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Marketers, What You’ve Been Missing Is Found at Booth 720

Marketers have been the center of an explosion of technology and consumer expectations that is exciting and career-making. Yet there are plenty of missing parts that are keeping us from doing all we’d like and from meeting customer needs. And it isn’t as though each marketer has a different set of challenges—the problems are fairly universal. You’re not alone in your struggle.

Does This Sound Like You?

Let’s start with a few quick questions:

  • Are you suffering from too many marketing point solutions that don’t interact seamlessly internally or with customers?
  • Do you have poor visibility into near- and long-term effectiveness of spend? Lack enough qualified technology and business people in your organization to achieve your goals?
  • Does your organization struggle to tackle the speed, diverse sources, and volumes of information?
  • Lastly, does your information, when it exists, reside in silos that make it difficult to have a good understanding of your customers?

These challenges all lead to an inability to anticipate customer desires and behavior in real time. Like I said, you’re not alone.

This Could Be You Instead

But a growing number of marketers are discovering that it’s possible to have integrated data, systems, and channels engaging customers with a high degree of context. They’re also able to dynamically optimize their inventory, offers, and communications based on performance in the moment—not tomorrow and not after the customer leaves the store. Most importantly, they have the flexibility to continually change in an evolving landscape—and we know the landscape is going to continue to evolve.

Being successful in this time of remarkable change is ultimately about understanding consumers and optimizing interactions across all channels in real time while fostering brand loyalty. (Yes, loyalty is more important than ever.) This requires having a truly holistic view of trends and patterns in customer data that leads to insight-driven business decisions. That may seem out of reach, but today it’s not.

Booth 720 at the Shop.Org Summit 2014

If you’d like to know more about how to become that other marketer, stop by the Shop.org Summit 2014 Booth 720 where you can see the TIBCO Engage platform in action. If you’re not attending the event this week, you can still learn more at engage.TIBCO.com. Either way, we hope to see you.

Why CRM Won’t Lead You To Marketing Nirvana

There’s no doubt that marketing technology is going through a period of rapid growth. But just as in any other period of increased spending, some investments are smarter than others. Think back to the money that was thrown into sock puppets and stadium-naming during the dot-com boom and you’ll know exactly how this can sometimes play out.

“Let’s Call It a Marketing App”

For starters, marketing tech’s fast expansion has vendors working hard to repackage what they have as the latest and greatest marketing tool—it’s simply cheaper to start with what you have than to start over. CRM is an excellent example of this approach. CRM vendors are currently pitching products that were built to track a limited number of customers through a limited number of transactions as “The Future Of Marketing.” Gigaom and other market researchers are starting to call these big vendors’ bluffs in reports showing that CRM isn’t the apex predator, prowling at the top of the disruption food chain.

Put Your Money Where Your Disruption Is

Instead, reports are consistently showing that big data, mobile, omni-channel, and social media are having the biggest impact. As a result, they deserve the greatest focus (which generally shows up as “budget”). Underlying all of these capabilities is the huge challenge of integrating data sources and managing large amounts of information. More and more marketing data is being generated every moment and—in order to be useful—it needs to be processed in real time before the customer leaves the store or website. The systems being repackaged, CRMs included, lack the architecture to meet these needs and will more likely put serious limitations on marketers.

Here, There, Anywhere = No Silos

The trends of big data, mobile, omni-channel, and social media meet at a crossroads where brands desperately require a 360-degree view of the customer and the customer adamantly expects to have a unified engagement experience. The marketer, in particular, is saddled with multiple goals that must all to be met. Bland offers aren’t enough and are, in fact, just one of many pieces of the modern marketing puzzle. Throughout the cycle of commerce, customers need to be identified, acquired, converted, and retained, requiring data to be used simultaneously in many ways. Data silos, created in cobbled-together systems, are a formidable barrier to what needs to be a nimble, fast, integrated approach to marketing—CRMs simply weren’t built for this.

A Platform Built From the Ground-Up

Enormous change requires new ways of solving problems. At TIBCO Engage, our deep roots in customer loyalty marketing provide a very different approach to these marketing challenges. As part of TIBCO, long known for its expertise and experience in integration, analytics, and social collaboration, we have a distinct advantage in addressing big data, mobile, omni-channel, and social media.

