What are mobile consumers thinking?

Kellogg School ReportWhy are they thinking that? And how is their customer experience different with mobile? As the world is going mobile, those were the questions on our mind as we kicked off an important research project with Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (the Research). We were motivated to zero in on those questions because of all the technological advances that have transformed marketing of late, mobile is perhaps the biggest game-changer.

The advent of smartphones, tablets and wearable devices are key engagement portals that are driving a fundamental paradigm shift in how customers engage with organizations. As a result, how marketers engage with customers has to undergo an equally radical change.

Mobile is reshaping the customer experience
The Research indicates that the vast majority of respondents’ customer experience via mobile with businesses are still primarily passive, but are also highly influential on other interactions as evidenced by these specific findings:

  • Three out of four respondents engage in showrooming, and a similar proportion uses their mobile device to check bank account and credit card balances,
  • Roughly six in ten respondents use mobile to add an item to an online shopping cart for later purchase via laptop, and
  • Over half of the consumers responded that they are opting in via mobile to receive information as well as promotional offers from businesses.

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Five steps to omni-channel marketing – step two

As a customer intelligence adviser, my work exposes me to a wide range of organizations with various marketing challenges and available resources.

Steps to mastering omni-channel marketing

Steps to mastering omni-channel marketing

Over time, some common themes have emerged, one of which is omni-channel marketing as a business imperative due to the explosion of channels and the evolution of customer behaviour.

The way organizations have approached omni-channel marketing seems to fall into a five-step pattern, so that inspired me to write this five-part blog series titled, Five steps to omni-channel marketing.

In the first post in this series (Five steps to omni-channel marketing-step one) I explained how you can move as an organization from mass marketing to segmented marketing. In this post I will explain how you can take the second step to move from segmented marketing to one-to-one marketing. Let's start by examining just what one-to-one marketing is.

Step 2: From segmented marketing to one-to-one marketing

One-to-one marketing is a strategy emphasizing personalized interactions with customers. It was first introduced in the book “The One to One Future: Building Relationships One Customer at a Time,” by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers (1993). By delivering highly personalized and relevant messages we expect to have more loyal customers and better marketing ROI. Read More »

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Marketers ask: What can Hadoop do that my data warehouse can’t?

Recently, I was given the opportunity to present a session titled, An Executive’s Cheat Sheet on Hadoop, the Enterprise Data Warehouse and the Data Lake at the SAS Global Forum Executive Conference. During this standing-room only session, I addressed these five questions:

  • What can Hadoop do that my data warehouse can’t?
  • We’re not doing “big” data, so why do we need Hadoop?
  • Is Hadoop enterprise-ready?
  • Isn’t a data lake just the data warehouse revisited?
  • What are some of the pros and cons of a data lake?

I've been inspired to re-think  my answers to those 5 questions in terms of the customer experience and present them for marketers as a 5-part series in this blog. My goal is to help marketers understand how these big data technologies are impacting (or can impact) the customer experience, and what you can do to take advantage of this data playground. Let’s get started!

Question 1: What can Hadoop do that my data warehouse can’t?

Here’s the short answer: (1) Store any and all kinds of data more cheaply and (2) process all this data more quickly and cheaply.

The longer answer is:
[Please excuse me as I step up on one of my big data soapboxes to address this question.]

I’m here to tell you that big data is not new. Yet, with all the hype these last few years around these two little words, you’d think we’ve discovered the Holy Grail. Let me share with you the dirty little secret about big data: it’s just data—the same data we’ve had for decades.

Big data is not new

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Voice of the customer with analytics in the cloud

Imagine that your business operates with over 50,000 employees in over 60 countries, you are the leading manufacturer in the world for your flagship product, and your customers can be found quite literally world-wide. Then imagine having a goal to become more agile and customer-centered across the board. That clearly describes a big data a scenario, which as usual, holds both challenges and opportunities.

