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How to map Customer Journey – The key questions

When a customer initiates conscious consideration and buying, he’s often  the one who’s active. He’s making searches online, reading ads, discussing about his interest with friends and family, reading product reviews, asking questions from professionals and stores, visiting several websites and outlets, asking opinions and advice. Majority of this behaviour can be analyzed online or with research.

When the customer initiate this journey he’s in charge. At least that’s how he feels. That needs to be taken for granted. He makes decisions. While he’s in charge, he’s being influenced by media, marketing, brands, professionals, sales people,… There is an exception though, in case it is possible for you to earn a position as a trustworthy and respected specialist, then you can sell with specialist recommendations. This approach to sales works much better than hard selling. In the end the customer is quite likely to buy something he could not have imagined before actually entering the journey. He does the decision eventually and your role is to influence the choices he makes if you know how to do it.

Check out a collection of Customer Journey Map visualisations in Pinterest “Customer Journeys and touchpoints”

The things that are often neglected, which I find very important are:

  1. Chain of events > you need to know and understand the people flow across channels and touchpoints
  2. Competing & neutral touchpoints > You need recognize and understand also the impact of your competitors touchpoints. Your channel capasity to convert customers is the key and you must understand that the customer is not visiting your touchpoints only, but your competitors too. Increasing your conversion and business dynamics score is the ultimate goal of the entire Customer Journey work

The mapping of the customer journey is composed of he following parts:

0. Customers: Who are they? How do they live? What kind of life style and life stage are they in their own lives? What is their socioeconomic status like? How can you reach them? What kind of behavioural conventions their everyday life has in the context of your offering? What do they value? What kind of solution would they appreciate? Who are your most valuable customers? How do customer profiles differ from one product category to another? What kind of potential can be found from your existing customers from cross-selling point of view? What kind of people keeps your company in business now and where can you find growth potential?

1. Touch points: mediums, services, personnel, re-sellers, physical spaces, online. 

Do you have control of the touch point or does a partner manage it? At what point of a customer journey is the customer getting involved with a certain touch point? What can you do in that moment and what are your goals and KPI’s? Can that specific touch point result in to an acquisition or do you need to direct the customer further? What kind of roles a single touch point has and how can you make certain all roles are played out right along the customer journey?

2. Service moments and context

What are the most likely contexts in which the customer engages with the touch point? What is he trying to do? How can you help him achieve that? How is that done? How could it make your product or service look more appealing or at best, a most likely option?

3. Motivation and drivers

Are the customers reaching out for you or is it the other way around? In what kind of mindset does a customer engage with your brand? What could drive him further instead of abandoning your brand? What are the conventions and customs in your business and how could you exceed customer’s expectations by breaking them? Are there other companies that have a similar logic to yours and could you implement their approaches, which already have a proven logic?

4. Decision making process

What is the customer’s decision-making process like? Is he doing it himself or using a consultant or services for comparison? Are there predictable qualities in customer’s selection process that would enhance your capability to adapt your organisation to the customer’s behaviour with right content, value proposition or services? How does the customer move from one stage to the next?

5. Triggers and Moments of truth (initiate/choose/drop/buy/attrition)

Where and at what point are the most important moments of truth defining the majority of your business success? What triggers them to decide or act according to your will? Can you trigger customer behaviour? How can you do that most effectively and which kind of approach result in best outcomes? Why do you win and what do your competitors do better if you lose business to them? How can you outperform your competitors’ actions?

6. Post-purchase satisfaction and recommendations

Would customers buy again if they had a choice? What is your Net Promoter Score Index? What were they satisfied about? Was there dissatisfaction? How can you improve your customer experience in order to earn higher opinion? Do your customers discuss about your product online or face to face? What are they saying? Are they endorsing your brand? Could you use their endorsement for others who are still considering it?

7. Business systems, research and analytics

What kind of information your systems currently store from your customers’ behaviour? How could this data help you serve your customers better and create systematic methods for continuous development of your company? Consider ERP, CRM, Online analytics, Contact Center systems, email communications, customer satisfaction and voice of customer studies, reclamations, customer feedback and ideas for improvement etc. How does the infrastructure  combine different data sources and make it available for people working in customer interfaces? Do you have marketing automation software in use that could adapt your operation and communications to individual customer’s behavior and store customer’s online engagements and interests that enable realtime action and individual customer care models?

