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NRF 2010 is like FAO Schwartz this year

January 20, 2010

I just returned from attending National Retail Federation’s “Big Show” in New York.  You might not be directly related to the retail industry but it’s important to note that NRF celebrated its 99th show this year.  That means their first show was in 1911…that is amazing!  All kinds of conferences and tradeshows come and go, but NRF has not only survived but had record attendance this year by being a showcase for the latest technologies.  Borrowing from retail analyst, David Weinfeld’s, Jan 14, 2010 post (NRF 2010 Recap), “going to NRF’s Big Show this year was like walking into FAO Schwartz for the first time.”   The variety and richness of the technologies was amazing.  From IBM to the early stage innovations, the record crowd of attendees was taking it all in.

With that in mind it was terrific to be part of the show this year!  Transaction Tree’s digital receipt solution (http://www.transactiontree.com/NoMoPaper/corp/ProductDemo.action) is using VueLogic to power their new micro targeting and scoring solution (http://www.vuelogic.com/products.html).  Echoing Gartner’s Top 10 Technology selection, advanced analytics and green IT are key focuses for retailers.

Transaction Tree’s partnership with VueLogic allows consumers to positively impact the environment by removing paper receipts while offering a green IT solution, eliminating retailer’s need for mass messaging with critical insight into their POS customers’ interests and preferences.

The sessions and exhibit halls were packed. The Transaction Tree booth was swamped and we talked to industry analysts, press representatives and retailers of all sizes.  Everyone is recognizing the changing technology landscape and need to leverage innovation to stay ahead.  Transaction Tree and VueLogic spent 2009 working hard to gain traction and it is exciting to see our efforts are paying off!!

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Are Your Customer Data Practices Above Average?

January 4, 2010

A recent Aberdeen research article Data Driven Marketing (October 2009) indicated that Best in Class companies have a 2X performance differential in Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) and a 5X performance differential in current revenue growth over Average companies.

 The research also disclosed the percent of Average companies that have a:

  • Process to identify high value customers                                                   31%
  • Process to validate the quality of customer data                                     34%
  • Customer data centralized into one data base                                          33%
  • Defined process to improve quality of customer data                          30%
  • Have established data hygiene processes                                                   30%
  • Utilize marketing dashboards                                                                          31%
  • Utilize reporting and Analytics                                                                       47%
  • Measure campaign performance                                                                    36%

 The number one challenge identified in the research is data quality.  Inconsistent and incomplete customer data result from the lack of a process for collection, hygiene, storage and enhancement.  If the data cannot be trusted then the insights derived from the data cannot be trusted.

The bottom line is that data is meaningless without analysis and context.  As a result, process becomes a critical component in an organizations ability to develop useful insights and information from customer data.

How does your company’s data practices compare?  If you would like to know more about how Data Driven Marketing can help your organization increase revenue and ROI download our White Paper Integrating Analytics into the Customer Experience at http://www.vuelogic.com/resources.html

It’s All About Analytics

November 11, 2009

Analytics is at the top of everyone’s mind in the marketing industry today.  At the NRF show in January 2009, the analytics breakout session was offered in a relatively small space and drew a standing-room-only crowd.  The same thing happened last week at the Internet Summit in Raleigh.  With increasing pressure on marketing organizations to increase revenue and customer loyalty with fewer people and lower budgets, we are all focusing on analytics – we want to know what is reaching and what is resonating with our target customers.

The analytics panel at the Internet Summit gave us a chance to hear an email marketer,  a newspaper executive, an online response marketing executive and VueLogic’s CEO, Ron Garmon, discuss where analytics are focused today and where we are going.   The participants agreed that companies struggle with multiple non-standard data sources and a lack of analytics expertise in leveraging data today, but everyone believed that the focus on analytics will be driven by the need to target and personalize customer communications.  (Twitter comments on panel discussion – #isum09 analytics)

Gartner released their 2010 Top Strategic Technology list at their October Symposium (http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1210613). Cloud Computing and Advanced Analytics topped the list. Comparing the 2009 list with 2010, it’s interesting that business intelligence dropped in favor of analytics.  There is a great graphic showing the year to year change at http://blogs.zdnet.com/BTL/?p=26191.  The standing-room-only interest in analytics at conferences is reflective of Advanced Analytics move to the top of the 2010 list.

Web analytics have matured and offer insight into site traffic and user behavior; they allow us to optimize search results and leverage recommendation engines to guide visitors through the site. Focusing offers and messaging to the right consumer at the right time involves understanding customer transactions – the analysis of actual consumer value.

Analyzing customer data can help increase or maintain loyalty, create a return visit or convert the current interaction into a transaction.    Whether it’s increasing your email marketing ROI or targeting offers and messaging – it’s all about analytics.

