relevance

5月 092014
 

Have you ever worked on a jigsaw puzzle? You have hundreds of pieces to painstakingly put together and somehow at the end it all fits to make a beautiful picture. Some people love the challenge and others could think of few things more painful. Either way, a jigsaw puzzle is an apt metaphor for the complexity of marketing to millions of individuals across multiple channels faced by organizations of all sizes.

So imagine putting all the pieces from three jigsaw puzzles together in the same box and then trying to make a beautiful, integrated picture. Sound like a tough challenge? That’s one way to consider what the Dutch media giant Ziggo faced when it was formed as the merger of three leading cable TV, internet and telephony services providers. Faced with several databases, data management systems and data sources, getting a clear view into customer data would require real work.

How have they made it work? At Ziggo, it’s all about getting a complete and integrated customer view. It’s about being relevant by finding the best-fitting inbound enticements with outbound offers. This way the company retains its customers longer and is more effective in its cross-sell and up-sell. Let’s take a closer look at their approach:

Start with the data
Ziggo today is integrating databases from various parts of the company into a single environment. The company is also doing a better job of tying the past and the present together to effect the future. For example, the marketing team can incorporate response data from previous e-mail campaigns to create a more complete customer view. “In the end it comes down to centralizing customer data and making it accessible through the different channels and processes,” says Carola Volman, Ziggo customers need internet, TV and phone services.Director Research & Customer Insights at Ziggo.Ziggo customers need internet, TV and telephony services.

“There is still a lot to gain in the areas of data quality and getting the most out of existing and available data,” she adds. “We’ve taken quite a few steps – one is implementing SAS Data Quality Advanced – but there’s still plenty that can be improved on.”

The right enticements for inbound Ziggo customers need internet, TV and telephony services.
Today, viewers can access the Internet, their social media networks and even YouTube and Skype from their televisions. Those are channels media companies didn’t have to compete with before. To retain customers in such a competitive industry, Ziggo has to make sure that it’s offering its customers the right products and services.

“The contact center is a valuable channel for creating cross-sell and up-sell opportunities,” says Volman. Ziggo customers need internet, TV and telephony services.“In the past, the relevance of the offer depended largely on the agent’s capabilities, knowledge and experience. When we looked at the metrics, it turned out there was a lot we could improve on. For instance, providing the contact center agent with a complete and up-to-date profile of the customer helps him decide which offer to present.”

SAS Marketing Automation and SAS Real-Time Decision Manager analyze information like the reason the customer is calling, his user profile, and spending and family composition and immediately display a personalized offer on the agent’s screen. The software also provides additional information, like specific advantages of the offer. Ziggo has increased conversion of inbound calls to revenue.

“Because of our success with contact center conversions, we’re applying the same approach to customers who contact us online - they also receive personalized offers,” she says.

The right offers for outbound
And why not apply a little software magic with outbound campaigns? That’s what Ziggo did.

“The information we get about our customers is constantly increasing and improving, and a strategy that optimizes that information will help us target our campaigns more accurately in outbound campaigns. We decided to rethink our entire marketing campaign strategy and include SAS Marketing Optimization,” Volman says. “Optimization can help us do a lot of great things. For instance, we can make sure that customers never get duplicate or competing offers. The software also gives our marketers insight into the effectiveness of their campaigns so that they can maximize their actions further.”

And Ziggo marketers can use predictive analytics to analyze past campaigns to determine the optimal number of touch points. “It is all a matter of finding a balance between optimal customer experience and costs and profitability. On the basis of all this, we determine which campaigns can best be deployed and when,” she explains.

Putting the pieces together
A complete and integrated customer view helps Ziggo engage in relevant communication with its customers and provide them with the best-fitting inbound and outbound offers. The company retains its customers longer and is more effective in its cross-sell and up-sell. For more details about this and other similar successful cases, please visit our customer stories page.

I’m confident that SAS Customer Intelligence software can help your company solve its marketing jigsaw puzzle.

Reach out and give us a call or drop us a line. And as always, thank you for following!

tags: marketing automation, marketing optimization, personalization, real-time decisioning, relevance
10月 252013
 
Sir Terry Leahy is former CEO of global retail giant Tesco.

Sir Terry Leahy is former CEO of global retail giant Tesco.

