Author Archives: irAdmin

Four actions CMOs should take immediately

Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and marketing leaders face an uncertain and rapidly evolving situation as a result of the coronavirus, and they must take an aggressively proactive approach to preparing their organization for disruption, according to Gartner Inc. This article is copyright 2020 The Best Customer Guide.

CMOs must take immediate action in monitoring customer channels for unexpected and quick changes to customer behavior and purchasing needs, and prepare for potential disruption to budgets, plans, campaigns and strategy in the months ahead.

“CMOs who wait for shifts in customer perceptions and needs, interruptions to supply chains and operations, or restrictions on mobility, travel and mass gatherings as a result of the COVID- crisis will only increase risks to their organizations and miss potential opportunities to build customer loyalty,” said Augie Ray, senior director analyst at Gartner for Marketers. “The key to managing risks and finding opportunities in such a period of significant uncertainty isn’t to predict a single likely outcome, but to recognize the range of possible scenarios.”

Gartner recommends CMOs and marketing leaders take the following four actions to better prepare their organizations for disruptions related to the coronavirus COVID- crisis:

  1. Build COVID- Contingency Plans
    The key to mitigating risks associated with COVID- and identifying opportunities is rigorous scenario planning. Marketing leaders should create three scenarios, spanning from best- to worst-case, and consider the potential impacts to customers, the marketing team, and brand strategies and tactics. While scenario-planning, it is prudent to coordinate with functional leaders across the organization in legal, finance, supply chain, IT and operations.
  2. Monitor, Report and React to Shifts in Customer Behavior
    Maintaining customer-centricity is of utmost importance during times of stress, greater needs and quickly changing expectations. Marketing leaders must not only monitor customer values and sentiment against a global backdrop; they should also improve real-time listening to detect shifting customer sentiment so they can react immediately. In addition, as marketing leaders make decisions, they must carefully weigh short-term interests versus the value of sustaining and nurturing longer-term customer relationships during this time.
  3. Prepare Marketing Teams for Interruptions and Challenges
    The actions that marketing leaders take now will set the tone, internally and externally, for how the organization will weather the crisis. From an internal perspective, it’s important that marketing leaders anticipate how business disruptions will impact existing marketing operations and formulate strategies to protect and adjust budgets. In addition, CMOs must assess the needs of employees and prepare for alternate workplace operations. Externally, marketing organizations should be ready for rapid changes toward at-home and digital delivery of products and services. Marketers must also consider changes that may need to be made to customer policies and procedures to stay attuned to the empathy that customers need and expect.
  4. Review Marketing Plans for Potential Impact
    Failure to anticipate potential change to campaigns, promotions, event marketing, sponsorships and other marketing strategies will leave marketing teams in defense mode throughout the duration of the crisis. Marketing leaders’ scenarios should consider how restrictions to events and travel will impact sponsorship activation plans or campaign messaging. The coronavirus outbreak could also have significant impact on the timing of new products or campaign launches, and marketing organizations need to be agile in rescheduling or shifting messaging around these events. To avoid making reactive budget decisions, CMOs must begin to prioritize spending now and brace for rapid budget changes.

Additional information on what marketing leaders should be doing amid COVID-19 has been made available to Gartner for Marketers clients in the report, “Actions CMOs Must Take Now to Prepare for the Impact of the Coronavirus and COVID- Disease”.

This article was first published by Customer Network Strategy. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

8 Tips: Don’t Let The Coronavirus Infect Your Email Campaigns

Like it or not, the digital world is evolving. These changes might have happened over the course of a few years, but due to the coronavirus, the timeline has been shortened drastically. Flying cars aside, we already find ourselves living in hypothetical scenarios of a pseudo-future where everyone works from home, social contact is limited, and most of our time is spent in front of electronic devices (for now on the computer, the inevitable smartphone, and maybe even the tablet). For that reason, I was not surprised when my 4-year-old daughter thought the TV is broken when, by pressing the screen, she noticed that the Disney+ gallery wasn’t scrolling.

As social behaviors change, digital ones shift with them. The changes we are currently experiencing must be managed, not suffered through. Precisely because, consciously or not, we are an integral part of it. Even though change can be difficult, the show must go on! Whether you are trying to save your business, maintain it, or develop new avenues, email marketing can be an integral part of that strategy. But rushing to market with it can give way to avoidable errors.

So, if you really want to get started with email marketing during this period, I wouldn’t recommend pressing the send button before you’ve read these 8 tips:

1. Don’t send tearful emails

Nobody wants to get another email saying a company’s heart goes out to us in this challenging time and that they hope you and your family are in good health. You are a supplier. Kind, professional, generous, but still a supplier. Stay that way. Of course, if you already have a personal relationship with your audience, some empathy could be appreciated but in general, “buttering” customers up, even if in good faith, can be annoying and seem insincere.

Email deliverability consequences: cancellation, complaint, affected IP and sending domain reputation

2. Don’t hit the whole database

If you are thinking about sending emails to your whole list, your inactive audience may not take this positively. Especially because they have probably already received a ton of similar messages from other companies.

Email deliverability consequences: cancellation, complaint, spam traps affected, affected IP and sending domain reputation

3. Don’t send COVID promos

I know that business never sleeps, but your customers would feel “used” if you only focus on selling at this time, using COVID-19 as a selling point. Perhaps it is also not the most appropriate time to really push abandoned carts and send re-engagement emails with a commercial or carefree tone. Being commercially aggressive can be a slippery slope. Take this into consideration. Unless you sell medical masks or sanitizing products, pushing too much sales right now might have a bad boomerang effect.

Email deliverability consequences: cancellation, complaint, email into spam folder, affected IP and sending domain reputation, loss of loyalty

4. Only send when there’s a good reason

Don’t feel compelled to say something just because everyone else is doing it. If you don’t have a valid reason to communicate with your customers, it’s better to not say anything. In other words, don’t just send emails for the sake of it. In fact, you risk wasting time creating the campaign and only earning complaints as a result.

