About this blogWelcome to Customer Analytics, a blog for anyone who is looking for ways to improve the business of marketing and communicating with customers.
We strive to prompt new thinking in the way you tackle customer-related business issues. And we hope to inspire the use of analytics for everything from multi-level marketing to social media campaigns. Follow us here and on Twitter at @SAS_CI, or check out the Twitter hashtag #sasci.
I’m John Balla, Editor of the Customer Analytics blog and Principal Marketing Specialist in Customer Intelligence. Read more about me here.
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There is no shortage of technology buzzwords today - digitization, big data, the internet of things, mobile, social, cloud computing, and so on. For marketers, all these buzzwords can be at once astonishing, thrilling, exasperating, potentially overwhelming, and sometimes even downright cliché. But together, they're all part of the ways that technology is rewriting the rules for how marketing is conducted. And they're changing the way that marketing organizations need to be led.
Effective leadership has always been about combining what you know with the resources at your disposal to address what you don't know. That combination enables you to make the necessary decisions to address the issues before you. in today's technology-driven environment, leading your organization to faster, better decisions requires skill, agility, resourcefulness and above all, analytics.
In marketing, analytics allows executives to align strategy and operational execution to orchestrate positive customer experiences. And when the customer experience can improve across the organization, so does the bottom line. The infographic below is from research conducted by HBR earlier this year shows how managing the customer experience manifests itself positively across a range of key business measures.
“Big Brother?! Ha! I’m not afraid of what the government knows about me. I’m more afraid of the internet and what it will expose about me. Heck, I’m even more afraid of people on the street with their smartphones who can take my picture without my permission and post it anywhere. I’ve been so diligent about living a private life, but now I live in fear.”
~ An attendee who went by the name of “Dee” at a technology public sector event in May 2014
The big data privacy reports. On the heels of Edward Snowden’s proclamation about the U.S. government’s misuse of consumer data, President Barack Obama asked his counselor, John Podesta, in January 2014 to conduct a 90-day study on big data privacy with recommendations on how to move forward as a country. In May, two reports were publicly released:
- Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values – A report prepared by John Podesta and team, which evaluated big data opportunities and challenges and provided the President with important conclusions and recommendations for policy development.
- Report to the President – Big Data and Privacy: A Technological Perspective – A report prepared by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) to complement and inform the big data implications for policy as presented in John Podesta’s report.
Both reports are a good discussion starter about balancing the effective use of big data with the intrusions of privacy and discrimination, and they aptly demonstrate that the government understands the big data questions on the table – from both a policy standpoint and a technological standpoint. However, they didn’t go far enough to address tough, but common, privacy concerns, like the ones expressed by “Dee” in the quote above.
What needs to happen next? Read More
We live in the age of big data - just about everything is evolving and the pace of technological change is accelerating. More and more parts of our lives are being carried out online, and with the explosion of web-enabled devices, there is some truth to the idea that we're literally being surrounded by cyberspace. Our customers are changing, too - how they act, what they have at their disposal, as well as what they expect and need.
So what does that mean for marketers? Well it means a lot of things, but boil it down to its essence and I think we can agree that "business as usual" won't cut it anymore. Much has been written on this blog and elsewhere about the changes that are needed, and you may have even heard the call to be "more digital" or think "digital first." One problem may be that everyone has their own idea of what that means to be more "digital."
For me, being digital is inherently connected to content - creating it, making it easy to find, sharing it and making it easy to share. In my opinion, something qualifies as "digital" if it exists electronically and has its own web address. That can be pictures, papers, videos, articles, blog posts, infographics, webcasts, internet memes and so on. And while it's a good start to pay attention to content, I think that's just the beginning. It goes beyond that because even with all the new digital ways to reach our customers, the traditional forms of marketing are still important so integrating the old with the new is the best approach in my opinion.
I recently viewed a brief video featuring Brian Solis - the speaker, author and digital anthropologist - that has me thinking more about the idea of digital. He got me thinking that all those forms of content are really just the means to get at what we really should be focused on - people. It's the people who want to read our papers and watch our webinars that matter, and they have values, experiences and emotions that influence their state of mind when they come across our content. And Brian believes that's why we should focus on people for mapping our way to success in the digital economy.
Gaining insights into those values, experiences and emotions with marketing analytics are what enable us to know when and how to engage them, as well as what they really care about. From how I see it, that's precisely at the core of using keywords and optimizing our pages and doing other things that come with being more digital.
I've embedded that 3-minute video below, and in it, Brian explains his view on two important "gaps" that marketers should focus on bridging to be successful in our digital economy. And yes, both of those gaps are about people and the customer experience.
Let me know what you think:
In my role as a customer intelligence advisor, I have the privilege to work with a wide variety of organizations. From retailers to the banking sector, whether ‘B2C’ or ‘B2B’ oriented, one constant is the increasing adoption of data- driven marketing. But even so, we still come across the occasional "strange situation."