Sir Terry Leahy speaks with the clarity and purpose of someone used to speaking the language of data. When he was CEO of global retail giant Tesco, he presided over an organization that became the UK’s biggest retailer and enjoyed sustained robust growth - more than 10% annually over 20 years. Early in his tenure, he concluded that Tesco should stop following a strategy of catch-up compared to rivals Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury, and instead start leading through market knowledge, which led to his success in devising and implementing the Tesco Clubcard loyalty program and also successfully monitoring the shopping habits of Clubcard holders.

In Leahy’s words, “Clubcard transformed the productivity of marketing by 1000% because then offers could be tailored to what people actually wanted to buy.” And the key to the tailoring, of course is the analytics they used on the customer data they collected. That’s now a best practice among leading organizations whose business is transactional, but what’s noteworthy is that all began at Tesco nearly two decades ago and it coincides with their remarkable trajectory.

Leahy was keynote speaker at the Premier Business Leadership Series and he presented “Leadership, Transparency, Innovation and Growth,” based loosely on his book, Management in 10 Words. What stood out for me from his words crystallized nicely as he took questions from the audience. It was at that point when it all came together that the language of business is data, and in order for marketing to be heard it needs to speak the language of data.

Leahy related that “the voice of the customer is hard to argue with around the Boardroom table.” So for marketing to be effective, you need the combination of hard data with the compelling story from the customer viewpoint in order to drive the internal alignment that drives the business forward.

Even beyond the Boardroom, he emphasized the big correlation between employee values and customer satisfaction. Tesco listened to employees and embraced their view they get of how customers currently see Tesco, as well as how they wanted the customers to see Tesco. Those two statements, respectively, are the two statements of corporate value:

  • No one tries harder for customers.
  • Treat people how we like to be treated.

One point made his background in marketing crystal clear – if you follow the customer, you’ll never have to search for growth. Then he proceeded to provide example after example of how their disciplined use of analytics enabled cross-organizational alignment around customer priorities :

–       Product development for value shoppers and gourmands alike,
–       Knowing how much lettuce is sold in specific stores on a given day, which enables them to drive how much lettuce is picked locally and delivered to those stores by the next day.
–       Providing online shoppers with their subset of 600 or so past purchases and likely purchases versus overwhelming them with all 50,000 possibilities offered by Tesco.

And the central thread to all that innovation, alignment, leadership and growth is the use of data and analytics to learn about the customer and to keep the customer's priorities in mind. For more details about how marketing analytics can help you do that, register to download Leverage Marketing Analytics to Improve the Customer Experience. As always, thank you for following!

tags: best practices, customer experience, internal alignment, marketing analytics, relevance, strategy
8月 292013
 

One of the most often repeated quotes in business is, "If you can't measure it, you can't manage it." It's attributed to the late management consultant Peter Drucker, and it's become so ingrained in business parlance that it's almost cliché.  And people still say it for one simple reason - it's true.

Even in today's complex digital world, measurement to manage still holds true, even if it's considered a very basic concept. And it's precisely the complexity of the world that warrants a closer look at what it means to manage, or more specifically to manage well. Consider some of the biggest issues facing marketers today and how they've challenged paradigms for good marketing:

  1. Consumers are more empowered than ever.
    They expect to engage with the brand through multiple media and channels – anywhere and anytime via mobile devices. They expect their interactions with you to have greater immediacy and personalization than ever. And they expect you to remember them, respect their preferences and be relevant.
  2. Big Data is here to stay.
    Consider that in 1976, about one percent of all stored data was in digital form. By 2000 that figure was up to 94 percent, and it’s climbing to 98 or 99 percent today. Consumer data outstrips business data – seven exabytes to six – which is not surprising when you think of the vast amount of user-generated content on platforms such as Facebook and YouTube. In addition, Marketing systems churn out gigabytes of data about customers, channels and campaigns, but few organizations can assemble it all to make the best decisions across multiple campaigns, organizational units and business objectives.
  3. New contact channels add complexity and dissonance.
    Even small to midsize retailers now reach customers through a dozen or more channels, from traditional call centers, direct mail and email to mobile apps, location-based services and social media, which is only beginning to be understood as a business tool. Brands are struggling to balance all these channels to deliver the best overall results.
  4. You don’t control all the channels.
    The company owns its own media channels, such as its website and outbound direct marketing. It also controls the paid media, such as print advertising, digital banners and search engine listings. But channels outside your span of control, most notably social media, are gaining influence and your brand image on these channels must be earned.
  5. There’s more opportunity for confusion and noise.
    Many companies routinely launch thousands of campaigns to millions of customers through a wide variety of channels. And with the proliferation of devices, any individual you might want to target is veritably bombarded by messages.  No matter how creative or appealing the message, you can’t afford to broadcast it to indifferent or unlikely recipients.

