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Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, April 14, 2014

6 Customer Experience Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

Loyalty 360

   Loyalty 360 Feature Story.


Per results from recent Voice of Customer (VoC) research, Customer Experience strategies are failing to deliver the quality of experience customers expect. Notwithstanding today's technology, tools and analytics, it is sobering that customers are not experiencing a significantly improved customer experience.
Following are the top 6 Customer Experience mistakes that emerged from our analysis of thousands of hours of VoC research our firm, ERDM, conducted for clients such as MassMutual, Norton AntiVirus, IBM, HMS National, Songza and others;
1. Customers do not feel that marketers are trying to understand the customer journey from the customer's point of view. To many, it feels like "customer journey" is another term for mapping the sales opportunity journey.
2. It is obvious to customers that companies are doing things piecemeal. Examples cited in the research include;
• Improving multichannel marketing but not fixing customer service.
• Installing CRM systems which only automate bad behaviors but don't improve the quality of communications and experiences.
• Building Preference Centers which don't ask the right preference questions. 
Thought Leader Insight:
Scott Frey, President, PossibleNow;
“Install an enterprise wide preference center. Go beyond preference centers for individual channels such as email and create an easy-to-use portal where customers can create individual profiles, select topics of interest, preferred delivery channels and pace of communications. Preference centers provide the ability for customers to maintain their preferences as their interests change over time. Connect the preference center to all customer touch points”. 
3. Customers want marketers to move from thinking about individual campaigns to a holistic engagement strategy with proactive value added touches at key points important to the customer, not the marketer. High quality experiences must be maintained throughout the relationship and per a quote from a VoC interview, “Not just when you are selling or renewing”. 
Thought Leader Insight:
Eric Nystrom, Dell, Director, Social Media Services Group;
“We need to think in terms of engaging customers at every stage of the customer lifecycle. This causes a shift from one-way communications to conversations and to think about content differently. Customers expect to engage with subject matter experts and empowered employees, not corporate spokespeople. Content needs to be relevant, interesting and engaging…and always on”.
4. Conflicting metrics for measuring success; Marketers are looking at short term sales and ROI from individual campaigns. Customers are judging companies based on the quality of the overall experience, over time.
5. Frustratingly poor data. Customers want marketers to improve the quality of their data and shift from transaction-based information to opt-in preference-based information which will drive truly personalized communications and offers. 
Thought Leader Insight:
Andrew Bailey, Marketing Principal, FedEx;
“FedEx has always valued the customer experience and continues to make strides in providing an optimal one. FedEx works to allow customers to tell us how often they’d like to receive email, and on which specific topics. This helps spark a dialogue that allows us to better serve our customers by meeting their individual needs with information for the right person, containing the right content, in the right place and at the right time”.
6. Viewing Customer Experience as being about a few campaigns, will ensure you’ll fail. Successful companies view Customer Experience as a transformation of their culture, impacting every business process. Culture change is hard but is the longest lasting. Individual campaigns do not result in sustained change. 
MassMutual is an excellent case study of a company which has committed to transforming the customer experience with the goal of creating customers for life. They began by conducting Voice of Customer research to understand how different customer segments define deeper relationships with MassMutual Retirement Services at key points in their lifecycle. 
Thought Leader Insight:
Kris Gates, VP Customer Experience, MassMutual Retirement Services;
"Based on the learnings from the VoC research, we have redesigned the way we look at relationships with customers. Taking a Learn – Pilot – Scale approach to our marketing efforts, we already have several VoC research-based initiatives underway. These range from redefining how we view the customer-focused value of CRM platforms and our data, to campaign targeting and preference based communications. 
One of the findings from our recent VoC research indicated that our customers wanted communications driven by their preferences and interests. We used the rollout of our new educational video series SmartView,to measure the difference in response between mass emails to an entire list versus preference-driven offers to those who had opted in and told us their preferences and interests. Results from customers who opted in to receive information versus the mass email population: 94 percent higher open rates, 1,062 percent higher video views, 100 percent deliverability and Zero unsubscribes".
8 Key Takeaways to Avoid Customer Experience Mistakes
1. “Digital has changed buyer and marketer behavior. Traditional campaigns are definitive…social is about long-term relationships…think about how to drive content streams to improve search, engagement and conversion”.
Eric Nystrom, Director, Social Media Services Group, Dell
2. “Engage your customers to provide their preferences regarding information they want to receive from you; right person, right content, right time, right place and right medium”.
Andrew Bailey, Marketing Principal, FedEx.
3. Help customers at every point of contact with your company; from information gathering, to purchasing, to ongoing engagement. Make every aspect of doing business with your company easy.
4. Communicate a consistent message and brand across all channels, and customer touch points, including customer service.
5. Constantly improve how you communicate your value proposition; this applies to your products and your company, so customers understand why they should continue to do business with you.
6. Learn the customer journey from the customer’s perspective. Know what customers want from you at each stage of their journey with your company and satisfy their needs.
7. Rethink all communications with customers to be personalized, relevant and helpful based on their individual preferences. Don’t just send transaction-based “spray and pray”.
8. Change your culture to be customer centric in all aspects of your company and unite these efforts across all departments.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Oreo; Twitter Based Custom Cookies and CX Innovation

