Do Millennials engage with email?  Everyone I know is trying to find the best strategy to reach Millennials.  Is the right channel email or social?  Do they need tailored content (e.g., user generated for authenticity or curated content that addresses their particular lifestage) to generate engagement?  What offers would resonate most with them?

The answers to these questions will vary on your industry, your product and your approach.  However, I have found that Millennials are less likely to open or click an email than Gen Xers, Baby Boomers or the Greatest Generation.  However, a recent study by Epsilon found that Millennials were using email more than other age groups to find products and services.  Perhaps Millennials are less likely to respond to “push” marketing and want to determine when and how they interact with marketing.

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In my last post I talked about the value of a Chief Customer Intelligence Officer.  You may be wondering, what would a Chief Customer Intelligence Officer do?  Here is a high level summary.

1.  Integrate insights across teams.  There is a wealth of customer intelligence being uncovered by your Big Data, CRM, Digital, Market Research, and Social analytics teams among others.  However, insights need to be shared so that the company benefits.  For example, I recently shared customer insights from the CRM group with the Social team to insure that the best current customers were targeted on Facebook for a promotion.

2.  Identify the story within the data. Customers are telling us how they feel about the brand and what their intentions are with every action, whether it be a call into the call center, a visit to your website, a comment on Facebook or a purchase in the store.  By triangulating all the available data, you can get a fuller picture of different customer segments and socialize their stories to senior management.  For example, I found that there were three types of visitors to a client’s website.  By layering on customer data, I was able to see which on-line attributes were most closely related to off-line purchases.

3.  Develop a customer strategy based on the data. Once you have identified customers’ stories, you can insure a consistent and compelling customer experience across channels.  This is the result of synthesizing the wealth of information and integrating analyses to support the strategy.  For example, web site activity could trigger a direct marketing piece for some customer segments.

4.  Manage a cross-functional team. To accomplish all this, the Chief Customer Intelligence Officer will need to manage a cross-functional team that encompasses Big Data, CRM, Digital, Market Research, Social and any other analytic teams within marketing. This will facilitate the integration of insights and development of a consistent customer experience.

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Have you heard the story of the blind men and the elephant?   In this famous Indian legend, a group of blind men touch an elephant.  However, each man feels just one part and it is a different part of the elephant for each man.  They compare notes on what they felt and are in complete disagreement.  In many ways, this is how the customer is seen by some companies.  The digital marketing team has one view of the customer, the product marketing managers have another view and creative might have a third view.  Here are five reasons why you should hire a Chief Customer Intelligence Officer who will integrate and disseminate insights for a holistic customer-centric approach:

1.  Grow revenue. An integrated understanding of your customers and their journey with your company will enable you to up-sell and cross-sell effectively to them. Only with a comprehensive view of the customer will you know whether he wants more of the same or if he needs something different. Rather than the product managers focusing on promoting their products and meeting their sales goals, customer preferences and needs would take precedence.

2.  Reduce acquisition costs. Consolidating insights across channels and products will enable you to segment your customers by purchase history, demographics, lifestyle, lifetime value, etc.  Thus, you can provide the right message to each segment and find new customers who look like these segments.  With better targeting and identification of your best customers, you can find new customers who are similiar.

3.  Enhance customer retention. Customers expect a coherent and consistent customer experience across channels.  If you integrate insights and provide an experience tailored to their needs, behavior, and attitudes, they are more likely to be retained and become advocates of your brand.

4.  Improve campaign performance. Customer insights from the direct marketing channel can inform strategies used in the digital marketing channels and vice versa. For example, you could re-target visitors to your website or social media advocates via direct marketing.

5.  Increase customer satisfaction. Customers will reward your focus on their needs and preferences with increased satisfaction and willingness to recommend your brand to others.

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I am currently interviewing candidates for an Analyst position on my team.  It is hard enough to find someone with the right skills and experience.  But there are other considerations as well:

1.  Any new hire needs to compliment the rest of the team.  A variety of skills, personalities and experience are needed for the team to be successful.  In Walter Isaacson’s great book on the digital revolution, he quotes Steve Wozniak as saying, “Every time I’d design something great, Steve [Jobs] would find a way to make money for us”.  Wozniak was the engineer and Jobs was the marketer.  Both were needed to make Apple successful.

2.  It is not enough to be smart.  I am looking for people who will collaborate and be a team player.  Lee Iacocca captured it well.  “A major reason capable people fail to advance is that they don’t work well with their colleagues.”

3.  Team members need to talk and listen to each other.  The best ideas often result from the back and forth of discussion and reflect a combination of insights and suggestions.  Further, we learn and grow professionally by listening to and potentially challenging the ideas of others.

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As I think of all of the reasons I have to be thankful this year, one is the continued focus on marketing analytics and the value it can provide across industries:

1.  Spend on marketing analytics is expected to increase. Currently analytics represents 6.7% of marketing budgets but it will rise to 11.1% over the next three years according to this CMO survey

2.  Analysts are in demand.  In a list of the hottest skills on LinkedIn, the top was statistical analysis and data mining

2.  Analytics add value by increasing company profits.  According to a McKinsey study, “a one-unit change in the use of marketing analytics … yields a 0.39 percent increase in profits”

I am very thankful that what I love to do is valued and in demand.

