Financial Institutions Can Create New Customer Value With Huawei’s FusionInsight Analytics Platform

I attended Huawei’s 2015 global analyst summit in Shenzhen last week and studied its latest strategy for big data innovation. In a change from its previous big data offerings around storage, Huawei has reorganized the data analytics department and focused on infrastructure software that enables big data applications from ISV partners. Mr. Zhu, General Manager of Huawei FusionInsight, talked about FusionInsight, which financial institutions like ICBC and China Merchants Bank use to enhance customer analytics capabilities like customer recognition, segmentation, and marketing automation. Basically, Huawei FusionInsight is a data analytics platform with two major components: 1) a distributed open “database” platform that includes Hadoop, Sparc, and Storm and 2) “middleware” with open APIs to enable multisource data management and analytics.

Chinese financial institutions have a huge amount of legacy transactional data as well as in-motion online and mobile banking data, but they are unable to deal with all of it. With the previous systems of record, financial institutions couldn’t analyze all of this structured and semi-structured data in a unified “data pool.” To solve this problem, they are using Huawei FusionInsight to consolidate multisource data and enable more efficient customer and marketing analytics. Huawei FusionInsight is creating new value in the customer journey for a leading Chinese commercial bank by allowing it to:

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Contextual Interactions Changes Marketing In China: A Brief Survey

At Forrester’s recent annual Marketing Leadership Summit in Shanghai on March 25, I gave a presentation focusing on ways to build a contextual marketing engine and propel customers to the next best interaction. Key takeaways included:

  • Heavy mobile users in China are generating many new customer contexts. Heavy usage of mobile devices in China has changed the ways that people interact with enterprises. Today’s customers don’t just interface with brands via customer response, customer purchase, and customer services; more commonly, it happens outside of those campaigns. The context of all of those interactions determines whether a customer will engage — and, more importantly, transact — with the brand again.
  • Contextual interactions are changing marketing in China. Early adopters like Didi Taxi use contextual marketing from Day One and provide persistent incentives to engage with both providers and customers. Wanda Group, China’s leading business real estate company, acknowledges customer contextual interactions in its shopping malls across the nation and provides merchants with mobile moments to improve the effectiveness of their targeting.
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Chinese Enterprises Should Revamp Their Loyalty Programs

Firms in China focus on improving customers’ awareness of their brand and increasing their market share. Most of the Chinese marketers I spoke with for my latest customer loyalty research have built frequent-buyer programs that dish out lots of points and coupons but don’t do nearly enough to positively affect customer retention. Such fixed, one-dimensional frequent-buyer programs do not create deep connections between the brand and its target customers. Chinese enterprises must revamp their loyalty programs and use digital to introduce more experimental rewards throughout the customer life cycle. To raise the maturity level of loyalty programs in the digital era, Chinese enterprises should:

  • Integrate customer loyalty into digital strategies. Most Chinese firms lack the ability to analyze digital data and apply it to loyalty programs or campaigns. A top Chinese bank has launched a digital strategy to move frequent users from branch offices to online channels. However, its loyalty programs are not yet able to analyze digital customer data and integrate it into marketing campaigns. Inconsistent campaigns in different channels can confuse regular users.
  • Combine customer data management from digital channels. Chinese social media platforms like Sina Weibo and WeChat are opening more application programming interfaces to allow organizations to access data about customer location and behavior, but firms do not manage this data well. A Chinese airline has created public WeChat accounts to serve customers, but does not integrate the data collected from WeChat into its internal database.
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Apply Social Listening To The Entire Organization

Chinese organizations started monitoring social media for purposes of PR crisis management. As I noted in an earlier report, Spring Airlines decided to build social listening functions to identify crises and perform basic brand tracking after struggling with a public relations crisis — the backlash from airline staff blacklisting a passenger for complaining about flight delays — on Sina Weibo in 2012. Like Spring Airlines, most Chinese organizations now hire social media monitoring specialists and leverage insights drawn from social data to support marketing functions like optimizing marketing campaigns in real time, measuring the results of social campaigns, and collecting ratings and reviews from customers.

