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3 Ways CMOs Can Prepare Against Data Breaches

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Market to the opportunity

Breach preparedness might not seem an especially exciting task to take on, but it’s crucial to the success of your vision as a CMO, and to the overall solvency of your brand. You need to make sure you’re proactively marketing your preparedness and general data hygiene practices.Make the measures you’ve taken part of your overall demand gen toolkit – central to outbound campaigns and promotions, reinforced in calls you take with potential customers and clients. This isn’t just good business sense; this is common sense for the world we live in, where buyers are more educated than ever before on issues surrounding data privacy and anxious to have conversations on breach preparedness. I can’t tell you how many RFPs I’ve seen that foreground privacy questions and considerations.

Make it a point to market compliance at every juncture of the customer journey. Customers and partners can be confident you’ll protect the data they provide you and will only use it in manners that are transparent and for the manner intended.

Invest in privacy and compliance certification

In this increasingly connected age, measures around privacy and compliance aren’t simply nice-to-haves; they’re must-haves. The ROI for a privacy certification might seem difficult to quantify, when the initial outlay looks large, but the cost to your brand without the investment is ten times higher, in the event especially of a breach (and ensuing backlash from customers).

Make privacy programs a priority – certifications, industry alliances and memberships, participation in working groups – and see to it the program you choose fits your organization’s size and unique data needs (especially if yours is an industry where data privacy is particularly paramount). There are affordable third-party solutions available to organizations of all sizes, from BBB Online to TrustE, and CMOs should make an effort to evaluate and exhaust their every option on this front. An ounce of prevention, remember, is worth a pound of cure.

Looking ahead

The data management and breach incident landscape is changing rapidly. Stay on top of the issues by engaging in industry resources and groups that can provide you updated information pertaining to all things privacy and data management. Ensure that privacy management is a core function within your organization and is supported by the c-suite, which means available budget that your business can leverage to adopt tools and services that make privacy stewardship a competitive edge for the organization.

Bottom line: a commitment to privacy is good for business and good for your users, and as the main steward of the customer experience, it’s up to you as CMO to cultivate a privacy program that can go the distance – supporting a more seamless brand experience, and increasing ROI long term.

Remember, not all data breaches are created equal – some are more painful than others. The good news? With these proactive steps you can limit the event and possible fallout, as well as demonstrate corporate governance during the difficult time of navigating the data breach resolution.

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9 Ways Microsoft Dynamics CRM nurses Healthcare Provision to its full potential

With flu season in full swing, healthcare is at the top of everyone’s mind. Whether you’re a patient or a healthcare provider, there is no illusion that the healthcare system is perfect. Certain things can be streamlined and made more efficient, helping everyone involved.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions are a logical group to turn to in search for a remedy (yes – medical humor will be involved). But we’re here to make the case that Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an all-round ERP winner when it comes to healthcare.

Here are 9 ways that CRM can improve the quality of services of a healthcare provider.

  1. Patient history access

Avoid the all-time irritating experience of asking “So why are you here?” and having a patient stare back at you with dismay as they have to repeat their ‘journey’ for the fifth time. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows access to a centralized patient profile with a list of previous appointments and referrals. You can now spend that time focusing on more targeted questions.

  1. Targeted educational outreach

You effortlessly improve the overall health of patients with automated messaging campaigns. For example, you can make sure your Diabetes patients receive newsletters with tips, or your Smokers are alerted to group meetings to help them quit. Something so simple and easy can lead to some results.

  1. Remote monitoring

Patients confined to their homes are always difficult to treat; you may not get there in time of an emergency, or spend a long time commuting away from other patients. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows you to monitor at-home medical devices as well as receive alerts when vitals, etc. start to misbehave or fall into dangerous zones. Response time can this be heavily shortened.

  1. Patient profiles – not your average EHR

Say ¡adiós! to symptom-listing EHRs. Microsoft Dynamics CRM allows for the creation of a patient profile, which includes lifestyle choices among other useful details. These profiles are important because studies have shown that the quality of healthcare provided is not the only thing affecting patient health. When doctors are aware of these other factors, they can better tailor their treatment and healthcare plans.

  1. Building care plans

With all the patient data that a CRM can hold, it easily builds unique care plans that tailored to a specific patient’s requirements and needs. Additionally, it allocates tasks to each member on a care team. Coupled together, these make a patient’s treatment more effective and efficient.

  1. Better coordination and communication

Furthermore, Microsoft Dynamics CRM provides a platform for communication: the patient and all healthcare providers involved are updated with new tasks, notified to missing treatments, and can communicate in real-time. More efficient care and fewer mistakes are just a few of the positive outcomes of CRMs in the healthcare industry.

  1. Cohort analysis

Furthermore, this comprehensive conglomeration of data enables a number of insights to be drawn, not solely based on the analysis of a single patient, but on a whole population. This is a slightly harder point to describe, but analysis → insight → better action/diagnosis/treatment is the overall gist.

  1. Clinical trial management

Again, not an expert in the goings-on of a clinical trial, but Microsoft Dynamics CRM is noted to be able to streamline the entire process. From planning and implementation to tracking and analysis, data is centralized and easily accessible and manageable.

  1. Recruitment aides

Microsoft Dynamics CRM is also equipped with recruitment tools to assist in the hiring of highly qualified medical professionals. Ultimately, this can only help maintain a level of quality healthcare provision, if not improve it too.

Even if you just read the section headers, you can see that there are many benefits to adopting Microsoft Dynamics CRM if you’re a healthcare provider.

Want to find out more or a get a personalized demo – contact us.

