Turn your customer loyalty strategic plan into an action plan

Emily Collins

Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

Even if you have a clear idea of where you want to end up, the route you take to customer loyalty isn't always straightforward. Outlining a strategic plan helps you understand what you need to do, but a roadmap identifies howwhen and with what resources you should tackle each step. Forrester believes there are six components to designing an effective loyalty roadmap:

  1. Time frame: The expected completion of tasks and delivery of results.
  2. Desired outcomes: Key performance indicators (KPIs)that help you benchmark the performance of your advancing strategy based on your maturity.
  3. Strategic themes: A summary of the objectives an organization needs to advance its strategy.
  4. Key steps: The specific tasks — pulled straight from the strategic plan — which an organization must complete to graduate to the next maturity level.
  5. Dependencies: The people, process, and technology required to execute the key steps. Changes to the current approach may require acquiring new team members, implementing formal processes, or buying loyalty technology.
  6. Investment level: Where and when the allocated loyalty budget will be spent.
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It's Still Early Days For Big Data In Thailand

Gene Cao

On October 14, I attended Big Data & Business Insights 2014 in Bangkok — the first public big data event in Thailand. I spoke about how to use big data to increase customer value in the age of the customer — a topic that seemed a bit distant from the audience’s daily reality. Most of them use traditional data warehouse and business intelligence tools and are new to big data solutions like Hadoop platforms, big data visualization, and predictive solutions. Here’s what I came away with:

  • Big data is still new to Thai businesses. Most big data projects in Thailand are still at the testing stages, and these trials are taking place in university labs rather than commercial environments. Dr. Putchong Uthayopas of the Department of Computer Engineering at Kasetsart University noted that big data projects in Thailand are now moving from pilot projects to actual usage.
  • Organizations need more details of real big data solutions. Thai businesses have held off investing in big data solutions because they felt uncertainty about the outcomes of big data projects. Attendees showed a lot of interest when I talked about big data usage in traditional industries, such as John Deere’s “Farm Forward” use case, which helped farmers make better decisions on what, when, and how to plant.
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Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Marketing Clouds - Introducing The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites

Corinne Munchbach

Today, my co-author Rusty Warner and I published the first-ever Forrester Wave: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q4 2014. Or, as they are popularly referred to, the “marketing clouds.” The evaluation looked at the eight vendors vying to convince marketers of their ability to provide an integrated portfolio of products that span all of marketing’s needs. Integration is increasingly important to marketers in their efforts to understand the full customer life-cycle and be able to execute across all interactions.


 

Forrester defines an enterprise marketing software suite (EMSS) as: an integrated portfolio of marketing technology products that provide analytics, automation, and orchestration of insight-driven customer interactions to support inbound and outbound marketing.

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The Case For Optimising Customer Analytics – Improve or Perish

Michael Barnes

As I wrote in my recently published report, customer insights (CI) are an increasingly critical source of competitive differentiation in the age of the customer. Forward-thinking business and technology management leaders in Asia Pacific (AP) are actively looking to better leverage customer data and advanced analytics to increase marketing effectiveness and improve the customer experience (CX).

Unfortunately this isn’t the case everywhere. Many AP firms still lag in their understanding of customer analytics. They also lack the skills and ability to execute.

A collection of internal and external factors will affect customer analytics success. How can you improve your ability to transform available data into insight? Start by taking Forrester’s self-assessment to help determine where your organization falls in Forrester’s customer analytics maturity model and use that to identify specific areas of focus for future improvement.

But CI pros can also minimise risk by taking the following concrete steps:

  • Link customer analytics to broader CX and digital initiatives. Effective digital transformation fueled by CI requires an outside-in approach to customer understanding. For most AP organizations, this is only possible with direct CEO support. In the absence of executive sponsorship, successful customer analytics will likely be limited to improving and/or extending existing marketing approaches – important, but nowhere near sufficient.
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Digital Analytics Pros: Wait Before Diving Into The Salesforce Marketing Cloud's New Web and Mobile Analytics Capability

James McCormick

Salesforce’s newly proclaimed "Web and Mobile Analytics" capability within  Sales Force Marketing Cloud Web and Mobile Analtyics platform may initially excite us digital analytics geeks. After all - disruptions by large vendors in the name of “Web Analytics” are few and far between now days.  However before placing SFDC on your digital analytics vendor shortlist you should consider that the capability:

  1. Is targeted at Salesforce's existing Marketing cloud customers.  It is built more as "light weight" analytics capability providing BI pros the ability to natively ingest web and mobile data into their SFDC instances. Oh and it is offered at no extra charge to all Marketing Could users.
  2. Will not replace existing enterprise systems. Salesforce claim it will “complement” existing enterprise digital analytics systems that do very much the same thing (i.e. collect, analyze and act on customer behavioral data) and more.
  3. Is separate from the Salesforce's Wave.  Slightly confusingly the Analytics Cloud - Wave - is a separate offering from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud's mobile and web analytics capability- good to know!
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Dreaming of Contextual Marketing

Rusty Warner

At Dreamforce in San Francisco earlier this week, Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle highlighted retailer Eddie Bauer’s strategy to make marketing so good that it feels like customer service and customer service so good that it feels like marketing. He may well have added that when marketing and service are well executed, they both begin to feel like sales – or at least the extension of sales environments that they are meant to support.

