By Jeanne Roué-Taylor
Omni-channel is a popular term and for good reason. The sources for customer, product, inventory, and many other kinds of data data are exploding, leaving marketers playing catch up with the expectations of their tech-savvy customers. Spreading your efforts and resources across all channels, however, isn’t the wisest approach to the data explosion channel. All channels are not created equal nor will they bring the same value. Mobile is the new king of interaction and the marketer’s best friend.
Think Mobile First
For the first time, smartphones outnumber toothbrushes in the world. That may be funny commentary on personal hygiene, but think about this: Sales of mobile phones also outpace births of children. These numbers provide a wake-up call for where our customers’ priorities really lie. While they may expect a brand to engage wherever and whenever, investing evenly in mobile, customer service tools, points of sale, web, and social media is a mistake. Mobile stands out above all else as the channel to invest in disproportionately, even before all others.
Keep in mind that this explosive growth means the mobile channel for interaction also shows no sign of slowing down. Customers carry, use, and rely upon their smartphones to the extent that any marketer not just connecting, but also engaging, via mobile will be quickly left behind.
No Longer a Convenience
It wasn’t long ago that mobile was a handy alternative to web, but those days are over. Mobile is now the screen of choice for a fast growing number of adults and certainly the primary source of interaction for anyone under 30. If you’re not taking mobile seriously, you’re not taking the customer’s needs seriously.
How can you put mobile first? Ask yourself these three questions:
“Is my content mobile-friendly?”
“Have I integrated mobile with my other marketing channels and data?”
“Am I using location in all the ways that I could?”
Putting mobile first also means taking a step back to consider the wide variety of circumstances for customer interaction that mobile presents. In 2014, mobile first is synonymous with putting customers first, and that deserves outsized focus and resources.
By Jeanne Roué-Taylor
When it comes to marketing, mobile is too often considered a channel—one of several ways to reach the buying public. In reality, mobile is far more than one of many pathways to and from the consumer. Mobile is, in fact, a world apart from Web, in-store and kiosk. It’s not only a channel for purchase, but also a pathway to a brick-and-mortar store or website, and it’s certainly a channel for engagement. Are you treating mobile as the nuanced channel that it truly is?
Taking Advantage of Mobile’s Differences
The differences matter and here’s a breakout of each:
Mobile for purchases – Purchases on mobile have been the long-sought-after goal of many retailers, but are a challenge in the real world. Small screens and being on the go aren’t the best circumstances for getting consumers to buy. We love rich visuals (bigger screens or being there live) when we make our decisions.
Mobile as a pathway to other channels – Consumers are easily encouraged to head for the website or the store by communication on a mobile device. Quick research and location-based searches are mobile’s stock in trade. Notifications of special deals and location-specific events are also ideally suited for mobile, where the goal is to intercept the consumer and steer them to the best places for purchases to occur.
Mobile as a channel for engagement – Engagement is highly contextual, which makes mobile the ultimate channel—it travels with us, sharing the context of our lives. Consumers who are engaged with a brand through a mobile channel are more likely to share the context that makes engagement more relevant and allows for brand advocacy in the perfect moments, like being with friends and family.
A Bigger Mobile Opportunity
These factors, when used together, make mobile a bigger opportunity for those who recognize its subtleties. Capturing the value of mobile’s differences involves understanding the user’s individual motivations and varieties in paths to purchase. This is a modeling exercise of its own, not unlike the way other propensities are discovered, modeled, and executed in real time. Brand awareness, engagement, loyalty, advocacy, and creating a path to other channels are all valid outcomes of a great mobile strategy.
Learn more in our webinar: Success with Mobile Loyalty.
by Jeanne Roué-Taylor
The Internet of Things is bringing all new possibilities to retail and customer experience management. Sensor installation in stores and on newer smartphones communicates steady streams of rich information from customer to retailer and vice versa. This trend is growing very quickly. As reported in TechCrunch recently: Apple projects 250 million of their iBeacon devices in the world by the end of 2014. Others will certainly get into the game.
Not as New as You’d Think
“…every iOS device since the iPhone 4s and iPad 3rd gen is already capable of being either an iBeacon receiver or transmitter, as long as it’s properly configured.”
This will have enormous implications for the retail marketplace. The amount of data collected up until now has been limited mostly to very rough geolocation technology that doesn’t work well indoors.
Relevance Like Never Before
Suddenly, we have access to far more granular data on where and when customers move, and what catches their attention. We know with high accuracy when to deliver just the right message, having just the right context, and through the ideal channel. This is the marketer’s dream, but only if their tools and techniques can keep up with the opportunity this presents.
A New Way to Look at Loyalty
This also presents a remarkable opportunity for a loyalty platform. The permissioning that loyalty offers means that customer interactions are welcome, and even more relevant based on loyalty tiers and better segmentation data.
This will be a fascinating trend to watch as retailers retool to take full advantage of new levels of customer interaction.
To learn more, catch TIBCO Loyalty Lab’s webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
In a recent post, 3 Reasons Loyalty Programs Aren’t Optional, I pointed out why loyalty programs are a critical part of customer engagement. A sudden surge in tablets and smartphones, the phenomena of Big Data, and the need for customer permission to avoid creepiness were reasons every brand needs to have a loyalty program.
