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.

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.

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.

Surprise: iOS 7 and the iPhone 5S are a Killer Customer Engagement Platform

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Apple gave customer engagement management a tremendous boost with its release of the iPhone 5S and iOS 7, and most people don’t even realize it. While much of the world is talking about the smartphone’s fingerprint sensor and other obvious features, Apple quietly (very quietly, in fact) introduced much faster, separate processors that make their new smartphone offering extremely location-aware using iBeacons. The potential benefit this brings to right-time marketing is enormous.

There will be those focused on the other features of Apple’s latest releases, like the snazzy new interface, fingerprint sensor, or maybe even the new gold color choice (really, Apple?). But anyone who watches the company’s technology moves closely knows better. The iBeacons feature, combined with the new platform, is a game-changer for brand loyalty.

Location, Location, Very Specific Location

Rather than try to detect location through a device’s GPS—which can be inaccurate, especially indoors—iOS 7’s iBeacons uses a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) profile that provides micro-location, opening the door to an unlimited number of geofencing ideas.

Brands and customers can carry on a conversation based on information about the customer’s environment, with a very high degree of accuracy.

Any brand that combines this capability with the power of a customer loyalty platform stands to capitalize on the blending of a customer’s history and preferences with a constant stream of the most contextual, real-time information available. When those three components come together, you have the perfect formula for right-time marketing, square at the intersection of Big Data and loyalty.

This is so much bigger than anything brands have been able to do in the past, but also far more rewarding. While data grows exponentially, companies like Apple are helping us get far more specific in how we engage with our customers. To learn more, download this whitepaper.

When We Say, “The Customer is in Charge,” What Do We Mean?

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

We hear those words constantly in conversations about customer engagement.  There’s a broad perception that changes in technology, and buying patterns have upset any previous balance in brand loyalty.  Nowhere is this greater than in retail loyalty marketing, where an explosion of mobility and the growth of social media have blown away any short-lived retail loyalty equilibrium that might have formed between online and brick and mortar retail.

retail loyalty strengthening customer

What Makes Mobile Different?

Mobility changes the dynamics of when and where a customer shops, and also how and why a brand would engage in ways that could deepen customer loyalty.  While online retail changed the “where” of buying decisions, mobile devices change the entire engagement model by adding geolocation, events, proximity, accessibility, and a host of subtle changes.

Having more choices for engaging with a brand—including the choice to participate in retail loyalty programs while engaged in the store, on the mountain, or any other circumstance—means the customer chooses the moment. That moment may not coincide with the Weekend Sale, customer service hours, a new campaign, or any other timing the retailer attempts to establish and measure.

Mobile loyalty has become a key component of creating brand loyalty.

How Social Changes Things

Social media also gives customers the benefit of mass communication and wrestles for control of brand image. Social media is now a channel for the customer to be the brands biggest critic or advocate. Brands need to find ways to execute social loyalty programs or face enormous perception risk or loss of customer advocacy.

This is the meaning behind “always-on,” “omni-channel,” “customer first,” and other ways of describing that we’re in a new world.  This new world heavily favors the brands that see retail loyalty programs as a holistic approach to understanding the customer characteristics in all of their environments and contexts, and across any engagement channel (learn more in this whitepaper on Right-Time Marketing).

That’s a very tall order, especially for companies with existing programs that need to be recharged and remodeled. Most are finding that the way to manage characteristics, context, and channel is through a loyalty platform that provides the technical means to put the customer in charge, while also meeting the brand’s goals.

 

Customer Loyalty Becomes More Mobile, Real Time, and Personal

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

The science and art of customer loyalty are changing rapidly, and that’s not much of a surprise to most. As customers, we show our retail loyalty when bookmark our favorite brands and use our favorite retailers’ apps on our smartphones. We create our systems to filter out the noise and include just the valuable conversations.

This is exactly why TIBCO Loyalty Lab is on a non-stop journey to make customer loyalty interactions more flexible, seamless, and intelligent.

Customer Loyalty – Getting Even Stronger

Loyalty Lab Reward release 13.2 further enables real time marketing, sense-and-respond marketing, and adds mobile loyalty channels and clientelling to make it even easier for customers to sign up and have great customer loyalty-based engagement. It has never been more about the customer than it is today, and we can expect that trend to continue as technology puts the buyer in the driver’s seat.

Real-Time Marketing Event Processing

While many talk about real time marketing, there are few in the marketplace that have the ability to manage transactions alongside streaming data in-memory, rather than in databases that can’t scale at the speed of customer change. This speed enables the following to happen at the fastest speeds available:

  • Qualification and awarding of offers
  • Earning and redemption of points
  • Evaluation of customer-targeting profiles

Mobile Loyalty Channels

The addition of the Loyalty Lab Mobile Microsite gives program members access to their information where and when they choose, increasing customer activity, opportunities for engagement, and the perception of your program and brand.

