Category Archives: Data

Single Customer View post GDPR

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) have led most companies to review not only their marketing consents and processes, but, based not least on the veritable explosion of requests in my email inbox just before, on and indeed after, May 25th 2018, to more fundamentally consider the state and value of data as an asset.

This is the real positive of the regulation in my opinion. I wonder if it may, in time, lead to a balance sheet thought around data equity in the same way as ‘Brand Equity’ was considered in the 90s as something that had a tangible and quantifiable GBP value.

The challenge facing marketers post GDPR strikes me as being initially straightforward, but time will tell if the impact of the changes makes this more complex.

In my view the single view of a customer (SCV) is becoming paramount in ensuring the valuable asset that is personal data, works for the benefit of the business concerned post GDPR, and does not adversely jar with customers. It is trying to create the dreaded ‘win win’ scenario in a landscape where the value paradigm has shifted significantly, and that is never an easy balance to strike.

In my view the twin and very simple benefits of a SCV of customers are:

the customer enjoys a consistent experience with the company concerned that they attach a value to, and
a ‘knowing’ personalisation level is possible and can be expressed in communication which the business can attach a value to (relating to relationship or sales and so on). The key word here for me is knowing.

The SCV should demonstrate the company knows the customer in a positive and unobtrusive manner. GDPR empowers the customer to manage their relationships more proactively and transparently. The value of an individual’s data to any company is more visible and obvious post regulation to the customer. For some the value of their data may be surprise, but the volume of email and white mail will have fuelled that understanding (or at least awareness) in a way that if not acknowledged is a risk for business success.

The emails, direct mail, calls and texts we have all received have created a long-term impact in changing the dynamic of the relationship, the paradigm shift is that SCV should now be read as Single Company View not single customer view: The dominant partner is now the more educated customer or prospect, one who will recognise on some level the value of their personal data.

To not recognise this shift is a high risk strategy for any data led business.  Customers are choosing to ‘freely’ interact with a company and this choice can be reversed easily and quickly if the company forgets the customer is dealing with a single company in that moment. If the SCV acronym we know and love as marketers is to stand, it must recognise the power shift to customers and be read as both single customer and single company view.

My thoughts on some post GDPR imperatives are below:

Seek to acknowledge the value of data
reassure the customer or prospect by dint of action, value offered and by not overusing the data. Thinking of the data as fragile and easily damaged is more likely to be a winning formula.

Make sure the personalisation is appropriate
a fine balance to strike and however good the marketing asset the best way to monitor this is likely to be opt out rates within the campaign decay curve and customer feedback. Thinking of the data as an asset to be retained for longer term value becomes more important, cherish it!

Make sure the personalisation has a test (and then test some more)
and use a control cell, this will give a quicker read on the level of personalisation that resonates and will protect the single view of the company by the customer (but make sure it is statistically significant).

Make the content rich and relevant and balance sales to service
Post GDPR service contacts can be an opportunity to drive marketing consent, but be careful, it is possible to damage consent levels if legitimate interest is abused for the sake of a quick sale. Remembering the customer may not have freely volunteered marketing consent for a reason …making the service contacts valuable may reverse that.

Remember the data has a value and that can be eroded
This mind-set change here is as important as thinking SCV is a single view of the company (in the moment) for the customer or prospect. Thinking of data like this should ensure the business considers its actions more deeply post GDPR and not lose long-term value by short termism.  Remember a chipped china cup might still function but it’s value is much less than the perfect version.

These thoughts are my own, and I would love to know yours, if you get chance send me a comment or two and thanks for reading.

Paul Hemingway
01 June 2018

Image courtesy of Pexels.com

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Making the unfashionable, fashionable

Butlin’s is, I think it’s fair to say, unfashionable. Big Data on the other hand is very fashionable. Co-creation is oft talked about by Marketers but still rarely seen.

These three unrelated truisms sprang to mind when I wrote my last post in this blog, but the reason is worthy of this separate post.

