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If You Think 2014 Brought Marketing Change…

If you think 2014 brought great change to the world of marketing, just wait for 2015. Whereas this year’s conversations focused on listening to and knowing your customer, 2015 will pressure marketers to undergo the profound shift toward knowing what your customer will do next. It’s a progression driven by the various sources of data that allow fine-grained segmentation and help scored propensity models improve upon that segmentation. For marketers, 2015 is going to be a year of big change—are you ready for it?

2015 Is Around the Corner

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The key to truly surprising and delighting your customers is knowing their next move. And always being ready to respond to every potential engagement scenario is very difficult…nearly impossible, in fact. What can be done, however, is anticipating what behaviors your customers will exhibit next and be ready to respond when and where it makes the most sense. These behavior-based scenarios are your best engagement opportunities. They’re also the moments that your customer is “in market” and most likely to respond favorably to engagement. They’re the moments you need to be more relevant than ever before. Every time you succeed, you’ll know your customer and your up-sell opportunities a bit more.

Making Your Channels Hum

Next year will also be the time when many marketers move beyond omni-channel challenges to channel optimization. As customers connect in more ways, the opportunities for brands to find the best channel to serve their needs, or combination of channels, become even more important. So don’t force your customer down the paths you want them to go down and start giving them the power to decide for themselves—they’ll love you for it.

Big Data Needs to Be Fast Data

Beyond optimizing your channels, you’ll need to work with large data sets that fight your every attempt to tame them into neat columns and rows.

Unfortunately, 2015 won’t make this task any easier, so it’s time to invest in the tools to work with any and all your data, and to do it at the speed of the marketplace (that’s very fast). You may have the resources to do it in-house, or you may need to go outside to find the right skills, but one thing’s for sure: It’s no longer acceptable to work only with the data that makes life easy for the marketing analyst.

Data is a tricky thing: Waiting for too much of it often delays decisions, while not waiting long enough leads to poor choices. In 2014, simply having data was good enough, but in 2015 there will be an expectation of having the right data. That is, the right data to make the right decision with the right amount of risk. And knowing what’s enough data requires the experience you can only get by testing and learning.

If it seems early to talk about 2015, it isn’t. What’s left of 2014 will play out with the investments you’ve already made. With Black Friday and the holiday shopping season coming up quickly, there’s very little time to plan ahead for how your strategy needs to change in the coming year.

If you’re struggling to play catch-up, we invite you to check out TIBCO Engage and begin closing the gap between where you are and where you already should be. We hope to hear from you soon!

The Cost of Doing Nothing With Your Marketing

If you’re a retail marketer, you’re constantly being bombarded by messages about how to drive traffic and increase sales. You’re probably being told that each customer contact should be viewed as a marketing opportunity and that you need to see, process, and target customer behaviors with analytics. Or that the future is in mobile and that omni-channel marketing is a basic expectation. Face it, modern marketing is complex and can be confusing.

Yet when you look around, you notice that not everyone is heeding the cry of the vendors and consultants. Maybe you’re tempted to ignore the noise and stay where you are. After all, someone will make it all easier at some point, right? Right?!

The Cost of Doing Nothing

The reality of modern marketing is that it’s more of a challenge than most marketers would like. But without an easy way to understand and interact with customers, there’s a very real chance that you’ll lose customer trust (and eventually market share) to brands that are engaging customers more often and more effectively.

Without the analytics tools to see how well various messages and channels are working, you don’t have good visibility into the near- and long-term effectiveness of their efforts. This lack of insight increases the likelihood of getting lower conversion rates and worse campaign performance than you could be getting, especially when compared to marketers who are investing in omni-channel capabilities; in short, if you’re throwing good money at bad ideas across ineffective channels, you won’t know it.

The “status quo” marketing approach has another downside as well—customer data is probably scattered randomly across your organization, requiring Herculean effort to pull together. And who’s going to do the work? There probably aren’t extra people hanging around to do it so your data will likely arrive too late to be of any use before a customer leaves the store or website. To know your customers so you can anticipate their desires and behaviors, you need all your data at once, in real time. Otherwise, you risk spamming customers with irrelevant messages in the wrong medium that arrive too late to be useful to the customer.

