‘Follow your own lamp’

This famous quotation from Buddha is as pertinent in today’s marketing world as it was in India in the 5th Century BCE.

We marketers get so much advice about how to go about our marketing from companies like the distinguished McKinsey down to blogs on LinkedIn that we need at times to take a step sideways and consider what our own lamp is telling us.

My personal experience from being at the receiving end of marketing communications is that thousands of them often merge into a uniform blur, with very little to take away at the end.

This has been caused by so many marketers not following their own lamps, but rather slavishly following the paths that have been specified for them by the great marketing consensus.

One of our clients called Muck Munchers sells bacteria that you can put down your loo if you want to keep a clean flowing septic tank. They have never failed to ‘follow their own lamp’, and their business is growing at an admirable rate.

Read their whole quirky blog here: Muck Munchers Blog

A large part of a marketer’s individuality must certainly be expressed by the creativity they put into their advertising content. However we should not forget that there is also room for considerable creativity in the way we use our technology.

Let me provide a few examples:

– Customers like to be recognised for what they really are, rather than what they have done in the last five seconds on your website; so a dormant customer who after a long absence suddenly appears would be delighted by a ‘welcome back Mr Smith, and we have been saving something special for you’.

– A small amount of customer analysis can tell us who is and who is not a bargain hunter, so why not restrict your sales catalogues to those who are, and leave the rest to carry on happily paying the full price?

– Customers can be frustrated by going right through your website to find the one item they want, only to be told that it’s out of stock; so browsers who leave your website soon after finding this out will be delighted by an email telling them that if it’s not too late the item is now available.

– And there are triggers when it comes to automating communications. Think garden center; the original purchase of a plant could be followed up by plants that go well with the original purchase with weeding tools, with pest control and even with appropriate winter plant protection.

So please do keep your own lamp lit, and don’t feel the need to follow the herd!

And do come and talk to us if you want to discuss how to use marketing technology creatively.

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Why are we now reselling Fresh Relevance’s personalisation capabilities

Why are we now reselling Fresh Relevance’s personalisation capabilities alongside UniFida’s customer data platform?

One of the key uses of a customer data platform is to ensure that decisions made about how and what to communicate with each individual customer across any channel are based on one consistent single customer view.

UniFida’s customer data platform provides the single customer view, combining both online and offline data, and we have partnered with Fresh Relevance to use this for website and email personalisation.

So, what does this mean in practice?

Let us provide some quite simplistic examples (we are sure that you will be capable of creating some much better ones):

One of your dormant customers, Mr Smith, is browsing your website and we recognise him from his cookie ID, or because he provides an email address; Fresh Relevance has already been provided by UniFida with detailed information about Mr Smith’s past purchases, and can use that to remind him that he often prefers category ABC. And it does this in combination with a valuable offer should he decide to reactivate himself after not ordering for so many months.

Another customer Mrs Cook has filled her basket on several occasions but never gone as far as making a purchase on line. UniFida knows that Mrs Cook is in reality a good customer who normally orders by phone. The website, powered by Fresh Relevance, then offers Mrs Cook the opportunity to chat to an agent, and to turn her basket into an order having discussed her potential purchase with one of your agents, who understands when chatting to her what she has liked to purchase in the past.

In a third case you decide to reward previously loyal customers who have not so far ordered this season. UniFida knows how much Mr Jones usually spends at this time of year, so Fresh Relevance can personalise an email that gives Mr Jones a discount based on his previous season’s spend. In this way the loyalty bonus is only offered to customers who have not ordered, and not wasted on those who have done already.

In reality there are thousands of different ways in which an experience personalisation tool like Fresh Relevance can work with a customer data platform like UniFida. The only limitation could be your fertile imagination’s capacity to come up with much smarter ideas.

What we like to do is to put these tools in your hands, so that you can experiment and find out what really works best for your customers. One thing we do know is that personalisation, when truly relevant to an individual customer, works wonders for your sales.

If you would like to talk more about personalisation and how to implement it for your business, please get in touch!

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


‘53% of marketers don’t have a cohesive strategy for Martech, and only 20% are implementing one!’

