Stay informed by reading current blog entries from our Quaero experts. Learn more about industry trends, gain insight into recent client successes, get up to date on company happenings and get to know us — and our opinions — even better.
Showing Blogs: 51–75 of 431
Posted on: 7/24/12
I recently watched a video on Mashable and decided to share it with some of my “followers." With the social integration of today’s websites, I glanced to the share button and noticed that I had 6 choices. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Linked-In, Google+ and StumbleUpon. As a lover of social media, and active on all 6 choices, I stopped and had to think. Where should I share this?
My one decision to share then turned into reviewing my 6 social media options. As popular as Carly-Rae Jepson’s “Call Me Maybe” video parodies are, I decided sharing the video to my LinkedIn business connections might not be the best career decision. I’m still trying to understand Google+, and StumbleUpon won’t reach any of my friends, co-workers, and fellow social followers (who really need to see this video!). In the end, my Twitter followers were graced with the link to the video.
Posted on: 7/19/12
With the latest releases from Microsoft, it is obvious that they no longer wish to be a software focused organization. The XBOX 360 - 67 million sold - and Kinect -19 million - have clearly been their most successful non-software ventures to date. I give a shout-out to the Zune - 9 sold (this number isn’t validated, and yes, I was 1 of the 9), prior Windows phones, the plethora of MS branded keyboards, mice and webcams that have all been widely regarded as utter failures.
Individually, these new product offerings from Microsoft aren't really ground-shattering: Smart Glass, Windows 8 (single OS on PC, phone, tablet, etc.), and the Surface tablet are all pretty standard individually. It is this new "Micro Way Galaxy" that peeks my interest, where the Xbox is the sun that the other devices orbit around in supposed seamless fashion.
Posted on: 7/11/12
Today in the world of analytics, the big buzz word being thrown around is “Data Scientist”. It seems like every day new articles are published about Data Scientists, the ever growing need for them and the importance of these roles within an organization. While the term is loosely used in industry, according to NC State’s Institute for Advanced Analytics very own Dr. Michael Rappa, data science is a blend of fields including statistics, applied mathematics and computer science. While this is certainly true, these fields prepare a person to become a data scientist and better enable them to crunch through tons and tons of data to solve complex business problems. However, I believe one aspect is being overlooked when describing what makes a Data Scientist.
As much as organizations need people who can analyze data and draw conclusions from that data, they also need people who can paint a picture from these conclusions for management to easily understand and take action on the findings. I call these people Data Artists! The real value of analytics comes when the results can be used to form a business plan. The easier it is to interpret results, the easier it is to get people within the business onboard to form a business plan around the analysis. Data Scientists should not only make an effort to broaden their skills with new methods and learning software, but to also become Data Artists and broaden their skills on how they use visualizations to present data to more effectively communicate their findings so everyone in the audience can understand what is going on.
Posted on: 7/10/12
The news about Big Data and its attendant, emerging technologies, are reaching a crescendo on the hype meter. New terms for measuring large quantities of data seem to be entering the lexicon every month. Every major technology company has jumped on the bandwagon by inking partnerships with the likes of Cloudera and Hortonworks, trying to grab some of the halo as well as the capabilities that will come through an alignment with these "big data" players.
Posted on: 7/5/12
When I was in school, I was a fan of behavioral economics and spent a lot of time studying social networks from the perspective of both economics and social psychology. The reason these topics attracted me was that I wanted to understand the different ways people influence each other’s decision-making. I was a complete academic bear and not a marketing person at all at that time. However, I was eager to learn the intersection of these two concepts, and how they could be applied to business as well as society as a whole.
The study of this intersection is known as Social Network Analysis (SNA). But what exactly does it mean? Wikipedia gives us a simplified, but clear enough, definition. Let me clarify it a little bit. Social network analysis views social relationships with nodes and lines. Nodes represent individuals and lines between nodes represent the relationships between the individuals, such as friendship, kinship, organizational positions, and so on. The strength of the relationships can be depicted by the length or transparency of the lines in the diagram. The social influence of individuals can be viewed directly from the network diagram by the number of lines connected to the nodes and the scale of the nodes. Ever played '6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon?' Well, then you've designed a social influence diagram.
Posted on: 7/3/12
Click here to read Part One of this article. Preference management is a tricky subject that requires attention and keeping the consumer in mind. Given the challenge associated with preferences, where should you start? A few thoughts on how to approach the process of managing preference data are:
- Audit all of your preference management data sources and profile the information that is being captured along with business associated rules.
- Consider the user experience and the touchpoint (web preference center, telemarketing script, BRC card, etc.) for capturing preference information. Are the choices clear and intuitive? Can consumers pick targeted subscriptions that will closely align to the information they are interested in?
- Ensure that preference data correctly captures the sentiment of the customer and the communications that they explicitly subscribed to.
