#CustomerCentricity – is your customer view 360 degrees, or 208, or 151?

November 7, 2012

Quick thought… how frequently do you hear people talk about a 360 degree view of the customer? How frequently are the same people referring to a core marketing database that is exclusively offline OR online in its capabilities? This is a clear indicator of the actual range of their customer centricity.

Historically, the marketing database held insight about customers and prospects and aggregated information from many offline channels… telemarketing, POS, customer service, direct mail, and others. 15 years ago, that was pretty close to a 360 degree view. However, since the advent of digital communications channels, more and more insight has been outside the view of these assets… rendering them less valuable and perceptually obsolete. Today, with about 42% of media impressions being in digital channels, this historical vision has now shrunk to about a 208 degree view, and, promises to continue shrinking.

Contrasting this, all too often I see industry luminaries extole the benefits of a 360 degree view of the customer and refer to a solely digital solution… Yeah, that’s actually only a 151 degree view. Even a less accurate view of the customer, and typically with far more remdial concepts of marketing data and predictive analytics.

What does this all mean? Customer centricity will be illusive until online and offline marketers start sharing data and tools… communicating towards the same objectives. The traditional direct marketing folks have assets that digital marketers would be floored if they understood; Predictive analytics, record matching, cross channel campaign tools and more. However, the people who manage them frequently do not see the path to actioning these assets in the new world. Meanwhile, digital marketers are trying to build things that already exist and their vision is limited in scope, never actually seeing the 360 degree view of the customer.


Consumer trust and social media marketing

July 19, 2010

I came across a new chart today, Consumer trust and purchase behaviorand found the relationship between source of input for decision-making and the resulting usefulness and trust they found in the content – people tend to trust content at approximately half the rate that they find it useful.

Point #1 – Consumers trust AND value the usefulness of information gleaned through conversation with friends, families and co-workers (peers) at an exceedingly high level around the globe. I suppose the only interesting point here is that the observation is global in its’ nature.

Point #2 – Those same consumers trust comments and blogs less. Core social content is seen as less valid in decision-making. In fact, comments are trusted and found useful at about half the rate as personal relationships, and blogs at half of that.

Point #3 – Not just that, but they tend to trust the content half as much as they find it useful. THis is probably the more interesting stat… seen from a different dimension, people consciously use the latter two sources of content at twice the rate that they find it trustworthy. This doesn’t seem sustainable. It seems to beg for a new solution… consumers around the globe appear open for new social solutions to amass decision-making content.

Love to hear your thoughts!


Behavior, algorithms, consumer relevance and the advertiser

February 19, 2009

Can a single algorithm deliver relevance… across seasons, different web properties, between global cultures and among differing offering categories? Personally, I have troubles trying to predict behavior in the people I’ve known for many years. The human heart and mind act in sometimes strangely unpredictable ways. Isn’t that the part of humanity that’s really great? I think so!

Algorithms to deliver relevance need to accurately reflect consumer information – behavior, demo / psycho-graphics, and other.  The difficulty with this model is that only the smallest of slivers of a consumers life revolves around any single brand – though we would all like to believe differently:-)  Also, until you get reams of data surrounding an individual, how do you actually recommend. In the on line world this is particularly debilitating because over half of website traffic bounces from good sites right away and only a small sliver (used the word twice) of traffic actually makes it to a conversion… and an even smaller sliver (gotta stop using that word) comes back and makes it to a second second conversion. So, algorithmic personalization or recommendations really are only capable of helping a small portion of your consumers, after you get to know them.

An actuary can build statistical models that deal with vast population samples, telling the breakdown of what will proportionally happen in certain events. That’s interesting but it also deals with averages across large groups of people. Not necessarily valid to the point of algorithmically driven recommendations or optimization of an individual and their purchase potential or drivers.

