Jet Blue seeks latest tech for helping customers

Committed to staying on the leading edge of customer service, JetBlue has created a technology incubator in Silicon Valley to encourage new solutions to travel challenges. Mozio helps travelers get transportation to and from the airport. 

Loyalty 360:Technology meets humanity for JetBlue and JetBlue Technology Ventures to improve customer experience, 2016-Aug-4 by Mark Johnson

The acquisition of Mozio by JetBlue Technology Ventures is a further indication that parent JetBlue continues to strengthen its technical capabilities in support of its overall mission to inspire humanity. At the core of that effort is finding the best ways to listen to the consumer.

“Because everything is starting with this new way of listening, we are, from the customer perspective, spending time in Silicon Valley looking at that,” Scott Resnick, Director of Loyalty Marketing for JetBlue, told  Loyalty360. “We know there is technology out there that when customers reach out for help, and they’re using a certain tone and certain kinds of words, provides a footprint that can help find the best way to help that customer.” 


At SoulCycle, they really are after your soul

I encountered spin cycling in the later 90's, and quickly realized the quality of the instructor was crucial to a good workout. Maybe that's true for most instructor-led exercise classes, but spin cycling lost all its fun when the instructor had poor music, tempo and coaching skills. And that was WAY before SoulCycle was founded in 2005. My favorite spinning instructor was a small young woman with a drill-sergeant style and great taste in electronic dance music. I learned to love electronic dance music, much more than any type of exercise, including dancing. 

After that instructor left, I was not loyal to that gym. SoulCycle has done a great job of making sure the total experience is addictive: the ambiance, the activities, the people who get to know each other, as well as having extremely well-trained instructors. No loyalty discounts are necessary in these circumstances, although they may offer them. 

Fast Company: SoulCycle Wants You To Join Its Tribe, 2016-Sep by Jonathan Ringen

Skeptics wonder how long the indoor-cycling trend—or any modish exercise—can stay popular. And even if it does, what’s to keep riders loyal to the higher-priced SoulCycle brand? Can such a quintessentially New York experience translate to the rest of the country? And will the riders who give SoulCycle its cachet—all those movie stars and early-adopter cool kids—still show up once everyone is doing it?

To Whelan, these questions totally miss the point. SoulCycle, as she sees it, isn’t competing against other fitness companies. "I always say that our real competition is Netflix," she says, meaning anything that might keep you at home and not out in the world. "SoulCycle isn’t about fitness," she reiterates. "It’s about a very powerful breakthrough for people, which can be physical, but can also be emotional or about community, about connection. Once people connect to it, it becomes part of their life. So, $30 for that?"


Setting out on a journey to create a customer journey map

I recently volunteered to help a sales manager develop a customer journey map for her company. When she left I began sharing it with the CEO, but the CEO was turned off by it. The process seemed completely unnecessary to her (the CEO). 

The CEO and founder does want to share more of the selling and customer management with other people in the company, but she sees that as a matter of assigning tasks. I hope to one day re-introduce the journey mapping process, and this advice from Nielsen Norman Group will help me find the right time and opportunity. 

Nielsen Norman Group: When and How to Create Customer Journey Maps, 2016-Jul-31 by Kate Williamson

Journey maps should always be created to support a known business goal. Maps that do not align to a business goal will not result in applicable insight. The goal could be an external issue, such as learning about a specific persona’s purchasing behaviors, or an internal issue, such as addressing lack of ownership over certain parts of the customer experience. Some potential business goals that journey mapping could be applied toward are listed below.

Shift a company’s perspective from inside-out to outside-in. 

Break down silos to create one shared, organization-wide vision. 

Assign ownership of key touchpoints to internal departments.


Imagine your cooler asking for Pelligrino... Nestle innovations in brand loyalty

Imagine using your loyalty rewards to order a nice cooler. Maybe it will be cheaper because it comes with the logo of your favorite water brand. Now imagine carrying your cooler past a convenience store and that cooler reminding you to buy the branded water. Now imagine it sending a coupon to your phone! 

These ideas are not farfetched to Antonio Sciuto, the CMO of Nestle Waters of North America. Under his leadership, Nestle Waters recently opened a digital lab at the Salesforce offices in Manhattan. And the 'internet of things' is one of the most important frontiers identified by Salesforce. Wait for it. 

