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.

Now, We Enable You to Interpret and Motivate Customer Behavior in Real Time

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

You’ve heard so many conversations by now about rapidly changing customer expectations, and as a marketer you know that mobile, social, and real-time technology are growing by leaps and bounds. Each can be a major challenge on its own, and the combination of factors is complex and becoming increasingly so each year. It’s exciting and sobering at the same time.

TIBCO Launches Its New Marketing Platform

But there’s relief in sight that responds to both problems at the same time and doesn’t ask marketers to cobble together partial solutions (with the risk and pain that brings). At the intersection of customer expectation and technology challenges, we’ve created TIBCO Engage™ to be the premier Software-as-a-Service marketing platform that enables businesses to interpret and motivate consumer behavior in real time, through personalized experiences and across any channel.

Yes, you can have it all.

TIBCO today launched TIBCO Engage to meet the increasingly complex challenges of understanding, personally interacting with, and retaining customers in today’s world. Those are commonly uttered phrases, but they haven’t been epitomized in one single platform before now. The two tasks of making complexity simple to manage internally and keeping it hidden from the consumer require a great deal of understanding of the consumer, technology, and smart engineering. That’s precisely what went into creating this new platform and we couldn’t be happier about the result.

Our customers are also expressing their thoughts on TIBCO Engage in very positive terms: “We look to actively captivate our best customers with the most relevant content and storytelling. TIBCO helps us to more effectively understand our customers by activity so we can talk about running to runners, skiing to skiers and climbing to climbers,” said Aaron Carpenter, vice president, marketing, The North Face. “Using TIBCO technology has helped us gain significant understanding of our customers to take those relationships to the next level. We are excited to use the advanced analytics options in the new TIBCO Engage platform.”

Savvy marketers know that transactional relationships with customers are no longer enough. Wen Miao, senior vice president at TIBCO, explains the TIBCO Engage value this way: “TIBCO Engage will empower marketers to move away from generic batch-and-blast marketing to personalized brand experiences across any channel. We believe TIBCO Engage will become the essential real-time marketing platform for every company to turn their customers into raving fans.”

We’re excited to launch TIBCO Engage and invite you to take a look at what we’ve built. From connectors, to a behavioral engine, interaction optimizer, loyalty management, social collaboration and communities, we think you’ll see a platform that cuts the risk and timeline of interpreting and motivating customer behavior in real time.

Download our whitepaper on right-time marketing to learn how you can deliver more timely, contextualized customer experiences.

To learn more, visit engage.tibco.com or email engage@tibco.com.

Never Underestimate the Power of Customer Inertia

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

“People maintain habits until they don’t.” This quote from American economist Richard Thaler is the customer loyalty marketer’s credo and underpins one of the core ideas of loyalty marketing resource allocation—to stay on the winning side of customer habits, you need to nudge and encourage constant, incremental growth and relationship development, whenever and wherever possible. On the flip side, you also need to sound the alarm and swarm when it appears customers have changed their habits in ways that aren’t mutually beneficial.

Marketing and Satisficing

Marketers have come up with the term “satisficing,” which isn’t widely used but perfectly explains this idea. Satisficing involves producing decisions that are good enough given the constraints present in a situation.

Studies consistently show that people tend to select the first option that meets a given need versus searching for the optimal answer. For marketers, by ensuring that each and every decision has an option that is good enough, customer relationship inertia is maintained. Inertia is everything.

The Power of Inertia

There are plenty of situations where keeping a customer happy involves satisficing—keeping the inertia going—rather than offering every possible solution, even if that means the perfect answer isn’t available. Never underestimate the power of inertia in customer loyalty success. While inertia and loyalty are different concepts that shouldn’t be confused, the nudges, influences, and rewards of customer loyalty marketing are an excellent way to maintain inertia.

To learn more about the success factors in customer loyalty, check out our webinar on the topic: Nudges, Influences and Rewards Part 2: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

Marketers Need to Choose Their Defaults Wisely

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

There’s a remarkable (and very predictable) fact about the human race that a great marketer accepts as truth: people from all walks of life usually take the default option when offered multiple choices. This fact makes it very important to choose default choices for your customers very intentionally, as it’s essentially one of the best “free” ways to influence customer behavior in your favor.