But the reasons go even deeper than technology and privacy. In today’s climate of increasing choice, customer loyalty takes on many of the traditional aspects of customer service. By knowing your customer’s history, preferred channels of communication, current context and—most importantly—your service options, the chance of turning around a bad situation or delighting your customer are significantly improved (learn more in this whitepaper).
Sounds Good, But How?
Understanding your customer’s history, preferences and current context is the job of a loyalty platform for a loyalty program, but taking on the customer service opportunity requires the same knowledge of the customer. By studying customer responses with a test-and-learn approach, customer service based on customer loyalty data allows for segmentation and can be improved upon just like customer loyalty programs. It’s a win-win.
Customer service today is an opportunity to create customer loyalty in new ways and with far better results than in the past. And the best part? It is a by-product of having an excellent customer loyalty platform…and the tools are already available.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
If you happened to be at TUCON 2013, TIBCO’s user conference, you heard about Turning Customers into Fans from Head of Client Technical Services Wen Miao. In Miao’s words, “It is no longer acceptable to have only a transactional relationship with customers.” He’s absolutely correct. We are in an age where we can use our loyalty platform as the way to capture each and every engagement with our customers.
Here are three compelling reasons why loyalty programs are no longer an optional part of marketing:
1. Mobility – Consumers are on the move and accessing information about brands from traditional sources like stores and the Web, but also on laptops and tablets, sometimes from within physical locations. Keeping track of the use of multiple, even simultaneous interactions, are impossible without a platform that listens and knows the customers voice over any channel. The same goes for outbound engagement—brands need to instantly discern a customer’s preferences, the channel for communication, and the context for each moment of engagement.
2. Big Data – The amount, variety, and speed with which data moves in today’s marketplace are growing rapidly; but so have the tools and techniques to keep track of what’s happening. Some of that data is in systems of records as transactions and stock, and some is on the move, like geolocation. Brands require a platform that can keep track of historical information, inventory and sell-through, and what’s happening now in the customer’s ambient environment. This amount of data creates analytical treasure troves that can be used to better position offers, test and learn, and increase revenue and loyalty.
3. Permission – This may be coming last, but the permissioning aspect of a loyalty program is critical to avoid being creepy. Loyalty is more than a reward for spending—it is a customer raising their hand to be part of something more than just a purchase. Loyal customers are advocates as well and spread the good word about a brand. Lastly, loyal customers are forgiving of a brand’s faults and less likely to create “negative press.”
These three reasons for loyalty programs are in themselves enough to compel most brands to start down the path to customer loyalty marketing. This reminds me of the fourth reason for loyalty programs: Your competitor has or is about to launch one.
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
There’s so much customer data around us, and it gets richer and faster each and every day. People are talking non-stop about Big Data and its many uses in various parts of the market. But what’s not really getting as much attention is how analytics are used to make loyalty platforms effective for meaningful customer engagement.
Powerful analytics are on the critical path to understanding customers and when to engage, something we call right-time marketing. Right-time marketing is more nuanced than real-time marketing because it takes into account the data that supports the best time for the right kind of customer interaction. It isn’t a simple action-reaction cycle that turns customers off and can even come across as creepy and opportunistic.
Analytics Done Right
Analytics, used appropriately, allow a brand to understand many aspects of customer engagement, including:
By understanding this kind of data, which is often ignored or unavailable because of silo’d systems, brands understand exactly when, where, and how to interact with their customers. This changes the model for customer engagement, and makes the customer much more than a pitch and transaction.
It Takes a Platform
It takes a loyalty platform to bring together, analyze, and respond appropriately to all of the fast-moving, rich data available today. Are you ready?
By Jeanne Roué Taylor
It would be hard to overstate the level of attention being given to Big Data over the last several years. Is it really what The Economist calls a “data deluge,” and is Popular Science accurate when they say, “Data is Power”? It would be completely understandable to be cynical of the hype driven by analysts, journalists, and a myriad of vendors, large and small.
But behind the hyperbole, there is something very real when it comes to what customers want and brands need to understand about real time marketing: Customer loyalty is driven by context, channel, and characteristics of the consumer.
The Three Cs
At TIBCO Loyalty Lab, we call those concepts the Three Cs. Each is driven by an ability to manage a wide variety of data coming from many different sources, and is used by organizations that need to respond to their loyal customers at just the right time, with just the right real time marketing interaction.
The real time marketing magic starts early, with an ability to manage historical data to better understand what’s likely to happen in the “real world” of fast-moving information. Those analytical results become the touchstone for what to look for and how to respond in the moments that count.
Real time marketing is much bigger than any one piece of data; or having an immediate response ready to go the moment a customer shows up on a website, app, or in the store. Real time marketing is being able to combine the context of the situation, the channel where the interaction is occurring, and the characteristics of each individual customer as they interact. It takes all three to make the best decisions and each represents an ability to manage data, large or small.
Are you ready to interact in real time? To learn more, download this whitepaper.