We recently launched our new platform that was built from the ground up to address the exact challenges that market research shows are the most important. To know more about TIBCO Engage, go to engage.tibco.com.

Exactly How Actionable Are Your Analytics?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Applying analytics to your marketing is one thing, but utilizing actionable analytics is quite another. Making analytics actionable is a matter of having great segmentation that establishes the playing field for those moments when a marketer needs to act or react to the customer. Without segmentation, real time isn’t a realistic expectation for your customer interaction.

Defining Segmentation the Right Way

Just like analytics, segmentation depends very much on having the right data and using that data correctly. Effective segmentation starts with at least three levels; for example, segments of customers, segments of products, and segments of stores.

As an example, getting customer segmentation right may involve knowing buying frequency and product types as well as demographic data such as age, gender, income, and even proximity to store.

Products can be segmented by category, of course, but also grouped by what’s typically purchased together and by the customer segment known for buying the products. In this way, both customer and product segments are tied together.

Stores are commonly segmented by the composition of products purchased, type of store, and neighborhood demographics (therefore linking back to both the customer and product).

Putting Segmentation Into Practice

The rubber truly meets the road in how segmentation is applied. Just as there are multiple levels to segmentation, there are also multiple uses for the segments teased out of data. Segmentation can be about having better core knowledge and insight, personalization and more targeted marketing, customer cloning, influencing the customer journey, creating a path to profitability, or for top-down marketing.

The Power of Propensity Models

Another way to make sure analytics are actionable is to have great propensity models. These models are a mathematical representation of the likelihood of a segment to exhibit a certain behavior, including abandoning their cart, buying multiple items together, or simply responding to an offer. Propensity models are built to allow scoring and predicting that allows marketers to respond quickly, through the right channel, in a changing environment—a real challenge in our mobile, always-on world.

The Psychological Router

The last piece of making analytics actionable is considering the end-to-end system as a psychological router, constantly measuring and influencing the customer in ways that create a synergistic relationship. Done well, the psychological router is a virtuous cycle that starts with the initial propensity model and takes constant input to continually refine and improve marketing performance (see diagram below).

Only when segmentation, propensity models, and the psychological router are in place can marketing truly make analytics actionable.

To learn more, download the whitepaper, Real-Time vs. Right-Time Marketing, Determining the Best Time to Market, and register for our webinar on Wednesday, September 24, to see the new TIBCO Engage platform for marketers in action.

Marketing’s Big Data Mess

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

If you think that marketing’s big data mess is related to the volume, velocity, and variety of data (the traditional definition of big data), you’re only partially right. The single biggest data problem that marketers face today is pulling together the right information to deliver to the right consumer at the right moment in time where it can make a difference. In a word, relevance.

Untangling the Mess

If marketers want to achieve the most important goal—being relevant to consumers—there are a few things they’ll need to do first. Here are three specific needs that marketers have to resolve:

Need 1: Marketers have to do whatever it takes to assemble the right data to better understand the behavior of consumers. Doing this involves pulling together and evaluating all customer touch points with a brand. This needs calls for an integrated approach to campaign management that allows monitoring and response to customer actions no matter where and when they occur.

Done well, this allows for predicting customer interests and identification of risks. It also allows for delivery of actionable recommendations that influence customer behavior in the moment.

Need 2: Marketers need to engage customers in new ways by designing interactions that are grounded in specific use cases. Those use cases must exceed customer expectations by delivering more personalized, relevant experiences and they have to execute in real time.

Need 3: Marketers need to develop new processes and skills across all functions (not just marketing) to transform the delivery of brand experiences. Only by a collaborative, across-the-business approach can the business impact of marketing be measured and validated.

These needs are a challenge but not impossible to meet with the right approach. TIBCO has taken a long look at these three needs before putting together a marketing platform that untangles the big data mess.

See the TIBCO Engage platform in action in our webinar on September 24th. Sign up today, or email engage@tibco.com for a demo.

Marketers Can’t Treat Customers as Nameless, Faceless

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Today’s fitful starts at marketing personalization are remarkable for how much they take us back to the future. It wasn’t that long ago when many of us could still remember that a shopkeeper knew every single customer—and not just by name, but also about knew their family, shopping history, and preferences. As we moved to cities and shopping shifted from small stores to large ones, and then to the shopping malls, that personalized experience was left behind. Customers became nameless and faceless in the rush to streamline processes and serve ever-larger numbers of people. It would have stayed that way if not for a few changes in technology that forever altered customer expectations.