Here are a couple of visualisations I find particularly informative and inspiring:

One by Desonance

Another by Hear of the Customer: Customer Journey Experience Map – Top 10 requirements

Here is a great presentation about how the job gets done and what is the impact on business performance:

Who is the CMO of the future?

Digital Surgeons, founder, @petesena, takes a look at what the landscape looks like for the future role of the CMO. Gartner is predicting that by 2017, the CMO will spend more time than the CIO on technology. We’re seeing this already happening with progressive brands shifting budgets towards digital.  Peter shares his thoughts in a Slideshare above on the hybrid nature he thinks the role of chief marketing officer will begin to shift into. What are you doing to stay ahead of the curve?

You might also be interested in the following articles:

From marketing automation to service automation

Managing Social reputation – Brand is a verb

2013 Internet trends; Mary Meeker & Liang Wu

Digital Trends for 2013 by Adobe

What best performers do differently; Aberdeen

How to map and study Customer Journey

From Marketing Automation to Service Automation

I’ve come to the conclusion that the name “marketing automation” for new breed technologies is simply too narrow. In the projects I have been working, it has been evident that the core challenges companies have lie in their business processes. As a customer, you expect to know what is going on and understand what the company you are paying for is doing for you. Not knowing equals emotions of neglect, inconsideration and generally drive criticism towards the company. As an outcome the Net Promoter Score doesn’t look too good, even if the company would be very good in something. However, gaining great increase in NPS only require erasing the issues leading to critic path of customer experience.

I would suggest to consider marketing automation as a methodology for service automation and start service designing the entire customer relationship. Such an approach put the customer in to a spotlight and helps you analyse the internal processes and multi-channel encounters in a new way. When you do analyze the engagements, customers’ motivation and contexts driving customers you can mirror it with customer touch poits with sales, customer service, billing, purchase confirmation communications, online service etc. While studying these touch points and their impact, also consider what is the technical platform for that specific touch point. Having this mapped enable you to look at the entire IT infrastructure and recognize gaps between them. In case you don’t have the necessary data available for answering customers’ questions you will make your company look autistic.

Fixing the gaps in IT infrastructure enable you to fix the reasons why people have doubt and negative experiences along their customer relationship. This is when you can start automating the customer communications. In many cases you have the means to cure the reasons for eg. negative customer service contacts by keeping the customer updated, feeling secure and well served. Considering the full customer journey and relationship help you increase lean process efficiency and simultaneously increase NPS. In current economic environment you can squeeze a lot more efficiency and synergies delivering higher customer value with current or even lower resources (Check out HBR article about managing complexity).

The same tool allowing you to do segmented emailing and event based marketing can be used for process automation and customer care. This is why I think the marketing automation technology should also be leveraged as service automation solution.

The companies often have an existing CRM already in place, like Salesforce, MS Dynamics or such. These mainstream CRM’s are relatively easy to integrate with Marketo, Eloqua, Neolane, ISAS or Hubspot (the price variation between these technologies is huge – you really need to know what want to do when comparing options). BM’s Unica is a fullblown solution for CRM & Automation and a lot of these challenges can be solved with Salesforce and MS Dynamics too. In many cases the company infra already has  much more to offer than is being used. In a best case scenario you already have what it takes. You just need to make choices that work best in your existing systems and requirements. The only thing I’m saying is, it is well worth the effort.  In case you only really need triggered messaging, eg. Silverpop is an option.

Many of these technologies are associated with B2B markets and it’s true that they have been developed for B2B and high invenstment B2C categories. This is because the value of single customer is so high that you should really take great care of them and it’s worth the investment. However, in B2C business the sheer number of customers and transactions is so huge that the automation makes sense and the technology price goes down/customer too. The most applied position for these technologies has to do with lead management process. I think, such approach is only a tip of an iceberg.

Let’s look at this challenge from the CMO’s perspective. Majority of critics in NPS measurements are actually an outcome of poor operational experiences. However, these experiences have a major impact on brand perception. I would consider this to be an opportunity for CMO’s to enforce brand identity at experience level and really help driving the brand promise and it’s practical delivery in to all touchpoints accross the company. Marketing is a great influencer in corporate culture and I think these new opportunities only enhance the capability of CMO to make the company better.

creating customer loyalty and trust_improving NPSI’d really love to hear your experiences and opinions about marketing automation and service automation. Please, let’s learn together.

