Creating Single Vision of a customer – The Digital DNA

We talk about unified platform, data driven marketing, big data and so on, unfortunately, when we look at feasibility of such practices among brands, its far-fetched reality and just a board room discussion. Just the way we have clutter in customer segment so is the IT platforms in many of the organization, which are a sheer tick mark in terms of investments or legacies which have not been reviewed with changing trends, but not seen from one vision point of view.

For example, today if we have to perceive the persona of a customer from the company’s prospective, he would be seen through different filters such as CRM, Loyalty, Social Analytic, web analytic, BI tools drawing different persona of the same customer instead of building one customer persona, resulting in irrelevant & multiple campaigns, promotions targeting the same customers, most of the time irrelevant and not hitting the ROI mark.

The crux is customer centricity, not in terms of a single department, but in terms of the entire company looking at it. A persona is a result of collation of various signals from different sources; offline & online modes. It is matter of drawing a strategic view to draw those visions, because they translate the investment pattern into technologies which help you to optimize, predict and monetize in terms of understanding the right behavior, customer segment, place to target and offer.

Just as time & tide waits for none, so is the customer today, it doesn’t take time to become irrelevant to them, with irrelevant messages which flows in from various sources where he/she are in at the time of display. For instance, the FB ads or any other form of displays, excepting contextual mapping, how many time do you even look at it, forget click “know more”, the answer is majority of you ignore or don’t even see it.

The digital DNA, is just not building websites and creating brand presence across various online vehicle, it is more to understand your customers by delivering the right content at right time. The time has come where in your brand should deliver the experience by making the customer feel  special, through knowing or predicting who he/she needs and innovating your offering to them.

Industrialization brought in masses with economy in scale whereas digitization is going to bring in personalization with understanding customer behavioral signals. As said by Marcel Proust “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes”. Implementing the right unified platform which integrates applications of business technology & Information technology holds the key of success. The digital empowerment today is going to fade data silos in organization, in a vision of building one single customer persona.

 

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Building experience flow which matters, through adoption of right analytics and tools- A part of engaging Idle Mind Strategy

Marketers have been working on building experience flows to capitalize on analyzing consumer behavior to build personalized experience, which can enable brands to associate itself with the consumers and build them into the product sales life cycle. The crux of the game here is how to build effective tools and analytic which could help the marketer engage those minds which have been looking out, but aren’t engaged yet.

As technology evolves with more and more closer association to complex data, which are nothing but what consumers leaves as footprints either in the way of search, feedback on reference sites, updates on the social medias or in the means of queries, sharing & liking of interesting videos, which are nothing but coded wires which needs to be interpreted and analysed into right impulses to be played on. In other word these are those forms of big data which needs integrator in terms of digital marketing tools to translate positioning and targeting strategies.

These trends are only evolving out purely on all odds of traditional medium which were purely in terms of print and in person engagement in building mind share among its consumers. With the growing acceptance and penetration of smart technology, it throws more and more emphasis on adoption of these trends to engage minds which are at look out, and are also at an early stages of acceptance of brands.

The adoption of digital marketing tools should be an integrated approach where in a brand could track every aspect of online behavior then just one aspect, as observed in the case of big data, data source can be from anywhere. Unilever’s move in India towards skewing their marketing dollars towards online medium is just the start of the era of investments in these technologies. Telecom majors in India like Airtel use these tools not only to note what people have been talking about them on social but also use it as a medium to engage with their prospects.

The essence is on understanding the online behavioral side of a consumer and focusing on the right vehicle of engagement in terms of selection of mediums of smart technologies & platforms, and integrating them which helps is channelizing the minds which are in lookout. This brings in the importance of a well thought through experience flow, keeping in mind of the consumer and his modes of being online. Stressing out on a stream lined experience which is seamless, engaging and carries the brand essence through out to building a loyal customer, who just can’t stop talking about the experience he/she had while engaging with the brand.