This is the headline of a report we have just received from Demand Lab, a technology focused marketing consultancy.

It may be an exaggeration, but there is some truth here. Many B to C marketers have made their decisions about purchasing Martech in a very piecemeal way, and ended up with an extensive but uncoordinated marketing toolkit.

Each technology item has been purchased on its own, to do a specific job, without adhering to an overall strategy.

And their difficulties are compounded by the way that the Martech vendors usually present themselves:

– Confusing websites that don’t explain fully what the technology does
– Opaque pricing arrangements
– Features, not solutions focused descriptions
– Little explanation about how the systems are to be configured
– Or what level of internal IT support you need to make them work

We believe that the overall Martech strategy for most medium sized companies does not need to be over complicated.

There are some core components that should be the foundation of any Martech strategy, such as these:

We have marked some of these boxes yellow because most marketers have these already; the problem often is that they don’t naturally join together.

The email service provider may not know what is going on in the website. The call centre doesn’t know what the mailing house has sent out to Mrs Smith when she calls in. The retailers don’t know what kind of customers they are dealing with.

This explains why we decided to go into the customer data platform (CDP) business. To integrate all this customer information and build a comprehensive picture of every customer you are in contact with.

A CDP works best when it’s set up in conjunction with, or has built in, personalisation technology that automates individual messaging via your website and your email service provider.

The personalisation has much more meaning when it is based on knowing what type of customer you have been in the past. Not just on what you have looked at on the website in the last few seconds.

The CDP can then also segment the customer base so that the offline mailing house or call centre send out relevant targeted messages.

But the CDP does much more as well. Having all your customer data in one place, you can measure the effectiveness of every marketing activity as well as track how your customers are performing in terms of value and loyalty over time.

It can inform your recruitment strategy by showing you how different channels bring different types of customer. Show you how they are working in combination. That way you can escape from last click order attribution and attribute the correct value to the role each channel performs.

Every company is at a different point in their journey to getting the Martech that is right for them.  If you would like to chat to us about where on your journey you are now, and where you need to go, we are here to help at no cost to you.

 


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Can marketeers ignore AI and thrive?

“Artificial intelligence is that activity devoted to making machines intelligent, and intelligence is that quality that enables an entity to function appropriately and with foresight in its environment.”

Without wanting in any way to dismiss AI, which can be incredibly useful in many different arenas like driverless cars, we believe that its role for marketers has been exaggerated. Indeed most of what we need is barely within the spectrum of technology normally defined as AI.

For most cases where marketers want to execute one to one personalisation, the area where AI could most appropriately be applied, the conventional propensity model is all that is required.

What is most often meant by personalisation is the means to carry out selections of customers for communications based on their expected response or their particular needs.

Here are some examples where personalisation is often used:

– Targeting apparently dormant customers (e.g. those who in fact have a high probability of being reactivated) with offers to reactivate them
– Making a relevant offer (e.g. based on customer characteristics that imply a higher than average probability of purchasing in a particular product category) of a specific item
– Responding to risk (e.g. predicting which customers are likely to cancel policies or stop ordering) so that they can be presented with good reasons not to abandon their policy or purchase

In each case a conventional predictive model can be built, using an historic set of customer data, where a target customer population can be distinguished from the remainder who have not evidenced reactivation, response, or reduced risk of lapsing.

The key point is that we are not asking for this kind of model to be adaptive to rapidly changing circumstances; instead it relies on past customer behaviour to inform what is likely to happen in the present or near future. And this is because human behaviour in most situations where we are reacting to propositions put to us by marketers tends to remain reasonably constant.

We have even tested propensity models on historic data going back four years and found them to work well.

However, to build and apply these conventional propensity models there are some essential requirements:

– a single customer view to provide the greatest possible depth of customer data
– the ability to update model scores each time new data about an individual arrives
– the availability of data scientists armed with tools like R, SPSS, or SAS

A typical predictive model will take the form of an algorithm which will attribute a probability score to each member of a customer base; we judge the success of these models by the extent to which these scores are differentiated from random in the way they can be used to predict customers’ behaviour.

