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. 

LinkedIn Facebook Google + Twitter Share



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.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

PossibleNOW Earns a Shout-Out at ExactTarget Connections

We came, we saw, we got some unexpected love from speakers on the main stage. That, in a nutshell, was PossibleNOW’s experience at ExactTarget Connections 2014 last month in Indianapolis.

Bigger and better than ever (cough, SalesForce, cough), the show featured visionaries like Marc Benioff and Charles Best and even a couple of celebrities. But the highlight for us came when Accenture took the main stage and as part of their presentation, introduced PossibleNOW client Xcel Energy as an example of customer experience success.

You can watch the full video below or skip ahead to the 17:52 mark to watch what happened next.




Needless to say, we were thrilled. Not only for the recognition but also for the validation, in front of a massive audience, that it is possible to break down silos, listen to customers and offer a better, more unified and seamless experience. Even for an enterprise class company.




About the Author: 
Neil Tolbert, Senior Business Development: Preference Management, PossibleNOW.






Monday, October 13, 2014

New Forrester Research Report Features PossibleNOW



A quick glance at Forrester Research’s new Customer Services Insights Report includes an interesting note about PossibleNOW. Analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo writes:

“Responsys, the email marketing vendor (recently acquired by Oracle), has partnered with preference management vendor PossibleNow; the deal wins the latter trusted access to the former’s extensive client roster, while giving Responsys credibility to start pitching non-email multichannel services to existing and prospective clients.”

It’s a sharp observation and we welcome the attention Forrester brings to what has been a very successful partnership. But a closer read of the full report offers something even more important – clear validation that no single marketing vendor, no matter how large, can truly deliver everything a CMO needs in today’s marketplace. Not even close.

“You still need a multitude of vendors, but choose wisely,” the report declares. It goes on to talk about RFPs organized around specific needs, managing a constellation of providers and making sure you work with partners that specialize instead of generalize.

Bottom line: niche players are critical and the behemoth, turnkey solutions remain weak on critical engagement and personalization functions. We couldn’t agree more.




About the Author: 
Scott Frey is the CEO of PossibleNOW and CompliancePoint. Scott leads the strategic mission to maintain its leadership position in global direct marketing compliance by closely monitoring changes in consumer privacy legislation, industry trends, and delivering innovative products and services to meet client’s needs.

 Follow me on Twitter: @ScottFreyPN | Connect on LinkedIn: Scott Frey 

Friday, October 10, 2014

ICYMI: Preferences, Privacy and Personalization in the News


Regardless of the industry, consumers have come to expect a high level of customer service. To accommodate this, many brands have implemented new technology to improve customer interactions across all touch points. Unfortunately, some brands are forgetting to look how their internal systems synch up with adopted technology. For customers to reap the benefits of new technology, brands must break down information silos and update their own internal architecture. Click here for full story.



Many brands are focusing their marketing efforts on tailoring the customer experience and meeting the needs and preferences of their customers. To be successful, it’s important that marketers ask themselves several questions about their customers: Do you know your customer? Do you know where they are in their journey? Do you have a strategy to help move customers along in their journey? Are you able to measure your ROI? Click here for full story.




Chat as a customer engagement channel is being embraced by consumers of all demographics. Less painful than a phone call, chat sessions offer consumers instant gratification and have been reported to increase overall customer satisfaction. For companies looking for alternatives to call centers, chat sessions are a powerful tool that decreases the operational costs of serving customers while also positively influencing top line revenue. Click here for full story.



In an effort to separate themselves from their competitors, TD Bank recently went above and beyond to connect with their customers by transforming their ATM machines (automated teller machines) to ATM machines (automated thanking machines). Football tickets? Flowers? All-expense paid trips? TD Bank customers were shocked to receive such spontaneous gifts of appreciation. In a video that captures their customers’ heartfelt responses, TD Bank has proved that offering exceptional customer service can pay off. Click here for video.




To create a great marketing experience for today’s consumer, we must personalize their experience across all touch points. What’s the best way to do this? First, we must leverage the data we have and use it to better tailor our customers’ experiences. Second, we must allow our customers to personalize their own experiences by creating a platform that allows them to indicate their preferences. Lastly, once you begin to understand your customers’ preferences, you must work to anticipate their future needs and responses. Click here for full story. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Where Preferences Should be Collected

A five-part series that discusses preference collection best practices

Customers view companies as one entity, not as individual business units or discrete functional groups (e.g. sales, customer support, etc.). In order to support customers’ expectations, preference collection should take place across the full spectrum of prospect and customer interactions. Enterprise-level businesses engage in complex interactions that include 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 e.g. email or websites. 



It is also imperative that once preferences are collected at a given touchpoint that they are passed seamlessly across the organization.  A customer dialing-in to a call center will expect to have the ability to change their preference information for all communication channels as part of that transaction. Enterprises should take advantage of every customer interaction to learn more about the customer to establish deeper relationship, understanding and ultimately better service their customers’ needs.







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 3, 2014

Is Your Preference Center Designed Responsively?

According to recent Neilsen research, time spent using smartphones now exceeds Web usage on computers in the U.S., U.K. and Italy1. That’s wonderful news for smartphone manufacturers and a troubling statistic for any company whose preference collection hub is un-responsive to smaller screen sizes.

We’ve all had that discouraging experience – desperately trying to find an address or phone number on a website that won’t reconfigure itself to fit our smartphone screen. The solution is responsive design, a process of building sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.

This is of particular note in an arena where companies outsource preference functionality or rely on an ESP or marketing automation vendor to include channel-specific preference management. All too often, the result only makes sense on a desktop and utterly confounds anyone hoping to navigate it on a mobile or tablet device.

Back to that same Neilsen study and the news just gets better (or worse) depending on your perspective. A whopping 85 percent of generation Y now owns a smartphone2. Earning their loyalty requires a seamless mobile experience through responsively designed preference centers. It’s time to review your preference management experience to make sure it looks good on the screen that matters most.





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 2, 2014

How Customers Reveal Preferences

A five-part series about the implementation of preference management

By framing the collection process as a progressive conversation, enterprises are better able to understand and plan for the true nature of customer communications. Research indicates that customers reveal their preferences in iterative steps related to their evolving interest in what a business has to offer and their perception of what the business will do with the information that is disclosed. 

Research clearly shows that customers are much more willing to provide information when it is: A) presented in context, B) Offers a clear benefit to them (i.e. saves time, saves money, rewards, etc.), and C) Is easy to understand and an easy task to complete.

In many ways, preference collection lies at the intersection of a customer’s interests and the interests of the company hoping to serve them. Seen in that context, it is clear that the interaction can be compromised when one party’s interests outweigh the interests of the other party.

For example, a lengthy and complicated registration page can act as a barrier to a trial software download because the customer’s interest in the product is not significant enough to justify the time required to fill out the form. The company over-emphasized its own interests at the expense of the customer and as a result, lost a valuable prospect.  When trust is not established slowly between the customer and the company, the customer is more likely to question how the information being collected about them will be used. In fact, According to recent research from Eloqua, mean conversion drops significantly when more than 6 fields are on a form1.




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