Mobile best practices: alignment around mobile-first strategy

CMO Council Report: Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers, Best Practices in Engaging Mobile Customers.Today's customers want consistent interactions and experiences with your organization, and increasingly they expect personalization and real-time relevance. A major catalyst behind those customer dynamics is mobile devices. The sheer size of the mobile market is enough to take notice, but an increasingly important factor is the proportion of smartphones & tablets and the interaction of those devices with wearables and how that's impacting the purchase process. Consider how:

The order of magnitude and the potential of mobile was the impetus behind our recent collaboration with the CMO Council to explore how organizations are getting in sync with mobile customers. That research surfaced many best practices in approaching mobile, and perhaps the most powerful was showing how taking a mobile-first approach to marketing enables companies to capitalize on the full potential of mobile, which I explore in this final post in my series on mobile best practices. Read More »

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Using customer data to deliver meaningful experiences

“Welcome to Panera! What can I get for you today?” the eager associate asks. “A bowl of chicken noodle soup with a side of bread, please. Oh! And a large ice tea. For here.” She swipes my Panera card and looks up smiling, “Happy birthday, Analise! For your birthday you can pick out a free bakery item today through October 17th.” A quick glance over at the display of tasty treats is all it takes to convince me that I want dessert.

Use analytics to know what a meaningful experiences is

Shopping cart success: reminding her how much she likes stripes.

The sunny disposition of the associate and the inevitable joyous sugar rush placated my uneasiness with Panera knowing it was my birthday.

I probably gave them my birthdate when I registered my reward card, but this experience reminded me of something far more important – I have a customer relationship with Panera – if they knew or revealed any more personal information about me, I would be upset.

Panera demonstrated a very clear sense of what it takes to manage a customer relationship using customer data. Not every experience ends in a free cookie.

“On demand” data used in direct interactions with customers can be beneficial yet challenging for companies. For example, Qantas Airlines armed their flight attendants with iPads to give them up-to-date information on loyalty and elite customers. When it came time to interact with these customers, they fell flat – unable to translate the data into an engaging conversation or successful outcome. The communication breakdown isn’t [entirely] a data privacy issue. It is a data delivery issue – one that can adversely affect how you engage and interact with customers.

Here are three things you can do to optimize your customer relationships: Read More »

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Beyond the buzzwords at NRF

The SAS Booth at Retail's Big Show

The SAS Booth at Retail's Big Show

Omnichannel, Internet of Things and customer loyalty were just three of the terms you heard over and over again on the conference floor and in presentations at retail's biggest conference last month. If you had to miss the Retail Big Show in New York City, the article "Retail's Omnichannel, Data-Driven Revolution is Here" from CMSwire nicely sums up the main themes of the conference. Here's an excerpt:

“Praise the Lord,” that was our response when Alan Lipson, the global industry marketing manager for retail at SAS, said, “Smart retailers see that not every touch needs to lead to a sale. Sometimes the customer’s goals are more related to utility or convenience, and using data to help them accomplish those goals will increase customer loyalty in the long run."

We’re going to literally make note of it and hand it to the next salesperson or pop-up window that stalks us.

“The value is in the visit, not just the sale,” insisted Lipson. And if anyone has the analytics to prove it, it’s SAS.

Virginia Gibbons, the author of the article, reached out to Lipson after the conference to get his thoughts on the energy, topics and freebies at the SAS booth. Keep reading for the full interview between Gibbons and Lipson. Read More »

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Mobile best practices: engagement and the customer experience

CMO Council Report: Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers, Best Practices in Engaging Mobile Customers.Recent CMO Council research on getting in sync with mobile customers surfaced several key findings with enough significance that I wanted to explore each on in its own blog post. As was the case with objectives & context, and challenges & metrics, the idea of engagement and the customer experience is of pivotal importance to marketers as they consider the implications of mobile in how they approach their work as marketers.

It’s undeniable that mobile is changing in how consumers engage with organizations and brands because mobile is changing how they think, feel and behave as they go about their lives. It’s been well documented in this blog and elsewhere that consumers are now empowered – that idea formed initially around the advent of social media. And since mobile is intertwined with social media, mobile has deepened and magnified that empowerment (tablets and smartphones in particular).

