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Digital News & Analysis

Retail's Omnichannel, Data-Driven Revolution is Here

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The retail revolution is here. It’s always on, omnichannel, social, mobile and highly personalized. It’s informed by data — big data, small data, fast data, machine data.

The times, they are a changing. If you’re a retailer or a brand, the question is "Will you?"

You’d better. Because the consumer already has.

That was the general sentiment at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) BIG Show in New York City this week, where we heard speaker after speaker talk about data being the critical ingredient in creating customer experiences the likes of which we’ve never seen before.

Customer Experience Means the Same Thing, Online or Off

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If you're like most people you experienced some great, and some awful shopping experiences over the past few months. But what made some experiences great and others less than average?

The answer is almost certainly that the good experiences were driven by exceptional service tailored to your specific needs, and the bad experiences were caused by poor and uncaring service. It's the difference between the sales associate that takes the time to understand what you are looking for and helps you find it, versus the sales associate that is too busy texting to be bothered by your questions.

The same characteristics of a good in-store experience also make for a good digital experience. The more personal and relevant the digital experience, the better.

News Bites: Apsalar, adaptiv.io, Vidyard, MEC, Celtra, More

The latest in hiring, funding, delivering, exchanging, partnering, filing and revoking from Silicon Valley, the Tri-City, Metropolis, the White City, the Peninsula, the Saltwater City, the Grape State and Snow’s Springs.

Deja Vu Research: CIOs, CMOs Need to Get Along

Gartner is echoing what Forrester Research revealed last week: CIOs and CMOs have to improve their abilities to cooperate.

In a report suggesting IT Leaders Will Need to Develop a Stronger Relationship with Marketing this year, Gartner analysts note that both CMO’s and CIO’s will be forced to work together as content personalization becomes increasingly important and enterprise invest in more marketing technology.

It duplicated findings from Forrester Research’s Cliff Condon, who suggested last week that the current relationship between CIO’s and CMO’s is too loose for company success — and that greater cooperation is essential. While more than 60 percent of CMOs and CIOs told Forrester that they enjoy a relationship of mutual trust and respect, only 46 percent of marketing leaders and 51 percent of technology management leaders have a single view of their customer across all the company’s touchpoints, Condon wrote.

What B2B Marketers Can Learn from Super Bowl Advertisers

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$4.5 million. That’s the record-breaking, going rate at NBC for a 30-second spot in this year’s Super Bowl, according to AdWeek. And brands are doing everything they can think of to squeeze the most value out their hefty investments.

From Doritos’ “Crash the Super Bowl” campaign, which will run two customer-created ads during the Feb. 1 game, to the multi-social media war room and event strategy of Bud Light, B2B marketers can learn a lot from Super Bowl advertisers — including the fact "puppies never fail."

Customer Communities: Strategy or Tactic?

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It used to be that transactions were the trigger for relationships.

You walked into a local store to purchase something, and if the transaction was pleasant, you were more likely to return. Organizations tend to view relationships primarily through the lens of transactions: how many times has someone purchased a product, used support, emailed, etc. In this world, the transaction was the beginning of the relationship and opened up access to connect with individual employees and other customers.

Social media changes that. Now the relationship triggers the transaction.

6 Sites Are the Fastest, Most Secure: Is Yours One of Them?

Six websites earned recognition as the fastest and most secure over the recent holiday season, based on anonymous consumer data aggregated across more than 26 million domains worldwide.

Ghostery, a global marketing technology company that provides online transparency and control to consumers and businesses, claims the sites ranked the highest on its newly developed Ghostscore Website Optimization Index. The index is based on a data-driven engine that ranks website performance and security across key industries worldwide.

Ghostery CEO and founder Scott Meyer boasted that the index will help establish a new global standard for website efficiency and profitability. "A lot of companies that use our marketing cloud management service have been asking us how they are doing, relative to other companies. We decided to create a tool to help answer the question," Meyer told CMSWire.

Turn Sales into Customer Ambassadors: Reward Renewals

A talent manager friend of mine puts it bluntly: “people do what they’re paid to do.” More specifically, she means people do what they’re incented to do -- especially through bonuses, commissions and other performance-based compensation. It’s attaining payment for achievement that motivates people, especially when that payment is also accompanied by recognition, promotions and status among one’s peers. Base salary is important – but it’s not all about the base.

