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.

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Sochi Olympics Shows Us the Future of Marketing…and It’s Very Cool

By Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Coverage of the Olympic games in Sochi gives us beautiful insight into the future of marketing. This is the first time we’ve seen wholesale use of drones, sequential photography, and the use of virtual leader lines to show how competitors stack up in every race that has a finish line. We can see winning strategy in full detail and dissect where things went wrong within moments of their occurrence. We’re seeing video Big Data that describes what’s happening in real time that, in effect, segments performances.

Segmentation at an Even Higher Level

Segmentation in the past has been a matter of studying transactional behaviors. More advanced systems today are able to see patterns in non-transactional customer behavior and the most advanced are capturing and using what’s happening right now to create ever more accurate segmentation. Now, before most of the world has caught up with real-time customer context, along comes a new way to understand and interact—video data.

The physical patterns that shoppers create as they move through the buying experience are incredibly valuable. Seeing the Winter Olympics coverage, it is an easy leap to the world of brick-and-mortar retail where knowing who lingers, who moves quickly and purposefully, and who sits down to study products has meaning for the marketer. It tells a story of consumer behavior, how choices are made, and, most importantly, what influences buying decisions.

Making Patterns Personal

For those marketers clever enough to blend loyalty programs with video data, the shopping experience can be captured in a way that maps back to the patterns of their loyal customers. A world of real-time video data can be used to analyze and then influence buying decisions of the most loyal shoppers and greatest brand advocates. Imagine prompting brand advocates to test out a new product likely to fit their lifestyle, shopping profile, and personal preferences, but doing so when the product is within reach. Video data offers a very rich new source of personalization that allows each customer’s “technique” to be understood and seamlessly brought into the marketing equation.

There’s a disclaimer, however, for getting to this level of sophistication. Marketers that struggle to gather the right data to accurately segment today will struggle with this inevitable version of tomorrow. Those who have just plastic and points (read: transactional) loyalty programs will be several steps behind. For those keeping pace with the new technology of marketing, however, this is within reach and a reward for keeping up with change. Where are you on the path to taking advantage of the new wave marketing technology?

To learn more about how to stay current as a marketer, download the whitepaper or watch the webinar, Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

Photo credit: The Guardian

4 Secrets of Killer Loyalty Programs

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Few things hold more promise right now than Big Data, mobility, social platforms, and cloud computing. Their impact on brand loyalty and customer engagement management is enormous.

The reasons aren’t that hard to figure out and look like this:

  • Big Data brings a rich tapestry of information together at the perfect moments for customer engagement. Both brand and consumer are sharing information at a remarkable rate.
  • Mobility finds the customer where they are in a moment, whether they’re in the store or thinking about a purchase somewhere else. Mobility gives a brand a constant presence.
  • Social platforms have become the way we share our thoughts and passions, and a way for brands to define themselves.
  • Cloud has quickly become the model for seeking and capturing data and for providing technology capabilities that can evolve remarkably quickly.

Take any one of these four trends and you have significant marketplace disruption that creates opportunities for some brands and risk for others. When you have all four, you have significantly more serious opportunities and challenges.

The Four Secrets

Bringing together these trends is, as they say, the whole enchilada. Here are the four secrets to making that happen.

  1. Think loyalty platform: Implement customer engagement management through a loyalty platform. Trying to tie together so much information across so many technology elements is far too difficult and slow.
  2. Sign up for SaaS: Forget about monolithic on-premise marketing applications. By the time those behemoths are created and tested, the market has already moved. Software as a Service is the only practical solution for staying in front of so much change.
  3. Connect to everything: Unless your choices allow you to connect to any and all data, you’re limited to what a loyalty application vendor decides is important. Only you know your personal needs and opportunities.
  4. Think real time, respond at the right time: The technology trends above are all about contextual information that offers brands the chance to know in a moment, but respond at the best moment.

You can’t take away any one of these secrets any more than you can take away the four technology trends that define today’s customer engagement management. Are you ready to be on the right side of disruption?

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.


Are You Part of the Real Time Marketing Renaissance?

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

It wasn’t long ago that marketing was all about the art of segmentation, message and ad spend. For some it still is, but for some clever marketers, the dark art days of marketing are over, replaced by customer engagement, real-time marketing insights and right-time marketing. Science, in the form of data, analytics, prediction and action is far more effective at achieving customer loyalty and aligning an organization around its revenue goals.

Real time marketing represented on word press This real time marketing renaissance is a departure from the Dark Ages of spray-and-pray spending, and for customer loyalty it goes well beyond points and plastic cards. Today’s change was probably born of the economic crash of five years ago, when companies slashed budgets almost as quickly as customers stopped spending.