John Hoyt, Technology Management Concepts, www.abouttmc.com

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6 Ways Marketers Fall Short When Targeting B2B buyers

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This transcript has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the podcast.

Michelle Huff: Can you tell us and the audience more about yourself and Seas Marketing?

Kari Seas: Sure. I started Seas Marketing about a year and a half ago. And we focus on developing content marketing for technology companies, primarily B2B technology companies.

And I’ve spent the bulk of my career in B2B technology marketing, and the bulk of that in the enterprise software space.

Truly understand the B2B buyer

Michelle: From your work helping companies, you’ve found six different ways marketers struggle or really fall short when they’re targeting B2B buyers. The first one is understanding the buyer, right?

Kari: Yes. Everybody talks about buyer personas. But not a lot of people take the time to really understand this buyer. What that means is demographics and psychographics. So, you really have to get into their head. What are their motivations? What pain or pride do they feel on a daily basis? How do they define success in their job? How do their leaders define success in their job? You have to get inside their heads and hearts and really understand what makes them tick.

It’s a way to really differentiate yourself and set yourself apart. There are a lot of vendors going after these buyers in the B2B space. And the more that you really get inside their head and understand where they’re coming from, you can have that conversation with them that gets their attention, and that resonates with them, and compels them to reach out to you or to respond to you when they may not be doing that with other people.

Understand how long it actually takes to close a deal

Michelle: And the second thing we talked about is a little bit about better understanding how long it takes to close the deal. What have you seen that’s kind of different in this area?

Kari: How long it actually takes to close a deal, and I define that not just from when an opportunity is created to when closed revenue is recognized. I really define that if you’re talking about the entire marketing and sales funnel, it’s from the point that an individual enters your database to the time it takes to close a deal. And especially when you’re talking about B2B, that can be a really long sales cycle. Just getting that person who is in your database to engage with you at some point, that’s like the first kind of obstacle to overcome. And then you have to nurture them through all the way to close.

Even within the B2B space, there can be huge differences between one company’s sales cycle length and another company’s sales cycle length. It all depends on the product that they’re selling, the dollar value of that purchase, how large the [buying] committees are.

Know what an efficient, high-performing funnel looks like

Michelle: The third thing is better what the funnel looks like. Can you talk a little bit about that and how it’s different?

Kari: If you think of your funnel from at the top where it’s anonymous website visitors to the bottom when they become a customer; it can be a pretty lengthy cycle. You can go from thousands and thousands of records down to 10s or 20s or 100s or whatever.

It needs to be efficient and high performing. One of the key things I see being an Achilles’ heel in having an efficient high performing funnel go back to the basics. This funnel really needs to be clearly defined, each of those funnel stages. And all of those definitions and those triggers, what it takes to move from one funnel stage to the next, those need to be clearly defined and they need to be agreed upon by key marketing and sales, and even finance leadership. All of that are the foundational blocks of how to get that high performing funnel.

And then you also have to do things like day-to-day maintenance. Let’s say you have these great definitions in place, you have these well-defined triggers, everybody’s on board, it’s rocking and rolling, then you have to keep your data clean.

Michelle: No, not that.

Kari: Such a boring thing. And nobody likes to do it. And it’s a hassle. But it’s just so absolutely critical. You don’t want duplicate records. You have to have a proper, compliant opt out mechanism in place. You have to have rules about which records are uploaded and synced between your CRM and your marketing automation system. There are all these things that really need to be looked at. Because it all impacts how your funnel performs.

Recognize that content relevance is everything

Michelle: We’ve covered understanding the buyer, understanding what the sales cycle looks like, and the need for a high-performing funnel. The message and content are another big thing as well, right?

Kari: Absolutely. One of the other ways B2B marketers can fall down or really struggle is they don’t necessarily recognize that content relevance is everything. Or maybe they recognize it, but they just feel like they gotta keep making the donuts. It’s about the quality of the conversions, not how many people visit your website.

You absolutely need people to visit your website. You need SEO. You need all those great things. But you really need to optimize those strategies for conversions, not volume.

What that means is you need to reestablish and reinforce your credibility with every touch. Because if this person and if this account is going to eventually trust you and your company with whatever critical business application they’re looking to launch, they have to really know you understand what they need and that you’re the best solution for it. So, you need to make sure all of your content topics, whether it’s for a blog or an eBook or an infographic, that every single content topic ties back to a core theme or message connected to your product.

No matter how hot a topic is, if it doesn’t do that, it’s kind of wasted space and wasted effort, and kind of wasted clicks. And then you end up, quite frankly, diluting your own conversions. Because you’re getting a lot of website visitors, those anonymous people, you’re getting website visitors who probably never actually engage with you. Because they might have liked your article you had about this hot topic, but because it wasn’t tied back to anything you do or offer, they’re never going to progress further in the funnel.

Defining success as a joint effort with sales and the executive team

Michelle: That makes a lot of sense. Tell me about how do you define success.

Kari: This is another way I think B2B marketers struggle; making sure they define success as a joint effort with sales and the executive team. This can be challenging. We all recognize that. But you do need to work with your sales counterparts to determine the success metrics that support the entire business, instead of just telling how well marketing operates internally.

That doesn’t mean it’s not important to monitor and measure marketing’s operational effectiveness. It absolutely is. We all want a high performing marketing machine. But you do need to connect marketing’s efforts to the business outcomes to maximize the penetration of your target market and make sure you’re well-aligned with all of the existing sales efforts.

Operational efficiency is the only way to get great results

Michelle: What’s the sixth area B2B marketers need to focus?

Kari: This is more of an umbrella category, but acknowledging the operational efficiency is the only way to get great results for marketing investment.

