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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Moving Beyond Experience To Engagement

Speakers Share the Secrets of Marketing Success at the 2013 Customer Engagement Marketing Summit

Following a record number of speaker submissions, we are pleased to announce the lineup for our second Customer Engagement Marketing Summit. These speakers include marketing experts and thought leaders from some of the most innovative and ground-breaking companies in the world.
This stellar array of speakers will share insights and proven strategies for success in customer engagement and much more. If you (or others in your organization) are involved in customer engagement, customer experience, mobile marketing, digital marketing or customer retention, then I hope that you will make plans to attend.
In the coming weeks, you'll hear more from each of these speakers and how they embrace (and improve) customer engagement.
But first, let’s meet a few of our event speakers.
If you are from the south, you've undoubtedly heard of Chick-fil-A, the company that pioneered the fast food chicken sandwich. Over the years, they’ve built a loyal fan following. Michael McCathren, Chick-fil-A’s manager of interactive digital marketing, will explain how they’ve achieved this amazing success in “Every Customer Has A Story — The Secret To True Loyalty.”
Another one of our Summit speakers was recently featured on the "A Face in the Crowd: Say goodbye to anonymity" segment of the CBS TV show, 60 Minutes, with Lesley Stahl. Dave McMullen, one of the trailblazing partners with redpepper, will speak at the CEM Summit about "Getting Your Slice of the Pie: How Your Brand Can Succeed Using Social Promotions.” In this presentation, Dave will share what brands need to do via social media to stay relevant and engage users in today’s marketing industry.
Jon Miller, VP of Marketing at Marketo, and named a Top 10 CMO by the CMO Institute, will present “Engagement Marketing: Pioneering the New World of Marketing.” He’ll explain to attendees how the buyer/seller relationship has shifted fundamentally towards the buyer and the new tools that marketers need to cut through the channel noise.
If you are a marketing professional who wants to delve deeper into the strategies that work for customer engagement, be sure to visit the Customer Engagement Marketing Summit web site where you can learn more about the speakers and the presentation topics. Registration opens next week and you can also sign up for event news and alerts.
I’ll share more of my excitement about this event in future blogs! 

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 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Shopping Cart Abandonment and the Digital Consumer

Why do mobile users add things to shopping carts and then not purchase those items? It’s a vexing problem faced by merchants, made even more prominent by the meteoric rise of mobile e-commerce. Shopping cart abandonment on websites has been examined for more than a decade, but most research shows that nearly 70% of web shoppers still abandon their carts, and on mobile devices, it's above 90%!
We recently completed an in-depth study on shopping cart abandonment, and the results were surprising. Typical reasons for abandonment are:

  • high shipping cost
  • user not ready to purchase
  • pricing issues
  • using the shopping cart as a wish list or comparison tool
  • unclear shipping policies
  • no guest checkout options
  • user needs more information
  • complex checkout process
  • slow or complicated website UX/UI (user interface?)
These reasons for not completing the purchase process are logical; things only get interesting when we consider how much the actual process of shopping has changed in the digital age.
Now, more than ever, all purchasing behavior begins with the user. A user’s core purchasing drivers, based largely on life experiences, desires and personalities, are filtered through externalities and turned into behaviors that can affect any part of the purchasing process. Technological innovation has exposed markets to widespread fragmentation and merchants are losing control of the sales funnel in an era of mass customization.
The result is that there are multiple stages of the buying decision that, for most users, take place within the “shopping cart” flow. Digital shopping cart behavior is thus a more fluid phase in purchasing than in a traditional, physical shopping cart or even in early e-commerce websites. In the mobile environment, where purchase behavior is geographically dynamic, it is even more difficult to strictly measure shopping cart abandonment data by attaching it to a particular point of the purchasing process.
Merchants should examine and assess the purchasing process and potential buyers from a holistic perspective. This kind of sophisticated approach requires not only data-based observations, but also attempting to acknowledge and illuminate the core purchasing drivers that exist in every user. The resulting contextual observations allow more customized, effective communications with users.
Consider that in the past, server-client technology was driven by “dumb” appliances: dumb terminals, dumb routers, dumb pipes, etc. But advances in data acquisition and storage have made ubiquitous analysis available on a scale never imagined. This development presents an enormous opportunity to derive not only data insights, but to apply those insights in a contextual manner.
Unfortunately, most mobile and portals are reactionary and treat all users exactly the same, a mere net to either capture browsers in the act of purchasing or to prevent visitors from escaping. Knowledge of users is not applied discretely, and virtually none of the experience is customized. This is a lost opportunity to not only nurture relationships with consumers, but also in sales.
A few merchants are smart, or getting smarter. Amazon, for example, often customizes the browsing experience based on past purchases, browsing, and similar items. Some merchants use transactional information to generate purchasing recommendations. Some merchants note previous visits and acknowledge their users. A rare group of merchants even allows preferences to customize each visit on the surface level. But almost no merchants at all are leveraging the vast amounts of user/visitor/customer knowledge available into a truly personal user experience.
This lack of action is both a surprise and an opportunity. For example, the level of behavioral data available to most merchants is stunning: preferences data, Facebook’s open graph, LinkedIn data, Twitter feeds, etc. Advertisers use algorithms based on this and similar data to serve incredibly prescient advertising, but the same brains aren’t being applied to the rest of the digital experience. The result is a homogenous, reactive experience for most users, and it forms the core of shopping cart abandonment.
We created the following whitepaper: http://mypref.co/107aa2s based on our research that delves into the reasons for shopping cart abandoment and provides guidance on addressing it. In the coming weeks, we will share some tangible solutions you can use to address this problem from your consumer’s perspective.

