Friday, December 19, 2014

Personalized Recommendations Can Grow Relationships



Because I travel so often for work, I like to unplug on longer flights and work my way through a good book. Over the years, my wife has recommended many that have become my favorites. She knows the important details: what I find appealing in a characters and settings, that hardback books travel better in my case, how often I’ll likely need a new book. Her choices for me are often exceptional reads because over time she’s learned my personal quirks and interests.

If my wife recommends it, I read it. Simple as that. So how can companies reach that same level of trust with their customers?

Major retailers like Amazon and Netflix have harnessed the awesome power of personalized recommendations to benefit their customers and their bottom lines. New research confirms that more than 30 percent of Amazon’s revenue can be attributed to suggested purchases based on customers’ past purchases and their virtual shopping cart. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Netflix rentals are driven by personalized suggestions calculated by hundreds of sub-genres within the movies viewed by customers.

Granted, not every company’s offerings can be so specifically based on consumers’ profiles and tastes, but research proves what we intuitively know: that we crave intelligent and personalized communications, and that when it works, we only want more.

Back to my wife the bookworm for a moment. The power of her recommendations are compounded by her impeccable sense of timing. She never recommends 25 books all at once. Nor does she leave me in the lurch for six months without a recommendation. By knowing when I need a book and rewarding that need in a timely fashion, her recommendations find their way into my bag over and over again. That, in a nutshell, is how preference management powers customer personalization.

Without the ability to anticipate a consumer’s wants and needs, or the way to best communicate with them, companies lose out on relationship-building efforts that have the potential to garner significant returns down the road. As we move towards an increasingly curated, personalized and recommended society, every company must ask itself – have we earned the right to influence our customer’s decisions?



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






Monday, December 15, 2014

New Data on Loyalty-Driven Shopping this Holiday Season



Like millions of American consumers, I prepare for the holiday season with two important lists - my wish list and the list of loved ones I plan to shop for. And every year, my wish list gets shorter and my shop list seems to get longer. But for marketers, there is a third list to consider. Where will we go to buy all this stuff?

New data suggests that the all-important third list is pretty well decided by the time holiday shopping season arrives. A whopping 60 percent of American shoppers polled by Colloquy for its Holiday Loyalty Shopper Study plan to save money on holiday gift purchases by using loyalty program rewards they've earned.

In other words, we'll shop where our patronage has already been rewarded with personalization and attention to our privacy concerns. And for any company who has failed to innovate or advance on these essential fronts, the news only gets worse: the biggest growth in loyalty redemption toward gift shopping is among millennials.

According to the survey, the number of 18- to 24-year-olds planning to use points or loyalty rewards on gifts in 2014 will rise by more than 40 percent. And their parents and grandparents aren’t far behind. More than 60 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds plan to cash in rewards points for gifts, a 19 percent rise over 2013 and more than half of consumers 45 years old and older say they'll trade in points to use as gifts in 2014, which represents a 20 percent increase over 2013.

Loyalty programs fueled by preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication - will clearly deliver significant returns this holiday season.  

For the companies who continue to struggle on loyalty, the holidays represent an important opportunity to build towards a better 2015. Increased web traffic powered by sales and rebates can boost an opt-in list and significantly expand the prospect and customer pool. Honoring the preferences of those new customers and, over time, delivering a personalized experience will ensure inclusion on that all-important third list next Christmas.






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

Friday, December 12, 2014

Lessons Learned from Oracle’s Modern Marketing Mashup


I've often been disappointed by large conferences. Big stages and bright lights are great, but it can be difficult to really connect with a speaker or benefit from an interactive session spurred on by questions from the audience.

That's why I was so excited to participate in the Atlanta edition of Oracle's Modern Marketing Mashup series. Sponsored by our local AMA chapter, the event put some smart marketers (and yours truly) on a panel in a relaxed, informal setting. We took questions from about 60 local marketers and together we created a really valuable experience for everyone.

I was joined on stage by Cristian Tarazona, Director of Demand Generation and Marketing Operations at Equifax, and Chris Moody, Director of Corporate Communications for Oracle Marketing Cloud. Toby Bloomberg, Founder and President of Bloomberg Marketing, served as our moderator.

We tackled some big questions. How do you create a personalized experience? How do you deliver results?

Chris and Christian offered valuable insights on big data, smart content and more. I weighed in with a very simple directive: "just ask."

