NectarOm featured in the “Vendor Landscape: Personalization Solution Providers, Q3 2017” report.

Forrester recently issued a report titled “Vendor Landscape: Personalization Solution Providers, Q3 2017” and here at NectarOM, we’re very excited to be highlighted as one of the featured vendors for the financial services, insurance, retail, telecommunications, travel, and hospitality verticals.

Forrester is a leading research and consulting firm that works with business and technology leaders to develop customer-centric strategies that drive growth.

This report predicts that marketing personalization is going to drive customer engagement and growth for both B2B and B2C businesses in 2018 and beyond.

What does it mean for you as a marketer and what do you need to know to stay ahead?

Redefining “Personalization” for today’s marketers

“Personalization” has become quite a buzzword in the online marketing world. From eCommerce recommendations to email marketing automation and remarketing ads on social media, targeted content is everywhere.

Personalization has gone way beyond “hi [ fNAME ]” or even simple segmentation and general personas to a carefully designed experience that reflects the needs, preferences, and buying triggers of each individual customer.

There are some very good reasons to hop on to the personalization bandwagon and become a customer insights-driven organization:

According to the Forrester report, significant investments are being made by digital marketing professionals in personalization, with 89% saying that personalizing the customer experience has been a priority for the last 12 months. After all, 78% of US adults have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that offers a personalized online experience or service.

Too often marketers get caught up in existing data and business needs, forgetting that at the end of the day, they’d likely meet their other business objectives if they focus on serving their customers well.

Consumers now expect a personalized experience when interacting with brands. To successfully execute a personalization strategy, you need to put the customer experience first and consider what’s relevant for the individual at a specific moment.

As personalization technologies are becoming more sophisticated with the aid of machine learning and predictive analytics, brands have to select the right technologies so they can deliver an on-brand customer experience, meet customer expectations, and stay ahead of the curve.

Criteria for selecting a personalization technology

The market for personalization technology is a mix of large, established players, emerging challengers, and niche solution providers. The best solution to your marketing needs depends on a variety of factors.

When selecting a technology solution, the Forrester report recommends the following:

  • The ability to support real-time personalization and a seamless customer experience across all touchpoints. When customers interact with your brand on one channel, their centralized profiles are updated real-time so that the information is reflected in subsequent interactions, even if they switch channels mid-stream.
  • Features and functionalities that bring together insights, automation, and engagement to deliver personalization. While customer-facing engagement metrics are the obvious measurement of success, insights and automation are the determining factors when it comes to managing and executing long-term, sustainable, and scalable personalization strategies.
    Image source
  • Automation and next-generation analytics that’ll help you generate value and insights from the large amount of customer data you now have access to. Your technology solution should provide the automation and advanced analytics, including predictive, prescriptive, and machine learning, so that you can align content within the context of each touchpoint in the customer’s journey.

Companies that are able to select and implement the right mix of general experience management and niche personalization solutions to deliver a highly-personalized customer experience will win the marketing game in 2018 and beyond.

When people think big data, certain industries come to mind. Government, retail, health care and financial services top the list of enterprises collecting and capitalizing on customer data.

But as personalization and omnichannel have become more of an expectation across all markets, new industries have started using customer data with the goal of improving a consumer’s experience.

One industry in particular stands out because of recent data collection and management advances. Through smartphone apps and fitness gadgets, the health and wellness industry is using data to revamp and refuel sales.

Why should we care what the health industry does?

The health and wellness industry holds high status in the marketplace. With Nike named the top brand for the largest purchasing power, we can expect Nike and other wellness enterprises to stay relevant in the market by incorporating the latest technology into marketing strategy. Based off these innovations, companies in any industry can get inspired by these groundbreaking new ways to use data.

So how is the health and wellness industry using customer data?


nike+ run
Nike+ Running lets users track their workouts…and their friends’ too.

Smartphone Apps

Smartphone apps that focus on health have been around for years. These apps were the original building blocks for exposing health and fitness to data. Because of their initial influence, apps have a key role in the health industry’s data interest.

The most popular smartphone health apps come in the form of tracking and managing workouts. Smartphone apps like Nike+ Running record and store data from a workout. The app measures various elements of a workout, including distance covered, calories burned, average pace, and duration of workout.

These are successful because they let users access and manage their data easily. A major motivator for fitness gurus is tracking and viewing progress, which can be easily done through a simple download on a smartphone.