The Age of the Customer

Expectations have been rapidly changed by social collaboration, mobility, cloud, and the access to larger amounts of data. The more marketers respond to the opportunities technology enables, and with more personalized interaction, the more customer expectations rise. This virtuous cycle is the reason many say we’ve entered a new era best described as The Age of the Customer. It is no longer enough today to have a transactional relationship with those you serve. Customers are demanding to be treated as individuals, expecting to be heard and to interact with you at their convenience. They expect to receive personalized and relevant offers for products and services. As a result, marketers who are still using batch-and-blast methods are increasingly recognized as dinosaurs. The problem isn’t just the use of old methods—customers are evolving rapidly, and even well-intentioned marketers are slow to respond.

What Isn’t Working for Marketers

Marketers are struggling with separate systems for every aspect of their customer interaction. Data is coming from everywhere, but too often ends up in storage silos that prevent a 360-degree view of the customer. Without a way to pull data together and too few data scientists to manage complexity, marketers can’t find deep, actionable insights that would allow easy interaction with customers. Beyond the lack of a single view, those data silos are a marketer’s ongoing nightmare of conflicting data sets, inefficient use of resources, and, worst of all, inconsistent customer experiences. These challenges are part of the vicious cycle facing those who are trying to keep up with their customers.

Creating Successful Marketing and Satisfying Expectations

Becoming competitive isn’t a matter of simply spending more. To compete, marketers need to take a new approach that includes new requirements around integration and elimination of information silos. Better technology helps enormously to address the needs at the core of personalization, which include:

  • Strong data discovery capabilities
  • An ability to quickly develop hypotheses
  • Efficient test and learn approaches

These needs require CMOs to actively recruit strong analytics talent, but to also look for marketing platforms with built-in analytics. Only a well-conceived platform can allow marketers to take full advantage of big data, the DNA at the core of understanding customers’ emotionally based, deeply-rooted buying decisions. These are the decisions that are below the surface, less rational, and price-based than those brought on by the consumer’s access to mobile computing. TIBCO Engage is a platform built specifically for these problems and opportunities.

See the TIBCO Engage platform in action in our webinar on September 24th. Sign up today, or email engage@tibco.com for a demo.

If You Struggle to Be Relevant Today, What About Tomorrow?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

There’s an ongoing, symbiotic evolution of both consumer technology and consumer expectations that leaves marketers struggling to keep up. Adding to the challenge, the ways marketers have responded—by accumulating marketing point solutions—creates silos of customer data that solve portions of the problem while decreasing flexibility, greatly increasing the cost of doing business and, ultimately, making relevance an increasing challenge. What’s worse, many brands have a poor prognosis for keeping up with accelerating change. If this sounds familiar, don’t feel too lonely—you’re in great company.

So ask yourself, if you struggle to be relevant today, what will you do to be relevant to your customers tomorrow?

Digital Marketing Enters More Challenging Territory

Tomorrow will certainly be more challenging than today. Driven by consumers who are beginning to realize their own power, there are four specific trends that will stress marketing and even behind-the-scenes systems in new ways:

  1. Now. Consumers will want to interact anywhere and at any time. This has been said in the past but has been outlier behavior for the most part. The mainstream consumer is about to become the now consumer on mobile devices and also everywhere else they interact.
  2. Can I? Consumers will want truly new and valuable capabilities across a wide spectrum of information, to include diverse things like their financial services accounts and data being generated by physical activities. They’ll want to link information in ways that may be common to a group or unique to an individual. The more times the questions can be answered with “Yes, you can,” the better.
  3. For me. Consumers will expect the data that they’ve given up or created to be put to use wisely and in highly targeted ways. Giving up personal data will need to be a means to greater personalization, or it will be seen as increasingly invasive and unwanted.
  4. Simply. Interaction will be expected to be dead easy. As the mainstream takes the handoff from the early adopters, the number of consumers expecting simple, easy ways to interact will skyrocket.
There are signs of each of these in the market, but the combination of all four will push current systems and architectures to the breaking point.

Breaking the Vicious Cycle

While these challenges are daunting for many based on where they are today, it doesn’t have to be this way for you. There are four key ways to break the potentially vicious cycle of increasing consumer demand and increasing information complexity.