For more, check out online (others have training, but I haven’t found great tutorials online)

Eloqua University cource list

Hubspot Academy

Here’s also Marketo’s “Marketing RFP” that I find quite instructional although it has been done by a vendor who optimize the RFP for their technology :) Marketing automation-RFP

Yes, Business Process Design is business owner’s responsibility, but CMO’s need to understand how to leverage BPM in customer engagements and their outcomes measured with Net Promoter Score. Here’s a brief video on Business Process Management

Here’s Gartner’s very informative evaluation of multichannel marketing  solutions: “CRM Vendor Landscape: Multichannel Customer Analytics Is a Critical CRM Capability” http://www.gartner.com/technology/reprints.do?id=1-1FDDJZT&ct=130502&st=sg#!

Most companies approach CRM and marketing automation inside out, I prefer looking outside in. It’s the difference in perception, not in technology that matters. Here’s how Salesforce.com presents their approach as an infograph. It’s a valid approach, I’m just saying that there is more to discover than this:

Salesforce.com infograph

Toni Keskinen

Marketing Architect, Toinen PHD

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen/

Management Tools & Trends 2013 – Bain & Company

The Bain article is very good read indeed.The full article and report as a PDF are available here

The results of the recently revealed 2013 survey show that the world’s top five management tools are:

  • Strategic Planning
  • Customer Relationship Management
  • Employee Engagement Surveys
  • Benchmarking
  • Balanced Scorecard

The differences between market areas are clear, do to their differences in market growth and cultural differences. However, I have to say that I liked the Asian approach more than European or American. The Asian markets emphasize 1) CRM and 2) total quality management. They carve innovation out from customer needs and understanding and emphasize quality or products and services.

However I had to wonder about the ABSENSE of everything related to brand metrics and customer behavior change (eg. online analytics).

Most used Management tools according to Bain study 2013

In all markets the number one corporate goal is to increase revenue. The sales figures are naturally an outcome of brand’s success, brand’s demand and channel conversion capacity. Still, the brand management as part of the management toolkit is totally missing.

In my opinion management systems are too concentrated on the internal reality and manage their operations and strategies inside out. In my work as a marketing architect and customer journey designer I have seen case after case, that the internal and CRM figures have generated blind spots and consequently create corporate autism. The only way to really do actionable strategic development in my opinion is upside down and outside in. You have to analyze customer journey as a whole: Customer Journey rules of engagement  (behavioral dynamics), touch points and channels  and align your own organisation with the customers behavior. Managing operations, partnerships, CRM and everything else should have a clear behavioral and customer experience impact generating rapid sales conversion results and long term brand and demand increase. In my opinion these are clearly CMO’s core responsibilities and the absence of these facts just underlines how desperately the management practices need to pay attention to marketing and CMO’s work.

What’s your opinion?

Author: Toni Keskinen, http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

This is how data makes money

This is a presentation that McKinsey consultant, Tim McGuire, made at the recent Direct Marketing Association conference. It is very thought-provoking and inspiring one, because it is about practical value and applications of data. In direct marketing scoring models and regression analytics have been an approach any seriously result oriented marketing responsible has already tested. However, the availability of data and applications in the rich and influential online environment has exploded the value to completely new level.

The CIO’s are currently challenged with new needs that come from marketing department and marketing department can no-longer operate without collaboration with ICT responsible people. Although Big Data sounds like an elephant, you don’t need to eat it with one bite. Majority of Big Data corporate scale initiatives can be done manually in smaller scale or with less expensive technologies. Testing, piloting, learning and calculating business cases from them enable solid foundation for larger investments and management attention.. even urgency. Every change starts from recognition and inspiration. This presentation might just spark that first step towards major transformation. Enjoy and share with your management team!