And some apps offer more than just tracking data. Nike+ Running can sync to social media accounts and notify Facebook friends about big accomplishments, like longest run or fastest pace. With this multi-channel development, smartphone apps are getting praise across a variety of platforms.

Fitness wearables

FitbitSmartphone apps typically only collect data during a workout. However, technological advances are helping fitness fanatics track their health 24/7.

Wearable devices help consumers manage their health with an in-depth, convenient approach. They come in different varieties and forms – from the Fitbit to watches to diamond crested accessories. These fitness devices measure specific elements of health, such as steps counted or hours slept. The device then processes the information into a consumer’s personal profile, which the consumer can manage at his or her leisure.

In today’s market, there is no doubt about the potential for these fitness appliances. The only debate in this arena is over which wearable is best.

With the ability to constantly track activity, sleep, heart rate, calories and location, fitness wearables are convenient and easy answer to a healthier lifestyle.

Specialized omnichannel gadgets

Data usage is not limited to fitness tech – personal hygiene is using consumer data as well.

Personal hygiene may seem like an unlikely candidate for data usage. However, the dental industry is starting to focus on personalization and omnichannel, placing a need for customer data.

Beam Brush lets users track their toothbrushing behaviors. The program offers its users special rewards and loyalty programs.
Beam Brush lets users track their toothbrushing behaviors. The program offers its users special rewards and loyalty programs.

In a recent AdAge article, writer Kate Kaye explores an innovation that is redefining dental hygiene. Beam Brush is a toothbrush-inspired enterprise. It connects its users to a network of 95,000 dentists and discounts based on points awarded after using the brush. Users track their teeth cleaning activity and are rewarded with loyalty programs. All activity is synchronized to a user profile in a mobile device.

Despite its ties to teeth, Beam Brush emphasizes that it is not a toothbrush company. Instead, Beam Brush is more invested in collecting health data.

Beam Technologies founder and CEO Alex Frommeyer reportedly said, “If we know there are a million people in Beam’s ecosystem and we know what behavioral triggers we tend to see with high rates of gum disease, then that insight can be translated to a dentist when we see those triggers hit.”

This insight Frommeyer references can prevent dental damage and increase loyalty programs. This is extremely powerful for companies, as an increase in loyalty likely results in improved ROI.


Besides getting inspired from learning about the latest and greatest ways that unlikely vendors are using data, there are some key things marketers should recognize from these recent advancements.

First, it’s important to recognize that if one unlikely (but large) industry is using customer data, several others are sure to follow. This means that more businesses will utilize customer data. With more entities capitalizing on data, consumers will likely be pressed to share more personal info. With more data readily available, marketers should consider the potential for third-party data integration.

Another important takeaway is to acknowledge how willingly these users share personal data with these devices. The reason some users are letting their movements be tracked 24/7 (read: FitBit) is because they feel safe and secure in their data protection. Marketers should realize that, when customers feel like their data will be safely guarded, they will share more.

The final takeaway is that that there is so much more opportunity for customer data usage. With this notable amount of data integration in a short span of time, marketers must anticipate and prepare for upcoming technology innovations and trends. Marketers should stay informed via tech news outlets, to ensure they don’t get left behind in data usage.

Almost every company uses automation to send emails in today’s day and age. Every morning, I wake up to dozens of emails from retailers comprised of newsletters and special offers.

For the most part, I love sifting through these emails. However, as a marketing automation enthusiast, there are some aspects of email automation that can drive me crazy if done incorrectly. Below, I have determined four of my biggest automation pet peeves.

Boring subject linesSubject Line Email Automation

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover… However, this doesn’t always resonate with email recipients. Even marketers with the best email content can be at a disadvantage when not using catchy subject lines in their messages.

Amidst dozens of emails, a recipient’s eyes can easily glaze over a boring subject line. Subject lines should promote new products, relevant offers, special discounts, or use the recipient’s name to stand out among other emails.

In the example to the right, notice Nordstrom had sent me a “relevant” email about sandals after I had shopped for sandals on their website the day before. NM Last Call advertised a noteworthy sale to draw me in. J. Crew emphasized a “new” offer and special discount of free shipping to attract me. Note that Amazon Local did not utilize any of these tactics to grab my attention, and their message remained unopened and ignored.

Sent at the wrong time

Just because a software sends out automated emails, companies must still be conscientious of when they are distributing marketing messages.

Nordstrom Friday Evening EmailMost companies send out emails first thing in the morning – and for good reason.

