised even earlier in the 90s by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers in their 1994 book, <em>The One to One Future</em>.</p> <p>Could 2016 be the year that conversations actually become a paradigm for realising the promise of marketing as a personalised experience at scale?</p> <p>And an experience that can take place not just between human buyers and sellers but between brands, perhaps brought alive as bots, and physical products given a voice through the internet of things? </p> <h3>The signs are promising</h3> <p>Messaging is already huge and still growing fast. Last month WhatsApp passed the 1bn user mark.</p> <p>Last year messaging apps caught up with social networks in user numbers and now dominate mobile.</p> <p>Facebook and others are investing heavily in messaging and it will be interesting to see how Facebook M develops this year.</p> <p>As well as more general messaging apps there are also many specialist concierge services springing up like Pana (for travel), Operator and GoButler.</p> <p><iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/160951232" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> <p>All of these use messaging, and conversations, as the core interface and interaction medium.</p> <p>There are many mobile-focused challenger brands launching this year, like <a href="https://www.marketingweek.com/2015/11/12/atom-banks-anthony-thomson-we-should-not-be-starting-businesses-to-make-money/">Atom Bank</a> and Starling Bank, where we can expect to see conversational style interactions forming a much great part of the brand experience.</p> <p>Conversations as the primary medium for communication is age old.</p> <p>But much of the experimentation in digital products and services now is about making conversations the primary interface, or jumping off point, for commerce.</p> <h3>Conversational commerce?</h3> <p>2016 has been touted as the year of “conversational commerce”, an early example being Uber’s integration into Facebook Messenger.</p> <p>We can expect to be sending money not just to friends but to bots in the near future.</p> <p>As mobile apps have access to rich contextual information about you, including location, social, health and sensor data, the opportunities for friction-free conversational commerce are exciting. </p> <p><em>Econsultancy's Facebook Messenger code, which can be scanned to begin chatting with us. Or is it just a bot you'll be chatting with...</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/4141/Facebook_Messenger_code.jpg" alt="" width="506" height="253"></p> <p>What about conversational content? <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67539-six-trends-the-new-quartz-app-has-joyfully-piggybacked/">Quartz recently launched a news app</a> with a ‘whole new way’ to experience news: one whose interface is an ongoing conversation.</p> <p>It is too early to say how well this will work but it is worth downloading to experience a “conversationalised” user interface, applied to content.</p> <p>And conversational customer service?</p> <p>If you have experienced interacting with, say, Slack’s “Slackbot”, you will have glimpsed how service can be effectively delivered via a bot in a conversational interface that, whilst pure machine, can be imbued with the tone, and feeling, of a brand.</p> <p>Conversations may always have been at the heart of markets and perhaps the most natural expression of personalisation, but digital has made it possible for marketing to be more of a dialogue, rather than a one way voice.</p> <p>But perhaps only now will conversations really start to power communication, customer service, content and commerce.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67724 2016-04-12T01:00:00+01:00 2016-04-12T01:00:00+01:00 How marketers are tackling personalisation in Manila Jeff Rajeck <p>Personalisation is a top priority for marketers this year according our global <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-2016-digital-trends/">Digital Trends 2016</a> report.</p> <p>Nearly one-third of survey respondents (31%) indicated that 'targeting and personalisation' was in their top three priorities for the coming year, more than any other digital-related area.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3687/4.PNG" alt="" width="795" height="246"></p> <p>What precisely does 'personalisation' mean for marketers, though?  </p> <p>And how are companies achieving their customer experience (CX) and marketing objectives through personalisation initiatives?</p> <h3>About the roundtables</h3> <p>The roundtables covered three topics all related to CX and were moderated by subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor IBM. </p> <p>Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.</p> <p>Moderators dutifully took high-level notes during the discussion and presented them back to the group at the end.</p> <p>Below is a summary of the main talking points during the day about personalisation.</p> <h3>Upcoming roundtables: Jakarta (April 14th) and Bangkok (April 21st) </h3> <p>Please note that Econsultancy, in association with IBM, is continuing this CX rountable discussion series for client-side marketers in:</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/cx-sea-roundtable-series-jakarta/">Jakarta on Thursday, April 14th</a>,</strong></li> <li>and <strong><a href="https://econsultancy.com/events/cx-sea-roundtable-series-bangkok/">Bangkok on Thursday, April 21st</a>.</strong> </li> </ul> <p>Please click the relevant link above to register your interest.</p> <h3>The challenge of personalisation</h3> <p>In order to provide personalisation, participants reported, marketers need data about their customers and the capability to deliver a personalized message to them.</p> <p>Sounds simple, but, in practice, <strong>personalisation is very difficult to do.</strong></p> <p>Two specific challenges came up during the discussions. First, <strong>there is an 'overwhelming' amount of customer data available</strong> and marketers are not currently equipped to collect and manage it.  </p> <p>Also, providing effective <strong>personalisation requires managing many more touchpoints than ever before</strong>, according to participants.</p> <p>Our survey of marketers, globally, backs up the attendees concern about touchpoints.</p> <p>In our recent report, the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/quarterly-digital-intelligence-briefing-the-cx-challenge/">CX Challenge</a>, marketers were asked which touchpoints were central to their customer experience.</p> <p>Out of 16 listed, 13 were used by more than half of respondents and all 16 were in use by more than four in ten. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3757/Picture1.png" alt="" width="688" height="522"></p> <h3>How to launch a personalisation initiative</h3> <h4>First, think small</h4> <p>In light of these challenges, attendees recommended that marketers should 'think small' when starting off a personalisation programme.  </p> <p>Instead of trying to personalize every channel for every customer, it was more reasonable to identify a small customer segment and provide personalisation to them first.</p> <h4>Then collect the data</h4> <p>When you have decided on the right customer segment for personalisation, the next step is to go across the organization and find the data about these customers.</p> <p>One participant noted that <strong>a '360 exercise' is a great way to gain valuable insight about customers.</strong></p> <p>It simply involves collecting customer data from other departments and then later 'piecing together' the whole customer profile.