Wednesday, 30 November 2011

idio Content Marketing Breakfast

I recently had the pleasure of listening to Deborah Womack from Possible Worldwide at one of idio's Marketing Breakfasts and also the chance to present there .

This is a compilation idio have pulled together of some of the audience comments

You Can Lead a Horse to Water....

I'll playback pretty much the conversation I had this morning when I answered my mobile phone to someone from T-Mobile

Me : Hello

T-Mobile :  Hi, this is xx from T-Mobile, how are you?

Me : I'm thanks you?

T-Mobile : I'm well thank you for asking. I'm ringing to let you know about some offers you are eligible for as a T-Mobile customer

Me : Err..I cancelled my T-Mobile contract about 2 weeks ago, in fact my final bill just arrived this morning

T-Mobile : Oh yes I can see that here. Can I ask why you left T-Mobile?

I assumed that was a rhetorical question

A Bird in the Hand...

The Retail environment in the UK is a very competitive one, and no more so than the competition between the Supermarkets.

The main players are very keen to show that they are no more expensive than the competition. They do this is in different ways

ASDA for example have their Price Guarantee

If the total cost of the comparable items in your shopping isn't 10% cheaper than the above competitors, we'll give you the difference'

What they ask you to do is to either go to the website or the actual ASDA Price Guarantee site no sooner than 6am the day after your shop and enter your receipt details.

Sainsbury's on the other hand, have their Brand Watch as part of their Live Well For Less standing.

They even have a nice little video to watch

And having shopped in one of their supermarkets the other day I received this at the till

Now setting aside which is the best deal for the consumer, I can't help think that Sainsbury's mechanic is better than ASDA's.

And this is purely because there and then, the consumer is given some re-assurance that they have got the best deal. They don't have to remember to hit the web the next day , with the receipt and do some work.( Perhaps that's the point, ASDA don't want them to do that)

The Sainsbury's version doesn't use a fancy widget, doesn't have a website. All it does is make use of the data they have collected about the competition and presented that to the consumer with respect to the shopping they have just done.

Simple everywhereCRM that tries to make the customer experience easier.

Monday, 28 November 2011

A Small Town in the UK Talks Multi Channel

A report this morning on the BBC News ( captured here on ) gave a small snap shot of how this year’s Christmas shopping even in Newark, will be multi channel. The report highlights how one estimate puts the number of orders per minute today in the UK at 3,300 with over 25% of all sales this Christmas going on line (Centre for Retail Research), and a fair chunk of that being via Mobile.

In fact, Chris Simpson, chief marketing officer at Kelkoo , said: “Online spending is showing no signs of abating, and is mounting a real challenge to the dominance of the high street which, for third year running, is expected to see a decline. Internet sales across the UK are set to be more important than ever, with consumers spending record amounts online, and online commerce acting as the primary driving force for overall retail growth during the festive season.”

Some of those interviewed in the BBC piece talk about the convenience experience of shopping at how, especially during bad weather, or for those with more pressing duties e.g.: looking after small children. Part of this convenience of course is about being given relevant messages, through email and on the website. Hopefully reflecting the consumer’s demographic profile, as well as their transactional and behavioural profiles. Indeed, as John Lewis is now showing these messages can be given as shoppers walk past the store with their clever use of QR codes

Experience goes all the way though the buying process

But that’s only the beginning. Experience goes all the way though the buying process. Gerry McGovern, one of the great speakers at Fusion this year talks about the importance of Ease of Use in this blog post.

And of course he is spot on. We spend so much advertising money on the message and content that we sometimes forget about the consumer and who they really are. Normal people with children in the room who want feeding, entertaining, nappies changing! These are real Tasks we have to contend with.

Gerry talks about Content. Well we as marketers in this Social World always want to view Content as amazingly tailored emails, entertaining videos that everyone will want to share, photos of our products for us to post.

I would argue that content that makes consumers easier is just as important.

- The Ratings and Reviews content on our website that consumer decision making easier and more confident

- The content of the confirmation email telling consumers that they have bought something and it’s on its way

- The text content from the delivery company confirming that the delivery will take place between 9.34am and 10.34am ( he actually turned up at 9.55am)

And that delivery slot information is important, because as the BBC report highlights, some people actually want to go out into the real world to enjoy the atmosphere of Christmas shopping, and see the products themselves ( as discussed by the CEO of Dixons ) If I know the delivery is taking place at that time, that means time for lunch and some afternoon shopping out in the cold where I’ll probably use my mobile to shop even more!

