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Mr. Marketing: It's like finding free money | The San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 oct 2019
You must change your tune about audio branding | Mumbrella, 10 oct 2019
Data and insights play an important role for a PR agency: Darren Burns of Weber Shandwick | The Economic Times, 10 oct 2019
How can data analytics benefit customers in era of e-commerce 4.0? | The Jakarta Post, 10 oct 2019
Five transferable skills to look out for when hiring digital marketing graduates | The Drum, 09 oct 2019
Why Prescriptive Analytics Is the Future of Marketing | CMSWire, 09 oct 2019
Understanding Consumer Behavior is Rocket Science | Equities.com, 09 oct 2019
So You Want to Use a Bot in Customer Service... | Business 2 Community, 09 oct 2019
Is Extended Reality The Future Of Digital Advertising? | Forbes, 08 oct 2019
Rethinking and Predicting the Future of TV Advertising | Adweek, 07 oct 2019
Analytics & Research
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 aug 2019
Startups are enabling tech-based transformation of India's retail sector through Android-based smart PoS (Point of Sale) devices. The promise of these devices goes beyond payments and makes supply chain more efficient with data analytics and potential credit scoring. Vicky Bindra, CEO of Pine Labs, says, 'Retailers and merchants from diverse sectors such as electronics, food and beverage, fashion, pharmacy, telecom, and airlines are adopting the new smart PoS machines to improve their efficiencies and enhance consumer's shopping experience.' Praveen Hari of industry association iSPIRT says, 'Today a smart PoS device is not just accepting cards, but they can also provide UPI (unified payments interface) pull transactions, QR codes (displayed on screens), NFC (near-field communication) transactions, wallet transactions, or basically, any payment mode that is available in India.' Ashish Jhina, co-founder of Jumbotail, says, 'Today smart PoS machines can do four key business functions: payment, billing, inventory management, wholesale procurement.' Smart PoS data is also valuable for credit scoring. Mr. Hari explains, 'The GST data itself is good enough for a lender to make a lending decision and the shopkeeper or his FMCG distributor now has an incentive to report all the transactions. The transaction data itself can help a lender make a lending decision.' Manish Patel, CEO of Mswipe, says, 'We have engineered a credit model where when our merchants can borrow money (to make wholesale purchases) from any of our NBFC partners, based on data we provide...In terms of recollection, the merchant can opt to pay back in daily and monthly instalments.' Read on...
Wireless, smart PoS devices revamping India's retail landscape
Author: Salman S. H.
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jun 2019
Collecting the right customer data and then understanding it to create usable insights is the key to e-commerce analytics success. But, implementing an effective and efficient analytics strategy and selecting the best tools and solutions from among many that are available in the market is no easy task. Ateeq Ahmad, consultant and founder of Albany Analytics, provides a set of ideas and road map to build an e-commerce analytics solution that would finally be used for predictive analysis. Mr. Ahmad outlines the process flow as - (1) Setting up data collection within current data sources. (2) Merging all data sources into one platform and automate such a collection. (3) Analyzing patterns in these datasets to build reports and dashboards based on KPIs. (4) Based on past behavior of customers, create prescriptive and predictive analytics around key metrics and goals. Data that is collected should include transactional data, social interactions and offline customer data. At the stage of merging all data sources into one central repository there are two possible methodologies - build own data warehouse or buy it from market. Of course, there are trade-offs involved in this selection. The best option seems to be to go initially for an available data merging tool, as it is cost effective, and then once sufficient experience and ROI is obtained graduate to build it in-house. Analyzing data and translating it into valuable business speak that paves the way for data-driven decision making is an essential part of successful analytics implementation. To provide right and timely predictive analyses it is critical to have an analytics team with strong data science expertise. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 may 2019
Ad-free environment is an expected reality with subscription-based models, ad blocking tools and alternatives to traditional media already available. Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at Proctor & Gamble, predicts that we're evolving into a 'world without ads' as brand engagement with customers changes with technology and consumer requirements. Gary Ellis, Co-founder and COO of Remesh, explains how branding will shift and survive in this ad-free environment. He says, 'There are infinite possibilities for filling the void left by traditional advertising. Success will depend on translating traditional advertising insight into new engagement tactics. Advertisers will need to focus on how they can fit themselves organically into their customer's experience, rather than disrupting a customer's experience as is often associated with traditional advertising.' He adds, 'Consider what is central to the brand building experience, which ranges from embedding tech in products to targeted ads. Pritchard predicts an increased desire for personalization, an interest in learning about a brand's values and more brand experiences. This means a brand's ability to connect with people on a human level plays an even more critical role in this new engagement paradigm. An emotional function will serve as the main connector, and one that can come in many forms.' He further explains, 'Targeted advertising is about two things: relevant content and demonstrating comprehension of customer needs. It stems from the desire to be 'helpful' – providing an audience with the information they need so that they can quickly and easily find what they are looking for. In an ad-free world, what were once targeting challenges can be avoided. This means not just focusing on personalization, but context.' Read on...
