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 for a demo.

Customer Experience Hinges on What You Know and When You Know It

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Today’s marketers needs to be focused intently on all of the data that can be gathered about their customers. This modern reality means that data’s two dimensions—”what we know” and “when we know it”—take on a completely new and higher level of importance. This is exactly why CRM falls short when it comes to capturing interaction with the customer in a way that tracks and improves the relationship.

Marketing Is About the Context

The limited data model of traditional CRM systems lacks the context required to engage customers in the best ways possible. That’s because the data available to marketers today isn’t simply historical interaction like transactions. With the data generated by mobile, Web, social and location technology, we can have the context of the customer’s current moment, where decisions are being made, enriched by the over-the-shoulder information from systems like CRM.

Managing Data’s Two Dimensions

This data coming from all directions presents an enormous opportunity for marketers to know more and to know it much more quickly than ever before. Excellent management of data’s “what” and “when” dimensions makes customer engagement a carefully analyzed, modeled, and orchestrated event, instead of an unwanted intrusion. It has relevance and value rather than being noisy and ignored.

Order In Data Chaos

If you’ve ever been to an air show, you know that the planes involved appear to be on the edge of chaos as they make high-speed passes and other stunts. Marketing data today is the same carefully orchestrated but high-speed exercise that we see in the sky. As marketers expand what they know and shorten the time to know it, the customer feels a seamless and immediate experience with the brand. With the right technology, interacting in the “now” moment, despite the noise, looks elegant and easy. Most importantly, brands know what to expect in real time and what will likely happen next.

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3 Reasons Loyalty Programs Aren’t Optional

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.

Customer Loyalty is a Bird in the Hand

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

We’ve heard the phrase, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” since childhood. We were being told by wiser adults to value what we have over the things we don’t. Customer engagement has the same lesson at its heart: We can more easily achieve our goals by creating better, more loyal relationships with our existing customers than by focusing our energy on acquiring the customers we don’t already have. Figures vary, but there’s a consistent theme in the marketplace that it costs five times as much to gain a new customer than it does to retain the one that’s already with you.

Enter Loyalty

Loyalty programs are the cornerstone of a successful foundation that supports customer retention and makes that ratio so important. Think of the marketing and advertising budget applied to creating new relationships. Is it one-fifth of the spend on loyalty platforms for most companies? Too often, it isn’t. In fact, many companies spend far more on acquiring new customers than they do on loyalty and customer service combined.

Big Data Heavily Favors Loyalty

In our data-driven times, driving your business through loyalty is a powerful approach. Loyalty programs provide the permissioning that allows for greater information collection, analytics, and actions based on data your customer has agreed to provide. The creepy factor is greatly reduced and over time, your ability to collect and use data only increases. Customers willingly give detailed information to a brand that they trust, to provide a mutual benefit in the relationship. Loyalty programs create a virtuous cycle of brand and customer engagement.

When companies use the same data-driven approach to customer acquisition, the odds of crossing the creepy or annoying line are greatly increased. That challenge alone holds brands back from being nearly as effective when it comes to gaining new customers using personal data. Our Big Data world favors customer engagement and loyalty by a wide margin. Are you ready to engage your customers and benefit from the bird in the hand?

Analytics at the Core of Customer Engagement

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:

  • Social media likes, shares, and follows
  • In-store, website, and mobile interactions and their context
  • Customer service history
  • Purchase history
  • Customer preferences

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?

Learn more at and watch the webinar, The Power of Analytics to Drive Loyalty.

Isn’t Big Data Really About All Data?

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Customer engagement involves having access to the information that allows right-time marketing to happen, based on interaction channel, context, and customer’s preferences. For some, this is the definition of Big Data’s role in creating brand loyalty, but what if the Big Data conversation wasn’t enough?

Going Beyond the Data Set

In a recent Venture Beat piece, TIBCO CTO Matt Quinn brought up a flaw in the discussion of Big Data. Quinn says that the way we talk about Big Data is an attempt to put a scope around it, or “compartmentalize it.” We do this because it’s what makes us feel comfortable in a world that has long been transactional. Comfort that doesn’t solve the problem eventually becomes discomfort when it becomes clear that something’s missing:

“That’s the reason we talk about data sets and batch jobs. It fits a paradigm we’re comfortable with, but at the same time, aren’t we missing something? Aren’t we failing to take into account all of the data being created everywhere, every day? The perceived value of different types of data today will grow exponentially in the future. Just because today certain types of data may not appear useful, valuable, or be too difficult to process—I can guarantee that your future self will see things differently.”