As marketers, it's easy to be overwhelmed by the noise. We have more tools at our disposal than ever before, more research than we know what to do with and more internal stakeholders and dependencies than we ever dreamed of just a few short years ago. In the midst of all that, we can forget the simple truths of relationship-building that create loyalty and deliver a superior customer experience.

It begins with asking a customer or prospect what they want, how they want to learn about it and how often they want to hear from us. And it builds from there. Preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication - is the necessary foundation for modern marketing.

I was delighted to be able to share that simple truth in such a great setting. Be on the lookout for a Mashup event in your city - it was time well spent.



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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News



How QVC's Omnichannel Focus Leads to Better Customer Engagement


Today's omnichannel consumer has reached new peaks - not only are they engaging with brands across various platforms, they're bouncing between platforms simultaneously. To take advantage of this, home shopping network QVC, has launched a new tablet feature that supports their consumers' omnichannel preferences. By looking at the number of ways a consumer engages and tailoring their marketing approach, QVC will be a big winner this holiday season. Click here for full story.






104 Fascinating Social Media Statistics for 2014 (and 2015)


As the year comes to a close, we're all making our best-of and worst-of lists. Looking at marketing surveys and studies from the past year, a few trends stand out as being old standards. What's one of our favorites? Consumers like to have control of the conversation and their purchase cycle. With all the recent reports about preference management, customer engagement, and shopping satisfaction, this should come as no surprise. As marketers, we must respect our consumers and listen to them when they speak up about what they want, how they want it, and when they want it. Click here for more statistics.








Buffalo Wild Wings Finds Unique Path to Customer Engagement


Marketers take meaningful, authentic, and immersive customer experiences very seriously, which is why brands like Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) are expanding branded services to their customer base. To give their customers another way to engage, BWW recently launched iHeartRadio's first branded radio station, 'B-Dubs Radio Powered by Wings, Beer and Sports.' By catering to their customers and creating another way for them to engage, BWW is cultivating loyal customers. Click here for full story.





Kevin Spacey's Top 3 Tips for Better Storytelling


On the stage at the recent Content Marketing World conference, Kevin Spacey shared with marketers his top 3 tips for storytelling. Focusing on authenticity, engagement, and the purchase funnel, Spacey delighted the crowd with his tips for successful content marketing. He told the group of 2500 marketers that "good content marketing is not a crap shoot - it has always been about the story." Spacey challenged marketers to tell the best stories possible, which in turn will lead to brand loyalty and customer engagement. Click here for full story.








Why Content Marketing Is Killing Impulse Purchases


The Wall Street Journal has recently released data that suggests impulse purchases are becoming a thing of the past. Why? Today's consumers are more empowered than ever to research long before they ever reach the decision to make a purchase. This new buying behavior is a reminder that marketers must create authentic and engaging content that will encourage consumers to want to learn more about their brand and products. Click here for full story.






Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Do You Know Your Customer’s Birthdays?


We’ve all done it. Life is hectic and sooner or later we’ve forgotten someone’s birthday. It’s a terrible feeling because we know it makes that person feel unimportant. If it’s a coworker, you can usually repair the damage with a free lunch. If it’s a spouse, it may be a much more expensive proposition. But in either case, we act quickly to emphasize how much we really care.

Now consider this: according to a recent survey from retailer research agency Conlumino, a whopping 52 percent of Millennials believe brands should remember their birthdays. It’s a surprising data point from research on more than 3,000 adult online shoppers in the US and UK.


We talk a lot in this space about the importance of personalization, but birthdays? Really?

Really.

Here’s why I love this stat: we spend a lot of time thinking about how much information a consumer might be willing to share and how we can leverage that data to better position our products and services. But we don’t think nearly enough about social and emotional impact of our work and how it plays into loyalty and engagement.

The simple truth is that Millennials expect companies to wish them a happy birthday. They’ve shared that information, along with their likes and dislikes, wish lists, dream vacations and more. And if the point of customer engagement is to form a sort of friendship, shouldn’t we remember their birthdays along with purchase history and billing information? It only seems fair.


Have you forgotten your customer’s birthdays? If so, what do you plan to do about it?



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






Tuesday, November 25, 2014

New Webinar: How to Use Customer Data for Targeted Marketing

Mark your calendars! On Thursday, December 4 at 2pm EST, PossibleNOW Chief Strategist Eric Holtzclaw and special guest Ken Robbins, President of Response Mine Interactive, will appear via webinar to talk about the right ways to collect customer data. Using targeted marketing success stories and market research, Holtzclaw and Robbins will offer insight into how knowledge gained from customer data is used to build targeted marketing, inform marketing spend and drive top and bottom-line results.


