tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/product-management Latest Product Management content from Econsultancy 2018-03-09T12:02:00+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69861 2018-03-09T12:02:00+00:00 2018-03-09T12:02:00+00:00 Are you underestimating prototyping for digital services? Paul Boag <p>However, increasingly prototypes are becoming the backbone of innovation for many organisations, and even in some situations, a living business case.</p> <p>Take for example Google Venture’s Design Sprints; a methodology adopted widely within organisations as diverse as IBM, Netflix and the United Nations. At the heart of this approach lies the creation and testing of a prototype.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2842/sprint_jake_knapp.jpg" alt="" width="615"> </p> <p><em>Prototyping lies at the heart of Google's popular methodology known as design sprints.</em></p> <p>Why then have prototypes gained so much traction in recent years? In my opinion, their adoption has primarily been driven by four factors. The largest of these is that they are ideally suited for the creation of digital services.</p> <h3>1. Prototypes make sense for digital services</h3> <p>We often underestimate how different building digital services is from running more traditional projects.</p> <p>For a start, the raw materials of digital are free. Unlike building a factory, which involves physical materials, digital services use pixels which cost nothing.</p> <p>Then there is the fact that we can gather unprecedented amounts of data on the use of digital services through analytics, session recorders and other forms of testing.</p> <p>The result of these two factors means we can build in a much more <a href="https://boagworld.com/design/iterative-ui-design/">iterative manner</a>. We do not need to define projects upfront because we can adapt on the fly. We can start with a prototype and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67500-what-is-digital-product-management">iterate our way to a Minimum Viable Product</a>.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2841/dont_build.jpg" alt="" width="615"> </p> <p><em>Prototypes allow us to build digital services in a more iterative way.</em></p> <p>A prototype allows us to quickly create something from our free raw materials and start testing early.</p> <h3>2. Prototypes can help test more than usability</h3> <p>We all know that prototyping is excellent for testing usability, but it can test more than that.</p> <p>A prototype allows us to ascertain demand for a product too. It enables us to see whether people want what we have created. It also allows us to see if they will use all the features we are considering building.</p> <p>Users often find it hard to imagine a product so it can often be hard to get feedback on a new offering you are planning. A prototype allows users to interact with a ’sketch’ of the service allowing us to judge their reaction in a much more natural way.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2840/reducing_risk.jpg" alt="" width="615"> </p> <p><em>A prototype allows you to get real feedback before going to market so reducing risk.</em></p> <p>Not only that, but we can observe what parts of the service they use, and what they ignore. That, in turn, helps us shape the service itself and potentially make considerable cost savings.</p> <h3>3. Prototyping can create considerable cost savings</h3> <p>Organisations continue to waste money building features into digital services that nobody wants, or failing to add features that users need. But that is not the only cost saving organisations can make from prototypes.</p> <p>Prototypes can also help avoid misunderstandings, scope creep and unexpected issues when building your digital service.</p> <p>Many digital projects begin with a functional specification. However, these are open to misunderstandings. One person's interpretation could be very different to another.</p> <p>A prototype brings clarity to what the company is going to build. It allows all stakeholders to see what the organisation intends to create and flushes out any issues before the build begins and changes start to become expensive.</p> <p>Prototypes also help reduce the amount of time wasted debating the best path to take. Instead, a prototype can be used to test different approaches and use data to make decisions. That not only reduces debate, it also improves the final deliverable.</p> <p>However, probably the most overlooked benefit that a well-designed prototype provides is its ability to inspire.</p> <h3>4. Prototypes provide an inspirational vision of the future</h3> <p>When a team within Disney wanted to convince their executive to invest $1 billion in the renovation of their parks to support their new MagicBand they started with a prototype. A simple facade was able to inspire the executive on an emotional level that a business plan could not. They could see the potential for themselves.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2839/disney.jpg" alt="disney magicband" width="615"> </p> <p><em>Disney created a prototype of their new Magic Band experience to convince the executive to invest $1 billion. The result is <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69458-how-disney-world-has-mastered-customer-experience">mastery of customer experience</a>.</em></p> <p>That is, in my opinion, the real power of prototypes. They can become a vision of where a company wants to go and what it wants to achieve. The problem is we often think too small when we prototype.</p> <p>Our prototypes often start out constrained from day one. We censor ourselves as we create them. Limit ourselves based on existing technology stacks or what we think will be approved by management.</p> <p>But if we take off those constraints, we can build prototypes that are aspirational. These prototypes can provide a vision of what a truly exceptional user experience might look like. It provides a goal to aspire to.</p> <p>Admittedly that prototype might have to be compromised initially, but at least those compromises will be informed. The company will know what sacrifices they are making by being able to see what they are leaving out.</p> <p>What is more, those compromises don’t have to be forever. The prototype can still stand as the long-term aspiration. The trade-offs are just necessary sacrifices on the road to a better experience.</p> <p>In a market where user experience and customer service are becoming the great differentiators, <a href="https://boagworld.com/usability/prototyping/">we need to start taking prototypes seriously</a> and being more aspirational in our approach to them.</p> <p><em><strong>Econsultancy offers digital product management training. <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/training/courses/mastering-digital-project-management">View the course synopsis here</a>.</strong></em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69838 2018-03-02T09:10:00+00:00 2018-03-02T09:10:00+00:00 How Admiral built a full end-to-end car finance solution in four months Heledd Jones <p>Most of us working in big brands will be familiar with new product launches taking years from feasibility studies to go-live; as companies grow so does the complexity across the number of teams involved. So how did Admiral car finance do it? Read on....</p> <h3>Thought and acted like a start-up</h3> <p>Admiral might have over 6,000 employees, but the Admiral Loans team is made up of around 50 people and it has that small company/start-up feel, which the following process was part of....</p> <h3>Set up a project team</h3> <p>We set up a project team and everyone met on a daily basis at scrums to review everyone’s progress against the plan. Everyone on the project had a significant workload, and this was on top of everyone’s BAU workload involved in running a successful personal loans business!</p> <h3>Outsourced the IT development</h3> <p>As with many start-ups, it was quicker and easier to outsource the IT build. We had two different IT companies to manage – one working on the front end, one working on the back end. Again, daily communication was key here.</p> <h3>Followed our intuition</h3> <p>There was of course a comprehensive business case backed with customer focus groups but ultimately when building a new product from scratch, a lot of the day-to-day smaller decisions are led by intuition. Reconciling everyone’s different intuitions was a daily challenge!</p> <h3>Launched a minimum viable product (MVP)</h3> <p>A <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/10441-the-what-and-how-of-minimum-viable-products">MVP</a> is very much a feature of start-up businesses; building a version of the product which allows a team to collect the maximum learnings with the least amount of effort (to paraphrase Eric Ries!), whilst still guaranteeing great customer outcomes.