You need to have the right tools to make all the things I’ve mentioned possible. And it won’t break the bank if you prioritize and tackle things incrementally.

When you’re talking about B2B and you start getting into those multiple individuals, buying committees, longer sales cycles, and higher price tags, that’s where you really have to stay involved with all of these different individuals across a long timeframe, who probably prefer to consume content in different ways and are interested in different types of topics. And that’s really where marketing automation comes in.

I would say the sixth way marketers struggle or really fall short when they’re targeting B2B buyers is not using a marketing automation platform. I’m still shocked when I hear those statistics. The last one I heard was that only 57 percent of companies use marketing automation. I just don’t understand how you operate.

In today’s world, if you’re talking about B2B, for the most part it can really only come from having marketing automation in place, and then adding on to that an ecosystem as you need to meet your business goals.

Michelle: What do you think marketing automation’s role is with lead generation?

Kari: That’s pretty easy. Marketing automation’s role is putting individuals and target accounts into the sales funnel who are most likely to result in closed revenue in the shortest time frame possible.

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Five Ways To Boost CX And Provide Superior Customer Service

In May 2017, a computational social scientist from The Psychometrics Centre at the University of Cambridge stood before an audience at the Linux Foundation’s Apache Big Data conference and revealed how close we’ve come to the ultimate goal of marketing: an easily scalable, highly accurate way to predict customer preferences using minimal data.

When she was still a PhD candidate, Sandra Matz created a Facebook ad campaign targeting people based on nothing more than how extroverted their Facebook Likes indicated they were. People with Likes associated with extroverts saw ads for a party game played in a group. People with more introverted Likes saw ads for a quiet game meant to be played solo.

The campaign required only simple algorithms and no advanced analytics. Yet over seven days of testing, the targeted ads generated up to 15 times higher click-through and conversion rates—and significantly more purchases and revenue for the game company.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image2 Five Ways To Boost CX And Provide Superior Customer Service“We developed this approach to show that you can achieve highly accurate behavioral and psychological targeting with a minimal amount of data and relatively simple machine learning tools,” says Matz, who is now an assistant professor of management at Columbia University’s business school.

As effective as this experiment was, Matz suggests that it’s still rudimentary compared to what could be done with more and richer data from more sources. And it’s downright primitive given the possibilities of applying more sophisticated Big Data analytics.

These possibilities have created a watershed moment for marketing and its role in the business.

Spiraling Down the Marketing Funnel

Tension has always simmered over marketing’s contribution to business success. The business knows it can’t sell products or services if it doesn’t make customers aware of them, but the impact of marketing strategy on sales and revenue is hard to quantify and reliably replicate—which, in the age of the data-driven enterprise, often leaves some business leaders not just undervaluing marketing but actively mistrusting it. No wonder human resources consultancy Russell Reynolds reports that the 2016 turnover rate among CMOs was the highest it has seen since it began tracking the statistic in 2012.

Most companies still determine customers’ readiness to buy by using a primitive model known as the marketing funnel, which sorts customers into increasingly smaller groups as they progress from first becoming aware of a company to buying, using, and finally advocating for the company’s products. Different versions have different definitions and numbers of stages, and some approaches see the model as a circle, but they all have one thing in common: their ability to sort customers into various stages is limited by the amount of knowledge the company has about each customer.

As a result, the marketing funnel ends up leaking. Some customers back away because they feel harassed by campaigns that don’t apply to their needs, while some of those who are interested fall through the cracks from a lack of attention. Many data-hungry business leaders think of the marketing funnel as no more than a variation of “throw something against the wall and see if it sticks,” and with the proliferation of digital channels and diffusion of customer attention, they have less patience than ever with that approach.

The silver lining is that a more precise, quantifiable way to build customer relationships is emerging. Done properly, it promises to defuse the tension between marketing and the rest of the business, too.

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The Defining Moment

The Cambridge University experiment is one more step toward the long-held marketing dream of the “segment of one.” This concept of marketing messages that are highly granular, even individually tailored, has been around since the late 1980s. Over the last 15 to 20 years, as customer behavior has become digitalized as never before, marketers have been optimistic that they could capture this data and use it to tailor their messaging with laser-like precision.

Yet what’s achievable in theory has been impossible in practice. We’re still struggling to find the right tools to move beyond the basics of demographic targeting. The rise of the internet, smartphones, and social media has generated more types of information about customer behavior in larger amounts than ever before. But using digitally expressed sentiment about everything from toys to turbines as the basis for accurately disseminating highly individualized marketing messages is still time consuming and cost prohibitive.

However, experiments like Matz’s are bringing us closer to creating highly personalized customer experiences—perhaps not always at the individual level but certainly at a level of granularity that will let us unequivocally determine how to best target and measure marketing programs.

Liking Lady Gaga

Between 2007 and 2012, Psychometrics Centre researchers gathered seven million responses to a simple questionnaire for Facebook users. The carefully designed questions measured respondents’ levels of extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, a constellation of basic personality traits known as the Big Five.

With the respondents’ permission, the researchers used simple machine learning tools to correlate each person’s responses with the official Facebook Pages that the person had liked, such as Pages for books, movies, bands, hobbies, organizations, and foods. They soon saw that certain personality traits and certain Likes went hand in hand.