Eric V. Holtzclaw
Chief Strategist, PossibleNOW and author of Laddering: Unlocking the Potential of Consumer Behavior


Ken Robbins
Founder & President, Response Mine Interactive, an award-winning digital agency that helps clients acquire more customers using direct response digital marketing.






In just one hour, you will learn:
  • Techniques for collecting customer data
  • How to translate customer data into knowledge that informs your marketing campaigns
  • Tips for measuring and reporting return

 Register today to reserve your spot for this free presentation.


For more information, please call (800) 585-4888 x1034 or e-mail webinars@possiblenow.com



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, November 24, 2014

Forrester Research Predicts Preference-Driven Customer Personalization in 2015

Forrester Research analysts Luca Paderni and Shar VanBoskirk recently offered some interesting 2015 predictions for marketing professionals. The brief includes a special section on preference management where Paderni and VanBoskirk explain:

“Brands that want to better understand their customers’ needs will finally accept that asking how they want to be communicated with is often better than guessing.”

It’s an interesting observation not for it’s central point – the need for preference management is now commonly accepted – but instead for the way it was phrased. If you read it closely, you’ll notice that the actual prediction is that brands will “finally accept” the necessity of sharing control of the conversation. It’s a subtle difference but one that echoes our experience of working with companies that face complex personalization and engagement challenges. Many companies recognize the need to power their personalization efforts with preference management but not all have accepted that realization with budgeted and actionable projects. In essence, Paderni and VanBoskirk believe 2015 will be a year of widespread acceptance.

The section concludes (not surprisingly) with a bold prediction: “In 2015, preference management will takes its place as a key item on the marketing road map.”

With all due respect to the fine folks at Forrester, we believe the marketplace has been ahead of the analyst community on preference management for some time. As preference pathfinders, we’ve been on a long journey of education, awareness and acceptance with enterprise-level companies for years. And we’ve seen many accept the challenge already.


As for 2015? Your guess is as good as mine (or Forrester’s) when it comes to adoption of preference management. But if 2014 is any indication, we’ll have a very busy year. 



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

Friday, November 14, 2014

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News


Need further proof that mobile optimization is imperative for website success? New research by the Internet Advertising Bureau UK reveals that of the 2,000 UK smartphone owners they surveyed between the ages of 16-70, 81 percent browse the Internet via an app or browser on a daily basis. Be sure your website is optimized for this ever-growing segment of society that is looking for information on their mobile devices. Click here for full story.




With the last of the Baby Boomers turning 50 this year, marketers are turning their attention to this often-overlooked generation. In short, Boomers will continue to be consumers for another two decades and Neilsen forecasts that by 2017, 50 percent of the US population will be 50 years of age and older, and that group will control 70 percent of the country’s disposable income. Not a small demographic! How are marketers appealing to this generation? Click here for full story.



To be successful this holiday season, marketers must understand the ways in which millennials shop. Did you know that four out of five millennials shop directly from mobile devices? To take advantage of this, brands must be sure their websites are optimized for mobile users. Although millennials have long been touted as a difficult market to appease, marketers can be successful this holiday season if they pay attention to these shopping habits.  




It’s time for marketers to roll out the customer service red carpet. Why? Today’s consumers have high customer experience expectations and they expect brands to deliver. By creating a streamlined experience that pairs a transparent and integrated mix of technology and human experience, marketers can delight their customers and increase brand loyalty. Adding touch points, creating preference centers, and personalizing the experience can greatly enhance the overall customer experience. Click here for full story.



In today’s customer-centric world, brands must understand how to communicate with their consumers. According to Forrester’s latest Customer Experience Index report, companies that out perform competitors in customer experience are more likely to turn customers into repeat customers, and repeat customers into loyal and engaged brand ambassadors. To be successful, brands must deliver a consistent experience, offer a personalized experience, and provide a seamless customer journey. Click here for full story.  


Thursday, November 6, 2014

The False Dilemma of Privacy vs. Personalization


A new survey from SAS found that a growing number of US consumers are concerned about businesses using their personal information. At the same time, the survey confirmed that consumers still expect business to understand them as individuals and personalize their experiences.

On it's face, it's a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario for marketers. Ask for information and you risk privacy fears. Deliver services impersonally and be criticized for being primitive and low-tech.