</p> <p>Big brands have aims and expectations that a new product launch will be perfect from day one; it was refreshing to work somewhere that was realistic about what we could achieve but still did not compromise on providing excellent service to our customers.</p> <h3>Stuck to the launch date!</h3> <p>Despite (or due to!) the record-breaking speed of the build, the launch was delayed by about six weeks. Working in lending, we work in a highly regulated industry where positive customer outcomes are key – so the only ‘show-stoppers’ that were allowed to delay launch were ones that would cause a customer detriment. When it came to e-commerce and marketing, there were compromises and sacrifices made along the way so we..... </p> <h3>Went straight into optimisation mode</h3> <p>Post-launch, make sure you have dedicated resource to fix live bugs and constantly test and optimise on the product based on customer behaviour (this includes the offline elements and processes off the product). In the first month post-launch, we made about 50 product improvements to the online journey.</p> <p>You’ll see if you <a href="https://www.admiral.com/loans/car-finance">try out the website for yourself</a> that it’s still in MVP and optimisation mode , but we did it!</p> <p>From little acorns grow mighty oaks....</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69321-with-peugeot-now-selling-cars-online-how-is-retail-influencing-automotive">With Peugeot now selling cars online, how is retail influencing automotive? </a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69777 2018-02-12T09:45:00+00:00 2018-02-12T09:45:00+00:00 A day in the life of... head of product at fintech insurance company Hippo Ben Davis <p>(Before we get down to it, remember if you're looking for a new role yourself to check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/?cmpid=EconBlog">Econsultancy jobs board</a>.)</p> <h4> <em>Econsultancy:</em> Please describe your job: What do you do? And who do you report to?</h4> <p><em><strong>Aviad Pinkovezky:</strong></em> I’m the Head of Product at Hippo and report directly to our CEO, Assaf Wand. As the Head of Product, I am responsible for making sure that our customer’s insurance needs, technology, data, and design all come together to create a coherent and smooth user experience. As any product manager probably does, I work closely with our engineering team to prioritize tasks and provide them with specifications for feature development.</p> <p>Hippo is in the business of selling insurance, so one unique aspect of my job is the tight collaboration with our insurance, underwriting and legal teams. We work together to ensure that our online offering is integrated accurately with our insurance product, while being perfectly compliant with the regulatory requirements.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><em><strong>AP:</strong></em> First and foremost, product managers need to be excellent communicators and coordinators. Your ability to make your vision come true isn’t driven by legions of engineers working for you, but rather by your ability to clearly articulate it, rally the troops around it and solidify a detailed plan for the team to execute.</p> <p>Second, the difference between a good product manager and an effective one comes down to their ability to break complex problems down to understandable tasks. This skill is even more crucial when working at an insurtech or fintech company, given the number of constraints affecting each and every product decision (e.g. compliance, insurance product requirements, user trust, etc.).</p> <p>Last, but not least, product managers need to be self-driven and extremely motivated to support the business’ goals. This skill is even more important in a startup environment than it is in a large organization. Most of the problems you need to tackle in a startup are unstructured, unprecedented and in some cases completely unchartered territory for you and the rest of your team. So, you dig in and work to solve it in a productive and efficient way, which can take some strange and fun turns.  </p> <p>Without these skills it’ll be incredibly difficult for any product manager to achieve anything at scale or build more than a simple feature.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2226/Aviad_Pinkovezky_Head_of_Product_for_Hippo_Insurance.jpg" alt="" width="450"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> Tell us about a typical working day… </h4> <p><em><strong>AP: </strong></em>Wow, is there such a thing like a typical day? :-)</p> <p>I start each day by dropping off my two kids at school. It’s  something I try to do everyday that I’m not traveling and it grounds me for the day ahead. Then, I pick up some coffee (can’t start a day without it!) and get to work.</p> <p>I usually start the day by cleaning my email inbox (yes, I do my best to try and keep a zero inbox!) and sorting out any loose ends from last night. Then I dig into a series of meetings and calls to discuss some or all of the following: product prioritization, new requirements that came up from customer feedback, input from our agents or legal team, pushing existing or new partnerships with our strategic vendors and partners, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69760-how-to-stay-safe-when-a-b-testing">A/B testing</a> new ideas, monitoring our purchase flow performance or problem solving new product or market challenges.</p> <p>I also keep time open for frequent 1:1s with my team, colleagues and with our co-founders. I find it incredibly important to ensure that the different stakeholders in the company are aligned with what we’re working on and our future plans.</p> <p>Throughout the day I also spend dedicated time with our QA team, which is second to none in finding all the edge cases scenarios we didn’t anticipate, and I ensure that all the issues are prioritized and clarified if needed.</p> <p>Later in the afternoon, I try to keep some time open for writing product specs and then I head back home to spend time with my family. After the little ones go to sleep I often answer emails, plan the next day and call it a night.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><em><strong>AP:</strong></em> Getting feedback from our customers is by far the best part of the job. But it’s not just about fishing for compliments :-).</p> <p>Getting feedback from customers is extremely humbling and acts as a constant reminder for our purpose. Moreover, the ability to improve our product and processes based on our customer ideas, and then seeing the impact of those changes is extremely fulfilling.</p> <p>On the flip side, the most challenging part of my work is maintaining the team’s focus on our specific product development efforts. As a young, small startup, our main advantage lies in the ability to move fast and deliver a high quality product in a short time-frame to our target audience. You can’t do that unless you’re laser focused on your product priorities. However, that means that you need to say “no” to plenty of cool ideas, interesting initiatives and promising partnerships. And it ain’t easy...</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h4> <p><em><strong>AP:</strong> </em>That’s a great question. We set our goals on a quarterly basis, and focus on two main dimensions - sales growth and <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69269-17-stats-that-show-why-cx-is-so-important">customer experience</a>:</p> <p>To track sales growth, we look a complicated set of metrics driven by our paid advertising campaigns, brand awareness efforts and traction of our new state launches. We closely monitor our Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) across different products, premium (dollar amount), quote-to-close ratio and a few other metrics depending on what campaigns or product challenges we’re focused on currently.</p> <p>To track the successes of our customer service and online experience we measure our NPS score through regular customer surveys, online conversion, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/69247-bounce-is-back-and-product-pages-are-to-blame">bounce rates</a> and make sure to augment those with qualitative feedback.</p> <p>These metrics help us to keep ourselves honest about the company’s growth, customer satisfaction and performance, and allow us to measure different tests we run.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0009/2232/Screen_Shot_2018-01-25_at_5.16.50_PM__1_.png" alt="hippo" width="615" height="288"></p> <h4> <em>E:</em> What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done?