Email deliverability consequences: complaints

 5. Be patient

Online shopping trends are skyrocketing due to the temporary closure of many physical stores. So, the consumers who previously preferred traditional shopping will be forced to change their mind and make use of eCommerce stores. As a result, inactive users will recover their old/unused/forgotten account and reactivate it and new customers will start signing up.

Email deliverability consequences: having more active audience between your recipients, means higher reputation with ISPs and higher deliverability.

6. Be positive, but not happy

You are most likely about to send a campaign to consumers who have been at home with their family (some, also with the mother-in-law) for 24 hours a day, for the past weeks. As if that is not enough, they certainly receive daily, negative news updates about the pandemic. So, using an overly enthusiastic tone might lead the subscriber to think that you are sending emails from another planet (and which point they might envy you), or that you are pretending that nothing is happening in the world (at which point they will believe that you are out of mind). Please try to put yourself in your audience’s shoes and don’t force your happy talk on them.

Email deliverability consequences: complaints

7. Invest in security

Hacker attacks and phishing emails speculating about coronavirus are also increasing. ISPs raised the alert level and spam filters are more severe as well. If you haven’t done so yet, you can invest in sending securely (which ISPs really like) by properly configuring the SPF, DKIM and DMARC records, as well as the newcomer, BIMI.[https://mapp.com/blog/email-authentication-with-spf-dkim-and-dmarc/]

Email deliverability consequences: higher deliverability and open rates

8. Don’t underestimate the human anti-spam filter

Improving email deliverability can be done with many different strategies, rules, and tricks. What we often forget though is that the human spam filter remains the most effective. In fact, it’s the one that generates the complaints, unsubscribes, or just the deliberate ignoring of your message. More than ever before, we must give priority to the user experience rather than to percentages. It seems the email bombing panic we had at the times of GDPR is going to come again. (Pro tip: In general, never put a panicked person and an email marketing platform in the same room) Please, break away from the pack and don’t just follow the sheep when it comes to your email campaigns.

This article was first published by MAPP. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Shoppers are now prioritizing convenience and value

Despite the persistent threat of a recession, consumers remain confident about their financial well-being and are contributing to CPG sales growth, according to IRI’s Q4 2019 Consumer Connect Survey. However, as consumers prioritize saving time, effort and money, they are shifting their shopping habits to channels they feel best support them. This article is copyright 2020 The Best Customer Guide.

In the full report, entitled ‘Channel Trends in CPG Today’, IRI analyzes how this shift is affecting consumer shopping channel preferences and in-store behaviors. Joan Driggs, IRI’s vice president of Content and Thought Leadership, explained: “Despite an atmosphere of economic uncertainty, consumer confidence and outlook remain favorable. The optimism we recorded in our Consumer Connect survey is likely to have a positive effect on sales in the CPG industry, which we expect to continue growing incrementally through 2020, and exceed $886 billion by 2021.”

That said, certain channels – such as dollar stores and e-commerce – provide stronger value propositions to customers, and are gaining shopper visits, while more traditional retail channels, such as mass market, supercenters, drug and grocery show declining visits. This suggests that, despite their confidence in the future, consumers are still focused on finding new ways to save.

The index monitors the current financial health and outlook of consumers, differentiating between the sentiments of various income groups, races and generations. The Q4 report revealed that overall consumer confidence has increased by nearly 1% since the Q4 2018 report, and 1.5% against the data from last quarter, overcoming the threat of recession. Fifty-seven percent of consumers reported that they feel good about their financial health, and 73% expressed confidence that their households’ economic well-being would improve within the next six months.

IRI observed the most widespread feeling of financial stability among older generations and high-income households, as well as Asian and non-Hispanic consumers. Millennials and African Americans reported the most widespread confidence that their financial health would improve in the near future.

Shift Toward Convenience and Value
The study observed that consumer demand for convenience and value is increasingly influential in persuading a consumer to shop through a specific channel and at a specific store. Value retailers, which include dollar stores and e-commerce, have seen 1.4 and 6-point increases in penetration, respectively, since 2016.

While consumers still favour traditional channels such as grocery, drug and mass, the penetration in those channels has decreased over the same period, suggesting that they are losing shoppers to other channels. The IRI study also found that, when deciding where to shop, consumers weigh in-store experiential concepts and easy navigation services, as well as price, as heavy motivations for their choices.

“Consumers across the board cited time and cost savings as key drivers of where they choose to shop, which is causing a shift away from the channels that we are used to seeing dominate the CPG space,” continued Driggs. “In particular, we found that heavy shoppers are being attracted to dollar retailers over competing channels, likely because they are looking for ways to save. We expect this will continue to negatively impact sectors like grocery and pharmacy, which have lost their ability to protect and cultivate their core shopper base.”

The ease and value of the dollar channel led consumers to increase the frequency of trips per month and per-trip spending compared to a year ago, relative to competing channels. E-commerce platforms also experienced a greater number of trips, but saw average basket size decrease, as shoppers got more comfortable with the platform and the expectation of quick delivery.

This article was first published by Customer Network Strategy. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Corona Virus Challenges – Solutions for Convenience Retailers

With much of the world locked down for the forseeable future, the conversations around loyalty are changing. Safeguarding our customers, our staff and ourselves has become our biggest concern.  

While businesses adapt and loyalty programmes evolve, agile retailers who may never have needed to allow their customers to “pre-order and pre-pay” are now recognising the power of digital platforms to support social distancing, particularly in convenience retail. 

As a consultant to the convenience industry, working with Liquid Barcodes, this episode unapologetically promotes a unique online solution and a tool that can be implemented by any retailer in just one week, in order to help retailers protect their customers and staff, and further build trust and loyalty long-term. 

This article was first published by Let’s Talk Loyalty. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Adapting to Change: How to Come Out on Top

Change. Sometimes it happens quickly. Often its agonizingly slow. But if the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us anything, it’s how quickly people, companies and governments can make huge changes and adapt their daily routines to get things done and meet the new normal when they absolutely have to. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.