</p> <h4>Pick the platform</h4> <p>Again, instead of trying to provide a personalized service across many touchpoints, <strong>start with one or two platforms and see what you can achieve .</strong></p> <p>Emails came up as the most popular way to deliver personalisation and next was the company website, providing unique content to logged-in users.</p> <p>It was noted that on social platforms, like Facebook and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67490-10-things-you-didn-t-know-about-wechat/">WeChat</a>, it was more difficult to 'do personalisation' than on email or a website.</p> <p>Here, one attendee suggested that if marketers choose to use a social platform, then personalisation would mean crafting the 'correct' message for the target segment.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3761/picture_2.jpg" alt="" width="1014" height="684"></p> <h4>Craft the campaign</h4> <p>The next step in developing a personalisation initiative is to craft a marketing campaign.</p> <p>This requires marketers to:</p> <ul> <li>Set overall objectives.</li> <li>Create a meaningful call to action.</li> <li>Set a conversion goal so you can generate performance data.</li> </ul> <p>Thinking about data from the start makes it easier to integrate the personalisation initiative into existing key performance indicators (KPIs), according to one participant.</p> <p>One example of this practice is when ecommerce sites send you a link to a product you left in a digital shopping cart.  </p> <p>By personalizing the email with your abandoned item and then subsequently checking whether you purchase it or not, the company will then be able to gauge whether doing so is a worthwhile way of improving an existing KPI, such as revenue.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3758/email.png" alt="" width="800" height="343"></p> <h4>Collect and analyze the data</h4> <p>According to attendees, the success of a personalisation effort depends on whether or not you are addressing a customer need while also delivering added brand value.</p> <p>In order to see whether this is happening, though, it is necessary to measure the performance of the campaign against the goals you set originally.</p> <p>Are you able to produce measurable results by 'recognizing' your customer digitally?  If so, then how can you expand the programme? If not, what other segments or campaigns can you try?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3759/eloqua.png" alt="" width="444" height="571"></p> <h3>So...</h3> <p>Success with personalisation does not just come down to getting a customer's first name in an email subject line or showing them a previously-viewed item on the website.</p> <p>Instead, <strong>personalisation is a tactic which should be part of a strategy which aims to improve a KPI</strong>, according to our Manila participants. Without achieving that, personalisation is just 'window dressing'!</p> <h3>A word of thanks</h3> <p>Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, IBM.</p> <p>We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for the personalisation table, Jeoffrey Solas, PR &amp; Marketing Manager at Best Western Plus.</p> <p>We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3762/picture.jpg" alt="" width="1074" height="703"></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67704 2016-04-05T11:30:00+01:00 2016-04-05T11:30:00+01:00 Four useful tips for making online ads relevant & personal Sean Philip <p>Every brand worth its salt uses some form of contextual targeting to entice users in – be it through display targeting, RLSAs, or promoting certain pieces of content or products on their website based on previous visits.</p> <p>Google’s announcement of its <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67654-google-courts-enterprise-marketers-with-launch-of-analytics-360-suite/">Google Analytics 360 Suite</a>, with its Audience Centre, Data Studio and Optimisation solution will certainly go some way to helping brands be better at placing customers at the heart of their marketing.</p> <p>The wider issue is – this isn’t something you set up once, tick the box and you’re done.</p> <p>Achieving that authentic personal touch is an infinite evolution and one that should include the following considerations:</p> <h3>1. Combine multiple data sources</h3> <p>We’ve all seen the BBC’s Sherlock, right? It’s impressive how he can infer so much about someone just by looking at them.</p> <p>We can do something similar online, but we have to start to look beyond the basic targeting Google allows. Combining multiple ‘clues’ about your audience to build up a better picture of them is the key to accurate targeting.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3608/Sherlock.png" alt="" width="650" height="439"></p> <p>You’ll find you can get most of this from your analytics, your CRM database, your social networks.</p> <p>Sure it can be time consuming stitching them all together. But it’s worth it.</p> <p>Unsurprisingly, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66602-do-supermarkets-know-what-online-customers-want/">online supermarkets</a> seem to be the best at this (and some are laying the foundations for pre-empting shipping). A lot of other brands think it doesn’t apply to them. It does. </p> <h3>2. Allow feedback, and learn from it</h3> <p>People’s circumstances change – those in market today are not necessarily looking for the same product tomorrow. You need to adapt.</p> <p>Good advertisers will recognise this and change their approach. Great advertisers will engage with their customers to understand how best they want to be communicated with.</p> <p>Brands let customers set <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64165-email-frequency-how-much-is-too-much/">email frequency preferences</a> – why don’t they do the same with online advertising? </p> <h3>3. Stop forcing an experience on your audience, instead build one around them</h3> <p>Blanket retargeting everyone who ever looked at that new sofa product page you created will get you some conversions, sure.</p> <p>But you’ll also have annoyed a lot of people, who for whatever reason just didn’t want to buy that sofa in the first place. Be more nuanced – develop separate, personalised strategies depending on the type of people you’d like to engage with. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3609/made.com_sofa.png" alt="" width="650" height="360"></p> <p>The hard sell is only necessary when you’re time pressured – you can often afford to be more relaxed, and more tailored with your approach, online. </p> <h3>4. ‘Offsite’ and ‘onsite’ do not live in separate bubbles </h3> <p>You can spend millions crafting a beautifully personalised experience around your audience on your website.</p> <p>But if your ‘offsite’ acquisition strategy is based around shoving poorly targeted advertising down people’s throats then the best you can hope for is your site experience being able to compensate for a poor journey on the way there.</p> <p>A contextual, personal touch in guiding the way is at least as important as the experience once you arrive. The content you expose to people to on their route to your website plays a defining role in the conversion (or lack thereof) you achieve on their exit.</p> <p>You only have to look at <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67076-the-rise-and-rise-of-ad-blockers-stats/">the rise of ad-blocking software</a> to know just how far off the mark ads can be these days, with people rejecting them in droves.