This scenario describes Lenovo, and the leading technology company is running big data analytics on the public cloud infrastructure of Amazon Web Services to capture the voice of the customer. They combine insights from their own data with unstructured data, such as social media, product reviews, customer forums, call center logs and online chat sessions. This approach enables Lenovo to use visual analytics to pick up on issues earlier, giving them a chance to address them quicker. The result is that what once took them 60-90 days to identify and respond to quality issues now happens in a matter of weeks.

Not all organizations are quite as big as Lenovo, but big data is relative and with analytics, the size of your company or the complexity of your business do not have to stand in the way of your hearing the voice of the customer. Tune in to this video below to hear directly from Lenovo executives about how they capture the voice of the customer.

 Let us know what you think. And as always, thank you for following!



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3 steps to improving customer experiences

Our customers are networked - they connect with people, places and things that matter to them. That concept and understanding what to do about it holds the key to how organizations can improve customer experiences.

Great customer experiences: hard to depict, but unmistakable when you see it.

Great customer experiences: hard to depict, but unmistakable when you see it.

It's a matter of networking your organization, so making it more agile, more enabled and more responsive. Doing that is a worthy goal, but far easier to say than to do. Microsoft introduced the catch phrase of “working like a network” through a video for its enterprise social offering. But my view is that “working like a network” goes beyond just the social channel -- it permeates every department within the entire organization.

Given that thought, just how does an organization transform the way it works? Let’s look at the three key components of “working like a network” that Microsoft mentions and consider how we can put them into play to improve customer experiences.

Integrate Data Management and Analysis

In order to anticipate what will come next for your organization -- whether it’s from an employee, customer or partner -- you have to answer several questions. What happened in the past and why? Can we forecast or predict what will happen in the future based on the latest information we have? And finally, can we prescribe ways to address issues and tackle challenges that may arise in the future based on this information?

In order to answer those questions, organizations need three key ingredients: Read More »

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How to challenge your customer view

“Is yoga a sport?” Years ago, an executive at Adidas found himself pondering this very question. At the time, the sports design paradigm centered on competitive edge and athleticism. But, not every customer is a professional athlete. Where did customers engaged in recreational activities fit?

Also for yoga (and so much more).

Also for yoga (and so much more).

The “yikes” moment for Adidas was realizing that the industry model was incongruent with reality. After looking at their existing data critically, they still fell short of answering his question. The historical data supported the current paradigm and didn’t reveal any new insights on yoga as a sport.

Adidas turned to Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen for help. Together they embarked on a new investigative journey. They collected new, largely qualitative data on what drives customers to buy and use their products. They wanted to know what motivated people to participate in sports like yoga, biking, or jogging.

The result of the research was compelling as described in this article, Here's Why Companies Are Desperate To Hire Anthropologists.  I’ll give you a hint: being a better athlete wasn’t the answer.

As the world around us changes, so do we. Smart companies, like Adidas, learn how to tap into and capitalize on these changes. Here are some important lessons we can all learn from Adidas:

Challenge the way you view your customer

Today, roughly 20 million Americans practice yoga. If Adidas had refused to expand their view of the customer, they would have missed out what is now a major market. Adidas’ willingness to explore and rethink their customer view led to some major “a-ha” moments. Innovative companies do this regularly. Read More »

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How optimisation delivers value: the hands-on view

Optimisation techniques are used in a variety of business contexts to find the best combinations that deliver the desired results, often measured in terms of value added from maximising revenues, minimising expenditures, or both. In marketing, a frequent problem that's well suited to optimisation is when one has:

Optimisation creates value from confident data-driven decisions.

Optimisation creates value from confident data-driven decisions.

  • Many customers (often millions of them) ,
  • Multiple potential offers,
  • Rules that determine the number and frequency of offers,
  • Resource constraints (such as budget), and
  • The need to maximise something, such as sales or profit.

Optimisation quickly gets complicated because to find the best solution, one needs to consider all the combinations that exist, and with millions of customers and hundreds of communications, optimisation is not an easy problem.  SAS solves this with SAS Marketing Optimization (SAS MO), but the principles surrounding the challenge that I am outlining here are relevant to any of the so called ‘large scale’ optimisation challenges.

