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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.

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.