How Will Branding Survive In A 'World Without Ads'?
Author: Gary Ellis
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 apr 2019
According to the recent report 'India Digital Ad-fraud Market 2018' by techARC, the total size of digital ad-fraud in India stood at staggering US$ 1.63 Billion, which is 8.7% of the global size. The report projects 23% increase in digital ad-fraud in 2019. Digital Commerce contributed more than half 51% of the total ad-fraud in India. While, Leisure & Travel (26%), Entertainment & Gaming (13%), Banking & Finance (8%), Healthcare & Pharma (1%) and Others (1%). Although, App Fraud contributes to over 85% of the total digital ad-fraud, the organizations should not ignore the web platforms. Web platforms are more susceptible to frauds as in several organizations the digital teams are primarily focusing on the app, leaving the web space vulnerable. As video is increasingly becoming the preferred medium of content, it is also attracting fraudsters to exploit this advertising channel. The report finds that businesses who have an ad-fraud solution in place are better equipped to have higher levels of customer engagements. Faisal Kawoosa, Founder & Chief Analyst at techARC, says, 'Digital ad-fraud is getting increased attention from the C-level leadership of evolved organisations, where it is no longer an agenda of a CDO or CMO. The impact of digital ad-fraud now goes beyond diminishing the returns on marketing spends and can jeopardize the entire digital transformation journey hampering Brand Equity, Relevance and Positioning among other ramifications.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 mar 2019
Scot Henney (GVP of sales at SAP) and Marcus Venth (GVP of market development at SAP) discussed the importance of customer experience in the digital age with John Furrier and Dave Vellante, co-hosts of theCUBE at IBM Think event in San Francisco, US. Mr. Henney says, 'A new customer-experience domain is open up called the "experience economy". It brings the front office and back office together and adds in "experiential data" on end-users.' As more companies shift from products to subscription-based services, customer-experience becomes crucial. Digital provides more power to consumers and ease of switching brands. Customer feedback becomes valuable. According to Mr. Henney, '80% of customers have switched brands because of poor CX (customer experience) and companies that deliver better customer experience have more than 200% more shareholder value.' Mr. Venth adds, 'The 360 customer view that leads to stellar CX is not achieved with applications, data and professionals in silos. One of the biggest challenges we see [is]...where we have a highly customized environment with lots of disparate applications that really are poorly integrated.' Read on...
Analytics mine consumer brains in new 'experience economy'
Author: R. Danes
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 nov 2018
For the success of businesses a solid foundation or strong core is necessary and then only innovative strategies, tactics, programs and technology that are applied will be impactful and bear fruits. Scott Vaughan, CMO of Integrate, suggests the focus on achieving the revenue marketing goals and provides five essentials that high-performing B2B marketing teams consistently focus on to drive high performance - (1) PRECISION - Accurately defining ICP (Ideal Customer Profile) and identifying best account opportunities: Engage the right audiences; Avoid random marketing to general people; Identify smaller group of core audience; Use advanced tech such as predictive marketing and intent data modeling to identify more of the best accounts and buyers. (2) TRUST - Committing to permission-based marketing in an increasingly regulated world: Treat information with care; Ensure the understanding and fulfillment of data-privacy laws; Permission mindset builds trust. (3) HYGIENE - Generating quality, actionable data to drive performance and create experiences: Recent survey by DemandGen Report finds, on average, more than 35% of the data in existing databases is unmarketable. Use effecient data hygiene; Bad data wastes marketing and sales efforts; Audit data-capture processes and sources, and use data governance filters before data enters database. (4) SPEED - Increasing velocity makes everything perform better: Current processes and tech investments need to have a speed evaluation; Identify areas where data can be routed faster and action can be taken within an appropriate time; Watch closely 'pipleline velocity' (Time from when an opportunity identified and finally converted into a deal) (5) INSIGHTS - Measuring to understand the good, the bad and the ugly: High-performing marketing teams use insights with key ingredients like agreed-upon key performance indicators (KPIs), tools that can measure performance, easy-to-use shared dashboards for all stakeholders (marketing, sales, management etc). Read on...