  1. Stop making the problem worse. Adding more point solutions to a silo’d environment is no solution at all. Step back and take stock of where you are and how you can simplify instead of digging the hole even deeper.
  2. Increase collaboration across business functions. Each touchpoint with the consumer offers a chance for increasing or decreasing relevance. By increasing collaboration, customer service, support, and other former silos can become a symbiotic, customer-serving machine.
  3. Start with the end in mind. Design thinking is a popular way to describe the process of taking a designer’s approach to understanding problems rather than tackling the challenge within the traditional engineering fashion. By starting with the end-goal of a simple, integrated, and collaborative platform, early decisions can be more simple than complex and more likely to anticipate and match consumer needs. Think of the end-user’s emotional perspective rather than simply what’s feasible through technology. Empathy, creativity, and rationality are the design thinker’s mantra.
  4. Make it highly personalized for every customer. Marketing is moving quickly toward individual-level personalization with all of the technology baggage that it requires.
  5. Predict what the customer wants. Nothing delights more than interaction that clearly shows that a brand is putting effort into anticipating your needs. More than personalization, this is the part where the consumer’s needs are known even before he expresses them.
  6. Reward loyalty. Once a brand can know its consumers, it can also differentiate those who come back time after time. Rewarding loyalty is table stakes in the struggle to be relevant.
  7. Do everything to create a seamless experience. This is the hardest, but most important, part. Regardless of what happens within the organization, the customer’s view needs to look unified and seamless. This requires a high level of integration and tools that monitor and respond, whenever and wherever needed.
If you’re in the middle of a struggle to be relevant, that means your marketing is facing the right problem. Getting there and staying there is going to require major focus on the factors described here. To learn more about how to be relevant today and into the future, check out the whitepaper, Marketing Transformed: Big Data Analytics and the Revolution of Customer Engagement and Experience Management.

Now, We Enable You to Interpret and Motivate Customer Behavior in Real Time

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

You’ve heard so many conversations by now about rapidly changing customer expectations, and as a marketer you know that mobile, social, and real-time technology are growing by leaps and bounds. Each can be a major challenge on its own, and the combination of factors is complex and becoming increasingly so each year. It’s exciting and sobering at the same time.

TIBCO Launches Its New Marketing Platform

But there’s relief in sight that responds to both problems at the same time and doesn’t ask marketers to cobble together partial solutions (with the risk and pain that brings). At the intersection of customer expectation and technology challenges, we’ve created TIBCO Engage™ to be the premier Software-as-a-Service marketing platform that enables businesses to interpret and motivate consumer behavior in real time, through personalized experiences and across any channel.

Yes, you can have it all.

TIBCO today launched TIBCO Engage to meet the increasingly complex challenges of understanding, personally interacting with, and retaining customers in today’s world. Those are commonly uttered phrases, but they haven’t been epitomized in one single platform before now. The two tasks of making complexity simple to manage internally and keeping it hidden from the consumer require a great deal of understanding of the consumer, technology, and smart engineering. That’s precisely what went into creating this new platform and we couldn’t be happier about the result.

Our customers are also expressing their thoughts on TIBCO Engage in very positive terms: “We look to actively captivate our best customers with the most relevant content and storytelling. TIBCO helps us to more effectively understand our customers by activity so we can talk about running to runners, skiing to skiers and climbing to climbers,” said Aaron Carpenter, vice president, marketing, The North Face. “Using TIBCO technology has helped us gain significant understanding of our customers to take those relationships to the next level. We are excited to use the advanced analytics options in the new TIBCO Engage platform.”

Savvy marketers know that transactional relationships with customers are no longer enough. Wen Miao, senior vice president at TIBCO, explains the TIBCO Engage value this way: “TIBCO Engage will empower marketers to move away from generic batch-and-blast marketing to personalized brand experiences across any channel. We believe TIBCO Engage will become the essential real-time marketing platform for every company to turn their customers into raving fans.”

We’re excited to launch TIBCO Engage and invite you to take a look at what we’ve built. From connectors, to a behavioral engine, interaction optimizer, loyalty management, social collaboration and communities, we think you’ll see a platform that cuts the risk and timeline of interpreting and motivating customer behavior in real time.

