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Anna Papachristos | July 8, 2015
Though I'm not opposed to the occasional selfie--What? If you want to immortalize your good hair day, sometimes you've got no other choice--I'm the first to admit that our society has become consumed by nauseating narcissism. (I also believe the selfie stick's true purpose is to whack public selfie-takers upside the head, but that's beside the point.) Regardless, MasterCard sees such behaviors as an opportunity to engage and protect consumers of all ages with its latest innovation. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | July 7, 2015
In June, I posted a blog about how customer journey mapping has come a long way since its roots. And while customer journey maps have certainly evolved and become more detailed in recent years, customer personas don't appear to have advanced at nearly the same pace. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 1, 2015
By 2020, the U.S. Treasury expects to replace Alexander Hamilton's spot on the $10 bill with the face of an unidentified woman. But, as The Daily Show correspondent, Jessica Williams, recently highlighted during an episode of the Comedy Central news program, this gesture seems like an ineffective, and relatively pathetic, attempt to appease female critics. "Honestly, at the end of the day, I don't [care] about who's on the bill. What I do care about is getting an equal share Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 30, 2015
One of the biggest challenges that telecom industry executives face is customer churn. While churn rates vary by country and by provider, annual churn rates for telecom companies average between 10 percent and 67 percent, according to the Database Marketing Institute. And while there are a variety of reasons that customers disconnect from wireless providers in particular - dissatisfaction with the quality of service, cost, poor customer support - the use of customer data and analytics is providing decision-makers with Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 23, 2015
Organizations that deliver exceptional customer support typically have at least a few things in common. They listen closely to what customers are asking for and not only act on customer feedback but they also communicate back to customers how and whether their requests were acted on. They align their customer service processes and practices with customer-centric goals and objectives. These organizations also strive to make it easy for customer-facing employees to provide customers with seamless support to ensure that both Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 16, 2015
The healthcare industry is undergoing dramatic changes, not the least of which is an increased focus among payers (healthcare insurers) and providers (physicians, hospitals, clinics, etc.) on customer centricity. Payers who historically had customers funneled to them by employers are now beginning to market to individual customers. But payers aren't the only healthcare industry participants that are blazing new trails in customer centricity. As last week's PegaWORLD 2015 conference indicates, life sciences and other healthcare companies are also getting into Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 9, 2015
When companies first began attempts to map the customer journey, it often involved a rudimentary arrangement of Post-it notes or other unsophisticated steps to chart the customer's end-to-end path to purchase or mission to resolve a product or service issue. Customer journey mapping efforts have become considerably more mature over the past year or two as decision-makers are placing greater focus on understanding the types of experiences customers want as a means of attracting and retaining customers. Progress on customer Read more »
Judith Aquino | June 4, 2015
It's not a secret that Pinterest, Google, Facebook and other companies don't want users to leave their platforms. Pinterest is adding "buyable pins" that enable shoppers to purchase items directly on its site; Google announced a similar feature with buy buttons on its ads, and Facebook increasingly offers features that encourage users to check in and never leave. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | June 2, 2015
It's pretty easy to see how pervasive the use of mobile devices has become with consumers. People are tethered to their smartphones just about everywhere - at work, at home, at ballgames, shopping malls, airports, and cafes. As of January 2014, consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices for Internet usage than on desktop PCs, according to comScore. Yet despite how "mobile" we've become as consumers, many companies continue to struggle to develop comprehensive mobile marketing strategies or Read more »
Anna Papachristos | May 20, 2015
Digital and mobile technologies allow employees to remain connected no matter their physical location. Thus, the traditional office no longer exists in its original form, for workers have the ability to operate remotely. But, as the future of the average workplace shifts to accommodate these evolving standards, leaders must also realign their mindset to provide these employees with all they need to conduct business like their in-office counterparts. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 19, 2015