But take a closer look at the data and the dilemma may not be as bleak as it appears. Survey respondents reported spending an average of 77 minutes a day on social media and a whopping 70 percent belong to loyalty programs. Clearly, it is possible to be concerned in general about privacy while still selectively placing trust in particular companies.

I'm reminded of the old political true-ism: most Americans hate congress but love their congressman.  Consumers are much the same - while they harbor real worries about privacy in the abstract, they willingly share personal information in real life on a selective basis.

Companies that nurture prospects, progressively acquire data as the relationship grows and respect customers' wishes through preference management are rewarded. And suddenly a dilemma becomes an opportunity.



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






Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New Preference Management Data Visualization Tools

I'm pleased to announce that the MyPreferences® suite now includes new report customization options and graphical data displays. The custom MyPreferences report options are delivered through a partnership with Domo, a cloud-based executive management platform.

Moving forward, MyPreferences reporting will still offer its four standard data points:


  • New Opt-ins (by day/week by program by channel)
  • New Opt-outs (by day/week by program by channel)
  • Opt-ins that changed to Opt-outs (by day/week by program by channel)
  • Opt-outs that changed to Opt-ins (by day/week by program by channel)
With the new enhancements unveiled today, MyPreferences users will be able to access custom reports based on their specific requirements, add third-party data to regular reporting and see reports in easy-to-understand data visualization formats. The new reporting tool also allows users to view MyPreferences reports on any device - desktop, tablet or smartphone.

To learn more about our new reporting options, contact info@possiblenow.com.






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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

New Webinar: Progressive Profiling Strategies for Increased Customer Engagement

Have you ever seen a form like this?


Overwhelming. Annoying. And all the more frustrating because all this organization really needs to know about me to fulfill my request is to ask for my e-mail address and maybe my name.

The answer to this problem: progressive profiling. We were fortunate enough to have our resident customer engagement expert, Chief Strategist Eric Holtzclaw, lead a webinar on the topic and explain why and how to do it. If you missed it, you can still download the presentation here.

Eric explained that marketers often ask for way too much, way too soon. We are overly anxious to get as much information as we can and are worried the customer or prospect will never return to the site or be willing to give us the information we need at a later date. Instead, we need to employ progressive profiling to gradually learn more while protecting the customer relationship.

To learn more, click here to view the webinar.



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

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Disney Finds Magic In Reciprocity Marketing

A healthy change is taking place: Consumers are demanding that brands engage them in conversations versus one-way blasts.Disney Marketing
But for this to be effective, both consumers and marketers have to change previous behaviors.
  • Consumers have to recognize that to receive more relevant and personalized communications, offers, and experiences, they need to provide deeper personal or business information.
  • Marketers have to recognize that to competitively differentiate, they have to provide significantly more personalized communications, offers, and experiences. However, true personalization is based on much more than traditional transactional data. Marketers must earn the right to collect increasingly deeper levels of preference-based data.
How is this accomplished? With trust. According to the 2014 BrandSpark Most Trusted Awards, “Across categories when considering [a] purchase of a new product, shoppers consider it extremely or very important that it comes from a brand they trust.”
Trust is the basis for obtaining deeper engagement with customers. It is a cycle:

  • Trust makes customers receptive to a reciprocity-based exchange of data in order to receive enhanced experiences.
  • The improved customer experience reinforces trust.
  • That, in turn, enhances trust.
  • Now customers are more motivated to provide deeper additional information.
  • Marketers can now engage customers in a deeper level of reciprocity-based interaction.
  • And the cycle continues, based on ever-deepening personalization and value.
An exciting example of reciprocity-based marketing is Disney’s MagicBand bracelet app. In return for the collection of consumer data, Disney offers guests the ability to “enter the parks, unlock Disney Resort hotel room[s], and buy food and merchandise. Plus, [the] MagicBand gives FastPass+ access to all the experiences selected online.” Users of the band and app can receive an email or text message about availability of reservations or rides noted as being preferred experiences.
In terms of data collection, MagicBands link electronically to an encrypted database of visitor information. The bands contain a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip that allows for the collection of intelligence that is coupled with guest input into the My Disney Experience app and Web site (input is voluntary.) All of this data gives Disney valuable information about customer preferences, which are then used to provide high-value experiences.
The Disney value proposition is in sync with findings that have emerged from Relationship Research our firm has conducted regarding what customers expect in a reciprocity-based relationship:
Trust: The marketer can be trusted to deliver on a fundamental brand promise.
Listen: The brand will listen to customers’ needs, suggestions, and concerns.
Deliver: The brand will provide communications and experiences relevant to customers based on their individual preferences.
Key Takeaways
Following are four key takeaways for implementing reciprocity-based marketing strategies:
  • It is not customers’ responsibility tell marketers what they want. Marketers must ask--and then respond with reciprocity-based customer experiences based on feedback.
  • Competitive differentiation is rooted in the ability to deliver offers, communications, and experiences based on the exchange of deep customer data and preferences.
  • Multichannel reciprocity-based marketing addresses the customer experience across all touch points, departments, locations, and company levels.
  • A high value, reciprocity-based customer relationship needs to be maintained throughout the life cycle of the customer, not just during the points of initial sale or add-on sales. 