Give Us Our Daily Bread

Customer Experiences, Brands Might Want Us to Forget

I was looking thought my Twitter Stream this morning ( @iamgfc) , as one does over a Nespresso Roma coffee when I noticed this Promoted Tweet from Sainsbury's

Now I'm not in the market currently for Netbook nor Laptop but it triggered a memory of an in-store deal I came across a few months ago again in Sainsbury's.
Here is the photo I took

Now at the time I was in the market, so the promise of a mark down I looked a little closer at the deal

Now you have to admit , that's not exactly the Sale of the Century!!

But anyway, I gave the Sainsbury's Tweet a second chance and clicked through on the link..and saw this,

I've done a lot of work for clients where the campaigns have delivered in terms of clicks etc, but then we get a lecture on the lack of resultant sales. Is it any surprise that this post by Gerry McGovern on the Fusion Marketing Experience event site, and the importance of the First Click resonated with me?

Anyway, in the end., John Lewis got my business. Enough said

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Customer Experience - The CEO's Perspective

It was interesting to hear John Browett, CEO of Dixons, this morning on Radio 5.

He talked about the importance of customer experience in the decision making process and as this was the theme of my presentation at the idio Content Marketing Breakfast yesterday, I thought I'd say just a few words.

Mr. Browett is spot on when he suggests that the customer experience is key when choosing ,in particular, expensive items such as laptops, camcorders, televisions etc. We are often attracted by the low prices we can get on the web, but really want to have a play with the gaming console first, or see the quality of the TV picture in real life. So obviously experiencing the Product is important as well as Price.

And so is the retailers high street or retail park shop. When we go there to 'trial' the product, we don't really want to be bombarded with sales patter but do what expert, unbiased help when we ask for it. 

Now if I find the right Product in the right Place at the right Price, I'm going to buy. But I might still be tempted to go away and do a bit more research and check out the price again before maybe buying on line. Mr Browett said this morning that about 16% of their sales are online. But I wonder how many of those sales follwoed that customer journey of

Research - Store Visit - Further Research and Price Validation - Buy Online

And actually how many of those at the end of the day went on to buy elsewhere online because of price or advice given from another retailer.

A recent post of mine talked about this example from Best Buy on how they have been trying to continue the conversation / relationship / connection / sales cycle once the potential customer leaves the store. Email address captured and the information researched in store is sent on- hopefully immediately!

Of course, the potential customer then might also want further 'Tecchie' advice.  And sorry to mention Best Buy again but this is exactly what Twelpforce is all about..

I know that Debenhams tried The Spectacular Twitter Experiment where Tweeting in store for help would result in a Twitter Assistant turning up if required - but I'm not sure where that went.

Anyway, I digress a little.

What we are seeing is some retailers really understanding that it is the whole customer experience that really matters. And that to me is what CRM is all about. Creating Brand Worlds ( yes I know I mention the Brand word when talking about CRM ) that are focussed on the 4, 5 or 7 Ps of Marketing. Remember those?

The original 4 being Product, Price, Promotion, Place.

Good CRM is about putting the customer at the centre of these and creating relevant, engaging and rewarding experiences for them

Want to know more? come see me present at Emerce Connect in Amsterdam December 13th or get in touch -

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

DMA Email Event - Key Takes Outs

Luckily in the audience during my presentation at the DMA Email Winback Event was Email Marketing Expert, Kath Pay from Plan to Engage.

These were her key takes outs as Tweeted during the session

Thanks Kath!

@iamgfc device - use media queries to determine which device they're reading your emails on so as to deliver the correct version #dmaemail

@iamgfc in the real world you can read body language to see if they're interested in what your saying - apply this logic to email #dmaemail

@iamgfc timing - understand latency for your brand/product - maximize key moments of truth#dmaemail @dmaemail

@iamgfc nothing lasts forever - understand the Lifecycle of your consumer. Consider timing content context and device #dmaemail @dmaemail

@iamgfc they never got your email - ask for re-entering your address- preferable to dbl opt in for list growth purposes #dmaemail @dmaemail

@iamgfc never active - I.e. competition subscribers. Value of these subscribers are different to your regular subscriber - think of ROI.