There have been some incredible examples of companies using their skills and technology to pivot completely to making new products, such as face masks (Foxconn), hand sanitizer (LVMH), ventilators, and breathing support devices developed in a week which would otherwise take years for approvals (Mercedes F1 team). In addition, restaurants and pubs turning not only to takeaway, but selling fresh fruit, vegetable, flour, butter etc. The one in my village is even selling cask beer to take away! In other words, all the essentials.

There are always winners in any given situation, though perhaps some are less expected. Zoom, HouseParty, Netflix, Amazon, and supermarkets are some of the highest profile and perhaps obvious companies to benefit. But less expected are garden centers, DIY stores, gym equipment, garden toys and stationary brands, which are all seeing a huge rise in demand as people look to fill their time and teach at home. They’re perhaps not products you may have initially thought would soar in popularity — those and toilet paper, I guess.

It may be far from perfect, but change we did. And change on this scale comes with the equally important requirement of strong and accurate communication. We’re responding to our customers’ needs and changes in requirements as quickly as we possibly can, too. Analytics is more important than ever to make sense of the madness and make fast, informed, and actionable decisions based on insights, and then use direct forms of communication such as email, SMS, push notifications and social media to keep customers informed. We know that some of our clients are short on staff and resources (home-schooling taking up time, changes in staff priorities, varying ability to work remotely, at full capacity, and of course illness), which means that creative, copy, or data maybe isn’t delivered on time, either internally or via third parties — and they need some help.

Here’s how Mapp can help, beyond our digital marketing platform:

1. Campaign Management Services

Now more than ever, companies need to rely on digital marketing campaigns to reach their goals and KPIs. Mapp’s Campaign Management Team, based across Europe and the US, can deliver campaigns on your behalf from the Mapp Cloud platform, whether it’s to acquire new customers or engage current ones. More specifically, we can help with you deploy email and SMS campaigns, setup reactivation campaigns, and acquire new high-quality users to your user base.

Find out more campaign management

2. Strategic Data Consulting Services

Turn data into information and information into actionable insights. It’s all about understanding what the data means in order to optimize your current marketing programs and better align them with your business goals. Our team of data experts, based in Germany and the UK, work with Mapp customers to help them get more out of their data in our systems – and their systems – to drive better marketing.

Mapp’s Strategic Data Consulting can assist you with gaining actionable insights from your data, collecting more valuable data, or cleansing your user database. Learn how to look at data from a user-centric perspective to help find segments with low, medium or high performing users within your user base, and send more targeted email campaigns instead of BAU send outs perhaps better suited to normal business conditions.

Find out more about data consulting

3. Lead Generation Services

Online traffic and engagement are at an all-time high right now. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your brand in front of a new audience! Mapp’s Lead Generation Services can help you collect that crucial first-party data by building a fresh and engaged audience, nurtured with dynamic, personalised campaigns. This way your company can remain successful during these uncertain times – and you’ll be ready to jump straight into top gear when normal life resumes. We can build all of your creatives, overlays, pop-ups, banners, emails, landing pages, reports, and anything else you might need to grow your prospect database.

Find out more about lead generation

Consumer demand is changing as often as government policy and health advice, and with so much change, engaging the right person with the right campaign at the right time is more important than ever. We may not be able to manufacture ventilators, but we want to ensure new and existing customers can continue to build relationships with their own customers with the help of our technology, at a time when accurate and timely communication is vitally important.

This article was first published by Mapp. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

How Loyalty can help put your business back on track

The pandemic related impact to the Australian economy is already being felt; airlines to shut down, retailers forced to close, hotels cleared out and filled with returning residents, banks re-focusing to customer support. It’s clear that the ‘stay at home’ measures and the hibernation of many businesses has caused consumers to stop spending. So how does loyalty help these and other industries navigate this health and economic shock?

From a loyalty perspective, BCG have a 4-stage framework which is a useful way to think about it: React, Rebound, Recession, Reimagination. We provide our perspective on how it can be applied.

React (short term)

Most of what we have seen so far in this domain are loyalty program members being hit with two types of messages:

  • A – the useless “Are you ok? We’re here for you” emails: arriving from brands that I hardly remember buying anything from asking if I was OK, or…
  • B – the useful “here’s something to help” emails: from companies who are leveraging their programs to help customers in their hour of need:
    • Foodworks grocery store rolling out special shopping windows for elderly and local residents. The loyalty card (or a pensioner card) becomes the ticket to access the store in the mornings, beating the rush and getting access to in-demand products
    • Nike will focus on digital in regions facing store closures. In the U.S., the digital push includes a “Play inside” campaign, making the Nike Training Club app accessible free of charge and offering up to 40 percent online discounts, free shipping and 60-day free returns

It’s not all positive, there are some punitive measures being introduced – Delta has added some new restrictions to the SkyMiles marketplace. Now only Medallion elite members and Delta Amex cardholders can redeem SkyMiles for merchandise, and the option to redeem miles for gift cards has disappeared entirely.

Rebound (short to medium term)

Brands are recognising that when their business goes into hibernation, so does the customer relationship. Some brands are making big changes to their program to welcome the customer and to be there when the inevitable thawing takes place. This includes resetting the goalposts and providing generosity. Both Virgin and Qantas have extended their status tiers for a year, giving members a reset and extending their tier benefits for when flying inevitably starts again.

Many other programs are extending the points expiry rules, Hilton have paused the expiration of all points scheduled to expire between now and December 31, 2020. Freedom upped their bonus point offers. Cathay is automatically adding monthly increments of points between now and April to get travellers closer to status thresholds even when they cannot travel.

Recession (medium)

Being there for the customer in the post-pandemic environment inevitably means making changes to deal with challenging economic circumstances. Exercising generosity with your program is a likely way that brands will drive engagement with customers. An example is lowering points price on rewards, giving customers an earlier redemption. We also expect to see programs start awarding points for positive engagement, not just sales, posting reviews, blog posts, entering contests with the brand. We’ve seen some other examples already rolled out:

  • Qantas and Virgin allowing redemptions but telling you it could take until after lockdown to receive them
  • Privacy, how you behave now impacts how you’ll be perceived after.
    • Bad: Zoom and Houseparty have both been in the news for collecting personal data (openly – it’s in the T’s and C’s) and sharing it with other third parties.
    • Good: Apple’s evolving brand promise. The old Apple promise was that you don’t have to worry if the tech works. The new promise is you don’t have to worry if the tech is scamming you. Everything Apple showed was about curation, safety and trust. No tracking, no scammy ads, no loot boxes, no weird credit card charges.

