marketing personalization

When you think of the holidays you think of delicious food, time with family and friends, receiving presents, and if you’re lucky, a White Christmas. When talking about giving presents, however, the Christmas mall rush is not something to be reckoned with. Within the past few years, the advent of digital shopping has drastically changed the Christmas gift-buying experience. Arguably, 2013 was the year of the digital shopper; just as an indication, total e-commerce grew 24% to $4.6 billion on Cyber Monday, Black Friday, and Thanksgiving (Business Insider, Link) Customers are shopping online more than ever, shopping for deals and buying presents all from the comfort and convenience from their own home.

With such a dramatic increase in online shopping, it’s no wonder that the limits of delivery infrastructure were tested. The overwhelming amount of individuals shopping online combined with weather issues across the United States actually triggered an overload on the parts of carriers such as UPS and FedEx. This has inadvertently resulted in customer complaints over the holiday season.

Top Three Consumer Complaints

Failed promise of timely delivery: The biggest complaint of 2013 on the customer side is the failed promise of a timely delivery and it ironically stems from digital shopping becoming “too easy” and “too time-efficient.” That is to say as more and more customers shop for items on their phones instead of going to the physical stores, the retailers are put in a bind because they become forced to extend their shut-off day for shipping and will rely solely on the postal service to deliver the items on time even if Christmas day is just two days away. Stella Service, an online service that measures customer service and satisfaction, stated that 8 out of 25 prominent retailers failed to deliver on time before Christmas day, even though the orders were before the cut off day. By not meeting the delivery time, retails are losing customer loyalty and profit in the long-run.

Item out of stock after placing order: After talking with several of our colleagues, friends, and family, we noticed another negative trend. One apparel retailer did not synchronize their stock inventory with their website, failing to keep up with inventory count. As a result, a coworker of mine had placed an order for a shirt and paid for it only to receive an email a few days later saying the item was out of stock. Obviously by having these issues you will not only lose sales but valuable customers as well. This retailer did take steps to mitigate this issue however. They called my coworker and personally spoke with her about the problem and gave her a gift certificate. While the retailer did a good job of handling this problem, all of it could have been avoided in the first place if they had kept their inventory up to date.

Wrong Item: The final complaint was delivery of an incorrect item. Another friend of mine had ordered a pair of boots from a seller through Amazon prior to his hiking trip. They arrived in a timely manner but had one slight issue: they were a completely different pair of boots. Obviously my friend did not let this go and since he needed the pair in the next few days before he left he had to wrestle with returning them and then waiting for a new pair to be delivered. He ended up getting the correct pair of boots in time but the fact that the first pair was the wrong one was a huge pain for him and he had to jump over a ton of hurdles just to get the right pair. The moral here is for companies to perform quality control on anything they ship out because messing up orders like that can hurt their image and brand loyalty.

While 2013 still saw an increase in traffic and sales across the board last year one thing is becoming apparent: the tried and true old methods are becoming obsolete in this technology-driven consumer society. If retailers want to maximize their sales in this coming 2014 holiday season they will have to go back to basics and adopt the “underpromise and overdeliver” mantra in their delivery, pricing, and customer experience areas.

Randi Summit 1Randi Zuckerberg Emerging Tech Trends Recap

While attending the Dallas Digital Summit these past few days we were fortunate enough to listen to Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media and sister to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.  Randi spoke on a very relevant topic that everyone faces today and that is the shifting trends of technology.  She spoke of 10 trends and how they are changing around us every day.  As a recap, here are 5 of Randi’s trends.  The other 5 will be presented in next week’s blog:

 

 

BRANDED NEWSROOMS= This means that tech providers such as yahoo or large companies on twitter on facebook are now a more followed source of news than actual news stations.  The rapidity that word travels on these social media sites far exceeds that of televisions and newspapers as we are now able to learn events as they occur almost real-time.

