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Ernan’s Insights on Marketing Best Practices

Monday, November 28, 2016

How Dove Engages Customers with Sincere and Authentic Cause Marketing

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
According to Adam Kleinberg, CEO of Traction, consumers are increasingly skeptical about insincere cause marketing efforts which just push products. Almost half (41 percent) of the agency’s survey respondents said that insincere cause marketing was perceived as “just a spin” and 25 percent are annoyed by it. “Every brand has a corporate social responsibility … [but it shouldn’t] be furthered as a marketing opportunity,” said Kleinberg. “You have to put your money where your mouth is, and the consumers will see that.”
This is consistent with our ERDM Learnings from 15,000+ hours of VoC Interviews regarding innovation-based customer listening. Here’s what consumers said:
  • “With today’s technology, I expect brand communications to reflect my interests.”
  • “I don’t want marketing when it comes to major issues.”
Aligning your brand with a cause which is meaningful to your customers is an effective way to build long term relationships—if done authentically. According to statistics from the Cause Marketing Forum:
  • 72% of consumers have donated to charity at the register and 65% of consumers felt positively about the retailer after giving.
  • 80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues.
The “Dove Self Esteem Project” is a prime example of a brand listening to consumers and supporting their interests and concerns. The campaign offers resources for parents, educators, youth leaders and mentors to run their own “self esteem workshops.” Additionally, The Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report demonstrated the brand’s sincere dedication to help its consumers by interviewing 10,500 women across 13 countries to get viewpoints and thoughts regarding body image.
According to Victoria Sjardin, Senior Global Director, Dove Masterbrand. “For over 50 years, Dove has been committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. With this new research, we hope to inspire women and girls everywhere to develop a positive relationship with the way they look.”
The company states that since its campaign launch, the “Self Esteem Project” has impacted the lives of more than 19 million young people across 128 countries. It now has a new goal to up its social reach by 2020 – committing to positively impact an additional 20 million over the next four years.
TakeAways
1. Aligning your brand authentically with a cause of importance to your customers is vital among all demographic groups, but especially significant with Millennials.
According to the Deloitte Millennial Survey, 87 percent of Millennials believe that a company should have a larger purpose than sales and profits. Additionally in the Cone Millennial Cause Study, 79 percent indicate they’re likely to purchase a product from a company they consider socially responsible.
2. Efforts in cause marketing need to be authentic or you run the risk of turning off consumers.
“There has been a shift in perception among customers of what an authentic expression of a brand is,” said Max Lenderman, CEO of cause-marketing specialist agency, School. “And jumping on a cause is increasingly being viewed as not authentic.”
“With every passing day, it’s getting harder and harder to pull the wool over people’s eyes … ” notes Jim Moriarty, director of Brand Citizenship. “We all crave authenticity. Brands can and should change the world. And the best way to do that is to initiate, support and amplify causes that are connected to the brand’s business and mission.”
3. For a cause campaign to be perceived as sincere, brands need to back up their commitment by providing resources, information, and opportunities for involvement rather than merely marketing messages.
The Harvard Business Review looked at top cause marketing campaigns and put together a list of key factors for success which included inspiring messaging; an element that people can experience in the real world and a big issue coupled with a request for a small personal action. Their bottom line recommendation? “[Create] public service engagement, not a public service announcement.”
While consumers are looking to brands to take action on matters of importance to them, insincere cause marketing is perceived as simply another sales opportunity, and consumers do not want blatant marketing on major issues. Listening to your consumers and developing innovative means of reacting sincerely to meet their needs is a key way to build long term relationships—but only if done authentically.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Are You Delivering Cross-Channel Personalization? Learn What Under Armour and Saks Are Doing Right

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CustomerThink.com
Under Armour Custom Shopping AppThere is a chasm between what customers are expecting in terms of personalization and what marketers are providing. According to findings from research conducted by TimeTrade; “93 percent of retail decision makers claim that personalization is a strategic focus but only 25 percent of shoppers say they receive a consistent, personal experience across channels.” According to TimeTrade CEO, Gary Ambrosino, “to remain successful … brands must … ensure that service is prompt, personalized and consistent across channels.”
Personalizing per your customer’s individual needs is a 360-degree pursuit. It doesn’t stop at the home page of your website or your consumer’s email inbox. Personalizing the entire brand experience with Human Data that addresses individual’s lifestyle and interests is critical for building long term relationships versus one-shot sales.
Per recent research conducted by our firm, marketers must make a profound shift from implicit data (information data mined or provided by customers for short-term interests or needs) to explicit self-profiled preference Human data (information provided by customers in the Preference Center of a site or through dialogue boxes). Findings from 2500+ hours of VoC research interviews for clients such as Gilt, MassMutual, IBM, HP and QVC, indicate that implicit data is simply not delivering on customer’s expectations of value. To drive high levels of relevance and personalization, Millennials in particular, are willing to provide deep explicit Human Data regarding their preferences.
Fitness company, Under Armour offers “UA Shop”, a lifestyle-based Custom Shopping App for their customer that provides a deeply personalized experience based on a shopper’s athlete inspiration, workout history, and previous purchase history. For example, depending on the type of activity logged into a connected fitness tracker and their geographical location, a shopper will be presented with specific product suggestions relevant to their situation.
Jason LaRose, Senior Vice President, Revenue, at Under Armour noted about the app, “This app was created to … complement our existing in-store experiences … We are now able to provide custom experiences across our various categories specific to our diverse customer base.”
High-end retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue have long offered in-store shopping services, but with today’s busy on-the-go consumer, that service needed to be upgraded and expanded to include a virtual component. Today, Saks lets its customers connect with Saks Associates 24/7 to create personally curated saks.com boutique pages, via a dedicated URL. Interaction also includes live chat, email or scheduled appointments. In addition, Saks Associates can showcase personalized “storefronts” to customers through email and social media or via a mobile app.
“This is a highly personalized online solution to selling …” commented Marc Metrick, President, Saks Fifth Avenue, “with access to Associates 24/7, personalized services and more, we finally have the ability to bring the high-touch Saks experience and store environment online.”
TakeAways
  1. Your customer, BtoB or BtoC, is a human being, not a cohort or data segment. Personalizing their full brand experience across all channels and touchpoints lets them know that you are listening and customizing interactions/solutions per their individual needs.
  2. Showing your shoppers how a product can solve a problem or enhance their lifestyle in a meaningful way lets them envision the brand as a true partner in their life. The brand becomes less about the sale of and more about a long-term ongoing solution.
  3. Today personalization is about putting the consumer in the driver’s seat to determine how they want to engage, what they want to engage about, and when that engagement should take place. Brands need to become nimble in order to provide the types of personalized experiences their unique customers require.
Using Human Data for 360-degree personalization is about using consumer-supplied preference data to address lifestyle and interests, not to sell, but to build long-term relationships. Consumers now expect brands to know their needs and present them with highly personalized solutions and experiences.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Is Your Brand Committed To A Personalized Customer Experience? (Part 2)