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Subliminal Moment of Truth – Redefining engagement with captive minds through Mobile technology

An Empty mind is marketer’s paradise, is so true, ultimately every modern marketing strategy today while being written is on the shifts seen in consumer behavior cycle starting from  impulses through desire to demand, and what is phenomenal, is that, such basis have always brought in solutions which become the part of a business paradigm. Let’s see, how some of them have revolutionized marketing strategies; Moment of Truths by P&G, which talked on showcasing the product (first moment of truth) went on the bring in the visual merchandising & packaging as one of the prime component of retail strategy; followed by experiences on consumption (Second Moment of Truth) to become feedback for product improvement & innovation, testimonials for the artifacts to encourage prospects in the process of being lead. Then came the era of searches, as the searches started growing in prominence, the resonance was reflected  in Google’s Zero Moment of Truth, theory on searches, solutions are quite evident in terms of presence in terms websites, audio-visual aids on various platforms, ad words, usage of keywords with what the prospects search, to reflect in the top search ranking.

In all the paradigm mentioned above, we see reflection of the buying behavior, what comes more appealing is that engaging customer at the right time, right place & with right messaging, no doubt the phrase of ‘rights’ looks so simple but it isn’t. We have been seeing through the Great social Media revolution, which is now been used by every business to engage their prospects, but it’s still not clear on time & place. The right time, in many cases are engaging an empty mind or idle mind of an individual, and direct them to what you want. As a marketing professional, when we question on our efforts being enough on engaging our prospects, down some where answer is,’ no’.

Thanks, to the all-round development in technology in past 5 years, what is seen, the opportunity in engaging people are growing through the horizon. Smarter, lighter & customer centric application have enabled the growth in dependence on personal devices, to an extent that today you have avenues to reach your prospect, through them. You just need to be smarter and have customer centric attitude in you.

Empty mind or in other words captive minds are huge potential today, if I would have to talk on the same couple of years back, people would have stared at my thoughts, but today, it isn’t the scenario. Have you actually seen how an ideal individual spends his day, lets look at the balanced media diet, courtesy Steven Leckart in Wired Magazine issue 17.08  shows an illustration of time spent by individual on various sources of entertainment like starting from Television, social media, micro blogging, gaming and so on.

What comes across is that, smart devices are becoming more and more prominence in an individual’s life and in some cases they accompany the individual with the source of entertainment, the relation of smart devices with sources of entertainment is of symbiotic nature. Hence, it is very important for any brand today to be present to capitalize on the empty mind or idle mind, and have mobility options in their strategy. The challenge here is if you could engage that state of mind creating an impact on the subconscious mind, you have An Empty mind, which is marketer’s paradise.

With this, I am tabling across, today, a paradigm of engaging, captive minds or idle minds or an empty mind, which is the Subliminal moment of truth, in other words, it is engagement of that state of mind, where an individual has nothing scheduled and looking for sources, any activity involved in engaging that state would result in greater engagement with the brand, leading to other Moment of truth mention above. Subliminal Moment of Truth, brings in relevance of integrated messaging through various modes & Mobility Components (Smart Devices), in some form or other in terms of applications, mobile advertisements, campaigns which goes in your marketing strategy to engage prospects. Hence, it is very important for any brand, to have their mobile strategy in place, to engage such idle minds. To give you an example, Click on the link An Empty Mind is Marketer’s Paradise – Leveraging Airports To Enhance the Customer Base, is an perspective to engage people using an interactive mobile app, which would lead to Moment of Truth, and more over creates a deeper impression in the mind, which goes to become talked topic. Check the video which stress on the growing dependence on mobile devices.

Thanks to company like Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft who have been continuously innovating and emerging thought leaders in the mobility, their every release sets a new paradigm for marketers to engage with their prospects. Subliminal Moment of truth, gains more momentum when you check the statistics of the usage of mobile in one of interesting info-graphics shared by Sarah Kessler in an article in Mashable.com on Mobile Marketing,  indicates the internet usage on mobile would overtake desktop by 2014, Mobile tags provide more product information like comparison shopping offers than traditional barcodes, 86% of mobile internet users are using their devices which watching TV (Opportunity for marketers to engage), 29% of mobile users are open to scanning a mobile tag (interesting applications could increase brand engagement), 91% of mobile internet access to socialize (integrated approach with digital media could have a far reaching effects). Interestingly to note  how people use their mobile phones; 61% for gaming, 55% for weather, 50% for maps/ search, 49% for social networking, 42% for music, 36% for news, 33% for entertainment, 25% for dining and 21% for videos. Aren’t these statistic enough to show how the paradigm of Subliminal Moment of Truth i.e engaging empty or idle mind through mobile application is possible. In fact, if you don’t have the mobile strategy for your product you have missed on something.