Given that ever-complicated context, it's easy to understand how the key performance indicators you're using may start to fall short. Or maybe they're still valid, but the standards for what it means to manage well may have changed. The beauty of marketing optimization is that it allows you to accurately capture the complexity of your operating environment and confidently answer important questions, such as:

  • Which offers will most likely be accepted by any specific market segment, or across all segments?
  • How can you deliver the best value from every campaign and across your portfolio of campaigns?
  • How do you identify the strategy that will deliver the best returns from your marketing investments?

 With marketing optimization, you can know whether your marketing decisions will produce the best possible outcomes. As a form of applied analytics, it will enable you to get far more accurate results than you would using the more common business rule approaches. You get a thorough sense of how any changes will affect the outcome, instead of just making changes and hoping they produce the results you want.

 For an interesting view of how the outcomes from marketing optimization translate to ROI, register to download Improve ROI with Marketing Optimization. I promise that when you read it, you'll understand what it means to optimize to manage well.

Let me know what you think.

tags: marketing optimization, relevance
7月 132013
 

This blog post focuses on clarifying what's important in integrated marketing managment, as shown in the second of three sections, titled Orchestration and Interaction. Often when I mention this product category – I receive perplexing looks due to the name we have given to this section in the full IMM visual. Previously we covered the full IMM visual and the first of three sections, Strategy and Planning.

Per the definitions of orchestration and interaction from Wikipedia – “Orchestration" deals with the automated arrangement, coordination, and management of complex computer systems, middleware, and services. Basically, it's the outcome of automation, although some ascribe it with inherent intelligence or even implicitly autonomic control. “Interaction" refers to how two or more objects relate to each other and impact one another.

Our visual simplifies the orchestration & interaction concept by showing the many ways businesses interact with customers and the technologies used to orchestrate those interactions. Let’s dive into a bit more detail around each of these areas.

Orchestration and Interaction

 

Web and Call Center – In order to interact with customers via these touch points, an organization must have the capability to react to a request that is initiated by the customer over these channels. For instance, if a customer takes a certain action on your website, such as abandoning a web application form for a product or service, do you have the orchestration capabilities to not only tie that event to past behaviors across marketing channels but the interaction capability to service that action as well? In today’s digital marketplace, this ability is crucial.

Live Event – Live events promoting a product or service are key to showing your customers and prospects that customer engagement matters to your organization. Whether it be a webcast, an industry event, or just an informal networking session - being able to deliver offers and messages via these events is critical to engaging customers when you have their undivided attention.

Mobile, SMS, and EmailDigital marketing, or executing marketing messages over digital channels, is obviously the number one medium for most companies. While SAS supports executing and tracking messages via all of these channels – using these channels in the most effective manner is perhaps what is most important. Using optimization capabilities from SAS combined with the mobile, sms, and email channels – organizations can deliver messages that are anticipated and personalized, and not considered irrelevant spam.

Social – With social now embedded into our social fabric, organizations can expand listening and monitoring social sentiment over time, to reacting and responding over these same social channels. Not only being able to react to a tweet or facebook post with a social service reply – but also sending an unsolicited outbound message over social channels are capabilities that SAS can support.

Broadcast Media – TV advertisements, internet banners, and other broadcast mediums are still effective ways to engage with consumers. Being able to push messages to these channels are supported by the automation capabilities of SAS Customer Intelligence solutions.

Industry Specific Touch Points – Every industry has different touch points that are unique. The self-service ticket kiosk for travel, the ATM for financial services, the point of sale for retail, the slot machine for hospitality and gaming, and so on. To SAS, these present themselves as another opportunity to deliver relevant messaging to drive customer engagement and loyalty. SAS interfaces easily with third party systems – such as point of sale systems – to deliver appropriate messaging.

Direct Mail – We’d be amiss if we didn’t mention perhaps the classic marketing channel - direct mail. Direct mail, if used properly (I’m looking at you credit card companies and retailers) – is an effective medium by which to deliver messaging. Combine marketing automation with optimization when delivering to this channel for the most effective results – avoiding customer saturation and the creation of the dreaded “junk mail”.

