Enhance Customer Engagement With Your Own Branded Social Network

If you’re struggling to understand how a social network can enhance customer engagement, you’re not alone. Since the rise of technology-fueled social networks just a few short years ago, marketers have had a struggle finding a model that works but doesn’t leave customer data locked up on someone else’s real estate—like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and the rest. The solution to this dilemma is to create your own social network where you can engage customers and improve marketing results while retaining your customer’s data—and your own—at the same time.

The “Why” and “How” of Creating Your Own Social Network.

Brand Social NetworkIn her recent Quark Big Idea presentation, Constellation Research Vice President and Analyst Natalie Petouhoff spells out why this solution is already proving to be an effective way to enhance customer engagement.

Petouhoff astutely points out that marketers are finding enormous value through collaboration. As marketing has grown in importance, alongside the need for strong customer engagement, marketers are becoming both senior leaders and technology decision-makers. These changes make it critically important that marketers have a way to connect with their own organization, customers, partners, and others so that decisions are well-informed and executed successfully. And social networks are ideal for satisfying this need. Beyond serving the marketer directly, social networks also provide a way for customers to connect with each other to solve problems and increase the sense of brand community.

Setting Up Your Own Social Network

While setting up your own social network may sound hard, it really isn’t. Still, there are some factors to seriously consider:

  • Provide a single, centralized platform – Don’t leave your social network users having to scurry between multiple apps or platforms.
  • Stay flexible in your architecture – New tools and techniques arrive constantly and marketers need a flexible architecture to accommodate them.
  • Think mobile first – Mobile isn’t just trendy—it’s foundational to a modern setup. Mobile is everywhere your customers are, and incorporates key location information.
  • Security is critical – In today’s interconnected world, enterprise and customer data must be kept secure.

Once you set up your own social network, you can expect to have far more data than ever before—information to better cross-sell and up-sell and know what’s working and what’s not. And you’ll be able to share and collaborate on that information with experts across the organization. You’ll know where your customers are pleased and engaged, and where you’re missing the mark. In short, your own social network gives you a way to optimize and enhance customer engagement.

To know more about branded social networks and how they enhance customer engagement, join our webinar with Natalie Petouhoff. Petouhoff will cover the six best practices for empowering marketers to drive enhanced collaboration among customers, fans, employees and partners. We look forward to seeing you there!

Analyst Advice for Driving Customer Loyalty in a Digital World – Part 2

The following is Part 2 of a two-part series on driving customer loyalty in a digital world. 

In Part 1 of this series, we covered the need to deliver personalized, relevant engagement to customers involving large amounts of data, across a diverse and increasing number of media channels. This second part of the series discusses an analyst’s advice on how to achieve that goal.

In Constellation Research’s recent report on loyalty and digital marketing, it recommends that marketers take five specific approaches to managing personalization and relevance.

According to Constellation Research, marketers should:

  • Connect all customer channels and touchpoints
  • Provide social collaboration capabilities
  • Drive right-time interactions and engagement
  • Use behavioral customer data for real-time decisions
  • Advance loyalty management capabilities

These are the five keys to increasing engagement and transforming traditional marketing organizations into modern marketing platforms. But what does it take to execute these approaches?

Retooling for Success

12964769_mFirst and foremost, these new methods have steeper system requirements than traditional marketing. They require a powerful data platform that can span multiple parts of the organization (and beyond marketing). Secondly, there’s a need for right-time behavior management engines that include both analytics and modeling. Lastly, they demand that loyalty management systems be already in place to track and reward customers for their ongoing engagement with the brand.

The combination of a powerful data platform, a right-time behavior management engine, and a loyalty management system underpin Marketing’s ability to drive customer loyalty in the digital age.

Driving Better Business Results

Taking these five approaches one step further, Constellation recommends the following integrated plan:

  • Enable an integrated data source approach — Data exists both inside and outside the organization, but the only way to understand context is by connecting it all seamlessly. Integrating all of that data helps you understand your customers better and gives the customer a more consistent experience in every interaction.
  • Provide ubiquitous channel integration solutions — Customers are communicating on many channels and marketing must be able to have conversations wherever and whenever. And the best way to do that is through system- and platform-agnostic technologies.
  • Encourage behaviors using real-time customer data — “Seeing is affecting” in the marketer’s world. Having real-time data is the backbone of being able to proactively affect the outcome of customer interaction. Responding with relevance isn’t an over-the-shoulder data exercise—it’s the result of data arriving in the moment that interaction takes place.
  • Orchestrate right-time interactions that result in engagement — Being fast isn’t enough if engagement isn’t personalized, no matter how that personalization is achieved. Getting the right interaction in the right moment, based on the appropriate context, creates relevancy and loyalty. This orchestration is the right blend of engaging emotions without creating information overload.
  • Increase loyalty and customer lifetime value — Loyalty ultimately comes down to trust: The traditional marketing techniques and technologies of “batch-and-blast” mass messages does nothing for customer loyalty. Getting the customer experience right is the only path to create both loyalty and brand advocacy.

This coverage of Constellation’s research is just a brief summary of the rich information found in the report. To learn more about how to drive customer loyalty in a digital world, join us for a webinar with Natalie Petouhoff, the report’s author, and see how you, too, can deliver personalized, relevant engagement in a world of abundant data and diverse channels.

How to push relevant, timely, and tailored content using mobile.

There are only so many engagements you can offer customers via the usual marketing channels. And all too often, you’re just taking a random, shotgun approach — hoping to hit someone with an offer they want at the moment they want it. That’s a less than ideal approach, frankly, and one that neither party is all too happy with. Customers hate getting spammed, and marketers hate spamming their valuable customers. The obvious solution, then, is getting more knowledge about your customer.

Know when your customers are most receptive

TIBCOEngage

The more you know about your customer, the more likely you are to offer them something relevant (and the less likely you are to tick them off and lose them as a customer). And that’s especially true when your customer is in shopping-mode  rather than work- or family-mode.

That’s why TIBCO Engage now lets you take advantage of geo-location and beacon technology thanks to our partnership with Gimbal, the leader in location and proximity mobile interaction. What does this mean for you? Lots.

Not only do you get the ability to capture, interpret, and act on customer behavior in real-time, you can also engage with customers in the real-world, based on both digital data and physical triggers.

Engage customers on-the-go with EngagementFlows™

Marketers can use these location and mobile-based triggers within the TIBCO Engage’s user interface to easily create powerful EngagementFlows™ — rule-based offers or promotions that are executed automatically based on your criteria.

This automation is the only way to ensure that you’re capturing and acting on all relevant customer activities both online and in the real world. Since there’s no single path for all engagement, EngagementFlows gives marketers endless opportunities to connect, whether based on a variety of qualifying criteria like event-based, geo-fencing, or other triggers. The result is personalized, at-the-moment engagement that builds better customer relationships, stronger brand advocacy, and increased revenue.

For more information about how the TIBCO Engage technology triggers mobile interactions based on a customer’s location, activity, historical behaviors and current status, contact us for a demo or visit engage.tibco.com.

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.