While there is no set rule that marketers must stick to mornings when sending out emails, there are certain times marketers should avoid sending messages. For example, consider this email I received from Nordstrom. Nordstrom sent me this email at 6:30 Friday afternoon. This is one of the worst times to send me a marketing email, as I have likely finished work for the weekend and am probably enjoying a happy hour or dinner with friends. The only reason I opened this email was because I was looking at messages sent during poor times  for this blog post.

Friday evening is not the only bad time to send emails. Weeknights during “dinner time” will likely hold a low open rate. However, emails sent between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays will yield higher open rates, according to experts.


Incorrect personalization

Nothing aggravates me more than wasting my time opening an email with irrelevant offers. This holds true in the past couple months I’ve been a member of Banana Republic’s reward program.

Banana Republic's Men's Email
One of Banana’s many “male-centered” emails I always receive.

Every time I receive an email from Banana Republic, I receive emails about men’s clothing. I find this strange because every time I have shopped at Banana I have only ever bought clothes from the women’s section. However, every email I receive always includes information about their latest additions in their men’s line with little or no regard to women’s clothing. For some unknown reason, I think Banana Republic assumes I am a male.

Banana’s automation tendencies were amusing at first, but now I get annoyed whenever I see their irrelevant emails. Now, I rarely open any of their messages unless the subject line references some special discount.

While personalization can be a huge marketing asset, incorrect personalization can cause major problems. About 75% of consumers get frustrated when receiving irrelevant content. Avoid upsetting your target audience by personalizing with correct data.

Changing personal information is a hassle

While incorrect personalization is dangerous, mistakes can happen. In the case that consumers receive irrelevant content, the process to change personal information should be easy and convenient.

Consumers that must navigate through an entire website just to change a small personal detail (like their gender at Banana Republic), may be turned off at the thought of spending extra time on a website. Updating personal information should be simple. If changing profile details is too difficult, don’t be surprised if your email unsubscribe rate is uncomfortably high.

Wrapping it up…

While automation can be a big time saver, make sure your company is doing it effectively! The above mistakes can be harmful to your company’s growth, but making small fixes to your automation strategy is simple. Learn how to keep your automation easy and effective.

When it comes to marketing across mobile, companies range in success. From poorly optimized web pages on mobile, to sites that take too long to load, some companies undoubtably struggle when shifting from brick-and-mortars or website to mobile devices.

However, some companies are leading the forefront of omnichannel efforts through their Smartphone applications. Through convenient apps that personalize shopping experiences, today’s strongest marketers are providing an enjoyable mobile shopping experience for customers.

We have evaluated today’s best Smartphone apps from some of today’s top marketers. Read on to learn who we’ve deemed Good, Better and Best in omnichannel marketing.

GoodTaco Bell Location Personalization

Taco Bell: the right idea with questionable execution

Taco Bell is legendary – not just because of its cheap tacos, but because of its world renowned marketing, PR, and advertising strategies.

The most recent addition to Taco Bell’s marketing campaign is its highly publicized smartphone app. The app combines personalization and omnichannel marketing to make ordering a breeze for its patrons.

The app lets users find a Taco Bell closest to them with GPS. Users can order through the app – customizing any part of their meal, of course – and pick up their food in the store or drive-thru. Along with each menu item, a photo of the food is displayed. This gives users that added, necessary dimension to preview what they order before they actually receiving the item.Taco Bell Personalize Order

One of the strongest benefits of the app is that users can place and pick up a customized order on their own time at a location of their choosing. This makes the process convenient.

However, Taco Bell struggles with the “seamless” element of a truly omnichannel approach. When I used the app to order from my neighborhood Taco Bell, it took more than 10 minutes to receive the food I had ordered. At this rate, standing in line and placing my order “traditionally” would have been a faster option. An ideal Taco Bell app experience would eliminate unnecessary wait times.; otherwise, the Smartphone app loses its convenience and becomes pointless.


Neiman Marcus: strong convergence of digital platforms

Neiman Marcus is not only a leader in luxury fashion, but in omnichannel marketing as well. Their new app Snap. Find. Shop. helps users find shoes and handbags with digital imagery. Users can take a photo of an item and use the app to find styles that are similar and available at Neiman Marcus. Photos can be taken of printed or “real-life” images. The app has been compared to a personal stylist, and shoppers love its convenience and efficiency.