Fractal Analytics Buys Mobius Innovations From an Old Friend

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Continuing its quest for hyper-personalized marketing tools, Fractal Analytics announced today it bought Mobius Innovations to better understand the thinking of mobile customers.

The acquisition reflects a deal between two former partners: Fractal CEO Srikanth Velemakanni and Mobius CEO Nirmal Palaparthi. The two men co-founded Fractal 14 years ago. Terms of the transaction weren't disclosed.

Palaparthi left Fractal in 2012 to start Mobius in Singapore. The company developed a platform called Contextudio, which blends social media data, geolocation technology and sentiment analysis to produce intelligence about consumers. It also developed a mobile delivery app for iOS devices that could create personalized offers in real time.

Facebook's Grasp on Social Login is Slipping

The company that rules the social login has a leg up to dominate e-commerce, online advertising and a slew of other profit-oriented activities thanks to the data this activity can yield.

It's no small matter, then, that Facebook — which has long been the top platform for social sign-ins — is now showing signs of losing some of its market share.

So says a new survey by Janrain, which found that Facebook's overall market share of logins decreased 3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014 after six months of consecutive growth. Meanwhile, Google's share of logins grew 6 percent, from 34 percent in the third quarter to 40 percent in the fourth.

It is a significant increase, Janrain claims — it is, in fact, the largest quarter-over-quarter increase in logins across all sites for any of the top identity providers in over two years.

The State of B2B Customer-Alignment Maturity

“If you don't know where you're going, you'll end up someplace else.” -- Yogi Berra

This pretty much sums up the customer-alignment journey of most companies. Companies know their survival depends on aligning strategy, culture, partners and processes to their customers’ lifecycle expectations, but the end state is often fuzzy. And fuzzy mean the path to get there is equally unclear.

Think Your Customer Experience Is Perfect? Test Again

2015-12-January-Test.jpgBusinesses, and the people who power them, easily fall into routines. Once we find a process or program that works, we stick with it. Routines bring predictability and stability, but if they go unexamined or fail to incorporate feedback, they can get in the way of providing exceptional customer experiences.

Outdated routines fail to address the changing business landscape, and assume that what was true in the past remains true today. Customer experiences are rarely perfect. However, by injecting testing into our culture and processes, we get closer to understanding what today’s perfect customer experience may be.

Advertising and Marketing are Broken: How Do We Fix Them?

So much advertising and marketing is based on false promises and exaggeration. This sort of corporate propaganda is facing an increasing backlash. 

The Problem with Programmatic: Too Much Secrecy, Too Little Trust

Publishers that take the time to understand and optimize sophisticated tools have the greatest potential to drive revenue in programmatic advertising environments. But their success hinges on greater collaboration and communication with ad agencies and clients.

According to a new Forrester report commissioned by Casale Media/Index Exchange, agencies and clients do not effectively articulate their goals and objectives, making it difficult for publishers to meet those goals, improve performance and maximize the true value of their inventories. “Publishers must take the lead on innovating the next phase of programmatic, because the buy side is continuing to move quickly and will not wait for them to figure it out,” noted Alex Gardner, vice president of Platform Solutions at Index Exchange.

Index Exchange, a division of ad technology firm Casale Media, markets a bid management technology designed to help publishers and suppliers to sell their ad impressions in real time. You can read the full report at the end of this story.

Too Many B2Bs Fail to Track, Measure Social Media

Many B2Bs still have a lot to learn when it comes to social media smarts, according to a new report.

While most B2Bs know they should be engaging with their customers on social media, they're often not using available tools to harvest critical data and put it to use.

Rather, they treat social as a check box, said Jacques Begin, a research analyst in the technology practice at SiriusDecisions, a B2B research and advisory firm. The firm produced the report, SiriusView: Social Media Intelligence 2015 and Infographic.

“In some cases, marketers are mandated with creating a Facebook page. And once they're finished they check the ‘social box.’ Very little thought is given on how to effectively maximize a social presence afterwards in terms of intelligence, customer interactions and demand creation,” he said.

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