You Could reach me on adarsh.pete@gmail.com or connect with me on  linkedin

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3 Key Components In The Making Of B2B Marketing Strategy; Influencers, Perception & Value Prop

Over the past few weeks, I have been researching on to the B2B space, which happens to be complex and marketing is slowly taking prominence over the traditional approach. Prospects in these spaces predominantly are becoming more & more informed and are more risk averse then before.  Digital Media has shown its impact on to it and the marketers have started capitalizing on to Modern Marketing strategies to mature the leads from awareness followed with engagement, to be in the prospect’s minds and to evade the risk of not being in the short listing process.

There are three main categories which underline strategy in the B2B space; Influence-rs, Perceptions & Value Proposition, which help marketers to take their product into the target market. Each of the components is symbiotic to the other; hence the strength of the strategy is defined on an optimized rational equation, rather than just based on observation. All this derived from the impact of technology advancements happening, which are not sequential rather all round, turning more& more user models into user centric, predictive, smarter & mobility based values changing the consumer decision-making behavior.  To top it predictive analysis have strengthened companies today to build their decisions based on rational thought process to counter economic scenarios.

Influence-rs – These are the stakeholders or gatekeepers, involved while deciding on B2B products. In certain cases they even show greater prominence while decision has been taken, hence your strategy would be incomplete without them. They could be anybody from Analyst, Trade bodies, Go-To-Market components, ISVs, system Integrators, Consultants, Advisers, internal employees and so on. Identifying the right one is a challenge, and the tip is that every product category shows a particular type of behavior and following it would help to recognize them. Hence, Messaging, Segmentation, Targeting & identifying the right kind of strategy is the key here. The best what works in terms of influence-rs is engagement tactic through building communities of like-minded people and identifying what Go-To-Market suits to the recognized community.

Perceptions – These are those notional value sets which go to define the brand equity of the B2B marketer in the minds of the customer. Usually, this is the one which is most ignored and classified as the cost items. They are tricky though when you are venturing into vast product portfolios catering various segments of verticals & horizontals. In some case, where you have already foray into the defined segment like services and you are venturing into products portfolio, they become even more challenging as you have a preset conceived values in the minds of the customers. In these cases, it’s very critical for any B2B brand to optimally play using digital media and various thought leadership forum to demonstrate the innovation capabilities and domain expertise in area being ventured. Identifying the key product experts in the company as the face of your product works well (apart from the Company leadership team), building attractive artifacts, being present in the industry leadership forums which is looked upon, makes a promising appeal to gather perceptions about your products.  In today’s world, Zero Moment Of Truth by Google holds weight and edge in the digital era, complemented with tradition methodology.

Value Proposition – These are beneficial values which a B2B consumer is going to get. The smarter strategy would be to be consumer centric, understand the industry requirement, visionary features and values what your consumers are talking about and address those pain area. If you are able to bridge in the gap between the requirements and being developed, the value proposition has been well said. Nevertheless, it is not the case always; hence the marketers would have to work through their guts to bring out the Product Positioning through various competitive intelligence, Market analysis in terms of revenue band that the segment holds for the players, and characteristics of the band to devise unique selling proposition to position for their product against the need of target audience. Value Proposition plays a critical role while devising the B2B strategy.

Trade Tips

Once the components are defined, it would make more sense if the products could be encompassed as a business theory, in terms of answering a business problem. Business theories or Modern Marketing strategies hold loads of power in defining your products & solutions being developed, as they become synonymous or law of the land to the business problem, hence the prospects would be able to relate it with their scenarios and buy in for your product. The advantage of these business theories are that, they have the strength to lead the product life cycle road maps as they are outcomes from what industry wants and addresses pain areas. The Good leading example is the Modern Marketing strategy defined by Google for its searches, Zero Moment Of Truth.  The rationale behind the theory enables marketer to perceive their business problem, which inherently brings in the Buy–In for all the Google Search related products.