Making the Pain Stop

These problems should be compelling reasons to make the move to integrated data, systems, and channels. For those who take the plunge now, the benefits are clear: increased relevance, market share, revenue, influence, and customer loyalty—even advocacy.

For those who do nothing, the downsides are just the opposite: Decreased relevance, market share, revenue, influence, and customer loyalty—even attrition. The landscape for retail marketing is only going to become more complex in the near future. But with the right modern tools, you can engage your customers better, sooner, and with a higher degree of context.

To know more about how to avoid the cost of doing nothing, check out the TIBCO Engage platform. The move to modern marketing doesn’t have to be hard, but it does need to get started soon.

The End of Zombie Marketing

Zombie marketing is more common that you may think. A zombie marketer is one that thoughtlessly shuffles along with poor visibility into a company’s near- and long-term effectiveness of spend. This “brainless” approach makes them stumble forward aimlessly, not knowing that they have engagement needs but aren’t able to satisfy them for their organizations or customers. These unfortunate marketers are stuck in limbo between customer expectations and their own organization’s inability to satisfy those expectations.

Bringing Your Marketing Back to Life

Zombie Marketing

In today’s world of accelerating technology change and increasingly demanding consumers, staying in that place won’t help anyone. In fact, operating in this type of zombie state has very real consequences:

  • Loss of customer trust, attrition, and market share
  • Lower conversion rates and poor campaign performance (if you can even measure it)
  • Negative customer reviews on social media and poor brand sentiment
  • Spam complaints from inappropriate channels, frequency of contact, and low relevance
  • Loss of marketing headcount and budget

To bring your marketing back to life, you need to be able to integrate all your data, systems, and channels so that you can engage customers with a high degree of context. Context is the key to knowing what’s happening, what’s likely to happen next, and what you can do about it—timely, relevant data gives you a better understanding of the costs involved in doing something versus doing nothing. That way, near-term and long-term spending can be planned with confidence.

Also, returning your marketing to a more vital state means being able to dynamically optimize your inventory, offers, and communications based on performance in the moment. Frankly, you just can’t reliably or effectively plan your spend without knowing what’s working and what’s not.

Luckily, zombie marketing is easily cured. All it takes is a holistic view of trends and patterns in customer data. That view then leads to insight-driven business decisions and the flexibility to change and adapt to an evolving landscape.

Learn more about bringing your marketing back to life—or simply accelerating it—by checking out TIBCO Engage, the most advanced way to optimize consumer engagement in real-time across all of your channels.

Death By Data Silo

Knowing your customer is all about connecting the dots of information that represent your customer’s “footprint” across the digital spectrum. The more dots you have, the clearer the picture of your customer’s historical behavior, current context, and, most likely, next desire.

This predictive power is the exciting truth of our times and represents why marketing is so rapidly expanding in effect and importance.

Sounds good, right? If that was the end of the story, a marketer’s life would be all rainbows and unicorns. Instead, there are real challenges keeping you from being successful.

What’s Holding Marketers Back

Connecting the Marketing DotsDespite how far technology has come in its ability to analyze and act on data, the single biggest challenge for marketers is the proliferation of data silos, even as we roll out new systems. No, wait—especially as we roll out new systems.

In the rush to bring new data into the game, CMOs will sometimes bypass IT in the name of expedience to get new capabilities that then introduce integration problems. Each effort to better target engagement can create an increasingly complex system that has to be maintained, sucking in more and more resources over time.

Even worse, it becomes very difficult to trust the system’s output when both marketing- and tech-savvy people are needed just to keep the system limping along—it gets continually harder and harder to effectively bring together data from email, social, mobile, analytics, CRM, and—the most recent—most promising technologies.

As marketers struggle to manage data, they tend to ignore the hard-to-get data in favor of trusting easier sources of information. When expediency causes us to start picking and choosing what’s most valuable and leave behind the rest, we work against our own success. And we end up with fewer dots to connect.

Customer Expectation

Our customers, however, don’t have the same concern. They interact in constantly changing ways, yet still expect a consistent level of experience regardless of their choices and actions. A brand’s reputation is no longer simply its products or services, but also its ability to engage fruitfully with consumers, wherever and whenever. That’s an enormous challenge unless marketing has solved the data silo problem—and few have.