5 essential strategies B2B marketers must master in 2019
Author: Scott Vaughan
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 26 nov 2018
In today's businesses, digital is one of the critical component that defines their growth and success. With digital and related analytics, organizations can easily track and create insights to better understand consumer behavior for their benefits. Gabriel Shaoolian, founder of DesignRush, provides valuable statistics in marketing, website design and branding for efficient online strategy and subsequent online success - (1) By 2021, mobile e-commerce will account for 54% of all online sales. (2) 38% of users will stop interacting with a website if the layout is unattractive. (3) Long landing pages generate up to 220% more leads than above-the-fold calls to action. (4) Color improves brand recognition by up to 80%. (5) Consistent brand presentation across all platforms increases revenue by up to 23%. (6) 64% of consumers say that shared values help them create a trusted relationship with a brand. (7) Content marketing efforts receive three times the leads per dollar spent than paid search receives. (8) 64% of consumers make a purchase after viewing a branded social video. (9) Facebook Ad revenue in the US will surpass total print ad spending by 2019. (10) Email has a median return on investment of 122%. Moreover, he suggests the following key points to be noted for digital strategy - Create an easy-to-use website that works on all platforms and devices; Design a memorable brand identity that communicates well with consumers; Maintain an honest and transparent relationship with customers; Invest in content marketing and social media advertisements; Test video marketing campaigns to engage users; Don't forget about the power of email marketing. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 oct 2018
When one thinks of marketing, Northwestern University Professor Philip Kotler's name comes right at the top. He is author of the most used marketing texbook in business schools, 'Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control', alongwith another 57 books on the subject. Speaking with Paul Talbot, President of a marketing strategy firm Southport Harbour, Prof. Kotler shares his views on the role of CMOs (Chief Marketing Officer) in today's business organizations. Regarding their skills and talents, he says, 'In the 1960s, marketers were hired for their flair for advertising and creativity...Today, we need CMOs with a different skill set. CMOs must be expert at digital marketing...Information and mathematics are crucial. Companies need in-depth information about their customers’ individual beliefs, values, media consumption and channel choices. Marketers today use multiple regression analysis, cluster analysis, discriminant analysis, and predictive analytics to yield customer insight. Marketers increasingly make investments in...social media. CMO has to have good creative marketers on the staff to bring up bright new ideas. The tech approach to marketing is more about efficiency. Marketing creativity and imagination is about winning big.' Regarding collaboration between between marketing teams and others in the organization, he says, 'Back in the 1960s, companies didn’t have a CMO. They had a powerful vice-president of sales who was the driving force. They had added a vice-president of marketing whose job was primarily managing marketing research and preparing advertising and sales promotions...The chief marketing officer concept emerged as markets grew more complex and competitive...who would participate in finding and shaping what the company should produce, in identifying the target markets, and evaluating the overall company strategy...CMOs need to be effective in the following relationships: ...The CMO had to 'carefully' educate the CEO to understand marketing's potential and limitations; ...the CMO and CFO would work together to find and agree on the best way to measure the return on marketing spend; ...I view R&D people to be the masters of what is possible. I view marketers to be the masters of what is valuable; ...If those two executives (CMO and VP of sales) don't get along, the company’s financial performance is doomed.' Read on...
Northwestern Professor Philip Kotler On Today's CMO
Author: Paul Talbot
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 aug 2018
According to experts, effective use of data is key to B2B marketing success as it offers precision targeting, better customer experience and personalization at scale. Bernard Tan, APAC Regional Marketing Director at Red Hat, doesn't consider marketing as just B2B or B2C, but prefers it to be 'business-to-all'. He says, '(Data) is transforming the way that we talk to whole markets...it's transforming the way that we can actually have one-to-one conversations in volume markets, and be much more efficient about the way we go to that market...All of us are consumers...We are now at this position where we are now able to start to drive engagement at an individual level and really focus on the customer.' According to IBM's 2017 Customer Experience Index study, APAC (31) scored lower than other regions when it comes to data-driven customer experience in the B2B space [North America (35), Europe (33) and Latin America (33)]. Jodie Sangster, CMO liaison lead of IBM Watson, says, 'Unfortunately in APAC, we are lagging behind in terms of meeting consumer expectations of how we are using their data and delivering great customer experience.' Read on...
Data is key for B2B marketers, but APAC lags behind
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 jul 2018
According to the latest research by Stanford University business academics, Prof. Navdeep Sahni and Prof. Harikesh Nair, people are very good at distinguishing native advertisements from digital content, but the ads still exert significant influence on shopping behavior. Native advertisements blend with the digital content and closely match style and layout of the surrounding media. Regulators are often concerned regarding their deceptive sponsorship disclosure and the resulting misguided purchases by consumers. Prof. Sahni says, 'Native advertising is a relatively new form of advertising. Advertisers and publishers have embraced this because of the rise in mobile browsing behavior, and because banner ads are hard to implement on mobile screens, and are known to be not very effective.' Professors developed a field experiment in which they manipulated how native advertising for specific restaurants appeared on a restaurant search mobile app, creating two 'extreme' ad presentation conditions (no-disclure and prominent-disclosure) to compare to a more typical native ad. The study examined differences in how over 200000 users responded to the varied presentations and found that responses to typical native ads were similar to those in the full-disclosure condition. Prof. Sahni adds, 'We found that people who respond to the ad can spot this kind of advertising in its typical format...The effect of advertising seems to happen through direct exposure and can result in conversion even if people don't click on the ad itself.' The study suggests that because consumers who are more likely to be affected by ads can identify typical native ads easily, making the ads more prominent is unlikely to change people's behavior. For consumers, implications of the study are that even in a time of advanced analytics, ad exposure continues to have a deeply subtle, and thus harder-to-quantify, effect. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 may 2018