Marketing Land: A CMO's View: Nestle Waters CMO Aims to Connect Web, Mobile & Brick-&-Mortar, 2016-Feb-3 by Amy Gesenhues

Antonio Sciuto: At Nestlé Waters, for example, we developed a digitally connected cooler with demographic recognition, iBeacon, and touch screen to enable a personalized consumer experience integrating online and offline leveraging different content based on consumer target and consumption pattern during the day.

In this arena, it will be of particular interest to see the development of near-field communication (NFC): embedded chips in phones to exchange data on contact with objects that have NFC tags.

The price of these tags lowered already at 15 cents, so a large number of companies could build them into a larger number of devices, generating a massive expansion of new interactive experiences.

Ad Age: Nestle Cozying Up to Salesforce with New Digital Lab, 2016

"It's a meeting space for them to bring their retail customers, like grocery chains, and show them what they are doing," said Stephanie Buscemi, exec VP-product and solutions marketing at Salesforce. For Salesforce, having a client on site "is a lab for us that inspires new software functionality," she added. 

Photo by Karen Bryan,

Loyalty's dark side on display in pharmaceutical industry

The same communication tools which support our health can be used to encourage overspending and dependency. We have to be careful with our loyalty. Luxury brands won't solve our status challenges, and expensive drugs can't solve our health problems by themselves. We have to integrate a healthy, skeptical search for loyal suppliers that fit our budget, our lifestyle and our future. 

Our loyalty is valuable and we should invest it carefully. 

Collective Evolution: How Big Pharma Maintains Compliance, 2016-Jul-26 by Laurie Powell

Patient education is big business for pharma. One missed dose of hypertension medicine is not life-threatening but pharma has many medications that require regular doses to keep patients on the hook and on schedule.

There are numerous websites that are disguised to look like they are created by patient advocacy groups and legitimate healthcare organizations for caregivers of relatives diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, cardiovascular disease, autism, Down’s Syndrome, Parkinson’s Disease, etcetera. By creating an organization and/or an online community, they are able to get large groups of people to buy into and share the marketing messages as they are fed by pharma.


Why hotels have started attracting and supporting locals

Not many of us think about hanging out in a hotel in our hometown. Often the food is just okay, and the decor very corporate. Hyatt, Westin and Marriott have recently instituted programs and rewards to attract local residents. Travelers are reassured by seeing locals, and their experience becomes more memorable. Have you thought about rewarding the best hotel in your neighborhood? 

NY Times: Why your local hotel is trying to hook you, 2016-Jul-25 by Martha C. White

Hotels are always eager to get people in the door, of course, whether to spend the night or their money at the bar. And catering wedding parties and banquets has long been central to the hospitality industry. But the newer trend is to focus on getting repeat business from a local following. So the innkeepers are sponsoring running clubs or organizing other attractions like author readings, art shows or musical performances.

“You’re trying to look for incremental revenue anywhere you can,” said Bobby Bowers, senior vice president for operations at the travel research firm STR.

The effort includes making lobbies and lounges more inviting hangouts, rather than simply places to stare at your smartphone while awaiting a car to the airport. The theory is that a vibrant group of local patrons can make the hotel more attractive to out-of-town lodgers.


Why we have to always keep an ear open for the customers' words

We want to provide the very best solutions for our customers. So we study the competition carefully, committed to staying on top of the latest trends. We study the research, hoping to be the first to unearth an important new insight. 

Unfortunately, those honorable activities often cause us to disconnect with the customers. We overwhelm them with new options. We talk in cryptic jargon designed to differentiate the most recent insight. We overwhelm them with informational riches. 

To balance our approach we have to reconnect with our customers concerns. We have to speak to them often so we are familiar with their language. We have to answer their questions and solve their problems at the level of sophistication that make sense to them. 

Conversioner: How to Leverage Trust to Increase Landing Page Conversions, 2016-March by Shuki Mann

You need to know your audience better, speak their language, create value and show it to them, as well as design and incorporate elements that make the visitor feel that you are the best choice for him.


Brand imaging, KIND example of acting it out

When we build an image for our brands, we have to consider so much more than "marketing communications." Our actions and our interests convey so much more than tweets and advertisements could ever communicate. On of our role models in 'acting out the brand' is KIND Snacks. 

Prophet: The Not-Only-for Profit KIND, 2016-Jun-29 by David Aaker

KIND is driven by a clear vision to be a healthy, tasty snack in a sea of snacks that look and feel very different. ...