TEENS ARE THE HOLY GRAIL OF TECHNOLOGY=  Randi explained this as the younger more tech-savvy generation is shaping the way information is dispersed, new things are learned and overall how the world is viewed.  This always connected generation is able to effectively utilize all the information around us and break through clutter to discover new knowledge.

THE MAKER MOVEMENT=  People purchasing products in the store, for example, see the inferiority in consumer goods and believe that they can create a higher-quality product.  This is no new way of thinking, however, people have always been trying to build a better mouse trap but in today’s world the internet is giving these people the channels to actually distribute to consumers now.

THE RISE OF ENTREPLOYEES= This is the notion that within companies employees will see opportunities to create their own ideas and carve niches.  Unfortunately, the everyday working man does not have the time nor capital to pursue their idea, but today, there are companies that will provide funds and time for their employees to create their own startups from within in exchange for equity.

LIFE-LOGGING= Life-logging is the idea of capturing your everyday life through pictures, diaries, social media, etc.  So widespread has this “selfie” culture become that there are now apps reminding you to take daily “selfies” and there are even devices that you can purchase that will snap pictures of your day-to-day activities to record them for you.

 

For Randi’s next 5 emerging social trends stay tuned for our next blog!

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Nectar One-to-One Marketing SuiteAll things considered, it’s a must…

There’s lots of decisions to be made and various avenues to consider as a marketer. One of the more prominent, hands down, is Marketing Personalization. The road map of promoting your products, generating interest, acquiring customers, obtaining & expanding a loyal customer base and boosting your revenue is vast. It’s no easy feat.

When it’s time to substantiate a plan of action, there’s a slew of questions darting from every direction. The most pressing of all questions leans towards, “Is there a need for marketing personalization and how important is this?”  An extreme “in a nutshell” answer is YES and VERY. But, you’re not here for one word answers…

Let’s sift through to some of the more salient fundamentals of marketing personalization…

1.  You’ve got some hardcore competition – Ninety trillion emails are sent out each year. Approximately 70% of those emails are not personalized and are considered generic while 25% contain a trivial amount of marketing personalization.  Bottom line…less than 10% of emails received are considered legit by the recipient. The rest are deemed as “spam” and dispersed to the trash bin unopened. That’s not where you want to be. We’ve all heard the expression, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” With 90 trillion emails being sent every year, there’s a tremendous amount of competition. Swimming in the sea of mediocrity isn’t going to cut it. You’ve got to do more than make an impact or come up with a catchy slogan. You need to gather,disparate and segment your data efficiently to deliver the most relevant content, products and offers.

2. Customization vs Personalization – Although similar, these two terms are sitting on opposite ends of the stick. To differentiate the 2, lets think about a cup of coffee. A customized cup of coffee is based on general information. John likes coffee. Regular. Cream and sugar. He enjoys a cup of coffee periodically throughout the day. A personalized cup of coffee transpires from connecting big data, connecting the dots and creating a 360 degree customer profile. Jane is a coffee aficionado. Regular. Columbian Dark Roast from a local cafe down the street. Medium cup. Two raw sugars. A splash of skim milk. She enjoys a cup at 9 am, noon and 3 p.m. Jane does not drink coffee after 6 pm.  Customized is good. Personalized will get their attention.

3.  360 Degree Customer Profile – As they say, no 2 snowflakes are the same. The same holds true for your customers. Without marketing personalization, John is simply a 35 year old male who lives in a small town. It’s flat and notably generic. There’s very little data to create a relevant marketing campaign for John. Adding marketing personalization into the mix allows you to segment and individualize each morsel of your big data to execute hyper-personalized communications. One-to-One marketing connects your customer dots from across the board through social, email, website, CRM, mobile, transaction, and 3rd party channels. With all of this information, you’re able to create a 360 degree customer view on John. Based on this data, you now can leverage and distribute the most relevant information, products and offers to John in real time..