Now, as connected devices grow in popularity (the “Internet of Things”), the catalyzing role of mobile in how it’s impacting marketing is only accelerating. And it doesn’t spell doomsday for marketing, but it does mean changes in customer engagement that compel marketing to evolve their mindset and making use of data and analytics to personalize engagements. The CMO Council research provided glimpses into best practices forming around those ideas.

What’s happening with customer engagement
Let’s begin with the notion of engagement and what it means to marketers. I’ll cut to the chase, and put this thought out there:

Consumers are now customer-centered. Read More »

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SAS again a leader in Gartner Marketing Resource Management Magic Quadrant

The Gartner Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Managment shows SAS as a leader.Gartner just recently released its Magic Quadrant for Marketing Resource Management (MRM) report –where SAS was named a leader. SAS attains this "Leader" distinction by quantitatively outpacing 15 out of 16 other vendors on both our completeness of vision and ability to execute. The graph to the right shows SAS' continued movement toward the upper-right-hand portion of the Leaders quadrant.

This result is great validation for SAS and comes on the heels of a string of other equally strong rankings from industry analyst firms, such as Forrester and Gartner in categories such as cross channel campaign management, campaign management, enterprise marketing software suites, and integrated marketing management.

This specific announcement is a strong endorsement by Gartner of our leadership in software that assists companies in the management of marketing resources, operations and processes. SAS continues to distinguish itself as one of the only vendors in the market rated as a Leader across the full range of customer intelligence disciplines, including: marketing planning, customer analytics, and campaign management & optimization.

“SAS is a Leader in MRM
for its broad and robust set of MRM capabilities across the five competencies, and
for its vision for next-generation MRM capabilities.”
Read More »

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Three guidelines for a great customer experience


Think about what makes you shop at the same place over and over again. Is it attention to detail or the fact that you're always remembered? What makes a good customer experience, regardless of channel?

Darren Stoll, Group Vice President of Marketing at recommends these three guidelines for retailers:

  1. Think about the customer, not the channel. “Customer centricity demands omnichannel thinking,” says Stoll.
  2. Shop her way. “Frame everything around what she loves and what experience she expects,” says Stoll.
  3. Use a strategic + tactical customer lens. “If I know the customer has activities they want to accomplish, I know what I need to produce to guide and inform her visit,” says Stoll.

Stoll discussed the omnichannel strategy for at The Retail Big Show in New York City last month.

“There’s tremendous power in having all this information about how a customer interacts with us,” he said. “But it’s still early days.” Capturing data and figuring out how to best leverage that data to improve the customer experience will only continue to grow in importance for retailers.

Learn more about the different expectations shoppers have for different channels and find out what data points alone can change the way you think about smartphone activity by reading the full article, "The value is in the visit, not just the sale."

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Mobile best practices: challenges and success metrics

Mobile devices and applications - from smartphones and tablets to wearables and RFID are literally changing functions in the enterprise and transforming whole industries practically before our very eyes. It's a game-changer for how people live their lives and engage with brands, which makes it a game-changer for marketers as well - in a good way. A very good way.

CMO Council Report: Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers, Best Practices in Engaging Mobile Customers.With mobile, marketers now have access to real-time data that allows them to have highly relevant engagement with customers. And they can do it in real time. Whether through smartphones, tablets, wearables or any other form of mobile device, we are closer to tailoring customer experiences that meet expectations and fulfill our organizational purpose like never before.

The flip side is that mobile makes it harder for marketers to stay in sync with the customer journey as the digitally empowered customer now has new expectations for a fully connected, personalized, relevant and mobile experience. Using the data from mobile, however, is how marketers can learn more about customer preferences without being intrusive, and inform product development, packaging, pricing, distribution, contact policies and more.

That potential and the game-changing quality of mobile is what motivated us to partner with the CMO Council to study the opportunities and challenges presented by mobile and how marketers are responding to it. That research provided many great insights into how organizations around the world are adjusting to engaging with mobile customers, including the degree to which it's very much a new area for most. And nobody's yet "cracked the code," but the executive interviews they conducted revealed some emerging best practices.

In this post, I'd like to zero in on the challenges surfaced in the survey and those identified with great candor by these executives, as well as the metrics that are being used to gauge success. Read More »

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Mobile best practices to get in sync with customers

Few advances in technology have impacted how we do business as broadly and profoundly as mobile. Mobile devices are changing how people behave and what they expect, and as a result it’s changing the way we need to engage with our customers.

