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Are You Focused on Your Desired Customer Behaviors?

When customer loyalty marketing is firing on all cylinders, the effects are indisputable. It is a given that loyalty programs work well, and they work especially well when there is a strong focus on driving specific customer behaviors. Keeping those behaviors front and center can be a challenge, but is a key factor for success in customer loyalty.

Desired Customer Behaviors

Saying that customer behavior is changing rapidly is an understatement. The forces that drive and shape consumer behavior are evolving as rapidly as the technology that allows consumers to shop, compare, and buy anywhere and everywhere. It could be chaotic (and it is for some); but, in the midst of the storm, customer loyalty marketing offers a uniquely valuable way to determine and map desired customer behaviors, and then develop the incentives and frequencies that reinforce them. With so much at stake and so much change, there’s really no alternative.

Spectrum of Desired Customer Behaviors

While revenue (a purchase) is clearly an important desired customer behavior, there are a host of others that can be important, depending on the circumstances of both the brand and the buyer. Desired behaviors can include downloading the mobile app, opting in to mobile notifications, or opening the mobile app when near a retail location. These are just a few examples that set the stage for driving customer behavior in a direction that benefits the brand. Each marketer needs to have a concise list of what makes a difference for their business, and to make sure this is where time and effort is focused. Only by concentrating on the customer behaviors that matter can a marketer move the needle in ways that drive customer loyalty success. Know your desired customer behaviors and put your energy into making them happen.

Learn more in our webinar series: Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-Know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

You Still Haven’t Defined Customer Loyalty Success?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Defining customer loyalty success is a critical activity that too often gets overlooked. For those who’ve had the chance to read the post, Why Haven’t You Defined Customer Loyalty Success?, you know that loyalty’s dirty little secret is that even sophisticated programs lack a way to look back and say, “We reached our goals.” This leads to an ongoing problem of both spending money where it shouldn’t be spent and underfunding programs that are actually valuable. With organizational creditability on the line, no marketer can afford to ignore this problem.

Defining Customer Loyalty Success

The good news for those who recognize their need to define success is that there are many levers to pull. Customer loyalty success goes beyond simply spend and likes and is boosted by a host of factors that have creativity as a focus as well as math-driven analytics.

On the outcomes side of the equation, the answers can be as diverse as the methods to get there. Prioritizing goals—whether they’re retention, basket size increase, or some other outcome—is a key part of how success is defined. Goals determine success factors and those factors help us know what to do and how many resources to commit.

Join Our Webinar

In our busy world, without a good definition of customer loyalty success, decisions don’t get made, the right answers are elusive, and the business doesn’t move decisively or fast enough. Effective customer loyalty execution relies on tracking progress toward clear strategic objectives. To learn more about best practices on this very topic, don’t miss Part 2 of the webinar Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

You’re Not Helpless to Prevent Churn and Attrition

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Churn is not as inevitable as you might think. In fact, churn and attrition are preventable problems that require great focus and a carefully-thought-out strategy. After all, the cost of acquiring new customers in the digital age remains relatively high while the cost of retaining the ones you have, especially the good ones, has become cheaper; it’s a far easier process as well. It’s all about where you put your resources.

Know Your Customer

Preventing churn and attrition starts with knowing which customers have the highest lifetime value. Only when you know where each customer falls can you decide how much retention effort is appropriate. This is where customer loyalty marketing enters the picture as a highly cost-effective, interactive way to decide what resources to commit and where. Customer loyalty marketing takes the guesswork out of who to retain and how to go about it.

And the market matters less than you’d think. Regardless of industry, churn management through customer loyalty marketing is remarkably consistent. It comes down to knowing the risk factors for churn, modeling churn’s dynamics, knowing the cost and benefit, being proactive and timely with intervention, and constantly seeking ways to measure and improve the overall system. If this came down to a series of manual processes, we’d be in trouble. Fortunately, it doesn’t.

Know the Tools and Techniques

Customer loyalty marketing in the digital age is a combination of powerful tools and smart techniques. Analytics is the basis for an attrition propensity index that drives action in the right moments, based on key factors proven to affect churn. That index shifts depending on real-time input from industry-specific factors like time remaining on contract (telecom) to distance from the store (retail). The takeaway is that each factor has a role to play in how an attrition propensity index morphs over time and customer life events.

Lastly, automation of customer loyalty marketing means more than points and plastic cards. Tracking the factors for churn and attrition is the job of a technology platform.

What’s Better Than Loyalty and E-Commerce Seamlessly Integrated?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

The enormous movement to real-time customer engagement is enhancing transactional relationships and increasing the lifetime value of customers. Accomplishing this move requires a fair amount of integration of data and systems. Doing the integration all by yourself is hard and unnecessary—especially now that TIBCO Loyalty Lab and Demandware have teamed up to make life much easier for customers.

The Team

TIBCO Loyalty Lab and Demandware provide an easy way for you to:

  • Deliver personalized offers in real time
  • Enroll new members directly within your storefront
  • Segment and target customers by unique attributes
  • Surface transaction and customer profile data to understand customer purchase behaviors and patterns
  • Enable customers to refer friends, access point balances, view reward activity, and much more

Each one of these capabilities is an essential part of turning your customers into fans. The fact that TIBCO Loyalty Lab and Demandware make it seamless and cost-effective is great news.