4. Turbo-Charged Personalization – You’ve noticed that John is spending a lot of time in the home office categories and purchased several small ticket items. This was compiled from his behavior and transaction data. The big question is why? With turbo-charged personalization, the channel to social information opens. In the world of marketing personalization, this enables you to stand out from the rest because now your customers shared social information is included. John is shopping home office items because he started his own business and will be working from home. However, he’s on a budget and waiting for the big ticket items to go on sale.  As a marketer, this is your opportunity to deliver hyper-personalized messages in real time based on pre-planned points.

5.  You’re aiming to please – Over 70% of online customers have expressed their frustration when companies send them emails with offers, products and information that have no relevancy to their life or needs. Your goal is to please your customer, not irritate them. Without marketing personalizaion, you’re going in blind. Marketing compaigns will be generic and lack value to your customers. Maybe you sent John an email that included special offers for pet food and baby items. The offers are stellar and select items are over 80% off. That’s great, but how does this apply to John?  It doesn’t. The email isn’t opened and immediately transferred to the virtual trash bin. With marketing personalization you’ll have the big data to hyper-personalize communications. You’ll know that in addition to John embarking on a small business venture, he’s also in his mid 30’s, allergic to animals, single, and he’s an outdoor enthusiast. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, traveling and mountain climbing.

As a marketer, you’ve invested a great deal of time and money. You’re on the right path. Now it’s time to face forward and onward march. Adding a solid marketing personalization plan gives you the opportunity to take what you already have and move towards success. In this day and age, customers expect personalization throughout their entire buying process. They want to be acknowledged, enticed, and have their interest sparked with emails loaded with offers, products and information compatible with their life…in real time. When a customer is checking emails, you’ve got only a few seconds to catch their attention and make an out-of-this-world impression. It’s not the time for impromptu.

Nectar can provide your company with the easiest One-to-One Marketing Suite and help you connect your customer data, increase customer engagement and revenue.

 

 

 

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trigger marektingAs They Say…Timing Is Everything

As a marketer, you’re probably thinking about how to acquire, grow and retain customers.  That’s a lot to do! There’s a lot to process as well as consider with marketing personalization. You’ll often hear important key terms mentioned including customer engagement, 360 degree customer profile, big data, CRM, ROI, segmentation, hyper-personalization and one-to-one marketing. These are all necessary components to create successful marketing personalization so your company can deliver the most relevant content in real time.

Amid these components is trigger marketing. In a nutshell, trigger marketing is the engine that hums continuously. There’s a constant stream of messages being deployed to to your customers based on behaviors, browsing history, purchases, interests, etc. Delivering a successful trigger marketing campaign entails combining these pieces of big data, identifying an event in a customer’s life that warrants a need and communicating during these pre-planned points in time.

Having the right road map can make it easier to achieve success and the desired outcome. As part of the email marketing campaigns, triggered email marketing is at the core of helping to drive engagement and revenue.

Delivering a successful campaign is your ultimate goal.  To achieve that, there are 3 key elements to remember…

Find the appropriate trigger – The content within these marketing campaigns should be based on your customers immediate needs.

Cultivate the right offer – Triggers have to be followed up with relevant products & offers.

Timely Execution – Presentation should occur immediately after an appropriated trigger.

As a business owner, you want your campaign to drive both traffic and revenue. There’s always a concern of frequency, value and appearance with trigger marketing. And, the big question lingers…”Do people mind followup emails?” The answer is yes. Keep in mind, though, it’s all about presentation, timing and tone.

Here are some tips to keep in mind for what your customers are looking for…

1.  Acknowledge me. I just signed up to receive emails from your company.  A welcome or thank you email is a considerate means of acknowledging my interest and introducing your company, products, offers, etc.

2. Entice me a little. The operative word is little. There’s a fine line between enticing me and conning me. Why should I become and remain a loyal customer? Based on my personal information, how can your company suit my needs more efficiently and cost effectively then company A or B?

3. Where’s my receipt?  I made a purchase and I’d like to have a transactional email for my records. I’d like to double check to see if my order is accurate and things processed correctly with my bank.

