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Why Integrating Marketing Technologies in 2018 is a Must

In a recent Forbes article, the importance of shifting our full focus to the integration of our marketing technologies and leaving yesterday’s silos behind, was summed up very succinctly. “2017 was the year of digital discovery. 2018 will be the year of technology and more integration of it into mainstream retail. It will be the year where we see retailers create new operating models that are less focused on their store vs. the web and more focused on creating experiences that gives customers more control and convenient ways to shop. It will be an exciting year where customers will find newness and creativity.”

How Does Your Organization Stack Up?

It’s surprising that skepticism still exists among the leadership of many organizations.  These organizations expect marketing departments to operate without a centralized view of their customers. Thus, they continue to spend valuable time trying to piece together the customer journey, their behavior and preferences, rather than having the time to understand each customer and provide them with an individualized channel customer experience that has customers saying “Wow!”

Integrating Marketing Technologies Starts with Centralized Data

A strong data foundation is needed if we are to give our marketers the tools they need to optimize customer data in a way that delivers the greatest value.

Start by centralizing the fragmented data created by silos and channel specific technologies like; email tools, e-commerce engines, social media, and POS systems. Data integration can be achieved with a Data Hub that layers onto your current systems. This alone will greatly help your marketers’ ability to craft a clear picture of the customer’s journey and where marketing can influence their behavior.

To find out more about how to integrate your marketing technologies download our eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

5 Predictive Analytics Models that Fuel Customer Engagement

As marketers, we are constantly put in the positon of trying to anticipate a customer’s next move. It is an important part of modern day marketing strategy and when it comes to ways that help us stay ahead, or at least in step, with customers, predictive analytics are our friend.

Using historical and current data, and statistical algorithms we can create predictive models which identify the likelihood of different customer engagement outcomes. And with artificial intelligence, these models can be perfected-learning overtime.

A Variety of Predictive Models Inform Different Customer Engagement Strategies

Models can help us qualify and prioritize customers based on future lifetime value or determine what product or offer is the most appropriate for each customer, at a given point in time. There are a variety of predictive models. We’ve listed some of the most common and why they’re effective.

  1. Churn Prevention. Churn prevention models encourage better customer engagement and loyalty because they identify churn warning signs as they arise. These models are created from abandonment traits — a predetermined set of variables that (historically) indicate that a customer is about to disengage or from our brand. By creating a churn model, we can easily anticipate which customers are at risk of leaving and stage an appropriate intervention to keep them both satisfied and engaged.
  2. Customer Lifetime Value. Customer lifetime value (CLV) models are fashioned from a variety of behavioral, demographic, and psychographic variables to help us predict someone’s propensity to be a high-value customer. Essentially, this model infers a customer’s future value from their current level of engagement and defining characteristics. It then evaluates how much revenue they are likely to contribute long-term. CLV models can become more complex than just measuring purchase over time. Variables can also be drawn from certain behaviors like social shares and referrals, where the value of the customer extends to their ability to convert others.
  3. Next-Best Action. Next-best action models help us understand what a given customer is likely to do next. They help encourage certain actions and can be programmed to be ready with a relevant offer. Next-best action is determined by evaluating a customer’s expectations, needs, and interests and our objective for that customer.
  4. Product Propensity. Product propensity models look at a customer’s purchase activity to determine new audiences for a particular product or service. By discovering correlations in a customer’s purchasing activity and leveraging predictive analytics, we can target new audiences with a high propensity to purchase the product or service thereby driving revenues for that product or category.
  5. Cross-sell and Upsell. Cross-sell and upsell models focus on what’s in a customer’s shopping cart. Amazon’s “you might also be interested in…” and “often bought together…” prompts are good examples of using insight gained from cross-sell and upsell analytics to inform a bundled pricing strategy (selling multiple goods as a single unit so that the sale of one item buoys the sale of another).

Keeping the Big Picture in Mind

With all predictive analytics models, it’s important to understand how each model interacts to form a bigger picture. The critical factor, as always, is being able to adapt our strategy to meet changing customer needs and expectations. Predictive analytics models provide an accurate, reliable and adaptable strategic guide and tool — but it’s still up to us to follow through on the insights found within the data with creative communications. At the end of the day, any model we use should be done so with the overall goal of increasing revenue and lifetime value of the customer.

To find out more about how predictive analytics can fuel customer engagement download our eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Making Customer Experience Management Priority One

A Walker study states that by the year 2020 customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. So, it’s no surprise that customer experience management is a much talked about topic in most marketing circles. Yet, many companies continue to struggle with how to approach the transition from product centric to customer centric marketing. If you haven’t already begun to transition to a customer centric strategy, you had better make it your number one priority.