There are a lot of ways that marketing automation helps marketers to connect more effectively with customers. Technology enables marketers to gather more insights than ever about customers, including information about their behaviors, preferences, and needs. Marketing automation helps companies achieve deeper engagement and higher conversion rates through more personalized messaging. And while each of these capabilities are critical for helping marketers to succeed in today's fast-paced world, some of the greatest opportunities for driving effective and efficient marketing are Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 12, 2015
Periodically, a big brand will announce plans to invest millions of dollars in its customer service activities. In some cases, the same company continues to stumble a year or two later. We've all seen it before. Improving customer service isn't simply about throwing money at the problem or adding agents. Because customer care is multidimensional, organizational leaders also need to evaluate their customer care processes, the technologies they have in place, the criteria used to recruit and train agents, the Read more »
Judith Aquino | May 7, 2015
The marketing and customer engagement landscape is getting more crowded and enterprise firms increasingly find themselves competing with nimble startups that offer innovative solutions. As a result, enterprise companies are turning to innovation labs for a competitive edge. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | May 5, 2015
Customer experience leaders talk a lot about the importance of providing customers with simple and easy experiences. But in the real world, some customer interactions can be quite complicated. For instance, as customers continue to increase their use of self-service tools to resolve issues they may encounter on their own, the types of customer inquiries that are hitting the contact center are becoming more complex. Read more »
Judith Aquino | April 30, 2015
Do marketers suffer from an unjustified youth fixation? Teens and young adults are often seen as trendsetters and business bellwethers, particularly in the digital space. But what if chasing after teen opinions is a waste of marketing dollars? Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 28, 2015
As companies continue to gain deeper proficiency using the Internet of Things for a range of applications (to monitor a patient's vital signs in a hospital, for enhanced connectivity between automobiles, drivers, and automakers, etc.), decision-makers will need to pay careful attention to how IoT influences the customer experience. Because as Fusion92 Founder and CEO Matt Murphy recently shared with me, "if there's not a benefit to consumers, you're probably not going to be successful." Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 22, 2015
For today's data-driven marketer, more advanced omnichannel campaigns have become standard. But, as companies begin to crave more data in an effort to gain deeper understanding of their customers, many are beginning to recognize that Big Data isn't about volume--it's about what's actionable. SMBs, however, are uniquely positioned to use data to develop closer customer relationships and obtain insights that bigger brands can't, as the explosion of cloud-based technologies has put these companies on equal footing with their larger counterparts. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 21, 2015
In case you hadn't heard, Google is introducing big changes to its algorithmic formula beginning today that will place increased weight on the mobile friendliness of a company's website. If a company's website isn't deemed mobile friendly by Google (you can take the test here to find out), this will adversely affect the website's ranking by Google and, as a result, the volume of traffic headed to the website along with the potential leads being generated. The good news for Read more »
Judith Aquino | April 16, 2015
Do you find yourself making more impulsive purchase decisions based on convenience and emotion? If so, you're not alone. Technology advances are making us inclined to make quick, gut-based decisions instead of well-rationalized decisions, according to Forrester Research analyst Shar VanBoskirk. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 15, 2015
Just as the U.S. population grows more diverse, so must the average company's workforce. To remain on the cusp of innovation, leaders must conduct an internal audit to explore their brand's current scope and expand future outreach initiatives. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 14, 2015
One of the biggest challenges that sales, marketing, and customer care leaders continue to encounter is their inability to gain a truly comprehensive view of their customers. Whether it's the ability to see the full stream of transactions a customer has made with a company, the most recent channels they used to interact with the organization, or the feedback they've shared about their experiences in social media or with the contact center, there's often one or more pieces that are Read more »
Tom Hoffman | April 7, 2015
As companies strive to cater more effectively to the omnichannel customer, many organizations find themselves struggling to find and hire marketers with required technology skills. For instance, while many marketing organizations have a voracious demand for people with analytics skills, just 26 percent of respondents to a global survey conducted by the American Management Association believe they have the ability to meet these requirements. Meanwhile, a study conducted by the Online Marketing Institute reveals that just 8 percent of respondents Read more »