How to measure conversion – infograph

I found a great infograph from my former colleagues’ website. Tamara Gielen has one of the most red email marketing blogs in the world – Be relevant! emailmarketing blog . This inforgraph is about conversion optimisation in general and has a great message I totally agree with. Nothing beats the live testing with actual customers. A/B testing, multivariate testing, using segmenting and other tools for learning are the best and fastest ways for creation of reliable business cases in marketing. So, here it is. Enjoy
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Digital Trends for 2013 by Adobe

Technology meets marketing. Analytic mind meets creativity. It’s going to be a year of change which is just speeding up constantly

Digital Trends for 2013 by Adobe

Customer decision making journey and market FLOW

McKinsey just published an article about customer decision making journey. It’s an approach based on a single research and 20000 respondents. I find it great that Customer Journey work and methodologies get real attention and McKinsey’s article proved that customer journey understanding, analytics and design are maturing and becoming real business management tools. We have taken it further with Jarmo Lipiäinen and created Customer Journey Management methodology for sustainable management model. We are also trying to have Customer Journey Management – the book – published, but in the mean while here are some thoughts about how to apply customer journey mapping and understanding to your  business.

To start with:

You need to understand that there are very different journeys to begin with.

  • Purchase journey (From awareness to consideration and transaction, Acquisition)
  • Service journeys post purchasing (Using the product or service, value-in-use)
  •  Planned (e.g. Address change, regular maintenance etc.)
  •  Unpredictable (e.g. Product failure, reclamation, insurance coverage, etc.)
  • Delivering a service as a customer journey (taking a cruise or flight, restaurant, using media, etc.)
  • Retail customer journeys (e.g. IKEA store experience)

Media company’s customer journey would be about daily use contexts in multi-channel environment reaching the customers with online, print, tablets, email with variety of media types. The thing is, if you simplify customer journeys too much, you will not benefit from the analysis either.

1st: Concentrate on what they did 

When you are diving in to customer behavior along their decision-making journey, you need to understand that only customers who have recently done the purchase can tell you how they did it. People are very bad at behaving according to their preferences – so you need to learn from what they did – not from what they think they would do. When people enter the decision-making journey – they can not know how they come out of it. Here’s an example of car purchases

it is a maze

When customers enter the maze they have certain brands in mind. When they are inside the maze they will consult professionals, read reviews, visit discussion forums and discuss with friends. When they are in the zone they will pay attention to advertising they normally ignore and they are likely to learn a lot. Eventually, when they buy something, it could be something they wouldn’t have thought in the beginning.

2nd There are dynamics – rules of engagement so to say – but each category and brand journey is different

If you consider decision-making journeys from buying a nuclear power plant to buying a bottle of coke – here’s how you can analyze the rules of engagement

The customer journey for a well-known, liked and preferred brand is extremely different from a journey for unknown new brand. Read more from article: Brand as a roadsign. It is also good to understand that if you have several product categories, each of them is likely to follow different dynamics.

3rd Look at the whole market – not just your own touch points and understand the market flow!

Here is an example of market flow for a telecom operator. The Dynamic market flow is interesting concept that medical companies are using. They don’t look at the overall market shares but dynamic market, which is about new prescriptions and changing prescriptions. Similarly, looking at the market change is where you can best see how your work is influencing. The market share will follow. Here is some idea about how the idea works from a telco case I made a year ago. I can’t give any actual data out because it is proprietary but I can explain the methodology. First of all, what is the size of dynamic market and how does it flow:

This data tells you how many actually bought, how many of them bought spontaneously and how many did considered purchases. Earlier I did a customer journey decision-making mapping for 3G bundles in Finland, Denmark and France. I can tell you that the differences in national behavior also vary very much. When French people make considered purchases, Finns buy 3G bundles like sausages. These two markets have very different dynamics. Ok. Let’s dig deeper. Here is how you can break down each product category:

This graph has very important information presented in a single page. I know it is not beautiful but it is highly practical. First of all you need to know whether people are newbies and making their first purchase or experience buyers. Then, what is it that makes people tick and initiate conscious consideration? When they do get activated, do they really look for more information or just rely on their brand related heuristics or do they just buy spontaneously? There is great different between customer journeys that are spontaneous and those that are considered. There is even more important figure to understand, that is outbound tele sales share of dynamic market. When you have all this information about your brand and your competitors, I can guarantee you will find insights and surely learn what to do differently. Between brands there will be major differences in conversion rates from preference to purchases and differences in sales via different channels: outbound, retail, online, inbound…

4th Different types of relationships

You buy milk several times a week, you use video rental service occasionally, but very rarely rent the same movie. In average you buy a house once in a lifetime. The relationships are different, very different. This difference has a major impact on how you can create customer relationships and apply customer journey methodology to them. Here are the variables:

These variable form a quadrant with typologies:

It is obvious that every brand should work their way up and to the right. Even if a customer only buys the product or service once in a lifetime, you could still create relationship that feels like continuous relationship.