</p> <p>Following someone across the internet for weeks on end with banners promoting a sofa they fleetingly considered purchasing is the online equivalent of employing someone to continually stalk a customer with a ‘Buy this Sofa!’ placard.</p> <p>You wouldn’t do that in real life so why do it online?</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67681 2016-03-30T14:56:00+01:00 2016-03-30T14:56:00+01:00 Can cross-channel marketing save the Next catalogue? Matthew Kelleher <h3>Catalogues on the wane?</h3> <p>It’s not the shift from offline to digital that is the stand out issue here, which remains a constant now as it has done for many years (although the shift in buying patterns detailed by Next in their annual review, from offline to online to mobile, is very significant).</p> <p>What is momentus is that the Next catalogue, one of the pillars of Next’s long term success along with Directory and its credit services, as well as being one of the icons of the catalogue market, is on the wane.</p> <p>Of course it is not just Next who are questioning the role of the catalogue in the digital era, many retailers I speak to are struggling to understand both the strategic role of a catalogue in the evolving marketing mix and its value in a multi-channel world.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3440/Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_14.45.07.png" alt="next catalogue" width="615"></p> <h3>Is the catalogue's value to other channels truly known?</h3> <p>Customer behaviour continues to change and, critically, traditional measurement of channel performance no longer provides accurate understanding of channel performance.</p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66440-three-key-trends-from-our-marketing-attribution-briefing-digital-cream-2015/">Attribution modelling</a>, if it is being applied, is stymied by the inability to accurately view customers across the great divide between off and online marketing.</p> <p>The convergence of traditional and digital marketing and the rise of cross-channel marketing have been well predicted, for instance <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65990-three-digital-marketing-mega-trends-for-2015/">by Ashley Friedlein</a> here on Econsultancy. The travails of the Next catalogue are a salient reminder of this trend.</p> <p>Retailers operating without cross-channel tracking and genuinely-<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66316-how-are-organisations-integrating-the-single-customer-view">single customer views </a>cannot see what role the catalogue plays in generating, for instances, footfall in store or browsing activity online.</p> <p>The catalogue is therefore operating marooned in its own silo, judged only by its direct response results which, we all know, are declining across the board.</p> <h3>Enhancing attribution models</h3> <p>The solution for retailers facing these issues is to move onto the next generation of cross-channel single customer view database that use cross-channel tracking and customer identification software.</p> <p>Retailers need to know when they send a catalogue who browses, who is driven in store and who is price checking on a mobile device.</p> <p>In this fashion attribution models are enhanced, customer journeys effectively tracked and channel value properly understood. There is also the added benefit, probably the most valuable, of integrating the catalogue into the digital channels.</p> <p>Retailers practising cross-channel marketing in this fashion can serve relevant content to individuals launched on their journey by the catalogue as they arrive at the next stage on their journey, for instance when they arrive at the website or when they interact with an email, delivering an ‘omnichannel’ message and guiding them along the path to conversion.</p> <p><em>A mid-'90s Next Directory (<a href="http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Next-Directory-Catalogue-No-10-Autumn-Winter-1992-/281975932968">via eBay</a>)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3441/Screen_Shot_2016-03-30_at_14.53.28.png" alt="early next directory" width="615"></p> <h3>Confidence in catalogues can only come from a single customer view</h3> <p>I’m also intrigued by the phraseology used by The Telegraph – “for customers who don’t want them”. This refers to the Next press release's ‘Catalogues and Marketing’ review.</p> <p>Next has been a leader in using segmentation and analytics to drive their catalogue and direct mail for many years, but reading between the lines, as the Telegraph is doing, the Next hierarchy is losing confidence and switching spend.</p> <p>Any retailer facing a similar challenge needs a cross-channel single customer view to open the door to a wealth of online generated data that would bolster a shift to Predictive Analytical approaches. The days of offline marketers dismissing and ignoring multi-channel behavioural data as ‘clickstream’ have to be nearing an end.</p> <p>The development of cross-channel tracking software and single customer views will lead retailers not only to greater understanding of the role of the catalogue but will also create additional customer value.</p> <p>Not only will retailers be able to more accurately tie online customers together with offline, showing the true value of a single customer, but it will drive increased value through better decision making at a customer level.</p> <p>That means more accurate personalisation and a greater probability to retain a customer in a world where brand loyalty is an increasingly rare commodity.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67650 2016-03-22T15:35:48+00:00 2016-03-22T15:35:48+00:00 Why marketers must move from data to insight to action Kym Reynolds <h3>Real-time contextualisation is here</h3> <p>Your customers are engaging with your business across an increasing number of touchpoints – websites, social media, in-store, mobile and tablets.</p> <p>But regardless of how they engage, they expect a customised, personalised, and consistent experience. This expectation continues to be a challenge for businesses, which have to manipulate enormous amounts of data to try to understand how to effectively engage each individual.</p> <p>In this landscape, data needs to be collected and analysed in real-time, and any data needs to be instantly actionable, preferably in a predictive way.</p> <p>Without these capabilities, marketing messages are less compelling and response rates fall. Conversely, those brands that embrace real-time contextualization through powerful and flexible big data see huge uplifts in campaign responses.</p> <p>Marketers are now recognising the imperative of these omni-channel, contextualised communications with their prospects and customers.</p> <p><em>The omnichannel experience - Burberry was a pioneer of 'clientelling' in-store to build customer data.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0002/9928/burberry-regent-street-technology-store-0-blog-full.jpg" alt="burberry" width="615" height="408"></p> <h3>There's no excuse for generic experiences</h3> <p>The happy customer isn’t just a customer who wishes to purchase more, it’s a customer that is retained, upsold and – perhaps most importantly – the customer who becomes an advocate for your brand.</p> <p>Even so, how many times have you heard your peers and colleagues complain that they don’t have proper analytics capabilities, which means that they are limited in ROI view, optimisation and progressing the digital experience?