Emotional Experience as Important as Rational Experience

We’ve talked about this before in previous blogs –- Increasing Marketing’s Productivity — but it is worth repeating, customers expect the brand they interact with to know them, know what they need, and when they need it. The emotional experience, how your customers feel about your brand, is becoming as important as the rational experience of the product you are selling. A Recent Deloitte CulturePath report states the issue quite succinctly, “As technology lowers barriers to entry, it is easier for unorthodox competitors to enter and disrupt markets. With greater access to reviews and online ratings, customers are better equipped to switch to new products and services. To maintain customer loyalty and retain their business, companies need to track the quality of their customers’ experiences far more closely.” To track “quality of experience” we need to reassess our focus and move from rational product marketing to more emotionally driven customer centric marketing.

And we are not alone. For most companies transitioning to a customer centric focus is far from complete.

3 Things to Help Transition to Customer Centric Focus

If you are one of them, here are 3 things to focus on to help move your organization down the transitional path:

  1. Change the Way Data is Collected and Analyzed: A Gartner survey shows that companies who implement customer experience projects begin by focusing on ways they collect and analyze customer feedback. By moving customer feedback analysis further up the priority list, we can focus efforts to isolate product versus personal experience data and insights.
  2. Providing an Omni-Channel Experience: Price Waterhouse Coopers states that by 2020 the demand for an omni-channel customer experience will be amplified by the need for near perfect execution. This not only applies to consistent messaging across channels, but extends to a consistent customer record across channels. Providing a consistent omni-channel experience for the customer demands a central repository for all inbound and outbound customer interactions/data. Only then can we achieve a single record for each customer and meet their hyper-personalized demands.
  3. Mobile, Mobile, Mobile: WOW Local Marketing says that by the end of this year mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search. The question is no longer whether the mobile experience is important or not. It is! And, unfortunately, it is mobile where most brands fail. A mobile experience that does not meet the expectations of the mobile savvy customer is a failure in their eyes. As they say, “the devil is in the details.” And, most customers continue to be disappointed. If you haven’t optimized your brand experience for mobile, make it a priority.

To find out more about how to transition your customer experience management download our eBook, Paving the Path to Better Customer Engagement: 5 Ways to Kick Customer Engagement into High Gear.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

 

 

 

The Interrelationship of Data, Analytics, and Insights

The Interrelationship of Data, Analytics, and Insights

Like goals, strategy, and tactics, where people confuse the terms and use them interchangeably, many do not understand fully the exact definitions and interdependency of data, analytics, and insights. This not only causes confusion, but also a lot of redundancy. What we need is an easy way to explain each term that others can relate to and remember.

Helping Others Understand the Terms and Their Connection

Data and analytics build off each other to deliver deep understanding and insights, into customers’ attitudes, behaviors and preferences. Insights uncover actions we can take engage customers and drive revenue.

What Is Data?

Data is the information we collect from customer interactions with our brand — demographic, behavior, attitudes, and activity. And, today, we have more data available to us than ever before — in the last two years more data has been generated than in our entire history!

Despite this overwhelming multitude of data, it’s extremely difficult to make any sense of pure data points as data points in and of themselves do not paint a picture any of us can understand.

What are Analytics?

Analytics help us discover the patterns and trends within our data.

There is treasure buried in those data points that we cannot unlock without analytics. The analytic tools dig through data to reveal the connections across data points, thus making sense of the data. Analytics provides the bird’s eye view and begins to paint a picture of our customers behavior in relation to our business.

What are Insights?

Insight is the value obtained from the understanding gained from the analytics.  Insights are the power. The “ah-ha” moments. They provide us with the deep understanding required to identify the opportunities, create strategies, and campaigns to engage our customers, increase loyalty, and drive revenue.

The Power of Insights-Driven Marketing

The real value of collecting all customer data (preferably in a centralized repository) and having analytics technology and tools lies in their ability to help us uncover the rich insights. We can have all the data points we can imagine, but without the ability to ingest, digest, and organize it data to be able to pull out actionable insights, it’s all worthless.

The relationship becomes very clear for people if expressed simply —the customer provides the data, the technology provides the analytics, and people glean the insights.

To find out more about how to harness data and use analytics to uncover actionable insights, download our eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

4 Segmentation Strategies to Help Target Customers

One of the most frequently applied marketing strategies today is that of customer segmentation, targeting and positioning (STP). Segmentation strategies help marketers define and understand specific buyer populations and leverage that insight to deliver more relevant offers.

This is not a new phenomenon. Traditional marketing techniques also involved separating and targeting consumers by general characteristics like age and sex. What has changed with the advent of the digital age is that both the stakes and the possibilities have been raised and the gold standard is now a segment of one.