5th Leverage all your information assets

Understanding the whole customer journey makes it possible for an organisation to re-define relevance and information sources. I’ve published an article about how to cure corporate autism earlier and you can find more from there. Check out 

However, you need to understand how the market works and how does your products and services flow with the market. The Customer Journey  as a full help in defining what to pay attention to.

Along the Customer Journey you can analyze customer behavior with online analytics, CRM, marketing automation tools, CSAT, VOC-studies, look at market data, research marketing and brand outcomes, analyze social media.. Ok, the list is endless. This is why you need to re-define relevance and build your KPI’s accordingly.

Business Dynamics Score is one of the most fundamental decision journey metrics. It tells you how many customer that preferred you originally, did you keep and how many did you lose. Of those who had no preference or preferred competitor, how many did you win or lose.

LAST but not least

If you really step in to your customer’s shoes, you understand that for a customer a brand is a single entity. If you really analyze customer journey you will find out what to change in order to perform better, but it could be anything. The challenge I have faced most often when I have done customer journey mapping and analysis for my clients is, that it is difficult to tear down silos and act on customer behavior needs. Instead of print campaign it might be better to spend the money on new online webstore, or investing in marketing automation software enabling event based servicing. In my opinion customer journey work is an extraordinary innovation  methodology for corporate transformation, change management, and amazing performance.

SEE NEXT:

Customer Journey stage 1: Brand as a platform

Customer Journey stage 2: Initiation

Customer Journey stag 3: Choosing and buying – cross-channel influence

How to map and study Customer Journey

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join FutureCMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

 

Forecast for marketing planning and ecosystem evolution

The high frequency trading (HFT) stands for machine based stock exchange trading. HFT model leverages price differences in variety of stock exchanges, buy and sell in a fraction of a second. If there is 0,01% price difference in two stock exchanges,  you can make 100 profit with a 1M investment in a millisecond. HFT is based on algorithms and data and it’s increasing it’s share of trading steadily against traditional trading. HFT is very much like trained limbic system in human decision making: rapid, based on heuristics and rules from learned experiences and blind to events that have not been pre-coded in to the system. Traditional trading is based on rational thinking, analysis, luck, intuition.. well human intelligence and conscious decision making, even creativity. Traditional trading is much slower and more vulnerable to human emotional flaws but also allow long-term consideration. There is a lot of money involved in stock trading with instantly measureable success. It is also the most developed trading environment in the world.

Well, let’s look at marketing then. If you consider the fact that the CMO has liquid cash worth several percentages of corporate annual turnover, in case of P&G 9-11%, it is quite a considerable liquid asset too. Actually, in many cases it is the largest liquid asset the companies have and spend. The others are for long-term strategic Merger & Acquisition purposes, infrastructure investments and salaries.  Marketing is also the only investment that has difficulties in defining ROI, instant and long-term. Well, this will change quite soon and create tectonic changes in the foundations of marketing industry. The data explosion due to multi device Internet and inter-connectivity of mediums and customers combined with regulatory changes in privacy will result complete make over of the marketing industry.

Let’s consider Facebook for a moment. Facebook is a vehicle designed to enable personal communications and community. It is a yielding platform in which the user is the product for sale. The basic idea is that the advertisers will fund the business model and the consumers will allow data capturing in return for using the Facebook as their communications platform and vehicle representing their identity and social relationships.  Effectively Facebook knows more about us than we even realize. The question is, how does Facebook capitalize this knowledge? Facebook could become the world’s most effective advertising targeting and RTB business operator outside Facebook’s own touchpoints in case they decide to pursue this goal. We should expect black swans like that to appear and change the way the marketing ecosystem operates and challenging the balance of power. Big players will enter new areas and small players will emerge and grow big faster than ever (like Pinterest) and we will surely see new symbiotic business models created from combinations of existing players creating new value propositions and services.