Coming out of that cycle, companies that could do more with less—thanks to automation and better use of data—showing the world that there was a way to increase business without adding more manual labor back into the system. Once those kinds of realizations occur, there’s no turning back.

Today, if you can identify and engage with a customer using a real time marketing technology platform that seamlessly manages the customer’s characteristics and history, the context of the selling moment, and the channels where customers are found—be it social, mobile, website, or in store—why wouldn’t you? Risk? Cost? Organizational alignment? Those are all factors in why people choose not to change, but they’re also the last reasons why anyone should be missing the boat at this crossroads in history.

There’s more risk, cost, and poor alignment in not changing.

Just as the printing press was a driver of the Renaissance in the 15th century, the ability to directly interact on a personal level with customers is the driver of today’s successful brands. Similar to how the printing press put lots of monks out of the text copying business, platform-based customer engagement management will cause smart brands to survive and others to become relics.

If you’re not aware this real time marketing  renaissance is happening, time to learn more… watch this webinar on Right-Time Marketing!


What Have You Done For Me Lately?

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Today, I found out that a major electronics retailer no longer considers me a high-value customer. As I left the register, they reminded me that I had 15 days to return my items, a significantly shorter period than the last time I shopped. Surprised, I asked what had changed, and the clerk said, “Let me see…ah, you’re no longer a high-value customer.”

customer loyalty mass produced boxes

There it was, just like that. My history of customer loyalty dismissed.

Never mind that I have spent thousands of dollars each year with that retailer, both online and in the store. Never mind that my lifetime total is likely significantly higher than the average. Never mind that I go to their site or store as my default. It only mattered what I spent since New Year’s Day.

Their problem, whether they know it or not, is that customer loyalty is a fast-evolving practice. While other brands are coming up with “Lifetime ________” to recognize a customer’s overall value over time, some are keeping it simple in ways that won’t ultimately reward the customer or the ongoing relationship, and thus, the brand.

Dynamic Customer Loyalty Initiatives

I doubt what happened today was due to the retailer’s lack of appreciation for my business. I suspect, instead, that their customer loyalty initiatives are behind the times, and they have lost their competitive edge. I also suspect that what they’ve set up took some time to create, isn’t easy to change, and simply can’t keep up with the dynamic capabilities of modern customer loyalty management..

In short, it isn’t personal.

Making Customer Loyalty Initiatives Personal

The data, channels, and processing available today to the modern retailer makes retail loyalty very personal in several ways. We can absolutely know the lifetime spend of a customer; we can know each and every customer’s preferences; and we can know when they’re likely to respond favorably to a particular interaction. In fact, analytics and right-time, real time marketing make growing customer loyalty pretty easy.

When we know these things, we can decide when and where to engage with the customer in ways that are the most relevant and meaningful. We can make loyalty the common thread of their purchases and other interaction rather than transactions and math.

Like never before, we have the chance to make loyalty a key factor in a customer’s buying decision, rather than a seemingly opportunistic program with a very short memory.

Unwanted Adventures in Poor Customer Loyalty

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Recently, I had a great bad experience in brand social media use. It was great as a timely reminder of the danger of impersonal customer engagement, especially for someone who works in customer loyalty. It was bad because that lesson came at the expense of hours wasted at the airport.

customer loyalty - empty baggage claim carousal

The Impersonal Customer Loyalty Story

My husband and I flew back from overseas and waited with a large crowd for nearly an hour and half for the first pieces of luggage to appear.

While waiting, I tweeted to the airline:

“@XXXXX, passengers have waited over an hour for their bags.”

Within a minute, the airline tweeted back:

“This is not what we like to hear. Thanks for all of your patience.”

We then found ourselves among the unlucky few to be standing at the baggage carousel when the belt stopped moving.  (Anyone who’s been in this situation knows that’s the time to hurry to the airline office to start filling out forms.)

When the bags didn’t show, I tweeted:

“@XXXXX, waited for nearly two hours and bags never arrived.”

Again, within a minute, a reply came:

“We’re sorry that your bags didn’t arrive to you. We hope you’re reunited soon. We’re here if you need us.”

Where Was Customer Loyalty Management in This?

What the airline didn’t know was the most important piece of customer service: They didn’t know my status, my purchasing patterns, and, most telling, they didn’t even ask which flight I was on. That made their responses impersonal and didn’t strengthen our relationship in any way. They missed an excellent opportunity to serve my needs with more than, “We’re here if you need us.” (Hint: I needed you…)

It could be that, like many brands, their social media presence is primarily a defense for negative comments and not a way to engage. They can do so much better than that to create more effective customer loyalty.

Savvy Customers

Having an impersonal experience with a brand can be worse than having no interaction at all, especially when the experience comes across as automated and/or stiff. Customers are savvy when it comes to spotting manipulation and very unforgiving as well.