Segmentation Strategies Inspire Greater ROI and Loyalty

For many companies the investment in technology, tools, and human capital may not be available to get to the segment of one. But that doesn’t mean more sophisticated segmentation strategies are entirely out of reach.  There are a variety of segmentation strategies we can employ to engage customers in the more appropriate and effective way — inspiring greater ROI and better brand loyalty. What are the available options?

Segmenting Our Database to Increase Relevance

What all of us can do, to increase the relevance of our messaging and offers, is segment our database using these four strategic principles:

1. Demographic Segmentation. Demographic segmentation models group customers by certain key population markers such as age, sex, socio-economic class, income, family size, occupation, and ethnicity. Marketers were employing simple grouping principles, long before big data came into the picture, by intuitively noting which populations (male/female, urban/suburban, high/low income) were most likely to buy their product and targeting their message accordingly. Today’s demographic segmentation models can offer a more accurate and specific picture of a buyer population, informed by customer data rather than observation and speculation.

2. Geographic Segmentation. This is also one of the simplest and widely-used segmentation strategies. Geographic segmentation models provide insight into where a given brand’s customers are located and specific location driven behaviors or preferences.

3.Psychographic Segmentation. While psychographic segmentation strategies aren’t new, they’re exponentially more informed and accurate in the digital age. Psychographic segmentation divides our customers into different segments by their specific personality traits, values, attitudes, and interests — and understanding how those characteristics affect a customer’s lifestyle and buying choices.

An example of psychographic segmentation would be a car company that markets the same model to different segments based on their value of luxury versus practicality and their level of eco-consciousness. For example, the company would market to the luxury-valuing segment by emphasizing luxury features and market to the practical, environmentally-conscious segment by highlighting corresponding features like gas mileage, storage space, and eco-conscious design — essentially ensuring that the product offer resonates with both audiences.

4. Behavioral Segmentation. This segmentation strategy groups people by the specific behavioral patterns they display when making purchasing decisions. Because customer behavior is such a nuanced topic, there are many possible approaches. Product-specific behavioral segmentation strategies often focus on customers’ expectations for, attitude towards, and response to, a given product. More general behavioral segmentation strategies group customers based on their buying and product-using patterns, identifying how different customer segments prefer to spend their money and time. This strategy not only helps target specific groups that are a good fit for an existing product. It also helps identify product gaps making it a favorite of consumer goods corporations that produce a variety of products spanning a variety of product categories.

To find out more about how segmentation strategies can help target customers more effectively download our eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Put These 7 Marketing Trends on Your Radar for 2018

As we head to the end of the year, it is time to look at the some of the key marketing trends bubbling up for 2018. Many are technology related, which shouldn’t be surprising. Technology advances continue to accelerate customer demands and our ability to respond.

7 Marketing Trends We Are Watching Closely…

  1. AI live chat takes over human chat. In a recent Forbes article, it was stated that Artificial Intelligence Chatbots, are now becoming a very viable customer service channel. Already, the best AI Chatbots are so good that customers are not be able to tell if they are communicating with a human or a computer.
  2. Data-science teams become a mainstream function within marketing departments. We are already seeing large B to C organizations begin to reorganize their marketing departments to include Data-Science teams.
  3. As devices, such as iPhone Eight and iPhone X go mainstream and augmented reality out strips virtual reality (except for within video games), we will need to begin to experiment with augmented reality branded content.
  4. Brands begin to develop voice-optimized content. In 2017, 1 in 5 online searches were conducted through voice search. By 2020, that number is predicted to be 1 in 2, or 50%. Just as we have optimized content for web and mobile, we will look to optimize content for voice search.
  5. The debate around machine learning and how we how manage ads will heat up. Emerging platforms promise to use advanced machine learning algorithms to optimize ad spend by identifying ideal audiences, messaging, and creative.
  6. Customers continue to expect more and more from our brands. Voice assistants, same-day delivery, and on-demand content. We will come under pressure to find innovative new ways to delight customers with what amounts to real-time service.
  7. Privacy protection will become a major selling point. Driven in part by the high-profile data breaches in 2017. Moving forward, customers will begin to favor brands that protect their privacy.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

4 Rules for Cross Channel Campaign Management

Customers are demanding and getting briefer, quicker, and hyper-personalized content every day, in real-time. How do marketers keep up with the demands of their customers? Cross channel campaign management is the key.

Cross channel campaigns demand a different type of planning from more traditional push campaigns. Campaigns need to be able to speak to an individual customer’s needs and be flexible and responsive to the customer’s timeframe, not ours.