This thinking underscores the blurring lines between marketing and customer experience. Where does one end and the other begin? And does it really matter? Certainly to the customer it doesn’t; all he or she wants is a great experience that delivers value appropriate to the current context. So then, why do brands continue to let organizational or functional silos get in the way? It’s easy to say that legacy systems and processes still dictate what brands are able to achieve, but surely with today’s business technology capabilities, it’s possible to do better.

Brands highlighted at Dreamforce not only do better: they blend marketing, services and sales for a seamless customer experience. Take Fitbit, for example. Of course the Fitbit business model is based on interaction and context, but Fitbit has taken things to another level by ensuring that marketing content is fully incorporated into app functionality instead of pushing messages at customers. Up-sell, cross-sell and promotional content appear when contextually relevant and blend smoothly with customer services information and sales/transactional opportunities.

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Blinded By The Dream Of Having A Single Marketing Services Partner?

Carlton Doty

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said "the only thing that is constant is change." Well, the CI services landscape seems to live and breath this saying. Today’s market demands are leading traditional database marketing service providers (MSPs) to deliver broader digital marketing capabilities, either through partnerships, acquisitions, or organic growth. While this trend has been unfolding for the last couple years, it shows no signs of slowing down. One of the latest examples of this activity is Alliance Data’s acquisition of Conversant for their Epsilon division. This is the latest in a series of moves by MSPs to build a bridge between the data business, digital marketing, and overall customer strategy - all key capabilities in the evolution toward Customer Engagement Agencies (CEA).  

Customer Insights (CI) professionals and marketers have managed relationships with their MSPs for decades to execute conventional direct marketing campaigns. While the classic database marketing business won’t dry up any time soon, the CI pros and marketers who manage these vendor relationships are grappling with:

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It's time to fall back on the loyalty basics

Emily Collins

Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

As a kid, I loved going back to school. The beginning of September always meant new classes, new classmates, and of course new notebooks, pens, and pencils. And even though I’m not in school anymore, I still see September as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, and approach things — both personally and professionally — with a fresh perspective. So, in honor of the first few weeks of Fall, let’s all take some time to study the loyalty basics. Process, while not the most exciting aspect of loyalty marketing, is necessary for building a sound foundation. Without processes, your ability to execute on your loyalty strategy is shaky at best and sudden changes to the market or unforeseen obstacles may leave you in disarray.

To avoid loyalty strategy failure, you must streamline processes around these three objectives:

  1. Building a deep understanding of customer needs and motivations. Loyalty starts with knowing your best customers and asking for their input. But, if gathering data from your customers, make sure you use it. They will expect it.
  2. Preparing for relentless adjustment. Digital business is booming, and loyalty can’t miss out on opportunities to innovate. Test and learn new customer engagement tactics on a small scale. Don’t be complacent with your strategy, but don’t over spend on improvements that won’t last.
  3. Establishing enterprise wide alignment. Do you know who your key internal stakeholders are? Identify them then build teams and processes to help create seamless customer experience.
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You just found out you’re a loyalty laggard. Now what?

Emily Collins

Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

After taking the customer loyalty assessment, you know whether you’re a laggard, learner, leader, or legend:

Great, but you’re probably thinking "Where do we go from here?" You need a game plan that clearly identifies where and how improvements should be made. To do so, take the gaps in your current approach and prioritize your tasks based on whether each one is a:

  • Need to have. These are non-negotiable tasks that will make or break your graduation to the next maturity level.
  • Want to have. These are important, but not critical tasks for taking your maturity to the next level.
  • Nice to have. These tasks come in handy for differentiating your loyalty approach, but have little bearing on your maturity level.

Priorities will differ for each stage of loyalty maturity and I lay out examples of these needs, wants, and nice to haves in my recent report, Craft A Customer Loyalty Strategy That Raises Your Maturity. Do you have a plan?

Taking Loyalty Beyond The Program

Emily Collins

I really enjoyed sharing insights about loyalty in the Age of the Customer at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum East back in June. I got some great questions from the audience about how to start planning and advancing their loyalty strategy. Next up, I'll be continuing the conversations at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum West in Anaheim, CA, November 6-7. And, a few weeks later I'll also be at our EMEA Customer Experience Forum, November 17-18 in London. Here's a sneak peek of the content I'll be sharing at my track session. I hope to see you there!

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