Channeling Woodstock may not be very common terminology but in creating the forum “Mumstock” both Mumsnet and Marketing Week have developed an interesting concept to try and offer insight into how ‘Mums’ (apologies for the generalisation) respond to advertising and to try and distill insight into what makes a connection with them; a group of interested parties, just like the like-minded hippies that flocked to Woodstock in 1969.

Why did this spring to mind recently? Well, in my last post I looked at what I call Lifestyle advertising, and that centres, in most variations, on family and children. At Mumstock the reason this style is continuing may have been identified in a simple stat:

  • Only 1 in 5 Mums relate to the portrayal of Mums or motherhood in advertising.

Given the revenue potential of that target group that means a whole lot of advertising is missing the mark completely.

The Co-op Food business were keynote speakers at the event and unfashionably they picked a core headline grabbing insight themselves : Look beyond Big Data and create an emotional connection for your brand. Ok, the second bit is not rocket science, but the first bit is definitely anti trend ! Definitely an unfashionable sentiment for a Marketer in 2015.

Google.co.uk returns about 800 million results for Big Data, IBM and Xerox dominate the Paid ads which gives a sense of the investment in analytics and its value engineering potential.

So why did I mention Butlin’s? Well they have created a new suite of chalets at their MInehead, Somerset, UK holiday camp and their insight … well it was from Mumsnet. They consulted the Mumsnet community – a notoriously vocal community – and asked them how they should design their chalets to appeal to a family audience, by default identifying their target decision maker is, in most cases, the Mum. Crucially this demonstrates they have listened.

They are trying to develop a chalet that delivers that emotional engagement – if not physically (and they do look nice) then at the very least in their design and fit.  Take a look at the ad below:

A bold move, but one that is well thought out. Marketers rattle on about co-creation, and I don’t know how deep the research went, but its clear in the reality that they have listened; to questions about how many TVs to have in each chalet, what the exterior should look like, arts and crafts supplies for rainy days and so on. The ad doesn’t mention the link with Mumsnet, but you can see the GBP 16m investment has radically changed the appearance and facilities.

They appear to have listened to the research from Mumsnet that says that Mums see their motherhood as a relationship not a job … and by default I interpret this as meaning for Marketers that the emotional can clearly override the rational.

Billy Butlin’s empire was founded in the 1930s but in 2015 his vision/mission statement “Our true intent is all for your delight” seems well suited to this collaboration. Butlin’s refer to this development as a return to what made them popular, so it may be that if I post again in 12 months time my ‘unfashionable headline’ will need a change!

Paul
31 May 2015

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2 bed flat, off road parking and walk to work please!

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2 bed flat, off road parking and walk to work – this was my brief to local estate agents in Lichfield recently. Home is in Norwich now, but work is in Lichfield during the week. 

I think that’s makes it fairly clear what I am looking for, let me know if you disagree, but I am fairly confident that is a clear brief.

I work with data every day and I try and make sure that at a simple level I am talking to customers about things they are interested in, sadly that has not been my experience of buying the flat. The service had been ‘patchy’ at best as well.

Now I used to be a surveyor and work in an Estate agents, so I know it can be a tough job but I have been completely amazed by the lack of attention to the following simple tenet: that you are likely to get a better response from people if you talk to them about things they want to know about and do so in a friendly helpful manner. 

My story starts when I actually walked around the estate agents in town – a bit old school I know – but I enjoy thumbing through sales particulars, usually in a pub with a pint of lovely lager beer and a sandwich and a big map. I’ve moved a lot more than the average person over the years, I guess, so it’s become a bit of a ritual.  

But I hadn’t moved for 8 years and the world has changed – a lot – it would seem !