</p> <p>Or that connecting all the activity and data across multiple channels and departments, and unifying them for monitoring measurement, evaluation and future marketing activity is challenging?</p> <p>And how about that disparate systems and data make it hard or impossible to personalise campaigns and gather, test and analyse customer data? </p> <p>In my mind those are pretty flimsy excuses. There are powerful customer and marketing analytics tools out there, and many will enable marketers to understand their customer’s behaviour not just by answering questions, but by asking ‘what can I do with this information?’</p> <h3>How well do you know your customers?</h3> <p>Can you answer the following questions?</p> <ul> <li> <p>Do you know how many people visited your stores, purchased, or left without buying?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know how long it takes for a customer to make a return purchase, and then another?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know when a customer becomes inactive or lapsed?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know what your most loyal customers look like and how to find more of them?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know how to apply what you learn about your customers – what/ when/ where – and turn that into personalised conversations?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know how to monitor changes in consumer behaviour and act on this quickly?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know how to use affinity reports to not only determine ‘the knowns’, ie. people who buy this also buy that, but also ‘the unknowns’ – affinities which don’t conform to a set behavior but proffer new marketing opportunities, through those affinities, brand, product or otherwise?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know how to shadow customers to determine when the right time is to contact them – learning their propensity to buy? </p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know how to track trending behaviours, such as identifying ‘repeat refunders’ or repeat returners – for example customers that buy three items online and return two in-store?</p> </li> </ul> <p><em>Time-tested models such as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/64481-finding-your-best-customers-with-the-rfm-matrix">RFM</a> are all about actionable data.</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0004/5405/rfm_matrix_with_values-blog-full.png" alt="rfm matrix" width="615" height="653"></em></p> <h3>Marketers need to be able to act on data</h3> <p>Marketers need to be able to act on data not just pore over numbers in spreadsheets – there is a difference between a data question and a data driven insight with targeted call to action.</p> <p>In my mind, marketers need guidance about what is relevant - what are their customer indicators, what are their churn indictors - and how to action all of this in an automated fashion.</p> <p>Basic reporting, such as how many customers shopped online, how many abandoned a sale etc arguably add to the volume of data out there, but it just adds to the information that marketers struggle with.</p> <p>As a marketer, you should ask yourself the question – if for example you knew that 40% of customers who shopped in the last 3 months were new to your brand, and out of those, 10% have bought again and most within two weeks of their initial purchase – would that be a valuable insight?</p> <p>And if you could then use a tool that identifies all those new customers who have not repurchased by two weeks and automatically re-engage with them leveraging relevant content using your marketing cloud software, would that be beneficial to your business?</p> <p>If the answer is yes you need to consider using the technology that is out there, to help move you towards the ultimate goal of providing only relevant and timely content and marketing messages to each of your prospects and customers.</p> <p>Remember that building your marketing strategy on a solid customer data foundation will pay dividends for years to come.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67643 2016-03-21T12:17:28+00:00 2016-03-21T12:17:28+00:00 Success is not a destination; it’s a (customer decision) journey Blake Cahill <h3>Customer expectations</h3> <p>If you’re in the market for a particular product today, chances are you won’t be basing your decision simply on the shop assistant’s advice or that advert you saw on the bus last week.</p> <p>It won’t be because you’ve received a special offer via email, because your sister recommended one or because you saw a celebrity Tweet a picture of their latest favourite. It might not be down to the three review sites you visited or the article you read in the paper.</p> <p>No; the reality is you’ll be buying from the brand that has so smartly infused itself into your community and consciousness, across multiple touch-points, that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67635-how-did-we-ever-forget-about-customer-experience/">your experience with them</a> has been the most positive.</p> <p>Whatever they're looking to buy, customers today are spoilt for advice when it comes to making a purchase.</p> <h3>The evolving consumer-brand relationship</h3> <p>In 2009 – before the advent of Instagram and Snapchat, in the relatively early days of Twitter - a <a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/the_consumer_decision_journey">study by McKinsey</a> looked at consumer habits and suggested that the consumer decision journey (CDJ) had replaced the “funnel” model.</p> <p>Instead of consumers comparing brands they were already familiar with, the CDJ involved shoppers taking advantage of technology to evaluate products and services more actively, adding and removing choices over time. Today this is truer than ever before. </p> <p>In response to the shift, retailers have spent the past six years racing to keep up with their newly empowered customers and develop the tools and rationale needed to understand them and wrest back at least some semblance of control.</p> <p><a href="http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/the_new_consumer_decision_journey">McKinsey’s later 2015 research</a> suggested that a few of the most competitive brands today can not only react to customers as they make their purchasing decisions, but can also actively shape those decision journeys using a sophisticated, multi-channel approach.</p> <p><em>Mckinsey's 2009 consumer decision journey.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3091/Screen_Shot_2016-03-17_at_16.58.02.png" alt="mckinsey's model" width="615"></p> <h3>Multi-channel meddling </h3> <p><a href="http://www.retailtimes.co.uk/savvy-shoppers-now-make-nine-visits-retailers-site-deciding-buy-rakuten-marketing-finds/">Research</a> shows that a customer makes 9.5 visits to a brand website on average before buying and, during that time, does further research, chats to their friends and hunts amongst the competition.</p> <p>So, it stands to reason that companies need the capacity to deal with the growing number of customer touch-points across the digital-physical space, if we’re able to fully understand customer journeys.</p> <p>Unfortunately, just because a few of the biggest brands in McKinsey’s research have the multi-channel approach nailed, does not mean that we all have.