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.

The Strategy for Not Wasting Money on Retail Technology

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Getting the basics right in retail means transparent pricing, understandable offers, and good service and product availability. Most retailers have these down by now and are consistent across the web or the store. But competition never lets us rest on our laurels for very long. In retail, the new battle is over the use of technology to take the game to the next level.

The Path Behind Us

Technology, however, can be a roll of the dice. The path behind us is littered with so-called game changers that never met their promises to revolutionize an industry. Companies have invested significant money in applications that took too long to roll out and recoup their costs.

No one doubts that retail requires significant investment in technology, but how does a brand choose wisely and avoid wasting precious time and money?

Strategy

Brands need a strategy flexible enough to adapt to changing market conditions and changing technologies. The best approach is to run short trials of ideas where an idea is killed quickly if it doesn’t work or is rolled out quickly if it does. Technology needs to support this by being flexible to sources of data and to have baked-in capabilities to analyze data, create a hypothesis, and then run continuous cycles of testing and learning. Technology that falls short of this capability will join history’s trash heap.

Learn how to justify spending on the right kind of retail technology in this webinar and whitepaper. Questions? Tweet @TIBCO with the hashtag #LoyaltyLab.

Why Is Great Customer Experience Management So Elusive?

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Forrester updated its view into Customer Experience Management (CEM) earlier this year, with very interesting survey data. Retail continues to score highest among consumers and airlines stayed near the bottom. That’s why it came as no surprise when airlines moved quickly to be the first to announce that they would allow device use during takeoff and landing, just days after the FAA recently changed the regulations.

Airlines Aren’t Alone in the Struggle

Airlines aren’t the only ones to improve customer experience management. While retailers lead Forrester’s CEM survey, customer experience scores vary greatly between brands. Several of the highest scores were cost-cutting retailers—not surprising during a downturn in the economy.

But not all retailers mentioned were cost-cutters. For brands that want to compete on more than simply price, customer experience takes on a new urgency. At least one retail chain listed in the survey scored higher than cost-cutting brands, even though they don’t compete on price.

Rather than racing to the pricing bottom, brands are increasingly taking advantage of strong loyalty programs, executive through loyalty platforms, to improve the customer experience and retention.

The Danger of Competing on Price Alone

Competing on price alone is a cutthroat business model with a constant threat of disruption. It only takes a lower price to take the customer elsewhere. Competing on great customer experience, on the other hand, is a virtuous model that offers customer advocacy, revenue lift, and forgiveness for the occasional slip up.

Great CEM is elusive for brands that lack a focus on customer service, don’t know their customers well, or have outdated, transaction-focused loyalty programs.

 

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.

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.

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

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?

I Know What You Did in Aisle 5

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Indoor mapping of consumer location is the latest arrow in the quiver of the retail marketer. When marketers know where things are happening, they can develop interesting patterns for where to put resources like people, signage and information technology. Geolocation also provides the remarkable ability to spot the patterns that predict what to expect from consumers, and can be tested and continuously refined based on effectiveness and cost.

Marketers can also send messages directly to the consumer based on where they are in that very moment. They can say, “Hey, you were in Aisle 5 and showed interest in that new phone—here’s an offer for 10% off.”

Service versus stalking

But where does it start to look like stalking and less like helpful service? The difference between creepy and convenience is found in whether consumers are knowingly and willingly sharing details about their path through the store, mall or city, and how long they spend in any one spot. When they’re not agreeing to this level of data collection and use, the outcome looks much more like Big Brother.

Pretty soon, they’re not agreeing to share their location and turning off that app that tracks their location. Who wants that?

Loyalty to the rescue

There is a simple way to make the same information useful both for prediction and messaging. Loyalty programs are the permission that consumers give because they see the benefit of having a closer, more open relationship with the seller. Anyone considering geolocation software as a way to get closer to the shopping cart has to first take into consideration the permission required to stay above the creepy line.

It is that easy. Loyalty programs are the de-creeping of big data and the answer not just to today’s monitoring and analytics tools, like geolocation technology, but also to what’s certainly coming in the not-so-distant future.

Learn more about the tools and technologies that are helping to reimagine loyalty marketing in this webinar.

 

Personal Connection is Coming Full Circle with Customer Relationship Management

By Ted Rubin

Personalization is the new black. The marketing and selling story of today involves knowing and seeing your customer the moment they arrive on your physical or virtual doorstep, and being able to provide differentiated service based on their preferences, history and loyalty. Knowing who they are, listening to what they have to say, and speaking to them via those they trust, not a brand mouthpiece. In other words, customer relationship management is the new norm.