Reimagination (long term)

In anticipating this new post-pandemic world and trying to find opportunity in adversity, it’s important to consider several shaping forces: new learnings, new attitudes, new habits and new needs. It’s too early yet to see how loyalty programs evolve as a result (whilst thinking ahead is necessary, surviving the short term is an obvious priority at the moment).

What could we expect to see?

  • A tipping point for card-linking: Allowing customers to link loyalty cards to payment cards
    • E.g. Bink in the UK partnering with Barclays and many retail loyalty programs
  • Digitisation of programs: Overcoming the challenges with physical commerce
    • Move away from physical rewards into digital gift cards and ‘pay with points’
  • Accelerated personalisation of marketing
    • Supermarkets offering double points now to get an unfair share of the spikes now and then have a pre-baked advantage in value coming in the door later (and funded by no specials happening. NZ supermarkets have switched off specials).
    • In tough times, program operators can increase trust in their most valuable customers by making it frictionless to redeem points for cash equivalent rewards. In uncertain times we expect to see a ‘run’ on gift cards as members horde cash but look to avoid risk in their program currencies (remember Ansett!). Rather than fight this, make it easy, perhaps make it a pro-active offer for high status members. In travel programs, when members start to travel again it will be for business first, not leisure so they will not be looking for reward seats/free rooms anyway. But they will remember you helped take away one source of stress from their lives.
  • Subscription loyalty
    • E.g. Amazon Prime for airlines, Airlines selling subscriptions like Air Asia’s now at a discount

Reflecting back to the GFC

There was a polarisation occurring in loyalty during the recovery. Customer loyalty programs boomed as brands doubled down investment in existing customers, and those customers responded to the rewards and incentives. Trade / B2B loyalty programs cratered. These were seen as discretionary so much of the incentives in the channels dried up. It’s a pattern that may repeat; B2C programs become the focus and an important marketing channel to get households back into spending mode.

This article was first published by Customer Network Strategy. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Survive and Thrive: Top Digital Strategies for The New Normal

Wednesday April 29th, 10 am Pacific, 1 pm Eastern

Every brand must find new ways to survive and thrive in these unprecedented times. In this Webinar, you will gain insights into the top strategies used by successful brands to help them grow their traffic, improve conversion rates, turn first-time customers into repeat buyers and build brand loyalty.

Now more than ever, brands are focusing on improving their digital strategies to weather this crisis, while also positioning themselves for future growth. Let us show you how easy this is to achieve with Mapp Cloud and its insight-led cross channel customer engagement capabilities.

Some categories have seen increased demand, some a stark drop, and others no change. Those that have seen a large increase are often faced with supply side problems. Whatever your situation, it is no doubt you’re being affected by the huge changes in consumer confidence and buying patterns. The question is….are you ready to face the challenge?

Join this webinar to:

· Learn strategies that work in these unprecedented times
· Apply these strategies to your own marketing program
· Optimize your results with Mapp Cloud and insight-led customer engagement.

This article was first published by MAPP. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Rewarding Loyalty with Luxury Experiences.

The Chalhoub Group is the largest retailer for luxury across the Middle East since 1955 with over 12,000 employees and a portfolio of some of the most exclusive brands in the world. With over 700 stores, the Group has spent the last two years defining and developing a unique loyalty programme proposition to appeal to premium customers and the luxury brands themselves. 

In this episode of “Let’s Talk Loyalty”, I interview Nida Unas, Head of Group Loyalty at Chalhoub Group who tells us about MUSE – the programme that has been developed to reward premium Chalhoub customers with luxury experiences. 

She shares with us some of the new ideas and solutions emerging through the programme as malls in the Middle East remain closed for now.

This article was first published by Let’s Talk Loyalty. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

New Generation Z data poses a critical question

Employers and business leaders take note: a one-size-fits-all approach to defining a generation will cost both talent and customers. As Generation Z (the generation of those born between 1997 and 2007) begins to enter the workforce and flex its newfound spending power, connecting with them is critical. This article is copyright 2020 The Best Customer Guide.

To do that, it is important to identify and acknowledge the differences within the generation – something many employers and business leaders failed to do with millennials, to their own detriment, according to Ernst & Young’s ‘Gen Z Segmentation Study’, which confirms bucketing the most diverse generation to date into one simple type, despite their individual characteristics, goals and values, will be a costly mistake.

Gen Z contradicts many expectations
Gen Z is a walking contradiction to society and past youth when it comes to social media usage, core values and politics. Employers and business leaders should get to know the generation before basing plans on stereotypes:

1. Social media
Today’s youth are perceived to be obsessed with their social media activities, and while 84% of Gen Z say they have a social media account, they use it more for communication than for public sharing like past generations. When asked to choose their top reasons for using social media, EY research found:

  • 80% of Gen Z use social media to connect with family and friends
  • 72% use it to satisfy boredom
  • 41% use it to stay up to date on news
  • 22% share opinions through social sites

2. Values
Today’s youth are driven and future-thinking, with 79% saying doing well in school is very or extremely important and 72% spending time on activities that will help them in the future.

3. Politics
The general assumption tends to be that Gen Z is liberal, but the research shows that these young people represent the diversity of the political spectrum. The majority view themselves as moderate (39%), with an almost-even split between liberal (28%) and conservative (25%), and the smallest percentage falling into the “other” column (8%).

