November 11th, 2016 by Leonard Klie

Data released recently by Forrester Research confirmed what many of us in the industry already know: While most companies aspire to be leaders in customer experience, few can actually deliver good or great experiences. According to the data, 84 percent have such aspirations, but only one in five can actually deliver.

That shouldn’t dissuade executives, though, because according to Forrester’s research, the results of an effective CX plan can have a direct impact on the business. The data shows the following:

  • CX innovators lead CX laggards in growth by 5.1 times.
  • Customers are willing to pay 4.5 times more for an excellent customer experience versus a poor customer experience; and
  • The operating margin for companies with engaged employees is 4.1 times larger than companies with non-engaged employees.

So what does this mean? Offering a better customer experience has a direct impact on the bottom line. Sure it’s expensive, but doesn’t a fivefold increase in growth and a fourfold increase in margins have some appeal?

November 10th, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

Apple recently expanded its digital wallet offering Apple Pay, enabling its use for online shopping. While the solution was introduced for mobile devices, it is now available on the web through the company’s Safari browser. CEO Tim Cook was ambitious about the release, saying that the company is on a mission to “kill cash.”

Several prominent retailers are offering exclusive details to those who purchase their products using Apple Pay. Adidas offers one- or two-day free shipping, the New York Times offers 50 percent off a one-year subscription, and mattress company Casper offers $50 iTunes gift cards. Additionally, food delivery services Seamless and GrubHub offer the chance to win a $50 gift card, as well as giving new users $10 off their next order.

Bringing Apple Pay to the web is a big move for Apple, and sets the standard for other digital wallet solutions. Additionally, as more consumers adopt digital wallet technologies, retailers will have to respond accordingly or risk losing business. Furthermore, the introduction of Apple Pay to the web exemplifies users’ pattern of seamlessly shifting between different devices, indicating that businesses can no longer afford to consider these devices as separate channels.

November 7th, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

Comparing politicians to marketers might at first come off as odd or distasteful, but considering some of the similarities between the two groups, it’s easy to see that they are perhaps not worlds apart. For one thing, politicians rely heavily on campaigns to solicit support and monetary contributions from their potential voters, and, like marketers, their success in meeting their goals is determined largely by how effective they are in reaching an audience with compelling messages.

Throughout the election cycle, Return Path, a provider of data solutions, has been tracking the email campaigns of both major political parties’ candidates, to see how well both have performed.

As is true in the business world, the more established entity has had a larger pool of contacts to draw from. Hillary Clinton began with the advantage of a more expansive email list, accumulated through years of political involvement. But, while Donald Trump’s list was initially smaller, he was able to build it up to be 20 percent bigger than Clinton’s.

It’s likely, however, that the Republican nominee purchased the lists to bolster his options, and in the process made his messages less deliverable to their intended recipients. Most of Trump’s earliest attempts at e-mail fundraising–60 percent of those messages–landed straight in the voters’ spam folders, probably because they were being sent from an untested domain that wasn’t being recognized as a legitimate address. To fix this issue, Trump began using four separate domains, Return Path reports.

Until Trump began actively soliciting funds in late June, he also enjoyed higher open rates than his opponent. Ultimately, Clinton surpassed him, though. As of late October, the Democratic nominee’s open rate was at 18 percent, while Trump’s was at 12.

Overall, the findings suggest that Clinton’s strategy has been more successful than Trump’s. Since her email program runs through a single, tested and certified sending domain, an estimated 96 percent of the messages reach their targets. Further, according to Return Path, Clinton’s complaint rate was also virtually nonexistent, while Trump’s has been as high as 20 percent.

“The most valuable business lesson email marketers can learn from these results is that email works, and that success is largely dependent on emails reaching the inbox versus the spam folder,” wrote Tom Sather, senior director of research at Return Path, in an email to CRM magazine. “In the case of the Trump campaign, we saw that most of his emails were being delivered to the spam folder. As a result, few supporters saw his fundraising emails. Given the large amount of money Trump raised through small donors, the campaign could have easily doubled contributions just by focusing on deliverability and ensuring his emails reached his supporters’ inboxes. I think this shows what most email marketing professionals already know: more organizations should put more focus and resources into their email marketing efforts.”