Download our whitepaper on right-time marketing to learn how you can deliver more timely, contextualized customer experiences.

To learn more, visit engage.tibco.com or email engage@tibco.com.

Never Underestimate the Power of Customer Inertia

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

“People maintain habits until they don’t.” This quote from American economist Richard Thaler is the customer loyalty marketer’s credo and underpins one of the core ideas of loyalty marketing resource allocation—to stay on the winning side of customer habits, you need to nudge and encourage constant, incremental growth and relationship development, whenever and wherever possible. On the flip side, you also need to sound the alarm and swarm when it appears customers have changed their habits in ways that aren’t mutually beneficial.

Marketing and Satisficing

Marketers have come up with the term “satisficing,” which isn’t widely used but perfectly explains this idea. Satisficing involves producing decisions that are good enough given the constraints present in a situation.

Studies consistently show that people tend to select the first option that meets a given need versus searching for the optimal answer. For marketers, by ensuring that each and every decision has an option that is good enough, customer relationship inertia is maintained. Inertia is everything.

The Power of Inertia

There are plenty of situations where keeping a customer happy involves satisficing—keeping the inertia going—rather than offering every possible solution, even if that means the perfect answer isn’t available. Never underestimate the power of inertia in customer loyalty success. While inertia and loyalty are different concepts that shouldn’t be confused, the nudges, influences, and rewards of customer loyalty marketing are an excellent way to maintain inertia.

To learn more about the success factors in customer loyalty, check out our webinar on the topic: Nudges, Influences and Rewards Part 2: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

Never Spread Your Marketing Spend Evenly

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Marketers shouldn’t spend their customer loyalty budget evenly across all channels or programs. Similar to other aspects of business, there are places where large ROI can be earned by spending disproportionately higher amounts—simply spreading efforts and funds evenly means missing out on those opportunities.

The High-Value Customers

Take as an example the disproportionate way high-value customers are followed and treated. We know that spending more to develop the relationship with a high-value customer not only creates a stronger connection, but also provides marketers with much better knowledge of preferences, propensities, and other insights.

A better relationship with a high-value customer has significant benefits beyond simply higher lifetime customer value. With better information, marketers can far more easily pick up important signals that include life-changing events and an increase or decrease in the frequency of visits. When a high-value customer’s normally stable signals change, there’s an opportunity to solve a problem or find a mutual benefit from the change.

In some cases, a quick response to those signals can save the relationship from moving toward lower levels of loyalty or customer attrition.

Spending disproportionately is the only way to be sensitive to the relative value of different channels and programs. It’s the only way to get the most bang for your marketing buck. To learn more about other factors of success in retail customer loyalty, check out our webinar on the topic: Nudges, Influences and Rewards Part 2: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

Marketers Need to Choose Their Defaults Wisely

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

There’s a remarkable (and very predictable) fact about the human race that a great marketer accepts as truth: people from all walks of life usually take the default option when offered multiple choices. This fact makes it very important to choose default choices for your customers very intentionally, as it’s essentially one of the best “free” ways to influence customer behavior in your favor.

Consumers Accept Defaults

As an example, retailers have learned over time that the average consumer doesn’t think as much about decisions as you might expect. If you put a decision in front of them, they’ll often simply accept the default option because they are uncertain about their choice.

Applying this idea to something we all know, a common decision offered to a customer is how they prefer to communicate back and forth with a particular brand. Email is typically the default option and also the one chosen, or “accepted,” most often by consumers. This is no accident, and most marketers prefer to communicate by email. While important in retail, this concept is applicable everywhere choices or decisions are offered and responses can be influenced.

Looking Around the Industry

Surprisingly (or not), consumers are even more likely to accept more expensive options when presented as the default. Dell, Apple, and other PC manufacturers know well that customers will upgrade to more expensive options when those options are presented as the default choice on a list of options. Think of the last time you ordered a laptop and how often the larger hard drive was X dollars more and was the default choice. Having a brand-preferred choice already selected is momentum that takes effort by the customer to overcome.

You probably haven’t set up customer choices with this in mind, and should audit the places where choices are offered to see where defaults can be chosen more wisely. The positive results from restructuring default choices can be significant.

To learn more about other factors of success in retail customer loyalty, check out our webinar on the topic: Nudges, Influences and Rewards Part 2: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.