Often people think that they need many models to justify using optimisation techniques, or to get the best out of the optimisation.  So whilst the latter is partially true, I really don’t think that the former is, especially when considering what one is trying to achieve. I would even go as far as to say that you can get significant performance improvements with optimisation, even if you have only a few, or even no models, (none, zilch, zero!).  Let me try and justify this:

The uplift in optimisation solutions, when compared to how a BAU (Business as Usual) approach is performing depends on three core factors: Read More »

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Why marketers should listen to their fathers

I celebrated my first Father's Day 17 years ago.

I celebrated my first Father's Day as a father 17 years ago.

It’s Father’s Day and once again I am crowd-sourcing some fatherly advice to provide guidance to marketers. While marketing and the world we live in have changed dramatically, the essence of fatherhood has remained fairly constant. Part hands-on and part supportive of their children’s mother, dads are often thought of in their role as the house’s fixer-in-chief. If the toilet overflows, if the bike chain goes off track, or if the family car gets another unexplained spontaneous dent, it’s often dad who gets called in to take care of it.

So as marketers deal with the increasingly complex mandates we fulfill in the enterprise, here are some pearls of wisdom from my colleagues that may come in handy when we need a fixer-in-chief:

If you lost an engine, look out the window at the wing and use the horizon.

Karen Morse’s dad, the Rev. Ralph Jackson, is a retired minister, pilot and FAA private pilot instructor who would tell that to Karen as she learned to fly their Piper Cherokee. That could also apply if the pilot uses their navigation system.

The lesson for marketers is that more than one reference point is helpful to gauge progress toward the goal, so if something goes awry not all is lost mid-stream. It’s also a call to think of broader business goals to understand marketing’s impact as the pace of technological change accelerates – the horizon and its relationship to the destination are two constants in any flight that can be relied upon. That relationship is analogous to marketing in the grand scheme of your business.

When you use something, always put it back where you found it.
Always remember what happened and keep the history alive.

These two are from Michelle Pujol, Director at Univision Direct, and Godmother to my children. The first advice is from her father, Joaquín Pujol, who explained that if you don’t put things back then you’ll have a heck of a time trying to find it the next time you need it. The second advice is from her Opa, an Austrian Holocaust survivor that explained to his grandchildren that if those that come before us don’t know what happened, history can easily repeat itself.

These both speak to the need for marketers to keep and analyze data so the drivers of success and the causes of failure can be identified and harnessed to constantly improve, and to benefit newcomers to the organization.

Find a stream and fish. Read More »

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Five steps to omni-channel marketing - step one

As a customer intelligence adviser, my work exposes me to a wide range of organizations with various marketing challenges and available resources. Over time, some common themes have emerged, one of which is omni-channel marketing as a business imperative. Changes in the ways customers engage with brands across an explosion of channels have prompted the need for organizations to engage in omni-channel marketing.

Best practices are starting to emerge for mastering omni-channel marketing, and I've seen that they seem to fall into a five-step pattern, which I will lay out for you in this short blog series titled, Five steps to omni-channel marketing.

Steps to omni-channel marketing

Steps to omni-channel marketing

During recent customer visits, I have noticed assumptions being made about making the transition from mass marketing to omni-channel marketing - at times expecting it to take just a month or two. Most of the time customers are surprised when I explain that there is a maturity curve you need to go through. In today’s blog post I will try to explain my vision on moving from mass marketing to fully omni-channel marketing.

We have detected 6 maturity levels when it comes to omni-channel marketing. Every level requires a more advanced step of analytics. So the evolution from one level to the next is directly linked to the maturity of the insights you can create. For example event-driven campaigns on churn may prove much less effective if you don’t score the people that have a high probability to churn.