@iamgfc defining inactive - they were never active, never got your email, they never last forever#dmaemail @dmaemail

@iamgfc defining inactives will differ if you're a client, an ESP or an ISP. Very true. #dmaemail@dmaemail

@iamgfc don't underestimate the power of a thank you email, that arrives in your inbox immediately#dmaemail @dmaemail

@iamgfc important to meet expectations during subscribe process. Ask what other channels they'd like to hear from you #dmaemail @dmaemail

@iamgfc understand what your consumers are doing on a day 2 day basis so you can ensure your content is relevant @dmaemail #dmaemail

the conversation engineer @iamgfc is up now - how to keep the flame burning @dmaemail #dmaemail

You can follow Kath via @kathpay

Oh, and I'm @iamgfc by the way.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Keeping the Flame Alive

So how do we keep email subscribers engaged?

My view is that we can't really focus on the business as usual aspects of our email programmes, but look at the whole subscriber experience.

So we are talking about

Lighting that Flame
Keeping the Flame Alive
Last Minute Relighting

Lighting the Flame - The Sign Up

It always pays to start as you mean to go on. The sign up provides the launch pad for the rest of the programmes. It's important to manage customers expectations from here on on.

Key tips include
 1.Make It Easy to find and do 
2.Provide one newsletter subscription page including information about all  newsletters
3.Clearly state when users have navigated to the newsletter sign-up process
4.Don’t pre-select any newsletters for users
5.In multi-step processes, let users know how many steps remain
6.Explain the ‘value proposition’ – what’s in it for me?
7.Manage expectations – what will I get when and how often?
8.Have a clear privacy policy
9.Use incentives - but  be transparent
10.Send a confirmation email, or maybe even the last newsletter

I think this is also a real opportunity to get some information from subscribers as to what other channels they might like to receive information through. And don't just stop at Social channels. I've been working recently with clients where mobile and direct mail are still playing a strong part in the mix for certain segments

Keeping the Flame Alive - Relevance

When we talk about 'inactives'. We need to be careful as to what the definition is we are using. This definition will vary from Client to ESP to ISP. Reminding me of the old adage

''there are lies, damned lies , and email metrics''

Some of the key take outs included

 - They were never ever going to be active. Beware email addresses that were acquired as a result of a competition or a prize draw.

 -  They never got your emails in the first place. Data hygiene is an issue. Use of double entry of email addresses and some data tidying behind the scenes can pay high dividends. As can looking at Inbox Delivery. Return Path believe that only 81% of permissionable actually hit the inbox.

- Nothing lasts forever. There will always be subscribers who out grow what you have to offer. People move on and in true old school marketing speak you will need to pour more subscribers in the top end to cope with the leaky bucket. Of course you can minimize those losses by keeping relevance up by understanding the value of delivering

a - the right content
b - at the right time
c - optimised messages for the relevant device
d - context specific messages

 Last Minute Re-lighting - The Unsubscribe

The time to say goodbye will come - but that doesn't mean giving up without something up your sleeve

Some tips include

1.Provide a way to unsubscribe directly via the website
2.On the un-subscribe page, list the user’s email address and current newsletters, 
3.And a simple way to unsubscribe from any or all newsletters.
4.Provide a separate process for unsubscribing.
5.Offer users an option to change frequency as an alternative to unsubscribing
6.Provide a confirmation screen verifying unsubscription
7.On the confirmation page, list other ways to receive updates eg: through social or a blog
8.Ask for feedback about why they are unsubscribing
9.Send only one email confirmation to users after they unsubscribe
10.Unsubscribe users immediately.

But a good point to bear in mind is that if deliverability isn't an issue with you and neither is CPM - do you really need to take these subscribers off the list?
In the words of someone famous
“  we didn’t improve one thing by one hundred percent 
we improved one hundred things by one per cent.”

There is no magic bullet. As with most eCRM, it's all about improving step by step.

Content is a summary of my presentation at the DMA Email Event on Winback in November 2011

Monday, 7 November 2011

Best Buy CRM? eCRM? Retail Experience? All 3 and more?