Moving forward, some early adopters in China have applied social listening to broader business functions in their organizations, including customer service, sales, distribution, and product innovation. In my most recent report, I see that these early birds have achieved benefits including:

  • Optimized customer experience in marketing campaigns. A leading beverage company used a social listening platform to analyze consumer sentiments and shorten response times in China. Its marketing team created an in-house social marketing benchmark system, instantly analyzes customer behavior, and modifies its marketing campaigns based on that analysis.
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Apply Social Listening To The Entire Organization

Chinese organizations started monitoring social media for purposes of PR crisis management. As I noted in an earlier report, Spring Airlines decided to build social listening functions to identify crises and perform basic brand tracking after struggling with a public relations crisis — the backlash from airline staff blacklisting a passenger for complaining about flight delays — on Sina Weibo in 2012. Like Spring Airlines, most Chinese organizations now hire social media monitoring specialists and leverage insights drawn from social data to support marketing functions like optimizing marketing campaigns in real time, measuring the results of social campaigns, and collecting ratings and reviews from customers.

Moving forward, some early adopters in China have applied social listening to broader business functions in their organizations, including customer service, sales, distribution, and product innovation. In my most recent report, I see that these early birds have achieved benefits including:

  • Optimized customer experience in marketing campaigns. A leading beverage company used a social listening platform to analyze consumer sentiments and shorten response times in China. Its marketing team created an in-house social marketing benchmark system, instantly analyzes customer behavior, and modifies its marketing campaigns based on that analysis.
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Customer Obsession Differentiated Uber's Hailing Services In China

Uber faces fierce competition in China from local taxi hailing service providers Didi and Kuaidi Taxi, which both launched Uber-style e-hailing services in 2014. Both providers use a costly subsidy model to entice taxi users to switch to e-hailing services. Kuaidi Taxi, which recently received $700 million in Series D funding to buy more self-owned e-hailing vehicles, has hired more drivers and continues to provide subsidies. Uber has a smaller user base than either Didi or Kuaidi and limited funds that it can leverage — so to win customers in China, Uber must engage customers differently. Uber can leverage its global organization’s existing customer analytics strategy and tools to better understand their (potential) customers and engage with them throughout the customer life cycle.

On New Year’s Eve 2014/2015, it was predicted that taxi service would be unobtainable as people concentrated on the New Year countdown. Uber analyzed historical customer data and was able to provide more appealing e-hailing options than Didi’s and Kuaidi’s cash coupons. Uber contacts customers in advance and asks them to confirm any rate increases due to its dynamic pricing model; this helps to set the correct expectations with customers about fares:

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Chinese Banks Benefit From Customer Analytics

China has experienced a fast expansion of credit card usage in the past 10 years, accumulating more than 390 million credit cards by the end of 2013, around 16 times more than 2003. But Chinese banks suffered from low activation rates of credit cards. In my recent report, I found China CITIC Bank (CNCB) faced a similar challenge; their 21 million credit cards had less than 20% activation before 2012.

In 2012, to increase the number of active credit card users, CNCB decided to revamp its customer analytics capabilities to better understand customer profiles and manage customer relationships. As a first step, the bank used SAS Enterprise Miner to deeply analyze both active and inactive cardholders and their usage scenarios and to measure the effectiveness of its credit card campaigns and programs through cardholder analysis for customer segmentation and marketing program effectiveness analysis including:

  • Cardholder analysis for customer segmentation.CNCB first collected and classified basic information about its cardholders from past marketing campaigns and transactional data. It defined four basic types of cardholders: inactive users, moderate users, convenience users, and heavy users. The bank spent two months to build data marts from the summarized data. It decided to focus on two groups of inactive cardholders: those who could be swayed by marketing campaigns and those who were heavy users of other banks’ cards but not CNCB’s through the analytics engine.
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Can Visual Analytics Stimulate Social Commerce In China?