About the Author: 
John Davidson is a researcher at PossibleNOW.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

New Regulations for Preferences: Express Consent for Wireless Contact

When I travel I give the airline my cell phone number as a point of contact for last-minute changes or cancellations. This is a case where I'm happy to give out a personal number so that I can know as soon as possible if there is a change of plans. But that doesn't mean that I want the airline calling me to let me know there’s a fare sale to a destination where I have previously traveled. In other words, use of my cell number is on a conditional basis.

It’s pretty common for a customer to provide a wireless number to a company for contact around a specific transaction, like an airline flight or other reservations. Or a customer may give a call-back number related to calls for sales or technical support. On the customer's part, there is typically an implied understanding that the number should be used only for that one transaction. In a few months, however, that understanding will become more defined.

In October 2013, companies will have to obtain express consent for contacting customers via wireless device, for example by call or text message. It will have to be made clear to the customer how his number will be used. And even if a company has a customer’s wireless number on file from previous interactions, it does not grant the company permission to contact the customer via wireless in the future. The new regulations make it clear that the company cannot use that number as a customer contact point for other messages or solicitations without the customer’s express consent.

This new rule is similar to the existing Do Not Call rules for landlines, with an emphasis this time on wireless devices. The rules impact pre-recorded telemarketing calls as well as text messages. Unlike the Do Not Call list where the preference is initiated by the customer and customers who do not opt out are fair game for contact, express consent to dial a wireless number must be obtained by the company prior to any contact.

Because the regulation is new, companies have to gain consent from all customers, new or existing. One way to do this is to address the matter as customers are in contact for sales or service situations. Regulations require "written" consent from the customer, but consent recorded over the phone or opt-in or out via an online form will also be accepted.

Companies are training their customer service representatives on the new rule and some are already moving forward with obtaining consent. We are working with companies to put these steps in place and recommend specific best practices, including language explaining consent and measures to ensure that a record of the customer’s preference is made, either via written consent or by telephone recording.

Companies can also set up an interface within an existing preference center that allows customers to update their preferences online. There are various ways to communicate this to customers, including by regular email messages or newsletters that a customer has opted to receive, or through a prompt when a customer logs into his profile. For new customers, wireless consent will simply be one more step in setting up preferences on a profile.

Within the online interface customers will be taken to a Preference Profile page upon login or when setting up a new profile. If the customer selects phone or SMS as preferred mode of contact he will be prompted to enter a phone number. When a wireless number is entered, specific disclosure language will be displayed and the customer will be asked to click a checkbox to provide consent. Note that the customer must opt in, unlike other preference profiles where the opt-in is automatic and the customer can choose to opt-out.

We expect that there will be confusion on the part of companies, as well as customers, on how this new regulation will be implemented. We are currently testing new preference centers and tracking customer response and will be reporting case studies as the new rules get closer to implementation in October. 

About the Author: 
Mike Madison is the Director of Product Architecture at PossibleNOW.

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Virtual Last Mile

On Wednesday, May 8, I will be participating in a panel presentation at the North American Retail Hardware Association All-Industry Conference. The NRHA All-Industry Conference is a series of free educational seminars and breakout sessions held at the 2013 National Hardware Show® in Las Vegas, May 7-9. Designed for retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and industry professionals alike, the conference line-up offers valuable insights into industry-wide topics, including multi-channel retailing, the changing consumer, emerging niches and more.

I’m speaking on a panel with some of the most astute and forward-thinking people in the industry.