The vision is incorporated into the brand, all the way down to the clear packaging that allows customers to see the ingredients. The tagline “ingredients you can see and pronounce” reinforces the message, and the message is emphasized by its transparent packaging that other brands can only admire. The presence of healthy snack options directly helps fight the obesity epidemic, driven in some part by processed, sugar-laden snack foods.

A Higher Purpose—Acts of Kindness

The Kind Movement stimulates acts of kindness throughout the community. There are #kindawesomeness cards that are handed out to someone doing a kind act for someone else. The card has a website and code and leads to the card holder to be sent a packet of KIND bars from the company. The bars are also sent with another card for the customer to give to someone they spot doing an act of kindness. As of today, there have been 1.2 million documented acts of kindness as a result. 


Analyzing loyal behavior and moving beyond personas

As we try to drive loyal customer behavior, we often make mistakes because we over-simplify. We don't just have one kind of customer who is more loyal. Our loyal customers have diverse motivations, and their behavior can be triggered by various events. And they experience different emotions, yet all still fall within the "loyal" category. This realization is behind the increasing popularity of personas among marketers. Instead of segmenting our customers by demographics, we try to capture their motivations with a rich description of their situation and goals. 

As marketers, when we plan loyalty programs, we are creating triggers which may fail. We have to be prepared to use that failure as data. We can't always afford to figure out why or what to do next, but we should not classify someone as 'not loyal' because they didn't respond to our offer. 

I'm reminded of the Groucho Marx comment, "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

Without a loyalty program, it's hard to learn what motivates loyal behavior. Inside a loyalty program, it's still hard to read the data. We just have to plan to build up our knowledge over time. 

strategy + business: Fan Favorites, 2016-Jun-7 by Erin Reilly

For example, a common fan mind-set among Americans interested in music is the “Vocalist.” As the name implies, Vocalists frequently listen to music and sing along, most often in the car. Their mood drives their choice of song and genre. Vocalists typically look for new music to listen to and enjoy learning about music and musicians, and will gladly purchase an album or other products artists might offer. However, they don’t go out of their way to attend concerts or festivals, even though they are more likely than most music fans to play and create music. The Vocalist mind-set is a combination of play,identification, and creation, but a Vocalist is not motivated by social connection or advocacy.... 

Although most fans will hold just one of these fan mind-sets most of the time, they may shift to other mind-sets according to changes in their unique situational triggers. These triggers, which may take the form of tangible objects or discrete actions, can be based on a number of factors, including geographical and virtual location, level of knowledge, strength of social networks, and emotions. If media producers can understand the objects and actions that inspire certain fan mind-sets, they will be better able to create content and activities that can help these fans engage more deeply with a given team, story, or brand... 

The challenge of working with the concept of fandom is the absence of a hierarchical ranking into which we can slot various fan groups. The entertainment and media industry widely believes that 80 percent of its revenue comes from the 20 percent of its audience who are frequently referred to as “superfans.” Some might not consider Followers to be true fans; in contrast, Connoisseurs could be classified as superfans. But this sort of taxonomy papers over the opportunities that each mind-set offers in an engagement strategy. And when we look at fans through the lens of our two core questions of motivations and triggers, we discover multiple points of entry into a fan community, with multiple versions of meaningful engagement.


Virgin releases an app that makes loyalty a destination

In the U.K., Virgin has released a new mobile app, Virgin Red, which is designed to attract current and new customers. Games, quizzes, content and unusual offers convey the entertaining brand image of Virgin. Current customers can log their loyalty and be recognized for their loyalty, but non-customers can still play to win. 

Although some analysts criticize the program for being too complex, the flexibility of the approach is very innovative. Virgin Red is a place where people can enjoy the brand. 

Marketing Week: Why Virgin is launching a loyalty app to unite all its UK businesses for the first time, 2016-Jun-20 by Sarah Vizard

“The breadth of offers and opportunities we can offer from dinner with Sir Richard to being a taster for the upper class menu on Virgin Atlantic sets us apart. We will offer discounts but also unique experiences within what Virgin does. That way of rewarding people is very different and very Virgin,” says Tupper.

“Also, strategically, we did not want to just reward people for what they were spending, that is too predictable. We are rewarding for spend and behaviour, for being more Virgin.”

That might seem difficult when Virgin runs such a range of brands. Yet Tupper believes there are values that run across its businesses and that also chime with its customers around being more adventurous, taking a risk, being innovative, cheeky and fun.