</h4> <p><em><strong>AP: </strong></em>First and foremost - my email is my best friend. I use my inbox as my “todo” list which helps keep track of the daily items that require my attention. In addition I use Google docs extensively (mostly for spec writing and sharing), Jira for tickets creation and prioritization, Delighted.com for monitoring our NPS, Heap and Tableau for my specific dashboard needs, and last but not least - <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68501-a-day-in-the-life-of-vp-marketing-of-a-product-design-platform/">InVision</a> and Sketch for iterating with our designer over mock ups.</p> <h4> <em>E:</em> How did you get into fintech, and where might you go from here?</h4> <p><em><strong>AP: </strong></em>Getting into fintech was completely unplanned, like all the best things in life :-)</p> <p>I was working as a Sr. Product Manager at LinkedIn when I was introduced to the co-founders of Hippo by a friend. They had just raised Hippo’s seed round and were looking to hire a Head of Product as their first employee. I was excited by the company’s mission and the huge potential for innovation I saw in the industry, so I decided to jump in head first.</p> <p>As for my next play, it’s hard to tell. Five years ago I wouldn’t have guessed I’ll be leading product in an insurtech startup, so I won’t even try to guess what I’ll be doing five years from now.</p> <h4>E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in fintech?</h4> <p><em><strong>AP: </strong></em>For anyone who is coming into fintech with consumer facing product experience, the most important thing to understand is the new set of constraints within the industry, and its impact on the pace of the product development and testing.</p> <p>While a typical consumer facing product development is based on quick iterations that involve testing of an MVP (Minimum Viable Product), this approach doesn’t always work well in fintech, where the product is regulated and the bar for gaining customers trust is usually much higher than in other verticals. But, when you do nail it and get success, it’s a lot of fun!</p> <p><em><strong>Further reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67500-what-is-digital-product-management">What is digital product management?</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69634-six-ways-fintech-startups-could-hurt-incumbent-banks">Six ways fintech startups could hurt incumbent banks</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68979-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-director-of-digital-product-management/">A day in the life of...a director of digital product management</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67801-a-day-in-the-life-of-head-of-digital-product-management-at-rs-components">A day in the life of... Head of Digital Product Management at RS Components</a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/69216 2017-07-07T10:12:39+01:00 2017-07-07T10:12:39+01:00 Four factors fuelling the growth of fast fashion retailers Nikki Gilliland <p>So, what’s fuelling this boom? Here’s a bit of a deep dive into Hitwise’s <a href="http://www.hitwise.com/gb/articles/urgency-catwalk-look-fuels-fast-fashion-industry/?bis_prd=1" target="_blank">research</a> and how brands are capitalising on the consumer desire for instant and affordable fashion.</p> <h3>What is fast fashion?</h3> <p>Before we go any further – what exactly determines a fast fashion retailer? </p> <p>Essentially, it is when the production process is accelerated in order to get new catwalk trends into stores or online as quickly as possible. It also reflects the growing consumer desire for speed and value within retail. </p> <p>It means that, instead of waiting for new seasonal collections (i.e. spring/summer), consumers can get their hands on a continuous cycle of trend-led clothing, all year round.</p> <p>Brands such as H&amp;M and Zara were said to be among the very first fast fashion retailers. When the latter opened its first US store in 1990 (having first launched in Spain in the 1970s) it announced that it would only take 15 days for a garment to go from concept to completion.</p> <p>So, what’s fuelling fast fashion brands?</p> <h3>Speed and agility</h3> <p>Hitwise data suggests that ASOS, New Look and Very are the most popular brands in the category, accounting for 47% of the UK’s fast fashion market share. </p> <p>For brands like ASOS, the ability to capture millennial consumers is key, with this demographic now reportedly having an estimated spending power of $2.45trn. One way it does this is by delivering on the demand for new fashion, as younger consumers typically spend around seasonal events (such as festivals) as well as after payday.</p> <p>ASOS stocks over 60,000 items at any given time, allowing the ecommerce retailer to constantly update its inventory with ‘new in’ products.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7155/ASOS_social.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="475"></p> <p>Research by Goldman Sachs suggests that ASOS is able to do this by mastering its supply chain. The below screenshot shows the correlation between supply-chain lead times and like-for-like sales growth, with the results showing just how important speed is for both <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/69044-five-reasons-behind-boohoo-s-97-increase-in-profits" target="_blank">Boohoo</a> and ASOS.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7154/goldman.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="483"></p> <p>ASOS constantly tracks how well (or poorly) trends are selling online, before adjusting its inventory accordingly. This means that it reduces the risk of unsold stock, and in turn, delivers a steady stream of new trends for fashion-hungry consumers.</p> <h3>Celebrity endorsement</h3> <p>Hitwise data also shows that PrettyLittleThing.com is the fastest growing brand in the fast fashion category, with the site seeing a whopping 663% increase in online visits year-on-year since 2014.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7150/Hitwise.png" alt="" width="297" height="233"></p> <p>For PrettyLittleThing, working with celebrities and influencers has allowed the brand to drive awareness of its products. A popular search term relating to the site is ‘celebrities wearing Pretty Little Thing’ – mainly thanks to endorsements from the likes of Kylie Jenner and Sofia Ritchie.</p> <p>However, Pretty Little Thing does not only use celebrities to merely promote its clothing. Well-known names, like former TOWIE star Lucy Meck, have also created their own clothing lines with the brand. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7151/PLT.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="546"></p> <p>In doing so, it has allowed the ecommerce retailer to strengthen its connection with customers, offering them something more authentic and original than a shallow celebrity endorsement.</p> <h3>Sales through social</h3> <p>Alongside influencers, fast fashion brands have mastered the use of social media to drive sales. </p> <p>Today, consumers are constantly craving fashion and lifestyle-related digital content, not just to inspire their choices, but also for the purpose of entertainment. So, in order to deliver this, many retailers have started to act more like media brands – fusing the worlds of shopping, entertainment, and social media. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">SHINE BRIGHT Shop the leggings - <a href="https://t.co/BAozK9oxRq">https://t.co/BAozK9oxRq</a> the shoes - <a href="https://t.co/ybfQaGIWuX">https://t.co/ybfQaGIWuX</a> <a href="https://t.co/7Nnp9xFv7m">pic.twitter.com/7Nnp9xFv7m</a></p> — boohoo.com (@boohoo) <a href="https://twitter.com/boohoo/status/879474400445292544">June 26, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p>Unsurprisingly, Instagram reigns supreme as the most effective platform for fashion brands, with many posting videos, Instagram Stories, and including links to shoppable content to allow users to smoothly transition from the act of browsing to buying. </p> <p>One brand that has effectively used social to increase sales volume is Missguided. It has even incorporated the recognisable user interface <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67600-missguided-launches-tinder-inspired-app-experience-review">of another social app – Tinder – into its own</a>.</p> <p>With its ‘swipe to hype’ feature, consumers can dislike or like products to create their own wishlists.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7152/Missguided_app.JPG" alt="" width="550" height="483"> </p> <p>This ‘tinderisation’ of ecommerce shows how fast paced the industry has become, with consumers making impulsive decisions – often based on the knowledge that there will be continuous stream of new products in the pipeline.