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8 posts from September 2015

To add new loyal customers, make sure your web site's personas are fresh

We know our web sites are most effective when they are regularly updated, but we may overlook an important reason to update: a new category of customer. While we may find a few exceptions, we generally want to expand our market to new categories. And the easiest way is to keep an eye out for new customers who don't fit our existing personas. At the same time, we need to be sure our existing personas still fit.  IStock_000028882264XSmall

Kissmetrics: 5 Ways to Align Data and Storytelling for Business Growth, 2015-Sep-24 by Shayla Price

To target the most influential consumers, data identifies which buyer personas have the most impact on lead generation. Teams then can create focused messaging to grab the customers’ attention.

Plus, research shows that by adopting marketing personas websites are two to five times more effective and easier to use.

For personas to be helpful, the data must be accurate.


Finding the values we share with our customers

In building our brands we don't have to rely solely on our own brand. Customers were originally attracted to our business by certain values, and if we remember those values, we can tap into bigger issues, or even bigger brands, to remind them why they love us. Here's an example. IStock_000020000438XSmall

Lightspeed: 4 Steps to Join the Shop Local Movement and Get Exposure in Your Community, 2015-Sep-22 by Zoe Sadler of Snap Retail

Use hashtags like #ShopLocal or #SupportLocal with your messages.

Tag your fellow businesses in posts to promote the sense of community. Encourage your neighbors to host an event with you (Sidewalk Sale? Meet and Greet? Girls Night Out?) As you promote on social media, mention their stores to start the party early.

Lastly, incorporate Shop Local messaging in your email campaigns. Just as you would thank customers in store, thank them virtually too!

The “Shop Local Movement” is based on small businesses reaching out to their communities, educating their neighbors and talking to their customers about the benefits of shopping at locally-owned stores rather than supporting big box stores.

Remember, your store creates a distinctive shopping experience that consumers will not find at a big box. Are you maximizing this opportunity? Now that you’re equipped with these 4 tips, go out and spread the Shop Local love today!


Finding a loyalty perk that's perfect for your customers

Our customers don't expect us to fulfill their every need. IStock_000021588865XSmallHowever, they appreciate when we recognize their needs beyond our business. Starbucks has actually been bringing the news with the morning coffee for some time, but this new partnership has the most synergy. Complimentary products make the best partners. 

Loyalty360: Loyalty Lessons from Starbuck's New York Times Rewards, 2015-Aug-31

We sat down with Joe Pino, Director of Client Success at Clutch, who works with an array of leading brands to design and execute customer loyalty strategies to get his perspective on the Starbucks / New York Times loyalty partnership.

Q: What are overall thoughts on Starbucks delivering New York Times content as a loyalty perk?

JP: In a lot of ways this partnership makes a lot of sense; not because they’re two major brands, but also because of the synergy it delivers. Our team is always advising our clients to deliver relevant experiences to customers beyond mere discounts or specials.

The news and coffee go together like bacon and eggs. Given the general nature of a Starbucks loyalty member grabbing a coffee, often en route to work, it provides relevant value to deliver free access to the New York Times and gives the paper added exposure for upsell opportunities and Starbucks and additional value-add for their loyalty program. It also will presumably widely engage the mobile channel for consumers, which has been at the core of Starbuck‘s strategy.


Four straightforward steps to start customer journey mapping

We recently went through the painful process of creating journey maps for a newly identified set of personas with one of my clients. IStock_000019694326XSmallPersona development was not tough because feedback from a recent increase in communications had demonstrated that customers had different information preferences. We couldn't afford to verify with research, but we did layout a foundation to future research.

Mapping turned out to be very messy and confusing. Finding free or low-cost tools was hard. Several meetings with staff who interact directly with customers was required to identify touchpoints and customer requests. Then sorting things out into a map was VERY confusing. 

Nevertheless, when completed, the maps helped us quickly sketch out two items: the major communication needs of the customers, and the overlooked opportunities for the organization. What a relief! It would have been helpful to have had the tip below when we started... 

