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Monday, September 29, 2014

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Here's our roundup of recent news and views worth checking out:

How to Influence and Win Customers

Sometimes we forget that customer satisfaction does not automatically lead to customer loyalty. This is why it is important to understand that loyalty is a byproduct of consistent positive customer experience. To influence your customers, you must make them feel like their voice is being heard in the first 30 to 90 seconds of interaction. This builds trust and creates a sincere and believable relationship that customers will seek you out for.

Click here for full story.

Mobile Email Orders Up but Revenue Down

Now more than ever, consumers are using their mobile devices for email orders. Recent research shows that the number of orders has risen 40% since 2013 and make up 22% of all orders. So why hasn't revenue hasn't kept up? One theory is poor user experience. As marketers, we must remember that every second of the customer experience must be optimized. It is critical that we work around shorter attention spans, and varied screen sizes to help facilitate purchases from mobile devices.

Click here for full story.

Why You Shouldn't Give Your Social Media Audience the Content They Want

We're used to hearing 'the customer is always right,' but this doesn't mean we can always give them what they want when it comes to content. To use social media effectively, marketers must understand who their targeted audience is and only create content that will resonate with them. We all have followers and subscribers who are unlikely to become consumers or influencers of consumption for our businesses. Creating and publishing content for an off-target audience will distract your real and prospective consumers.

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10 Marketers Come Clean About Their Biggest Challenges

From asking the right questions to optimizing your team, marketers face an excess of challenges on a daily basis. It is common knowledge that while digital technology has improved communication opportunities, it has also made the marketer's life more complicated - there is a lot more to consider. While the number of choices and places on which to engage with consumers can be exciting and improve business, it makes prioritization and ROI proof burdensome.

Click here for full story.

Better User Experience Influences Purchases

In a recent survey, it was discovered that consumers reach for whatever device they're nearest to when they first become interested in a product of a brand. However, when they need to research more, they switch to the device that will give them the best user experience. The buyer's journey becomes even more complicated when it comes to the total number of devices they use. Two-thirds of users interact with braded content on three to five devices throughout any given day, which is why the user experience must be optimized across all devices.

Click here for full story.

Friday, September 26, 2014

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News

Here’s our roundup of recent news and views worth checking out:

In order to build customer loyalty, brands must do everything in their power to roll out the red carpet and provide exceptional customer experiences. Amazon has succeeded at this by making sure their customers execute their orders with ease, share their online reviews and personalize their shopping profiles. Amazon does well because it thinks like a customer and strives to create an easy and enjoyable online shopping experience. Click here for full story. 

Why are more and more brands using video marketing? Perhaps it’s because of the growing number of users whose average watch time for digital media is increasing. For users 35-49 years old, average time spent viewing digital media each day increased 80 percent. Video should be on the radars of CMOs looking to connect with their customers on a new level— it has proven successful for turning regular visitors into qualified leads. Click here for full story. 

Personalization At Scale

The more personalized the experience, the more likely customers will be to return. Today, consumers have an expectation that when they interact with a brand, their experience will be a reflection of their tastes. Some CMOs and marketers might get overwhelmed at the idea of personalizing each and every touchpoint. But whether it’s B2B or B2C, they must not lose sight of the ways personalization is a part of nurturing leads and orchestrating targeted, individualized customer journeys. Click here for full story.

Translating Content Into Retail Sales

Until recently, content and commerce did not exist in the same realm. In the past, this separation created unreliable customer experience and disgruntled business users but with today’s growing adoption of personal mobile technology and the rise of the connected consumer, content and commerce are like two sides of a coin. Consumers want to engage with products and brands on a variety of devices and platforms, because of this, brands must be able to dovetail both content and commerce across multiple channels. Click here for full story.

Hearing “I’m not sure, that’s not my department” is every customer’s worst nightmare. Even if it is promptly followed up with, “let me check for you,” customers know that their journey will be put on hold while the brand they’re interacting with hops from silo to silo to solve their problem. Brands must make sure their customers’ experiences are streamlined and smooth. Time is valuable and customers won’t wait around when there are other options out there. Click here for full story. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Introduction: Definition of Preference and the Collection Process

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

For the purposes of this series, "preference" is defined as a self-reported opinion related to interaction between customer and company on topics such as product interest, channel of choice and frequency of communication.

These preferences are not solely derived by profile data, purchase history or where a customer happens to live; rather, they are expressly stated by the customer themselves. In other words, preference management means giving customers and prospects the ability to conveniently communicate with a company, recording the information in a central location and acting on what they say. With that in mind, we can further segment preferences into three simple categories:

  • Contact preferences: refer to how, when, and how often the customer wants
to communicate with a company. Contact preferences should be defined for both operational and promotional messages. For example, a customer may give permission to be contacted via SMS and email. However, they would prefer to only get SMS messages about urgent issues or opportunities, and request that email is used for monthly statements or weekly sales notices.
  • Product preferences: refer to what the customer is most interested in communicating about. Whether in respect to brands, products, or services, reliable knowledge of what customers are interested in today and in the relatively near future can be invaluable.
  • Personal preferences: refer to the most unique and individual preferences that a customer would share with a company about their wants, needs and desires. For example: the dates of important events, their significant other’s shoe size, their favorite color, or their preferred travel options.

With a working knowledge of preferences in hand, attention can be turned to the process whereby they are collected. To some, the phrase "preference collection" refers to a passive or automated process of harvesting readily available customer information and leveraging it for sales and marketing purposes. In many cases, enterprises view web behavior tracking and prior sales data as a form of preference collection. While these activities have value and appropriate application, they are "implied" and don't represent the best or most effective form of preference collection.

In order to discover and leverage truly powerful preference data, enterprises must view collection as a dialogue and invite customers to actively declare their needs, likes, dislikes and privacy parameters.

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

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.