Mortgages – this seems to be the priority – getting you in front of a mortgage broker ASAP before someone else does.  This is not just to organise a mortgage it’s also prioritising your insurance needs as well. And they don’t mind at all if you buy from someone else of course, the service is independent of the actual flat buying I was reassured on many occasions. 
Legal services – this is a clear second priority it would seem, why? Well again it’s a fee earner for the estate agent that actually does not rely on you buying from them. 
Tyre kickers – evidence I was a credible buyer with the necessary means to buy a flat was a clear priority – this is a poor feeling, buying a new home should be exciting  and not a drudge to prove who you are and how much money you have in your account – yes, I get that I will need to do that, but up front, almost before appointments are made? It weakend, in many ways what for me, is still a 121 experience. 
Data collection – I was surprised by the level of this, in part due to the tyre kicking problem I realise, but the detail was significant. Which makes the details of the wrong type of houses in the wrong location sent to me, even more irritating. Kirstie & Phil are strangers to Lichfield I suspect !
The internet – I have been, on occasion, heard to repeat the phrase, I live in the cloud, and I tweet, I Facebook, I link in and I write 2 blogs.  So clearly I like the internet but the lack of personal interest vs the referral to the excellent Right Move app and website belies the desire to organise my mortgage, insurance and legal services for me.  Nor does it build an all important trusted relationship. 
Social media – I am glad you have Twitter and Facebook pages, but that’s not helping me greatly to be honest, unless you can highlight for me the two bed flat that has off road parking  and is walking distance to work !

So all in all I am a little disappointed, as it happens I did find one good estate agent – and luckily they listened and they had a 2 bed flat with off street parking that is a 10 minute walk to my office. 

But …
– to the estate agents that sent me details of 4 bed properties over my budget 
– to the single estate agent that said just log on to our website every week
– to the estate agent that still just sends me a list of everything they advertise each week
– and to the estate agent that keeps inviting me to show home openings the other side of Birmingham … 

I implore you to follow some simple guiding notes from one of your potential customers;

– listen to my needs, I will accept that errors will occur every now and again but please try and get it right
– explain in greater detail why you need to collect so much personal data – and then reassure me how you will use it, because if you get the type of property wrong I will suspect you will get other things wrong too
– remember how exciting buying a house is … please … It’s a ‘biggy‘ and being pushed off to the web is no way to deliver a service that is so important to the buyer, and, you know what? when I sell the flat in the future I will remember you !
– keep in touch proactively – email is fine but I had no proactive contact from most estate agents at all – again when I want to sell my home I will remember that too
– don’t just prioritise your fee earning – think about this as a move of a home not buying and selling a house, and to quote my favourite film (Roadhouse) “be nice”.

The poor use of so much rich data has really surprised me in the last few months, I like to think the firm I used to work for would have had a better stab at the relationship with its potential clients. I know when I was negotiating a sale I tried to develop a relationship first … that way I stood a chance of getting a purchase this time and a sale and possible purchase the next time round and that meant more money in my pocket and that of the company. Very simple CRM. 

As the market is seeming to pick up the success stories will come from the companies that develop relationships I feel, rather than those directing you to self service. I don’t mind that when buying beans, but a 2 bed flat, with off street parking that is walking distance to my office is a different matter altogether!

Paul
28 January 2014

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Double the fun at the DMA

Which is your DMA?

In work mine is the Direct Marketing Association in the UK.

But my passion is art, so to me it’s also the Dallas Museum of Art, ok, I live near Norwich so it’s an academic interest!

DMA

The connection goes beyond the initials DMA though. I’m a marketer, you know that, you know I love, and live, data in my day job – especially if you are a regular reader of my blog.

I sit on the Data Governance board in the company where I work.

The last business book I read was “In data we trust” by Bjorn Blöching. A good read I might add.

You get the picture …

I think the DIrect Marketing Association do a great job in the UK in promoting the positive use of data in direct marketing – they are a voice of reason in so many ways when the tabloids and Middle Britain get upset about the ‘secrecy’ of data and when the ‘big brother’ words are thrown about.