Neiman Marcus is the first luxury retailer to use visual search technology. This new technology has helped the retailer drive traffic to physical store locations. The app is also particularly useful in ecommerce and mobile app purchases. When a shopper uses Snap. Find. Shop. on their mobile device, he or she can make their purchase in just a few more taps to their phone screen. These steps shave a significant amount of time off of the traditionally long shopping process. The efficiency that comes paired with Snap. Find. Shop. is memorable and groundbreaking.

BestWalgreens Refills Easy

Walgreens: the unexpected winner of Smartphone apps

Walgreens is not the first company that comes to mind when thinking “omnichannel.” However, a look at their Smartphone app shows that Walgreens is a pro at utilizing multiple platforms seamlessly.

Several different functions in their app fuel a seamless mobile to brick-and-mortar experience. The app lets users refill prescriptions through their mobile, which is done by a quick scan of the prescription’s barcode. Shoppers can then run down to their nearest Walgreens to pick up their meds. App users can also set refill alerts to remind them to refill prescriptions if need be.Walgreens Item Locator

The Walgreens app also has a store locator, showing the user where they can find the nearest Walgreens. Once the customer is inside the store, he or she can use an item locator feature to find the exact location of a product. In the case that a customer does not want to walk about the store, he or she can opt for the web pickup or home delivery options.

With its variety of personalization elements and incorporation of multiple channels, Walgreens has one of the best apps for an omnichannel shopping experience. As consumers steadily depend more on mobile for making purchases, Walgreens is setting itself up for success.

Want to learn more?

Inspired by these innovative omnichannel pros? Learn how to go omnichannel over social media for even more great marketing ideas.


Over the past couple years, mobile technology advances have drastically changed the way companies make sales.

With the steady increase of smartphone users in the U.S., retailers have experienced more showrooming from customers. Showrooming occurs when an in-store shopper utilizes his or her mobile device or tablet to enhance their shopping experience. Consumers can check product reviews, compare prices, or find out more about a product through their mobile device. Currently, over 70% of consumers are showroom shoppers.

When showrooming became a hot topic in 2013, brick-and-mortars felt the effects. In-store sales suffered, as consumers preferred to purchase online because of lower overhead costs. New mobile technology truly hurt some businesses that were not familiar with the digital world.

However, some companies found ways to utilize digital technology in their marketing efforts. These companies are now leaders and innovators in omnichannel marketing.

This integration of technology in brick-and-mortars adds an extra dimension to a shopping experience. The implementation of a digital element makes a shopping experience easier, more convenient, and rewarding for the shopper. We have determined some entities that are innovators and leaders in today’s omnichannel marketing:


Those who frequent eateries like Chili’s or Red Robin may be familiar with the digital waiter, Ziosk. Ziosk converges customer service and technology via tablet, to create the ultimate dining experience for consumers. Customers can place food orders, request drink refills, play interactive games while waiting, and select a tip amount – all with a quick touch of a tablet on the restaurant’s dining table. Ziosk gives customers a quick, easy dining experience by eliminating unnecessary wait times for waiters and checks.

ziosk digital waiter

Ziosk’s omnichannel practices have led to major success. It serves 25 million guests each month, and has been implemented in eateries across all 50 states. Ziosk eliminates most cases of human error, and gives waiters more opportunities to focus on creating a positive environment for their guests. The innovation also shortens table turnover time, as orders are submitted to kitchens almost instantly through Wi-Fi. Customer satisfaction also increases for Ziosk users. According to Ziosk CEO Austen Mulinder, the average tip amount increases with Ziosk, reflecting a happier customer base.


mobile shopping

With the introduction of showrooming, the smartphone app Shopkick is a brick-and-mortar’s best friend. Shopkick creates an omnichannel experience without the retailer actually having to do much.

The app rewards its shoppers simply for walking in the doors of a participating retailer. Shoppers receive “kicks,” the app’s currency, which can be redeemable for gift cards or donations to charity. If a shopper makes a purchase, he or she receives even more kicks. Shopkick also alerts its users about special in-store promotions.

Shopkick increases store traffic, encourages brick-and-mortar sales, and rewards its users by simply going into retailers. And because in-store purchases account for 90% of the total market, emphasis on entering a brick-and-mortar can majorly improve sales.


beacon tech

McDonald’s is revamping marketing by integrating iBeacon into its dining experiences. This beacon technology comes from the provider Piper. Customers will now receive coupons, timely alerts, information about employment opportunities, and customer surveys when they walk through a franchise’s doors.