For example, most people who liked Lady Gaga’s Page tested as extroverts, which made liking the Lady Gaga Page a relevant data point indicating that someone was probably an extrovert. By 2016, Matz was able to create a lively Facebook ad to be shown only to people who had liked a significant number of official Pages that seemed to be linked to extroversion. A more serene ad was shown only to those whose Likes suggested that they were introverts.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image4 Five Ways To Boost CX And Provide Superior Customer ServiceDespite the large size of the Psychometric Centre’s data set, what’s most remarkable about its work is how few data points within that data set were necessary to build a reliable profile that could model useful predictions. Matz told EnterpriseTech that the algorithm the Centre developed needs, on average, just 65 liked Pages to understand someone’s Big Five personality traits better than their friends do, 120 to understand them better than their family members, and 250 to understand them better than a partner or spouse. This may be the first sign that the era of true behavioral marketing is upon us.

Of course, most marketers want to know far more about customers than how outgoing or reserved they are. Scraping Facebook Likes isn’t enough to give them the holistic customer understanding they crave—not when they have an entire universe of other data to consider. The race is on to identify from the vast spectrum of available customer data not only which specific online behaviors have a predictive element such as extroversion or introversion but also which ones will drive the most potent response to specific product or service messaging.

Complicated? Yes—but we are within reach of the algorithms we need to connect the dots for greater customer insight. By reaching out over new channels with more accurate behavior-based messaging, companies could transform the entire customer journey.

A Customized Journey for Each Customer

Attribution, the ability to know the source of a sales lead, is key to behavioral targeting. The more details a business knows about what its customers have already done, the more accurately it can predict what they will do next.

In the past, developing a customer profile relied on last-touch attribution analysis, that is, evaluating the impact of the last interaction a prospective customer had with a brand before becoming a lead. The problem was that companies could rarely be certain what that last touch was, given how much activity still takes place offline and isn’t captured or quantified.

Companies also couldn’t be certain how, or even if, a last touch—be it downloading a white paper, visiting a store, or getting a word-of-mouth recommendation—accelerated the customer through the marketing funnel. They could only predict revenue by looking at how many people were deemed to be at a specific stage and extrapolating from past data what percentage of them were likely to move ahead.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image5 Five Ways To Boost CX And Provide Superior Customer ServiceToday, we’re capturing so much more information about people’s activities that we have a far more accurate idea of both what the last touch was and how influential it was. Behavioral targeting makes any content a customer interacts with valuable in analyzing the customer’s journey. A company can use hard data about those interactions to see where each individual prospect is in the customer journey and predict how likely each one is to continue moving forward.

The company can then generate a tailored offer or other event to nudge individuals along based on what has been successful with other customers who buy the same things and behave in the same ways. For example, a large grocer may send out two million individualized offers each week based on loyalty card activity. This may not strictly create a segment of one, but it creates many small segments of customers with similar behaviors based on what the grocer knows to be effective.

As Cambridge University’s experiment in creating an algorithm to identify and target introverts and extroverts proves, more precise messaging is more effective. By using more complex machine learning algorithms to further filter and refine successful messages to target smaller groups, companies could boost their conversion rates to as high as 50%—an exponential increase beyond today’s average rates.

By using machine learning to speed up the testing of different campaigns and to continuously compare results, companies could rapidly create a dataset about every potential customer’s responses and then benchmark it against others’ responses. This would let them determine individual prospects’ likely responses based on concrete actions rather than assumptions.

For super-luxury brands with a limited number of customers and the ability to capture a vast amount of information about each one, this could lead to true segment-of-one marketing. For other brands, the challenge is not just to figure out who the customer is and what messages to send but also how to scale that personalization to segments of tens of thousands (or hundreds of thousands) of customers at a time. To do that both effectively and quickly, companies will need to leverage machine learning, the Internet of Things, and other advanced technologies that enable accurate predictive models. Companies can then benchmark their projected hit rates against their actual results and refine their algorithms for even greater agility and responsiveness.

The Next Steps of Predictive Marketing

Effective behavioral targeting requires companies to identify all the relevant data points, including external data points that indicate which information is valuable. This calls for data scientists who can spot and remove the irrelevant data points that are at the far ends of the curve and distill what remains into meaningful algorithms. It also requires machine learning tools capable of high-volume, high-speed listening, assessing, learning, and making recommendations to improve the algorithm over time.

Once you’ve created a baseline of primary criteria, you can determine the important criteria by which to segment your customer base. To use an oversimplified example, imagine that you own a coffee shop and you want to increase sales of high-margin bakery items. You need to look not at the customers who always get a muffin with their coffee or at those who never do but at those who buy a muffin sometimes, so that you can start to identify the triggers that make them choose to indulge.

To scale this process, look at both user-based and item-based affinities. User-based affinities link customers who have similar interests and shopping patterns. Item-based affinities link customers based on what they buy, individually or in groups of items. Using machine learning to pair and cross-reference these two factors will enable you to create messages that are personalized enough to seem individualized, even though they’re actually targeting small, multi-person segments.

SAP Q317 DigitalDoubles Feature3 Image6 Five Ways To Boost CX And Provide Superior Customer ServiceRetailers of all types collect data about individuals, down to location, date, time, and SKU of the sale. They may experiment with behavioral targeting by making in-the-moment offers based on what they already know about their customers. For example, they may use a mobile app with geofencing to be alerted when a customer using the app is in the store. The alert triggers back-end systems to look up the customer’s purchase history, generate a relevant offer, and deliver that offer to the customer’s smartphone while the customer is still in the store.

The Line Between Marketing and Manipulation

Just the idea of receiving marketing messages influenced by their behavior will disturb some customers. When marketing is designed, as behavioral targeting is, to maximize engagement, the value of the content depends less on whether it’s useful to the audience or even true and more on whether it gets the target audience to engage and reveal another piece of the behavioral puzzle. As a result, companies considering behavioral marketing must consider a question as old as marketing itself: where is the line between advertising and propaganda?