I believe that data is becoming ( in fact already has become) a new currency which means that in order for businesses to ask for, and receive, useful data there needs to be clear value and a clear transaction. My CEO said recently in regard to an only slightly disconnected topic, “imagine if we did that without asking” a good thought to hold in this regard as he didn’t mean it in a good way !

So why am I posting about the Dallas Museum of Art in this context. Simply because they are treating data as a currency really clearly, really openly and getting their members/customers to embrace that fact.

Exactly a year ago today the Dallas Museum of Art made 2 significant moves, bold ones; they stopped charging admission and created a membership scheme called DMA Friends. Check out the scheme from this link.

The numbers tell a story;

  • Admission fees were only a relatively small percentage of annual revenue – 2.5% in fact
  •  In 9 months 33,000 friends were recruited
  •  $9m of philanthropic donations have been received to support the programme since it’s launch

It works really simply – visitors get ‘greeted’ on entry and directed to a bank of iPads. There they are asked for some data about themselves and to become a member of the DMA Friends scheme. The key data is a mobile phone number, email address and zip code. The mobile number proxies as a member number – which is a really clever idea I thought ! Crucially the system is completely based on opt in.

And the transaction? Or currency? …

… Ok its points, not rocket science I grant you, but they build up into experiences such as free admission to paid exhibitions, sleep-overs in the museum ( very groovy) etc. So a combination of random acts of kindness – which I like: see my last post – which you cannot buy, and things that generate repeat visits like discounts off big exhibitions. More visits = more purchases in the shop, more visits to the restaurant and so on – clear simple economic pay off.

It’s really straightforward and is a very clear trade-off for the member and the DMA.

The museum has been very clear that it will use the data it collects and I like the fact that on the anniversary it plans to publish the anonymised data learning it has from the past 12 months. Amongst it’s trailed plans are a desire to advertise the museum in zip codes in which it under-indexes. There is a clear parallel learning here for other industries. If you have an objective, in this case to have broad appeal, collect and then use data that supports that objective. Simples as the Meerkats might say.

The software it uses is being made available free to other museums and galleries and that is a measure of its success as a transactional tool I think.

I will continue to like and admire the DMA in regard to my direct marketing …both of them !

I am indebted to blouinartinfo.com and Modern Painters magazine for the fascinating insight into the Dallas Museum of Art initiative. It has certainly made me think about how simple openness and clarity can assist in asking members to trade some rich data about themselves.

Paul
21 January 2014
PS: The Dallas museum is a lovely concrete building as well, always a bonus for me !

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Random acts of kindness

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Loyalty cards used to be such simple things – collect masses of points, get irritated when points mean less than you thought (you know who you are Co-op & Sainsbury’s), and cause burst seams in purses and wallets. Some you could trust to do a great job, flexibly, for example the Boots Card, some you just knew were cynical data gathering ploys – if in doubt read “Scoring points”and cases studies on Tesco Clubcard and Dunn Humbys influence.  Sainsbury’s and Nectar have always had a broader reach – but I never know if what I am collecting is valuable as the store has stopped mentioning them at checkout & my local BP garage has an unusually high staff turnover. 

But let’s start with a few interesting stats;

– Loyalty cards abound in the UK, 96% of the uk population own at least one
– 8m of us are using them less frequently – that’s about 12.5% of the uk population
– 21% would prefer them on our smart phones
– What’s more 1 in 3 of say we derive no value from them – these illuminating stats are from WorldPay, who conducted a survey just over a year ago.

So is this trend continuing?  It looks like it to me, even though the typical shopper will still use their loyalty cards eight times a month, they will now only save an average of £98.04 annually, down from £100.32 in 2012, so in the continuing austere climate this is a worthwhile contribution to household bills but it is shrinking. 