</p> <p>A <a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=2&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0ahUKEwjfg-O6jfDKAhVU5GMKHdoaB08QFggkMAE&amp;url=https%3A%2F%2Feconsultancy.com%2Freports%2Funderstanding-the-customer-journey%2F&amp;usg=AFQjCNH9vmapl1iIgFSOS8VqGe7EKhXSLA&amp;sig2=LnnnkhsaFABrOqd3p3ujfQ&amp;bvm=bv.113943164,d.cGc">report by ResponseTap and Econsultancy</a> highlighted that 35% of marketers actually see multiple touch-points as a top barrier (rather than an opportunity) to understanding customer journeys.</p> <p>The survey of 2,000 marketers and ecommerce professionals indicated that only 12% of companies rated themselves as ‘advanced’ at understanding the customer journey, compared to 51% who said they were ‘intermediate’ and 32% who classed themselves as ‘beginner’.</p> <p>Though it’s no easy task, getting to grips with these methods is vital, not only to boost sales, but also because the CDJ today forms a circle. Once someone has made a purchase, they often share their experience amongst friends and social media followers, but also with the brand itself – the beloved “Loyalty Loop”.</p> <p>Since these conversations may result in further sales, the job of marketers is to listen, respond and take note of the feedback they’re offered so they can better influence the customer’s decision next time round.</p> <p><em>How would you best describe your understanding (or your clients’ understanding) of the customer journey? (From ResponseTap and Econsultancy research)</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0006/1988/Screen_Shot_2015-04-13_at_17.37.05.png" alt="customer journey research" width="615"></p> <h3>Who’s doing this well? </h3> <p>To master the CDJ, companies need to be able to automate each step to make the process easier for their customers.</p> <p>They also need to personalise the experience for each individual. One good example of this was <a href="http://www.lorealparisusa.com/en/brands/makeup/makeup-genius-virtual-makeup-tool.aspx">L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius</a> app, which allowed users to try on makeup virtually and test different styles before purchasing. The app makes the CDJ increasingly personalised, as it tracks how the customer uses their makeup and what they buy, allowing it to learn their preferences and make tailored suggestions.</p> <p><a href="http://www.mslabs.io/">M&amp;S</a> has also transformed the way it interacts with its customers. The company launched its ‘digital lab’ in 2013 to enable rapid development of new <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67096-in-store-tech-the-screen-in-the-corner-that-nobody-wants-to-use">in-store technology</a>, and a lot of focus has been on making the CDJ more engaging. One of the projects to emerge from the lab was the Cook with M&amp;S app.</p> <p>Within the first 10 days of its launch, the app was downloaded 150,000 times and reached number one in the ‘Food &amp; Drink’ category on the iTunes store.</p> <p>At Philips we also increasingly take a connected and data-driven approach to our marketing strategy. We use integrated customer data to deliver timely, relevant, personalised experiences and integrated performance data to optimize experiences in near real-time.</p> <p>We monitor online conversations through our Global Digital Command Centre, feeding into brand, marketing and customer services.</p> <p><em>L'Oreal's Makeup Genius app</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3093/moreal1.jpeg" alt="makeup genius" width="300">  <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3092/loreal2.jpeg" alt="makeup genius" width="300"></p> <h3>It’s about the journey</h3> <p>Back in 2009, the McKinsey consultants who formulated the concept of the CDJ wrote that the goal of marketing was “to reach consumers at the moments that most influence their decisions.” That may still be our aim, but the moments have multiplied and how we reach consumers has never been more complex.</p> <p>And if our goal is to influence customers then our primary requirement is to first understand them.</p> <p>The good news is that, in an increasingly complicated market, the sophisticated tools we have at our disposal are making this possible in a way that no other generation of marketers has ever experienced and we’re not shy about investing in them. Gartner tells us that <a href="http://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/digital-marketing-comes-of-age-in-gartners-cmo-spend-survey-2015-2016/">digital marketing</a> was one of the highest ranked areas of marketing technology investment for 2015 and 2016 will continue to upwards spending trend.</p> <p>As we grow in our understanding and start to confidently shape the CDJ, we can already see the journeys to purchase becoming central to the customer’s experience of a brand, and just as important as the brand’s products in providing a point of competitive difference.</p> <p>Now that we’re able to identify and promote touch points en route, it’s time to focus on enhancing the experience. Winning brands succeed not just because they sell something of value, but because their customers enjoy the ride.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67658 2016-03-21T11:03:54+00:00 2016-03-21T11:03:54+00:00 How hotels can personalize the customer experience to compete with Airbnb Anton Schubert <h3>The Airbnb service experience (moving from Helsinki to London)</h3> <p>I recently relocated my whole life from Helsinki to London with family and all our personal possessions in tow, it was hard work I can tell you.</p> <p>A few weeks earlier my partner had booked a temporary Airbnb as a stopgap, while we waited for our new London apartment to be refurbished. At the time I hadn’t realised but the wonderful thing about Airbnb is the variety.</p> <p>London, of course, has more choice than many cities, but it was less about the <em>number </em>of apartments to rent, more about the interiors of those apartments and <strong>the visual quality of the web experience</strong>. I remember my partner sitting happily for hours on end, looking at different places like she was perusing World of Interiors magazine.</p> <p><em>Airbnb's unique visual experience online</em></p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3157/airbnb.png" alt="airbnb" width="615"> </em></p> <p>One of the great things about <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65149-nine-user-experience-lessons-travel-sites-can-learn-from-airbnb/">the Airbnb experience</a>, is that you’re in total control.</p> <p>The photos of the apartments allow you to see small details that strum your emotional heartstrings. For example, a David Bowie picture on the bedroom wall or a kitchen table like the one you had in your grand parents home, the old scruffy teddy bear sitting on the bed in the kids room waiting for a hug.</p> <p>These items are personal, they have a story and you relate to them in your own way. They draw you in and create a strong sense of belonging that makes you feel like you were always meant to stay here. 'This is my kind of place'.</p> <p><strong>The next step of the service experience is even more compelling</strong>; you actually get to talk with the owner of these objects and this beautiful apartment. You get a chance to ask about certain details and in the best cases you actually feel like this total stranger is a friend, someone who is there to listen and make every little thing feel just right.</p> <p>In our case, when we turned up at the apartment we booked, we met a guy called Dorian who was waiting there for us patiently, even though we were late. He gave our tired family a big smile and happily carried our insanely heavy luggage up two flights of stairs.