Clientelling Expertise

This browser-based experience allows customer service representatives to add a very personal touch to their in-store interactions with customers. It gives the ability to quickly and easily enroll new members, look up existing ones, check point balances, and update basic account information across an array of devices.

Closing the loop between the in-store experience and customer loyalty initiatives is the difference between good and excellent customer loyalty management. Loyalty Lab Reward 13.2 is designed for a marketplace undergoing significant change and increases capabilities that every brand needs to have.  Learn more about Loyalty Lab Reward and check out the press release.

Real-Time Marketing: 4 Best Practice Examples of Getting It Right at the Right Time

By Ted Rubin

Amazon, Walgreens, eBay, and Netflix—you know these companies. And if you’ve done business with them, or visited their websites, they know you, too. Not everything, of course—that would be creepy.  But they probably know more than you think; they probably placed you in a category or two; and they probably know you watch spy thrillers on the weekends and order four pairs of shoes for your kids to try on, but that you usually keep just one. Even though it seems invasive on the surface, you’re probably just fine with it. Why? Because they take that knowledge and enhance your experience using real-time marketing—at the right time.

The following marketing executives all know how to use real-time data to solve problems, offer support, and make recommendations based on your needs and interests. They have helped their companies establish customer loyalty by engaging in the proper context and allowing customers to feel control over the message, which leads to an emotional attachment with the brand and at the very core—a Return on Relationship.

Example #1 – Neil Lindsay, VP of Marketing at Amazon

If you’ve shopped Amazon, you know how hard it is to purchase just one item. That’s because Amazon is second to none at suggesting other items based on real-time, market-driven, user-specific data.

At the 2012 ad:tech conference, Lindsay explained Amazon’s preference toward investing in product development and the customer experience—leaning heavily on real-time customer data to enhance both—so Amazon can continue to rely on word of mouth instead of more traditional marketing methods.

Example #2 – Graham Atkinson, Chief Marketing Officer at Walgreens

Walgreens may not strike you as a highly innovative company, but a company doesn’t stick around for 112 years without innovation. Walgreens invented the milkshake, pioneered self-service shopping, and established the drive-through pharmacy.

While Walgreens has lagged behind other national retailers on the e-commerce front, it has recently made major inroads. The key is to “keep technology simple,” says Atkinson. And simple is exactly how Walgreens achieved rapid adoption of its mobile app. The app allows customers to reorder prescriptions by simply scanning the bottle, which also eliminates human errors. Refill-by-scan now accounts for more than half of all prescriptions ordered through Walgreens’ mobile app. Customers also use the app to access prescription history, browse, shop, check in-store availability, and order photo prints directly from their phones.

Example #3 – Richelle Parham, Chief Marketing Officer at eBay

The relaunch of eBay’s homepage introduced us to “the Feed,” a data-driven revamp that highlights a few of eBay’s nearly 350 million items based on the user’s browsing and purchasing history. Consumers can also “follow” categories of items based on their interests.

“In designing the Feed, we mapped out the customer’s journey toward a purchase, from the moment he’s aware of a product to how he researches it and then decides to buy it,” said Parham. “We found the number one thing customers care about is curation. We also learned that big, rich photos really matter. That’s why the Feed is all about creating a visual environment of the things you love.”

Example #4 – Kelly Bennett, Chief Marketing Officer at Netflix

Netflix data usage is responsible for a full third of North America’s total data consumption. Maybe if Netflix hadn’t created such an intuitive algorithm, its customers wouldn’t be streaming all day. Netflix takes customer actions and uses them to make recommendations in real time, which provides a tailored user experience.

Knowing what customers want also helps Bennett strategize and promote original content. The overwhelming success of House of Cards and the relaunch of Arrested Development are proof that Netflix knows what its customer base wants.

These executives all know one thing that their customers obviously value: good real-time marketing doesn’t feel like marketing, but feels like a favor enhancing the relationship.

Getting real-time marketing right drives engagement and builds relationships…both of which drive loyalty, and loyalty correlates directly to increased sales. Learn more on the latest in real-time and right-time marketing in this webinar and whitepaper from TIBCO Loyalty Lab.

Ted Rubin is the Chief Social Marketing Officer of Collective Bias, a Social Shopper Media Company that drives retail sales through the coordinated creation of social media stories. He is a leading social marketing strategist and in March 2009 started evangelizing the term ROR, Return on Relationship, #RonR. Ted is the most followed CMO on Twitter according to Social Media Marketing Magazine, one of the most interesting CMOs on Twitter according to Say Media, and one of the Forbes Top 50 Social Media Power Influencers, 2013. His book, Return on Relationship was released in January. Connect with Ted on his blog or @TedRubin.