</p> <h3>Sustainability and ethics</h3> <p>The fast fashion industry has come under fire in recent years for its impact on the environment, as well as suggestions that the demand for cheap clothing is driving poor working and labour conditions. </p> <p>Interestingly, research shows that 19% of the top fast fashion related searches are linked to the environment, ethics and sustainability. In order to counteract this, many brands are now displaying increased levels of transparency, with some also introducing initiatives relating to ethical and environmental issues.</p> <p>H&amp;M, for example, launched a conscious beauty collection in 2016 which included ‘planet-friendly’ products. Similarly, it has set itself the goal of using 100% sustainably sourced cotton by 2020.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/7153/H_M.JPG" alt="" width="760" height="321"></p> <p>Meanwhile, Zara has pledged to boycott Uzbek cotton, which is an industry linked to forced labour. The brand has also joined the Better Cotton Initiative to promote sustainability and best practices for workers in the cotton industry.</p> <p>Of course, there is still a long way to go before fast fashion retailers prove themselves, however these examples are helping to satisfy increasingly conscientious consumers – as well as enhance their brand reputation.</p> <h3>Other brands playing catch-up</h3> <p>So, what impact has the fast fashion had on the wider industry in general? Interestingly, mid-tier and luxury brands are recognising that the consumer desire for fast fashion is not only based on low prices. </p> <p>Often, it can simply be because consumers do not want to wait for seasonal collections. </p> <p>As a result, some brands are introducing ‘runway to retail’ concepts to allow consumers to get their hands on clothes as soon as they’re seen on the catwalk. Elsewhere, JC Penney has accelerated the delivery of merchandise in order to update stock mid-season, while GAP has announced that it will be trialling a fast-fashion model to see whether it increases sales.</p> <p>As the continued growth of retailers like Missguided and ASOS demonstrates, fast fashion could be a trend that’s here to stay.</p> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68728-how-fashion-retailers-can-use-search-trend-data-to-inform-marketing-product-strategy/" target="_blank">How fashion retailers can use search trend data to inform marketing &amp; product strategy</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66501-how-fashion-brands-are-setting-trends-in-digital/" target="_blank">How fashion brands are setting trends in digital</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/blog/68404-10-examples-of-great-fashion-marketing-campaigns" target="_blank">10 examples of great fashion marketing campaigns</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68979 2017-04-10T10:00:00+01:00 2017-04-10T10:00:00+01:00 A day in the life of...a director of digital product management Ben Davis <p>If you're looking for a new challenge, why not check out the <a href="https://jobs.econsultancy.com/">Econsultancy digital jobs board</a>.</p> <h4>Econsultancy: Please describe your job: What do you do? </h4> <p><strong>Muriel Alvarez:</strong> I’m a Director of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67500-what-is-digital-product-management/">Product Management</a> at Work &amp; Co. We’re a digital product agency with nearly 200 people across offices in New York, Portland and Rio de Janeiro.</p> <p>Every day, I work with insanely talented designers, engineers, and fellow product managers. We all have a common goal: creating and launching great digital experiences that will move the needle for our clients’ business and that people also love to use. Our clients include Apple, Google, Facebook, Nike, Marriott, Chase and Planned Parenthood.  </p> <p>In my job, I’ve got three main responsibilities: (1) strategize with clients on the smartest ways to drive their businesses; (2) work with teams to create beautiful, fun-to-use digital experiences that serve both business and customer needs; and (3) keep everyone focused on getting our work shipped and into the hands of millions of people.</p> <p>The last point is really key. We believe that our products are successful only if they’re being used and adding value to people’s lives.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5326/muriel_full.JPG" alt="muriel alvarez" width="300"> </p> <p><em>Muriel Alvarez</em></p> <h4>E: Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?</h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> One of the big reasons I came to Work &amp; Co is that where I am in the organizational hierarchy doesn’t really matter. Officially, I report to one of the partners of the company. But in reality, that makes little difference to what I do day in and day out because we’re all part of a team.</p> <p>For example, in a meeting recently several of us were looking at concepts for a new website. The problem we were trying to solve was how to make the site more personable, and less intimidating for users. Everyone shared ideas. We pushed and critiqued each other. At the end of that half hour, we made progress. That’s what’s important. </p> <h4>E: What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?</h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> Being a great product manager requires a pretty specific set of skills and personality traits. You don’t need an MBA or engineering degree --I studied history in college-- but you do need to understand technology, design, and business and know how to speak those languages.</p> <p>Other critical skills are: being extremely organized, communicating clearly, keeping calm under pressure and an ability to see the larger picture while also being obsessed with the details. These skills can be improved with experience. I work at them every day.</p> <p>Then there are equally important traits that come only from genuinely being interested in solving a problem --such as asking the right questions, knowing how to uncover people’s behaviors and motivations, being unafraid to make mistakes, and staying focused.</p> <h4>E: Tell us about a typical working day…</h4> <p><strong>MA: </strong>The first thing I do is review my scheduled meetings with internal teams and clients. I prioritize the two or three most important things to get done, so that I can adjust in case something unplanned comes up (and something usually does!)</p> <p>Product managers are communicators so I talk to many people throughout the course of a day. I speak to clients constantly. We might gather around a designer or engineer’s computer to review sketches or prototypes, talk through our technology approach, or look at in-progress code.</p> <p>We check to ensure that what we’re creating for clients is both beautiful, functional, and on-brand. Our meetings aren’t formal; we continuously discuss what’s working and what can be improved. We also talk through implications from user research.</p> <p>At least a few times a week, I check in with other product managers I mentor to see how they’re doing and what help they need. I also try to carve out time that I can spend alone at my computer to research information for the team, update project Trello boards, and complete other work. </p> <h4>E: What do you love about your job? What sucks?</h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> The moments when I feel deeply satisfied are when people with different agendas, skillsets, and experiences put heads together and make progress --no matter how large or small-- that moves our work closer to launching.</p> <p>When I was a younger product manager, I believed that keeping to a plan and delivering a website was everything. Now I realize that building relationships, making our teams stronger and more collaborative is hugely rewarding, so I spend as much time focusing on that too. When people can let their guard down, push each other to be better, go through tense and hard situations, and come out of it smiling and laughing at each others’ jokes, those times make me super happy.</p> <p>The single thing that’s hardest about my role is facing a range of competing priorities that come with building a product. On any given project, a ton of wrenches get thrown in your way. It can be easy to become distracted or lose focus, so unless you’re able to handle a lot of real-time changes, being a PM is probably not for you. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/5342/va_app.jpg" alt="virgin america app" width="615"></p> <p><em>The Virgin America app</em></p> <h4>E: What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?</h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> Measuring success is different for each project, but we try to keep it simple and not come up with a million KPIs that maybe only a few can understand, measure, and analyze. If we’re building an app for a brand that sells something, how we define success should ladder up to a few goals: getting customers to buy, and making them satisfied with the brand and the experience it provides.