Consumers Accept Defaults

As an example, retailers have learned over time that the average consumer doesn’t think as much about decisions as you might expect. If you put a decision in front of them, they’ll often simply accept the default option because they are uncertain about their choice.

Applying this idea to something we all know, a common decision offered to a customer is how they prefer to communicate back and forth with a particular brand. Email is typically the default option and also the one chosen, or “accepted,” most often by consumers. This is no accident, and most marketers prefer to communicate by email. While important in retail, this concept is applicable everywhere choices or decisions are offered and responses can be influenced.

Looking Around the Industry

Surprisingly (or not), consumers are even more likely to accept more expensive options when presented as the default. Dell, Apple, and other PC manufacturers know well that customers will upgrade to more expensive options when those options are presented as the default choice on a list of options. Think of the last time you ordered a laptop and how often the larger hard drive was X dollars more and was the default choice. Having a brand-preferred choice already selected is momentum that takes effort by the customer to overcome.

You probably haven’t set up customer choices with this in mind, and should audit the places where choices are offered to see where defaults can be chosen more wisely. The positive results from restructuring default choices can be significant.

To learn more about other factors of success in retail customer loyalty, check out our webinar on the topic: Nudges, Influences and Rewards Part 2: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

Do You, Your Boss, and Your Boss’s Boss Agree on Your Metrics for Success?

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

How you define success determines how you evaluate strategy and ongoing operations. This is such a fundamental point that we make it over and over again. It’s that big. Being crystal clear on what matters ensures everyone is focused on the same objectives. What’s more, the perception of your personal success depends on it.

Aligning Customer Loyalty Marketing Metrics

This comes to life when you consider a basic question: Which is more important, customer visits or customer retention? If you put your faith in visits by defining success through revenue lift over your control group, you’ll work to maximize your campaigns, potentially marketing to the same active customers over and over to keep them active.

On the other hand, if you define success by overall retention, you begin to look at your moderately active customers and ways to reactivate your declining customers. This may have a lower ROI than revenue lift in the near term, but if you’re looking at retention rate and lifetime revenue (and your boss evaluates you on this), you’ll be better off in the long term because you spent money in the right places to achieve the agreed-upon definition of success.

Do you, your boss, and your boss’s boss agree on your metrics for success? You clearly need to.

Getting Customers to Cross the Aisle

As a great example, one of our top retail customers had a well-aligned definition of success that was less about retention or visits, but instead was laser focused on cross-category selling. The company knew from its own experience that its customers had a higher lifetime value if they bought from multiple key categories. The whole approach—from a program structure to the content and engagement points—was designed to drive customers across the aisle to buy from other key categories. Cross-category sales is a tremendously successful success metric for them and has a big impact on the company’s revenue. If the company had agreed, instead, on other ways to measure success, its program would have been perceived as a failure very early on.

Gaining organizational alignment around key metrics isn’t an easy thing, but the benefits can’t be stressed enough. Agreement on what constitutes success will give you the backing to decide where to spend the next dollar of your marketing budget and the means to continue to spend, or shift spending, based on the outcome. An aligned organization is a powerful force.

To know more about factors for success, check out our webinar, Nudges, Influences and Rewards Part 2: Must-know Factors for Success in Retail Customer Loyalty.

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.

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 World Cup Reminds Us That Marketers Are Architects of Passion

Watching the World Cup 2014 in Brazil is an excellent reminder of the power of passion and the role of marketing. World Cup passion is found on the football pitch, in amazing quantity in the stands and streets of Rio, and in pubs and offices around the world. It would be safe to say that the tournament has become synonymous with passion, excitement, and shared experience.