- Make sure that the lineage of preferences is clear. There should be some way to audit the explicit choice made by the consumer and the inferences that were made from that choice.
- Define the business rules that reconcile conflicting preferences. More recent preferences might trump historical choices made by the consumer. Alternatively, the context of the preference itself (source, program specificity, etc.) might determine which preference wins.
Posted on: 6/29/12
Customer data is a BIG concept, and it's getting BIGGER. We talk all the time about the issues surrounding customer information, and how companies are struggling to harness its power to improve customer loyalty, retention, and value. Aside from the sheer volume of data that exists, perhaps the biggest challenge for marketers today is accessibility. For many organizations, even basic customer information is available only to a few individuals with advanced software tools and skills, or in special reports run by IT.
For a non-technical marketer like myself (admittedly), it is an enormous hassle to have to rely on an IT department to generate the reports that I need to do my job (Not to mention the burden it must place on their shoulders). That's why Quaero has introduced ValueWatcher, or, 'The Customer Visualization Tool for the Rest of Us.' ValueWatcher places important customer data into the hands of any business person who needs it, even those who lack the technical skill traditionally required to work with mounds of marketing data. With little or no training, users are able to segment customers across multiple dimensions, gain insights into marketing opportunities, display key metrics such as lifetime value, and generate visually compelling reports.
Posted on: 6/28/12
The term “customer engagement” is seemingly ubiquitous in today’s marketing world. Media publications are talking about it, bloggers are writing about it, and indeed, entire agencies have set up shop claiming to specialize in it. But for many industry professionals, the exact definition of the term remains fuzzy. So what is it exactly: a new buzzword, a periodic trend, or an industry breakthrough?
The correct answer would be both, all, or none of the above. Come again? The Advertising Research Foundation came up with this as the first real “definition” of the term customer engagement: "Engagement is turning on a prospect to a brand idea enhanced by the surrounding context." Perplexingly broad, this offers little.
Posted on: 6/26/12
In Part I of this blog series, we left off wondering what was going to happen to our CDM-MDM system once we start flowing Big Data – billions of records and petabytes of data – through it. Our matching routines are already computationally intensive - is this going to put them over the edge and grind the system to a halt?
The key here is data classification. In the last post, we classified “attributive” or “profile” data separately from “behavioral” data and asserted that the Big Data almost always falls into the behavioral bucket. Let’s take a closer look at these two classifications.
Posted on: 6/22/12
Television used to be simple. Your TV was connected to a cable and you received a certain amount of channels that were paid for in advance. These channels brought you a variety of shows. And every night, no matter how inconvenient it was, you would park yourself in front of the TV at the designated time to catch your favorite show. Although this setup was simple, it was far from being tailored to the consumer.
Television, and the viewing experience, has drastically evolved in recent years. Content can be delivered through various channels and, most importantly, it can be viewed outside the home. You’re no longer stuck on the couch. You don’t have to miss a game if you’re traveling for work. And, it’s no longer a problem if there is a disagreement between what should be watched. You can watch TV via the traditional route, but you can also watch it on your computer, tablet, or smartphone.
Posted on: 6/20/12
As my colleague Roman Lenzen pointed out in his recent blog, DMPs have to continue to evolve to meet the ever changing needs of advertisers and publishers. However, barring an act of Congress that might eliminate or limit the capabilities of DMPs, they are here to stay. So for online publishers it’s not a matter of whether or not to embrace DMPs, but rather how to defend against the threat of audience commoditization that they represent.
What do I mean by audience commoditization in this case? The value that DMPs provide is the ability to deliver a predefined targetable segment based on combinations of geo, demographic and behavioral data collected across the web. So advertisers can purchase DMP segments regardless of publisher site and be ensured they are getting a consistently defined segment that aligns to their objectives. This is a good thing for the advertisers and in the short-term can be a boon for publishers. But why would the advertiser pay a premium CPM at one publisher’s site to reach a DMP created segment if they can reach that same segment at another site for a lower CPM? By integrating DMPs publishers run the risk of turning their audience into a commodity where they will have little control over CPMs given the interchangeable nature of segments from one publisher to another. Nor will they have as much control over budget cannibalization when their advertisers decide they can get the same segments with much greater scale on a Yahoo or AOL site. As a result CPMs will be depressed, overall revenue will be at risk and publisher margins will suffer in the long term.
Posted on: 6/19/12
Companies are constantly collecting information about consumers and their preferences in the online world. Knowing the right thing about the right person at the right time can be the difference between selling a product and making a favorable impression or disappointing a consumer and turning him towards a competitor. Given that the average person spends approximately five seconds when making a decision to opt in/out of things such as mailing lists or contact choices, preference management must become a priority for marketers.