You Could reach me on adarsh.pete@gmail.com or connect with me on  linkedin

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Loyalty Avatars – Gamification Technique to Redefine Loyalty Programs

As customer engagement evolves through the social media & mobile technology, more & more brands are aspiring with customer centrism. Technology has been at it’s best in the recent time with web 2.0, which has evolved a new paradigm changing the codes & architecture of once CRM & now social CRM. One of sequential of CRM is Loyalty Program, a program to entice shopper to the brand, build in a much required dosage of adrenaline through the veins of buying decision of a shopper, to make them loyal. But what we see now is that, these programs are done to death, monotonous, daunting & cumbersome, which are not fairing as it is expected.

The trends started from driving consumption in the same category, went on to cross category, not necessarily the same brand through strategic alliance to benefit shoppers with wide range of products & services. Take the hot example of Kingfisher Airlines, there are cards like American Express who have tied up with other brands, to convert the loyalty points into miles to fly, the question here is are these “wow” and has it boasted the much required usage. No doubt these program are meant to engage and encourage usage, unfortunately not every plan flies.

We have also seen professional bodies, coming into existence whose day job is management of Loyalty programs; they on behalf of brands manage in their name & build alliance across categories in segments to boast usage collaboratively. But the very customer engagement goes missing in these programs. If we rig and use a crystal to granularity, we would see a fine phrase in loyalty programs called customer engagement, where one of the principles of engagement is aspirations.

Understanding customer aspiration is the key to any program and cherry in the icing would be to have understood trending behavior. For example “Gaming” there are hundreds of infographics which talks on how gaming is been engaging people online & once such statistics which pinned me down is 57% of the people who played games had never used gaming before, isn’t this rising your eyebrows. Well if that is the case, have you thought even Loyalty programs could be influenced with gaming.

If Farmville had to be popular in India, it was because every one of us had the aspiration of farming, but in reality knowing the difficulty, limits them to venture, but when they found virtual people jumped, across the globe, to a extent of day talks on what was the cultivation in their farm, isn’t it astounding. Then why not try the same principle of aspiration in your Loyalty programs using gaming methodology.

Creating an Avatar

This is how you do it, Loyalty Avatars, which are your shopper’s aspiration in terms of superheroes, personality, film characters, relevant personalities, brands & so on. Helping your shoppers in understanding the Virtual Avatar they want to be and helping them to recreate in virtual world through the consumption of your product. Every quantity the shopper buys goes closer to that of what he wants to be. There by you allow quantity, consumption across your product range & to top it, point to brag among his friend, moreover you build a close connect and wall of fame.

Virtual Environment through real life actions 

Now that you have the avatar ready, let the avatar face some challenges, you model an environment of constraints & challenges in terms of activity related to the consumption or to the character or in the virtual interface  for it, thus creating season & campaign calendar for yourselves. And in the process you have built a community which engages, fans to applaud leading to the second moment of truth, reviews boasting your product and before you realize you have them talking on product ideas which have a ready target audience.

Thanks to technology enhancement, we have tools & applications which help you to engage & such ideas are not farfetched but opportunity which knocks only once, one who adopts first has first mover advantage. This concept is ideal synchronization of the social world (engagement), gaming (environment) & mobile technology (reach). The words in brackets explain the impact of each activity. If you are into the Consumer Product Group (CPG) or FMCG or eCommerce or Multi-retail outlets this works so well, limiting yourselves to just the branding merchandise of your promotion is hampering your engagement.

Use this concept in synchronization of the trending like social world (engagement), gaming (environment) & mobile technology (reach). While I was on customer engagement through the social media, I found an interesting application using facebook, by a company Adepto which calls its products as Trolly, they have an interesting feature where they gamify the way the customer shares the purchases, this methodology not only helps in engaging them but also shares in the network there by creating ripples and excitement. This application is a clue to what can be done. Check the video

These are just the clues what I call Grey Munchies for you to think a loud and engage your consumers. Customer engagement is the key in today’s worlds as shoppers’ are informed, social & mobile device savvy, if you are not there, you have lost your game.

Tips of the trade

  • Brands adopt the recent trends such as social media just not to gain fans, but engaging them too.
  • Innovation, Relevance & Reach is the new mantra
  • Adopt gaming to create excitements
  • Not to forget mobile technology while you lay your plan in integration.

