Trends that could trip you

Data on why your data needs storytelling

When selecting topics for my blog, I prefer to share evidence. But we have to be careful... data doesn't speak for itself. Context is crucial and the best way to provide it is by telling a story--especially a story that makes people feel something. 

Forbes: Data Storytelling, 2016-Mar-31 by Brent Dykes

Memorability: A study by Stanford professor Chip Heath (Made to Stick author) found 63% could remember stories, but only 5% could remember a single statistic. While 2.5 statistics were used on average in the exercise and only 10% of the participants incorporated a story, the stories are what caught people’s attention.

Persuasiveness: In another study, researchers tested two variations of a brochure for the Save the Children charity organization. The story-based version outperformed the infographic version by $2.38 to $1.14 in terms of per participant donations. Various statistics on the plight of African children were far less persuasive than the story of Rokia, a seven-year-old from Mali, Africa.

Engagement: Researchers also discovered people enter into a trance-like state, where they drop their intellectual guard and are less critical and skeptical. Rather than nitpicking over the details, the audience wants to see where the story leads them. As mathematician John Allen Paulos observed, “In listening to stories we tend to suspend disbelief in order to be entertained, whereas in evaluating statistics we generally have an opposite inclination to suspend belief in order not to be beguiled.”

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The dark side of creativity

Some people use their creativity to rationalize dishonesty. Some people feel their creativity justifies immoral behavior. And some people discover that being creative requires them to break the rules. Tq130516bd

The Conversation: The dark side of creativity, 2014-Dec-11 by Lynne Vincent

while individuals who self-identify as creative may feel more entitled, it’s possible that this entitlement will cause them to take creative risks


Biggest mistake we make with social media: going for the Like

When we treat social media as if they are publicity tools, we undermine ourselves. Our posts ought to direct people how to participate in a dialogue that leads to co-operative action. 

Tq141119bdOver at The Bloggess, Jenny is founding a new religion, Blogessianism, as part of her ongoing effort to get everyone to take the world lightly. Extra gravy for all. Remember, "You may decline on the gravy, or give your gravy as a charitable contribution to those less gravied." Now make your own title and spread the word.

Medium: Innovation Lessons from Taylor Swift, 2014-Nov-9 by Saul Kaplan

...social isn’t about pushing a message out to potential customers, its about pulling people into a movement.


Rising customer expectations of memory and context

The more we interact with a company, the more we expect them to remember us and to recognize our context. As 'always on' technology increases, we can experience surprising benefits. Tq-120709-hbIn thinking about our own customers, we have to plan ways to track them for their benefit.

Acquia: Champions of Context, 2014-Nov-4 by David Mennie

These trends add up to a new capability -- a requirement really -- to engage with a customer in context -- delivering relevant context when and where he or she wants it.

You can start this process from the very first, anonymous, interactions. You can build on these experiences. And you can apply them to other channels: from the Web to mobile, from social to in-store retail.

Acquia Lift ContextDB creates a rich, progressive profile of your customers by collecting data from any channel including web, email marketing platforms, marketing automation tools, social platforms, call center transactions, offline, and third-party data sources. Marketers can leverage this data to uncover deep insights, and turn insights into action by triggering relevant communications for any channel.


How to waste your effort in a CRM database

Having a lot of data in your CRM system can give you a false sense of security. Unfortunately, on every day that goes by, some contact records are going out of date. The only way to maintain the data is to use it. Any record that hasn't been touched in a month ought to be verified before it's used. 

Wayne O'Neill & Associates: Why CRM Doesn't Work, 2014-Oct-13 by Wayne O'Neill

So you have a huge CRM database. Pat yourself on the back because you have a lot of data about your clients – but are you really connecting with those clients?

The connection process is more complex and nuanced than any big, fancy CRM can handle. It takes time and effort to get to know who is the decision-maker in the organization – who is actually spending the money.


Our customers take steps in a journey, not a slippery slide down a funnel

We've been using a very unfortunate metaphor for years: the sales funnel. Supposedly, leads are dropped into the top and slide out the bottom as customers. Yuck.

Actually, we are guiding contacts on a journey, and we need to think about the next step they have to take because we can't take it for them.

CMS Wire: Customer Journeys Trump the Traditional Sales Cycle, 2014-Sep-15 by Julie Hunt

To connect authentically to what customers need and want, customer journeys trump the traditional sales cycle. The sales cycle has been an inside-out process, tied primarily to sales goals and operations.

Learn more about tracking the customer journey at our companies:

Overviewhttp://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.cxpa.org/resource/resmgr/Meeting_Presentations/CXPA_Houston_Talk_110812.ppt.pdf 

How It's Done: http://www.slideshare.net/TPDashboard/touchpoint-dashboard-journey-mapping-guide-2014

Nuances of Using: http://www.slideshare.net/suitecx/frequently-asked-questions-about-customer-journey-mapping

Research on Its Effectiveness: http://www.slideshare.net/McK_CMSOForum/customer-experience-journey-webinar-v10-091713


Second step in loyalty: connect to a shared interest

Tq-120815-tbMost businesses plung into a loyalty program with their most frequent or biggest customers. Although it's not a mistake, there are pitfalls in this approach. We may discover that our biggest customer is only accidentally our customer--a big cause for concern on many levels. 

Before we invest in in a loyalty program, we check our most important customers to find out WHY they are using our services. In the first place, we'll discover whether or not it's sustainable. Then we enter a loyalty program with our eyes open as to the real long-term opportunities. 

Hub Magazine: Sweet Spot (Excerpt from Aaker on Branding), 2014-Sep/Oct, by David Aaker

To connect with a shared-interest area provides avenues to a relationship much richer than those of an offering-based relationship that, for most brands, is driven by a functional benefit and is relatively shallow and vulnerable. Further, people attribute all sorts of good characteristics to brands that they like and with whom they share values and interests. If Pampers is so intimately informed and involved in baby care, its products will be perceived to be both innovative and high quality.

A shared interest also provides a source of energy for the brand. All brands need energy. It is a discouraging truth that brands throughout the world that lack energy have been losing equity for more than a decade at a disturbing rate. It is not easy to inject energy into a brand that is not one of the rare brands blessed with visible innovation or high customer involvement. One answer is to create a shared-interest program that will serve to energize the brand through its innovation, involvement, or purpose-driven content.