Hurricane Sandy Reminds Us How To Speak To Customers During A Crisis (Or Not)

Major events — political, natural, or economic — create a lot of eyeballs on a select set of media and stories. But as friends chimed in on Facebook, Twitter, and texts, they shared stories of who stood by them during the crisis. My colleague Christine Overby and I were discussing what marketers did and should do during a crisis. Do your customers need to hear from you during Hurricane Sandy? We’ve seen a few best practices from companies that are handling communications in a helpful and dignified way. We hope they are useful to our readers in charge of customer communications, both this week and in general.

  • USAA's mobile app reduces angst. The USAA Mobile App allows customers to report a property or auto claim, submit photos, and view claims status. Storm-related tweets featured a link to the app so that customers knew how to find it and submit a claim. One friend of mine was able to submit a claim, including photos, in about 2 minutes, allowing him to focus on cleaning up the debris. Its relative ubiquity — available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry — means that any USAA customer with a smartphone can take advantage of these game-changing and life-managing services.
  • Citi Cards and American Express send emails to offer personal assistance. In a service message to customers today, Citi Card anticipates their needs and offers relevant services like access to cash, fee waivers, and general instructions for getting help. Similarly, American Express offered affected customers help with emergency financial, travel, or medical services. The message from both is targeted, helpful, and intentionally brief — creating the right tone and value in the middle of a crisis.
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How Do You Transform Marketing From A Cost To A Profit Driver?

These days, the CMO’s job is more challenging than ever. With the explosion of marketing channels and the rise of the empowered consumers, marketers are under more pressure than ever to spend their budgets optimally and track ROI across the entire marketing mix. The wealth of data available for digital media has also raised accountability expectations for all marketing channels to a point where CEOs and CFOs now expect all marketing investments (not just in digital) to be measurable and accountable.

How can senior marketers navigate this complex landscape and embrace a data-driven approach to investment decision-making and measurement? 

Powerful tools — like marketing mix modeling — are now available to help marketers harness the power of data to concretely tie marketing to business outcomes. The field of marketing mix modeling vendors is rapidly maturing to help give marketers powerful tools to protect their budgets and reestablish the credibility and power that marketing has on the bottom line.

But how do marketers successfully build and implement a mix model? It’s not enough to merely hire a vendor; marketing mix modeling requires a dramatic internal shift in decision-making processes, measurement frameworks, and cross-functional collaboration. How should marketers engage their IT, finance, and analytics teams to make them partners in the success marketing mix modeling can unlock, as opposed to detractors and obstacles?

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