Utilizing customer data to understand consumer behavior through analytics tools is key to improve products and services, and finally gain and retain customers. Restaurant and fast food industry is customer intensive with direct interactions with them. Restaurant sales were approximately US$ 800 billion last year and continue to grow. With hightened competition and increasing customer expectations it becomes challenging to serve what customer wants and keeps coming back for more. Advanced analytics can come to the rescue in this regard. Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry has low average ticket value, customer visit frequency is higher and cyclical, size of the meal matters and customer tastes don't vary that much. The restaurant industry's main goals remain - increase meal size, increase guest frequency and decrease customer lapsation. In today's environment, customers are digital-savvy and restaurants have their data. The value is in gaining actionable insights from this data that positively impact the Net Promoter Score (NPS). Here is what some restaurant chains are doing in this regard - (1) Identified taste affinity clusters: Created various segements of customers and looked at their past purchase behavior to identify taste preferences. (2) Buying behavior analysis: Looked at purchase behavior across different channels to identify which menu items can be added to the combo for someone that orders (mobile vs visit). Used advanced analytics to get a single view of the customer by integrating their POS, mobile, web and social data to identify the customer and hence provide consistent messaging. (3) NPS and Feedback Analysis: Integrated feedback received across all channels and layered it up with sentiment analysis. Customers were given lapsation score and offers were targeted accordingly. (4) Store location analysis: Used predictive models to identify the probability of a new store succeeding in a specific location vis-à-vis another store in the same area. They identified pockets of demand and the model prescribed a set of potential locations in a given geographic area. This data was used to score and rank comparable locations. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 28 feb 2018
Measurement and analysis of marketing data is becoming critical for understanding the effectiveness of marketing initiatives. The insights help in focusing efforts and money in the right direction. Marketing analytics tools and technologies continue to advance. David Sanderson, CEO of Nugit, explains what will be driving marketing analytics in 2018 and how marketers can keep pace with them - (1) Marketing analysts will need to use many new data sources: Combining data from internal data repositories with other sources like Google Analytics, SEO platform, CRM, Email, Social Media, Chat applications etc will provide better insights that will help to drive consumer interest, optimize pricing, and deliver an improved customer experience. Now analysts must also identify where important data resides, determine what needs to be extracted and devise a strategy for using new data sources to drive business decisions. (2) Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be essential for analytics: Speed of incoming data in large volumes make it difficult for human data analysts to process it effectively. In such a scenario, machine learning and AI tools come to the rescue and help analysts find patterns in customer data, elicit recommendations for optimizing performance, and allow non-professionals to access complicated analytics using simple language. (3) Analysts will become storytellers: Usual data analyst skill like SQL, Excel, business analysis etc, crunching data and making reports will not suffice now. Analysts have to do more - Obtain data from non-traditional sources; Clean data with programming languages such as Python; 'Polish' the data using data visualization tools and create attractive charts and graphs; Transform data into easy-to-understand stories which help non-analysts understand emerging trends and opportunities. Read on...
The three trends driving marketing analytics in 2018
Author: Jeff Rajeck
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 jan 2018
Confluence of sales and marketing is not often seamless. It brings challenges and creates conflicts. Business leaders keep them in silos to avoid friction. But if done effectively, collaboration between the two can bring more benefits and success, saving time and money, and yielding more leads and conversions. Following are ways in which this collaboration can be achieved - (1) Buyer Personas: Both sales and marketing have information about customer segments they serve, albeit from different sources. By sharing the two they can have much better understanding of customers. Together, they can create a precise description of the buyer personas. These descriptions generate personalized content and service delivery. (2) Timing: When the messaging and content is shared is the key to its effectiveness. Through collaboration, marketing can utilize the feedback that sales team receives from customers and time their campaigns, and plan for future strategy accordingly. On the other hand, sharing marketing strategy schedule with sales will help them know when to follow-up with prospects. (3) Content Developent: When sales team creates content it takes away their valuable time from their critical sales activities. By collaboratively developing content, sales and marketing can pool in their strengths and expertise, and focus on customers effectively. This will give sales the content they need and marketing a blueprint to create high value content that inturns generate more leads for sales. (4) Proposals and Agreements: There are software platforms that can help marketing and sales collaboratively create documents like proposals, agreements etc. According to James Kappen, CEO and Founder of Proposable, 'Marketing can go a long way to taking some of the tedious work off the shoulders of the sales team. This includes generating branded proposals with consistent formats and messaging based on the insights the sales team shares with them. That way, marketing can use its expertise in branding, corporate identity, and value-focused content to deliver a more compelling proposal to the sales team to use. The shared information and understanding of the potential buyer elevate the relevancy and engagement that the proposal can offer, enabling more conversions.' Similar tools like Eversign provide the collaborative platform marketing and sales need to work together effectively. The result is that documents can be created, revised, signed and shared between those within the company and the prospect. (5) Analysis: End of the sales cycle can also bring collaborative benefits. Working together of marketing and sales blurs the process of attracting and acquiring customers, thus making the analysis of the role each played in the process difficult. Hence, it becomes beneficial to analyze lead generation data together. This gives everyone opportunity to find out how they are contributing to the whole process and generate the necessary return. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2017