Cross channel campaign management and creating the content necessary to have meaningful and timely personalized interactions with each customer can become very daunting, very quickly, but there are some simple rules that can help unlock the puzzle.

4 Simple Rules for Cross Channel Campaign Management

1. Keep the messaging relevant and appropriate. As with any marketing campaign, you need to analyze our data and apply insights. It is the insights that help uncover what will motivate each customer to engage with our brand and take the next step towards purchase. If your message is too broad and generic, customers will see reject it for its lack of relevancy. If it’s too narrow and niche, you run the risk of missing the opportunity to get the attention of the customers you are targeting.

2. Simple is best. Without strategic thinking and planning, campaigns can become overly complex, very quickly. Campaigns need to be based on a sold creative idea, expressed simply. Each piece of content should focus on one message. Too many messages at once will only serve to confuse and get lost in the noise. You need to keep your real-time marketing initiatives simple, creative, and, above all, authentic, so we can engage the customer and execute efficiently.

3. Make it a priority. Social media was once thought of as a “nice-to-have” in the marketing mix. Now, it is necessary for business success – as went social media, so goes cross channel real-time marketing. We can’t escape this reality. Cross channel campaign management should be a priority and investing in the technology and tools available to make the management and orchestration of these campaigns is an investment worth making.

4. Automation is our friend. Thankfully, the technologies and tools available to us now, for each phase of campaign management, can be layered onto existing systems. While they won’t come up with the ideas for us, these technologies can efficiently and effectively help us manage and execute the relevant message to the right customer, at the right time, in the right channel.

To find out more about how to succeed in cross channel campaign management download our eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Choosing the Right Real-Time Technologies

A new Forrester report predicts that marketing technology budgets will “grow by double digits” in 2018. Why? Because we all realize that a cohesive strategy that fuses real-time marketing technology and product is a must if we are to drive growth. With a boat load of marketing technology options and vendors to pick from – MarTech states there are now over 5,000+  here are a few guidelines to consider:

Keep the Customer Front and Center

Mapping out your customer journey is a good way to make sure you are evaluating real-time technologies with the customer in mind and particularly how they interact with your brand. Any technology investment should help you close the gap between the current customer experience and the ideal customer experience.

Be Technology Agnostic

Just as your customers want to be treated as a segment of one, your organization also has individual needs. While you can certainly learn from best marketing technology practices in your industry, there is no one size fits all. Keeping an open mind and being technology agnostic is important when assessing the marketing technology solutions specific needs of your business; the maturity of your brand; the resources you have available, and the capabilities of those resources to adapt to new marketing technologies, tools and processes. You need to assess each technology solution based on a balanced approach of best practices and your individual organization requirements.

Avoid the Shiny New Toy

In an ever-evolving marketing technology environment, where the number of new vendors and tools available has grown by 40%, in the last year, it is easy to be seduced by the “latest and greatest.” But the critical question to ask is whether, or not, this “shiny new toy” is an investment that can be sustained over the long term. Chart out the operational requirements and manpower needed to implement, execute and sustain the marketing technology you are considering, across all functional groups.

Establish Acceptable Trade-offs Upfront

Be prudent. The addition of several new technologies all at once can quickly overwhelm your organizations resources and have the opposite effect from your intention. The goal of investing in new marketing technologies is to help make it easier for your organization to reach its goal, interact in a relevant and meaningful way with your customers, thus drive increased revenue. Consider a phased approach. The marketing technologies now available allow you to layer the tools your organization needs on top of your existing system. A phased approach helps avoid new marketing technologies from becoming major operational nightmares. If your organization does not have a solid data foundation where all customer data is centralized and easily accessible by all, start there.

Ultimately, Marketing, Customer Service, and IT teams need to work together to choose the right marketing technology products. Make sure all parties are part of the process from the beginning. The days of silo decision-making are long gone.

To find out more about how to prioritize and apply a phased approach to marketing technology investments, download our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Data Structures to Support Real-Time Engagement

The key to real-time is performance. You need to be able to integrate what you know about a customer with what they are doing right now to drive split second decisions about what to say, or do, next. Many current data structures do not support the high-level performance needed to engage customers in real-time.

Data warehouses are being found to increasingly fall short of the data requirements needed in a real-time world, but the thought of having to build a new data structure is something we do not want to contemplate.

Data Warehouses Don’t Deliver the Data Points Needed for Real-Time

As we know, a data warehouse is a repository for all the data that an organization’s individual business functions collect. Data warehousing emphasizes the capture of data from diverse sources, but does not generally start from the point-of-view of the end user who may need access to specialized databases.