A lot of information collected for preference management is provided by the consumer. If you make a purchase online, you provide explicit information such as your address and credit card information. Other types of information are also collected, like what part of the country you are from and the time of day you are shopping. The more a company knows about you, the better it is at providing products and services catered directly for you.
Posted on: 6/18/12
Were you able to attend our recent Webinar, Customer Contact Strategies: Beyond Just Marketing? If not, then you missed what was a very compelling overview of contact strategy optimization filled with both practical guidance and recommendations for addressing common gaffs. Don’t fret if you weren’t able to attend; you can view the replay here or just read the recap below!
In today’s world, where customer relations are ever-changing, brands need to redefine how they engage with each and every customer. Why? The classic contact strategy of push marketing no longer works. Customers are far less loyal to brands, they’re more empowered, and they know what they want.
As customers ourselves, we know the problems that exist. There are more channels of communication but less consistency in the messages. And while there are more messages, they are less relevant. It’s time that campaign strategies are revamped and customers are engaged in conversation and approached in a more personal, relevant manner. In a recent post, Jennifer Roneker outlined exactly how much of an impact contact strategies can have.
Posted on: 6/14/12
In the highly dynamic marketing automation space, Quaero is both a partner of leading tool providers—incorporating software for dialog management within multichannel marketing environments that we build and support for our clients—and a user of such tools as part of our own client acquisition efforts.
There is a vast difference between our clients’ data and transactional requirements (think Big Data and B2C) and the world we operate in as a customer engagement agency with a very narrow B2B focus. So we necessarily utilize different tools internally and always look for ways to elevate our game.
Posted on: 6/13/12
A few months ago, I blogged about a nice surprise I encountered while flying coach on US Airways. A flight attendant came to my seat, acknowledged me as a Chairman's Preferred member and took special care during my flight. I ended my blog by hoping that the experience was not one of a kind but a new process that the airline had put in place to recognize and reward their most valuable customers. US Airways has actually done a fairly decent job of improving their operations and customer service over the past many years, since America West's management took the company over, so I had some grounds for my optimism.
Posted on: 6/12/12
People often cite prioritization as a personal area of improvement. This is interesting, because we prioritize every day, every hour and every minute of our lives, so you think we would be good at it by now! At work, we not only have to prioritize OUR goals but we need to keep in mind those of our clients, coworkers and managers. In this post, I want to share with you some of the tricks I use to keep my priorities straight, and to more efficiently get work done.
First, and this is the hardest one, you need to accept that everything is NOT going to get done, at least not when you would ideally like it to. However, if you consider the following tips you will be better suited to meet your goals and the expectations of others.
Posted on: 6/8/12
With a combination of business intelligence and analytics, you may have figured out the lifetime value of a customer. If you’re using customer data wisely, you probably also know the highest acquisition cost you’re willing to pay, or even how much to spend to re-engage a customer that appears to be going latent. But here’s a metric you likely haven’t established: how much are you willing to pay for the damage control of a single customer?
In more ways than one, the voice of the customer is stronger than ever and businesses have had to face a paradigm shift. There are businesses that get it, like Zappos and Amazon, which continually reign over customer service and satisfaction. On the other end of the spectrum, companies that focus their efforts only up to the point of sale are being rudely awakened by a stark new reality: there’s no escaping an unhappy customer. With the internet at their fingertips, each and every customer can create staggering ripple effects that can do major damage to a brand. In the past, a miffed customer had little recourse outside of venting to his or her friends and family. This did some word-of-mouth damage, but it was generally contained. But today, a customer can instantly tap the internet and announce their dissatisfaction to an endless sea of consumers. One tweet or review can quickly go viral, accelerated by web-savvy competitors keen to exploit their rivals’ woes in whatever way they can (I once a heard a story about a repeat customer that tweeted about a negative experience with a florist. Soon after, they were contacted by 1-800-Flowers, who offered to make their delivery for free and offered a discount for their next order. Guess who lost a regular customer, and who gained one?).
Posted on: 6/7/12
It’s becoming more and more apparent to consumers when their behavior and personal information is being used. Just a quick look at the ads displayed on Facebook and in Gmail makes it pretty clear that marketers know a great deal about you, but the more amazing part is when ads start to follow you around the web. Something has to give here and marketers will need to be more sensitive to this and provide consumers with more transparency like Zappos, the online shoe company that tells consumers what it does with their data and allows them to opt-out of personalized ads (often the result of remarketing or retargeting efforts).
Posted on: 6/6/12
Have you ever given much thought to the glossy catalogs that routinely show up in your mailbox, offering you great deals on the exact things you need? Or maybe how your favorite online stores know to send you offers for summer dresses rather than men’s dress shirts? When you’re getting what you want, wondering about how it got there is an afterthought. But, you might be surprised to know that your shopping experience—both online and off—is the result of contact strategies at their best. Let’s take a look at exactly how these contact strategies work.