Today’s customer interactions must be appropriate, relevant, and personal. This means the right offer, at the right time, via the right channel with the right content. SAS marketing solutions assist organizations in ensuring that customers are contacted in the manner that is best for them – providing valuable – and not annoying – customer engagement over time. Positive customer engagement drives everything that organizations are looking for – retention, loyalty, and growth.

So it should come as no surprise that the products that underpin the orchestration and interaction capabilities discussed above are aptly named SAS Marketing AutomationSAS Real Time Decision ManagerSAS Marketing Optimization, and SAS Digital Marketing. Marketing Automation focuses on outbound campaign management initiatives. Real Time Decision Manager allows organizations to react in real time across inbound customer touch points. Marketing Optimization allows for complex optimization scenarios across campaigns to be carried out. And Digital Marketing is the creation mechanism for the mobile and email digital channels. These products represent the majority of new sales for SAS Customer Intelligence and all four of these products interact with each other to provide the automation that organizations need to execute on marketing initiatives.

SAS’s most recent software release in this area, Customer Intelligence 6, gives marketers a fresh modern new application suite that more tightly integrates the products in this IMM category. This in turn improves the efficiency and effectiveness of all personas inside the marketing organization.

Stay tuned for our next post on managing the customer experience and how SAS can help! As always, thank you for following!

tags: customer intelligence, digital marketing, marketing automation, marketing optimization, real-time decisioning, relevance
1月 192013
 

I have been fortunate enough to work on some of our various marketing analytics’  implementations. One specific solution I have talked about before is Customer Experience Analytics (CXA), a solution that facilitates the integration of online and offline data for better customer insights and segmentation. It is a key part of our overall marketing analytics' capabilities.

Marketing analytics: What is it?

We define it broadly as:

Marketing analytics gathers data from across all marketing channels and consolidates it into a common marketing view. From this common view, you can extract analytical results that can provide invaluable assistance in driving your marketing efforts forward.

OK, so here’s where Google comes in. As we build towards a marketing analytics workbench, our use of CXA has delivered web analytics we can use in our datamart at a contact and company level. Google, which delivers over 50% of all our site traffic, is an extremely valuable partner. They are delivering us a majority of our traffic which we can now analyze with our marketing analytics solution.

We have gathered search data and combined it with our other channels in our datamart. With this, we have an opportunity to apply a number of analytical methodologies that drive our decision making (Matt Fulk writes about how we use marketing optimization ). Our goal is to bring all of this rich search and web data into our  marketing analytics workbench to drive our online demand and lead generation strategies.

Here is where Google fails. I am disappointed that they have restricted search query data (in the name of privacy and security) from those signed into any Google account.  Not coincidentally, we do receive search queries for our growing paid search investment. Search guru Danny Sullivan provides terrific analysis of this in his article: Dark Google: One Year Since Search Terms Went “Not Provided.” This is a real miss for Google and the other search engines. For instance, here is a snapshot of the search queries passed to our datamart for one of our web pages:

Almost seventy five percent of all queries are blocked. This effectively limits the value of search queries (which can help with corporate priorities like personalization, segmentation and customer experience) as part of our overall marketing analytics workbench.

What does this mean for Google and other search engines?

  • With other big data to utilize in our marketing analytics workbench, search data will be limited to points like time on page and click through rate. The most strategic data point, search query, will be underutilized or not used at all.
  • The value of search in a digital marketing organization will not be fully realized. Digital marketers will all soon run off of some form of revenue attribution model  for their digital investment.  By limiting data points that can be attached to revenue generation, the overall spend for search investment may be negatively impacted

I am of the mind, as a person who uses search engines frequently, that my query is a call for help. Anyone, and that includes marketers, can use it to better serve my information needs. The ability to utilize search data within our marketing analytics workbench is critical. Google is a business partner in helping deliver relevant traffic.  It would be most useful if they could also help our analytical marketers and data scientists – of which Google has 600  – as well.

tags: analytics, big data, customer segmentation, google, lead nurturing, marketing analytics, marketing automation, real-time decisioning, relevance, web analytics
1月 052013
 

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently published a report that highlights some C-suite dynamics that remind me of that childrens' game "monkey in the middle." The report details multiple ways in which surveyed CMOs believe one thing about the role of marketing in the company, and then their other functional peers (CIO, CFO, etc) believe something else about what marketing does / should be doing.