If we consider the development of media buying and spending then, it is starting to look more and more like HFT due to the increasing level of Real Time Bidding (RTB) inventory and media business model. RTB is about getting the best price available for advertising inventory. The ecosystem is feeding advertisers willingness to pay for contacts and is trying to increase the willingness to bid higher. RTB is the new “share of voice”. The drivers of this business model have been Google Ads and Facebook but the model has been adopted by other media companies widely and will be adopted by majority of mediums over the next couple of years. The advertisers willingness to pay for each contact is based on data and the decision to bid is made based on the rules defined in the Demand Side Platforms (DSP’s) within milliseconds, exactly like in the case of HFT. As the business model is based on engagement or acquisition, also the rewards can be easily tracked which drives transparency and corporate management acceptable investment model in marketing.

The key here is the corporate management acceptable investment model. Marketing has been a rogue spending area in corporations without direct accountability for financial results. This will change. Every single business investment area has been made liable for profitability and accountability apart from advertising. It is not going to be acceptable anymore. Because it is becoming possible, it will be demanded. Period. Just like in case of the HFT also the liquid resources will become almost infinite and marketing budget will become flexible when the accountability is made possible. There is no limit in spending if every single cent invested result 10 cents in return. Well, in future markets such disproportional returns will be balanced but the main rule will still be valid. Groupon is a thriving example of corporate willingness to pay disproportional costs for easiness and accountability. The change is inevitable but will happen gradually. The wheel of change is already turning and it will spin wilder and wilder before we reach the new normal.

Investment sector has been in great turbulence and HFT has changed trading volume based market shares rapidly. In Helsinki Stock Exchange March 2010 the top three traders were SEB, Nordea, Handelsbanken and FIM. They were all local or Fennoscandic players. In January 2012 the top three were Morgan Stanley, Nordea and Credit Suisse. Along with those three there were newcomers like Citadel, Getco and Spire. The newcomers are all specialized in robot managed HFT. Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley represent the same phenomena by selling others the rights to use their HFT technology. Local players are losing ground.

The change is happening at increasingly rapid speed and will eventually escalate. At that point within apr. 5 years media agencies don’t call to mediums and ask quotes for their mediums, media buyers and sellers in current meaning will vanish. Media planning is no longer about choosing media and negotiating price for it. Media agency will be impossible to distinguish from stock exchange trading company by sight. The tools, technology, algorithms and productivity goals will be very similar. The competition will be about measureable ROI of marketing portfolio management. Like in the stock trading it will be driven by analysts who are specializing in short term instant ROI and long-term profit expectations. 

What about creative agencies then?

IBM did a major study in 2010 and interviewed over 1500 CEO’s around the world. Mr. Samuel J. Palmisano, Chairman, President and CEO of IBM Corporation captured the findings in three major issues in his pre-words of the study report:

  1. The World’s private and public sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation of “complexity” is the biggest challenge confronting them. They expect it to continue – indeed, to accelerate – in the coming years
  2. They are equally clear that their enterprises today are not equipped to cope effectively with this complexity in the global environment
  3. Finally, they identify “creativity” as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.

Well, creativity is a human trait and a profession. Creative agencies will have major role in the change and they are trusted partners for CMO. Creative agencies will remain true to their creativity but the demand for creativity will be far more diverse than just advertising message creativity now. Customer experience design, advertising, product- and service design all serve the same common goals; creation of competitive advantage, brand and relationship value. CMO’s responsibility is going to be about exactly that, creation of competitive advantage. CMO should be already responsible for insights on customer behavior change and delivering them to other members of the board influencing strategy and operations. CMO’s key role is to practice strategic sensitivity of the market and customers. The best CMO’s will earn a new role closer to COO’s current role as they start carrying more accountable and strategic responsibility. The CMO position will also become number one route to CEO position. Sir Terry Leahy, former CMO and later CEO of Tesco Plc has already shown the way. Tesco is also one of the premier examples world wide in customer data driven strategic and operational management, behavioral economics research and service design. Tesco’s growth and profitability also prove the point rather well. Creativity in the Tesco way will become mainstream now that we are reaching tippin’ point.