CMS Wire: Journey Mapping the Customer Experience, 2015-Aug-6 by Christine Crandell

According to Jeff Freund, CEO and co-founder of Akoonu, “Your journey maps need to capture four core dimensions at each buying stage for each of your buyer personas:

  • The buyer’s participation level (driver, participant, gate-keeper),
  • the buyer’s informational and internals needs,
  • the buyer’s activities to fulfill those needs, and
  • the buyer’s content preferences.”

Comparing CRM software and platforms

For many of us owning and operating enterprises, the process of selecting and maintaining a customer relationship management system is full of anxiety. We have hundreds of software products and platforms available. Figuring out which system is the 'best' is like buying a home for your family. Except that picking the wrong CRM can damage our businesses and livelihood.  IStock_000020463309XSmall

We owe it to ourselves to understand the playing field on which these CRM platforms operate. Not to be an expert, but to help us make common sense distinctions. Gartner is a research company that tracks and compares software vendors, and Leon Tribe uses their data to explain how the major players differ. These types of comparison help many of us narrow the field of solutions to consider. 

Leon's CRM Musings: Gartner Trajectories for Sales Force Automation 2013-2015, 2015-Sep-12 by Leon Tribe

The product to chase, Salesforce has remained in the top spot for the last three years. While others are getting closer, there is no doubt that for sales force automation, Salesforce is the tool of choice. Despite being firmly in the Dynamics CRM camp, I can understand this position. Salesforce was built to manage sales pipelines and sales opportunities and there is no reason to believe it does not do the job. However, for ... customer interactions outside of a traditional sale scenario, my belief is Dynamics CRM does a better job.... 

Since 2013, the Sales Force Automation landscape has changed from being dominated by four vendors to just two, Salesforce and Microsoft. SAP and Oracle are seeking to return with their cloud offerings and only time will tell if they have come to the party too late to make their mark. SAP [is] certainly making progress but Oracle [is] still struggling to make significant gains.

As for the leaders, Salesforce still holds the top position but Dynamics CRM Online is rising fast... 


Understanding Apple's iPhone Loyalty Strategy

Apple has innovated loyalty more than any other company. When I'm consulting, I tell my clients, "we have to interact with our customers." But that's not what Apple does. Apple allows you to avoid interacting with them or the carriers. Reliability and functionality create a user experience that allows you to buy and use with the minimal amount of support. IStock_000019813530XSmallNow that you can subscribe for an iPhone, pay every month, and get an upgrade once a year, these phones even more like vehicles. We'll pick a carrier like we pick a car dealer, with minimum commitment. 

Quartz: Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program, 2015-Sep-11 by Dan Frommer

...the iPhone has already transformed the mobile industry in many ways. That started at launch in 2007, when buying and owning an iPhone was immediately a different experience than any prior mobile device. Apple handled phone activation, media management, and software updates independently through iTunes, and made its built-in “visual voicemail” a feature of the phone app instead of a carrier service that could be sold separately as an add-on fee.

In 2006, carriers were pushing lousy, Windows-powered smartphones branded after themselves—the AT&T 8525 is just one forgettable example. Meanwhile, Apple didn’t even allow operators to put their logos on the back of the iPhone.


Don't reward Harris County Toll Road Authority, and others, for being disloyal.

So I really like the toll roads in Harris County. They make my life easier. I have driven through many of their toll booths and happily paid the toll.  IStock_000019396853XSmall

Now one of their toll booths is not reading my toll-paying sticker. I got a TxTag sticker because Harris County Toll Road Authority told me that I can drive their roads and pay with a TxTag sticker. Although I have paid tolls at dozens of HCTRA booths, it's now my responsibility to contact TxTag and make them prove to HCTRA I'm a good customer. Even thought I have no control over the relationship between HCTRA and TxTag. 

Uh, no. That's bad customer service. HCTRA can take one look at my record and see that, over many months, I've paid at many of their toll plazas but one. The time periods covered indicate the problem is with the toll booth, not the sticker. 

If I were NOT a customer loyalty expert, I would pay the $36 and/or avoid that toll booth. But that would reinforce to HCTRA that they are treating their customers well. But they aren't. And I have to stand up for myself and other customers. I will boycott HCTRA roads until they address their problem.