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About the Author:
Ernan Roman Direct Marketing's Customer Experience strategies achieve consistent double-digit increases in response and revenue for their clients, which include IBM, MassMutual, QVC, Microsoft, and Symantec Corp.

As a leader in providing Voice of Customer research-based guidance, ERDM has conducted over 10,000 hours of interviews with their clients' customers and prospects, to gain an in-depth understanding of their expectations for high-value relationships.

The results achieved by ERDM's VoC-based strategies earned Ernan Roman induction into the Marketing Hall of Fame.

Visit his blog at: http://ernanroman.blogspot.com/

Monday, October 27, 2014

One Scary Stat that Proves the Importance of Preference Management

We’ve spent a lot of time in this space talking about preventing opt-outs through preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication.

And rightly so. Anytime a customer chooses to remove themselves from all future communications – the so-called “atomic opt-out” – they are likely gone forever and represent a dangerous erosion of the prospect pool.

To avoid this, we work with companies to provide opt-down functionality that empowers customers to narrow their focus and ensure that the content they receive is timely, relevant and delivered through the appropriate channel.

The importance of preference management was driven home for me yet again when I stumbled across a surprising statistic: a recent study from the International Customer Management Institute found that 49 percent of consumers reported they would be willing to move to a competitor who provides the same product or service but in their preferred channel1.

Same product.

Same service.

The only distinction that, according to recent research, would move roughly half of all consumers from one company to the next is whether or not that company serves their channel of choice.

It’s a remarkable finding and one that underscores just how high the expectations are for personalization. Kudos to the companies that already have preference management functionality in place and find this stat to be a confirmation instead of a wake-up call.







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, October 24, 2014

Course-Correcting from Early Implementation

The conclusion of five-part series that discusses preference collection best practices

Preference collection is an evolving process and is never really considered “complete.” To use a corollary to the personalized marketing mantra, the key is to elicit the right preference, from the right customers, at the right time.

The underlying framework and functionality for collecting customers’ permissions and responding to their preferences should be relatively stable; however the content and context of preference collection mechanisms must be structured to quickly change.

Sustaining agility to meet rapidly changing business and customer needs requires that solutions be constructed with “dynamic content” and the content owners (typically the business) in mind. When the content (in this case customers’ permissions and/or preferences) is in turn used to drive changes to other processes, the challenge of keeping both systems and processes in sync is compounded.

Critical junctures following preference management implementation include:

Analysis and reporting: With a useful data set in hand, companies can review customer behavior and responses and measure them against pre-determined goals. Are opt-outs being converted to targeted opt-ins? Is the business unit in question experiencing a reduction in prospect churn? Are customers selecting paperless communication in meaningful numbers?

Creative review: Based on the findings described above, it may be advisable to review screen and interaction layouts to improve customer comprehension and speed the conversion process. An example of this would be persistent bounces (site departures) from a given screen – a classic symptom of unmet expectations. Review the screen to ensure that fields and interaction points are clear and unmistakable.

Content review: Much like the design review, the preference management content must also be assessed in light of early data. The relative length and complexity of information a company solicits from a customer at a given interaction point is a typical target for adjustment. If the preference management ask is too short, a valuable opportunity is missed and favorable results are slowed. If the ask is too complicated or too long, customers will exit the interaction altogether.







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

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

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Keys to Engaging Baby Boomers

By the end of 2015, baby boomers will represent 45 percent of the American population and control approximately 70 percent of the wealth.

Obviously, this is a powerful and important demographic for us to consider when planning marketing strategies. Conventional wisdom holds that boomers lag their younger, faster, and more technologically proficient millennial counterparts when it comes to digital engagement. However, an estimated 79 percent of them regularly use the Internet. Because of this, we as marketers must find ways to optimize their experience and appeal to their preferences.