The Quest for Customer Value

October 29, 2009

In today’s world, understanding what constitutes customer value is an immense challenge.  It is no longer a simple measure of Lifetime Value (LTV) because what happened one or two years ago may not be relevant.  Additionally, customers are contributing value in ways other than just spending money, they contribute content, they provide reviews, they invite friends – all of which are measurable and build value for your organization. 

In our recent Action Brief “Offer Differentiation Based on Customer Value” we begin the exploration of how a customer value score can be used to motivate customer behavior that will increase their customer value and customer ROI during their interaction.

Download the Action Brief and let us know what you think.  

http://www.vuelogic.com/resources.html

Internet Summit – an east coast opportunity!

October 23, 2009

I spent last week working in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  It was great to meet with leading technology companies, hear about their opportunities to network and share ideas in that innovative California environment.

Returning to Atlanta, I am looking forward to TechJournal South’s Internet Summit in Raleigh.  This almost sold-out event will give us a chance to meet and learn with leading technology providers right here on the east coast!

With our calendars filling up quickly, I wanted to remind everyone to hold November 4-5th for TechJournal South’s Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC.

We are excited about our participation and sponsorship in the conference.  Ron Garmon, VueLogic’s CEO, will be part of a panel discussion on Analytics.  We are looking forward to a chance to present with other marketing technology providers, such as Google, SalesForce.com and SilverPop.

Please plan to join us and use the promo code VUE50 for a discount on registration.

(Did you see the Aug 14th TechJournal South article about VueLogic?   eWire, included an article profiling us,  “VueLogic Boosts Selling with Consumer Insights”. http://techjournalsouth.com/news/article.html?item_id=7979)

What do Zombies and Email have in common?

October 7, 2009

In the spirit of the season I thought I would focus on the correlation between zombies and email. Maybe you heard the statement “Twitter is the new email”, or perhaps you read how “social media was going to be the death of email.” Well both of these statements seem to be wrong. Companies are now realizing that social media like Twitter, Facebook and Flickr are all enablers for email.  Nielsen has done a recent study showing that “social media makes people consume email more not less” says Jon Gibs, VP of media analytics at Nielsen.  Of course the more social media the person consumed directly impacted their email consumption.  Higher social media usage means more time on the web and results in more email usage.

I think we need to start thinking about social media and marketing strategy as just one thing, a social strategy. Consumers are no longer target audiences, they participate in communities. This recent survey shows that email and social media indeed work together to establish better brand recognition and higher “click-throughs”.

So it seems that email marketing, like zombies, has risen from the grave. That is if email was ever really dead to begin with. Either way, it will be interesting to see the results of future studies that Nielsen is planning. The deeper dive into the connections between the two will likely provide interesting facts to help structure future marketing campaigns.

Do you think about the impact of social media when creating a new marketing campaign? Do you measure the effectiveness by setting goals that include metrics across all silos? I’d like to hear what you are doing to utilize the social web.

Why are retailers still sending so much junk mail?

September 23, 2009

Advertising Age’s Sept 22 2009, article, “Direct Disconnect: Retailers Neglect Valuable Data Trove” asks why retailers are still sending so much junk mail.

Experience shows that relevant messaging offers five to 10 times the response rate and a 20% to 30% increases in sales.  Even with that research, there are few retailers focusing on sending  targeted, relevant messaging.

Dawn Maire, Chief Retail Officer with Rapp, says “retailers are hooked on what she calls, “the heroin” of mass communication,  noting that retailers are afraid to cut back on the volume of messages,  figuring that the shotgun method has worked in the past — even though a more targeted approach could work even better. “Retailers have powerful data at their fingertips and they aren’t using its full potential.”

The disconnect is the retailers failure to use their customer data!  Consumers leave behind valuable data every time they engage – the data is transactional, behavioral, demographic and attitudinal – all available to easily personalize communications.   2009 CMO Council research indicates that companies acknowledge that they have lots of data but they don’t use it for many reasons, including disparate databases running on varying technology platforms, a murky understanding of who owns the data and should be using it and, in some cases, an unwillingness to tackle what is thought to be an expensive and time-consuming project.

At least the current recession is providing some relief to consumers tired of all those catalogs.   Cost cutting is forcing marketers to reduce direct mail, but it is only being replaced by email.

Marketers spent $21.3 billion on catalogs and another $35.2 billion on direct mail last year. According to Forrester, 20% of marketers acknowledge they send too much direct mail, while 34% believe they’re stuffing inboxes with too much e-mail.

Bottom line – marketers have to stop focusing on traffic and focus on increasing revenues – leveraging customer data allows personalized messaging and better return!