Creating personal profiles of customers based on their actions and personalities will become inexpensive and easy, for better or worse. Better will lead to more relevant and compelling offers based on predictive models of what customers would like to buy next. Worse will create (or at least look like) scalable, granular manipulation.

If companies hope to apply this level of targeted marketing without coming across as intrusive or invasive, they will need to be completely transparent about what they’re doing and how—and with whom they’re sharing the information. Most shoppers say they’re willing to give up data about themselves if it leads to a better shopping experience and more relevant recommendations.

Numerous studies show that customers are comfortable sharing their buying patterns and preferences as long as it doesn’t compromise their personally identifiable information. Nonetheless, they may decide otherwise if they believe that by welcoming you into their lives, they’re throwing open the doors to strangers as well.

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As data mining for behavioral targeting becomes more common, companies will have to offer customers the opportunity to opt in and out at varying levels of detail. They will also need to identify and flag the significant minority of customers who prefer not to be profiled in such depth (or at all). Machine learning will be invaluable in responding to complaints on social media, tracking the relevant details of offers that were ignored or got negative reactions, and otherwise ensuring that companies don’t misuse customer data or misunderstand consumer wants and needs.

“The entire paradigm of targeting and campaign implies a vendor doing something to customers,” says Mark Bonchek, founder and “chief epiphany officer” at Shift Thinking, a Boston-based consulting firm that helps companies pursue digital transformation. “It implies getting people to do what you want them to do rather than helping them do what they want to do,” he says. “Be clear on the mental model behind your behavioral targeting. Is it more like a friend figuring out the right gift for a friend or a salesperson trying to close a deal with a prospect? People don’t want to be targets.”

Instead, Bonchek suggests, think of behavioral targeting as a way to build a reciprocal relationship that lets you enhance the customer experience at multiple touch points, not all of them actual transactions. Utility companies send customers information about their own and their neighbors’ energy use so they can benchmark themselves. The utilities often follow up with suggestions about how to save both power and money. Meanwhile, a credit card issuer could help customers understand their purchasing patterns and discover new stores or service providers.

“Loyalty is an emotion first and behavior second,” Bonchek says. “It’s the difference between pushing customers through a funnel and helping them achieve a shared purpose.”

The Art of Scientific Marketing

In mid-20th century New York City, a small local chain of markets developed a national reputation for customer service. It let favored customers call in orders and pay for them at pickup. Managers kept lists—handwritten lists, no less—of their best customers’ preferred products and called those customers with special offers. People were happy to pay slightly higher prices overall in exchange for exclusive bargains and highly customized service.

Although it leverages new technologies like machine learning and Big Data, behavioral targeting will in many ways bring us full circle to that hands-on era in which companies created relevant offers that made customers feel valued and understood. Matz believes it would be a competitive advantage for companies to let customers interact with their profiles and even correct them to ensure that they only receive offers that meet their needs and preferences.

As more situational data pours in from smartphones and wearables to be analyzed by AI, she adds, behavioral targeting could become something more immersive than mere marketing. “If you know from that data that someone is not just an extrovert with specific preferences but that they’re currently in a good mood, you can start fine-tuning messages for that particular point in time,” she says. “We’ll move beyond static profiles to interactions based on characteristics that fluctuate.”

With enough data to work with, she suggests, behavioral targeting could become less about making offers and more about informing customers about their options at any given moment, in real time. D!


About the Authors

Denise Champion is Vice President of Strategy, Research, and Insights for Global Marketing at SAP.

Jeff Harvey is Global COO, SAP Analytics & Insight at SAP.

Lori Mitchell-Keller is Global General Manager, Consumer Industries at SAP.

Jeff Woods is Global COO, SAP Leonardo | Data and Analytics.

Fawn Fitter is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology.


Read more thought provoking articles in the latest issue of the Digitalist Magazine, Executive Quarterly.

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5 Innovative Ways to Inspire Customer Loyalty

Getting customers — and keeping them — is the name of the game in e-commerce.

“The e-commerce market is crowded and noisy, and brands need to do everything they can to differentiate themselves from the pack,” said Eric Hansen, CTO of
SiteSpect.

“Loyalty programs do just that, giving a brand the edge they need to stay a step ahead of their competitors,” he told CRM Buyer.

1. Think Beyond Rewards and Points

Inspiring loyalty to your brand and your products is a vital part of e-commerce, but the best loyalty programs go beyond offering rewards and points.

Building true, lasting customer loyalty involves incentivizing customers to spend time at your site and, most importantly, to return.

“A loyalty program can really be anything that inspires a customer to keep coming back,” explained Hansen. “With that in mind, brands would do well to broaden their thinking when they consider inspiring loyalty. The traditional loyalty programs that offer perks like loyalty points and free shipping are great, but they are by no means the only perks brands can offer customers.”

For instance, thinking beyond the usual loyalty offerings could mean offering a branded app to draw customers in — and keep them coming back.

“Offering a branded app that centralizes the customer experience can be a fantastic way of not only streamlining the customer experience, but also establishing a trusted customer touchpoint,” said Hansen. “Brands can use this trust to offer targeted upsells and promotions, allowing fast and easy purchasing of favorite products.”

2. Offer a Personalized Experience

One of the most important steps that e-commerce businesses can take toward building a loyal customer base is to cater to those customers’ desire for attention, care and understanding.

“A loyalty program is all about bringing value to customers through offerings that feel tailor-made,” said
Como SVP Yair Holtzer, head of Como USA.

“To do so, retailers need to leverage the data they gain from their customers’ online behavior to communicate with them in a personalized way,” he told CRM Buyer. “That personalization involves relevant product recommendations, contextual content, customized messages and more.”