  1. Get to know your audience: Preference management - the active collection, maintenance and distribution of unique consumer characteristics, such as product interest, communication channel preference and frequency of communication - goes a long way with baby boomers. Seeing that the brand they did business with six months ago still remembers who they are, what they bought and what else might appeal to them is greatly appreciated.
  2. Educate your audience: Boomers are more receptive to learning how they can enhance and personalize their online experience than most would expect. When brands empower baby boomers to control their own experience, they are gaining the respect and trust of a generation that values good service. Savvy companies seeking a boomer-specific audience leverage oversize fonts, easily navigable interfaces and intuitive controls to help them through the personalization process. 
  3. Respect your audience: While baby boomers are far from technically illiterate, they are not exploring evolving social media channels that many millennials have come to embrace. If you know that your audience is not tweeting about their experience, liking your brand’s latest Facebook post, or Instagramming their latest purchase, don’t waste time trying to get them to adopt those channels. As marketers, we must respect the means of communication that baby boomers are most comfortable using.


Bottom line: boomers spend an estimated $2.9 trillion a year . If that’s not encouragement to spend a little extra time and energy on appealing to a specific demographic, I’m not sure what is. With preference management, baby boomers are an exciting and attainable audience to appeal to. When baby boomers can do business with a brand that personalizes their experience, empowers them to take control and respects their preferred channels, brands will be successful in winning them over.



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

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Design and Functionality of Collection Interfaces

A five-part series that discusses preference collection best practices

The conversational model of preference collection demands convenient, timely, branded experiences that seamlessly align with the customer's priorities in a given interaction. For example, a customer completing an online product warranty is unlikely to be willing or interested to spend additional time predicting future purchases or stating marketing preferences related to new products.

Their priority during the warranty process relates to the product already purchased and the sellers ability to support that product through its lifecycle. Leveraging that opportunity to secure product support preferences is a natural extension of the interaction initiated by the customer and valuable in it's own right.

With this principle in mind, the design and functionality of collection interfaces require customer-centric decision-making.
  1. Define the value. What's in it for me? Unless a customer is convinced that you can deliver relevant, timely information that’s important to them, they are unlikely to stay in the conversation. Reciprocity of value begins with the company - make a clear statement of value and customers will respond positively.   
  2. Provide communication options that suit customers' needs. Using a "one-size-fits-all" marketing approach weakens the value proposition and suggests the entire relationship will be inflexible and advanced only on the company's terms. Make it easy for customers to select channels and frequency of communication that works for them.
  3. Invite customers to join a conversation, not a monologue. Establish feedback patterns that make it clear the company wants to listen and gear the experience around a customer's evolving needs. Understanding how to talk back is just as critical as the decision to engage at all. 
  4. Clearly state how the company will use a customer's information. Explain why the customer data is being collected and how it will be used. This initiates a cycle of reinforced trust and customers are more than willing to reward companies that make and keep promises about value, privacy and relevance.   
  5. Establish a clear path to opting out. Customers are far more likely to start a relationship if they own the ability to end it someday. It's a key component to building trust and must be clear with the initial invitation. 
  6. Offer the ability to "opt-in" through a thoughtful, branded experience. If a customer is attracted to a brand or company, reward them with an opt-in experience that owns that brand as fully and completely as the products and services they are seeking. All too often, opt-in screens and messages represent un-branded interruptions that feel cheap, careless and disconnected. 
  7. Don't bombard customers with communication requests. Ask early but not over and over. Respect a customer's awareness of the initial offer and make it good enough to earn their careful consideration. Nagging and prompting for communication through various channels suggests the relationship you're asking for will be equally annoying. 
  8. Keep it simple. Ask only for key data points that will clearly aid in delivering a better experience for the customer. Lengthy forms and fields that don't seem to relate to the task at hand are aggravating and create suspicion about how the company plans to use the information. 
  9. Ask at the right time. In other words, position opt-in requests to coincide with positive brand interactions. If the customer is engaging with a brand to resolve a complaint, make sure it's addressed to their satisfaction before asking to elevate the relationship. 
  10. Listen and learn. Companies with active social media listening tools can spot organic opportunities for an opt-in and react quickly to capture them. A compliment on Twitter represents a wonderful starting point for a more engaged relationship - be prepared to act on it!    



Jeff Jarvis, Vice President of Professional Services at PossibleNOW

Jeff has an extensive background in domestic and international business environments helping companies drive business growth, develop high-performance sales and service organizations and implement process best practices.