A great summary of that report can be found in a post on the SAS Knowledge Exchange, titled "CMOs are swimming upstream." After reading that summary and the report itself, it struck me how that lack of clarity might be costly for some companies facing big data challenges, which are usually driven mostly by customer data. At the recent NCDM conference, Altimeter's Brian Solis described how marketing is now a fundamental driver of IT spending in the enterprise, which spells trouble for companies that do not fully appreciate the role of marketing as steward of customer data and how they influence the activities that generate that data.

Curiously, the non-marketing executives had different views on what marketing's top priority should be versus how to best track return on marketing investment (ROMI). 60% surveyed said marketing's priority is driving revenue growth, entering new markets and finding new customers, but 50% favored measuring customer satisfaction when it came to tracking ROMI. Other results that leave me wondering about the non-marketing execs surveyed include their views on functions they think the CMO has no role in: formulating pricing strategy (11%), selecting new markets to enter (12%), shaping customer service (10%), and deciding on new IT investments (31%).

The biggest disconnects, however, and the main reason for the title of the report, are those between the CMO and the non-marketing executives. A great summary of that aspect of this report is outlined in this other SAS Knowledge Exchange post, titled "There's a disconnect between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite."

One conclusion of the report is that success [for the CMO] will be determined by the CMO's ability to align the marketing function around delivering a superior customer experience across all channels. Additional details around that conclusion are provided on page 7 with extra details from Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, who believes that every single customer experience is a brand moment of truth. Based on that statement, I was not surprised to find that Steve's background is in marketing and he describes himself of his Twitter profile as a "Former Army guy and history geek with a passion for marketing."

You can read it for yourself in the EIU report, provocatively titled, "Outside Looking In - The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-suite." Take a look and let me know what you think.

tags: CMO, internal alignment, marketing strategy, relevance
1月 052013
 

The Economist Intelligence Unit recently published a report that highlights some C-suite dynamics that remind me of that childrens' game "monkey in the middle." The report details multiple ways in which surveyed CMOs believe one thing about the role of marketing in the company, and then their other functional peers (CIO, CFO, etc) believe something else about what marketing does / should be doing.

A great summary of that report can be found in a post on the SAS Knowledge Exchange, titled "CMOs are swimming upstream." After reading that summary and the report itself, it struck me how that lack of clarity might be costly for some companies facing big data challenges, which are usually driven mostly by customer data. At the recent NCDM conference, Altimeter's Brian Solis described how marketing is now a fundamental driver of IT spending in the enterprise, which spells trouble for companies that do not fully appreciate the role of marketing as steward of customer data and how marketing influences the activities that generate that data.

Curiously, the non-marketing executives had different views on what marketing's top priority should be versus how to best track return on marketing investment (ROMI). 60% surveyed said marketing's priority is driving revenue growth, entering new markets and finding new customers, but 50% favored measuring customer satisfaction when it came to tracking ROMI. Other results that leave me wondering about the non-marketing execs surveyed include their views on functions they think the CMO has no role in: formulating pricing strategy (11%), selecting new markets to enter (12%), shaping customer service (10%), and deciding on new IT investments (31%).

The biggest disconnects, however, and the main reason for the title of the report, are those between the CMO and the non-marketing executives. A great summary of that aspect of this report is outlined in this other SAS Knowledge Exchange post, titled "There's a disconnect between CMOs and the rest of the C-suite."

One conclusion of the report is that success [for the CMO] will be determined by the CMO's ability to align the marketing function around delivering a superior customer experience across all channels. Additional details around that conclusion are provided on page 7 with extra details from Steve Cannon, CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, who believes that every single customer experience is a brand moment of truth. Based on that statement, I was not surprised to find that Steve's background is in marketing and he describes himself on his Twitter profile as a "Former Army guy and history geek with a passion for marketing."

You can read it for yourself in the EIU report, provocatively titled, "Outside Looking In - The CMO Struggles to Get in Sync with the C-suite" and draw your own conclusions. Take a look and let me know what you think.

tags: CMO, internal alignment, marketing strategy, relevance
12月 282012
 

A colossal man-made storm known as “the fiscal cliff” looms on the horizon of the United States economy.  Much attention has been paid to the political wrangling behind this situation in Washington, while Congress seems oblivious to unanimity among economists that large-scale abrupt austerity measures like this “fiscal cliff” generate more harm than good. And most troubling is that while all parties agree that it should be avoided, no deal is likely before the end of the year, so the fiscal cliff is looking mighty inevitable.