The power of five
The EY Gen Z Segmentation Study identifies the five segments of the Gen Z population and shows how much of the population each segment represents:

  1. Stressed Strivers (35%)
    high achievers, driven by a fear of not being good enough
  2. Big Plans, Low Energy (18%)
    expect to do well and make money, but aren’t necessarily willing to put in the effort
  3. Carefree Constituents (16%)
    the definition of “go with the flow”; may not drive change, but will be the ones who adopt it into the mainstream
  4. Authentic Activists (16%)
    motivated by the obligation to save the world – and the fear of what will happen if they don’t
  5. Secluded Perfectionists (15%)
    focused on being the best, not for money or accolades, but for the love of what they do

“Companies need a Plan Z and to recognize the power of five – or that each Gen Z segment brings unique value,” according to Marcie Merriman, EY Americas Cultural Insights & Customer Strategy Leader. “Combining their strengths can accelerate innovation and transformation throughout an organization. The research shows us that while, as a whole, Gen Z are the true digital natives who grew up with technology and unparalleled access to information, their individual attitudes are proving to be diverse and varied. Understanding the drivers of each Gen Z segment is critical to providing them with the products, services and experiences they desire as consumers and the jobs they seek as employees.”

Societal changes impact how Gen Z is being raised
There are many components influencing the diversity we are seeing among Gen Z, such as technological innovations, medical advances and changing social norms. Gen Z is the first US generation born of three generations, meaning their parents can be baby boomers, Gen X or millennials.

The research shows that diversity also exists among the parents of Gen Z:

  1. Free-Range (ish) (38%)
    care about their children’s well-being and will help them when they’re struggling, but overall, encourage their kids to be independent
  2. Controlling Critics (33%)
    dictate what their children do and make their decisions for them, rather than raise them to be independent
  3. Helicopter Parents (16%)
    worry about their children and want to have control to ensure they are on the right path for success, a holdover from the millennial era
  4. Hands-Off (13%)
    detached from their kids’ lives, providing limited emotional support

The study found a correlation between parenting styles and the Gen Z segments they foster. The more involved parents are, the more likely their child is to be a Stressed Striver or Authentic Activist, while the more detached parents are likely to raise a Carefree Constituent or Secluded Perfectionist. The following chart further details these relationships:

Transparency addresses Gen Z’s trust concerns
As an extremely diverse, independent and proactive generation, Gen Z have strong personalities and values, making it hard to gain their loyalty – 67% of Gen Z say that people cannot be trusted. With the disposable nature of the current society, loyalty may seem like a lower priority to Gen Z, causing a greater challenge for companies. Transparency will help companies gain Gen Z’s trust and provide them with a platform to remain authentic, connected and fulfilled, and therefore, more aligned with their values.

To maintain relevancy in our fast-changing world, businesses need to adopt a Plan Z. Today’s youth are markedly different from past generations. They are more tech-savvy and globally aware, and have unprecedented access to information and opportunities to educate themselves – these truths have previously defined Gen Z. However, as they come of age, the contradictions and individuality within the generation are becoming clear. To take advantage of this endlessly empowered generation, companies need to understand the diversity within and the unique drivers in each segment, rather than viewing them as one.

Gen Z’s influence in the workplace, economy and society will be increasingly felt in the coming years, and understanding how they see and approach the world will remain important for employers, marketers, technologists, business leaders and more.

This article was first published by Customer Network Strategy . Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

7 Lessons from 7 Loyalty Experts

After seven incredible interviews, this episode looks back at the seven key lessons I’ve learned from my expert guests on the show.

“Let’s Talk Loyalty” is designed to be educational and inspiring for any of us focused on engaging customers and retaining them to drive profitable business growth. 

This summary episode is perfect if you’ve missed any of the great interviews – so you can listen back to anything relevant – or simply catch up with some inspiring statistics about our industry.

This article was first published by Let’s Talk Loyalty. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Who are your most engaged members?

If you are an established retailer planning to launch a new or improved loyalty program, you can bank on the fact that your most engaged and most valuable customers will join first and in the largest numbers.

Enrolments peak early and then taper off as high value customers sign up. If your business has seasonal peaks, you will also see enrolments increase in line with these sales ‘spikes’ as good customers visit to shop for Christmas or Mother’s Day.

Routinely we see early enrolment members; spending more, buying more frequently, redeeming more rewards, staying active longer, than later enrolees.

Marketing investment in the early life of your program is much more likely to be to an engaged group of heavy buyers. These members are more likely to respond to your calls to action and buy even more / take up your offers. Response and conversion rates should be good, return on your loyalty spending great!

Even by the end of the first year of operation, most programs are seeing a decrease in the number of new enrolees and a decrease in the average value of these latecomers.

Smaller numbers of customers enrol each month, but they keep coming and over time they dilute the high value customers who joined early. Later, investments that were very likely to reach a highly engaged customer are more likely to touch a customer that is only marginally interested and far less likely to respond to your offers.

You can invest in customers who enrol early with minimal risk that the money will be wasted on un-responsive customers. The opposite is true as your program matures and enrollment rates fall. Expect program ROL to fall after the initial enrolment ‘rush’, then level off unless you start targeting investment early.

We recommend all program operators prepare for member engagement scoring during the set-up and planning for program launch. Observing and noting how early cohorts of customers behave and interact differently with your program than later (lower value) cohorts will help identify what scoring elements are best at identifying members worthy of your investments early in their relationship with you.

This article was first published by Customer Network Strategy. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

How Companies Can Stay Successful When Face-To-Face Marketing & Selling Are Impeded

Shopping cart and coffee on wooden table,online shopping concept with cocy space

You’ve probably seen it in the news every day, the coronavirus is changing the way people are going about their daily life. In light of the outbreak of COVID-19, companies are also struggling to go about business as usual. Digiday sums it up clearly: “The economic shock of coronavirus is unique in that it affects both the demand and supply sides of the economy. On the demand side, there is less travel and likely more hesitant consumer spending. On the supply side, manufacturing supply chains are disrupted.” To try to keep employees safe, companies are taking preventive measures. But with these preventative measures day-to-day business processes – including manufacturing, marketing, and selling – are being put to the test.

Who is it affecting?