But the reality is that a £2.28 reduction is likely to be immaterial in the overall scheme of things.  So I wonder if it is the ‘data’ effect that is leading us to challenge the use of loyalty cards … as a marketer the holy grail for me is being able to personalise communications to allow a true 1-2-1 conversation. But it carries risk – ‘Big Data’ scare stories are increasingly common and I think Consumers are smarter than they used to be – they may be happy to trade data for discounts, but it looks increasing like a blunt tool and one that does nothing for the customer experience or the brand health. 

But what does that really mean? It’s easy for me to just write the words. Ok, an example, a real one, imagine it’s your Saturday tea time & you are watching the X-Factor and having a disagreement with your other half. It happens, trust me, not to me you understand, but I hear that it does.  Now imagine your tv or digital box has a built in microphone & picks up that argument. Then imagine the value to an advertiser, say Relate or a marriage guidance counsellor, of that insight. Ads could be streamed direct to that tv for the remainder of the show. Far fetched I hear you cry, not a bit of it, this example was the subject of a US patent application in 2013 (ok it was for American Idol!) by one of the telecoms players. (source

At Advertising Week Europe in March, Bartle Bogle Hegarty founder Sir John Hegarty complained of a “creative deficit” in marketing caused by an over-reliance on new technology, while also warning that consumers are growing suspicious of “Orwellian” data collection practices. A few weeks earlier, “Now” creative partner John Townshend, had argued – at an event run by TV marketing body Thinkbox – that marketers are not giving agencies the freedom necessary to generate ideas, the implicit criticism being an over reliance on clever data. 

On a simpler level a past neighbour of mine, knowing my job, button-holed me after receiving a personalised motor insurance quote detailing his car type and registration from a company he had never insured with – I kept my “nice work” thought to myself though! 

But that’s only a hypothesis. The most interesting response I think to both the conundrum of data collection, knowingly, and the over abundance of loyalty cards seems to be the growth of random acts of kindness – not by chance either, they truly enhance word of mouth marketing by really enhancing the customer experience. 

Eschewing the collection of points, John Lewis and Jamie’s Italian are just two brands taking this approach and both are doing it really well. I base this on how many of my friends I have repeated these experiences too and first hand experiences. 

John Lewis and Waitrose, so long the outliers in the loyalty game – relying on great service and great advertising, but, not collecting purchase data and habits must have been hurting them every day in trying to grow value from customers when it did not even know if they were one offs or regular shoppers.  The ‘My’ card is very nice, chunky and solid feeling with a nice key line colour on the edge – stand out in the wallet is thereby assured. It’s simple premise – use it and get free cakes and coffee – genius – who doesn’t like a free cake and frothy coffee?  The benefit to John Lewis of all that data and word of mouth is incalculable. 

Jamie’s good old fashioned ‘Gold Card’ is anything but … pitched with a degree of exclusivity and luxury that really helps. It’s actively promoted by the great staff in Jamie’s – the Norwich staff recognised us and told us about it in fact. What does it get me? Free tasters each time I have a main course, the feedback from which will help future menu direction I imagine. Birthday treats and invites to exclusive events – where no doubt I will eat and drink and spend … All whilst Jamie learns if I like squid or chicken. It’s a glorious feeling as the free tasters are delivered. You feel special – you know other people, not in the know, are looking on jealously. 

I already like these brands so I guess I am biased but they are doing the same job as the Nectar card et al probably for a different target audience I grant you, but I think the not so random acts of kindness they bring are more sustainable, broader in their brand impact and no doubt much cheaper than the alternatives used so far.  Right I’m off for a cake in John Lewis now … See you next time.

Paul
09 Dec 2013

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Print is far from dead

Print has a future.  Ok I said it out loud. I know I’m a digital creature, happy in the cloud, but I like print too, in fact I’d go further than that … I love print, I still have inky fingers I think.

I’m reading a magazine called Print Power currently – a free mag but packed with some interesting thought articles – one from a friend of mine, Robin Bonn, is well worth a read alongside a complimentary piece from Nick Craig Walker.