For a good non-partisan explanation of the fiscal cliff and its consequences, it’s worth reading this post to the Washington Post Business Blog  called The Fiscal Cliff: Absolutely Everything You Could Possibly Need to Know, in One FAQ.  In that post, it describes the “fiscal cliff” as an “inapt metaphor for the looming consequences of some very bad congressional decisions,” further clarifying it as

much too much austerity, much too quickly.”

At its simplest, the fiscal cliff is a combination of taxes, government spending cuts and a debt ceiling aimed at reducing the federal government deficit. It's universally accepted that it will have negative results for individuals and businesses alike. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects it will weaken the economic recovery and possibly plunge the United States economy back into recession – retracting in 2013 by 0.5% versus the current projection of +2.4%, and spike the unemployment rate to 9.1% from the current 7.9% rate. Private sector analysts also consistently predict gloomy outcomes from the fiscal cliff, and it’s generally recognized that it will affect some industries more than others, but all of them negatively.

The uncertainty generated by this situation has been reported by CNBC as already having put the damper on the economy by suppressing stock prices and making companies unwilling to make the kinds of investments that drive employment growth. Since growth for most organizations is driven by some combination of consumer or government spending, I believe the fiscal cliff highlights the role that marketing can play for each organization to counteract its negative effects in some important ways. Here are some of the ways marketers can make it happen: 

Find your true north
Weather vane in Georgetown, Washington, DC.In the field of navigation, “True North” references the need to calibrate magnetic compasses based on the ever-shifting magnetic anomalies of the earth – without doing that, navigation is inaccurate. The same holds true for business – you need a clear point of reference to set direction amid great uncertainty.

One simple place to start is with a cue from brand management - validate how your organization’s mission statement fits with your customers’ experience. Are you in business to solve world hunger? If so, is that clear from the experience that individuals and organizations have while engaging with you? If not, it might be time for a closer look and some important changes. Taking such a brand management approach should span all areas of the enterprise that engage with the customer, with marketing as hub of the customer relationship.

I'd like to suggest one resource for "finding your true north" in this way - an e-magazine produced by the ANA for SAS, called Standing Out – Rethinking Brand Differentiation for Competitive Advantage.

Complete your 360° view
Once you’ve established your true north, complete the picture so you have a 360° view. Just as your true north should be centered on the customer, your view of the customer should be as complete as possible. An important way to accomplish that is by combining online, offline and social data about your customer that result in richer profiles and more meaningful segmentation that heightens the relevance of your customer engagements.

There is a great story about how national clothing retailer Chico's did just that in the white paper, Ten Ways to a Customer-Centric Data-Driven Business Strategy. You can read how they tripled their win-back rate of lapsed customers and achieved other amazing results with a total, multichannel view of each customer.

Chart your course wisely
As your organization becomes more adept at marketing analytics, it will become clear that some combinations of plans and actions yield better results than others. The keys are hidden in your customer data and can provide answers to two critical questions:

  • Given the current objectives and corresponding constraints, how can we maximize the overall contribution of our marketing program to organizational growth and profitability?
  • If we increase the marketing budget, what would the payback be?

The answers are found with marketing optimization, which applies marketing analytics to consider multiple possible scenarios and choose the one that delivers the best result – lowest cost, highest revenue, or however you define "result." I recommend this short, on-demand webinar produced by the DMA that outlines marketing optimization and provides some great case studies: Improve ROI with Marketing Optimization

Don't Delay
One of the best examples of how marketing can make a big difference in the middle of a recession is the story of telecom giant Verizon. In the middle of the 2009 recession and while facing stiff competition and sweeping technology changes, Verizon boosted the revenue lift of their campaigns by 25% and improved their campaign close rates (sales) by 250%. They achieved these results in less than 3 months with applied marketing analytics and a 360° view of their customers.

As we face the fiscal cliff, these are all changes that can make a difference in how your organization weathers the storm. Embrace marketing analytics and the improvements can have a big impact across your organization. Let me close with a final suggestion - take a look at this article on MarketingProfs:  Six Tips for Creating an Analytics-Driven Marketing Culture. The article was submitted by our VP of Marketing, Adele Sweetwood, and she provides the six practical tips from how SAS has implemented a marketing analytics culture. 