I don’t intend to close the door on the subject, I do believe these approaches are helpful when other data is not available or when you have A LOT of information and you want to solve a retention / lifetime value issue… which are both great issues to solve. From my experience though, many brands believe they can use these technologies, in particular recommendation engines, to help solve an acquisition problem. Hmmm.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Mark


Behavior is only one datapoint

September 29, 2008

Much has been written about on-site consumer behavior and its applicability to targeting programs. Despite this, little is really known about types of behaviors that are tracked or trackable, and which ones are truly indicators of or useful as a high-value targeting mechanism. It’s possible that we’ve over-inflated the importance of behavior and overlooked other things that should be considered. And, in doing this, headed towards a focus on a technology solution that relies upon the use of highly personal consumer information to fuel its’ engine… raising the concern of consumer protection groups and the governments of many countries.

Types of behaviors that are tracked or track-able:

  • On-site, single domain behavior – probably the least contentious source of data, easily believed by consumers as a valuable source of data to help marketers connect with consumers. Often called re-marketing, in a recent MediaPost article, Jeff Hirsch, the CEO of Revenue Science and Behavioral Targeting Standards Consortiumfounding member, specifically stated that this a limited version of behavioral targeting.
  • Cross-domain behavior – algorithms consume a large quantity of data, including searches, product views, and domains visited in the attempt to identify a sense of interest on the part of an individual consumer so a marketer can target ad messages. The aggregation of this data can occur via cookie tracking across a network or more recently there’s been attempts to validate the process of intercepting and interpreting all web activity from ISPs (i.e. NebuAd), creepy.

However, in all the dialog about behavior, what other data points are available that marketers can use as targeting methodology? Or, from a more important strategic perspective, what is the objective of a marketing program and which data points can help the marketer accurately identify and target?

My assertion is that other data points are more effective at targeting, achieving marketer objectives. Here’s why I say this:

  • Today, only a minor portion of display ad spending is funded towards behavioral targeting. Display ads are largely brand oriented. Marketers tend to choose domains as their primary targeting mechanism. Behavioral targeting comes too late in the purchase cycle to affect brand preference and attitude, it’s more of a “hail-mary” or a direct response tool.
  • Virtually no on-site targeting is the result of multi-domain data aggregation.

What other data points are available, without any fancy technology:

  • Geography, language, and season – these have been used for generations in the offline environment very successfully, why don’t we use them on line more often? The interesting point is that these data points are largely available to everyone with very limited technology constraints. Between a site visitors IP address and their browser settings, these data points are easy to use. Whether display ad or on-site targeting, these are available today.
  • Returning customer or new prospect – again, these are largely available to marketers today. Why not use them? Certainly, every marketer would like to speak to a new prospect in different terms than they would an existing customer.

In a later post I’ll try to talk about targeting options that require more sophisticated technology. Until then, send me your thoughts!

Mark


Behavioral decay

March 18, 2008

(be-hav-ior-al  de-cay) A new term that describes the rate at which a behaviorally targeted experience becomes irrelevant to the recipient. This rate is affected by the perceived value of the targeted experience, the perceived value of the desired outcome, and the degree of consideration involved with the activity.

When developing a targeting campaign, consider the lifespan you should attach to any given experience. Delivering a targeted experience beyond the user determined expectation for that message is not a positive to the recipient, and very well may be a negative.


Are the problems we face really that new?

March 17, 2008

consumer behaviorI once met an old man who was the first grocery store owner to use shopping carts, in what is now a rather large metropolitan market. This conversation has stuck in my mind for many years because this person was a true revolutionary.

Today, we take his dilemma for granted, but in that time shoppers were accustomed to handing a list to a shopkeeper and for that person to collect the items. From the moment in time where he brought shopping carts in to the store and opened up the aisles for others to browse in, he both opened up a whole new chapter in consumer oriented marketing and he had to figure out how to entice his shoppers to do what might have been considered work for others to do. It was a huge hurdle to overcome.

In many regards, he faced more difficult problems than what we faced in the genesis of online retail adoption and development of marketing principles. He didn’t have to figure out how to get consumers to use a virtual shopping cart rather than a physical one, he had to figure out how to get consumers to actually learn to shop.

It’s precisely these types of stories we need to remember when we feel we don’t have guiding innovators, or that we have insurmountable problems. In fact, many of the principles we use today in online marketing are directly parallel to what these same retail grocers and consumer packaged goods manufacturers faced well over 60 years ago: how do we differentiate a product, who is the target audience, and how do we affect or aid in the transition of consumer behavior?

I’d love to hear your thoughts –

Mark


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