4. Spark my interest. I recently ordered a new bedding set, a few bathroom accessories and some end tables. It’s safe to assume I’m updating my home. I’d be interested in additional products you offer based on my purchases. Window treatments? Kitchen accessories? Area rugs? Go ahead, inspire me.

5. Nudge me a smidgen to try something new.  I’ve worn Crocs flip flops for as far back as I can remember. It’s my brand of choice, however, there’s a chance I order a pair year after year out of habit. Expand my horizons. Is there a flip flop that’s similar made by SKECHERS or Nike? Show me. I might just consider stepping out of the box.

6. I like special treats on my birthday. A gift basket filled with gourmet treats showing up at my door compliments of your company isn’t feasible, I know. However, how about a special offer, discount coupon or, at the very least, a Happy Birthday greeting?

7. Get me excited. Is there an upcoming event that you know I’ll be head over heels about? Let me know about it. As the event nears, send me a reminder or two because I’m busy and I may have forgotten to make note of it.

8. Offer a token of appreciation for my business.  I’ve been a loyal customer for quite some time. Whether it’s a personal note or a 20% off coupon on my next purchase, it’s nice to know my loyalty is appreciated. I’m making the choice to do business with you. Without loyal customers…well, you get where I’m going with this?

9. I’m not a fan of creepy. Offer discretion when analyzing my browsing and purchase history. Any mention in your emails of the amount of time I spent browsing products to diminish the appearance of stretchmarks will be duly noted. This will not work in your favor in more ways than one.

10. Touch base with me. I’m busy. Often times weeks go by with very little time to spare. I may not have had time to browse, shop & make a purchase. I may have even left a product or two in my cart.  Send me an email. Remind me there’s a product in my cart and, if you really want to earn brownie points, offer me a coupon towards my purchase. Score!

As mentioned, with trigger marketing, it’s all about timing, relevancy, tone and presentation. Remember, your customers are real people. Address them as such, respect their time, send offers that fit their needs and time it just right. Capture the attention of your customer by establishing the appropriate trigger. Materialize the immediate needs with applicable products, offers, and information.  With automation and the right set of tools, these triggered events can be both automated and intelligent. Once these fundamentals are in place, you’re ready to execute.

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Data Management Platform

I recently spoke with several high level marketing executives about the near-ubiquitous topic, BIG DATA. The executives included Paul Golden, ex-CMO of Samsung Mobile, Barry Judge (ex-CMO of Best Buy, current CMO of LivingSocial, and Brad Todd, (Principal at The Richards Group). Each of the executives with whom we spoke had used all types of data sets in different ways.  Depending on the need of the business, they called on different types of data sets to achieve their purpose.  Given their focus on marketing, the types of data sets tended to be tied to customers.

As a principal at The Richards Group since its inception, Brad Todd has seen a lot of changes in how advertising clients have used data. He recalls the proliferation of data from the introduction and use of loyalty cards at grocery stores. Although grocers captured vast amounts of information about their customers—what they bought, how often they purchased, how they paid—very little of that data was used to improve the customer relationship.  The data was primarily used for managing inventory and shelf space.  Arguably, having fully-stocked shelves does help the customer experience, but the primary use of the data was to improve the bottom line.  Today, grocers and their CPG partners have begun to combine many types of data sets for more targeted marketing.

While CMO of Best Buy, Barry Judge and his team used different types of data sets–purchase history, clickstream analysis, email interactions, demographics and psychographics–to identify and deliver relevant product offerings to their customers.  However, integrating newer analytics tools into legacy systems posed roadblocks.  And incorporating data from the physical store, in order to have a truly holistic picture of each customer, was very difficult.

At Barry’s current company, Living Social, the relative newness of the company and the lack of a physical channel makes it easier to combine data.  They have used customer information to prioritize offers according to each customer’s purchase history and click behavior, thus making the customer experience much more relevant.

Paul Golden, while he was CMO at Samsung Mobile, used big data to improve the brand preference score for Samsung’s mobile phones.  Applying analytics to their big data allowed Paul and his team to identify key markets and determine the most relevant messages for those key markets.