The Roots of Passion

In the World Cup, passion comes from players and fans putting all of their energy into something bigger than themselves. For a short period, footballer players aren’t free agents taking in millions—instead, they are playing for their countries. None of the passion of the World Cup is accidental, and there’s an enormous amount of work that goes into whipping it up and serving it. This is no different than what happens between a strong brand and its most passionate customers. Today’s marketer needs to be an architect of passion.

Passion Defines

For consumers, passion drives nearly everything they do—what to eat, what to wear, and how and where to spend their time. Connecting with that passion involves making the brand a part of how consumers define themselves and live their lives. Tapping into it requires a different flavor for different products and services, but here are common ways to foster and benefit from consumer passion:

  • Create a strong, omni-channel loyalty program that ‘returns the favor’ for your customers’ business.
  • Give your customers an outlet for expressing their passion that includes social media.
  • Capture the context of your customer’s buying moments, and serve the most relevant interaction possible.
  • Find ways to surprise and delight your best customers and draw them even closer to your brand.
Fire up your customers by stoking their passion, and turn them into fans! For more ideas on how, download our whitepaper, Marketing Transformed: Big Data Sciences and the Revolution of Customer Engagement and Loyalty.

Using Nudges, Influence, and Rewards For Marketing Success

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Success in customer loyalty marketing doesn’t arrive from just a single contact with a customer or even from a single approach to interaction. Customers are growing more savvy every day; their expectations are shifting. Marketers need to know and take advantage of the many different factors that will draw in and delight, and—most importantly—the factors that will increase customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Nudges, Influences, and Rewards

Customer loyalty marketing is all about working to make a brand top of mind, the first place customers thinks of for spending their money. Success comes from using a series of well-timed and relevant nudges, finding places and channels of influence and creating rewards that drive customer spending behaviors.

There are key things to know before you can expect to find success,  including:

  • Critical pieces of program setup
  • Investing in the right places
  • Generating customer insights
  • Building your context platform
  • Increasing meaningful frequency
  • Effecting racking and monitoring

Join me for a webinar with TIBCO Loyalty Lab’s Michael Greenberg as he takes us through the critical factors best correlated with success in customer loyalty marketing. Greenberg is an expert at laying out the latest successful approaches to customer loyalty marketing and has extensive experience with top international retail brands. I hope to see you there. Register here.

Get Creative With Customer Engagement and Loyalty!

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Just yesterday I was in one of my favorite stores, a nationally known co-op. The benefits of membership at this retailer are very straightforward—the more I spend, the more I can expect to receive back at the end of the year. I happened to get a manager as a cashier, and she suggested the store credit card and reminded me of the cash-back benefit of being a member. She was enthusiastic, so I thought I would try out a few suggestions on her. It went something like this:

Me: “Thanks, I’m already a member, but I have a couple of questions: Why don’t you have achievement levels and published milestones for members?”

Manager: “We want all of our shoppers to earn benefits on the first day.”

“Can’t they do that and still be rewarded at increasing levels for bringing more of their business to this brand?

“Yes, but wouldn’t that have to be paid for somehow, meaning the lower-status customers would suffer?”

“What if you could change the math? Wouldn’t rewarding higher purchase levels incent customers to bring more of their shopping to you, increase your average basket size, and also repay your cost of customer acquisition sooner with larger average business per customer?”

“I guess that could.”

“So let’s just play that out. What if status levels could give you another layer of segmentation of your market and an ability to test personalized messages? Wouldn’t that allow you to better engage your highest-spending customers, making them feel rewarded for their high level of loyalty?

“Yes. I can see where you’re going. What’s your name?”

This was one of many conversations I have had when I shop in the stores that aren’t getting creative with customer engagement and loyalty. I’m there for convenience and because I like their offerings, but they’re missing the big picture with me (and losing a chunk of business to other retailers). There is a world of opportunity for brands to not only know their loyal shoppers well, but to use creative ways to tease out the many natural segments within their customer base.

Those segments provide a remarkable platform to test and learn the best ways to build a 21st-century business. Besides, chances are your competition is headed that way.

Creative engagement requires advanced analytics. Learn what you need to know in this webinar co-presented by TIBCO Loyalty Lab and TIBCO Spotfire.