There is another reason why Tesco is such a great example of future marketing planning. Tesco is one of the first companies using customer behavior data to personalization and individual customization of offering and messaging in massive scale. Today we recognize this as marketing automatization and customer experience management. Each individual customer has offering scoring attached to their data and this scoring model define what and how should be offered in order to turn push marketing and sales in to inspirational service experience. People are looking for advice, inspiration and great deals. Giving all three in one package with great customer experience in any given customer interface create trust and relationship.

Customers are becoming another portfolio for CMO to manage; who, what, when and how are the questions that need an answer. The answer is another case of trading mechanism. The company has an inventory of products and services. This inventory is the other subject to yield management and the customer base is another portfolio. The perfect combination of both enhances loyalty and lifetime value with optimal profitability.

Well, let’s go back to Facebook and consider that the product they have, are their customers, the users. The product and service portfolio they are managing is not actually their own but their clients, the advertisers. The two way yield management means optimizing the profits from the customer base they have. Facebook must consider overall profitability of their users against the price different product & service vendors are prepared to pay for them. Yield management will differentiate products and services in to categories:

  1. Easy to activate mass categories which deliver small but high volume transactions
  2. More difficult to activate categories which deliver less but bigger transactions

Well, that’s not the end of it. There are known brands with stronger demand creating also high volume and less known brands that are more difficult to yield but deliver higher revenue/transaction. In this game brands, creativity and quality of creative work are subject to instant and continuous pricing. If the creative work is highly appealing and works very well, it will result transactions at lower costs and higher margins for advertisers. If the creative work is not working the price you need to pay for each transaction will cost much more. When we reach this point, you don’t need to question what is the value of your brand. You will know the difference… Painfully well. The same apply to advertising in any other mediums, which will still be impossible to directly measure. The measures will be based on direct increase in sales compared to the base line without marketing and it’s effect in real time bidding costs. Currently the same ideology works well in businesses requiring outbound selling. In case advertising works outbound sales conversion will increase and cost per transaction will be less expensive. Same mechanism will work much faster in the real time bidding environment.

The media companies’ capability to invoice consumers’ subscription fees will erode steadily and the requirement for advertising profitability will grow. The media trading could well learn from retail category management and yielding optimization of shelf space. The media inventory is made of certain media placements, which will develop but still exist in the near future. Every single placement will be subject to yielding methodology. Facebook, Google and most media companies will not really care where the money is coming from as long as their yield management drives strong profits. Statistical analytics, scoring models, algorithms, richer and richer data combinations and continuous optimization will be the name of the game. They have the data and they can re-create their business models. There are only so many people on this planet and in any given country. The media which have the best data and the best tools to create multi client lead nurturing methodologies delivering strongest rate of acquisition will win. Just like in case of HFT, the balance will shift and the global players will take larger share of the business. The smaller but local and trusted media companies are now in a do or die situation and by the end of this decade we will know how if and how they survived.

The role of mediums as the data owners will also change. The services they deliver could vary from x amount for introduction, y amount for acquisition to z amount or percentage for the profitability e.g. during the first three years. The data holders will become capable of working as headhunters for advertisers. They will just hunt customers, not employees. The stakeholders in this game can be anything from media companies to large loyalty programs, telecoms, Apple like manufacturers (e.g. Siri) and global social mediums and data capturing platforms like Facebook and Google. The most rapidly growing market sector is currently services that come between the producers of products and services and the customers. Travelzoo.com and Groupon are good examples of such. All players mentioned above have direct customer relationship to consumers and consumers are using their services to make their choices and living easier and better. In a very complex world these players offer advice, the solution to customer’s needs. They can inspire and serve and they can gain a trusted partner status with consumers. The key word is trust. Trust is also the key word in yield management.  The increasing transparency will become another management imperative. Bad companies stand for, bad customer experiences and effectively bad advice for consumers. It means lost trust and less effective yielding for mediums. If the company cannot deliver what they promised, they will face increasing costs again.

