Thursday, October 23, 2014

When a Preference is Really a Requirement

Just a few short years ago, it was surprising to learn that someone didn't have a landline phone. The "mobile-only" early adopters were objects of wonder: what if your battery dies? What if you experience a network outage? What if you lose it?

It seems silly now. Roughly half my friends and acquaintances are mobile-only and I must admit that I dust my landline handset more often than I use it. Which brings me to a startling new statistic: a recent study from comScore found that 18 percent of millennials (ages 18 to 34) are mobile-only web users.

In other words, these folks only access the web via mobile devices. Not desktops. And it occurred to me that this is the same phenomenon all over again. Young people don't see desktop computers as luxuries. They see them the same way I looked at my parents wall-mounted telephone in the kitchen. It was an object of utility, not wonder or awe.

This brings me to my last and most important point. For a mobile-only phone or web user, certain marketing communications preferences aren't really preferences. They are requirements.

When necessary, a company must be able to deliver marketing messages to a mobile device and must do so in responsively-designed formats or the mobile-only customer will move on. Not only because they feel ignored but also because of self-imposed limitations on what they access.

A company unable to collect that preference, one that clumsily blasts mobile-only web users with email marketing that can't adjust to screen size, will be every bit as anachronistic as the companies that required a listed home phone to complete a purchase or reservation.

Oftentimes, preference management isn't just about preferences. It's about giving customers the power to direct a company to where it must go in order to be heard at all.

About the Author: 
Rob Tate is the Director of Enterprise Sales at PossibleNOW.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Is it time to hire a CCO?

While most of the marketing world is still fixated on the blurry lines that separate a CMO and CTO, a new role is emerging that may offer some clarification. Enter the Chief Customer Officer, the primary advocate for the end user and mediator on their behalf within the company.

According to a recent study by the CCO Council, "the chief customer officer is becoming a staple of modern business" and found that 22 percent of Fortune 200 companies have already adopted the role.

By its very existence, the CCO role demonstrates a significant change in the relationship between many companies and their customers.

First, it suggests companies know much more about their customers than ever before. Customer engagement programs, fueled by preference management, have collected vast amounts of information that help companies tailor experiences and personalize the customer journey.

Second, companies respect the rights and opinions of their customers. The very idea that customer would merit representation - in this case, a literal seat at the table - in company decision-making shows just how far some companies have gone to share ownership of the relationship.

If your company isn't ready for a CCO, think about the reasons why.

Not enough customer data to justify the position?

Not willing to share control of the relationship?

The arguments against a CCO may in fact reveal some shortcomings in your own engagement strategy.

About the Author: 
Rob Tate is the Director of Enterprise Sales at PossibleNOW.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Is Your Brand's Best Experience Within Arm's Reach?

A recent study conducted by Tapad and Forrester reveals that when it comes to doing business online, more than half (51 percent) of consumers choose the device they use based on whatever they're nearest to when they first become interested in a product or brand. This information should make marketers stop and consider whether all of their brands' touchpoints are effectively engaging the customer.

The study also shares that only 22 percent of users spend the entire time researching and purchasing products on the same platform, which is why it is critically important to make sure every customer experience is seamless and convenient - otherwise they'll go somewhere else.

Whoever your audience may be, here are two important things to remember when it comes to multichannel marketing:
  1. Convenience - Whether your customer is on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device, it's imperative that all their devices offer a streamlined customer experience. Because consumers bounce between devices, we as marketers must focus on all devices, not just one specific channel to enhance.

  2. Personalization - Preference management allows customers to control the conversation and indicate how they would like to be communicated with across all channels. If the customer relies heavily on their mobile device but don't see their choices reflected on the desktop, they will become frustrated and eventually seek a better experience elsewhere.
When brands embrace multi-channel marketing and focus on making a convenient and engaging experience across all devices, they will have greater customer satisfaction and improve their ROI.

Eric Tejeda is the Director of Product Marketing for PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Eric supports the organization’s growth objectives by productizing and launching innovative new products and services that fill critical needs in the marketplace. 

With 25 years of experience, Eric firmly believes that permission-based marketing and preference management is a mega trend and the path to success for marketers today. 

Follow me on Twitter: @EricTejeda | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Tejeda