Often, such "strange situations" happen when we're working with marketers that prefer following their gut-feeling versus analytics when important decisions need to be made. Some of the worst offenders are the ones that are either unable or unwilling to track the return on investment from their marketing efforts.
I have worked with banking institutions that have state of the art analytics departments, but when asked how scoring was integrated in their marketing campaigns it became clear that the scores weren’t used by the marketing department. And it was simply because the marketer believed that his gut feeling was better than the analytical model.
I just can't appreciate that line of thinking, so I have to ask, "Why do some marketers not use these important sources of information, and hurdles do they face in order to leverage new technology and adopt more data-driven marketing?"
From what I've seen in my work, there are 5 possible hurdles that impede organizations from going to the next level:
1. Having a clear vision on what data-driven marketing can mean for the organization,
Organisations need to have a clear vision of what data-driven marketing offers and how it's going to improve insights and interactions. Both realisations come at different maturity levels. Once the vision is set it’s very important to align, not only marketing, but the whole organization on it. Read More
Have you heard of About the Data? It’s a website that lets consumers see what personal data’s been collected and is being used to drive the online ads they see and offers they receive. It’s a free service provided by Acxiom, a supplier of marketing data for businesses. Yes, a data broker.
I visited About the Data last September when it first launched. As a consumer, I wanted to see how much of my personal data had been collected. As a data professional, I was more interested in seeing what type of data was being collected, how accurate it was, and how easy it was for me to change and/or delete it. I was surprised at how much data had been collected and how freakishly accurate it was (~80%). Even though I had initially planned to opt-out and delete my data, after seeing what was there, I decided to leave my data as-is (with the option to change my mind later, of course).
And it appears that I’m not alone. Acxiom recently reported these site statistics: 500K consumers have visited the site since September 2013; 40% have registered and reviewed their data; 20% have changed their data; and 2% have opted out. These numbers are lower than I would have expected. Do consumers not care?
About those data brokers. In March, 2014, CBS’ 60 Minutes did a segment on “The Data Brokers: Selling your personal information.” As a consumer, you couldn’t help but watch and wonder how much of this report was true, how much of it was spin, and ultimately, why the exposé at all. Was it to increase awareness or was it just to creep folks out? Are data brokers really that evil?
As data professionals, however, we know there’s more to the story. Did 60 Minutes get it right? Who should we be pointing our finger at – the data brokers, the marketers or the consumers themselves? Read More
Big data – or whatever you prefer to call it – is a game changer for marketers and throughout the enterprise. And not to mince words: If you’re not using big data to improve your business – e.g., revenues, profits, operational efficiencies, decision making, etc. – then don’t do big data. It’s not worth the time, money or hassle.
Big data is not new. There’s no question that big data has received a lot of center stage attention and fanfare the last few years. Ready or not, this new age of big data is forcing organizations to look at their data - big and small, existing and potential - in a new light. But as disruptive and/or exciting as this may sound, we can’t afford to fall into the trap of believing that the “data” in “big data” is something new. Because it’s not.
Consider these “big” data sources: email, photos, videos, spreadsheets, PDF documents, satellite images, social media data, blogs, audio files, GPS data, call center transcripts, open data, RSS feeds, clickstream data - most of it is customer data, and the list goes on. Are any of these data sources new? Of course not. We’ve been collecting this data for many, many years.
So what’s new? Why all the hype? The simple answer is technology. We now have big data technology (much of it being open source) that allows us to store all this data at a fraction of the cost and process it in a fraction of the time – as compared to our existing, traditional systems. Read More
Forrester Research, Inc. recently published its latest biennial "Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) Wave" evaluation. For the third CCCM Wave evaluation in a row, SAS is cited as a "Leader" by the leading technology analyst firm.
This evaluation is the most comprehensive study of its kind in the Customer Intelligence space, and is the result of 41 evaluation criteria of all qualifying cross-channel campaign management software vendors.
This area of Forrester’s research addresses a market in which SAS is one of only 4 vendors that lead in the space.
This is the latest in a series of great analyst validation SAS has received specific to Customer Intelligence in the last ~ 36 months. This announcement is a Forrester endorsement of our leadership in software that assists companies in the execution of multi-channel campaign management initiatives. We continue to distinguish ourselves as one of the only vendors in the market rated as a Leader across the strategy and planning, marketing and customer analytics, and campaign management and optimization disciplines required of Customer Intelligence initiatives.
SAS Customer Intelligence scored particularly well with regard to its current offering capabilities, namely around its analytics, reporting, and optimization capabilities. These capabilities are clear market differentiators for SAS and place SAS ahead of other similar service providers. SAS also fared well in the Interaction Management category, highlighting the fact that SAS has the products needed to fully manage the customer decision journey - or path from research to purchase to retention. Interaction Management focuses on both inbound and outbound decision management - and the associated actions, rules, and insight that must be in place to manage these decisions.
Forrester recommends looking to SAS
if your organization needs software to help manage
this interactive marketing journey.
Anyhow - enough from me - please take a look at the full report here and see why SAS is leading the pack!