WordCamp Toronto 2009 convinced me I have a lot to learn about using WordPress as an authoring platform for a website.
Over 70% of web traffic is logged to countries with just 7 languages
English 35.1 %
Japanese 8.9 %
German 6.7 %
Chinese 6.1 %
French 5.3 %
Italian 3.8 %
Spanish 4.2 %
Consider the diminishing returns and poor ROI unless your company has significant operations in a local language.
Last night, I listened to the Dell folks at the local Tuesday event, describing how they jumped into emergency blog action for damage control when the SONY battery in their notebooks blew up in summer 2006, and bloggers posted nasty on them, for that, and broad service issues.
Its a constructive social networking case study of a big company, being responsive in dealing with squeaky wheels and bad press. The Dell website traffic numbers after the Aug. 2006 event, show that the web is the critical service information channel.
IMO when someone has a bully pulpit, in any media, and is unfair and unbalanced, lets first give the consumer some credit for their intelligence and fairness, present the facts, ask for forgiveness, and get to the heart of solving problems. Thats what Dell did with bundles of transparency and quick action.
Dude… you got some good service from DELL!
Other companies should follow suit and not wait for disasters or lousy service to erode their business.
BTW…Ask me about how in my mind, Apple ripped me off in the 1990s for $13,000. in royalty profits from my CD-ROM "Search for Ancient Wisdom" that was in the Apple CD-ROM collection, by using a middleman publisher (Double Impact Multimedia) that went bankrupt just when the checks were supposed to be mailed. Apple did nothing for the designers, developers and creatives for ours and many other titles. Today, I would blog that injustice so nasty 24/7 – we would see their response and how they fix the problem.
Debbie Williamson provides thoughtful interpretation of the new features in Facebook. Excellent interview from the Jenn & John Show, Vancouver, BC
Privacy is the "elephant in the room" of target marketing efforts.
The customer has been conditioned to think… How can you target an offer without my data? How is that data collected and used? Wait a second…How did you get that data? Who else has that data?
No one likes to talk about Privacy too much. Most Marketers perceive it as a negative in customer’s minds; even the root cause of failing loyalty programs.
There are different ways of dealing with the privacy issue.
- You can ignore the issue
- You can decide that it isn’t worth the hassle and give everyone the same offer
- You can take the high road.
The high road is to develop target marketing programs that openly target your customers for their propensity to do something, fully transparent and without apology. Remember, in most cases business rules and algorithms cannot handle fully targeted 1:1 offers, so why pretend that the offers are 1:1 Let the customer know that these are offers for "customers like them" – because thats what they are!
What about their data? You get rid of it. That’s right… you build a unique campaign database that strips out all the identifiable data that is not needed. and you tell the customer right on the offer "THIS OFFER WAS CREATED FOR CUSTOMERS LIKE YOU, FROM A SECURE DATABASE WITHOUT ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL OR IDENTIFIABLE DATA" You use a unique customer campaign number derived from, or referenced to, the customer’s data that is held in a database elsewhere. For the campaign, the unique number used is in a group for offer purposes. Essentially, the offers are not personalized down to the customer level. They are not company:1 but company:segment .
More on the "high road" If you need an email address or a name and street address to deliver the offer, you add that to the note to the customer… "THIS OFFER WAS CREATED FOR CUSTOMERS LIKE YOU, FROM A SECURE DATABASE WITHOUT ANY OF YOUR PERSONAL OR IDENTIFIABLE DATA – YOUR (EMAIL) ADDRESS HAS BEEN APPENDED TO THE OFFER FOR DELIVERY PURPOSES ONLY"
When the campaign is over, you preserve the high road policy, by using the intelligence from the campaign selectively to analyze and optimize. The next campaign uses unique campaign ID numbers again.
There is enough opportunity for dynamic offer optimization to challenge the savviest marketers with the biggest technology resources, while staying on the high road.
Now the Customer is being conditioned differently.
How can you target an
offer without my data?
– I’m part of a group getting the offer
How is that data collected and used?
– My personal and identifiable data isn’t being used
second…How did you get that data? Who else has that data?
– I trust the company judging by the effort they have made in communicating how they use my information
Next time I’ll share my thoughts on… delivery offers.
coupon redemption rates are in decline in the United States and Canada.
As North American marketers search for answers to help them cut through
the clutter arising from a proliferation of offers, the time has come
to re-examine some of the conventional wisdom on couponing.
Much of that conventional wisdom is wrong, say ICOM Information & Communications
marketing and consumer insight experts Peter Meyers and Steve Litt.
Their assertion is based on redemption trends derived from a 20-year
database ICOM built in the course of designing 6,300 targeted
direct-mail programs and issuing 425 million coupons to 28 million U.S.
and Canadian households that voluntarily provide information about
their purchasing preferences. ICOMs database uniquely differentiates
redemption behavior between current, competitive and new users of
According to Meyers and Litt, these are the top ten myths about coupon redemption:
Myth #1: Short-term expirations drive immediate sales.