Companies are caught in a spiral of uncertainty, as the outlook for the spread of the virus changes every day. In the B2B realm, a lot of in-person events are being postponed or canceled – which goes for Mapp too – making it harder to find new leads and conduct global business. According to The New York Times, “companies are telling investors sales are slumping because of the outbreak, conferences are being canceled, and workers are being instructed not to travel.”

B2C companies are also seeing a decrease in sales, especially traditional retailers, as people are choosing to stay home, instead of going shopping. But there is a silver lining for retailers… The current state is changing people’s buying habits: less brick and mortar, more online shopping. Forbes says that “both customers who want to avoid the crowds and those who are running into empty shelves at brick-and-mortar stores are turning to the internet to shop.”

Online retail sales increased by +81% in the week after the emergency state arose, according to Nielsen. Sales of products that can safeguard health, such as gloves, masks, and sanitizers jumped 817% in February compared with the previous month. In addition, online sales of toilet paper, canned goods, cold and flu medicine, and groceries have risen tremendously, USA Today states.

What can you do?

Whatever situation your company finds itself in at the moment, it’s time to move your resources to digital marketing in the coming months to keep the business running – and growing. Retailers can drive revenue by reallocating their budget to online marketing to drive people directly to their online store.

No one knows when things will go back to normal, but in the meantime, is your business ready to face the challenge?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Is your eCommerce traffic growing?
  • Are you increasing your advertising spend to drive more traffic to your eCommerce store?
  • Can you track which channel/format is performing better?
  • Are you monitoring the customer journey on your eCommerce store?
  • Can you detect anomalies before it’s too late?
  • Do you have a strategy to convert new customers without burning your entire margin on discounts?
  • Are you asking your new customers for feedback after their first purchase?
  • Are you effectively managing abandoned baskets?
  • Can you classify customers by LTV and treat them accordingly?
  • Can you easily control which products sell more and why?
  • Do you have a strategy to engage new customers while they’re on your website?
  • Are you personalizing the customer experience on your website?
  • How do you turn a first-time customer into a repeat buyer?
How can a digital marketing platform help?
1. Drive people to your online store

If you’re only using email, it’s time to branch out. Use all your marketing channels to send consumers to your online store, including paid ads, push notifications, SMS, social media posts, etc. Businesses that adopt omnichannel strategies achieve 91% greater year-over-year customer retention rates, according to Aspect Software. What’s more, those omnichannel shoppers have a 30% higher lifetime value than those who shop using only one channel. Think of appealing promotions that people might need or want right now to drive website traffic (but read the discount section below first!). Pro tip: Before directing consumers to your online store, make sure your eCommerce site is in good shape and ready to take on the influx – both on desktop and mobile.

Target existing customers with messaging that draws on their purchase history and encourages them to return and buy again. Target prospective customers using existing customer data and insights to build a lookalike audience for new ad segments. Then use web browsing behavior to finetune both of those target audiences. But make sure you don’t waste ad spend on the wrong people. Use AI to suppress paid ads after they have been shown to a user X amount of times and then build persona profiles to prevent the display of adverts to users exhibiting similar behaviors to the people not responding to your ad.

2. Personalize your website experience

Enhance the traditional purchasing path by adding value at every stage with personalized, relevant and automated engagement. Especially on your website, make every single customer-brand interaction count with relevant content. Recommend the best products based on their previous purchase history, as well as viewed products across multiple website visits and interactions. Show your website visitors content that they actually want to see in order to guarantee higher engagement rates and decreased bounce rates.

3. Optimize your abandoned basket campaigns

Is your abandoned cart strategy actually bringing people back? Abandoned basket marketing involves follow-up messages sent to consumers who leave a website without purchasing the items in their shopping cart. The typical shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60% and 80%. These consumers have left part-way through checkout, which means that, at one point, they were considering making a purchase. The potential here is huge! In order to optimize abandoned basket messaging, use analytics and insights to find out more about the people abandoning their purchase. Target and automate these emails, so that an abandoned cart series can go all out on its own – and have the most impact. Win back revenue that would otherwise have been lost.

4. Rely on the power of smart discounts

To acquire or retain customers, a coupon can help seal the deal. Discounts are an effective – but costly – way to entice prospects to buy something from your online shop; the higher the discount the more likely the sale. But not everyone needs to be incentivized. Those who would buy something even without a coupon make discount campaigns an expensive undertaking, as you are losing money on a sale that could have been at full price.

The perfect solution is actually very simple: only offer a discount to those who won’t buy without it. That way you won’t interfere with potential new customers in the checkout process who have already made up their mind. With the help of AI (part of an advanced platform like Mapp Cloud), you can predict the conversion probability of a consumer in terms of selecting who receives a discount. These predictions rely on real-time and historical data, taking into account all behavior of a user in the past and during the current session. Then you define the thresholds for the conversion probability, e.g. offer everyone below 60% probability a discount, users above this threshold will not see any discounts. This will reduce the cost of discount campaigns while enticing the unconvinced to visit your online store and make a purchase.

5. Build customer loyalty

If your inventory is linked to China and you’re grappling with logistical bottlenecks and product shortages caused by the coronavirus, you can still rely on digital marketing to keep your customer engaged. Don’t take for granted how important it is to maintain good customer communication. The most important thing is that you want customers to remain loyal even if things aren’t going the way they should. Keeping your customers in the know will relieve a lot of frustration. Customers might be upset or frustrated because they didn’t get what they expected, so it’s your job to let them know that you care. Send messages to keep them up to date on delays, when certain products are expected to be back in stock or to just tell them you appreciate their loyalty in this crazy time.

As we mentioned before, use all channels at your disposal to build that relationship with your customers, including web, email, mobile, and social. Wherever consumers are, meet them there. Keep it all manageable by automating these communications. Build targeted campaigns automating all steps ahead of time. The recipients’ response should be taken into account over the course of the orchestrated campaign sequence, as well as their individual preferences. For consumers who do not respond to the first message, the content can be repackaged and/or offered through a different channel.