Making the experience more personal, which would have been as easy as asking a question, determining my customer loyalty status, and offering a call or follow up, would have gone an enormous distance in how I saw the situation. Ultimately, it would save work for the airline in following up to service complaints and increase revenue by earning my trust.

But let’s be fair—I doubt the airline had a customer loyalty system in place that could have made their response any better than it was. Without a way to engage customers across the channels of their choice, including Twitter, companies are blind to the sentiments of their biggest spending customers. They are, at best, a simple points-and-card program that serves its customers in transactional ways rather than emotionally.

Customer loyalty management requires a holistic view of the customer characteristics, their preferred channels of communication, and the context of each interaction. Putting this together in pieces is expensive and risky, and unnecessary when you have loyalty platforms that can blend historical interaction with what’s happening in the moment. Learn more in this webinar and whitepaper.

Are you ready to personally serve your customers?

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.

Forrester and the Road Map to Intelligent Loyalty

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Forrester’s Emily Collins recently published Build a Road Map to Intelligent Loyalty – a report that spotlights three maturity stages which clearly define the challenges of today’s customer loyalty programs. For those in the right-time marketing business, intelligent customer loyalty is the secret to significantly better customer engagement.

Customer loyalty road map

Foundational Planning – Setting in place the building blocks of customer loyalty that involve identifying objectives, getting organizational alignment, and establishing what the organization will do for people, process, and technology.

Programmatic Alignment – Executing the plan for intelligence-driven customer loyalty including requirements for strategy, data, customer intelligence, offer management, and measurement.

Intelligent Integration and Automation – Leveraging customer intelligence across loyalty program data to both optimize their program and impact the business strategy.

Collins also asserts that organizations need to base their program optimization on customer understanding as a way to deliver differentiated experiences, hone offers, and constantly improve communications. She specifically calls out building real-time loyalty capabilities that include location and social data as a key part of refining offer management, targeting, and relevance.

Growing Up

Collins is absolutely right and getting to the highest maturity stage is all about having a platform approach to accomplish what she is stressing. Without a loyalty platform, each of these maturity steps would mean performing a significant reinvention of the loyalty wheel. Simply put: It would be very wasteful.

A flexible, open platform offers the following at a minimum:

  • Common strategies used across customer loyalty marketing that can be modified, improved, and augmented.
  • Data models that give a big head start on what you’ll need, but don’t lock down the sources or destinations of data.
  • Customer contextual information to look for and incorporate (location, weather, etc.) without limiting the future of undiscovered resources.
  • Typical offers and interaction points, but an ability to expand and get more granular as maturity and market increases.
  • Optimization tools and metrics that constantly improve the system in the moment and allow transparency into what’s working and what’s not.

Not every loyalty platform is ready to offer this kind of head start. Learn more about the kind of capabilities and results that we see from clients taking a loyalty platform approach in this webinar and whitepaper on right-time marketing.

Know It in Real Time, Respond at the Right Time

By Jeanne Roué Taylor

Learn more on right-time vs. real-time marketing in this webinar and whitepaper

The customer loyalty marketing industry is under enormous pressure to react to changing customer preferences and behaviors and the speed at which data about both is accumulating. It’s becoming a customer-driven world, making that data ever more important to follow and understand. Customers shop whenever and wherever using Web, mobile and brick and mortar, and this inevitably leads to a conversation about “real-time” marketing data and response.

real time marketing clocks

It’s hard to talk about real time marketing without getting into a debate about what real time marketing really means. Even more, there’s a strong sentiment among software types and their customers that real time marketing isn’t necessarily the only timing that matters.

A Simple Definition

Let’s make it simple then, and say that real time marketing is about knowing what happens—as it happens—and the most appropriate time to respond to customers is best called “right time.” That’s not to say that right time isn’t sometimes real time. It just isn’t necessarily real time.

So if real time isn’t always right time, what decides what right time should be?

Right Time is About Context

Marketers shouldn’t act on every impulse to communicate with the customer, no matter how much speed might seem to be an advantage. Instead, the time for response needs to be decided by the context of the customer’s interaction with the brand. Responding too quickly can be creepy and feel like stalking, and making offers at times that aren’t convenient for the customer can create frustration. Context decides when the value of the interaction is high and aligned with both the customer and the brand’s goals.

Real Time Marketing Has Its Value

Context can also mean that real time is the best time, like when providing customer service, interacting via social media, engaged in gamification, or when a customer is about to cancel the relationship. These are the moments when having the tools to respond in real time increases relationship and provides revenue lift.

The best marketers have the information they need when they need it, be it real time or otherwise, and are able to determine the context that decides the best time for a response.