Thursday, September 11, 2014

Six Steps to Track Results and Prove ROI for Preference Management

A five-part series about the implementation of preference management

By limiting the scope of the original preference management project, enterprises can simplify metrics and create powerful business cases for additional investment and expansion. In many instances, preference management is initially introduced as an opt-down initiative designed to convert opt-outs to targeted opt-ins. Within 90 days of full implementation, opt-down initiatives have been shown to convert opt-outs to targeted opt-ins by more than 60 percent.

Simple steps for tracking and ROI demonstration include:

  1. A clearly outlined initial implementation. As cited previously in the example of the financial software company, limitation of original scope and clear benchmarking (converting opt-outs to targeted opt-ins) is essential. 
  2. A reasonable timetable for results. In concert with the implementation team, create a realistic timetable to manage internal expectations and allow the program enough room to demonstrate value. 
  3. A detailed “before” picture. Prior to launching the program, assess the current state of affairs and define what is being collected, where it is stored, how many are opting out, etc. 
  4. Once the program is in place, check in frequently to assess results and course -correct. In many instances, the challenge of serving as preference management "champion" inside an enterprise is one of connecting departments that wouldn’t otherwise share information. An internal advocate may be a necessary linchpin required to keep the project on track. 
  5. Translate preference collection to bottom-line value. In other words, assess the opportunity cost of an opt-out and, in turn, create a value for a targeted opt-in. Without a bottom-line layer to reporting, ROI may be misunderstood. 
  6. Don’t just explain the difference. If given the opportunity, demonstrate the future. Presentations that marry results with before-and-after screen shots featuring opt-down functionality and preference center designs help decision-makers see the bigger picture and embrace the effort.   

The solution to preference management implementation is breaking it down into a series of actionable steps. Prepare for success, select a targeted introduction point, expand gradually, centralize data, track results and prove ROI. For enterprises seeking the enormous marketing and risk mitigation rewards that come from listening to and learning from consumers, it is an essential step.

About the Author: 
Eric V. Holtzclaw is  Chief Strategist  of PossibleNOW. He's a researcher, writer, serial entrepreneur and challenger-of-conventional wisdom. His book with Wiley Publishing on consumer behavior - Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior - hit bookstores last summer. Eric helps strategically guide companies with the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.

Follow me on Twitter: @eholtzclaw | Connect on LinkedIn: Eric Holtzclaw

Friday, September 5, 2014

Centralizing Data to Optimize Preference Management

The fourth of a five-part series about the implementation of preference management

Preference management should be a central repository connected to all departments, units, and appropriate applications. If information isn't easily available across the enterprise, customers will be lost through repetition, contradiction and frustration with a business that doesn't seem to remember what they want and doesn't send them the content they expect and need.

The requirement for a centralized system underlines the need for a truly neutral preference management solution. Native architecture that is incompatible with various CRM systems, ESPs, or contact center management platforms is doomed to failure.

In addition, centralization of prospect and customer data is critical for compliance and risk mitigation. Centralization reduces risk and enhances safe harbor positioning by providing monitoring of critical compliance activities and establishing complete audit records of preference history. Moreover, it facilitates quick responses to inquiries and customer complaints and should improve vendor accountability through process and activity monitoring and alerts.

In short, centralization empowers oversight and allows for organizational governance. According to a recent survey of corporate leaders from Control Risks and the Economist Intelligence Unit, 77 percent of respondents said their IT department had little or no legal knowledge of data transfer issues.

When a leading satellite radio service began a preference management implementation project, its IT department discovered that preferences were being captured and stored in myriad disconnected systems, such as the website, contact center, marketing services, excel spreadsheets and more.

Alarmed by the risk presented by passive possession of so much data, the enterprise pivoted to an intensive process of assessment to determine what was valid and actionable, what was obsolete and what was simply irretrievable. They engaged PossibleNOW to act as that essential central repository, a proven architecture that could connect to their entire roster of stove-piped systems and frameworks.

About the Author: 
Robert Galop is the Senior Director of Product Architecture for PossibleNOW.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Six Most Common Customer Interaction Points

The goal for preference management is to allow preference collection to take place across the full spectrum of prospect and customer interactions. Enterprise-level businesses engage in complex interactions that often feature an expanding set of personal and virtual interactions. It’s essential to collect and react to information from all touchpoints such as call centers, social media and mobile devices, not just the easy or inexpensive ones such as email or websites. 

Here are the six most common customer interaction points where enterprises must collect preferences. As the preference management program develops, these points represent excellent targets for inclusion:

  1. Acquisition marketing. Building awareness and earning a purchase is a purposeful and complicated process. Yet many companies fail to use these interactions as opportunities to learn about communication channel of choice, preferred product segment or other information that could make the difference between a window-shop and a sale.

  1. Product and/or services support. With the sale secured, customer interaction often passes to support – an entirely different team operating a different CRM, a different database and a different mindset. Customer data can be lost in the transition, slowing the support process and presenting a fragmented and contradictory experience to the customer.

  1. Website services and functions. With very few exceptions, customers begin their journey to sales, support or social interaction with the brand on the web in an effort to find what the information they want in way that is convenient to them. The website is not just a critical opportunity for preference collection, it’s also one of the cheapest and most efficient means to do so.

  1. Account services. For most consumers, the can’t-miss brand interaction is the payment process. Learn how and when your customers want to be billed and find innovative ways to remind them to do so. You’ll be rewarded with improved receivables collection and preference data applicable to new sales.

  1. In-store and point-of-sale (POS). Many enterprise businesses maintain physical locations where key tasks are handled through human interaction. While much attention has been paid to culture and customer experience in the store environment, too little has been directed at preference collection and distribution. Arm your staff with timely data and give them the opportunity to add to the customer profile.

  1. Take advantage of emerging channels. As more and more customer rely on SMS and social media for interaction with each other and brands, enterprises must stay ahead of new technology adoption to continue to remain relevant and connected with their customer base. The addition of a communication channel becomes a value add reason to reach out to a customer to further enhance the relationship and better understand the customer’s profile.


About the Author: 
Robert Galop is the Senior Director of Product Architecture for PossibleNOW.