In any situation, it's important to know all the variables that are within your control, and all of these suggestions are within reach and are proven approaches. Let us know if you're ready to get started. Until then, I welcome any and all comments and I always appreciate your sharing my posts with others or simply following this blog.

tags: analytics, customer analytics, customer segmentation, driving profitable growth, marketing optimization, relevance
12月 052012
 

Apparently the “big” in “big data” is only going to get bigger. And it turns out that organizations have not prioritized big data as much as they perhaps should because too many of them aren’t effectively leveraging customer data across channels. Both of those are positions held by the Altimeter Group’s Brian Solis, and he backs them up convincingly with both primary and secondary research, distilled here into seven ways for marketers to respond to big data.

So what? Well, those are big issues for marketing because ignoring big data is not an option and the customer rarely engages with your brand on a single channel – sometimes it’s multiple channels simultaneously. That’s important to remember because customers leave what Brian called "digital breadcrumbs" everywhere they go, which all contribute to the volume, variety and velocity of big data. Some of the data are noise and some are gold nuggets, and challenge is how to sort it out, so what’s a marketer to do?  Here are seven ways marketers can respond to big data:

1.      Ask who owns big data

Brian cites Gartner research and Duke University's annual CMO Survey  to show that marketing is now a fundamental driver of IT purchasing in the enterprise. That development prompts a logical question - who “owns” big data?  There’s no easy answer. A seemingly straightforward answer might be “whoever owns the data,” but customer data is all over the organization (I.T., marketing, customer service, billing all have key customer data) and it’s often kept in siloes.  In many organizations, IT and marketing are battling for ownership of big data – and Brian’s view is that neither one is really ready to own it. It’s important to keep the ownership of “big data” in the right perspective – does the customer see you as one organization? Do they want to see you and engage with you as one organization? It probably doesn’t matter who owns big data as long as it’s shared across the enterprise.

2.      See big data as an opportunity.

Beyond the question of who should own big data is the issue of recognizing it for the opportunities it presents. It’s clear that much of big data is driven by customers and Brian believes the opportunities lie in how you apply the data – doing that is how you improve and become relevant over time.  Consider social media data – great potential value lies in analyzing conversations to surface sentiment, identifying product opportunities, averting PR disasters, and understanding AND anticipating evolving needs and expectations. Social media’s initial promise was from the ability to engage with customers in real time, and because of the digital nature of the media, it’s a new source of those digital breadcrumbs.

3.      Understand big data is also a challenge

The advent of big data is happening at a time when customer expectations for service and engagement are higher, and social media has amplified the customer voice in the dialogue. Some of the reasons big data is a challenge have to do with organizations themselves. Brian contends that businesses today don’t understand how much data they have today or what data they actually need for what purpose. In addition, many of them don’t fully understand quality or what “good” really looks like. They are inclined to keep “adding on,” using new tools as band-aids for quick fixes, while there is a shortage of expertise in this emerging field and new roles are emerging. As a result, many organizations are unsure as to how to put analyses into action.

4.      Remember that customer experience is the driver

What’s driving these shifts is the emergence of the customer as king, and therefore managing the customer experience is paramount for any company. What customers experience (positive or negative) is shared in the universe of public data about the organization, which customers have access to and can often leverage better than the organization itself. In this environment, the adage that “content is king” still holds true, but only as long as that content is relevant to the customer. In that regard, context is also “king” because without it you don’t have relevancy – and irrelevance is the epitome of what to avoid.

Brian believes we’re in the era of sharing – perhaps oversharing at times – and that your brand is what people say when you’re not in the room. And he doesn’t believe in the distinction of B2B versus B2C – because to him it’s all P2P. That makes sense because the old sales maxim that people buy from people they know, trust and like applies to both B2B and B2C environments. And in all cases, how people connect, communicate, share and discover is changing – it’s the beginning of a much larger movement that will force businesses to adapt to the new environment.

5.      Ask the right questions

Brian introduced the concept of digital Darwinism – the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt. Considering digital Darwinism, he believes the goal for marketers should be to create a far more adaptable organization – not just to be a better marketing department. And since all marketers are really in the business of solving problems, it’s worthwhile to stop and simply ask “what are we solving for?” And also “where will we find the answers?” Unfortunately, less than a quarter of businesses are leveraging external data sources according to InformationWeek’s 2013 Big Data Survey, so there is vast room for improvement. In an ideal world, marketing develops strategies that meet customer needs before they even know they have them. And that can happen with access to customer data and the thoughtful use of customer analytics to unlock the meaning in the data.