</p> <p>Dorian showed us around our “home away from home” with great pride and passion. He gave us complimentary gifts, one white wine and one red wine, some bread, cheese, milk and chocolate biscuits for the kids. And to top it all off, after he left he sent us a long list of recommendations for breakfast, dinner, family friendly bars and more. Amazing!</p> <p>Now that’s what I call <strong>personalisation</strong> and one reason why <strong>established hotel chains are feeling the pain</strong>. Companies like Airbnb have blown the traditional market wide open and the most amazing thing about this service is that <strong>it owns no assets apart from a really well-designed, digital service</strong>.</p> <h3>How can hotel chains compete? </h3> <p>So how can hotel chains compete? Well it’s simple; they need to up their personalisation game.</p> <p>As well as re-training staff to increase levels of systematic and ad-hoc personalisation, they can also design new digital tools that do this job for them in multiple different ways and channels. </p> <p>Take for example what the automotive industry has done recently when it comes to choosing the right car to buy. VW has developed a fun, immersive web experience where car buyers can literally build their car from scratch, choosing model, engine size, colour, wheels, trim and interior.</p> <p><em>VW's 'car builder'</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3155/vw.png" alt="vw website" width="615"> </p> <p>Personalisation is huge and everywhere <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/website-personalisation-buyers-guide">and can be big business</a>. The whole iPhone/app concept is built on this foundation.</p> <p>The phone is not your iPhone until you fill it up with your apps. Everyone’s iPhone is different. </p> <p>Christian Lunden, Head of Future Business for Nordic Choice Hotels, has seen some interesting examples around the hospitality industry when it comes to personalisation. </p> <blockquote> <p>Personalisation is what separates a good and a bad hotel experience. When done well, guests will hardly notice. For them, everything just feels right.</p> <p>It can be anything from being offered a lower floor room in the hotel because the staff are aware you don’t like to use the elevator, to your having your minibar stocked with the ingredients for your favourite drink.</p> <p>Many things can be done without asking because a hotel should know who their returning guests are, but it should also be possible to customise a stay based on how guests feel right there and then in the moment.</p> </blockquote> <p>An example of this is the walk-in closet Nordic Choice has in the Clarion Collection Tapto in Stockholm. In a room, guests are given a selection of their favourite clothing brands to try on. If they find something they really like, they can add it to the bill. <a href="http://minifashionbar.com">Minifashionbar.com</a> has delivered a very similar solution.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3154/nordic_choice.png" alt="nordic choice" width="615"> </p> <h3>Wouldn't it be great if your room was exactly how you like it, every time you stay? </h3> <p>Imagine entering a hotel room set at the right temperature, the music you had playing in the car is now playing in the room, the lighting responds to your presence and you slump into a perfect mattress and pillow with your favourite TV programs, Instagram feed and social media services easily accessible on the HD screen.</p> <p>A few of your favourite candies are next to you on the bedside table. In the morning your preferred newspaper is ready to download and read.</p> <p>To be able to achieve these levels of unique personalisation hotels need to know guests much better. Digital channels, especially mobile, play a key role in this development, allowing guests to profile themselves and provide rich, contextual information.</p> <p>This takes us back to the need for recognition as the clear starting point for many of these value-added benefits. Digital channels are really the only way to develop deep and systematic recognition of guests and the only way deliver back personalisation at scale in both digital and physical channels.</p> <p>The key to getting guests to provide more personal data and preferences is being able to clearly show the benefits and rewards of doing so. For a start it helps if your brand is strong and appeals to your guest in more ways than one. Communicating a clear set of values helps the guest to find and relate to you in the first place.</p> <p>The rewards can come in all shapes and sizes and more so now than ever before it’s not enough to offer the traditional “member points” or free night stay.</p> <p><em>A variety of stats shows consumers' <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/value-exchange-from-data/">willingness to exhange data</a> in exchange for relevance or rewards.</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3153/consumers_data.png" alt="consumers willing to share personal data" width="361" height="260"></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/3152/millenials.png" alt="millennials stats" width="615">   </p> <h3>Recognise and reward</h3> <p>Guests want rewards that align with their lifestyle and are more meaningful. For example, discount on the clothing brands mentioned earlier, access to exclusive content or events, even spontaneous gifts every now and again go along way to build guest loyalty and up re-booking rates.</p> <p>Only after hotels recognise guests are they able to personalise in a meaningful way that begin to compete with likes of Airbnb. <strong>Hotels should not be pushing the panic button just yet</strong>, the industry has a variety of opportunities ahead of it by embracing digital and putting personalisation at the top of its must win battles.</p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67628 2016-03-15T10:00:57+00:00 2016-03-15T10:00:57+00:00 Should we be in the creative's corner against programmatic? Ben Davis <p><strong>The Ad Contrarian</strong>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Small picture marketers know a lot of little things...They create tightly focused advertising and put it in front of a select number of precisely targeted individuals.</p> <p>On the other hand, big picture marketers know a few big things...They work very hard to produce widely appealing materials and put them everywhere. Then they stand back and let probability do the work.</p> <p>Why have all the world's leading brands been built by big picture marketers?</p> <p>Because the more you study data, the more you realize that data is just the residue of probability.</p> </blockquote> <p>But doesn’t advertising comes in many different forms?</p> <p>Nobody can argue that <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/display-retargeting-buyers-guide/">retargeting</a>, for example, isn’t a valuable part of a retailer’s armoury. Though it’s effectiveness can be overstated, hold-out groups and attribution show that it does work (and doesn’t just cannibalise other channels).</p> <p>Retargeting is, obviously, not possible without precisely targeting individuals.</p> <p>What Ad Contrarian is undoubtedly talking about is brand advertising. So, we can move the debate away from so-called direct response campaigns, which often work with known customer databases, where personalization is implicit.</p> <p>Brand advertising with programmatic display is the idea that pushing the same Coca-Cola / Volkswagen / Apple etc. at an entire audience is a rudimentary tactic that can be finessed.