Marketing continuously evolves, and there is always something new for marketers to test, experiment and validate, and bring it to mainstream, whether it be ideas or technologies. Here are expert predictions for 2018 - (1) Zoe Burns-Shore (Head of Brand & Marketing, First Direct): 'Hopefully, more companies will start to realise digital marketing and marketing are one in the same, and the joy of all of that is seeing how everything works together, not in channel-led silos.' (2) Rachel Bristow (Director of Client Partnerships & Collaboration, Sky Media): 'It's no longer enough for brands to be passive about their brand identity as consumers are expecting more from the brands they engage with. Often this means taking a political viewpoint in order to be relevant and engaging...Although having a political voice can elevate a brand's purpose, it comes with a host of reputation risks which brands need to carefully consider. CSR also helps align a brand with a purpose while mitigating some of those reputation risks of being politically vocal.' (3) Harry Lang (Marketing Director at Online Sportsbook Pinnacle.com): '...I'm going with eSports...Now it's getting organised and brands are paying over the odds to jump on the bandwagon - the trend lines suggest it's only going to get bigger.' (4) Aedamar Howlett (Marketing Director, Coca-Cola Great Britain): 'We will add more choice and breadth to our portfolio...tap into macro consumer trends like healthy living, exotic flavours and on-the-go snacking...we will evolve the ways we communicate and engage our consumers. The trend for instant, real-time conversations and connections with brands will continue...also trialling chat bots and AI, as well as investing in editorial-style content-led media partnerships that tap into the mass appeal of social influencers to consumers...(there) is an evolution in the way marketers use and present data insights...(insights) will allow a more personalised, targeted approach for 2018.' (5) Craig Greenberg (Head of Strategic Planning & Insight, William Grant & Sons UK): 'As consumers are constantly bombarded with information across various channels, we will see more brands attempting to cut through the clutter to become memorable...it is brands that have a differentiator aligned with their brand heritage in a credible way that will win in the long term...consumers will seek brands that build on their identity, meaning a bigger push towards 'local' specificity in luxury brands...in a period of uncertainty, big brands may feel detached from a sense of place and strive to get closer to communities.' (6) Ben Rhodes (Group Marketing Director, Royal Mail): '...continued growth in retail ecommerce - and the associated need for more convenience and choice in delivery and return options...consumer trust in messaging received via physical mail to continue to grow, compared with digital channels.' Read on...
What's in store for 2018? Marketers share their predictions
Author: Lucy Tesseras
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 nov 2017
Customer data is key for effective decision-making in marketing and advertising. Even though technology has provided tools to collect and analyze data, and obtain valuable insights, both brand marketers and agency buyers are unsure of the transparency and effectiveness of the data their partners are providing. According to the recent study, 'More Data, More Problems: Trust, transparency, and Targeting in 2017' by Bazaarvoice and Ad Age, more than 75% of survey respondents admitted they are not fully confident that the data they're utilizing is hitting consumers who are in-market to buy. Additionally, 65% of respondents claimed they do not fully understand the origin of their data sources. Here are 10 important questions that one should ask the advertising data provider before embarking on a marketing campaign and get the best value from it - (1) What are the sources of your data? (2) How far does your data reach? (3) What percentage of your data is created from a look-alike model? (4) Which intent signals or behaviors place a user into an audience segment? (5) How do you maintain your audience segments? (6) Can you explain the process behind how you define your audience segments - and the data that feeds into them? (7) In which categories does your data best perform, and why? (8) For which metric(s) does your data best perform, and why? (9) Can you reach the same user across their multiple devices? (10) Does your data drive brand consideration and/or sales, and can you accurately attribute the performance lift directly to your campaign? If so, how? Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 17 aug 2017
A research study by Strategy Analytics' AppOptix practice (AO) brings good news for B2B players as it finds that 50.4% of consumers use their personal smartphone for business purposes. Employees are using their personal smartphones to conduct business and installing public domain and company-sponsored apps for file sharing, data security, time sheets, expense reporting, and collaboration. B2B companies can identify these business users disguised as consumers to target their offerings. The study also found - 20.5% of business users utilize their personal smartphone over 50% of the time to conduct business; 20.8% of business users are compensated by their employer for their network/wireless operator charges. Author of the study, Prabhat Agarwal (Director, AppOptix), says, 'This research showcases and substantiates there are entry points for B2B players that are looking to offer business services to consumers...By analyzing combinations of apps, we can create probability profiles that identify likely users of business services.' Barry Gilbert (VP, Strategy Analytics), says, 'The business and enterprise user is a critical and lucrative market for mobile operators, device OEMs, and many enterprise software firms...' Read on...