Fact: Consumers need more time. A short expiry often cuts redemption far more than any increase in value can make up.
Myth #2: Higher value always equals higher redemption.
Fact: Value alone isnt enough. Maximum redemption comes from an optimal value-expiration sweet spot.
Myth #3: Store brand users arent worth pursuing with target coupon offers.
store brands upgrade their quality, fewer store brand consumers will be
price-centric and more will be quality and feature conscious. Theyll
often redeem targeted offers at rates as high as other competitive
Myth #4: Targeting the most loyal users of a competitors product yields the best return on a coupon program.
Fact: Light to moderately loyal competitive users are more likely to try a new
product and will do so on a lower-value coupon offer.
Myth #5: The presence of a sample is a requisite for driving high redemption rates.
are other factors much more likely to drive redemption rates. Some of
those include expiration, value, current vs. competitive user, and
frequent vs. infrequent coupon user.
Myth #6: The current users of a product dont need long expirations to get them to redeem a coupon offer.
Even for current users, to gain more than two-thirds of potential
redemptions, offers must be six months at minimum, and in the 10-12
month range for personal care categories like skin and beauty products.
Myth #7: Coupon clutter is pervasive in all delivery strategies.
Escalated volume is not a factor in targeted coupons mailed directly to
homes. Notably, targeted promotion redemption rates are up in this
sector for household products and pet products.
Myth #8: Coupon offers on frequently purchased items are redeemed quickly, so an expiration of less than six months will do.
Fact: Targeted offers with expirations shorter than six months in general have only half as many redemptions as longer term offers.
Myth # 9: Current and competitive product users need the same coupon value to be motivated.
any product sector, current users typically require much less offer
value to drive them to purchase. Sectors vary, but it often takes 40
percent less value to move a current user than a competitive user.
Myth #10: Americans and Canadians share the same coupon redemption behavior.
are shared traits but the difference in absolute redemption rate is
substantial. Americans receive 10 times more mail than Canadians and
are less likely to respond to offers. Canadians favor contemplation
over quick action and require longer expiration terms. The net result:
the decline in overall coupon redemption rates is steeper in the United
To build this list, I surveyed Scansave, LLC (the company I founded) and 4 other companies that specialize in delivering targeted offers in-store. I am very happy for my own selfish reasons to see validation for these new business methods. The over-arching framework for in-store target marketing has to be the interface to the shopper/customer; where and how do you make contact, and what do you give as a value exchange?
So here is my list of benefits for those considering target marketing in-store, which in my mind only qualifies if your efforts are measurable, targeted, and can be optimized.
- offers are relevant and personalized – it demonstrates you know your customer
- delivered at the best place; the point of decision
- flexibility; electronic or paper with multi-channel integration opportunities
- increased frequency; not the program but the result of frequency offers
- increased basket size without diluting profit margins; cross-sells and no pantry filling
- product trial; see it, touch it and an instant incentive to try it
- level playing field for store brands; its your store… promote your private brands efficiently
- data-rich; if the offers are targeted, the data collected is valuable and powerful
- less waste; more efficient than broad-based direct marketing via mail
- $; increased spend, increased revenues and increased profit margins
Courtesy of Jim Sterne e-metrics founder and FB friend (via Larry Page’s Newsletter)
Top Trends in Web Metrics & Analytics:
1. Upper Management Demands Proof
2. The Desire to Measure Everything Gets Serious
3. The Need for Integrated Marketing Becomes Obvious
4. A Common Language Is Born
5. Defining Engagement Remains Elusive
6. Reputation Management Grows in Stature
7. Finding Experienced Web Analysts Continues to Mystify
8. The Web Analytics Consulting Market Mushrooms
9. New Web Analysts Flood the Market
10. The Industry Continues to Consolidate
Bonus Trend. The Rich Get Richer
Loyalty… Frequency… Are these new concepts?
Its the 1950’s…. Imagine a kid licking the lucky green stamps that Mom brought home from the supermarket, and sticking them into a catalog book, all the while staring at that picture of a doll or train set that they were saving the stamps for. If junior had any influence, Mom and Dad would spend every spare dime they had at the supermarket to get more stamps. S&H Solutions
Now, fast forward to the recent acquisition by Pay By Touch of S&H – one of the originators of "rewarding consumers
for their purchases to keep them coming back." Pay By Touch is merging payments and loyalty with the touch of a thumb. "Pay By Touch is the leading biometric authentication network for
loyalty and payments, and the only company that integrates biometric
authentication, payments, personalized marketing, and payment
processing. The company’s mission is to liberate consumers through
biometrics and beyond by providing the most secure, convenient, and
cost-effective electronic transaction solutions available." Pay By Touch My sister saved up lucky green stamps for one of these "hot numbers" (above) from Loblaws in the 1950s. Nice hairdo 🙂 and the outfit looks a lot like the uniform worn by the ladies behind the deli counter… How many pounds of ground round was that ma’am? The answer is no… Loyalty and frequency are not new concepts, and I would venture to say that nostalgia for these programs is not misguided – THEY WORKED!