Anna Papachristos | March 25, 2015
Personalization remains paramount for marketers across industries. However, with the constant influx of customer data, it's increasingly difficult for brands to parse this information and bring insight to action. Consumers often find themselves in similar situations, as companies attempt to lure their business with extensive channel outreach. Individuals frequently drown in emails, texts, and social media posts that fail to capture their attention (and their eventual loyalty, too). Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 24, 2015
Companies that consistently deliver exceptional customer experiences - companies such as The Ritz-Carlton, Apple, and USAA - don't get there by accident. They also don't rest on their laurels. They listen closely to what their customers are telling them and incessantly review and act on customer feedback, including processes that stand to be improved. Apple is a great example of this, having made recent modifications to the Apple Genius Bar through new mobile features. Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 17, 2015
Corporate leaders are beginning to recognize that the lines have blurred between the brand and the customer experience. This revelation is prompting a growing number of companies to establish a Chief Customer Officer (CCO) role and bring a more unified approach to customer centricity. According to The 2014 CCO Study conducted by the Chief Customer Officer Council, 22 percent of Fortune 100 companies have adopted the role. While that's an impressive milestone, it's clear that the industry is still early Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 10, 2015
It's common for big, multinational companies to generate a sizeable share of their revenue from outside the U.S. International expansion remains a key growth area for many U.S. companies. According to the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2015 CFO Outlook survey of 603 financial executives, 54 percent of companies have some foreign market involvement. As some marketing leaders have discovered, it can be extremely challenging to obtain good quality customer or prospect data in emerging geographies where their companies are Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 3, 2015
Consumer data breaches seem to have become a regular occurrence among enterprise companies. 1to1 Media Editor-in-Chief Mila D'Antonio recently wrote about how 80 million customer records at health insurer Anthem were exposed. While it's encouraging that The White House has drafted a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights, critics argue that the bill doesn't go far enough in protecting consumer privacy. Clearly, there's still a lot of work that needs to be done to protect customer data. This includes setting aside Read more »
Anna Papachristos | February 11, 2015
Consumer behaviors often dictate marketing trends. Thus, as audiences gravitate toward video on both mobile and desktop platforms, companies are quickly reconfiguring their content strategies to focus on this visual medium. For many organizations, video has even begun to replace the written word, shifting from supplemental afterthought to primary real estate, as visualization actively boosts engagement. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 21, 2015
By now, many individuals have abandoned their lofty New Year's resolutions, for the promise of renewal has reverted back to business as usual. However, all hope may not be lost quite yet. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 14, 2015
Engagement and experience have always walked hand-in-hand. But, as technology progresses, this symbiotic relationship holds more importance than ever before. Thus, big brands have jumped at the opportunity to incorporate augmented reality (AR) applications to engage consumers in new ways at every stage of the customer journey. Such technologies allow companies to expand upon the traditional experience, bringing added value to the average consumer. Read more »
Judith Aquino | January 8, 2015
Selfies keep getting fancier. I'm referring to the invention known as the "selfie stick." Instead of being limited by the length of your arm, mounting a smartphone on an extendable pole makes it possible to capture moments in their wide-range glory. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 29, 2014
Sooner or later, all modern technologies get replaced. Some evolve to meet demand, while others drift off into oblivion. Voicemail, for instance, continues to fade fast, for this mode of communication has become increasingly bothersome in today's hyper-connected world. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 24, 2014
Whenever 'My Grown-Up Christmas List' comes on the radio, I cannot help but pause to hear (and judge) the given singer's word choice, for there's one line that irks me beyond belief. You see, while many artists, such as Kelly Clarkson, prefer to sing the all encompassing "and everyone would have a friend," others opt for the exclusionary "and every man would have a friend." (I'm looking at you, Natalie Cole.) Perhaps I'm being nitpicky, as there's clearly no malice Read more »