with Allison Smith, Xiaofeng Wang and Vanessa Zeng

Chinese social platforms have started to engage in commerce via partnerships with eCommerce marketplaces, but online sales conversion rates from social traffic have been disappointing. For example, in May, 360buy (JD.com) — the second-largest B2C eCommerce marketplace — received a level-one access point on WeChat, the hottest social platform in China, but this didn’t deliver the large quantity of fulfilled mobile orders that the company expected. Haoyu Shen, CEO of JD.com, confirmed during the company’s Q3 financial earnings call that the majority of fulfilled mobile orders still originate from JD.com’s own mobile app. Forrester sees two major inhibitors of social commerce in China:

  • People don’t expect to see commercial promotions of products they don’t want on social media. Consumers normally blacklist friends or public accounts that push these ads, making it difficult to implement traditional B2C or C2C eCommerce models on social platforms. However, if social marketplaces can provide people a tool in those moments in which they actually want to buy a certain product, it may enable social commerce.
  • Customers have poor discovery and buying experiences on social commerce platforms. Social platforms in China that sell products and services online have limited search functionality, which does not make for a user-friendly customer discovery stage.  Chinese consumers have gotten used to being able to compare many products and prices when making online purchases — but current social commerce platforms can’t support that.
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Brands In China Start Considering Digital Analytics To Avoid Disruption

Chinese businesses have been in a state of digital transformation for the past two decades. Since the early 1990s, many enterprises owned by national or local governments have been privatized, and many of those realized that they could make information technology their key competency. However, traditional retail and manufacturing brands in China are very fragmented. The country lacks a local version of Wal-Mart or Macy’s — large organizations that dominate specific sectors.

The rise of Internet companies and their new business models is digitally disrupting already struggling traditional brands. Internet companies in China are using their strong capital resources to take center stage in many markets, creating new service delivery models, bringing online experiences offline, and making transactions through online marketplaces instead of in physical stores.

Most of the traditional brands that I spoke with in the course of the research for my most recent report were unable to react properly, as they were using immature digital intelligence to understand online users. But traditional brands have now realized the value of doing business online and intend to apply advanced digital analytics to understand customer behavior across the multitude of digital channels — web, social, and mobile. For instance, Chinese banks are starting to employ digital analytics to understand how people use Internet financing.One of the four largest Chinese banksis accustomed to analyzing transactional data but has limited experience in online user behavior analysis; to offset this, the bank recently announced a plan to implement web analytics tools to understand how customers interact with its website, search engine, and social platforms.

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Dell Is Testing The Waters Of Customer Analytics For Marketers

On November 5, Dell announced new data and analytics services at its annual Dell World customer event. Having integrated the analytics products it acquired — such as Kitenga (from Quest), Boomi, and StatSoft — Dell is now trying to build big data analytics capabilities based on a big data platform, visualization, and advanced analytics. These analytics technologies are appealing to technology management teams in end user organizations, but they may not meet the expectations of lines of business, especially for marketers facing increasing and rapidly changing demand for data and analytics.

As part of its effort to enhance its customer analytics offerings, Dell hired new leaders with marketing experience for its analytics business, such as its new GM of advanced analytics for marketing. And the company has started to move analytics offerings into the marketing arena:

  • Social media analytics is extending to the cloud. Dell hosts its social media analytics products on the Microsoft Azure platform and has started offering social listening products powered by Radian6. The cloud platform helps Dell serve a wider variety of client companies, from large organizations like the American Red Cross to small and medium-size businesses. The vendor is helping marketers optimize their customer segmentation, but it needs to do more to help marketers better recognize and engage with customers.
  • Master data management services are strongly integrated but are weak on analytics. Dell consolidates data (such as transactional, CRM, and supplier data) from disparate sources into a central repository and distributes it downstream. However, its customer data analytics capabilities are poor and make it difficult to evaluate, for example, average customer lifetime value.
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