</p> <h4>E: What are your favourite tools to help you to get the job done? </h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> I don’t have any favorite tools per se, but I use tools that help me communicate with my teams and clients. Currently, Slack and Trello are two I use every day.</p> <h4>E: How did you get started in the digital industry, and where might you go from here? </h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> I started out by building HTML websites as a freelancer. I honestly wasn’t great at coding, but that experience exposed me to many other parts that go into building and delivering digital products. Within a year, I realized I didn’t want to be responsible for only a few isolated parts of the process. I wanted to be able to see things through from start to finish, which is why I moved on to product management.</p> <p>All told, I’ve been in the digital field for over a decade, managing projects and products for a broad range of clients --from Ford to Facebook. I have a lot more to learn, and hopefully more people to work with, so I’ll keep doing this for a while.</p> <h4>E: Which brands do you think are doing digital well?</h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> My barometer for brands that are doing well in digital is whether or not their products are ones that millions of people --myself included-- find useful every day, such as HBO, Facebook, Caviar and The New York Times (especially their cooking app).</p> <p>I also find fascinating how digital technologies can empower people to take control of their own healthcare --everything from <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-wearable-technology/">wearable devices</a> that can perform tests without having to step foot in a doctor’s office to tools now making it easier for patients to access and share their medical records. There are a handful of startups tackling challenging problems in that space.</p> <h4>E: Do you have any advice for people who want to work in the digital industry?</h4> <p><strong>MA:</strong> Use digital products. Know what works and what doesn’t and why. Try to pick up skills that you don’t have – like learning how to code. Don’t be someone who’s hard to work with. Being successful in the industry means you’ll work with many different people of varying skills and viewpoints and you’ll have a much easier time contributing to the end product if you’re respectful and empathetic to others.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68896 2017-03-15T14:17:00+00:00 2017-03-15T14:17:00+00:00 Nine questions to ask your new ecommerce platform supplier when migrating Emma Forward <p>The below will be a good starting point for discussions.</p> <h4>1.<strong> How agile are you?</strong> </h4> <p>Heaps of agencies claim to be agile but you’ll want to check your expectations on workflow and practices are aligned before you sign up. </p> <p>You might want to consider the following in your negotiations:</p> <ul> <li>Visibility of all tasks being worked on, ideally on JIRA.</li> </ul> <p> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0008/4679/scrum_board_jpg-blog-flyer.jpg" alt="Scrum board" width="470" height="314"></p> <ul> <li>Daily communication with your project manager and developers.</li> <li>Ability to prioritise your backlog of user stories and bug fixes and willingness to adjust prioritisation when things change.</li> </ul> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4692/user_story.JPG" alt="" width="700" height="448"></p> <ul> <li>Trust your agency to estimate tasks in either hours or story points so that you know how many tasks will be delivered that month.</li> <li>Have a set monthly retainer to spend each month on site maintenance and optimisations (whilst keeping question four in mind), rather than an ad hoc pot of money for development work.</li> <li>Clarity on acceptance criteria. Detailing exactly what you expect the task to enable the user to do, what it should look like, how it should work, what it should and shouldn’t affect (nothing is too obvious), is so crucial to avoid misunderstandings and ensure a task passes customer testing first time.</li> <li>Clear accountability. Ensure tasks are thoroughly tested by the developers before being handed to you to go through with a fine tooth comb. Ideally another developer should review the developer’s work, then it should go to their internal QA team, and only if it passes both those steps should it be passed to the client to sign off.</li> </ul> <h4><strong>2. What does support include? </strong></h4> <p>Every agency will charge for support differently. Some agencies might include a bit of development time in your support fee, others will clearly distinguish between ‘How do I…?’ advice and investigation work needed by developers to fix bugs.</p> <p>There’s not necessarily a right or wrong way, just so long as you’re clear what the escalation processes are and who your points of contact are for different issues. </p> <p>For instance, your agency may have a support desk as the first port of call, which is suitable for emailing questions like ‘How do I do xyz in the admin?’ or ‘Why can’t I get this roundel to show up on that product page?’. </p> <p>If there’s a serious Priority 1 issue though (e.g. the site goes down or you can’t access the checkout page), then you’ll want to be able to phone your project manager and expect them to look into it within the hour, depending on the service level agreement that you sign. </p> <h4><strong>3. How much do you charge per hour?</strong></h4> <p>Obviously pricing will depend on the agency, but try to make sure you get a like-for-like comparison so that you can easily compare hourly rates across the different agencies that are tendering (some might quote daily rates for instance). </p> <p>Agencies may charge different amounts depending on whether it’s front-end, back-end or strategy work. You’ll also be paying for your project manager’s time, so don’t forget to factor that in. </p> <p>What may sound like more than enough hours per month on these may transpire not to be, because it has to include all internal meetings your agency has about your work (e.g. weekly estimation meetings, daily stand ups), as well as the likelihood of more than one developer working on the same task.</p> <p>Some agencies will charge for client meetings, others will use their discretion. </p> <h4><strong>4. How often can I flex the retainer?</strong></h4> <p>Your stakeholders are pushing for Feefo reviews, or you may want to bring forward gift wrapping in time for the Christmas trading period. Whatever it is, there may be some months when you want to increase your monthly retainer to deliver functionality quicker. Running out of budget half way through the month is really frustrating for all involved. </p> <p>Similarly, if you’re running a small business, budget for development may need to be diverted to other costs for a couple of months. </p> <p>Make sure that the contract allows you to decrease or increase your retainer when you need to. It’s only fair to give your agency notice because they’ll need to ensure there is available resource if it’s an increase, but check that the notice they’re asking for is reasonable.</p> <h4><strong>5. Will I have access to developers?</strong></h4> <p>The ability to communicate directly with developers is a deal-breaker, be it via Slack or a project management platform like JIRA.</p> <p>Of course, your project manager plays a pivotal role in briefing the team on tasks, but rather than he or she having to be the interface between you and the dev team when they have questions, I’ve found it much more cost and time-efficient to answer the developers’ questions directly, especially when you’re writing your own user stories and acceptance criteria.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4672/Dev_comms.JPG" alt="" width="700"></p> <p>You know better than anyone how you expect the functionality to work and you don’t want anything lost in translation. Provide anything you can to make your expectations clear – mock ups, screenshots and videos all help.</p> <h4><strong>6. Who owns the code?</strong></h4> <p>Firstly, check your existing supplier’s contract: if they own the code, it could be difficult and costly to migrate the code base as is to a new agency. It may end up being more cost-effective to re-build rather than to strike a deal.</p> <p>If you own the code, then you should be able to migrate to a new agency (see next question), but you want to make sure code ownership is written into the new supplier’s contract too to future-proof yourself, bearing in mind the average ecommerce site’s lifecycle is five or six years.</p> <h4><strong>7. Experience of migrating old code as well as building new sites?