Changes to McDonald’s marketing strategy come after noting the growing market of millennials. This omnichannel implementation has been successful thus far, because of the high millennial demographic. Jack Pezold has owned and operated McDonald’s franchises for more than 40 years, and recognizes the importance of adding a digital element to the dining experience.

“Everyone is looking at their phones, millennials especially, and that’s where we’ve decided to engage,” Pezold said. “We know our customers and Piper’s beacon solution allows us to cater to their tastes, preferences and behaviors, making it easy for them to get more value and enjoyment out of their McDonald’s experience.”

The month after McDonald’s integrated new technology into its marketing, the company experienced up to 8% sales increase for some products. Over 18,000 offers have been redeemed through mobile as well.

Whether you’re thinking about implementing a new app, or employing a service like iBeacon, adding a digital element to your marketing strategy can be a huge asset. Become a marketing hero and set your company apart from others, by implementing technology in brick-and-mortars for a digitally enhanced shopping experience.

Randi Summit 1Randi Zuckerberg Emerging Tech Trends Recap


We last left off in the middle of Randi Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Zuckerberg Media, talking about what she believes are the emerging trends of technology.  She spoke mainly of the internet empowering the “everyday man” to pursue their entrepreneurial spirit, she spoke of how tech giants and social media sites are becoming the popular news sources, and she mentioned how teens of this generation are the most influential and well-connected due to their prowess with social media and other similar tools.  In this blog we will conclude with her other 5 trends so without further ado here are Randi Zuckerbergs 5 more trends of technology.

WOMEN IN TECHNOLOGY= Women have been pigeonholed in the technology world as being inferior to women.  To counteract this there have been movements to increase women’s proficiency and activism in the technology world. Websites such as Girls Who Code have been created to promote the spread of knowledge among women and in fact the youngest mobile app developer is actually a 7 year old girl.  Women are most definitely tech savvy and they just have to overcome the stigma against them.

GAMIFICATION FOR MOTIVATION= This refers to turning daily tasks into games in order to motivate ourselves to accomplish more.  One such example is an app that acts as an alarm with access to your credit card information.  Each time you hit the snooze button it automatically donates money to the charity of your choice.  Running, one of the most popular exercise forms has evolved with motivational apps as well such as one that simulates zombie sounds in your headphones to motivate you to run farther and faster.

PASSION PROJECTS AS A SIDEJOB= This trend is the increasing likelihood of people with passions or hobbies to turn those into sidejobs that they can earn extra income and pursue their passions.  Randi spoke highly of this trend as stimulating the entrepreneurial mindset into the “common working man.”

WE ARE ADDICTED TO OUR PHONES= More of a negative trend but a very real one we face.  As we become more connected in the social media world, we tend to miss out and become disconnected from the real world.  We ignore friends in our immediate company to text ones who aren’t there and our FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) has caused us to believe that we lead boring lives compared to the crazy stories we read on the internet.

DISCONNECT AND BE MORE MINDFUL OF TECHNOLOGY= Randi mentioned that it was great to be connected with people far away but in order to not lose sight of those around us we must put down our devices and reconnect with friends, family, and nature.  Technology is evolving to connect the opposite sides of the world even faster but we can never disconnect with what is right in front of us.


Randi touched on some very poignant and deep issues in her talk.  She is encouraging us all to disconnect and reconnect with the world around us and stop and smell the roses sometimes.  I believe that we should embrace the technology around us and integrate it into our lives instead of being consumed by it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

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!

Enhanced by Zemanta


Asking for your vote for SXSW Interactive 2014

SXSW Interactive: It’s huge. It’s music. It’s technology. It’s THE place to be in March of any given year.  And we at Nectar are very excited (and also honored, maybe a bit nervous) to say that we made it through the first gateway to speak at SXSW Interactive in Austin next year.

With this opportunity, we have a chance to share our vision–to bring hyper-personalization to the B2C masses.  We would love your vote to help us accomplish this.  With this in mind, we ask you to please vote for our talk, “Hyper-Personalized Marketing: Easy as 1-2-3”: The steps for voting are:

1) Setup your account:

2) Log in: //

3) Go to this page to vote for our submission: // Click the thumbs up icon so it turns green.

4) And you’re done.  (Feel free to comment of course.)

Thank you!

Patricia Blair, Nectar Online Media