In this on-demand webinar, TIBCO’s Brooke Pedersen presents the TIBCO Loyalty Lab Link Cartridge for Demandware Commerce. Brooke walks us through how easy it is to launch an omni-channel engagement program directly from within the Demandware e-commerce platform, while saving effort and cost in the process. Watch it and learn how to turn your purely transactional customers into fans of your brand.

INFOGRAPHIC: Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014

 

 

To learn more about TIBCO’s Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014, download the whitepaper and watch the webinar.

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Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014

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Pursue Omni-Channel, But Think Mobile First

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.

Good Enough Marketing Isn’t Good Enough Anymore

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Marketing in the modern digital age has done great damage to the term “good enough.” It wasn’t that long ago when good enough was a quality standard that meant, “This will work well enough and nothing better is needed.” But in times of great change, the term good enough needs to be seriously rethought.

Good Enough Isn’t Good Enough

So what changed? For starters, we’re a decade or so into the challenges of Big Data—also known as the digitization of nearly everything a marketer cares about. Customer information, including their past history, preferences, and even where they are in this moment, are flowing across many different devices and channels. What was good enough to work with the data we used just five years ago is very unlikely to be good enough today.

Secondly, our ability to analyze past behaviors to predict future ones has grown as quickly as the data that feeds those analytics. Once we can know what’s likely, we have a need to do something with that information, meaning we need new ways of interacting, nudging, and influencing our customers digitally, and otherwise. The old execution tools and techniques simply aren’t good enough.

Lastly, the customer has transformed into an always-connected, mobile—and much, much pickier—shopper. The customer has the ability to know and choose like never before. Good enough for the new customer is also a moving target that will certainly be not good enough at a point in the not-too-distant future.

What Can You Do About It?

When good enough is such a moving target, maybe the term itself needs to be tossed out in favor of something that better defines the marketer’s needs. But what, exactly, does the marketer need? Today’s marketer needs to tool up with technology that goes beyond the needs of right now. Choices need to reflect that we don’t know what’s coming, but we can be sure that things will evolve to become more digital, faster, more predictive—and that customers will expect a better experience than we can even imagine right now.

Hear more in the webinar, Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

Why Haven’t You Defined Customer Loyalty Success?

We’re way beyond the point where the world debates whether customer loyalty works.  When we think about customer loyalty’s broad goals, whether the focus is on retention or brand affinity, investments in customer loyalty have shown repeatedly to provide a very strong return. So everyone is measuring that success, right? No.

What Are Your Goals?

The idea that customer loyalty works may seem obvious to some, but many sophisticated programs in place today lack clarity and fail to answer the simple question, “When we look back a year from now, what will have happened to say we achieved success?”

Without a clear definition of customer loyalty success, there is real risk that great, successful programs will be undervalued and underfunded, and—even worse—that programs with poor success rates will continue, wasting valuable and often scarce resources. Success needs to be defined through clear planning and objective measures, meaning the only guarantee of success is through clarity of both purpose and intended outcome.

Have You Defined Success?

Having a good definition of success—whether the goal is retention, shopping frequency, preventing high-value customer erosion, basket size increase, or another target—is foundational to every other factor. Know your problem clearly and choose a definition of success that directly addresses the issues or goals you’ve chosen.

Hear more on defining success for customer loyalty from Michael Greenberg in the webinar, Nudges, Influence and Rewards: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.   

The Bar Is Higher Than Ever for Customer Experience

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Customer experience is going through rapid change. At the Forrester East Coast Customer Experience Forum in New York, the hot topic—and even the title of the conference—was “Why Good Enough Is Not Good Enough.” We’ve entered a new age of competitiveness that raises the bar significantly and forces brands to rethink the ways to know the customer better, and to trigger their passions where possible. Where it was once all about stocking the right products and having well-trained sales and customer service associates, today’s customer experience is defined by, as Forrester puts it, “…your people, processes, and technologies.”

Outperforming the Market

Is it worth the cost of making your customer’s experience that much better than with your competitors? A 2013 study by Forrester showed that customer experience leaders, over a six-year period, outperformed the broader market with returns that were three times higher than the average S&P 500 company. Likewise, customer experience laggards underperformed against the same S&P average with returns of -33.9 percent. Those are compelling numbers and reflect the benefits that great customer experience management confers on the brand: higher retention rates, lower acquisition costs, and greater customer lifetime value. A focus on customer experience is a gift to the customers for sure, but also clearly a gift back to the giver.

What Can I Do About It?

These numbers are great, but what can you as a brand do to improve your customer’s experience? For starters, you can make sure you’re collecting data about your customers that helps connect you not only to their preferences, but to their passions as well. The North Face has done a remarkable job at capturing what its customers care about—not just how they shop. Secondly, you can take steps to make your brand trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential, aligning with Forrester’s Tracy Stokes’ acronym, T.R.U.E. These are the four concepts that create a brand compass for customer experience.

Lastly, you can make sure you’ve created the technology environment to manage the ever-increasing amount of data that great customer experience requires. People can be trained and processes determined, but having the right foundation of technology is a key differentiator. With it, you can discover your customers’ patterns and propensities, “see” them in the moment, and respond in ways most likely to result in a positive outcome for both the customer and the brand.

To learn more about bolstering your customer experience, download our whitepaper, Customer Loyalty Management: Finding the Holy Grail of Marketing.

Mobile Is More Than a Channel—It’s a Lifestyle

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.