Going Beyond the Transaction

Quinn recommends thinking of the bigger picture by linking data together, allowing for broad analysis, and making that information available to anyone in the organization who needs it. In the marketing world, that sounds like the requirements for a loyalty platform that isn’t full of silos, isn’t only aware of transactions, and doesn’t only find answers through batch processing. A great loyalty marketing platform offers a unified way to see all data.


Customer Engagement Surfs Big Data’s Insights

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Beaches, believe it or not, are a fantastic way to analogize customer engagement, Big Data, right-time marketing and real time marketing. Everyone loves the beach and its complex interaction of soil, wind, sea, geography, and physics. It has a course-grained scale like wave breaks and dunes, and is also very discreet at the level of drops of water and grains of sand. It has periodic events like storms and long-term interactions like erosion. Studying a beach thoroughly requires a great deal of knowledge. That’s why a beach is Big Data.

Customer Engagement and Big DataCustomer Insight

Customer engagement’s wave breaks and dunes are the lifetime customer value and brand advocacy that are driven by customer loyalty. Its drops of water and grains of sand are each interaction that a brand has with its customers, not only in the form of transactions and customer service, but in every opportunity to engage across the channel of the customer’s choosing.

Missing out on the complex interaction is seeing a beach as simply water and sand: Customers come and go as waves and tide, during good months and poor. Without a way to gain insight into each customer’s needs and expectations as complex interactions, a brand is missing the nuances that explain how and why customers buy and advocate.

Surfing Customer Engagement

So where do right-time marketing and real time marketing enter this scene? Have you ever sat on the beach or stood on the pier and watched experienced surfers in action? A very good surfer is patient and understands the big picture, like the wave break’s direction and frequency, and the slope of the sea floor. They know the effect of the wind and are willing to pass on a wave because a better one is coming next. They know their beaches and give them their own names and protect them fiercely. A surfer is loyal to a beach as much as a beach delivers value to the surfer.

Companies that understand their customers with a surfer’s insight of a beach are far better at customer engagement and know when and where to interact. The outcome is much higher lifetime customer value and a much more symbiotic relationship that turns customers into lifetime fans.

We have the tools to make this happen, so what are we waiting for? A sunny day?


Real Time Marketing is the Intersection of Big Data and Loyalty

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.

real time marketing street sign

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.


It’s All Relevant in Event-Driven Marketing

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Marketers have a challenge on their hands: the public that they need to reach and convince to buy is increasingly using PCs and laptops, mobile devices, and social platforms to decide when and where to shop. That puts enormous pressure on brands to understand the changing nature of exactly why, where, and how customers make buying decisions.

Event-driven marketing customer segments

And it isn’t just the changing nature of customer loyalty. With the arrival of smartphones and Big Data technologies, the amount of data available is increasing. As the data grows, it is becoming more diverse in source and structure, and accumulating faster than ever before.

Data Carries Events

Smart brands realize data isn’t just discreet bits of information. Data carries a series of occurrences (and non-occurrences) that technologists call “events.” These events are more than transactions and include anything that has meaning to the brand.  Events can be historical or immediate, one-at-a-time, or in correlated occurrences (as this event-driven marketing whitepaper and webinar explain).

Analyzing events in aggregate reveals patterns that are equally meaningful and were previously invisible to the naked eye.

Events are Relevance

It has never been more promising or challenging at the same time to pay attention to events. There is relevance “gold” in events, including the ability to understand very specific factors relating to event-driven marketing:

  • The customer’s immediate context – Is it daytime or nighttime? Where are they? Is there an open retail store nearby? How is the weather?
  • The brand’s immediate context – What inventory do I need to move? Where are my hottest items located? What is my competitor offering?
  • The customer’s historical contextWhat level of fan is the customer? What do they typically buy? When do they buy?
  • The brand’s historical context – What are my sales patterns for this type of customer? What do I normally sell in this weather or time of the year?

Relevance is Everything

Understanding the customer comes down to the ability to follow the precursors to a buying decision and understand the sequence of events as they happen. Event-driven marketing is the ability to know each discreet thing that leads up to a purchase and to be able to anticipate when and how to react as those events play out.  The ability to anticipate and react at just the right time is the true meaning of marketing relevance. (Learn more on right-time marketing in this webinar coming up on 7/18.)

These are exciting times to be a brand in a fast-evolving customer and technology landscape. Are you ready to be relevant?