Customer relationship management successful store

The burbs

Customer relationship management isn’t a new idea. Looking back before World War II, most business was done in a personalized way. Stores were small and knew their customers on sight. They knew customers’ preferences and in many cases, could predict exactly what offers and information would entice their customers to buy.  Their business grew via customer satisfaction and word of mouth—relationships.

This customer relationship management pattern changed with the arrival of the mass-market suburb after the war. Communities were no longer necessarily based around a Main Street shopping district and instead, we built shopping centers connected by carefully planned avenues and freeways. Home was no longer known as a particular town or village. Driving further was a way to find discounts and choice, and loyalty to a local retailer or brand was broken. Broken not just because of the availability of discounts, but because smaller local merchants could no longer afford customer relationship management and compete with the discounted race to the bottom.

Media

The same pattern led to the rise of Madison Avenue, featured as the backdrop for the Mad Men television show with its clever tag line, the focus group, and the advertising buy on newsprint, radio and television. The entire industries built around these patterns are today crumbling in the face of changing technology and a changing consumer… and the democratization of content where the Age of Influence had empowered anyone to build an audience and affect change, advocate brands, build relationships and make a difference.

If you believe the past repeats itself, you’re right, as we’re coming full circle in customer relationship management.

Retailers have stark choices to make and those leading the pack are already putting their focus on the technology to follow the new, personalized way of engaging and enlisting the content creation skills of influencers and users to share their stories with those who value what they have to say.

Rediscovering the customer

The new pattern of customer relationship management bears striking resemblance to the grocery of 1900, but in some ways, it is better. The reach of a retailer is global, 24×7, and has a perfect memory for preferences and past transactions, and the ability to create relevant emotionally connected content at scale. The new retailer can manage a virtually unlimited number of conversations in exactly the same moment and offer something completely customized, individualized and relevant, in a voice appreciated and valued by their consumers.

This is the corner grocer’s personal touch with far greater differentiation, choice, flexibility, channels, convenience, content, and ultimately, value. We’ve come full circle in customer relationship management, but to an even better place.

For more from Ted Rubin, visit his blog and follow him on Twitter @tedrubin and @R_onR.

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Loyalty Beyond the Punch Card

By David Rosen

This is the beginning of our blog series on retail loyalty for SMBs. We spend a tremendous amount of time with owners of small to medium sized businesses – restaurants, pharmacies, retailers – discussing how to build customer loyalty. One of their most basic challenges, hard as it may be to believe, is still being able to move beyond the punch card.

Retail loyalty worker

Think about the number of businesses that keep track of customer relationships on a piece paper. If you’re like me, you have 2-4 retail loyalty punch cards in your wallet, but what was their original purpose?  Are SMBs just giving away that 8th cup of coffee, that 12th free frozen yogurt, a discount on their 10th purchased beauty product, or are they actually changing behavior, driving another purchase, and shifting share away from the competition?

Sure, the punch card system of retail loyalty provides a marginal reminder in your customers’ pocket, and is a nice thing to do for them, and may even get the loyal ones to return, and is certainly easy to understand.  But now that SMBs are finally moving beyond these frayed relics, it’s important for us to recognize what they failed to deliver in order to avoid the same mistakes.

Punch cards offer no level of CRM. There is zero ability to dynamically change people’s behavior because they are so static. Further, the whole medium is incredibly stale, and they get lost in the purse or wallet.  And let’s not forget the big customer care issues of combining punches, or heaven forbid, lost cards.

We admit it – we like the ease of retail loyalty punch cards, but these days it’s also easy to go electronic, and vital to move in to the 21st century of retail loyalty. SMBs need to shift the identifier to the card swipe of a registered card, or at a minimum a phone number or email address look up.

Also what’s invaluable are the baseline capabilities of CRM – to identify people who have lapsed, promote products or offers, and target individuals.  SMBs need to ability to accelerate the retail loyalty rewards and use them to change behaviors, e.g. for a mid-week pizza or afternoon coffee purchase.

We are not talking about full CRM of purchase analysis at the product of category level.  SMBs can maintain simplicity in their retail loyalty programs, eliminate the customer services issues and add basic CRM capabilities through a burgeoning number of coalition, location based and mobile marketing solutions.

For many businesses, moving beyond punch cards represents the gateway to a more sophisticated customer loyalty management (CLM) program. The options are affordable, easy to implement, -and with trusted players in the space, don’t have to be daunting.

Stay tuned for:

  • Do coalitions make sense for SMBs?
  • Mobile loyalty’s leap forward and the opportunity for SMBs
  • What role do game mechanics have in SMB loyalty?

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