Personalization can create a deep sense of loyalty. Customers want to be understood, and they appreciate the time and effort they can save if a retailer knows the kinds of products and services they’re looking for.

“A personalized customer experience is one of the most powerful perks out there,” said SiteSpect’s Hansen. “Presenting customers the products they want every time they visit the site — as well as providing helpful, targeted suggestions and promotions — will inspire loyalty.”

3. Be Data-Savvy

Collecting and interpreting data about customers’ past purchases and behaviors is a central component of tailoring their experience when they’re on your site.

“Reward frequent shoppers by collecting data on their past purchases, preferences and recently browsed items,” said Hansen. “If a customer rarely has to search for the product they want and they feel like the company knows them well, they will be less likely to go elsewhere for their needs.”

Gathering and interpreting data is a way of getting to know your customers, and that data can, in turn, enhance their shopping experience and potentially inspire them to buy more.

“Start by categorizing your customers into segments, giving each customer tags based on their shopping behavior — such as purchased items, total spend per visit, frequency, etc., or personal information,” suggested Holtzer.

“I recommend using these tags to group customers into around three or four different tiers,” he continued. “Each tier should have its own rewards program based on a specific ratio of points earned to amount spent, as well as personalized offers. This tier-based approach helps you convert low spenders into major customers, by presenting them with enticing deals that are based off of their personal preferences and behavior.”

4. Provide Good Content

The more helpful, complete and engaging the content is on an e-commerce site, the more likely customers are to shop there — and to return.

Including in-depth product listings, downloadable manuals, comparison guides, and well-produced videos might not look like a traditional loyalty program, but providing strong content can be an effective strategy in the process of building trust between a business and its customers.

“When companies have good content on their site, it inspires loyalty,” observed Kenji Gjovig, VP of partnerships and business development for Content Analytics.

“Good content will help a buyer make a good decision,” he told CRM Buyer. Customers can shop many different places, so it’s important to increase the stickiness of a customer within your own ecosystem.”

5. Incorporate Social Components

Enhancing the social experience of shopping is another way to build a sense of loyalty and belonging, along with attracting new customers.

“Today’s customers place a huge premium on a sense of belonging, and loyalty programs that nurture that desire have had a lot of success of late,” said Hansen.

Customers are social, after all, and they often appreciate seeing their social lives mirrored in their shopping experience.

“Loyalty programs that focus on incorporating social components, allowing a shopper and their friends to interact on a brand’s site, can help to create new value for a loyalty program by enabling consumers to not just see recommendations based on their past purchases, but also based on friend’s preferences or picks,” said Hansen. “This showcases that the brand understands how today’s shopper browses online instead of in a mall.”

In fact, some promotions work best when they have a social component, and they ultimately can inspire loyalty in a whole network of customers.

“Capitalizing on social data, these same companies can also take the time to understand promotions that may work better for a group rather than individuals,” explained Hansen.

“For example, sharing a deal that if a consumer and three of her friends buy winter boots they all get 25 percent off could help to drive sales of boots and incentivize a group to direct their boot needs to that particular brand,” he said.

In the end, it’s vital that businesses remember that loyalty is all about developing a connection with their customers.

“Going way beyond rewards and points, a loyalty program makes customers feel appreciated and connected to the brand,” said Como’s Holtzer. “This method transitions consumers from shoppers to loyal customers who consistently return.”
end enn 5 Innovative Ways to Inspire Customer Loyalty


Vivian%20Wagner 5 Innovative Ways to Inspire Customer LoyaltyVivian Wagner has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. Her main areas of focus are technology, business, CRM, e-commerce, privacy, security, arts, culture and diversity. She has extensive experience reporting on business and technology for a variety
of outlets, including The Atlantic, The Establishment and O, The Oprah Magazine. She holds a PhD in English with a specialty in modern American literature and culture. She received a first-place feature reporting award from the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists.
Email Vivian.

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Two Ways to Approach Federated Queries with U-SQL and Azure Data Lake Analytics

Did you know there are two ways to do federated queries with Azure Data Lake Analytics (ADLA)? By federated queries, I mean a query that combines (federates) data from multiple sources — in this case, from within Azure Data Lake and another data store. Federated queries are one aspect of data virtualization which helps us to access data without requiring the physical movement of data or data integration:

FederatedQueries Two Ways to Approach Federated Queries with U SQL and Azure Data Lake Analytics

The two methods for federated queries with U-SQL and ADLA are:

  1. Schema-less (aka “lazy metadata”)
  2. Via a pre-defined schema via an external table

You might be familiar with external tables in SQL Server, Azure SQL Data Warehouse, or APS. In those platforms, external tables work with PolyBase for purposes of querying data where it lives elsewhere, often for the purpose of loading it into the relational database. That same premise exists in Azure Data Lake Analytics as well. However, in the data lake there’s two approaches – an external table is still a good idea most of the time but it isn’t absolutely required.