Mila D'Antonio | December 8, 2014
The term, "disruption" has become the business buzzword of the year. But it's more than just jargon. Disruption in business involves having the ability to sense changes occurring in technology, customer behaviors, and product demands and being able to evolve quickly and implement plans outside the norm for long-term survival. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 3, 2014
When it comes to jargon, it's often hard to uncover what's hiding behind those fancy words. In the marketing world, however, one term continues to perplex the masses more than most: Native advertising. Yet, while many still fail to fully grasp its meaning and intention, this mode of content creation persistently proves to be lucrative, encouraging widespread adoption despite its veiled existence. Read more »
Guest Blogger: Rick Parrish | August 8, 2014
Ever notice how discussions of government customer experience (CX) improvement tend to get hijacked by debates about technology procurement? Neither did most feds I've mentioned it to lately. One senior official's response was typical but especially eloquent when he said "Huh, yeah. That's weird. Why do we always do that?!" Read more »
Judith Aquino | July 31, 2014
Can an algorithm replace or supplement content created by your employees? Some businesses say "yes" as they adopt algorithm-based solutions that are designed to churn out marketing content and other materials. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 30, 2014
They say it's what's on the inside that counts. Yet, while we're still not quite sure who "they" are, this mantra certainly applies to IT. When it comes to implementing new systems and integrating the latest technology, companies must develop an infrastructure that allows staff to tap into customer data and improve the consumer experience effectively, with regard to both time and money. But, as businesses continue to balance new solutions with their legacy systems, streamlined internal operations are more Read more »
Judith Aquino | June 12, 2014
Devices are beginning to learn more about us by passively "listening" to our activities to offer personalized, automatic services. But as privacy advocates voice concerns about these new capabilities, the ability to opt in becomes even more crucial as a product feature. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 23, 2014
Since its inception, social media has evolved to become one of the greatest tools in the modern marketer's arsenal. But, while companies use this emerging medium to disseminate brand messaging and conduct customer service, individual consumers use social media as their personal mouthpiece, sounding off about whatever's on their mind. Yet, while predictive analytics have become the ideal companion tool for marketers looking to gain granular insights into their social consumer base, such technologies have begun to bleed into other Read more »
Anna Papachristos | April 16, 2014
From Facebook and Twitter, to Instagram and Pinterest, social media continues to prove it's not just some trend, but also an emerging platform for individuals and brands to connect and converse. But, as social media expands into an enterprisewide initiative, more companies beginning to consider to pros and cons of bringing their CEO into the mix. While many feel this step would bring an added human element to their business, others worry that exposing their CEO to public scrutiny may Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 25, 2014
As B2C marketers continue to gain experience engaging with customers in digital channels, a growing number of practitioners are striving to become more adept at segmenting customers by psychographics and demographics as part of their efforts to deliver relevant content, messaging, and experiences for specific target audiences. Some marketers are taking this a step further by creating buyer personas that represent the different customer types that are represented within a targeted demographic, psychographic profile (lifestyle, interests, and preferences), behavioral makeup, Read more »
Tom Hoffman | March 18, 2014
Business leaders use a variety of metrics to gauge the financial health and performance of a company. One of the most popular metrics used by marketers is Net Promoter Score (NPS), a simple loyalty measurement to gauge customer satisfaction and likelihood to recommend. Last week, I had a chance to speak with Satmetrix data scientist Brendan Rocks about the results from the company's 2014 Net Promoter Industry Benchmarks reports. The findings offer a glimpse into some of the aspects of Read more »
Anna Papachristos | February 26, 2014
With technology comes an air of mystery. Because the overall landscape continues to evolve at breakneck speed, companies across industries see technology as an alluring force that must be embraced in order to remain competitive. Yet, while senior executives work to integrate the latest and greatest tools, this focus often leads many to forget and forego the communication strategies necessary to keep employees engaged. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | January 29, 2014