According to Jim
Jim Barnes, a fellow Canadian and a guru at Customer Think discusses research results from Colloquy…
Research results such as these indicate that consumers perceive a ton
of value in loyalty programs and use them often to earn rewards. But,
they have precious little to do with loyalty.
Jim goes on to caution about developing a loyalty program to get customer loyalty. Do loyalty programs influence customer behavior? Of course they do.
But, if you are looking to build long-term customer loyalty, the kind
of loyalty that is grounded in an emotional connection, dont go
running off to start a loyalty program.
By luring employees into a network, companies hope to leverage their
skills and contacts. But they also hope that all that collaboration
will cut out time that’s now spent mailing documents and e-mailing
excerpt: SharePoint, the
Microsoft software that lets companies set up MySpace-like profiles,
blogs, and collaborative Web sites known as wikis within the confines
of their firewalls, is one of the fastest-growing server products in
the company’s history. "At first people were slow to adopt this; they
were nervous. But now we’re seeing a bunch of adoption," says Rob
Curry, director of the Microsoft Office SharePoint Server software.
Both Microsoft and IBM are using their own offices as labs for their
excerpt: The whole "open"
ethos of the social Net–sharing pictures and music and letting
"friends" know your every activity–goes against the instincts of
big-company chief information officers.
OK some of this is heavy if you are not into marketing and analytics. But if you are interested in loyalty programs and CRM, this 2 part knowledge sharing from Fulcrum’s CEO David King is worth a read .
In part1, the discussion is about how "database marketing technology is finally catching up to the real-world need to manage customer relationships over time. Finite state machines are being adapted to marketing and provide an entire new set of capabilities."
In part 2, KIng talks about optimizing marketing around particular strategic goals and in the face of real-world constraints… "extend the concept of state machines with a
technique used for optimizing processes in many other industries a
Markov Decision Process (MDP) — here the transitions are a set of probabilities."
Here is a "wireless loyalty card" that shoppers carry with them in the store on their key fob. Do I think it will fly? Not sure – because of the infrastructure needed to read and write special offers to these fobs throughout the stores. But, I think the idea is in the right direction Scansave (company I founded) is working on an alternate approach where your points/loyalty/credit card in your wallet has a special surface that prints, erases and reprints offers right onto your card. Imagine visiting Costco, Sam’s Club or BJ’s and when you take out your card, you show it like you do today, then you swipe it, and your card is imprinted with offers… JUST FOR YOU!
Weird Science! Google’s brand value 50% more than Coca Cola.Double the value of either Toyota or McDonalds. Give me a break today! According to agency Millward Brown, authors of the annual "Brandz 100" study … "Brand value is the financial value of a brand – defined as the sum of all earnings that a brand is expected to generate" But, they use their own brand contribution multiplier, based on intangibles, to get the total. You know what they say about 50% of advertising being a waste, but no one knows which 50% it is.Too much of marketing is intangible.
Remember this National Lampoon Cover? Maybe this is the best way to monetize blogging? Threats! No? well then I’d love some ideas and direction, because I’m back at this after a break of 3 years and would like to know how, where, and who can teach me about how to effectively use the blog to build business. That’s really what its about isn’t it?! Be honest!
If I just wanted a friend I would keep the dog, and shut down the blog 🙂
Which is the best host? I have a few days left in the trial period to decide to keep typepad. Is wordpress better?
Over 3,000 facebook apps! I have been looking for an app that would let me tie in this new blog, a facebook group, websites and my facebook profile. I chose "blog friends" and we’ll see how that goes. Most of the apps for RSS I looked at, were reviewed by users and most had bug complaints. I really didn’t see a clear leader in this "category"
I know one thing I hate on facebook is being forced to get an app to see what someone is trying to send/give/share. I’m a hypocrite… I like shoebox and have sent non-users special gifts that they need shoebox to see – GUILTY as charged!
I see VCs raising funds just for facebook app companies, websites that review facebook apps. It seems like the 3rd wave of the Internet is now underway and facebook is right in the centre! Watch out google!
I have to admit this first post is not something I have looked forward to. I maintained a blog for a few years with Blogger, and although the links and content were IMO excellent, it was a sinkhole for time (and likely ahead of its time).
4 or 5 years later and I’m giving it another shot to integrate my thinking on target marketing, to learn, to connect, and provide a focused outlet for those interested in all the issues around target marketing and promotion optimization. You are welcome to contribute, promote and sell as long as you are on "target". If you can help teach me how to promote the blog too, that would be a gift!
One area I am interested in, and want to learn about is… Privacy and Target Marketing.