50.4% of Consumers Use Their Personal Smartphones to Conduct Business, Finds Strategy Analytics
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 jun 2017
Social media is a great digital marketing tool for businesses to connect and engage with customers, and for internal communication. Integration of social media within customer relationship management (CRM) modules can help to draw, close and create repeated engagements with customers. Inputs from different social media platforms can assist in lead generation and also set up post-sale engagement with customers. Following are some advantages of social media to businesses - (1) Business professionals can find and engage with peers and customers. (2) Responding to customer complaints, obtain feedback and engage with other customer communication has become much common on social media platforms. (3) Sales people seeking prospects and leads can utilize professional networks on platforms like Linkedin. (4) Companies with robust social media strategy can counter and overcome issues before they transform into crisis due to viral nature of social media. (5) Social media can be utilized as an effective recruitment tool. Somesh Misra, VP at Deskera, a global cloud-based ERP and CRM provider, says, 'In fact, CRM providers are developing functionalities in order to deliver the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 and built-in Web 2.0 technology. Embedding innovative features such as activity feeds, conversation threads, chatbots, etc. into CRM applications could open doors to new and immense possibilities in the field of software development as well as integrated digital marketing.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 16 may 2017
The way technology is applied and the transformations it brings, can be analyzed by viewing technology as a complement or a replacement to humans. Every industry is impacted by technological advancements. Gartner predicted in 2011 that 85% of all customer interactions with the enterprise won't involve another human. Artificial intelligence (AI) software is now capable of helping employees from both a people standpoint and a hard data standpoint, a combination of culture with productivity. Mario Martinez Jr., CEO of M3Jr Growth Strategies, interacts with Rob Käll, creator of Cien, an app that helps sales teams use AI to fix productivity, improve motivation, and increase sales effectiveness, and explores how AI can successfully help sales teams. Mr. Käll believes that AI can also solve one of the greatest challenges to sales - Motivation. He says, 'Productivity goes down as you grow your sales team. As you grow, it's hard to keep the passion.' Following are three factors that AI can assist to create successful sales team - (1) LEADS: According to Gleanster Research, only 25% of all leads are legitimate and deserve further attention. AI can help sort leads quickly and look out for good leads. Loren Baker, member of Forbes Agency Council, 'AI bots and other AI solutions will better prequalify inbound leads and assist with customer retention. Chatbots and messenger bots can lead the lead or concerned user down a path that lets the sales team know exactly what they need from a lead (qualification) perspective.' (2) PEOPLE: AI doesn't remove people from the process, it assists them to do better. AI helps select good leads and opportunities, offer personal advice, provide daily reminders, lead prioritization performance measurement comparison etc. AI can help to monitor and evaluate team members. (3) MACRO: In sales, macro factors are to be kept in mind - economic growth, competition, seasonality etc. AI can gauge macro factors and help plan accordingly. It can assist in predicting and calculating things. Mr. Käll says, 'How do you incorporate human behavior into a quantitative model? There are plenty of learning algorithms out there, but very few take human behavior into account...We give them the ability to see and understand how and why they achieve their goals.' Read on...
Business 2 Community:
3 Ways Sales Managers Can Use AI to Increase Sales Effectiveness
Author: Mario Martinez Jr.
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 mar 2017
According to CMS.gov website, 'Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) are groups of doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, who come together voluntarily to give coordinated high quality care to their Medicare patients. The goal of coordinated care is to ensure that patients, especially the chronically ill, get the right care at the right time, while avoiding unnecessary duplication of services and preventing medical errors. When an ACO succeeds both in delivering high-quality care and spending health care dollars more wisely, it will share in the savings it achieves for the Medicare program.' ACOs promise to get patients more involved in their own treatments. These healthcare delivery systems are held accountable to meet cost and quality criteria. The study, 'A Multilevel Analysis of Patient Engagement and Patient-Reported Outcomes in Primary Care Practices of Accountable Care Organizations' (Authors - Stephen M. Shortell, Bing Ying Poon, Patricia P. Ramsay, Hector P. Rodriguez, Susan L. Ivey, and Thomas Huber of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health (USA); Jeremy Rich of HealthCare Partners Institute for Applied Research and Education, Los Angeles, CA; and Tom Summerfelt, Advocate Health, Chicago, IL), published in Journal of General Internal Medicine, found that adult patients who were treated in a primary care practice site that promoted a patient-centered culture reported fewer depression symptoms and displayed better physical functioning. According to Prof. Stephen M. Shortell, principal investigator of the study, 'These findings add to a growing literature on the importance of engaging patients in their care to achieve better outcomes that matter to patients like how they function physically and socially. In addition, it breaks new ground by identifying specific features of primary care practices that appear to be associated with achieving such outcomes through increased patient engagement.' He adds, '...more highly activated, engaged patients ask more questions to have their concerns addressed, and, as a result, are more satisfied with their care experience and more motived to achieve desired outcomes.' Prof. Hector P. Rodriguez, study co-investigator, says, 'Healthcare organizations will increasingly need to find ways to efficiently collect patient-reported data and strategies to use this information for monitoring treatment plans, engaging patients in their own care, and improving their health behaviors.' Read on...