Article by Ernan Roman
Featured on CMO.com
Recently I wrote about how to determine whether your company is truly committed to personalizing the customer experience (CX) and building loyalty. I presented the first half of eight questions to ask yourself; now I offer the rest.
My goal: to help you develop the strategies, action plans, and employee initiatives to satisfy unprecedented customer expectations for high-value engagement, personalization, and loyalty.
Raul Ortiz
Question 5: Do you have in place the necessary CX/loyalty/CRM technology to connect with customers?
“Forward-looking organizations are making strides by focusing on three key ingredients: technology, data, and ownership," said Jefrey Gomez, managing director, Asia Pacific at Econsultancy, in this B&T article. Michael Kustreba, managing director of Epsilon, Asia Pacific, agreed: “The good news is that there are valuable insights from data, technology and proven methodologies that organizations can adopt to help them improve their customer experience delivery.”
Case in point: Online retailer Zappos has devised “Zappos Labs,” which focuses on solving consumers’ pain points and creating optimized customer experiences across all channels. The brand’s mobile app allows consumers to send Zappos employees a photograph of items seen on the street via text, email, or Instagram. A link is then sent back to the consumer to purchase it online.
Additionally, Zappos’ customer service agents are reminded of their CX commitment with a “Happiness Experience Form,” which reminds them to attempt at least two personal connections with consumers throughout interactions to address any needs and provide an ”overall wow experience.”
Action Items:
  • Examine the technology your company has in place to see what measures can be put in place right now to boost CX, such as reminders to staff, per the Zappos example. Also, explore how you can expand the technical capabilities and possibilities at each touch point to deliver improved CX.
  • Audit for the necessary level of collaboration of information sharing across the various departments and systems.
Question 6: Do you have a dedicated budget for new research to drive innovative CX/loyalty strategies?
Per research conducted by Epsilon, “Only 7% of companies have a single, dedicated budget for understanding the customer journey, and 27% have a dedicated budget split across different departments.”
Jonathan Serebrin, user experience researcher for The Home Depot, advises that companies include all teams in research results and learnings to make them part of the company culture. Make sure that all departments understand how customers feel about the brand and products, he said. Every step of the testing and development process needs to assure synchronization with customers.
While CMOs are now understanding that a dedicated CX budget is essential to transformation, in the “Spotlight On 2016 CX Helps And Hurts” study by Forrester, a notation was made regarding budgets: “CMOs won’t simply write blank checks. Instead they’ll require CX teams to prove that their projects improve key performance indicators that marketers care about, like customer acquisition and engagement.”
Action Items:
  • Take a closer look at carving out a slice of digital, social, marketing, sales, and IT budgets for one combined CX budget. Rather than depleting one department’s funds, multiple stakeholder departments should contribute to the overall CX cause.
  • Be sure you have in place a solid benchmark of customer value and how/when milestones can be measured so that budget investments can be justified or adjusted in the future.
Question 7: Do the highest levels of management in your company support CX programs and staff?
The “Shifting Sands Of Marketing: Gartner 2015-2016 CMO Spend Survey” reported, “Business leaders understand that consumer expectations for fast, informative, convenient, and personalized transactions will continue to grow and that staying ahead of the competition is paramount.”
And according to the Forrester/Heidrick & Struggles “2016 Evolved CMO report,” “Evolved CMOs will need to commit to understanding customers and to driving that philosophy throughout their organizations with a customer-obsessed mindset.”
Action Items:
  • In order for CX to succeed in your company, it is essential that there is buy in and commitment from every involved department at all levels.
  • CX innovation is a top-down change process.
  • However, it is marketing’s responsibility to provide the vision and criteria for success.
Question 8: Does your company have a cross-functional and integrated culture?
The Deloitte “Global Human Capital Trends 2016” report stated that in today’s evolving marketplace, companies need to adopt a new organizational structure to be more of a “network of teams” with strong communication and rapid information flow cross functionally. Additional data points from the report include:
  • 92% of companies said they believe redesigning the organization is very important. More than 80% of respondents reported that they are either currently restructuring their organizations or have recently completed the process.
  • The growth of the Millennial demographic, the diversity of global teams, and the need to innovate and work more closely with customers are driving a new organizational flexibility.
Action Items:
  • Understand what employees can bring to your CX efforts and place them in mission-focused teams by their contribution potential and experience.
  • Empower teams to set their own goals and make their own decisions in order to achieve CX goals.
  • Replace silos of information with information sharing cross functionally.