Digital Analytics Pros: Wait Before Diving Into The Salesforce Marketing Cloud's New Web and Mobile Analytics Capability

James McCormick

Salesforce’s newly proclaimed "Web and Mobile Analytics" capability within  Sales Force Marketing Cloud Web and Mobile Analtyics platform may initially excite us digital analytics geeks. After all - disruptions by large vendors in the name of “Web Analytics” are few and far between now days.  However before placing SFDC on your digital analytics vendor shortlist you should consider that the capability:

  1. Is targeted at Salesforce's existing Marketing cloud customers.  It is built more as "light weight" analytics capability providing BI pros the ability to natively ingest web and mobile data into their SFDC instances. Oh and it is offered at no extra charge to all Marketing Could users.
  2. Will not replace existing enterprise systems. Salesforce claim it will “complement” existing enterprise digital analytics systems that do very much the same thing (i.e. collect, analyze and act on customer behavioral data) and more.
  3. Is separate from the Salesforce's Wave.  Slightly confusingly the Analytics Cloud - Wave - is a separate offering from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud's mobile and web analytics capability- good to know!
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Dreaming of Contextual Marketing

Rusty Warner

At Dreamforce in San Francisco earlier this week, Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle highlighted retailer Eddie Bauer’s strategy to make marketing so good that it feels like customer service and customer service so good that it feels like marketing. He may well have added that when marketing and service are well executed, they both begin to feel like sales – or at least the extension of sales environments that they are meant to support.

This thinking underscores the blurring lines between marketing and customer experience. Where does one end and the other begin? And does it really matter? Certainly to the customer it doesn’t; all he or she wants is a great experience that delivers value appropriate to the current context. So then, why do brands continue to let organizational or functional silos get in the way? It’s easy to say that legacy systems and processes still dictate what brands are able to achieve, but surely with today’s business technology capabilities, it’s possible to do better.

Brands highlighted at Dreamforce not only do better: they blend marketing, services and sales for a seamless customer experience. Take Fitbit, for example. Of course the Fitbit business model is based on interaction and context, but Fitbit has taken things to another level by ensuring that marketing content is fully incorporated into app functionality instead of pushing messages at customers. Up-sell, cross-sell and promotional content appear when contextually relevant and blend smoothly with customer services information and sales/transactional opportunities.

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Blinded By The Dream Of Having A Single Marketing Services Partner?

Carlton Doty

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said "the only thing that is constant is change." Well, the CI services landscape seems to live and breath this saying. Today’s market demands are leading traditional database marketing service providers (MSPs) to deliver broader digital marketing capabilities, either through partnerships, acquisitions, or organic growth. While this trend has been unfolding for the last couple years, it shows no signs of slowing down. One of the latest examples of this activity is Alliance Data’s acquisition of Conversant for their Epsilon division. This is the latest in a series of moves by MSPs to build a bridge between the data business, digital marketing, and overall customer strategy - all key capabilities in the evolution toward Customer Engagement Agencies (CEA).  

Customer Insights (CI) professionals and marketers have managed relationships with their MSPs for decades to execute conventional direct marketing campaigns. While the classic database marketing business won’t dry up any time soon, the CI pros and marketers who manage these vendor relationships are grappling with:

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It's time to fall back on the loyalty basics

Emily Collins

Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

As a kid, I loved going back to school. The beginning of September always meant new classes, new classmates, and of course new notebooks, pens, and pencils. And even though I’m not in school anymore, I still see September as an opportunity to turn over a new leaf, and approach things — both personally and professionally — with a fresh perspective. So, in honor of the first few weeks of Fall, let’s all take some time to study the loyalty basics. Process, while not the most exciting aspect of loyalty marketing, is necessary for building a sound foundation. Without processes, your ability to execute on your loyalty strategy is shaky at best and sudden changes to the market or unforeseen obstacles may leave you in disarray.

To avoid loyalty strategy failure, you must streamline processes around these three objectives:

  1. Building a deep understanding of customer needs and motivations. Loyalty starts with knowing your best customers and asking for their input. But, if gathering data from your customers, make sure you use it. They will expect it.
  2. Preparing for relentless adjustment. Digital business is booming, and loyalty can’t miss out on opportunities to innovate. Test and learn new customer engagement tactics on a small scale. Don’t be complacent with your strategy, but don’t over spend on improvements that won’t last.
  3. Establishing enterprise wide alignment. Do you know who your key internal stakeholders are? Identify them then build teams and processes to help create seamless customer experience.
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You just found out you’re a loyalty laggard. Now what?

Emily Collins

Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

After taking the customer loyalty assessment, you know whether you’re a laggard, learner, leader, or legend:

Great, but you’re probably thinking "Where do we go from here?" You need a game plan that clearly identifies where and how improvements should be made. To do so, take the gaps in your current approach and prioritize your tasks based on whether each one is a:

  • Need to have. These are non-negotiable tasks that will make or break your graduation to the next maturity level.
  • Want to have. These are important, but not critical tasks for taking your maturity to the next level.
  • Nice to have. These tasks come in handy for differentiating your loyalty approach, but have little bearing on your maturity level.

Priorities will differ for each stage of loyalty maturity and I lay out examples of these needs, wants, and nice to haves in my recent report, Craft A Customer Loyalty Strategy That Raises Your Maturity. Do you have a plan?