UC Berkeley Research:
How patients, ACOs, and researchers partner to achieve better health
Author: Jaron Zanerhaft
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 mar 2017
Seeking customer loyalty is a challenge that every business faces. But to achieve success at it consistently, requires precise understanding of what customers want and provide it to them. Hotels are utilizing big data analytics to gain insights into which amenities help them attract and retain customers. According to Anil Kaul, CEO of Absolutdata, which provides marketing and customer analytics to hotels, 'We want to help hotels determine which free amenities give them the best chance to boost their hotel's appeal, increase sales, and improve customer satisfaction.' He explains two scenarios that hotels deal with while attracting customers - (1) 'When the customer first begins to seek a hotel. You want to offer a free amenity package that will convince him or her to choose your hotel over many other possibilities.' (2) 'Providing a great customer experience to your guest during his or her stay. Part of this customer satisfaction is achieved by offering the right free amenities. If you do this well, the guest is likely to return.' Based on Mr. Kaul's research and analytics on different types of hotels, Wi-Fi is at the top of guest's expectations, followed by free bottled water. To gather the data and compute a hotel's amenity analytics, the software uses a methodology that taps into the hotel's reservation system and then combines this data with survey data from customers on amenities and other elements of their stays. Read on...
How big data analytics help hotels gain customers' loyalty
Author: Mary Shacklett
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 jan 2017
According to eMarketer's Sept'2016 ad spending forecast, digital will overtake TV ad spending this year for the first time (Digital - US$ 72.09 billion; TV - US$ 71.29 billion), and will represent 36.8% of US total media ad spending. Scott Symonds, MD of media at AKQA, 'In 2017, digital will become the single largest media investment channel, passing television for the first time...digital is no longer just a test or an innovation budget. It needs to be expected to work as hard or harder vs. every other investment channel.' Experts from across the industry suggest ways digital marketing will evolve in 2017 - (1) Artificial intelligence gets smarter: Tom Edwards, Chief Digital Officer at the agency within Epsilon, says, 'From leveraging machine learning to accelerate sentiment analysis and domain-specific insights to cognitive computing solutions that automate experiences without human intervention to the rise of voice-based user experiences that will continue to expand in 2017 to deep learning that will fundamentally change how brands approach SEO to predictive API's that will expose access to predictive models to further create seamless experiences for consumers, cognitive and intelligent systems will play a key role in how we approach marketing in 2017.' (2) Measurement takes priority: Brigitte Majewski, an analyst at Forrester Research, says, 'The fundamentals have to take priority. Measurement and data are the only way for marketers to get control of a situation they have completely lost control of. They have to understand what part of the mix is truly working and that takes measurement...Once marketers get control of their measurement and connect the dots with the data, they can really start to do orchestrated branded experiences told in a sequence that makes sense.' (3) Turning up the volume: Audio-driven experiences will become mainstream in 2017. Trevor Guthrie, Co-founder of Giant Spoon, says, 'Giant Spoon believes the rise of voice-based AI - Google Home, Amazon Echo, etc. - will have a profound impact on computing and how consumers interact with technology. The next wave of computing will be driven by voice, and clients need to begin to build a voice strategy for their brands.' (4) Reestablishing trust: Forrester's Majewski says, 'The biggest difference in 2017 is going to be a focus on transparency. But now marketers have gotten much smarter and they can legitimately ask hard questions that they might have let pass before. They will really dig into the numbers from agencies and platforms - they are not going to let things slide.' (5) A clearer picture for digital video: AKQA's Symonds says, 'As video becomes untethered from television in terms of its primary investment opportunity or most likely viewing occasion, we believe it will continue to have exciting emerging opportunities in and around the space including augmented and virtual reality, 360 video, live video, programmatic innovations, etc.' (6) Social pivots back to sharing: David Song, MD at Barker, says, 'It will no longer be about paid, earned, and owned social but rather, how a consumer engages with a brand through its social channels. Social channels are and will continue to become more important than client websites.' Epsilon's Edwards says, 'Marketers will need to shift their strategy from one of personification of the brand to a seamless experience that is about simplifying and predicting needs while also empowering consumers to create their own stories.' (7) Cleaning up the landscape: Anna Bager, SVP and GM of mobile and video at Interactive Advertising Bureau, says, 'The days of static display banners are numbered. Consumer expectations for rich, relevant ad and content experiences are growing.' Gabe Weiss, digital experience and transformation leader at SapientNitro, says, 'I feel like there's been a significant maturation of understanding within leadership that the old-normal approaches no longer work. They have bought into designing approaches that work for their brand and for their customers. They will be more committed to delivering their messaging in all forms of content and fragmented channels to make an impact. They will offer engaging and unique experiences and not just yell at their audiences.' (8) Getting the message: IAB's Bager says, 'In the U.S., the rapidly evolving messaging space represents a tremendous opportunity beyond social media platforms to engage with consumers in a native way.' (9) Mobile evolves into people-based marketing: Kurt Hawks, SVP of cross-device and video, at Conversant, says, 'Additionally, as the digital and physical worlds continue to converge, a focus will be placed on the intelligent and responsible use of location data