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Have you read the recent Ad Age article in which Brad Jakeman from PepsiCo is quoted as saying that “digital marketing” is the “most ridiculous term I’ve ever heard”?   Many marketing departments are silos with separate work streams, separate analytic teams, and separate strategies.  As a joint Marketo and Harvard Business Review report stated, “To address the challenges of the digital age, marketing may have added new departments such as Web, mobile, and digital.  Paradoxically, these new departments often add more silos and slow things down further, making marketing even less equipped to meet customers in their micro-moments.”

Customers expect a unified experience. How can marketers provide a consistent experience when analysis, insights and strategies are not shared or coordinated?  Mr. Jakeman said it best, “There is no such thing as digital marketing. There is marketing — most of which happens to be digital.”

So what are marketing departments to do?  Agree on a common goal, collaborate, integrate insights, and ultimately create a comprehensive customer-centric strategy.

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My prior post talked about the value of customer data.  Your next question will naturally be, “so how do I leverage what I know about my customers to my advantage?”  There are many ways to transform insights into  increased market share.  The lists below are examples but by no means the only things you can do.  However, I would suggest that you see your customer data and its application as a source of intellectual property, something to be guarded and leveraged wisely.

It can enable you to increase revenue by:

  • Identifying those likely to buy in the near term
  • Separating those customers who need an offer to get them to buy versus those who would buy regardless
  • Determining the right accessories or ancillary purchases to promote based on a customer’s purchase
  • Highlighting the “next best” products based on your customers’ purchase patterns

It will also help you retain your customers by:

  • Understanding the customer journey and the experiences that matter
  • Identifying those likely to defect
  • Ranking your customers by their lifetime value so you can reward your best customers

Lastly, it can also help you reduce your costs by:

  • Enabling you to conquest smartly, targeting those that look like your best customers
  • Determining the best conquest sources and communications

Are you leveraging your customers’ data to increase your market share?

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A former colleague of mine always referred to his clients’ customer data as their crown jewels.  He had a point.  No one else knows as much about your customers’ behavior, attitudes, and preferences.  If your customer data doesn’t seem valuable to you, imagine if your competitors had access to the very same information.  What would they do with it?

There has been lots of talk about analytics as a source of competitive advantage.  More recently, big data has promised to uncover untapped value and insights.  However, have you thought more holistically about the resulting customer insights and intelligence?  Used wisely, what you know about your customers can be a source of competitive advantage.  It can help you increase market share by promoting the right product at the right time to the right person using the right channel.  It can provide insights that enable you to improve marketing ROI, conversion rates, and conquesting.  It can help you identify customers likely to defect,  uncover what you need to do to retain them and help you determine if they are worth retaining based on their future lifetime value.

Finally, if you aren’t thinking about your “crown jewels”, I bet one of your competitors are.  They may be able to purchase data about your customers from a third party vendor and use it for conquesting.  If you don’t think customer data is valuable, your competitors do and they are willing to pay for it.

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Remember the days when we asked ourselves, “What is the value of a like? A tweet?”  The debate is over. A social media strategy is a requirement for any business.  However, Social Media Specialists can apply best practices used regularly in other marketing channels to enhance the effectiveness and ROI of their campaigns.

Targeting. It is important that you identify the best targets for a promotion using a data driven approach.  You can leverage your CRM system and use customer insights to target your customers online who are are most likely to respond to your social media campaign.  Alternatively, you can use customer data to identify the conquests on-line who look like your best customers.

Post campaign measurement. Just because it is social media, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider control groups and incremental lift. Here’s your chance to demonstrate the value of social media as a channel using the same rigorous methods as email and direct mail.

Combining data and insights across channels. Why not append your customer’s social media interactions to their off-line attributes and all the other customer data you have?  One client found that some of their best brand advocates on-line shopped mostly in stores.  Without linking off-line and on-line behavior, you don’t have a complete view of your customer.  For example, you might be tempted to remove these best customers from your online communications because they don’t shop online; however, in this case, email was driving them to the store!
Are you taking advantage of the analysis tools and approaches that work in traditional direct marketing to enhance your social campaigns?

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The artist, Anne Truitt, believed that ideas floated in the air, available to anyone for the taking.  I thought of this today when I read a recent Forbes article on text analytics.  It combined ideas from two of my recent posts.  First, in order to at least break even on text analytics, you need a plan.  The author is preaching to the choir.  See my post titled “Plan your dive.  Dive your plan”.

Second, in order to create a plan, you have to consider the benefits that text analytics will provide as well as the costs.  Not all text needs to be analyzed.  However, it can help you spot high-priority issues or customer defection.   In the example of preventing churn, you need to know how much a customer is worth.  As I mentioned in a post on text analytics, overlaying customer data to customer feedback will help you determine what action you take.  For example, you may choose not to retain some customers who threaten to leave because they are unprofitable.

In summary, text analytics can be a powerful tool when used in the right situation.  But first you have to determine if its worth applying text analytics.

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© Lynne Harrold. All rights reserved.
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