In a real-time world, functions such as marketing, sales, and customer service need access to an extended set of data points to deliver the personalized customer experiences required for the brand to engage the customer, build loyalty, and drive revenue.

Leverage What is in Place and Layer onto Existing Data Structures

A Customer Data Management Platform is an option that does not require you to rip and replace. It can be layered onto existing systems to deliver data integration. The Customer Data Management Platform provides a home for all customer master data –- company data and third party — that has been matched, reconciled, and certified, and is available,

Unlike the traditional data warehouse, which usually stores historical detail, summarized data, and time-variant information, a Customer Data Management Platform stores certified master data for each individual customer. This is the data that is a “must have” for striving to meet their goals for engagement, loyalty, and revenue in a real-time personalized world.

Real-time engagement is fast becoming the point of entry for marketing and sales. To meet the data demands of real-time we need to access our current data structures and provide solutions that do not demand a complete overhaul of our existing data structures. Thankfully, new technologies, once only available to very large companies, are now available to all. Technologies that can be layered onto existing infrastructures to provide the specialized data required for real-time engagement.

To find out more about Customer Data Management Platform solutions click here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Traditional Push Campaign Creative Doesn’t Cut it

One of the many struggles we face as we gear up our marketing for real-time execution is how to formulate campaign creative to meet the hyper-personalization demands of the customer without “killing” the creative teams.

Is Your Campaign Creative Ready for Real-Time?

Real-time marketing demands a different type of thinking when it comes to creating campaigns and creative, and it is not just about volume. It is about relevant and meaningful messages for a segment of one, at scale.

Campaign management systems can help, but how do you know what creative you will need?  The first thing we need to recognize is the old push or calendar driven batch and blast product creative just doesn’t work anymore.

Traditional campaigns, at best, have versioning of one message. We need to shift our thinking to personalized customer driven creative, that engages the customer with creative messages that show we understand each of them and care. This requires us to understand both the big picture — the full extent of the customer journey — and be prepared to, in real-time, deliver personalized messages, at scale, when and where the customer is ready to receive them.

Personalized Campaign Creative Does Not Mean Unlimited Options

The way to deliver personalized campaigns without getting into a downward spiral of creative options is to shift our thinking from product events to events based on a customer’s behavior – both current and predictive using our understanding of the customer journey –- for example, next best action.

To deliver personalized creative, we not only need a content management system, allowing us to have a library of images and copy, but also a cross channel engagement and a customer data platform to make hyper personalization and real-time campaign creative a reality.

To find out more about how to personalize campaign creative for real-time download our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Is Your Organizational Structure Right for Real-Time?

In many companies, old school organizational structures are now a major hindrance. One of the issues is that these outdated structures created data silos, yet today’s reality is that for real-time marketing to be successful all data needs to be centralized and accessible to everyone.

“Many CMOs Are Tearing Up Their Org Charts”

New marketing tools, strategies, and approaches are appearing daily. The Harvard Business review reports that while, “Many CMOs are tearing up their org charts”, they are struggling with how to draw the new chart. What does the ideal structure look like? Our answer is that this is the wrong question. A simple blueprint does not exist. Structure must follow strategy — not the other way around.”

Inclusive Organizational Structures Coming to the Fore

All the latest research points to one very clear path. To be successful in the real-time world, inclusive organizational structures are required — where marketing is no longer a discrete, silo function, but one that extends across almost every function.  In the age of the customer, it’s no longer only marketing responsibility to foster a customer centric culture.  The responsibility now spans across most functional departments.

Where to Start?

Getting our arms around the realities of real-time demands that all available data — first, second and third party — is accessible across the organization, and most importantly, accessible, in actionable form, to marketing. Most marketers are “drowning” in customer data, and most state they are not able to take full advantage of that data because of persistent siloes. Understanding customer behavior, their journey, and their channel preferences is fast becoming marketing’s cost of entry. Centralizing all the data available within the company — both inbound and outbound — is the first step to moving toward an organization that can meet customer demands for real-time personalized and meaningful experiences.

To find out more about how real-time marketing realities will affect your organizational structure download our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross-Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

The Role of Customer Data Platforms in a Real-Time Marketing Environment

In today’s, customer empowered world, brands require access to clean, continually refreshed, and connected customer data to compete. Connected data is central to a brand’s ability to achieve deep customer understanding and devise and execute real time customer engagement strategies.

Fragmented Data Ecosystems Create Barriers

However, fragmented marketing ecosystems with multiple point solutions (that house rich customer data) create barriers to achieving real-time customer engagement strategies. Commonly, each point solution in the marketing eco-system has its own data model and stores data in different formats.  Because of these data structure differences these point solutions can’t easily share information. Additionally, data collection happens at a different pace.  Social media, for example streams real-time, while other systems such as CRMs are updated in batches.