Option 1: Schema-Less

Following are the components of making schema-less federated queries work in ADLA:

ADLA Schemaless Two Ways to Approach Federated Queries with U SQL and Azure Data Lake Analytics

Pros of the schema-less option:

  • Access the data quickly for exploration without requiring an external table to be defined in the ADLA Catalog
  • More closely aligned to a schema-on-read paradigm because of its flexibility 
  • Query flexibility: can retrieve a subset of columns without having to define all the columns

Cons of the schema-less option:

  • Additional “burden” on the data analyst doing the ad hoc querying with U-SQL to always perform the schema-on-read within the query
  • Repeating the same schema-on-read syntax in numerous U-SQL queries, rather than reusing the definition via an external table — so if the source system table or view changes, it could involve altering numerous U-SQL scripts.
  • Requires a rowset in the U-SQL schema-on-read queries – i.e., cannot do a direct join so this approach involves slightly longer, more complex syntax

Option 2: With a Pre-Defined Schema in an External Table

The following introduces an external table to the picture in order to enforce a schema:

ADLA SchemaExternalTable Two Ways to Approach Federated Queries with U SQL and Azure Data Lake Analytics

Pros of using an external table:

  • Most efficient on the data analyst doing the ad hoc querying with U-SQL
  • Easier, shorter syntax on the query side because columns and data types have already been predefined in the ADLA Catalog, so a direct join to an external table can be used in the query without having to define a rowset
  • Only one external table to change if a modification does occur to the underlying SQL table

Cons of using an external table:

  • Schema must remain consistent – a downstream U-SQL query will error if a new column is added to the remote source and the external table has not been kept in sync
  • All remote columns must be defined in the external table (not necessarily a big con – but definitely important to know)

In summary, the schema-less approach is most appropriate for initial data exploration because of the freedom and flexibility. An external table is better suited for ongoing, routine queries in which the SQL side is stable and unchanging. Solutions which have been operationalized and promoted to production will typically warrant an external table. 

Want to Know More?

During my all-day workshop, we set up each piece step by step including the the service principal, credential, data source, external table, and so forth so you can see the whole thing in action. The next workshop is in Washington DC on December 8th. For more details and how to register check here: Presenting a New Training Class on Architecting a Data Lake  

You Might Also Like…

Querying Multi-Structured JSON Files with U-SQL

Running U-SQL on a Schedule with Azure Data Factory to Populate Azure Data Lake

Handling Row Headers in U-SQL

Data Lake Use Cases and Planning Considerations

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Text Me: 8 Ways to use SMS in Dynamics 365 with Your Customers

CRM Blog Text Me: 8 Ways to use SMS in Dynamics 365 with Your Customers

It’s no secret that consumers and marketers today love email. But with an open rate of 98 percent, according to Mobile Marketing Watch, SMS messages can give email some serious competition.

SMS, or Short Message Service, utilizes the text messaging functionality of a mobile device and can reach anyone with a phone that has texting capabilities. SMS messages consist of 160 characters with standard messaging rates.

Because we’re all so connected to our phones today, SMS makes reaching customers quick and easy. Keep in mind, however, that individuals must opt-in to receive messaging, otherwise businesses are in violation of privacy guidelines established by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and subject to penalties.

Through ClickDimensions’ integrations with Twilio, Messagenet and BulkSMS, you can send SMS (text) messages in bulk to Microsoft Dynamics 365 marketing lists. The messages are sent to the mobile numbers of the lead and/or contact records on the marketing lists. CRM activity records are created to document that the message was sent. You can even personalize your text messages using data stored in CRM.

So now that you know a little about the what, why and how of SMS, let’s talk about the when. Here are eight times when a text would make a great addition to your marketing mix:

1. Welcome. Did someone just make their first purchase from your business or sign up to receive your email newsletter? While an email might be your go-to for welcoming them, try a quick text message instead of or in addition to your standard welcome email. Starting your customer relationships off with a text can provide a unique engagement point and pave the way for future SMS communications from your company.

2. Promotions and sales. Special offers and SMS messages go hand in hand. The immediacy of a text message lends itself well to short-term promotions in particular, and can add the needed urgency necessary to move a recipient to purchase. For sales or promotions that are a bit longer-term, you could use SMS in combination with email or other channels to ensure you reach customers everywhere.

3. Reminders. Life is hectic, but SMS messages can help you make it a little less so for your audiences. Whether you’re reminding a customer of a service appointment at their home or reminding a volunteer of their shift at the annual fundraising gala tomorrow, SMS messages are perfect for helping people remember commitments.

4. Follow up. The next logical step after a reminder text message before an event is a follow up SMS afterwards. In the follow up SMS message, thank customers for their business and provide a way for them to share their experience. That could be through a reply to your SMS, an email address or a link to a survey.

5. Customer feedback. A customer feedback SMS message would be much like the follow up text message we just discussed. But remember, you don’t have to wait until after someone engages with your business to solicit customer feedback. Use SMS messages to periodically send surveys or other requests for feedback.

6. Tips. Tap into your organization’s expertise with this type of text message. Whether your team’s knowledge centers on software or sustainability, you could provide your customers with helpful tips via SMS. These tips can easily be pulled from existing content like blog posts, eBooks or videos, and can be a valuable and quick touchpoint with customers.

7. Enhancing an event. SMS messaging can play an important role in events. From a basketball game to a user conference, text messages can be used to effectively enhance an attendee’s event experience. You could, for example, use SMS to guide attendees to various points of interest on a tradeshow floor or provide a traffic alert after a big sporting event.

8. Reconnecting. Has it been awhile since you have connected with certain customers? Try using an SMS message to rekindle the relationship. The content of the message will vary according to your business and the specific customers that you hope to connect with, but you could try sending them a link to an interesting piece of content or a promo code for a limited-time sale.

This post was contributed by ClickDimensions

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5 Powerful Ways to Use Social Proof in Content Marketing

blog title social proof 351x200 5 Powerful Ways to Use Social Proof in Content Marketing

4. Leverage User-Submitted Content

User-submitted content is a great resource for capturing social proof because it helps you to connect and engage with prospects. For example, Lay’s launched a “Do us a Flavor” campaign that invited customers to invent their own flavors; fans could vote on their favorites, and a large cash prize was awarded to the winning idea. The campaign received 3.8 million submissions.