With companies across industries expanding their reach to the social and mobile sphere, brands are feeling the increasing pressure to hop on the bandwagon. From forming a Twitter presence, to creating a mobile application, brands find many of their emerging strategies tied to what the competition has already developed. Yet, while it's smart to remain vigilant and aware of other leaders within the given industry, following the beaten path may not be the smartest way to engage consumers. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | December 18, 2013
While many consumers are scrambling to purchase last-minute gifts, others are plotting and planning their holiday travel itinerary. But travelers aren't the only ones preparing for the rush at the airport. Many travel businesses are now using Big Data, behavioral trends, and text analytics to adjust their operations accordingly. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | November 27, 2013
Thanksgiving has always been a convoluted mess. Our predecessors plundered the Native American land, the occasion wasn't recognized as an official holiday until 1863, and I'm not even certain as to why we specifically target turkeys for the main course. But one thing's for sure--"thanks" and "giving" no longer go together like peanut butter and jelly. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | October 2, 2013
Like milk and cookies or peanut butter and jelly, in an idyllic world, the CMO and CIO walk hand-in-hand. But, as mobile technology becomes an undeniable player across industries, research predicts that CMOs will soon spend more on IT than the CIO, causing much tension throughout the enterprise. Such changes are destined to reshape the dynamic within many companies, thus posing a threat to the customer experience as the C-suite struggles to balance power with strategy. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 25, 2013
While The Beatles may understand that money can't buy love, in many organizations, leaders cannot comprehend the fact that not all employees are motivated solely by the zeros at the end of their paycheck. For most workers, satisfaction and happiness comes from loving the work, not the payout. While monetary incentives are certainly welcome, those dollar signs are often secondary, as employees value quality of life above all else. And, as Robin Rotenberg of BASF, says, the happiest employees--those that Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 18, 2013
To gain the advantage in today's competitive market, brands must work to understand the customer experience. By understanding each individual's journey, companies can then integrate relevant insights and evolving strategies to create an atmosphere that nurtures relationships. But, as businesses begin to recognize the need to "walk in the customer's shoes" and develop an inside-out approach, an increasing number of organizations are appointing chief customer officers (CCOs) to ensure that the customer experience is considered by all departments throughout the Read more »
Anna Papachristos | September 11, 2013
Football season has arrived, bringing with it an array of fervent fantasy football fans. Just as the National Football League kicked off its 2013-2014 season last Thursday, men and women across America joined the excitement by diving into the 2013-2014 Pro Fantasy Football season. Yet, while sports bring these friends, family, and colleagues together, football season--and fantasy football leagues in particular--open up opportunities for marketers and advertisers to engage with fans, as well. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 28, 2013
When Facebook announced its plan to enable hashtags, many may have thought the popular social network was simply hopping on the bandwagon. With Twitter and Instagram being notorious for hashtags, Facebook users were already tagging posts and statuses to no avail, allowing the network ample opportunity to extend its reach even further by embracing the popular trend. Yet, while hashtags enable users to engage in conversations and interact with the rest of the Facebook community, this tool also provides brands Read more »
Anna Papachristos | August 14, 2013
Once upon a time, in the not-to-distant past, parents began teaching their children manners at a very young age. Children learned to respect their elders, be kind to others, and behave properly in public. But, as many restaurants are beginning to notice, parenting appears to be headed down a different path, leaving these establishments no choice but to take drastic action in response. Read more »
Anna Papachristos | July 17, 2013
Back in 1964, Bob Dylan released his third studio album, and the sentiment still holds true today--the times, they are a-changin'. Yet, while people's habits and behaviors continue to evolve alongside technology's rapid advancement, the digital world may be growing too fast for many businesses to keep up. Know as Digital Darwinism, this phenomenon highlights the conflict between brands and their environment, and the difficulties that arise for companies trying to maintain the same pace as their consumer base. As Read more »
Anna Papachristos | May 15, 2013
Technology continues to evolve each day, but unlike children, we do not document this growth with pencil marks on our doorframe. We measure technology's lifecycle through tweets, apps, and upgrades. But, just as teenagers test their boundaries, technology frequently pushes the envelope when it comes to innovation and creativity. In Huggies' case, the latest gimmick truly hits below the belt. Read more »
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