Wrap up

There are companies that are unexpectedly seeing an uptick in business since the outbreak – and online retailers are among them. In a world where people are increasingly hesitant to go outside, consumers are starting to rely more heavily on the internet than ever to go about their daily life. Is your business ready to take on this new customer need in this challenging time? Mapp Cloud is an insight-driven marketing engagement platform that can help your company remain successful while face-to-face marketing and selling are impeded.

This article was first published by Mapp.com. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

Leveraging customer passions for your loyalty programme.

Film, music and games are all assets that loyalty programme owners can leverage to drive emotional engagement with members. Listen to this episode to hear partnerships expert Tom Sugg from Brand Culture London explain how to leverage the power of the world’s most popular entertainment brands as partners to engage your customers around their passion points. 

This article was first published by Let’s Talk Loyalty. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

The Key Question of Loyalty

From a loyalty marketing perspective, few business tools are as useful as NPS – or Net Promoter Score – described by Harvard Business Review as “the one number you need to grow” – and the industry standard since the model was first published more than two decades ago as a way to measurably link your customer’s loyalty to your future profitability.

The ingenuity of the NPS approach lies in the question it uses which reveals customer’s true motivation. Whilst the factors that drive our buying behaviour are complex and varied, the “ultimate question” effectively sidesteps irrelevant influences to get to the true heart of the customer’s mindset by cleverly asking customers whether they would actually recommend the brand to a friend. By putting their own reputation on the line, customers commit what Fred Reichheld (the man behind the model) calls “the ultimate act of loyalty”.

An alumnus of Harvard Business School, and a Fellow and Consultant with Bain and Company for over forty-two years, Reichheld’s work has been embraced by leading global brands such as Apple Retail and American Express, so in this article, I explain both how and why I believe you should implement this simple tool in your business to understand the patterns of behaviour that are driving the profitability and growth potential of your business, starting with a short introduction video from LinkedIn.

Watch this short video for a quick introduction to Net Promoter Score methodology.

Benefits of Net Promoter Score :

Traditional customer research typically consists of lengthy questionnaires which are designed to capture specific insights across multiple issues from customers. But as busy people, we avoid lengthy questionnaires, so one immediate benefit of using NPS is that it asks just one simple question. This ensures higher response rates which are essential to achieve a statistically valid sample of data, while also eliminating the potential for customer frustration. Here is the question that customers are asked:

How likely is it that you would recommend [brand] to a friend or colleague?

Customers choose from 1 to 10 on the scale of their willingness to recommend the brand – 0 to six scores are classified as ‘detractors’, customers scoring seven or eight are ‘passive’ and only those awarding a nine or ten become ‘promoters’. Your overall NPS score as a single number is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

The Formula to Calculate Your Net Promoter Score

In addition to a definitive measurement of the satisfaction of your customers, the analysis ensures complete visibility of who your top customers are – the ones you never want to lose and on whom the majority of your loyalty efforts and resources should be focused on.

Promoters are known to be less price sensitive, they churn less and actively recommend your brand, while passive customers are more price sensitive and also more vulnerable to competitors. Clearly detractors are a significant cause for concern as they can cause considerable brand damage and indicate more fundamental health issues in your business that need attention.

So what constitutes a good NPS score? This varies hugely by industry however as the range ranges from -100 to +100, anything over 0 is considered a good result and anything over 50 is excellent.

Focus on Promoters to Maximise Profits.

Measuring Your Net Promoter Score

There is no global recommendation how often you should measure your NPS, so the key is to ensure the sample size is valid while ensuring that frequent customers are not targeted excessively. An airline may report to management on a monthly basis, however customer-centric brands like Apple are reported to survey customers ‘every day in every store’ – sending a clear message to customer-facing staff that delighting customers is their top priority in the store’s day to day operations.

Reichheld identified the key principles which are essential for any company implementing NPS to ensure the programme’s success, such as how Apple applied the tool systematically in order to “enrich” the lives of their customers.

  1. Measure feedback consistently – occasional surveys at the point of sale are simply not effective to identify and understand patterns or trends in customer feedback.
  2. Close the Loop: Within Apple retail, the store manager calls every detractor (those customers rating 0 to 6) to understand the problem they experienced, apologise, and put measures in place to address their issue.
  3. Celebrate success: Employees are critical to the success of any retail operation so peer recognition and sharing exceptional results from promoters serves to energise and reward those staff responsible and inspires them to continually deliver at their best. It also helps improve employee loyalty and retain retail staff.
  4. Share Best Practice: A final recommendation is to invite feedback from store staff through to the company headquarters in a clear, consistent and committed process. Customer-facing staff provide a unique window of feedback directly from customers to central operations, capturing ideas and improvements while ensuring positive team dynamics.

With this comprehensive approach, it’s no surprise that Apple Retail’s NPS has reached a world-leading NPS score of 89, with the retail sector overall lagging behind with an average score of 29.

The impact (or potential impact) of measuring your NPS is compelling, with recent research proving that promoters spend 3.5 times more than detractors – a key audience to impress to guarantee your future profitability. Already more than two thirds of Fortune 1000 companies are using the metric, so there’s no doubt that digital solutions (like the loyalty management platform I write about loyalty for) all offer a really simple approach to start by ensuring the survey communication is managed with the appropriate business rules for your stores automatically applied.

More and more brands are implementing the solution, for example in Oslo airport in various restaurants operated by HMS Host, customers are encouraged to scan a barcode on the menu to give feedback. Here is the case study if you’d like to understand their approach in more detail.

And if you’d like to implement net promoter score (or any loyalty strategy) in your business, please contact us.

This article was first published by Customer Network Strategy. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.

How To Uncover Customer Insights In Cross-Channel Marketing

In an ideal marketing world, traditional and e-commerce retailers would always know how and when to interact with their target audience to engage them in the best possible way. If there was only one communication channel, it would be a breeze to identify customers, track their activities, and address them in the most appropriate way. But the reality is different: consumers now not only use a wide variety of devices for surfing and online shopping, but also regularly switch between channels such as Facebook, e-mail, and customer apps. The challenge is, therefore, to identify customers across devices and channels in order to gain profound insights about them through data analysis. The new insights gained from this analysis allow a one-to-one customer approach that is appropriate for each channel.