Customer Loyalty Not Guaranteed

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Marketers talk about their customer loyalty programs as though getting someone to raise their hand and join the loyal crowd is the moment that matters.

Frankly, gaining a customer’s trust through customer loyalty programs is no different than in “real life,” where it only takes a moment or a misstep to turn customer loyalty into disappointment. What’s worse is that an unhappy former customer can be a brand’s worse enemy.

Ongoing Process

Just knowing that no customer loyalty program or employee is perfect leaves the chance for losing a customer’s loyalty too high to ignore. Solving that problem involves taking steps to go above and beyond, often called “surprise and delight,” which help to insulate the brand from the effects of the slip-up. Is that being defensive? You bet. It’s a competitive world and your business adversary would love nothing more than to steal your customer’s loyalty in your moment of weakness.

Everyone Has a Program

Surprise and delight isn’t an ethereal notion…it’s a very real practice that you ignore at your own peril. Customer loyalty programs have become so widespread—almost ubiquitous, that it takes something special to make your program stand out from the crowd. Beyond that, if you’re not considering surprise and delight as a component of customer loyalty management, there’s a good chance a competitor is.

Beyond the competitive nature of loyalty programs, without surprise and delight, yours is likely very transactional in nature. Without cash back, points, or another tangible reward, your customer will just as likely walk away. Customer loyalty, in many cases, is only points deep.

Know Your Customer

The real challenge of surprise and delight is in knowing your customer well enough to do it right.  Without a unified way to “see” the customer — incorporating past patterns and current context — there’s no way to deliver the right surprise in just the right moment that triggers a positive feeling about the brand.

An airline that delivers a nicely embossed leather luggage tag three days before an overseas trip, a children’s clothing retailer offering an unexpected matching bib free of charge at checkout, or a concert promoter throwing in the parking for the nth concert ticket purchased on a mobile device — these are all examples of surprise and delight that only matter when the timing and familiarity are just right.

Are you ready to start surprising and delighting your customers? It takes a loyalty platform approach that blends the right information, historical and current, to make it happen.

Learn more in the whitepaper, The New Event-Driven Marketing, and in our upcoming webinar, Real-Time vs Right-Time Marketing.

 Picture credit: Jeanne Roué Taylor

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?

Mobile Loyalty is the Next Battleground

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Could it be that retailers are finally figuring out how to sell through mobile devices? Since the dawn of the smartphone, the world has predicted that mobile technology would change the retail landscape. Instead, there’s been very slow progress and an unfulfilled prediction regarding mobile loyalty.

Mobile loyalty programs battling

But we’re turning a corner for mobile loyalty, and reports are starting to show that consumers are warming up to mobile commerce. It could be pushed along by the arrival of Google Wallet, Square, or the growing availability of NFC-enabled smartphones. It could also stem from consumers becoming more comfortable with shopping on a device, or an improved mobile shopping experience. Regardless, the opportunity to sell to customers wherever and whenever is arriving. There will be a scramble to attract the mobile customer, but in the end, the battle will be fought to retain them through new kinds of mobile loyalty programs.

But this won’t happen through the loyalty programs that are in place today. The typical plastic card points and rewards program we’re familiar with is undifferentiated and, more importantly, isn’t ready for the complex, real-time world of mobile commerce. Mobile commerce is about context and speed — two critical drivers worth getting into.

Context requires a mobile loyalty platform that tracks a customer’s history with the brand, but also has the ability to understand the customer’s environment where a mobile device is being used. That context can include location, weather, and other factors that provide an indication of what it takes to both get a customer to raise their hand for loyalty and then buy. Add to that the need to know supply chain information, and mobile loyalty becomes an opportunity to match brand supply and strategy to mobile consumer demand in the moments that count.

Speed requires a program to deliver contextual engagement in the heat of the moment, whether that is an offer, information, or anything else the customer expects. Keep in mind that customers using mobile devices aren’t likely to be sitting at a desk, but more likely to be on the go (using their device for short bursts) when a retailer has far less time to influence a potential buyer. Studies show that a mobile decision is made in half the time and mobile loyalty platforms need to match that expectation.

Mobile commerce will explode for a couple simple reasons: It serves consumers and allows brands to influence buying decisions as close to the point of purchase as possible, or whenever they determine it to be the right time. This offers an undeniable advantage to any brand embracing the mobile loyalty commerce opportunity that lies before us. Winning that battle requires more than just mobile commerce technology: There remains an age-old need to acquire customers and keep them regardless of the latest trends…a whole new plan for loyalty. Are you ready?