November 3rd, 2016 by Sam Del Rowe

Instagram got marketers’ attention earlier this week when it made a move to enter the mobile shopping space with its introduction of shoppable photo tags. The social media platform is testing the new experience with 20 retail brands, including Kate Spade, JackThreads, and Warby Parker, whose posts will enable Instagram users to learn more about the items pictured.

Posts equipped with shoppable photo tags will feature a “tap to view” icon. When a user taps the icon, tags will appear on the products featured in the post, revealing the name and prices of up to five items. Additionally, if a user selects a tag, a detailed view of the product will open, providing additional information. Furthermore, consumers can then tap the “shop now” link in the product details view to go directly to that product on the brand’s website.

This functionality foresees a future where brands e-commerce is conducted on the channels most popular with consumers, as opposed to through brands’ own platforms. Moreover, it exemplifies how necessary it is for brands to continue to evolve their marketing strategies to deliver relevant information to consumers.

“Our community uses Instagram as an aspirational discovery platform and they’re looking to us for inspiration,” Ryan McIntyre, CMO at JackThreads, said in a statement. “This test is going to change the scope of what we, as retailers, are capable of offering on mobile. Instead of having to transition over to the JackThreads app, our customers will be able to shop seamlessly from their social media feeds—allowing us to reach guys where they’re already hunting for what’s new.”


October 31st, 2016 by Oren Smilansky

The pressure is on for CMOs, according to new research from Accenture Strategy, which finds that CEOs expect marketing leaders to step up and make significant contributions in their organizations.

Accenture’s report, “The C-level Disruptive Growth Opportunity,” was compiled with results from its annual CMO Insights survey, which factors in the opinions and attitudes of 535 CEOs and 847 CMOs from global organizations regarding the major challenges and opportunities affecting their growth.

The findings suggest that although CEOs hold all members of the C-suite accountable for “disruptive business growth,” CMOs are at the highest risk of being let go in the event that growth targets are not met. While 29 percent of CEOs would first point the finger at their chief strategy officers, and 34 percent would look toward chief strategy officers, the majority (37 percent) would place CMOs at the front of the firing line.

Forrester Research, meanwhile, predicts that in 2017, 30 percent of CEOs will fire their CMOs for not possessing the “blended skill set they need to pull off digital transformations,” according to an email the firm sent CRM magazine earlier today.

The fact that half of the CEOs surveyed by Accenture also considered CMOs to be the “primary drivers of disruptive growth”–the highest of any member of the C-suite–could have something to do with this.

“Organizations that rely on ‘growth by committee’ struggle to achieve their targets. It breeds a C-suite culture where everyone is responsible, yet no one is accountable–and onus unduly falls onto someone, usually the CMO,” said Robert Wollan, senior managing director of advanced customer strategy at Accenture Strategy, in a statement. Fortunately, he adds that “CMOs can take a greater role by actively driving the disruptive growth agenda and generating new value for the business. “

Kevin Quiring, managing director of advanced customer strategy, North America lead, at Accenture Strategy, agreed in a statement. “Never has there been a better time for CMOs to reposition themselves by taking control of the disruptive growth agenda. Such initiatives are often the most creative, have the biggest revenue potential and command strong leadership,” Quiring said. “CMOs are well positioned to do so due to their experience of being brand guardians, which will help enable them to intuitively navigate new opportunities internally and externally, and identify new areas of growth.”

Those CMOs who want to keep their jobs would be well-advised to take the necessary steps to prioritize disruptive growth.

“Such initiatives include developing ecosystems with non-traditional players, launching platforms that elevate current products into expanded service models for customers, and increasing revenue through next generation connected data monetization–all of which CMOs are well positioned to do,” Wollan said.


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