CMO Perspectives (28th Nov, 2014)

Sales of big-data-related products and services grew to more than $18 billion in 2013. That’s because, done correctly, personalization through big data is a huge potential bonus to retailers and other businesses. When you know your customer enough to appeal to their sense of identity, you make them feel special. There are other enormous benefits as well, as explained in this week’s CMO Perspectives. However, personalization must be handled carefully, this week’s authors warn, so as not to cross any privacy lines. But if your approach is balanced, personalization can – and should - be a win-win for both customers and companies.

We hope you enjoy these articles. Let us know your thoughts by commenting below, or reach out on Twitter: @NICE_Enterprise.

Do customers see themselves in your brand identity? []

The North Face recently conducted a social experiment with customers in South Korea (presumably the customers signed waivers agreeing to participate). The customers had pre-identified themselves as adventure seekers, so the store gave them an adventure. The floor beneath them suddenly began to recede and the customers had no choice but to scamper up an adjacent climbing wall.

Here is the video so you can see for yourself: 


Author Jeannie Walters points to this experiment (which had close to 10 million views on YouTube) as an amazing example of experiential marketing. It helped self-described adventure seekers identify with the brand. According to Walters, a great way to make the customer feel special is by appealing to their sense of identity.

Identity is a key part of delivering a superior customer experience, says Walters. The article is persuasive and offers several other examples to chew over.

Customer Loyalty in the Age of Big Data []

This article, by knowledge@wharton offers several case studies for how companies use big data to increase customer loyalty. Hilton Worldwide, for instance, collects data on customers and uses it, not so much to decide for consumers exactly what they want, but to personalize and curate a list of options.

As one Hilton executive said, “we try to figure out what triggers [certain behaviors], and we find the strangest correlations,” for example, the company knows from its airline partners that people tend to book a hotel after they book an airline ticket and that the hotel has only about a half hour to bring in that customer.

The article gives several other fascinating examples --for instance how the shopping channel QVC uses big data “to spur purchases and minimize regret.” An analyst watches the customer response in real-time and changes the television broadcast accordingly. The article is replete with thought-provoking examples. Highly recommended.

5 Customer Retention Techniques That Will Get You More Repeat Customers []

Author Zach Fagan points out that the most efficient way to grow your e-commerce business is not necessarily to generate new leads but to attract repeat customers. Repeat customers, he says, account for 43% of revenue for the average e-commerce store. He continues to list five customer retention best practices.

First, he says, provide an excellent customer experience. That applies to everything from site design to customer service.

Second, display related products. If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon or Zappos, you’re familiar with the concept. You can even retarget your customers on Facebook using their Custom Audiences feature.

Third, offer your customers incentives and rewards. A classic example that really works is the concept of “Frequent Flyer Miles.” Fourth, use your email list, which is an amazing asset when it comes to customer retention.

And finally, keep it personal. The author says that 85% of people who follow SMBs on Twitter feel that they are personally connected to the brand, and that results in 72% of them being more likely to make a purchase from that brand.

How Big Data Benefits Both the Individual and the Collective []

According to author Lisa Falzone, sales of big-data-related products and services grew to more than $18 billion in 2013.

Falzone says that this is no surprise considering the benefits businesses, particularly those in the retail sector, stand to derive from the personalization of data.

She cites a fashionable new catchphrase, “the quantified self” as something retailers ought to be aware of. The quantified self, she says, is the consumer-led trend to track every little detail of their lives and publish it on the web. This includes their heart rate, eating habits and even when they brushed their teeth or finished their coffee.

Why do consumers do it? Because tracking the minutiae of their lives helps them make important lifestyle changes. But this just shows, says Falzone, that the whole Internet privacy debate is more complicated than it seems. Consumers are in fact willing to divulge personal details about themselves as long as they derive a great enough benefit in return.

Similarly, consumers are willing to use loyalty cards disclosing their personal shopping habits in exchange for benefits like discounts and personalized product recommendations. That’s why, says Falzone, personalized big data mining can be a win-win transaction: great for customers who choose to opt in, and invaluable to businesses. 

We hope you enjoyed our picks and bookmarked a few articles for future reference. Please don’t forget to share with other CMOs.

Are there any other marketing topics that interest you? Tweet us, or comment below to let us know!

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