</strong></h4> <p>It’s never a new supplier’s preference to take over another agency’s code base. Migrations are cheaper than total rebuilds, and agencies will usually try to sell-in the re-build over a migration. Once you’ve honed in on a new supplier, request a code audit to ensure they can take over the code base, maintain it and extend it going forward. </p> <p>A decent agency will do the audit objectively, and should tell you which areas of the code may be areas of concern (usually third-party extensions or customisations by the incumbent supplier). </p> <p>Do take it with a pinch of salt though; there may be an element of sucking teeth at another workman’s work, and the site doesn’t have necessarily have to pass with flying colours to be portable.</p> <h4><strong>8. Do you outsource any development?</strong></h4> <p>Understandably, agencies often won’t volunteer this information without being asked directly.</p> <p>While outsourcing developers enables smaller agencies to offer cheaper hourly rates, you can sometimes risk quality, not to mention on a basic level, it’s tricky to work with developers in different time zones if you don’t want to be camping out in the office.</p> <h4><strong>9. Who looks after hosting?</strong></h4> <p>Your new agency will most likely have a preferred hosting provider. If you’re very happy with your existing hosting company, stick to your guns, as it could keep costs down not changing servers. </p> <p>However, if it’s a pre-requisite for the new agency to use their hosting supplier, negotiate on cost, and decide whether you’d prefer to look after the hosting relationship directly or whether you’d rather your agency did this.</p> <h4>In conclusion...</h4> <p>Migrating to an alternative agency can inject new ideas, enthusiasm and proactivity into your ecommerce site, which can come together to increase conversion rate and ultimately turnover of your site through carefully crafted acceptance criteria, properly tested functionality and well-considered changes.</p> <p>Asking the right questions before you commit to a migration can help to ensure the new agency will be able to deliver the strong partnership that you’re after and ultimately the return on investment that your stakeholders will expect.</p> <p><em>To learn more on this topic, book yourself onto one of Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/ecommerce/">ecommerce training courses</a>.</em></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68882 2017-03-13T10:00:00+00:00 2017-03-13T10:00:00+00:00 Four ways Tiger is transforming the in-store retail experience Nikki Gilliland <h3>Design-lead concept</h3> <p>Unlike other stores with a similar price range, Tiger does not lead with a low-cost concept. Instead, it is better known for its focus on design, stocking a wide range of cheap, cheerful and brightly coloured products – often sourced from Asia.</p> <p>It is a formula that has become a hallmark, and in turn, has made Tiger’s proposition about more than just affordable prices. </p> <p>You might go into a Tiger in search of a specific item, but more often than not, regular consumers also visit for the purpose of having a browse. This is because - drawing on its tagline of ‘everyday magic’ – it promotes the idea that you don’t know what you might find in its stores. </p> <p>While sourcing products from Asia surely helps to offer consumers something new, Tiger has also taken steps to commission artists to create original items specifically for the store. For example, it has previously partnered with Japanese artist Misaki Kawai to create a range of unique tote bags.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4520/Tiger_online.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="398"></p> <h3>Low-cost quality</h3> <p>While the majority of Tiger’s items are very low in price, often falling between just £1 to £3, Tiger doesn’t sell itself on this basis. More importantly, it manages to bypass the notion that low-price equals low quality, and this is largely due to the store’s all-inclusive nature.</p> <p>By refusing to shout about its prices, it has managed to disrupt the idea that cheap equals a poorly-made product.</p> <p>Of course, that is not to say that the consumer does not appreciate good value. Rather, perhaps that consumers are beginning to consider their money even more than ever before – with expectations becoming less about BOGOF offers and more about legitimate value as well as quality.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4518/Tiger_store.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="521"></p> <h3>Seasonal products and travel stores</h3> <p>Another reason why Tiger has generated a loyal following is its dedication to the changing seasons. </p> <p>You only have to look at its social media channels to see how it taps into events like Easter and Pancake Day – conveniently selling season-related products you probably never knew existed.</p> <p>Similarly, it is able to drive sales of its craft and DIY products by continuously introducing new ranges, in turn ensuring that its stores remain interesting and exciting to even the most regular consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/4519/Tiger_Insta.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="519"></p> <p>Tiger has also recently entered the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68371-why-travel-retail-is-big-business-for-beauty-brands/" target="_blank">travel retail</a> space, opening its first ever store in a London tube station. With a slightly different product-range, skewed to ‘on the go’ consumers, it is a sign that Tiger is intent on expanding – as well as evidence that there is a demand for it.</p> <h3>In-store discovery</h3> <p>When it comes to its in-store layout, Tiger has clearly been inspired by fellow Scandinavian brand, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67694-10-examples-of-great-ikea-marketing-creative/" target="_blank">Ikea</a>. Its larger shops are distinctly labyrinthine, taking consumers on a one-way journey through the entire store.</p> <p>It’s a clever concept. Not only does it ensure consumers will travel past all potential products before they leave, increasing the likelihood of an impulse purchase, but it also builds on consumer panic. For example, by placing food and drink items near the checkout, but not quite the nearest thing to it, consumers will pick up these items knowing they won’t easily be able to turn back again.</p> <p>It’s not only the layout that sets Tiger apart, of course. Its focus on the ‘surprise and discovery’ concept of its stores extends even to the background music, with the stores playing a familiar soundtrack of songs from the 1960’s to the 1990’s. </p> <p>Whether or not you actually need anything it sells, there’s no doubt Tiger is intent on changing the stale shopping experience of most low-price stores.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">These mini notebooks from <a href="https://twitter.com/FlyingTigerCph">@FlyingTigerCph</a> really speak to my soul <a href="https://t.co/DLois99DFO">pic.twitter.com/DLois99DFO</a></p> — Billy Davis (@Billy_Davis85) <a href="https://twitter.com/Billy_Davis85/status/838089100385271809">March 4, 2017</a> </blockquote> <p><em><strong>Related articles:</strong></em></p> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68787-why-did-poundland-s-ecommerce-trial-fail/" target="_blank">Why did Poundland’s ecommerce trial fail?</a></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68643 2016-12-19T10:00:00+00:00 2016-12-19T10:00:00+00:00 Why hackathons are valuable for marketers as well as techies David Moth <p>The events range in size and prestige, from small internal hackathons to competitions hosted by tech giants where there are big cash prizes on offer.</p> <p>While they’re normally associated with techies and coders, the Econsultancy and IBM iX hackathon I attended was aimed at inspiring marketers to consider new customer experiences and ways of working.</p> <p>It began with a discussion around the importance of Design Thinking, before the marketers broke into groups and were challenged to conceptualize product ideas that would ease existing customer pain points.</p> <p>For those unfamiliar with design thinking, this series of posts is a perfect way to get to grips with the concept:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68503-what-is-design-thinking/">What is design thinking?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68509-why-is-design-thinking-suddenly-so-important/">Why is design thinking suddenly so important?</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68510-how-can-marketers-employ-design-thinking">How can marketers employ design thinking?</a></li> </ul> <p>But aside from the lesson in design thinking, the event was a useful insight into how hackathons work and how they can be a worthwhile exercise for marketers.