One of my hero’s is also featured – the Incomparable Dave Trott.  Dave’s ‘Final word’ is a lovely eulogy to the benefits of integration.  But as ever with Dave’s writing it is grounded in a sense of reality.  I have identical views to him on QR codes, I’m less in agreement, at least in my own sector, as regards smartphone usage, but the scanners themselves are low take-up/usage.

I posted recently about Newsprint and its bounce during the serious news story of the death of Margaret Thatcher. – I will be intrigued to see if there is a similar bounce given recent tragic events in Woolwich. His point is well made … I will paraphrase : If print is dead why is everyone reading the Metro?

All of this is well and good – I get the fact that if you use print properly it can call to action via a different media and still resonate – that has been my stock in trade for the last few years with Insurance marketing.  The response from direct mail activity had to be measured in a number of ways:

  1. Actual response via phone – our principal call to action
  2. Actual response vis the website – a secondary call to action
  3. Halo increases in search traffic (Paid and Natural) and finally
  4. Halo increase in Aggregator traffic

The idea of a solus channel is long gone I fear – even with big data delivering personalisation and individual CTAs.  Solus Press advertising without an awareness driving campaign is doomed to failure if you are measuring for optimised costs of acquisition, the hit rate is just too low and digital will outscore on unit cost 9 times out of 10.

I agree that content remains crucial to driving the desire to respond to the call to action, and that content must be appropriate to the media as well as the customer.  Digital printing has changed that game incredibly, and to the benefit of all concerned; less wastage for Business and better targeting/relevance for the consumer.

I was taken aback recently by a brand that I never really associated with print innovation: Nivea suncream.  Given a simple communication insight that their latest sunscreen “lets you stay out in the sun longer” as start point they delivered in print something quite remarkable.

Using smart paper they added a USB charger to a solar panel and gave in essence, all the magazine readers, a free solar powered phone charger.  The insight … you can stay at the beach longer than a smartphone battery will last.  Genius.

With thought and creativity print is far from dead, right, I’m off to read my book now … the title ? “Paper” by Ian Sansom.

Paul

11 June 2013

Useful Link: Print Power:

http://www.printpoweruk.co.uk/uk/

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Big Data in Edinburgh

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Big Data – a lot of print and web space has been taken up by this topic recently.  I will post my views in more detail over what I think it means and how I think it should be leveraged by Marketers, but here is a great example of a sensible use of data, harnessed alongside customer service.

I like Marriott Hotels.  I have a bank of good memories from weekends away in Marriott Hotels around the UK.

I stayed at the Edinburgh Marriott last Friday night.

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It was a simple over night stop at a hotel I have used regularly over the last few years.  It is a nice hotel, good gym and pool, nice bar and like most hotels of this type has a reasonable turnover of staff.  I don’t expect them to remember me – I stay there, maybe 4 or 5 nights a year.

But Friday was interesting.  Greeted by a trainee and one of the permanent team, I had to wait a while – The Newport Gwent Dragons were staying there (RUFC – they lost to Edinburgh on the night) but I digress…

After giving my name, the receptionists clearly used data to make my experience of check-in personal and engaging;

  1. They knew I was a Marriott rewards customer and confirmed that my logged preferences had been accommodated in the room they were assigning me too
  2. They knew I had stayed with them before, “but just in case you need a reminder of where anything is please just ask any of the team” – nice and engaging phrasing
  3. They knew when I had last stayed – “well at least the weather should be better than when you were here in December Mr Hemingway”

Really simple stuff, but excellent service empowered by good, ACTIONABLE, data.  The added value for me is feeling engaged and welcomed by that hotel and the brand.

I would hope its’s policy, but it might just be great thoughtful customer service, either way … guess where I will be staying when I go back to Edinburgh in August for the Festival

Paul

12 May 2013

Links:

http://www.edfringe.com

http://www.marriott.co.uk/hotels/travel/edieb-edinburgh-marriott-hotel/

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