The goal of omni-channel marketing is to deliver the right message, at the right time, through the right channel, taking into account your commercial strategy. The inclusion of your commercial objectives is important because achieving customer centricity is only meaningful when it supports your business goals. So on that basis, let's examine the first step in this process. Read More »

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6 things to know about data storytelling

The Fitbit. I wasn't convinced I really wanted one until a coworker showed me a staggering number of pounds lost on a very colorful dashboard. In her sweet Texas drawl, she explained, “It’s all here. My sleep patterns, amount of water I drank, calories eaten, and even steps taken.” One little wristband collects all kinds of data and pushes it to the user in a fun, easy to use format. The data collection is great, but what really fascinated me was what the dashboard meant to her.

Bree's Fitbit.

Bree's Fitbit.

Before the Fitbit, Bree didn’t understand what patterns and behaviors were the most damaging to her health. Seeing her data brought to life inspired her to overhaul her entire lifestyle. And this lesson from the Fitbit is one of data storytelling across multiple media, or "transmedia storytelling" as Bree puts it in this fantastic three-part AllAnalytics.com blog series.

Through a simple dashboard Fitbit painted a picture of someone’s reality. Hearing about Bree’s experience made me truly appreciate the impact of visuals on how we think and feel, and the art of data storytelling. Yes, all data tells a story. However, applying a meaningful narrative to the data is what makes storytelling an art. Data visualization can help you get there.

Here are some best practices you can use to build your credibility and solidify your expertise as a visual storyteller:

  1. Remember who the expert is

The subject matter expert’s job is to ensure the relevancy and accuracy of the data. We all know the perils of manipulating data to serve our own purposes. Act continuously as a steward for your data by omitting (or at least admitting) your own biases and assumptions. This is especially important when you construct visualizations. Sure, scaling a weight-tracking graph to make it appear someone is losing more weight than in reality sounds nice, but it is a disservice to the person relying on it.

  1. Research your audience

Knowing your audience will clarify who the story is for and help you establish relevancy. Jeff Bladt and Bob Filbin of DoSomething.org and Crisis Text Line point out in their HBR post the importance of focusing on data that affect their key metrics. Their goal is to get teenagers involved in volunteering. Therefore, they want to know what motivates teens to volunteer and how to recruit them. When presenting findings to employees their conversation and supporting data visualizations focus on engagement not on regression analysis and R plots. Likewise, Bree’s Fitbit dashboard isn’t going to show a molecular analysis of the nutrients she eats. Rather, it simply shows whether she has eaten too many or too little for her weight goals.

  1. Don’t forget context

When we start building a narrative around our data, it is easy to omit context. I still remember my college statistics professor teaching us about correlation and causation. “See, this graph shows a correlation between murder and ice cream.” The obvious lesson was ice cream does not result in murder. In the case he presented, it was a spike in crime during the summer. Data visualization is so powerful that we can easily overlook omitted information. As a storyteller, your job is to make sure you have presented the data in a fair and complete manner. If you are not sure what factors are influencing your results, you may have some more exploring to do.

  1. Design Matters

Data visualization reduces our information processing time. We processes visuals far faster than any other kind of information. So how you display information matters. Be selective about the amount of detail and color you use. Provide comparative charts and data when appropriate. They work - our brains are optimized to consume information visually.

  1. Use data visualization strategically

When my colleague first told me about the Fitbit, she hooked me by showing me one number first, her total weight loss. I couldn’t help but pay attention. Once she had my attention she walked me through what each visualization meant literally and to her overall goals. It was logical and sequential. Every visualization had meaning, which is critical to both understanding and adoption. Don’t believe me? Our average attention span is roughly 8 seconds.

  1. Share your story

Think back to your audience. Your audience will determine the best method of delivery. Chances are it will involve some degree of visualization, if you are smart. A well-constructed story will carry across many different channels (transmedia).

Joan Didion once said, “We tell ourselves stories in order to live...” For my colleague Bree, it is was about changing her lifestyle. Seeing her life in pictures helped her understand what she was doing well and what she needed to improve.

Storytelling is a combined ability to understand the larger context and link together threads of data in a meaningful way. Visualizations are one of the most powerful ways of deriving meaning from the data. They help us connect the dots and share our findings with those around us. So, what story will you tell?

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