A marketer’s success going forward will be based on the ability to keep data silos from disrupting the customer experience or the organization’s ability to connect the dots. Keep in mind that personalization will only grow more urgent and, at the same time, the number of data sources will increase. Optimizing in that chaotic environment will mean fixing the data silo problem.

To learn more about how to solve the data silo problem, check out TIBCO Engage. We’ve put our focus on helping you connect the dots and engage your customers, wherever and whenever.

Your Marketing Apps Aren’t Flexible and You Know It

It sounded great when the pitch was made a while back: You signed up for marketing software that would solve all the challenges that were known at the time. But now you’re finding that data silos, changing technology, and slow decisions are keeping you from getting a full view of your customers and fully engaging with anyone who interacts with your business. You’ve begun to realize that your current marketing software won’t solve today’s marketing challenges, not to mention tomorrow’s.

Traditional Inflexibility

shutterstock_82736029Traditional marketing applications were built for the needs of traditional marketers. Yet today, so much is changing quickly that there are fewer and fewer needs that could be called “traditional.” For example, when a customer moves between the online and in-store world, traditional marketing would see them as unique shoppers, “owned” by either e-commerce or clienteling rather than a single individual with high expectations for customer service.

Traditional systems, architected around channels, can’t bring this data together fast enough to respond before customers close their browser or leave the store. So a prime moment of potential engagement becomes a huge gap in experience continuity instead.

Planning for Flexibility

Cast in iron only a short time ago, Marketing now needs to be re-architected for flexibility. We can only guess what the channels of tomorrow will be, or how consumer expectations will change, so the ability to adapt is more important than ever. Adapting to new possibilities starts at the back-end of systems and needs to include the capability to integrate data from anywhere. Without the ability to get beyond silos, some of your most important data—whether that’s inventory, offers, or customer information—will be unavailable at critical moments.

Secondly, since customers aren’t ready to provide personal information without being rewarded for it, customer loyalty programs are critical. They’re the best way to stay close to customers, meet or exceed their expectations, and create symbiotic relationships. The flexibility that comes with deeper relationships allows for creative ways to engage customers beyond the transaction, based on more nuanced and subtle segmentation.

Without integrated applications and customers’ personal information, a consistent modern marketing strategy is probably beyond reach. That’s why TIBCO Engage™ was created to address these problems head-on. The Engage platform has a proud pedigree in both systems integration and customer loyalty that it’s now using to tackle the biggest challenges in marketing today.

To learn more, check out our white paper, “Marketing Transformed: Big Data Analytics and the Revolution of Customer Engagement and Experience Management.”

Monetize Your Company’s Social Network

Every single business on the planet is a social network—most companies aren’t organized (yet) in a network like Facebook or Twitter, but are nonetheless a network of people, including employees, suppliers, partners, and customers. Every member of these groups communicates constantly across the network in ways that are increasingly digital, increasingly automated, and increasingly valuable. This highly valuable social network is an incredible opportunity for monetization and it’s time to figure out how to do it.

Monetization Demands Our Immediate Attention 

The concept isn’t a new one—those in Sales are a prime example of how we’ve been monetizing social networks forever. Sales reps have been using their network of customers and work associates to drive their business since the dawn of selling.

What’s different about our advantage in this moment is the depth and scale of the opportunity. Every technological advancement, including ubiquitous connectivity, mobile computing, digitized inventories, supply chains, and actual social networking tools, has brought us to the place where monetization of our social network is possible. In fact, it demands our immediate attention and focused effort. Your competitor has the same opportunity and remaining competitive is very likely tied to how quickly companies can shift to a new social paradigm.

Strong Words?

While “immediate” and “focused” may seem like strong words, monetizing a social network is no longer optional. We’re early enough with many of these new technologies that the playing field is still fairly level, but it won’t stay that way for long. Many companies are beginning to realize the untapped value of their social networks. A few are further along on the path and are already connecting their many networks to something that can be analyzed, understood, and most importantly, monetized. As the pace picks up, the winners and losers of the 21st century will be decided by who best utilizes their social network.

Discover how companies are monetizing their social network in our webinar, Loyalty Grows Up: Evolving Your Customer Engagement, hosted by Forrester analyst Emily Collins.