</p> <p>Here are some of my takeaways on why hackathons aren’t just for coders. We're also planning to run some more hackathons in partnership with IBM iX in 2017, so Econsultancy subscribers should look out for more information on how to apply.</p> <h3>Drags people out of their comfort zone</h3> <p>The most obvious benefit of a hackathon is that it gives people a day away from their regular tasks.</p> <p>All jobs have a certain routine or rhythm to them, and it’s important to mix things up to provide some variety and inspiration.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fzuck%2Fposts%2F10102285103820421%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="511"></iframe></p> <p>Hackathons give people the opportunity to step out of their comfort zone and take on a new (and hopefully fun) challenge, if only for an afternoon.</p> <p>Stepping away from the computer to a new location – ideally off-site, not just a meeting room – can be invigorating and provides relief from the day-to-day grind.</p> <h3>Helps you to see the bigger picture</h3> <p>In the rush to complete tasks and hit deadlines it’s understandable that people become focused on the priorities and goals specific to their business unit.</p> <p>By challenging employees to consider customer pain points outside of their normal area of focus it forces them to take a broader view of the customer experience.</p> <p>Ideally this will give them a fresh perspective on their own role and how it fits within the customer journey.</p> <p>It might also encourage them to consider new solutions and ways of working when dealing with the familiar problems in their day job.</p> <h3>Puts the focus back on the customer</h3> <p>Design thinking is all about creating experiences that cater to the needs of the customer.</p> <p>Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/marketing-budgets/">research into marketing budgets for 2016</a> found that nearly three-quarters (73%) of company respondents are ‘working towards delivering cohesive customer experiences, rather than standalone campaigns or interactions’.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2464/cx_chart.png" alt="" width="345" height="426"></p> <p>But while customer experience has been an important trend within marketing for more than a year, many companies are still driven by business priorities rather than customer needs. </p> <p>At the IBM Hackathon attendees were asked to discuss pain points associated with a specific customer persona and then design a new product experience which solved that problem.</p> <p>Most employees probably don’t often get the opportunity to dedicate an afternoon to thinking about how to improve the customer experience, so the exercise is extremely useful for jolting employees into thinking about the broader customer journey and how they can impact it. </p> <h3>Work alongside new people</h3> <p>For the IBM hackathon we invited a select few of our subscribers, which gave attendees the opportunity to collaborate with new people from different businesses.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our <a href="https://twitter.com/ibminteractive">@ibminteractive</a> Design Thinking Hackathon teams are just identifying customer pain points. Product ideas come next. <a href="https://t.co/CEk6LwNSPp">pic.twitter.com/CEk6LwNSPp</a></p> — Econsultancy (@Econsultancy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Econsultancy/status/805784694398844928">December 5, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>This provides a useful networking opportunity, but more importantly we’ve found that people are more willing to open up when they aren’t around their normal colleagues.</p> <p>If you’re organising your own internal hackathon then it still gives people the chance to collaborate with new people, which will hopefully foster new relationships and help to break down those pesky silos.</p> <h3>New ideas</h3> <p>New ideas are the most obvious benefit, as it’s really the whole reason hackathons were invented. However, it’s not something we should overlook.</p> <p>While our Design Thinking Hackathon was focused on creating new products and processes, you could just as easily ask attendees to design a new marketing campaign.</p> <p>That’s exactly what <a href="https://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/33369/How-to-Create-200-Hours-Worth-of-Marketing-Content-in-One-Night.aspx#sm.001sr30k9eo6fl3117d2lbkq7ozii">Hubspot did back in 2012</a>, hosting an event that gave its marketing team an evening to create an entire campaign from scratch in one evening.</p> <p>I’m a bit concerned by Hubspot’s measure of success for the hackathon - ‘we cranked out over a couple hundred hours of work in one night’ - but it’s still a great way of generating loads of new marketing ideas, alongside the other benefits mentioned in this post.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68625 2016-12-15T14:35:56+00:00 2016-12-15T14:35:56+00:00 What can marketers learn from SaaS (software-as-a-service) businesses? Ashley Friedlein <p>Popular categories include beauty and grooming, food and drink, and pets. Although startups such as Graze (healthy snack boxes on subscription) pioneered this space in ecommerce, the bigger players are rapidly trying to play catch up: Walmart (Beauty Box), Starbucks, Macy’s and others.</p> <p>Perhaps the most interesting is Amazon. In many ways, its Prime membership is a form of subscription. It aims to reduce friction and encourage repeat purchase and loyalty.</p> <p>Amazon’s Dash buttons are also designed to make repeat purchase super easy. Amazon’s Fresh service for groceries, <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67992-how-amazonfresh-is-hoping-to-threaten-the-uk-s-big-four-supermarkets/">recently launched in the UK</a>, is not strictly speaking a subscription service but it is close to that, aiming again to take away purchase friction for your weekly shop.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2301/amazon_dash.png" alt="" width="800" height="433"></p> <p>It seems even relatively low-consideration items that might not have regular or predictable repeat purchase cycles can work within a subscription offering. Printer ink is increasingly sold ‘as a service’ via a subscription model, for example HP Instant Ink.</p> <p>These shifts in business model and proposition have implications, of course, for marketing.</p> <p>Among the more sophisticated and mature players in digital subscription marketing and selling are SaaS (software-as-a-service) businesses. So <strong>what can we learn from SaaS marketing and models?</strong></p> <p>First, it is worth understanding the key business, and therefore marketing, metrics for SaaS.</p> <p>If you believe you are selling something one-off, then you tend to think mostly about top-of-funnel metrics, and cost per acquisition (CPA) is based on a single conversion event.</p> <p>In a subscription business, however, the key metrics are about usage, churn and yield, with lifetime value (LTV) and acquisition cost payback periods being the most important marketing metrics. If you have good loyalty, you can typically afford to spend more to acquire and keep customers.</p> <p>Second, and this relates directly to loyalty and yield, successful SaaS businesses are obsessively product-centric. They focus on the product, for example not underestimating the importance of the user interface.</p> <p>Marketing’s job becomes less about pushing out a message and more about listening to customers in order to help refine and improve the customer experience. This might include supporting customers with relevant and helpful content: Tutorials, demos, better product imagery and information, checklists, usage suggestions, tips, community and so on.</p> <p>Third, service and support should be seen as a revenue source, not a cost centre. In the SaaS world, it is often said ‘customer success is the new sales’.</p> <p>If your mindset is only a one-off transaction, then any support or service seems like a cost that detracts from the value of the sale you made.</p> <p>As soon as you look at it from a subscription perspective, with a certain LTV and the opportunity to upgrade the customer to a higher-level subscription offering, service becomes a fantastic opportunity to engage with customers, delight them and increase their profitability and yield. I have argued before that service and support should be considered part of the marketing function.</p> <p>Finally, we can learn from the culture and processes that SaaS businesses typically apply, not just to marketing but their entire operations.</p> <p>Many SaaS services are not only subscription-based but also monthly, rather than annual, subscriptions. This forces them to stay good all the time because customers can leave as quickly as they arrive. They have to keep improving the product, keep the service levels high, keep comparing themselves to the competition.