The way consumers become emotionally attached to their mobile devices makes it increasingly important to get it right when engaging with them. Mobile - especially interactive devices such as smartphones and tablets – are digital, search and social all rolled into one, making them far more than just another channel. As a result, it requires new thinking, new platforms and new talent to address customer expectations for relevance and immediacy across all channels.

CMO Council Report: Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers, Best Practices in Engaging Mobile Customers.These developments and their impact on marketing motivated us to partner recently with the CMO Council to conduct research on how organizations are getting in sync with their mobile customers. Part of that research was a series of interviews conducted with executives from AIG, Cisco, Dell, The Home Depot, Marriott International, Men’s Wearhouse, TripAdvisor, Wells Fargo, and Western Union.

These executive interviews revealed emerging mobile best practices that I will synthesize and examine each Friday over the next few weeks. Beginning with today's look at mobile marketing objectives and context, we'll continue with the following perspectives:

  • Challenges and success metrics
  • Engagement and the customer experience
  • The importance of the mobile-first attitude and alignment

The opportunity with mobile for marketers is to tailor customer experiences that meet expectations and to fulfill our organizational purpose like never before. And mobile is digital in nature, so it generates streams of data with great potential waiting to be unlocked with marketing analytics to learn not simply what customers want, but also how, when and where they want it. Read More »

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How to visualize an answer to your skeptics

Healthy skepticism is a part of human nature - it's probably an involuntary defense mechanism that has been refined as we've evolved as social beings. And in today's world of scripted "reality" TV shows, internet hoaxes and celebrity "farewell" tours, healthy skepticism can help you quickly steer clear of things that waste your time (always a good thing).

Marketers are no strangers to skepticism. Our friends in sales never think we're doing enough, while our friends in accounting may think we're doing too much. And everyone has their own idea on how we can be doing things better. So what to do?

SAS Visual Analytics is like being able to see big data to believe it.Few things are more powerful to sway a skeptic or to quickly make your point than visualization - literally allowing them to "see to believe." Visualization is particularly useful for decision-making with big data because it allows you to quickly see patterns and redirect your efforts based on the analyzing the whole data set and not a random sample that's extrapolated.

You don't believe me? See for yourself in this online demo of SAS Visual Analytics applied to customer analysis. The demo shows a great example of how you can analyze your sales and marketing performance to find how to improve your marketing through forecasting, goal seeking, scenario analysis, decision trees, path analysis and other analytic visualizations.

SAS Visual Analytics is a powerful way to enhance your customer intelligence. It lets you quickly get your own data, pinpoint issues and paint the picture so you can answer your own questions - or address your skeptics.

Either way you're in the driver's seat, and there's no better place to be.

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Customer loyalty programs failed me three ways in one day

Many loyalty programs have tags for your keychain.Just this week, I had a whirlwind experience with three customer loyalty programs that left me scratching my head
(and not necessarily feeling loyal):

Loyalty Experience#1: No value

The other day, I went out to dinner with a friend of mine. The restaurant we went to is part of a small group of local restaurants. When the check arrived, our waiter asked us if we had signed up for the reward program. Well, I had, but it was something like 10 years ago.

  • Waiter: “Do you know what phone number it’s under? I can look it up that way.”
  • Me: “Uhhh….no. I have like a bunch of phone numbers and I don’t remember which one it might be under.” (And I don’t care enough to have you run through all of them JUST to give me some points.)
  • Waiter: “Well, do you want to sign up again?”
  • Me: “Sure?” (Nooooo!)

I’m not sure what I thought would happen next. I didn’t really care about the points or rewards – I only go there a couple of times a year; and after all, I deliberately unsubscribed from their email list no less than two weeks ago. The waiter hands me an iPad: It’s dark in the restaurant, it seems there are a hundred questions, and I don’t have my reading glasses. But I signed up again, and now that I think about it, I don’t remember which phone number I put down. Shoot, now I’ll have to unsubscribe from that email again.

Lesson learned:
Actually, loyalty programs for small businesses can have a big payoff. Repeat customers and word-of-mouth marketing from your loyal customers can drive more traffic in the door and help you compete against larger competitors. But don’t be pushy and don’t ask your customers to give you too much information, especially if you’re not clear on how that information will be used. Read More »

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