We Could All Use A Bit Of Marketing Insight – The Marketer’s Pass

What if you could explore your company’s use-cases alongside industry analysts from Gartner and Forrester, gain hands-on experience, network with your peers and, ultimately, complement your current technology? Well, you can do all four when you attend the marketers-only event at the TIBCO NOW conference in San Francisco. The entire event runs from November 3rd-5th, 2014, but this complimentary, one-day pass gets you inside on Tuesday, November 4th.

The Technology of Disruption

TIBCO NOW Marketer's PassFormerly known as TUCON (for TIBCO User Conference), TIBCO NOW is your chance to discover how other companies—just like yours—are riding this new wave of technological disruption to stay ahead of the competition. After all, the world around us is being changed each and every day by massive shifts caused by new technology. Most recently, terms like Big Data, Cloud, Mobile, and Social have each become a significant part of the challenges facing marketers today.

Request Your Complimentary “Marketer’s Pass” Today

The Marketer’s Pass will allow you to spend a full day immersed in technology that impacts retail, customer engagement, and more. Beyond keynote presentations, you’ll be able to get hands-on with the new TIBCO Engage platform as well as hear from Gartner analyst Adam Sarner and Forrester analyst Emily Collins.

Top 4 Reasons to Request a Marketer’s Pass:

  • Hands-on experience. Get up close and personal with our products, from Analytics to Social Collaboration, including our new real-time customer engagement marketing platform, TIBCO Engage™. Ask questions and learn from the pros.
  • Use cases, use cases, use cases! Learn how to solve your company’s problems by getting advice from Gartner and Forrester experts. Also, hear how Orchard Supply Hardware and other clients have partnered with TIBCO to solve their biggest challenges.
  • Networking is a marketer’s best friend! TIBCO NOW attracts leaders, experts, and insiders from industries all over the world. Grow your network of peers and get to know new marketers, data scientists, and business leaders.
  • Complement your current software. Learn how TIBCO Engage can enhance your existing customer engagement programs with advanced analytics, real-time interactions, and social communities—it’s easier than you think!

In a world of hype and outsized promises, the opportunity to hear from real experts and touch actual technology is a significant advantage for today’s marketer. Space is limited, so request your invitation today!

What We Saw and Heard at Shop.org Summit 2014

It was a really interesting week at the Shop.org Summit 2014 in Seattle. With so much change happening rapidly in the marketer’s world, these summits are an important way to gauge the mood and direction of retailers and marketing technology vendors across a wide spectrum. And it did not disappoint.

At the TIBCO Engage Booth

unnamedOur booth was a great place to both ask and observe the summit’s major themes. Here’s my recap of the week’s most important takeaways:

What surprised us the most was the continued focus on e-commerce. By now, I would have expected e-commerce to be table stakes, but it seems there are still plenty of retailers trying to work out how to sell online—many are moving slowly and likely to be left behind.

The technologies to watch involved solutions that let marketers better understand their customers, retaining them through loyalty management and engaging them through social communities.

Changing consumer expectations was a hot topic for attendees and their increased level of interest in frictionless, omni-channel experiences. The conversation went beyond being multi-channel and involved how to align other aspects of engagement like price points, customer service, retention strategies, and return policies.

The common trap that we saw was the willingness of too many marketers to follow the latest trends. There are major initiatives that offer enormous impact to the top and bottom line, but those marketers chasing the trends aren’t necessarily prioritizing correctly. Some of the most pressing needs are increased market share and revenue, decreasing customer attrition, increasing relevance, and getting higher conversion rates. Those are broad needs that require broad thinking.

The most common question was, “TIBCO, I know you folks from way back. Aren’t you the integration company?” The answer is, “Of course.” We explained that TIBCO cut its teeth in the integration software industry, but that we’ve since evolved, adding powerful analytics capabilities, social collaboration and now customer engagement as key pillars of our offering. It gave us a platform to talk about our loyalty programs, customer communities, and how we’re enabling companies to optimize consumer engagement in real time, across any channel.

Our thanks go out to everyone we heard from and met this week at the Shop.org Summit 2014. Now that the conference is over, we’d love to connect with you at engage.TIBCO.com where we can take the engagement conversation forward. There’s certainly plenty more to talk about.

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.