Once you get past the hype and noise, big data can be very useful.  The important thing is to clearly define your objectives and use the data to meet those objectives.

Want to learn more about how to connect different types of data sets? Click here.

And please feel free to leave any comments or questions below.

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Creating an Omni-Channel Customer Profile can be Easy, if you Start with the End in Mind

omni channel customer profileWith all the clutter of marketing messages, customers are demanding relevance. At the same time, marketing teams are struggling with some of the basic foundational components because of all the disparate sources of data available both internally and externally { there I stayed away from saying big data } …The ability to communicate with your customers in an individual manner is becoming table stakes in both online and offline marketing, what we at Nectar Online Media like to call Hyper-Personalization. Whether you use the term 360-degree customer profile or omni-channel customer profile, the goal of creating a unified picture of your customer’s data is foundational for accurate customer analytics and also hyper-personalizing your interactions with your customers.

In this post, we thought we’d provide some of our tips for how to build an omni-channel customer profile. If you start with the end in mind (i.e., your marketing or business objective), it will be a lot easier.

 

# 1 Know Your Goal — It sounds simple and we’ve heard the same tip for many other areas, both in business and personal life. As it relates to customer analytics and hyper-personalization, the goal is based on how you want to use the customer data and, therefore, impacts the data sets you really need vs ideally want to have. By selecting the right data sets for building your omni-channel customer profile, your internal business partners and external providers can be much more focused (and efficient).

For example, Nectar works with an online ecommerce retailer, hipcycle.com, to help personalize their digital communications { if you’ve not checked out Hipcycle before, I strongly encourage you — you won’t be disappointed }.

Based on understanding Hipcycle’s marketing business objectives, we were able to hone in on the right data sets to integrate. These data sets were primarily based on transaction, crm, and behavior on hipcycle.com. While data sets like social media and household data provide an interesting lens, these data sets were not going to add incremental benefit & results that outweighed the effort.

 

# 2 Marketing & IT Need to Collaborate — While the marketing team can help define business objectives and outcomes based on using the omni-channel customer profile, the marketer’s technology counterparts are pivotal in articulating in identifying road blocks ahead of time and developing the right data streams.

If the marketing group is defining the customer analytics and hyper-personalization needs, involve the technology teams early on in the process to be better informed on constraints, timelines, and the ‘art of the possible.’

 

# 3 Choose the Right Technology — Different technologies are appropriate for different business objectives. If you are aiming to build an omni-channel customer profile, our experience has found a traditional SQL (row & records) environment is not optimal. Why? In a nutshell, because of all the different data sources and likely millions of records, there is a fair amount of processing a system needs to do before you can see the results (analysis, reports, recommendations, etc.) that you are looking.

At Nectar Online, we’ve found a noSQL environment is much better suited for storing data records for the purpose of utilizing that 360-degree view of the customer. The primary benefit is that data is stored in an array … so at the instance when data needs to be processed for an individual customer, information is ready.

 

# 4 Relevant Refreshes — An important component to evaluate is the frequency of your omni-channel customer profile refreshes. Depending on your goal { see how knowing your objective comes back in }, a different refresh or re-scoring frequency may be needed potentially at a data set level.

For example, if you are using social data to identify key life events of your individual customers, a weekly refresh might be sufficient. However, if your goal is to create a trigger event based on an abandoned cart, having this behavior refreshed in real-time is important.

 

# 5 Test & Learn — In the same way that a customer’s behaviors, habits, and interactions change over time, so do requirements on how you are using the customer profile data. By having a specific testing and learning plan identified prior to embarking on building your initial omni-channel views, the marketing and technology teams can better determine what elements are important for consideration.

In addition, as the customer profiles continue to be refreshed, you will be able to identify additional revenue and engagement driving opportunities. The testing and learning plan establishes the right set of performance indicators for what you are looking to accomplish.

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I’d love to hear from you and learn about your experience building omni-channel customer profiles. What other tips have you seen be helpful?

Drop us a note or share a comment below.