</p> <p>Segments are created much like in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/email-ecrm/">email marketing</a>, so that relevant (and likely, tested) ads can be delivered to these distinctive audiences.</p> <p>To play to stereotypes, this could mean premium car ads being served to iPhone users or lower sugar drinks to older users (you can probably tell, I’m not an ad exec).</p> <p>Or it might simply be brighter colours and ‘funkier’ music for the youth.</p> <p><em>Are these jumping people milennials?</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2838/youth.jpeg" alt="milennials" width="361" height="240"></p> <h3>Art that thinks it understands you</h3> <p>The most infamous example of this to date has been done with video by <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67516-four-video-campaigns-that-used-dynamic-creative/">AXE and Romeo Reboot </a> (part of its infamy comes from this more labour-intensive format for creative versioning).</p> <p>This is defiantly brand advertising done programmatically, because the elements that are changed are nothing to do with product, but wholly to do with the user and what creative they might best relate to.</p> <p>For some creatives, that's controversial, not least because we haven't yet heard any results from the work.</p> <p>I’ll leave it to <strong>Nic Roope from Poke London</strong>, who took part in a panel at our recent event, Creative Programmatic, to express why this form of personalization is disquieting to creatives.</p> <blockquote> <p>It’s the usual tension between art and the machine. Take a film and personalise it. Are all personalised results more resonant than the original unedited film?</p> <p>…[Programmatic in this context] is eroding the feeling of the art.</p> </blockquote> <p>The BBC is also currently experimenting with what it calls <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/visual-perceptive-media">visual perceptive media</a>, which sounds a tad Orwellian. A mobile app studies a user's music tastes and personality, then adds age and gender to ‘tailor’ a piece of video.</p> <p>Serving segments differently within a piece of art (whether changing product placement or storyline) indeed seems slightly dystopian to some. Because what it does is emphasises the difference between the viewers (and gives them no choice in the matter).</p> <p>This is even more anathema to some within advertising, where what brings the audience together should ultimately be the brand.</p> <p>A quote from <strong>Charles Vallance from VCCP</strong> neatly sums this up:</p> <blockquote> <p>With nearly all the strongest brands, we know what we're buying, so we shouldn't over-personalise or over-target as this will detract from how we consume brands.</p> </blockquote> <p>Could a brand’s personality be eroded within a personalised ad?</p> <p><em>The BBC's visual perceptive media project</em></p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2837/Screen_Shot_2016-03-10_at_09.55.17.png" alt="visual perceptive media" width="615"></p> <h3>The filter bubble</h3> <p>The filter bubble is a well known idea in media. If a user is served according to their perceived preferences, how will they ever know if they’d like something a little bit different?</p> <p>Television is enjoyable for a number of reasons including an obvious feeling of voyeurism that comes from being able to choose a channel (rather than being chosen by an advert), and being able to discuss a programme at work the next day.</p> <p>Programmatic advertisers must be careful that, even with testing, some users are less happily served by targeted ads (either implicitly or explicitly personalised) than they would be by traditional one-size-fits-all creative.</p> <h3>Shouldn’t we play to the strengths of the creative agency?</h3> <p>Not that I think we should mollycoddle creatives. But they’ve worked well before the advent of programmatic advertising, so perhaps we should heed <strong>Charles Vallance</strong> again, from VCCP.</p> <blockquote> <p>Agencies like to unite with a single idea, not create 78 versions of something, so they're not keen on programmatic.</p> <p>It's machine-driven, it disintermediates humanity, it needs to be interpreted by a human brain. So, it's more of an efficiency driver.</p> </blockquote> <p>And that’s the point - efficiency. Sure, if you’re in the business of hawking PPI claims, you probably want to exclude users under 18 - programmatic advertising can do that, and that’s great (maybe not in this example).</p> <p>But when it comes to deciding what different people like in an advert, remember that age is just a number and so is every other data point.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7fEj3_hG5mc?wmode=transparent" width="615" height="346"></iframe></p> tag:econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/67526 2016-02-25T14:27:19+00:00 2016-02-25T14:27:19+00:00 How retail marketers can ensure they deliver the ‘right’ customer experience Ben Potter <p>And according to <a href="http://www.leapfrogg.co.uk/froggblog/2015/11/insight-edit-personalisation/">some research</a> carried out by my agency, 53% of consumers state it is important that brands offer them a personalised shopping experience. </p> <p>So personalisation is clearly important for both consumers and brands alike. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2279/customer_experience_graph.png" alt="" width="750"></p> <p>However, <strong>delivering a personalised and relevant experience is only possible if you know what it is that makes your customers tick in the first place</strong>.</p> <p>A deep understanding of customer behaviour, needs and expectations has never been so important.</p> <p>Yet according to another Adobe report, ‘<a href="http://blogs.adobe.com/digitaleurope/digital-marketing/adobe-digital-roadblock-report-2015/">Digital Roadblock 2015</a>’, 45% of marketers across the UK, Germany and France admitted that they <em>"primarily trusting their intuition when making decisions about marketing strategies"</em>.</p> <p>Incidentally, 47% said they <em>"primarily rely on data" </em>(phew!) but this still means that almost half of the time <strong>key decisions are being taken on the basis of what marketers feel <em>might</em> work</strong>.</p> <p>Really?</p> <h3>Let’s put that stat in context. Meet John</h3> <p>Many years ago, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wanamaker">John Wanamaker</a>, considered to be a marketing pioneer, coined a phrase that is no doubt familiar to us all:</p> <blockquote> <p>Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.</p> </blockquote> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2280/John-Wanamaker.jpg" alt="" width="316" height="428"></p> <p>John had a pretty valid excuse for essentially wasting 50% of his marketing budget. It was 1890.  </p> <p>In 2016, retailers (potentially) have at their fingertips more data and insight on their customers and prospects than Mr Wanamaker could possibly have imagined.</p> <p>So why are so many marketers only going so far as trusting their gut when taking key decisions? </p> <h3>Too much ‘noise’?</h3> <p>Over the years, I’ve spoken to a lot of people in marketing, ecommerce and those with responsibility for customer experience.</p> <p>I have deduced that <strong>one of the biggest challenges faced by those on the ‘front line’ is noise</strong>.