Taking Loyalty Beyond The Program

Emily Collins

I really enjoyed sharing insights about loyalty in the Age of the Customer at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum East back in June. I got some great questions from the audience about how to start planning and advancing their loyalty strategy. Next up, I'll be continuing the conversations at Forrester's Customer Experience Forum West in Anaheim, CA, November 6-7. And, a few weeks later I'll also be at our EMEA Customer Experience Forum, November 17-18 in London. Here's a sneak peek of the content I'll be sharing at my track session. I hope to see you there!

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Chinese Businesses Embrace Social Intelligence

Gene Cao

Chinese people are hypersocial in their lifestyle and daily work, and Forrester forecasts that 681 million of them will be using social media by 2019. Online Chinese are actively engaging with brands and companies on social media: 29 brands or companies on Sina Weibo and 32 brands or companies on WeChat on average. Chinese businesses have realized the importance of social for customer life-cycle management. While they’ve started using social to increase brand awareness — such as broadcasting on Sina Weibo — they can’t recognize potential customers in this one-way communication. They use public WeChat accounts to shorten response times to client service requests — but they can’t predict these requests in advance. To address these challenges, businesses in China are starting to use enterprise-class analytics tools for Chinese social platforms.

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How do you measure customer loyalty? Let me count the ways.

Emily Collins

mixed up measure

I recently interviewed a number of companies about their approach to customer loyalty. In each conversation I asked a variation of the question "How do you define and measure customer loyalty?" And what struck me is that while many companies define loyalty using various terms like share of wallet, length of relationship, engagement, and customer value, they often measure it using only transactional metrics. Now, there are various reasons for this. Some don't have access they to the data they need to gage emotional loyalty. Others don't have the analytics capabilities or resources they need to pull the pieces together. But loyalty if multi-faceted, complex, and has emotional and rational aspects that aren't mutually exclusive, and certainly can't be reduced to a single metric.

So what should you do? First, heed my rallying cry: It's time to push past purchase as a proxy for loyalty. Second, Forrester can help. Loyalty may be difficult to measure, but it's not impossible. My latest research report provides a framework that buckets loyalty measurement into four, cooperative levels:

  • Programmatic measurement assesses loyalty program health. These metrics explain how the loyalty program grows in size, scope, and activity level over time. Sample metrics include enrollment rates, offer response rates, and program usage.
  • Purchase measurement quantifies the customer relationship. These metrics explain how the loyalty strategy improves customer profitability. Sample metrics include average order value, frequency, and basket assortment.
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Extended Google Analytics Benchmark Capabilities Threaten To Disrupt

James McCormick

Blogged in collaboration with Samantha Ngo, Senior Research Associate, serving Customer Insights professionals.

You’ve heard us saying a thousand times: the buzz about big data isn’t about the amount of data you’ve collected; it’s how you digest that data and turn it into actionable insights. With the revamp to Google Analytics’ (GAs) benchmarking, Google is taking the next steps in allowing us common folk to process data in a platform with a simple UI, built to enable you to draw insights to catalyze actionable improvements to your marketing program.

Google’s vision is there. GAs extended benchmarking capability  – available to free and premium users - offers some sparkly new features such as 1600 industry categories (previously 26), size buckets, and location filters that allow for basic segmentation; and, the tool can automatically place you within one of these categories according to your web traffic, etc. Also, you have to give to get: Opting out of allowing Google to collect your information anonymously means you won’t have access to benchmarking features. Given GA’s huge deployment footprint — we’re talking about big time big data and a great opportunity for firms of all sizes and verticals to compare themselves to relevant markets.

But as you excitedly dive into Google’s benchmarking big data lake you should consider that;

  • This isn’t quite ready for enterprise. For the moment the benchmarks can only be viewed via Google reports; and digital marketers will not be able to suck this benchmark data (via APIs etc..) into their favourite dashboarding or BI tool.
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Just Published: The Forrester Wave--Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q3 2014

Jason McNellis

I cut my teeth as a data analyst helping brands communicate more effectively—building segmentation and targeting models that differentiated contact frequency, offers, and messaging across a brand’s customer base. But in the face of today’s more empowered customers building static scoring models and relying on batch-based campaigns is insufficient to win, serve and retain customers. Today most enterprises rely heavily on technology to help them interact with customers across channels, and as we evaluated in the newly published Forrester Wave: Cross Channel Campaign Management, Q3 2014, brands have several compelling choices.  

We identified, researched, and scored solutions from nine vendors: Adobe, IBM, Infor, Pitney Bowes, RedPoint Global, SAP, SAS Institute, SDL, and Teradata. Our approach consisted of a 41-criteria evaluation; reference calls and online surveys of 96 companies; executive briefings; and product demonstrations.

We identified four leaders in this mature, but evolving category. What sets leaders apart?

  • Depth of cross-channel capabilities. Leaders consistently received high scores in cross-channel data integration capabilities, which includes cross-channel customer identification and centralized response history management. But the purpose of collecting this data is so marketers can make smarter—more customer obsessed—decisions. Not surprisingly then, leaders also receive high marks in areas of interaction management such as cross-channel decision management and real-time analytics.  
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