This is a B2C example, but B2B marketers can use it to inspire their strategy and content marketing ideas. For example, using social media such as Twitter or LinkedIn, you could ask prospects to vote on their most pressing pain points around a topic that ties in to your product. During this process, the emails of those who voted could be collected so that final results can be shared.

The most frequently cited pain point can then be used in content marketing efforts. For example, a white paper could be developed around the number one pain point and sent to those who participated in the survey to generate leads and nurture those relationships. Survey participants could receive an email that says, “You spoke and we listened. Your number one pain point was XYZ, and we’ve created a white paper that solves that problem.”

Encourage people to comment on your blog or to contribute to your forum or on a LinkedIn group so you can listen to what they say but also use their exact words in content marketing efforts to drive engagement.

Key takeaway: User-generated content isn’t just great for leveraging social proof; it’s an engagement tool as well. Capturing and employing user-generated content helps prospects feel truly heard.

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At Splunk .conf 2017: New Ways to Gain Business Insights and Meet Compliance Requirements from Mobile, Web and Mainframe Data

More and more organizations are looking for ways to access Mainframe data and make it available for business intelligence in next-generation analytics platforms. Splunk’s advanced visualization and analytics platform is a very popular target for diverse sources of enterprise-wide data, including mainframe. Syncsort designed Ironstream to provide total visibility into the z/OS environment by delivering mainframe machine data to Splunk® Enterprise and other Splunk platforms to provide unmatched analysis supporting IT Operations Analytics, Security Information & Event Management, and IT Service Intelligence.

To address current initiatives that are key to many of our customers, yesterday at Splunk .conf, Syncsort announced a new addition and a new partnership to its innovative Ironstream® solution that enables collection of log data from SMF, RMF, Syslog and other z/OS sources, and forwards that data in real time to the Splunk® Enterprise analytics platform.

How to Gain Visibility into Business Services Across Mobile, Web and Mainframe Platforms

Our new product offering is Ironstream® Transaction Tracing, which enables IT staff with minimal mainframe knowledge to get deep insight into how web-based and mobile transactions impact the mainframe, with unprecedented granularity that enables them to quickly identify and solve service problems and improve customer satisfaction.

Highlights of Transaction Tracing include:

  • Expanding Visibility into the Total End-user Experience: Tracks transactions initiated on and off the mainframe – including mobile and web platforms – and feeds data in real-time to Splunk Enterprise to take advantage of its advanced analytics and visualization.
  • Providing Deeper Visibility into Mainframe Impact: Provides critical information on overall transaction response time, with the ability to drill-down into transaction details including time spent, and resources consumed, on CICS and Db2 on z/OS.
  • Supporting Business Service Management Initiatives: Enables transaction problem isolation and resolution for long-running transactions, to meet SLAs, improving application performance and end-user experience.
  • Support for Splunk IT Service Intelligence: Allows Splunk® IT Service Intelligence users to drill-down to see added detail for transactions that hit key mainframe resources and proactively respond to slow growing problems within CICS and Db2 that might impact business critical SLAs.

Carahsoft Partners with Syncsort to Address Compliance for the Public Sector

Another key use case that mainframe data is needed to address is compliance. Yesterday, we also announced we have forged a distribution partnership with Trusted Government IT Solutions Provider™ Carahsoft. Carahsoft’s network of specialized resellers will market and sell Syncsort Ironstream® to deliver real-time mainframe machine data to Splunk® Enterprise, helping government agencies meet regulatory requirements.

This new partnership will allow federal, state and local agencies to get a handle on all enterprise data, including mainframe, required to meet compliance needs. The combination of Ironstream and Splunk® Enterprise also provides a way to get valuable insights to support their ITOA, Enterprise Security and IT Service Intelligence initiatives. The distribution agreement makes Ironstream a formal part of the solution set for Carahsoft resellers.

blog banner eBook Ironstream case studies 1 At Splunk .conf 2017: New Ways to Gain Business Insights and Meet Compliance Requirements from Mobile, Web and Mainframe Data

Syncsort and Carahsoft, and their expert government resellers will work together to provide a complete solution that helps agencies comply with strict regulations, such as IRS publication 1075 tax information security requirements, and save money by improving operations and preventing erroneous or fraudulent payments.

To learn more about the new Ironstream product and our partnership with Carahsoft, listen to Syncsort CEO, Josh Rogers’ appearance on theCUBE at 2:30 PM ET today. And, if you’re at Splunk .conf this week, stop by the Syncsort booth #T1 to see a live demo of Transaction Tracing!

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Seven Ways to Boost Your Marketing with Holistic Strategies

holistic marketing 351x200 Seven Ways to Boost Your Marketing with Holistic Strategies

4. Blogs: Keywords are Key

Blogs are one of the most commonly used content marketing tools: According to the Content Marketing Institute, 80% of all B2B marketers publish blogs. Yet, many marketers question the effectiveness of their blogging efforts. That’s not surprising, because many blogs feature a seemingly random collection of posts that aren’t coordinated with other elements of their company’s marketing campaigns.

We’ve already discussed the role that social sharing buttons play with all of your content, including blogs. But blogging really shines as a search engine optimization (SEO) tool for your business. The key is to update your blog regularly (at least once a week – Google loves fresh content!) and to make judicious use of keywords in your blog posts.

Also, when a blog post references other content from your integrated campaigns, be sure to include a call to action (CTA) that moves your potential leads to the next step in the engagement process.

Tip: To practice holistic marketing, create an editorial calendar to coordinate your blogging with other new content, email marketing campaigns, webinars, product launches, and other key events. Too many B2B marketers assume they can keep an eye on their blog schedule without a formal calendar – and most of them are wrong.

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