</p> <p>In other words, the sheer number of channels, strategies, tactics, activities, technologies and tools at their disposable (and everyday something new pops up – <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67483-what-is-peach-should-marketers-even-care/">another social media channel</a> anyone?). </p> <p><a href="http://weknowmemes.com/2012/02/loud-noises/"><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0007/2281/Loud-noises.jpg" alt="" width="550" height="289"></a></p> <p>As far as I know, none of these good people have an endless pot of money or enough hours in the day to properly focus on even 20% of what is out there.</p> <p><strong>Yet so much of what a marketer does has a direct or indirect impact on the customer experience</strong>, from the content they create to the offers and incentives they come up with, to the functionality of the website, messaging in paid ads and the social channels they adopt and so on.</p> <p>This highlights a critical but often forgotten aspect of customer experience – it’s not just about the big, obvious stuff, such as delivery.</p> <p>Eventually, all retailers will offer same day delivery because it will be the expected norm, a hygiene factor if you like.</p> <p>Therefore, customer experience will not be the competitive advantage it is hyped up to be if everybody is essentially offering the same experience. </p> <p>Distinguishing yourself from the competition is therefore<strong> just as much about the ‘smaller’ component parts that make up the overall experience as it is about the ‘big stuff’</strong>.</p> <p>And this means that marketers have a key role to play.</p> <p>But if the Adobe stat above is to be believed, there seems to be an awful lot of guesswork going on.</p> <p>It therefore stands to reason that the experience marketers have a key role in delivering isn’t going to be aligned to the needs and expectations of the customer.</p> <h3>Getting all #emojinal about it</h3> <p>A good example of this is the recent <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67469-house-of-fraser-s-emojinal-campaign-massive-fail-or-marketing-genius/">House of Fraser #emojinal ‘campaign’</a>. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">HARRY Birthday HAPPY Styles! <a href="https://twitter.com/Harry_Styles">@Harry_Styles</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HappyBirthdayHarryStyles?src=hash">#HappyBirthdayHarryStyles</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EMOJINAL?src=hash">#EMOJINAL</a> <a href="https://t.co/DIJ5EJQOyW">pic.twitter.com/DIJ5EJQOyW</a></p> — House of Fraser (@houseoffraser) <a href="https://twitter.com/houseoffraser/status/694106698877788163">February 1, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>Ignoring the debate as to whether this was clever marketing (any publicity is good publicity?) or complete fail, the general opinion is that it seemed to misalign with the House of Fraser brand and perception of its typical customer.</p> <p>Even if House of Fraser does have a pocket of younger customers, it doesn’t mean emojis are the answer to ‘being down with the kids’.</p> <p>As <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/authors/james-gurd">James Gurd</a> puts it:</p> <blockquote> <p>What I think marketers need is a little perspective. Just because research shows some of the younger audience relate better to emojis, you shouldn't assume they all do.</p> <p>Audiences based on age are very hard to pigeon hole, there are lots of variations in media needs and emotional triggers.</p> </blockquote> <p>It sounds obvious to say it but <strong>the most critical aspect of customer experience is understanding your customer</strong>.</p> <p>The marketer’s ability to positively impact the customer experience will not be effective if decisions are based on generalisations, assumptions or gut instinct.</p> <h3>So what’s the answer?</h3> <p>The foundation to delivering the right customer experience is <strong>customer intelligence</strong>.</p> <p>According to Wikipedia, "customer intelligence (CI) is the process of gathering and analyzing information regarding customers; their details and their activities, in order to build deeper and more effective customer relationships and improve strategic decision making."</p> <p>Everyone will interpret customer intelligence in a slightly different way, but my team and I break the above into three component parts:</p> <p><strong>1. The ability to collect and manage the right customer data</strong></p> <p>On one hand, the amount of data available to retailers is a blessing, offering a multitude of benefits.</p> <p>On the other hand, it can be a curse if you don’t know what data you need, how to collect it or how to manage it properly. </p> <p>The first step to customer intelligence is, therefore, to establish what it is you actually want to know about your customers and why.</p> <p>A very simple example: if you want to send emails to your customers in advance of their birthdays, you clearly need to ask for their date of birth when they sign up to your newsletter. </p> <p><strong>2. The ability to harness that data often with the help of qualitative insight </strong></p> <p>The next facet of customer intelligence is being able to translate data into relevant actions.</p> <p>Taking the example above, you now have the data available to send emails in advance of a customer’s birthday. Great.</p> <p>But what you are actually going to say? What offer or incentive will you use to encourage the recipient to take action? </p> <p>This is where qualitative insight has such an important role to play.</p> <p>If you understand what motivates your customers to purchase, their values, how often they’d like to hear from you and the type of content they are most likely to digest, then you can hone your email message accordingly. </p> <p>For example, your research might show you that your customers would be drawn to a free, unique gift with their purchase around the time of their birthday rather than the discount code every other retailer sends out.</p> <p>This is the insight that you cannot derive from data alone. Speaking to your customers is key.</p> <p><strong>3. The readiness or ability of the business to actually implement change</strong></p> <p>Continuing with the example above, everything is in place to deliver your birthday campaign.</p> <p>But there is a spanner in the works. Your ESP doesn’t support a key piece of functionality in the email.</p> <p>Or worse, your boss thinks the free gift is a stupid idea and won’t work, even though the insight says otherwise.</p> <p>The latter is far more common than you’d think. We all have our preconceptions and prejudices in life. But in a retail environment, they are dangerous.</p> <p>I’ve spoken to many retailers, especially high-end, who base their decision-making on little more than a customer ‘profile’ they concocted themselves in the boardroom.</p> <p>The retailer must be able and willing to make change off of the back of customer intelligence. Otherwise, the insight you have gathered is wasted.</p> <h3>Marginal gains = competitive advantage</h3> <p>Customer experience is as much about the marginal gains as it is about the big changes. As you plan any aspect of your marketing strategy the customer should be the first port of call, not your gut feel. </p> <p><strong>Customer intelligence is, therefore, the foundation to delivering the right customer experience.</strong></p> <p>There is no room for guesswork and neither should there be when marketers are blessed with so much more to hand than good old John Wanamaker had.</p> <p>Make customer intelligence your strategic priority for 2016 and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/creating-superior-customer-experiences/">delivering a more relevant and personalised customer experience</a> will naturally follow. </p>