You Could reach me on adarsh.pete@gmail.com or connect with me on  linkedin

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An Empty Mind is Marketer’s Paradise – Leveraging Airports To Enhance the Customer Base

Facebook has over 250 million mobile user, advertiser expense for location-based services would set to approach $ 10 billion dollar by 2016, The rise of tablets allows airlines to come out with interactive apps to book tickets, a tweet which said around 30 airports in US would be able to access through free wify, HTML  5  is set to revolutionize the standardization and features for mobile devices. Does it ring the bell, if not check?

Millions of passengers use airports annually across the world either on one way or round trip, at an average people would be spending anywhere between 3 hrs – 8 hrs after check-in of their luggage, any idea, what happens? What have been emerging more appealing than the duty-free shops, window shopping & youthful staff around, is the world of internet, running through their smart devices, which could keep him occupied with things which would keep him away in his / her normal routine life. His / Her tablet or laptop or smart phone is the only device left after checking.

What could be true is using this captivated time, which I call a subliminal mind, of an individual, which is with clutter of prospective running in the mind, whether read a magazine or go around window shopping or check in the duty-free or stare at hanging advertisement banners or chat with the fellow passenger and what is very predominant among the clutter is use his/her phone, either with the bandwidth what his service provider has or the free wify in the airport. Have we thought, what an opportunity it throws for eCommerce platform, then imagine a digital display on your device, while you enter the airport premise, which says

“You are now in world of ABC eCommerce, kindly download the app on to your device”

This app, enables every passenger who have the Bluetooth on, to get the app, which helps him to gain the limited access, which is sponsored or in alliance with service provider at the airport. This access gains authentication (resolving the security issue), and starts the interaction with your prospect, who was cluttered all this while and you have channelized him to what you want, you are accessing him to posts in his social networking site and list of guided things.

“Lets’ do window shopping”

A feature, which is the lonely passenger’s friend, using the GPS navigation or equivalent technology, you are guiding him through the airport, helping to window shop, through your searches and comparative pricing with online on your site, in a way that you are showing the benefits with you and helping him to capture munchies while he is on board.

“Check the QR code, Hi, You have a surprise”     

Features which could allow you to identify the sponsored QR codes to entitle discounts on your online stores and free buys, to make the experience more exciting, eCommerce could use augmented reality, to click him pictures across to cherish his memories, all this happening under your umbrella of access, allowing you to be where his posts are.

“Do you want us to connect to your friends through Facebook”

What could be the next logical step once you are through with you checklist, start conversation with your friends, tweet on the services, link networks, share picture which are branded with you.

“Check what your favorite airline has for you to offer”   

These are what eCommerce platform leverage on, is channeling the airline’s loyalty program to your site, allowing passenger to shop, leverage on promotions. This would get a connect with your customer, understand the taste and what brings you closer to your customer centric strategy.

“How about you munch on what you saw, searched, connected, while you are on board”

Once you are about to go on the airplane mode, the application allows you mull the activities, and allows you now to create post, write remarks, check what you have been looking as fads, are they trending, which could be brought in your decision process, and once you are online, allows you to update on your platform, as one of the engagement.

eCommerce today has enormous potential, thanks to technology advancements, tablets & smart phone, it is up to  the player to decide, to explore the new segments to be in and get the user base by being as close as possible with the customers . The above narrative, is just an example to how customer engagement could be taken to a different alter all together, through the shopping online, writing reviews on the products (good adrenaline dosage for people), as this is the time when people have their thinking hats on and allowing you to be in the subliminal mind, which would definitely give you ROI, if not immediate, then future definitely.

You Could reach me on adarsh.pete@gmail.com or connect me linkedin

Tips for eCommerce

  • Airports throw enormous opportunity to build customer engagement and footfalls
  • It is just not important to be there in terms display banners, but makes more sense if you could relate your online experience  through mobile & tablet apps, which brings consumers closer to the platform
  • The Narrative is a good example of an App.
  • Especially Player who operate in the Travel & Leisure category, have you tried this, then check this stats which says, trials for the new ebookers.com website showed that 70% of hotel booking made through the new mobile website were for same day Check-In.

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