The retail experience is still alive an kicking.

There are still many of us who research on line but then still want to touch and feel the product before buying.

But of course a large proportion of purchase decisions are still made in the store - 40% I hear. And many potential customers walk out of the store without even buying or registering an interest.

This 'Phygital' experience developed for Best Buy shows how the retail experience can be used to cover the continued need for product information in store as well providing peer ratings and reviews by employing a Digital Blue Shirt - Blue Shirts obviously referring to the in store advisors who provide the service that Best Buy are famous for in the US.  .

This is all then capped with the opportunity to capture customer information when they leave the store allowing follow up at a later stage through email for example.

Digital Blue Shirt from Modern Climate on Vimeo.

It is a shame that Best Buy announced today that they would be closing all their UK stores.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

N.dulge in a Conversation

N.dulge is the name of the Space NK rewards scheme.

For the unitiated Space NK is a retailer ( both off and online) who offer a carefully edited selection of high quality and original  beauty products from innovators and specialists around the world. They are a favourite of mine even though there isn't one near me.

This morning I bought a Tom Ford fragrance ( now you know what I smell like) from their Harrogate store and was tempted to sign up for N.dulge ( love the name by the way). 1 point for every £ spent and the promise of special privileges like exclusive invitations, new product previews and birthday treats.

I signed up at the till, no forms to fill out, the sales advisor entering my details directly into the POS system. I got my temporary card number with the promise of a card in the post. This was at 11-45am

Now of course with most of the schemes I sign up for that would be it until my card arrived . But no. Look what arrived in my inbox at exactly 11-45am

In this world of 'real time' CRM, Space NK had continued the conversation with me straight away by sending me a welcome email immediately encouraging me to go to the N.dulge website to complete my registration. They got the essentials from me in the store without wasting too much of my time using the email to try and get more information from me. Hats off to the CRM / Membership team.

Of course it's not perfect. They had not used my name which would have been a nice touch, and the whole email is an image so actually I didn't see any of this until I unblocked content. My details page online didn't know that I was male, but I think it's a good start. 

I'm looking forward to seeing what else I get my way an in particular if my offers and in particular my Birthday present is tailored to me being male.

By the way, the Tom Ford Grey Vetiver makes even me smell lovely

Friday, 4 November 2011

Amazon Lockers are Here

Amazon's Lockers are here in London at One New Change in the City. So if you don't want it delivered to your home, office or pick it up from the local Royal Mail sorting office, there is another option. ( If you don't want to pop to the shops that is)

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Twitter and the Art of Storytelling

I recently had the pleasure of meeting John Sadowsky again at an event run by the DMA and Emailvision.

For those of you who don't know John, he is a great exponent of the importance of Stories and Storytelling for both Leaders and Brands.

At the recent event, he highlighted how the Hero of the Story is often the key difference between a Brand Story that is successful and one that is not. He cited the Facebook pages of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks. The former having fewer fans than Starbucks but more highly engaged ones.

And the main difference was Hero of the stories being told. In Starbucks' case it was the brand, while with Dunkin Donuts it was the Customer. This makes sense doesn't it? I am more likely to share a story that has me at the centre of it than a Brand.

So this brings me to Twitter. Now you might say that a story can't be told in 140 characters or less. True But what Twitter have done very cleverly by launching Twitter Stories, is to talk about the Stories behind the Tweets.

Here's how Aaron Durand saved his mom's bookstore with a Tweet.

Aaron Durand’s mother was in trouble. She had run an independent bookstore for nearly two decades when an economic downturn hit that threatened to close the shop. Aaron wanted to help his mom, but wasn’t sure what he could do. He wrote about his mom’s plight on his blog then tweeted it out, adding at the last second an offer to buy a burrito for anyone who bought $50 worth of books during the holidays at his mom’s shop.
The story took hold. The Tweet was passed along from person to person across Portland’s art and design community. It was retweeted and retweeted until hundreds of people had read the story.
Overnight, new customers started to arrive and business began to pick up. The story continued to snowball on Twitter. The bookstore went on to have its best holiday season ever, and has continued to thrive each season since.

 Twitter is not the story. Brands are not the story. People are the story

What's your Twitter Story?