The need for such data analyses is enormous. According to a recent Gartner study, companies are already investing between 6.3 and 8.6 percent of their budgets in analysis measures. At the same time, 61 percent of all companies plan to further increase their spending on marketing analytics in the next three years.

This blog explains how companies can gain valuable customer insights through a stringent cross-channel strategy and use it to their advantage.

1. Integrate Data & Break Down Silos

A well thought-out data strategy is essential for successful cross-channel marketing. To get a 360-degree view of their customers, retailers and e-commerce providers must first consider what information sources are available to them. Customer data can be collected in three different ways: through direct customer surveys, through indirect customer tracking and by supplementing their own customer information with third-party data. The company’s own CRM, websites, and social media profiles are the most obvious data sources. In principle, all points of contact with the customer can be used as sources.

However, data abundance does not automatically mean that useful insights are gained from it. One of the main obstacles to real customer insights are incomplete customer profiles. The key is to break down data silos with the help of a technology partner and create individual, uniform customer profiles. By closing the gaps and consolidating all fragmented data sources in one central location, target groups can be identified across channels, their preferences recognized, and correlations sounded out. Data from first, second- and third-party customers then helps e-commerce providers and retailers to plan and execute highly personalized marketing activities.

2. Define Goals & Channels

Large data sets also open up an infinite number of possibilities for data evaluation. In order to save resources and work effectively, retailers should define key performance indicators in advance that are geared to the most important corporate goals. For example, if a goal is “20% increase in new customer acquisition”, relevant marketing indicators include newsletter subscriptions and ad click rates. Companies should also ensure that all the data collected meets the needs of the various stakeholders.

The channel mix that a company uses can also be derived from the defined goals. Retailers need to ask themselves where they are most likely to meet their target audiences, which channels are already operating successfully, and which in turn have great potential.

Marketing analytics are the best way to evaluate the data related to different channels. The results reveal how their own customers behave, what marketing measures are being used with the target group, and which products and areas in the online shop work. In order not to overlook any useful information, the data and insights should be prepared in a uniform way. Graphics-based data dashboards enable employees and decision-makers to display key figures in a variety of ways, for example by marketing channel, campaign, content, region or business unit. This allows the entire company to maintain an overview, never lose sight of the common goal and discover additional business opportunities.

3. Outline the Customer Journey

In order to establish truly relevant cross-channel communication, it is important to capture the customer journey of each target group. The Customer Journey Mapping method is the way to do this. By visualizing the customer’s points of contact with their own brand and offers, the customer experience becomes tangible. E-commerce providers and retailers view products or service offerings from the customer’s perspective and can more easily identify disruptive factors and opportunities for improvement. However, in customer journey mapping there is no right or wrong. Depending on their own goals, companies should choose their own format. Either large customer groups are examined or very specific buyer personas. Similarly, mapping can focus on a specific marketing channel and constellation (e.g. the customer journey on social media) or it can look directly at the entire journey from initial contact to the conclusion of a sale. The following points should be examined for each phase:

  • The customer needs and goals
  • Relevant contact points & their impact on the customer
  • What should be communicated?
  • How are the brand values communicated?
  • The emotions of the customers

It is particularly important to understand the intentions of the target groups. After all, every customer interaction with one’s own company is based on a certain feeling, which can change during the customer journey. Often there is a problem or a certain interest behind the action. When e-commerce providers and retailers identify these pain points, they gain valuable customer insights –and can thus actively accompany and shape the customer journey.

4. Insight-based Customer Engagement

Once the customer journey and the corresponding data have been prepared, customers can be activated individually and across channels with various measures and messages on the basis of the insights gained. Companies should differentiate between data, analytics, and insights. Data is the raw and unprocessed facts, which are usually available in the form of figures and texts from the various channels. Data is usually stored in databases and Excel files. Analytics, on the other hand, means interpreting data and identifying patterns and trends. Insights describe the added value that results from the analytics findings. Insights are the central basis for developing your own offering and identifying new business opportunities.

However, insight-based customer engagement is also based on AI-supported forecasting models that enable targeted customer interaction with self-optimizing cross-channel campaigns. Automated, customized messages can be sent in the most appropriate marketing channel, at the optimal time and with the right contact frequency. One-to-one personalization is also indispensable in modern cross-channel marketing and allows dynamic customer interaction in real-time. Therefore, each individual end consumer should be treated as an individual segment. Detailed analytics functions are essential for accurate segmentation.

5. Obtaining Consent

It should be said that anyone who wants to accompany and address customers through several channels in advertising must also take care of the associated opt-in processes. Regardless of whether it’s a newsletter, social media or app: customers must give their consent for the individual channels, otherwise data collection is not legally sound. Since the introduction of the DSGVO at the latest, there have been no exceptions to this rule. If they receive individually tailored and attractive offers, customers are happy to give their consent to receive information. This requires customer confidence that customer data is processed and used responsibly and sensitively. At the same time, retailers and e-commerce brands are well advised to rely on first-party data. Such proprietary and self-generated data can be obtained, among other things, from the company’s own online shops and apps, as well as from comparable marketing channels, with the company having the sole right of access. Amazon, Google, Facebook and Co. are therefore excluded.

Conclusion

Cross-channel marketing means that the channels are linked to each other and not just processed in parallel. The measures are particularly effective if the different customer needs are addressed by an appropriate channel mix and a consistent customer experience is created. So, if you want to run successful cross-channel campaigns, you need to build up knowledge about your own customers, the right channels, tools, functionalities, and data collection and analysis. What may seem like too much of a challenge at first quickly turns out to be a smart investment in the future of the company. Once you have familiarized yourself with the subject matter, you will successfully communicate messages that are precisely targeted and comprehensively coordinated. This results in better customer loyalty – and thus more sales.

Want to find out more about how to truly get to know your customers in a cross-channel world?
Download our eBook Here

This article was first published by MAPP. Permission to use has been granted by the publisher.