Data Warehouses, Marts, and Lakes Have Limitations

Database technologies, like data warehouses or data marts have been useful in data centralization, but have limitations. They only accept structured data on a pre-defined cadence and are ill-suited for capturing social media interactions and other unstructured information. Data lakes work well for storing all forms and cadence, but do little to support brand efforts to achieve real insight into customer behaviors. Data must be exported and modeled to gain actionable insight for marketing purposes.

The Customer Data Platform is the Solution

A Customer Data Platform ingests all types of data from all types of sources, and combines it into a single customer view.  A CDP provides greater efficiency in data access which enables brands to connect and engage customers.

To deliver the connected data required in today’s customer empowered world, data and technology teams, as well as their marketing partners, need to include Customer Data Platforms in their search for customer data centralization solutions.

To find out more about Customer Data Platform solutions click here to see our solutions page.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

How Real-Time Marketing Increases Campaign Success

Real-Time marketing success is the latest game changer. But, how do we communicate the value of real-time marketing in a way our senior management will understand and buy into the investment? One way is to point to how real-time marketing’s success can increase campaign effectiveness and help us achieve our customer engagement, loyalty, and revenue goals.

Real-Time Marketing Technologies and Techniques Increase Agility

Real-time marketing technologies and techniques help us be more agile. And, as customer demands for hyper-personalized, in the moment interactions, on multiple platforms and devices becomes the new norm, we need to be agile. Otherwise, how do we match the agility of our customer by spotting opportunities earlier and reacting quicker to meet them where they are to drive better campaign results. This is what real-time marketing technologies and techniques allow us to do.

3 Ways Real-Time Marketing Increases Campaign Success

  1. Spot Opportunities Quicker: The techniques of target segmentation are becoming a thing of the past. To be competitive we need to reorient our thinking to a segment of one. We need a 360º view of each customer – every interaction they have with our brand needs to be captured so we can have the insight needed to tailor our -communications to individual customer needs.  The only way you can cost effectively execute one to one is with analytics integrated directly into your execution processes.
  2. React Quicker: In line analytics include segmentations and predictive models.  When embedded into to your execution workflow, you can automate your response to customer actions in real time. Many platforms now include  machine learning which automatically adjusts logic as it learns from additional interaction data.  Machine learning generates better segmentation, predicts each customer need and will deliver the highest personalized message.  In short, machine learning embedded into your execution workflow deliver automation to your customer engagement strategy. And enables much more individualized interactions – both in terms of contextual relevancy and with cadence that is more tightly aligned with real-time customer needs.
  3.  Deliver Better Campaign Results: Before making certain types of purchases, customers commonly research, discover and explore possibilities. And like dropping bread crumbs along the way, these customer behaviors leave a trail of purchase intentions. Understanding how your customers interact before they buy is a goldmine opportunity to engage them with highly personalized communications, relevant to their journey stage. The personalized experiences you create with these techniques are welcomed by your customer. That customer is now more likely to engage further with your brand, increasing your campaign results by driving more revenue.

When all is said and done, real-time marketing technologies and techniques allow you to increase customer visits. What would 1 more visit from your customer base mean in top line revenue? Or increasing the average transaction size?  Or extending the customer’s life with your brand?  This is the real value of real-time marketing—it drives greater engagement and is quantifiable through actual purchase behavior.

Our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity, details the capabilities you need to use real-time marketing to increase your campaign success and convince your senior management the investment is well worth the cost.It is available to download, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Why CMOs Must Prepare for Real-Time Customer Marketing

Consumers are demanding hyper-personalization and brands must step up with real-time customer marketing to effectively compete, or risk being obsolete. The bar for personalization will continue to rise, and CMO’s must help their organizations transition from the traditional marketing techniques of outbound targeting to the more modern (and competitive) approach of personalizing inbound customer interactions.

3 Reasons Why CMOs Should Invest in Real-Time Capabilities

  1. Customers will pay more for a great experience. In fact, Forrester states 86% of customers will pay more for a better customer experience, yet only 1% think brands consistently meet their expectations. Compare this to another study that shows 80% of CMO’s think they offer a great experience. Clearly there is a big gap between what CMOs and their customers think. And, it is this gap that must be closed if brands are to effectively compete for wallet share and avoid customer defection.

  2. The rise of digital transformation. BCG (Boston Consulting Group) states, “Companies that are on the forefront of data transformation are enjoying 20% to 30% EBITDA gains by using fresh, granular data in sales, marketing, supply chain, manufacturing, and R&D”. Digital transformation cannot be ignored and CMOs must team with other executives to determine the best approach to transforming business processes across their entire organization. Most transformation initiatives put the customer and customer data central to transformation efforts so CMO’s are often leading the change efforts.