Looking at a recent model we built for the reactivation of dormant customers, the top customer decile had an index of 330,compared to the bottom decile’s 17.

In another case, a model for product category preference had a top decile index of 601 and bottom decile index of 11.

For most of us marketers these results will be seen as providing a huge improvement on random and quite fit for purpose. However, the methodology used does not in our opinion qualify the models to be correctly described as AI.

If you would like to talk to us about developing propensity models for you, or providing the technology for a single customer view, then please do email us back


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Just how personal do you want to get?

There is a lot of interest amongst marketers in personalisation. And yes, we all like to be recognised for what we are. But we suspect that people are becoming wary of trivial personalisation or ‘personalisation lite’.

For example, recognising what I last looked at on a website is reminding me of the blindingly obvious.

However, telling me about a local retail event in the near future that is connected to what I was looking at on a website is much more likely to catch my attention.

And, for a full version of personalisation, understanding that I am a longstanding and loyal customer, rewarding me for my loyalty, and telling me about something that is actually of interest to acquire, really does hit the spot.

So, what is required to make this deeper level of personalisation actually work in practice?

Well, the first item needed is an effective personalisation engine. A tool that decides what kind of personal experience I should receive based on the information it knows about me. These engines work by the marketer setting rules or conditions which if satisfied mean that the customer will be sent a specific version of an email, or see a particular image, or offer on a website.

But next you will need to have joined together the online and offline data worlds. That allows the personalisation engine to know both that you are a loyal customer and that you are interested in a particular kind of merchandise or customer experience.

Most personalisation engines deliver ‘personalisation light’ because they ignore the history of your relationship with the company and just focus on what you have been browsing in the last 24 hours or so.

We have teamed up with Fresh Relevance (see www.freshrelevance.com) as our personalisation engine partner to allow you to give your customers full personalisation.

We manage this by sending Fresh Relevance a nightly feed of customers’ characteristics – factors like loyalty, spend, and long-term merchandise category purchases, so that these can be used in combination with their immediate online activities and behavioural triggers.

UniFida and Fresh Relevance can deliver in combination personalisation that really makes a difference.

To find out more, please email us suggesting a time that would be good for you to have a chat.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.


Are you losing customers to your competition?

Are you leaving the competition an open door through which they can capture your best customers?


Most organisations will protest that they are not, and a sizeable proportion of these will be wrong!

The reason is the gap that often exists between how customers expect that they should be treated, and the reality of what actually happens.

Let us give you some examples:

  • We know of one company that sends its entire customer file an identical email a hundred times a year
  • and a second that takes at least a month between recruiting a new customer and sending them a welcome catalogue
  • a third that gives up on customers who have not been active in the last two years
  • a fourth that can’t distinguish between a currently dormant but previously valuable customer who is browsing on their website, and an unknown punter
  • and a fifth who doesn’t understand the longer-term value provided by customers from different recruitment channels

To start to put things right we usually find that all areas of the organisation that have responsibility for some aspect or another of looking after customers need to put their hands up, and agree that things are not going as well as they might.

At this point, with luck, a consensus will start to emerge that something needs to be done to fix the problem; this will usually involve introducing some kind of technology that takes an holistic view of customers and how they are interacting with you.

If you feel the need to mobilise your organisation in this direction, and make it properly customer centric, then we are here to help.

For a start we can offer you a free copy of our short and readable book ‘The Marketers Customer Data Platform Resource Book’; to be sent this we just need you to email us back with your postal address. Alternatively, simply sign up for our mailing list and we’ll send you the download link.

And we would welcome the opportunity to have a chat; just give us a call on 0203 960 6472 and ask for Julian Berry. He is here to help.


UniFida logo

UniFida is the trading name of Marketing Planning Services Ltd, a London based technology and data science company set up in 2014. Our overall aim is to help organisations build more customer value at less marketing cost.

Our technology focus has been to develop UniFida. Our data science business comes both from existing users of UniFida, and from clients looking to us to solve their more complex data related marketing questions.

Marketing is changing at an explosive speed, and our ambition is to help our clients stay empowered and ahead in this challenging environment.