</p> <p>This means their operational rhythm is ‘agile’, their culture is about rapid iteration, test and learn, about automation and scaling, about being ‘always on’. All things I hear marketing functions aspiring to become.</p> <p>Perhaps it is worth trying to envision your product or service as a subscription offering if it is not already. Perhaps you should consider hiring a marketer with SaaS-type marketing expertise.</p> <p>How might you do your marketing differently as a result?</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/66034-the-pros-and-cons-of-subscription-ecommerce-models/"><em>The pros and cons of subscription ecommerce models</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68545-five-ways-subscription-box-services-can-increase-customer-retention/"><em>Five ways subscription box services can increase customer retention</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67458-six-things-that-make-a-good-subscription-service/"><em>Six things that make a good subscription service</em></a></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68489 2016-11-10T14:29:00+00:00 2016-11-10T14:29:00+00:00 Five ways financial services companies are adapting to the new digital age Juliet Stott <p>At a recent event, A New Age of Digital Finance, ORM managing director Keith Nation said: </p> <blockquote> <p>The millennials are expecting to interact with banks in the same way they do with Uber. The younger generation are time poor and they expect a world of hyper convenience; and they want a frictionless digital relationship with their bank too.</p> </blockquote> <p>But <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/digital-transformation/">digital transformation</a> in this sector is slow to happen. Legacy systems, disparate data silos, internal resistance to change, lack of digital expertise, and tight governmental regulations are just some of the problems financial service (FS) businesses are trying to solve to meet consumer demand.</p> <p>In the meantime, challenger banks and startup fintech companies are offering new products and services that are attractive to the new generation of digital-first consumers.</p> <p>At the event, guest speakers from the UK’s biggest names in retail banking – including Barclays and TSB, along with wealth management company Allianz Global Investors – addressed their digital challenges and presented ways they’re overcoming these issues. </p> <p>Here is what was said:</p> <h4>1. Seeking out the single customer view</h4> <p>A digital consolidated data-set, which can be used across all channels to provide customers with a seamless digital experience, is the <em>“nirvana”</em> said Julian Brewer, Head of Digital Sales and Products at TSB.</p> <p>But many banks, including TSB, have a long way to go; legacy systems, ownership rights over proprietary data and fragmented data sources are just some of the many stumbling blocks that prevent <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65425-what-is-the-single-customer-view-and-why-do-you-need-it/">the single customer view</a> becoming a reality.</p> <p>Brewer said many of the banks are looking to find ways of bringing data together within a DMP; however this is a complex and costly endeavour.</p> <p>TSB uses a tool called Tealium Audience Stream to create a CMP (Customer Marketing Platform) which pulls the limited data sources available to the bank together into a single view, and delivers many of the benefits of a more traditional DMP.</p> <p>“From this, we’re able to use our first-party data to create real-time audience segments and tailor our digital onsite and offsite marketing to great effect, and make this experience more relevant to our customers,” he said.</p> <h4>2. Reclaiming digital content</h4> <p>In recent years, many asset manager marketers have fallen into the trap of giving their content to other sites, either for free (to aggregators) or have paid other publications (such as The FT or CityWire) to publish their content, in the belief that it will bring them closer to their clients and prospects.</p> <p>This has been a mistake, as these aggregators and publishers have ended up owning the relationships with the asset manager’s customers, and not shared any information on how the content was consumed.</p> <p>Tom Hughes, Head of Marketing at Allianz Global Investors, said: “Marketers need to understand the value of their own website and the insight it provides.”</p> <p>He said marketers need a change of mindset, as websites should no longer be viewed as just “shop windows.”</p> <p>“Websites need to provide a utility for clients; they need to have content that’s useful for them so they are are encouraged to return.</p> <p>"Every click, and every interaction that happens your website, is valuable. If you can work out the causation between this activity and the sale of a product, that’s gold,” said Hughes.</p> <h4>3. Taking control of your CRM</h4> <p>The advancement of digital has come with an abundance of data; and more pressure for marketers to answer questions from the C-suite such as:</p> <ul> <li>What’s the ROI on our spend?</li> <li>Who’s been on the website? What did they click on?</li> <li>Who opened that email? Where did they open it? From what device?</li> </ul> <p>In the past, when marketing was a linear process and the CRM was used to manage sales funnels, marketers didn’t get involved in data. But that’s all changed.</p> <p>CRM is now the hub of information and the crux of the relationship between marketing and sales.</p> <p>Jason Lark, MD at Celerity, said: “If you don’t have a hold on your CRM and how it connects with all the platforms you’re building, and if you don’t know how each communication is performing, then you’re going to fail.</p> <p>"You need a good website, with high performing content where you can capture data. [It’ll] underpin your relationship with your customers and your sales team.”</p> <h4>4. Putting the customer at the heart of the digital transformation</h4> <p>Barclays Bank has refocussed its business model and says it is putting its customers at the heart of everything it does.</p> <p>“We want to help our customers hit their financial goals and achievements, and we’re going to use our transactional level data to do this,” said Sharukh Naqvi, Barclays Bank's VP of analytics and personalisation.</p> <p>Barclays is not the only company realigning its business model to put the customer at the core. Disney has invested heavily in the customer experience.</p> <p>It’s created a piece of wearable tech, a wristband called Magic Band, which enables its customers to make purchases without a credit card or cash, gain entry to its parks and resorts, book Fast Passes, make dinner reservations and receive personalised offers.</p> <p>As Brian Solis, leading expert on experiential business models, said in his latest book:</p> <blockquote> <p>In order to be competitive, brands must get better not only at understanding and satisfying customers’ wants and needs but at anticipating them, even before customers know what they want and need.</p> <p>This proactive experience is quickly becoming the new standard.</p> </blockquote> <h4>5. Catering for more sophisticated audiences</h4> <p>The millennial generation are internet natives. They are mobile-first and learn, work, shop and socialise online.</p> <p>They expect speedy, efficient customer service across all channels, from any institution they choose to engage with, day or night. If financial services brands can’t provide great digital service, said Andy Farmer Executive Strategy Director at ORM, then these consumers will go elsewhere.</p> <p>“The rise of fintech companies like Funding Circle, Nutmeg and eToro is no surprise; they’re very attractive to digitally-able younger consumers. These brands aren’t taking huge marketshare at the moment, but they are nibbling away at the edges.”  </p> <p>Traditional banks are reacting to this change in a number of ways, such as creating “<a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68356-what-is-an-innovation-lab-and-how-do-they-work/">innovation labs</a>” within their businesses.</p> <p>And, in some cases, directly investing in fintech companies outright; all to keep pace with technology and remain competitive.</p> <p><em>For more on this topic, see:</em></p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-transformation-in-the-financial-services-sector-2016/"><em>Digital Transformation in the Financial Services Sector</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-trends-in-the-financial-services-and-insurance-sector-2016/"><em>Digital Trends in the Financial Services and Insurance Sector</em></a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67202-what-s-the-future-for-big-banks-in-a-fintech-world/"><em>What's the future for big banks in a FinTech world?</em></a></li> </ul>