The world has become extremely interconnected and transparent. The market price for a customer engagement or customer acquisition will be determined by trading environment. The market value of data will deliver steady revenue and the big players will become bigger than ever but we will also witness unexpected newcomers. The competition will be about the game of trust and relationships in the consumer markets and extremely efficient trading tools and data based intelligence delivering accountability in the B2B markets and planning. The value of existing customers will become imperative and corporations will implement marketing automatization technologies in order to enable individual care models and increase in customer lifetime value. The tools will become smarter but creativity will flourish as human trait, profession and specialty.

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join FutureCMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

Great future for creative agencies

Creative agencies have been under siege for a long time. The business has changed completely within relatively short time and the balance of power between disciplines within agencies has shifted tremendously. Agencies must have changed a lot by now, but they need to change a lot more in order to meet the demands Future CMO will require from them. I would consider that challenge a great inspiration though, it can be an amazing adventure. Let’s look at where agencies stand now:

1. Creative agencies key asset is.. well creativity. People trained to open up their minds, simplify and recognize what is the thing that makes people (customers) move. The challenge is that advertising agencies have limited their use of creativity in communication and doesn’t have a credibility or position to use that creativity for more general business development, which would be very natural. In the very heart of creativity is customer insight. Using that insight to new purposes is much easier to do than teach non-creative people to become creative

2. Data is now available and media agencies have a long history of analysing it. In the current environment and the direction we are heading, corporate own channels, CRM and business data allready meet media data at media agencies. This will become standard practice over the next couple of years if it hasn’t been done yet. Media agencies are trained to measure and predict impact of different actions. Their role will be also to analyse different options in product portfolio scenarios and pricing, distribution etc. CRM and marketing automatatization will be a natural next step after people have already become professionals in making real time bidding online marketing, direct marketing, direct response advertising and managing revenue/cost ratios and communication portfolios

In my opinion the creative communication ecosystem will have to grow-up and take responsibility more than they have used to. Once agencies really take responsibility they can earn their way to the business development and real corporate management. As Future CMO has already cracked the door open, the CMO’s ecosystem must prepare to take the heat and meet the demands that should be seen as the new brave world with tremendous opportunities.

IBM CEO study was crystallized as three major change drivers by Mr. Samuel Palmisano, CEO and Chairman of IBM

1.The World’s private and public sector leaders believe that a rapid escalation of “complexity” is the biggest challenge confronting them. They expect it to continue – indeed, to accelerate – in the coming years
2.They are equally clear that their enterprises today are not equipped to cope effectively with this complexity in the global environment
3.Finally, they identify “creativity” as the single most important leadership competency for enterprises seeking a path through this complexity.

Well, let’s consider creative agencies and the CEO challenges. The complexity of the world is clearly a challenge when you look at it top-down. If you look at the company from customer’s point of view, that complexity becomes much easier to handle. Creative agencies should really be capable of both reducing the complexity to the minimum AND help coping with it. Media agencies with their capability to analyze markets and customer behaviour should certainly become very handy. The third challenge, creativity, is the bread and butter for creative agencies. So, why wouldn’t agencies start meeting these challenges.

Actually, the new breed of agencies have started doing exactly that. They are just called Service design agencies and their methodology is based on Design Thinking. The basic value proposition is to offer companies a) very clear customer insight b) services that meet the customers’ needs in new ways driving growth and profitability. They are actually changing marketing in to service. Pushy communications no longer work, making communications that inspire, entertain and serve customers are relevant and interesting.. and they sell better.

Dear former colleague, Adman and thinker who has inspired me more than any other person in the world, Rory Sutherland, has made a case of meeting the challenges with one single concept: Behavioral Economics. His case below is a great eye opener for any Ad exec or CMO. There is a great future for creative and media agencies if they just embrace the opportunities, take responsibility and are prepared to unleash their capacity to more meaningful purpose:

“IPA President Rory Sutherland explains why he is championing behavioural economics We need to broaden the definition of what we do to reflect the new reality of the market place because if we don’t create a new model based on human understanding, then we are in danger of using 1950s packaged goods persuasive techniques to solve todays communications problems! With behavioural economics we can align ourselves to a recognizable science and not be held hostage to the media budget. It gives us a framework that will refresh our thinking and our talent pool and with it we can use ideas to turn human understanding into business and social advantage.”

 

Author: Toni Keskinen, Marketing Architect & Customer Journey Designer

http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonikeskinen

Join FutureCMO Movement LinkedIn Group here

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