6.      Be a change agent

Brian believes change is both inevitable and essential, and that all marketers should think of themselves as change agents in helping realize the promise of data-driven marketing. Connected consumers have changed the decision-making cycle, which has amplified the role of data as the hub with which to understand your different customers. In that sense, it’s natural for marketing to fulfill the role of change agent because we see the bigger picture – and we should help IT understand what’s possible with a bigger, better investment in analytics. Having the bigger picture view also means being a catalyst for aligning strategy formulation and execution across the enterprise around the customer and the data that enables the confident, informed decision-making. Brian’s view is this – marketers should be part of the change and lead it. Why? Because if you don’t, then someone else will. And seizing the role of change agent with gusto is how you’ll make your customer relationships more meaningful.

 7.      Play a role in shaping the future of marketing

Brian holds that the future of marketing is not “Moneyball.” The future is part of a new code – where we approach marketing like a human being and we think of how people are deciding, what their preferences are and how they behave. It’s the “human algorithm” that incorporates important context, such as what stage in the buying cycle the customer is in when they visit your website. That way, you’re more effective if you can match the mindset of the visitor. On an aggregate level, it’s also about adaptability and the agility of companies to operate effectively in our fluid, complex social world where connected customers want better service, but they also seek human connections and a sense of value and being valued.

To his previous points about the importance of context in driving relevance, I believe the pinnacle of relevance is recognition and treatment of the customer as a human being (and not as a transaction, or source of “lifetime value”). When that can be done in a personalized way at the scale of today’s large enterprise, I see that as relevance for the customer and also as value creation for the organization. It’s the best way to use all seven ways marketers can respond to big data.

These “seven ways marketers can respond to big data” were gleaned from the keynote address that Brian Solis gave at the 2012 NCDM Conference, presented by the Direct Marketing Association. SAS is proud to be gold sponsor of that conference. For more insights on how marketers can approach big data, please download this complimentary Harvard Business Review summary report, Customer Intelligence Tames the Big Data Challenge.

As always thank you for following and please leave your thoughts in a comment.

 

tags: analytics, big data, events, relevance, social media, the DMA
11月 222012
 

As previously mentioned, I attended this year's DMA Annual Conference as a sponsor and found many ways that it was a wonderful experience as both a sponsor and an attendee. That said, there actually was one part of my DMA experience that gave me pause enough to want to share it and get your reactions. It's the mail avalanche.

The picture above shows all the direct mail pieces I received before the show (45) and after the show (8) that had some sort of call to action, usually "stop by our booth." It was clearly a waste for the 8 unfortunate companies whose mailers arrived at my mailbox after the show. But it's the 45 mailers that I received before the show that have me wondering, too.

Don't get me wrong - I have nothing against mailers. I used to own a direct mail agency after all, but it's the fact that 53 of these companies felt compelled to reach out to me with a message and so few of them were relevant to me. One of these was actually a book about radio advertising - in the picture above it's 4th from the left along the bottom with the cover letter under it.

I wish all show organizers let the attendees provide enough detail about their interests so they could facilitate (require?) that any pre-show touches be only to the people who self-identify as interested in your topic. Could they have attendees build a personalized agenda by selecting sessions to attend, and from that data they infer the topics of interest that can help the sponsors and exhibitors target more meaningfully? Whatever the case, there has to be a better way than the mail avalanche that's largely wasted.

Take that example to a broader level, and it illustrates how wasteful bad targeting can be. It's not only wasteful, but irritating to your customers, so it costs you dearly in lost revenue. When your business gets any more complicated than a mom-and-pop shop, that's when customer analytics can improve your marketing - better targeting, more relevance, less reliance on the avalanche or "spray and pray" to get the kind of sales volume you need. The answers are in your data.

On a separate but related note that I'm including because it's funny, one other example of "just because you can doesn't mean you should" came in the form of a roadside banner outside a rug store on the way to the beach in South Carolina. In this case, it involved a rhyme that may have seemed catchy to the store owner, but nothing about it made me want to stop and browse. My daughter took the picture below once she and her friends stopped laughing about it (they laughed a long time).

 

Please share your thoughts about the tradeshow mail avalanche, and the unfortunate rug-store rhyme. Share any other examples of "just because you can it doesn't mean you should." I'm sure the list is quite long...

tags: customer analytics, customer segmentation, relevance