Challenge: Consumers have more avenues and channels to connect with brands than ever before. Therefore marketers need to embrace new ways to influence customer opinion and improve engagement across channels.
Custom OreosInfluence marketing in social media has taken on a vital role in customer engagement strategies. In order to be one step ahead in terms of presenting a positive opinion and generating buzz marketers need to be in a position to influence conversations and experiences at every turn.
Influence marketing is important because it can:
* Mobilize opinion and create reactions.
* Increase exposure to a very large audience.
* Generate broad based conversations on a given subject.
A company that can teach us a lot about customer engagement, social media marketing and consumer opinion marketing is Oreo. They understand how to connect with customers through innovative engagement strategies.
As an international brand, Oreo enabled fans to send greetings to friends and family during the holidays via a single click and application. The program strengthened the emotional bond between customers and the Oreo brand. There have been more than 1 million impressions for the viral video and 31 million Facebook impressions. A total of 40,000 people used the application and of those, more than 40% shared their Oreo moment.
They have engaged with fans through emotional ads that let existing customers remember why they love the brand and influence new customers through viral ads that are viewed and shared tens of thousands of times through social media. As a result, Oreo has an enormous following on Social Media;
Facebook – 35 Million+ fans
Twitter – 301K+ followers
YouTube – 20 Million+ views
Instagram – 95K+ followers
Pinterest – 3K+ followers.
Additionally, in a recent social media promotion at the SXSW Interactive Festival, Oreo custom-made vending machines enabled attendees to create and eat 3D-printed custom Oreo cookies based on trending Twitter conversations.
Users accessed the machines, located in an Oreo Trending Vending Lounge, to browse a selection of trending flavors displayed on a large touchscreen panel on the front of the machine. They choose from flavors and colors of creme that were trending. They then watched as their cookies were custom built, in under two minutes. Consumers everywhere were able to follow the conversation using the Twitter hashtag #eatthetweet
5 Key Takeaways to Improve Engagement
1. Develop innovative means of keeping both new and existing customers engaged with your brand. Give customers a reason to be involved and a reason to purchase your product. Per Oreo, think way out of the box!
2. Stay engaged at all times and on all channels with customers in order to influence opinions associated with your brand. Monitor conversations and interact in order to keep customers actively involved.
3. Develop promotions and new avenues that expand the audience exposed to your brand message across multiple channels.
4. Engage in active listening in order to understand what customers want and how they want to be engaged. In this way you can develop influence and engagement strategies that are relevant and impactful.
5. Don’t be afraid of customer input and customer opinion. Create response tactics that enable customers to feel a part of the brand and a member of a customer community.

Friday, March 14, 2014

How Social Listening Helps the Red Cross and Dell

Challenge: Today’s consumers are more connected via new media than ever before. To fully engage the multichannel consumer, companies need to leverage the power of social listening.
Red Cross CenterAccording to Nielsen’s, 2014 U.S. Digital Consumer Report, it’s critical to know how consumers are behaving in today’s fast evolving digital environment;
» Americans now own four digital devices on average.
» The average U.S. consumer spends 60 hours a week consuming content across devices.
» Today’s constantly connected consumer is active using social media anywhere they go. Nearly 64% of overall social media users say they use social media sites at least once a day via their computer, and almost half (47%) of smartphone owners visit social networks every day.
Dell understands the importance of connecting with customers across digital channels. They’ve implemented innovative social listening strategies. Eric Nystrom, Director Social Media Services Group, summarizes Dell’s priorities:
“Listening has a major impact on nearly every aspect of Dell’s operations beyond marketing and sales to product development, customer care, talent acquisition and shared innovation.”
The outcomes of effective listening include: improved brand health, CSAT and loyalty; positive impact on revenue and lead generation; product ideation; and predictive analytics and actionable insights that create value and accelerate overall business outcomes.
In a unique social listening initiative, Dell helped the Red Cross build a Digital Operations Center. According to Wendy Harman, director of social strategy for the American Red Cross: “We began to concern ourselves with scaling our social media operations and expanding the limited scope of what we listened to on the social Web.”
Dell Public Sector Marketing Director Colleen Ryan saw the opportunity to answer the American Red Cross’s need. “It seemed like a very intuitive thing to explore bringing to the Red Cross what we already do at Dell for our customers,” says Ryan.
The discussions between Dell and The American Red Cross resulted in the first large-scale social media command center, with six large screens showing a variety of data, and relevant public conversations across the social media.
Staff member and trained volunteers monitored these conversations to improve response ability and anticipate the public’s needs.
The social media program allowed the Red Cross to expedite their connection with people and get resources distributed during times of disaster.
5 Strategies Marketers can Learn from Dell’s Social Listening
Eric Nystrom provides the following 5 smart recommendations;
1. Listening is really at the heart of any social strategy and marketing; Listening to who’s talking tells you who your advocates are, your influencers, your ranters and your ravers. This forms the basis of all relationship marketing.
2. Social listening can impact every part of your business; Integrate social into all aspects of your marketing so that business value may be realized.
3. Remember that the voice of the customer is strong; Listening should lead to meaningful connections and two-way dialogue that is authentic, honest and direct.
4. Listening should bring you the information you need to develop your strategy; Avoid ready, fire, aim. Let the results inform a platform-agnostic, overarching social strategy.
5. Listening objectives should be defined; For example: (1) Radar – early warning detection (2) Learn – learn keywords used to fine tune SEO/SEM (3) Track – track conversations through lifecycle of campaign (4) Identify - identify sites, key opinion formers and peer influencers for engagement (5) Support - provide information or answer questions where consumers are online (6) Humanize - humanize the brand by participating in conversations and (7) Connect - connect with industry influencers and build relationships.