 

  3. 48% of Americans expect brands to know who they are and to help introduce them to new products and services. Marketing is all about understanding consumer culture. We live in a world where multiple consumer groups exist, each with unique and varied preferences, and cultural beliefs that are subject to change in an instant. Marketing needs to be empowered with high-quality, datadriven audience insights to connect, in real-time, with their target market authentically.

 

The Ultimate Value of Real-Time Marketing is Increased Revenue

Real-Time Marketing is now a prerequisite to engage with customers in a meaningful and relevant way. The upshot of this increased engagement is increased revenue. Customers are more highly engaged with your brand, they are less likely to defect and therefore, more loyal. And, with increased loyalty comes increased lifetime value. Solving each piece of the real-time marketing puzzle is worth the effort as it only results in upside. Not solving it will lead an organization down a path no CMO wants to imagine.

Our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity, is designed as a guide to real-time marketing, It is available to download, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Under Promise and Over Deliver. How to Exceed Customer Experience Expectations.

A recent study found 80% of CEOs believed their companies offer superior customer experiences. The problem? Only 8% of their customers agreed with that assessment. So, rather than meeting or exceeding expectations, most companies are disappointing their customers, leaving them at high risk of defection. Which poses a significant challenge for marketing teams tasked with increasing customer loyalty and lifetime value.

Closing the Gap between What Brands Deliver and Customer Expectations

How do companies close the gap and move to exceeding customer expectations? The answer lies in having the capabilities to hold one customer interaction at a time, and do it consistently over the life of each individual customer. The Harvard Business Review defines the customer experience as “the sum totality of how customers engage with your company and brand, not just in a snapshot in time, but throughout the entire arc of being a customer.”

Customer Experience Expectations Centered on Personalization

Customers are not interested in the generic push campaigns of the past. This requires a shift in our thinking and a move towards delivering personalized messages and offers, in real-time, no matter what channel. For marketing teams to succeed, they need access to technologies that bring all data together in one central repository, to create one single view of the customer. This allows marketing to focus on a customer centric strategy – where the customer, not products, dictate marketing actions.

Knowing a Customer’s Needs and Wants

Real-time data combined with orchestration techniques allow marketing teams to predict a customer’s behavior, understand their pain points, and present offers and messages that not only get them to complete a purchase, but believe the brand is interested in knowing them. The customer needs to feel they are important and that the company values them. As Maya Angelou so aptly said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” Do you know how your customers feel about your company, brand, products?

Over Delivery the New Marketing Norm

If companies and brands want to remain competitive, over delivery is the new norm and requires your marketing team to use 3 modern techniques to execute a customer centric approach:

  1. Context: Understanding your customer’s situation and perspective. The more you know about your customer’s needs and wants, the more personalized your messages.
  2. Real-Time: Delivering a personalized message and experience in the exact moment your customer is there to receive it. Your messaging aligns with your customer’s interaction cadence. Real-time creates a big wow response, sending your customers a message that says, “Hey we know you!”
  3. Cross Channel: Cross channel embraces the whole customer journey. It empowers your marketing team to track customers as they use multiple channels (and devices). Cross-channel orchestration enables your team to design and execute marketing that matches the customer’s path, increasing the likelihood they will engage and respond.

Our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity,   outlines the capabilities and technology platforms needed to over deliver and meet customer experience expectations. It is available to download, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

5 Ways Marketing Technologies Can Help Increase Customer Conversion

How many potential customers has your organization let walk, or abandon a cart, or… These are problems many companies face. Yet, we all know that advancing customer acquisition is a critical component in increasing revenue. Oftentimes, the answer to why customer conversion is not higher has nothing to do with your brand image, or the products you are offering, or your marketing campaigns, or customer service, but a lack of insight into the behaviors and psychology of your customers that would enable your marketing teams to structure their strategies and campaigns to meet a customer’s specific needs.

Moving the Customer from No to Yes More Often…

New marketing technologies now make it easier for marketing teams to meet the always increasing demands of today’s sophisticated customers — helping them increase conversion by moving more customers from no to yes. And these new technologies are available and accessible to all, not matter what your company size.

Data Driven Marketing Technologies are the Key

In a multi-channel, multi-device world everything is driven by our organization’s ability to capture, analyze, and act on the wealth of data each, and every, potential customer generates when they interact with our brand. And the only way to do that is to layer new technologies such as customer hubs and inline analytics into your current system.