It all begins with the customer. Say that an advertiser would like to target females who are interested in makeup. It might seem like a simple enough matter, but this is where all the variables come in. How old is the customer? What kind of makeup is the customer interested in? How often does the customer buy makeup? A high school student partial to glitter eye shadow is vastly different from the vice president of a large company with a need for neutral shades. The two will differ not only in the type of makeup they buy, but also in how much they spend and how often they buy. Companies want the customer to purchase as much as possible, so customer characteristics are important. This is where customer segmentation begins. The breakdown begins in terms of messages, offers, and the frequency of contact with the customer.
Posted on: 6/5/12
I was recently listening to an interview of Caesars Entertainment Corporation CEO, Gary Loveman. He was talking about how his casino uses analytics to power customer experience and not just by looking at value or profitability of customer visits. He gives an example about tracking customers’ play with a card that is required for slot machines. For example, player A starts with $100, plays for 30 minutes, and walks away with $0. Another player, Player B, also starts with $100, goes to $150, but eventually after 1.5 hours walks away with $0. In this example they both have the same value, but Player B would rate his experience as better. Thus, Player B would be more likely to return and in the long run be a more valuable customer.
Caesars customer service agents may provide some offer to the less fortunate player to improve his experience. The first step is to recognize the poor experience; the second is to do something about it. Loveman also states that, “Through frequent flyer data we observe a customer had a poor experience on an airline, the flight was delayed, they lost their bag. Is it any mystery that they hate the airline? No, they hate the airline, you know that. So, if you want them to visit the airline again the next time, how would you treat them? You’d want to acknowledge that the last trip was a bad one and you are going to try to do something to make it up. That is exactly the same idea, but the airlines never do that.”
Posted on: 5/30/12
Media executives, cable operators and agencies all converged on Boston for NCTA's annual Cable Show, the event that puts all things television front and center. But this year, as in recent years, television (or the first screen) wasn't the only media darling. Devices and computers (aka the second screens) were all the talk and TV Everywhere (TVE), which gives consumers content they already subscribe to delivered on multiple screens through authentication, was - well, everywhere.
The consensus among the many industry leaders in attendance is that all of these screens - and the audiences they generate - mean newer and better ways for brands and consumers to connect and therefore, more revenue opportunities. In a panel discussion entitled, "Which Screen - Every Screen," SVP of Multimedia Sales for ESPN, Patricia Betron agreed, "The more screens, the more effective the advertising is."
Posted on: 5/28/12
In Part I of this series, we covered the first phase of turning your data into $. While this series has focused primarily on the media industry, allowing us to cover the multiple revenue streams unique to that business model, the experience I'm sharing also applies directly to any organization that's building or trying to improve their CRM capabilities.
Once you've laid the groundwork... (1) development of the data environment (2) completion of a preliminary segmentation, and (3) delivery of a basic roadmap to improve and automate targeting capabilities, you are ready take it to the next level.
Posted on: 5/25/12
If content delivery across multiple devices and technologies is the cable industry’s Job 1, then delivering it in a seamless fashion for millions of Americans comes in as a close second. While opening day of the NCTA’s Cable Show focused intently on the promise of content, Day 2 in Boston, Mass. addressed the industry’s equally important challenge: creating a customer-centric content experience.
Indeed, content in all its forms will lead to new revenue opportunities and a richer relationship with customers. But how do operators make the consumption of content easier and more seamless? In a myriad of sessions today, operators tackled this difficult question from a variety of viewpoints. The industry has a long way to go to improve the user experience, and they must continue to focus on how their consumers interact with content to deliver it in a user-friendly way.
Posted on: 5/23/12
Regardless of what the cable industry calls it, there is no doubt that seamless consumption of digital content has, and will continue to dramatically transform from where future revenues and customer relationships are built.
Opening day of the NCTA’s Cable Show had industry leaders all a-Twitter about the impact that IP technologies, social media and new models will have on the delivery, distribution and dynamics of content over the next 5 years.
Nearly 13,000 attendees and 275 exhibitors are in Boston, Mass. this week to talk all things cable—from the jargon-filled technologies that support network infrastructure to predictions about how shifts in usage and consumer preferences will change longstanding business models.
Posted on: 5/22/12
Ping! That was Outlook notifying me that yet another industry newsletter hit my inbox. But this time, the title caught my eye, so I opened the email. This particular newsletter offered an e-book from a sponsoring vendor, and although I wasn't familiar with the author, I felt compelled to take a look. I downloaded and added the e-book to my "Saved Reading" list, something I reserve for evenings and flights, and then started preparing for my next meeting. At this point, I knew little about the e-book's content, but I’d find out at some point. At some point...when I'd had a chance to read or even glance through it, which is something I hadn't the time nor the inclination to do right after downloading it.