Our keynote address discusses one of the hottest and most complex issues that retailers face — the role of mobile devices in the shopping experience.

We all realize that customers are increasingly using mobile devices while in the store or on the go. The customer will make it all the way through the process of researching and adding products to their shopping cart, but when they make it to the last step — clicking on the “Purchase” button — something prevents them from actually making the purchase.

This is a vexing problem faced by retail merchants as more and more consumers participate in what the industry has termed “showrooming” – using the store to view a product, but purchasing it later online. The need to address this problem is made even more important by the meteoric rise of mobile e-commerce.

Our presentation will discuss the barriers to taking this last step, and provide insight into a successful implementation that encourages the user to go ahead and buy.

The primary research of the mobile shopping experience will include:
  • The core values and drivers of the consumers to better understand why shopping carts are abandoned
  • A look at the mobile purchasing cycle
  • Shopping cart abandonment and its source — the user
Each of the panelists will lend their insights to these online shopping issues. My co-panelists include:
  • Heath Hyneman, search marketer and CMO at National Builder Supply
  • Danny Davis, strategic developer and CEO at Proving Ground
My portion of the panel presentation will provide background and observations on consumer behavior and offer solutions to the virtual last mile.
If you are attending this NRHA All-Industry Conference, please attend our presentation and say hello!

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 - hits bookstores this summer. Eric leads the professional services organization to strategically guide companies on the implementation of enterprise-wide preference management solutions.

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

Thursday, May 2, 2013

3 Keys to Gain Buy-in for Enterprise-wide Customer Preference Centers

Companies are beginning to use opt-in marketing as the new standard for communications. The email vendors they work with provide the ability to opt-in or opt-out of email campaigns, their marketing departments are providing preference centers on company websites to opt in to newsletters and the customer service department provides customers the ability to choose how they want to receive customer communications such as e-bills.

The next step - companies want a single comprehensive view of a customer or prospect - a view that includes their cross channel preferences.  This is what is referred to as enterprise preference management.

Why is enterprise preference management important?  Because consumers view companies as a single entity and expect a company to understand them and honor their preferences regardless of the channel their interaction occurs through.

Enterprise wide preference management is no small effort because companies often deploy individual preference centers that create data silos across business units, brands and channels such as email, SMS, social media, and mobile. Businesses are realizing that in order to truly provide a great customer experience they must invest in cross channel preference collection. This means they must track and manage preferences for all communication channels, desired products and frequency and then share those preferences with every other department across the organization.

Deploying a cross channel preference management solution often feels like a daunting task.  To do this means you have to cross organizational boundaries, integrate with multiple databases and gain management buy-in.  Sounds ambitious!

Learnings from a progressive Fortune 500 software company.

Last year we hosted the Customer Experience Marketing Summit.  One of the many great speakers, Tim O’Brien, Group Manager, Digital Communications for Intuit, spoke on this very subject.  Here’s what he shared based on his experience.

1 - Start small – Build a proof of concept for the preference center.  By keeping it small, it’s easier to implement and measure.  Go after low hanging fruit where you can make a difference.  The solution doesn’t have to be perfect, but it should be flexible enough to implement changes as measurement indicates success or failure.

Types of spot solutions (pain points) where many companies start. 
  1. Opt-downs: Give the customer a chance to stay connected but in a different way, instead of opting out completely.
  2. Green initiatives: Allow customers to change preferences to ‘e’ options instead of printed communications. This can include electronic billing/payment as well as delivery of marketing materials.
  3. Full preference center: A full preference center for a specific business unit can be the best solution for companies with multiple product lines and communication channels.  This enables customers to express their preferences regardless of the communication channel they choose to interact through. However, sometimes it makes more sense to start building a preference center on a smaller scale, then build on it based on learnings and best practices.

    For Intuit, a mind shift was needed for building a preference center:

“Because we’re a product company, we’re always trying to have the perfect solution, all the time. Let’s build something perfect that should cover every scenario that could ever happen. [In building our preference center] what we’ve said is we want to start small, within a business unit, restrict it there, and then get those learnings and shop it around. That’s the only way it’s going to happen.”
2 - Build a business case – By starting small and putting measurement tools in place you can use the results to build a business case.  If you demonstrate better marketing ROI, revenue or client satisfaction, others will get on board.  By demonstrating that you know the way to get there, you will put fears at rest and you will streamline the process each time by leveraging learnings from past implementations.
3 - Roll out to other business units – Based on success, roll out the preference center in phases and sell the results to people across the enterprise.  Just as no two customers are exactly alike, even two business units within the same enterprise can see different results. Again, this is where consistent measurement and flexibility become the keys to success. 

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