Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, January 25, 2016

Chasm Remains Between What Customers Want and What Marketers Deliver

Chasm remains between customers and marketersThe gap between marketer's perceptions of how well they are doing and how customers feel remains incredibly large and dangerous.
According to IBM’s "Listening to the Customer: 7 New Research Findings", "almost 90 percent of marketers agree that personalizing the customer experience is critical to their success. Despite this…nearly 80 percent of consumers stated that the average brand doesn’t understand them as an individual."
And, according to a brand study by Bain & Company the characteristics of winning brands center around the cultivation of deep understanding:
  • Winning companies invest to understand what can truly bring new users to their brand
  • They rely on deep insights about consumers to guide innovations
  • Winners build brand memorability by steadily and repeatedly reinforcing and nurturing the brand around consumer-relevant needs and occasions.
Vitamix – Uses Customer Understanding to Grow
As a 95 year old company, Vitamix continues to be one of the most trusted blenders and a market leader in a very competitive industry. They attribute growth rates of up to 52% to understanding that their customer is at the heart of everything they do.
According to Jodi Berg, fourth generation President and CEO of Vitamix, here are a few of their guiding principles:
  • "We really feel the best way to get new customers is to never lose a customer we already have … We focus on customer retention by building relationships with them."
  • "We have a philosophy that we aren't actually hiring a new customer when we sell a machine, we are hiring a new salesperson."
  • "We would only reach out to you if we felt you were a good candidate to hear our message."
  • "At the leadership level, you make sure everyone understands the direction you're going. You stay focused, align everything you're doing in the organization to set the playing field."
  • After we develop strategic objectives, we go back to the team and say "How does this feel? Does this work? Do you understand it? Does it make sense? Will you be able to apply it so that people know whether we're on track or not?"
  • "We do a lot of market research and have a lot of conversations with our customers. We focus on understanding what the challenges are and what is really happening in stores. We also know what people are eating, how they are eating and how they want to interact with the machine, and we work on those challenges."
3 TakeAways
1. Marketers must create tactics that define the brand message, not dilute it. However, in the IBM Trend report, "Listening to the Customer: 7 New Research Findings" it was noted that there is "a massive perception gap between how well businesses think they are marketing and the actual customer’s experience."
2. Consumers need to clearly and quickly understand brand advantage when faced with a purchasing decision. When brands are side by side in the moment of a purchase decision, it is perception and understanding that will sway a consumer towards or away from your brand.
3. Brand identity needs to be inline with consumer values. Brand marketing needs to be deeply rooted in consumer-relevancy to present a unified, clear brand statement that is not only understandable—but also acceptable to their core concerns.
If consumers do not have a clear understanding of who you are as a brand, then they have no awareness of what you are trying to sell to them. Equally important, if you do not have a laser focused understanding of your core audience then message relevancy is impossible.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Put Life Into Your Customers' Life Cycles

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
Customer Life CyclesThe term “closing a sale” is unfortunate. It reflects marketers’ thinking that with the acquisition of a sale they can move on to something else.
Instead, the sale should be viewed as a unique opportunity to begin to engage the customer across what will hopefully be a multiyear customer life cycle.
According to a Forrester report on the customer life cycle, CMOs need to take specific life-cycle actions to win, serve, and retain customers:
  • CMOs must match specific customer activities with tailored marketing actions to deepen engagement and enhance customer relationships.
  • CMOs must use the customer life cycle to reorient measurement and analytics approaches—from measuring specific touch points and transactional activities to measuring the value of the full customer relationship.
Generic messaging simply is not working for consumers who expect brands to present them with experiences based on their interaction history. In addition, an Accenture study found 55% of consumers also want a personalized experience on all engagement channels.
Here are two examples of brands that are getting it right—and how.
BCBGMaxAzria: Use Automation And Dynamic Personalization Women’s fashion company BCBGMaxAzria has been in business for more than 25 years, but it did not have a customer life cycle marketing strategy. It did, however, understand that its customer base was divided into three different types of fashionistas, and each group required unique actions to become interested and engaged. It used marketing automation to capture customer behavior on the site to send triggered emails to the right customers at the right times.
“We had one welcome email and then maybe they bought, or maybe they didn’t, and we would just batch-and-blast marketing emails to them,” Tommy Lamb, manager of ecommerce marketing at BCBGMaxAxria Group, told MarketingSherpa. The company learned that generic conversations were not working, so it used automation to help achieve more personalized connections with customers.
  • BCBGMaxAzria identified four key “triggers” and developed associated triggered email messages deployed according to a customer’s actions or inactions.
  • Additionally, notification messaging based on shopping behaviors were sent, which not only referenced a clothing item viewed or a new arrival, but associated wardrobe items that might be of interest.
The company reports that triggered email pushes average a 525% increase in click-through rates when compared to nontriggered sends. In addition, open rates have seen a lift of more than 220% when compared to the brand’s nontriggered sends. The company is now working on customized landing pages so that when consumers click through an email, they will be taken to a page with the BCBG branding that also is dynamically populated with a personalized product assortment.
AMResorts: Use Data For Greater Understanding
AMResorts, a luxury leisure company, needed a better way to view its entire guest life cycle across its 37 upscale resorts in order to deliver more personalized guest engagement. It used a data solution to study consumer actions and gain insights that drove new tactics.
Guest data from all six AMResorts was integrated into one central data warehouse. This enabled guest segmentation to drive rules-based decisions on personalized marketing content and communications to three key life stage consumers: prospects, reservation-holders, or recent guests.
By delving deep into its data, AMResorts was better able to understand the impact of its campaigns across all digital channels. This, in turn, enabled the company to fine-tune specific messaging and actions relevant to each segment, thereby driving more personalized and meaningful communications, according to Erica Doyne, senior director of marketing of AMResorts.
In summary, customers will continue to expect greater relevance and higher quality brand experiences. The only way to keep them and deepen engagement is to provide increasing levels of relevance and value across their ongoing customer life cycle.