5 Ways Marketing Technologies Help Increase Conversion

  1. Move from Instinct to real Insight based on data.
  2. Understand the purchase motivations of your customers.
  3. Create and act on a segment of one, at scale.
  4. Understand the customer’s journey, irrespective of channel or device.
  5. Interact with each customer in real-time.

Our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity,   outlines the capabilities and technology platforms needed to increase customer conversion. It is available to download, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Customer Segmentation a Thing of the Past?

Customer segmentation has been a tried and true marketing technique for decades. However, today’s customers demand hyper-personalization that segmentation techniques are not able to answer.  Quite simply, because they continue to put the product we are selling first, not the customer. Meeting the expectations of today’s customers’ demands a new approach. An approach that puts the customer first and allows us to target segments of one, at scale.

Hyper-Personalization the New Competitive Differentiator. 

A recent report from Accenture states 75% of consumers are more likely to buy from a retailer that recognizes them by name, recommends options based on past purchases, and knows their purchase history. And, the report goes on to say that customers are willing to shop more with brands that recognize them as an individual and can provide recommendations based on their specific needs. In fact, Forrester says 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better experience.

Capabilities Needed to Meet Personalization Demands…  Recently, new technologies have emerged to help add the capabilities needed for our teams to market smarter and allow them to interpret intent and support individual customers in a non-invasive, but hyper- personalized way. And, these new technologies are now available and affordable for all size organizations.

There are three capabilities critical to driving to a segment of one, at scale.

  1. Data foundation: All your customers in one centralized repository, irrespective of channel.
  2. Inline Analytics: Deliver automation to your customer engagement strategy and enables much more individualized interactions.
  3. Orchestration: Gives your organization the agility needed to design seamless workflows across channels and devices and present real time next best action recommendations.

Customer segmentation is not going to drive the achievement of your customer acquisition or loyalty goals. Not taking advantage of the new technologies and capabilities they provide is tantamount to setting yourself and your teams up for failure.

Our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity,  the capabilities and technology platforms needed to put the customer first and create segments of one, at scale. It is available to download, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.

Investing in Customer Retention

How many times have you heard that it costs significantly more to attract a new customer than keep an existing one? Or that satisfied, loyal customers are more profitable in terms of lifetime value? We may hear it and even say it a lot, but many companies do not invest as much time, effort, or resources on customer retention as they do in customer acquisition. And as the marketing environment becomes more and more competitive, and customers’ expectations continue to climb, those companies are at significant risk of leaving an opportunity to increase profits on the table.

Customer Retention Can Increase Profits 25 to 75 Percent

Bain and Company research shows how the smallest increase in customer retention can bring significant increases in profit, 25 to 75 percent. Proving that investing in your existing customers can be more lucrative than investing in acquiring customers. Why don’t more marketers make this a priority?

Lack of Customer Retention Technologies and Tools Holding Back Many Marketing Departments

Old marketing techniques had us focused on push messaging targeted at customer segments. These push campaigns were generic, repetitive, and largely irrelevant. And, in todays on demand, in the moment, customer driven, world they are the types of campaigns that are likely to have your customers bolting for the proverbial door.

Reducing the risk of defection and increasing the opportunities for increased loyalty and revenue demands a new approach. An approach based on being able to predict existing customer behaviors, across a multitude of channels and devices, in real-time.

New Technologies Help Us Market Smarter

Recently, new technologies have emerged to help us market smarter and allow us to interpret intent and support individual customers in a non-invasive, but hyper-personalized way.

The enabling technologies, now available and accessible to all sizes of organizations, sum up to a brave new world for us. And, it’s not that difficult to add them to your existing capabilities.

New technologies can take customer retention to the next level by optimizing the tools you already have in place, centralizing and unifying your silo data, and layering an orchestration capability on top of your individual channel tools.

Adding these technologies to your marketing ecosystem form a more modern architecture that enables you to take advantage of customer retention opportunities and increase profits.

Our latest eBook, The Value of Context, Cross Channel and Real-Time Capabilities: Advancing Marketing’s Productivity,  outlines how you can make your marketing more productive, the techniques you need to employ, and the capabilities and technology platforms needed to retain customers in this in the moment and hyper personalized environment. It is available to download, here.

About VeraCentra: Marketers everywhere want to use data to implement more modern customer engagement strategies. But there can be many obstacles standing in the way of success. That’s where we come in. VeraCentra provides easy-access Customer Data Hubs. We represent best of breed Cross Channel Engagement Platforms (so marketers get the right fit) and offer the Marketing and Data Services that guarantee speed to value and quick win ROI from technology investments. We deliver these solutions with an unmatched wholehearted approach bringing personalized support, care, and service to every client. That’s why many of our client relationships span more than a decade.