to better understand and anticipate consumer needs and track in-store visits. Mobile will finally evolve from a device to a set of behaviors that inform people-based marketing.' Giant Spoon's Guthrie says, 'We're finally starting to see UIs truly built for mobile instead of just converting what we're used to on desktop. I don't simply mean 'make it vertical' or 'make it short and snackable.' A few companies are completely reworking the structure - not just the details of the content pieces.' (10) Looking towards a post-broadcast, post-digital future: Giant Spoon's Guthrie says, ' The digital media bubble will pop this year. Media will bifurcate into massive networks that roll up many properties for scale and synergy or niche publications charging premium prices based on the strength of their brand. Media's middle class of independent venture-backed digital publishers will either get acquired or fold.' Jeff Liang, Chief Digital Officer at Assembly, says, 'Digital marketers can no longer think inside the box to reach and engage with digital consumers effectively. They must quickly adapt to how audiences are using new forms of digital media to avoid getting lost in the sea of change.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 nov 2016
Research by Prof. Ali Besharat of University of Denver, 'The Effect of Review Valence and Variance on Product Evaluations: An Examination of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Cues' (Other authors - Ryan Langan of University of San Francisco; Sajeev Varki of University of South Florida), explores how the rating and variance in reviews affect the decision process. Researchers find that the nature of products, a product's brand, reviewers' credibility, and the structure of online customer reviews all significantly impact consumer decision-making and, subsequently, a company's bottom line in terms of sales. According to Prof. Besharat, 'In the case of high online review variance, we find that when brand equity is high - Nike for example - then reviewer credibility does not influence consumers' purchase intentions. But when a consensus among reviews exists (low variance), reviewer credibility emerges as a significant diagnostic cue.' Another research by Prof. Ana Babić Rosario of University of Denver, 'The Effect of Electronic Word of Mouth on Sales: A Meta-Analytic Review of Platform, Product and Metric Factors' (Other authors - Francesca Sotgiu of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; Kristine De Valck of HEC Paris; Tammo H.A. Bijmolt of University of Groningen), confirms Prof. Besharat's findings and demonstrates that a wide variance in consumer opinions has a detrimental effect on product sales. According to Prof. Rosario, 'The reason why variability of reviews can harm sales more than negativity is that electronic world of mouth, in theory, is a way for consumers to reduce risk and uncertainty, which does not happen when other consumers' feedback is highly inconsistent.' Prof. Rosario's findings should be of interest to product and platform managers, internet and social media monitoring agencies. Read on...
University of Denver News:
What Brand and Marketing Managers Need to Know About Online Customer Reviews; How They Influence Purchase Decisions
Author: Amy Jacobson
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 14 oct 2016
To avoid customer attrition in the digital age requires multiple service-centric online strategies. Cynthia Johnson, Managing Partner & Director of Marketing for RankLab, provides some of them - (1) Use Your Customers' Information to Benefit Their Experience: Ensure effective customer data collection using browser cookies, account login data in CRM and marketing automation tools; Personalization; Targeted product recommendations, send event triggered messages and auto-fill forms. (2) Make it Easy for People to Reach You: Display contact information prominently; Use multi-channel chat solutions. (3) Have a Mobile-Friendly Website Design: Mobile digital media time with 51%, exceeds desktop and other devices combined; Use responsive web design; (4) Pay Attention to Reviews and Rants on Social Media: Ensure monitoring of social chatter about your business; Use tools that can provide you with alerts when there are comments, reviews and inquiries on social media. (5) Above All Else, Listen and Respond. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 18 aug 2016
According to WordStream.com, 'Marketing analytics is the practice of measuring, managing and analyzing marketing performance to maximize its effectiveness and optimize return on investment (ROI). Understanding marketing analytics allows marketers to be more efficient at their jobs and minimize wasted web marketing dollars. Beyond the obvious sales and lead generation applications, marketing analytics can offer profound insights into customer preferences and trends. Despite these compelling benefits, a majority of organizations fail to ever realize the promises of marketing analytics.' It is imperative for marketers to overcome analytics related challenges and bring customers closer to the brands and serve each one of them in the best possible way. Ensuring better data quality, effective knowledge and skills to analyze data, focus and clarity of goals, collaborative approach and creativity, will provide what marketing analytics promises. In KPMG's 2016 Global CEO Outlook, 84% of CEO's indicated their concern about the quality of the data they use to make decisions. Moreover, Forrester Research noted that 58% of the work in a business intelligence initiative is spent on trying to find the right data and integrate it for analysis. Openprise released a study on marketing data management, noting barriers to data management success included - Poor data use/accessibility (54%); Poor data quality (44%); Poor database integration (37%). Study by Ascend found similar challenges to data-driven marketing, listing integrating data across platforms and enriching data quality and completeness as the top two challenges. Finding the right data and analyzing it properly and gain valuable insights is the key to effective data-driven marketing. This requires specialized knowledge and expertise for marketers. eMarketer points to an IAB study that found that 34.8% noted a lack of internal experience at the functional and operational level as a major obstacle to deploying and deriving value from data-driven marketing. Moreover, collaborative approach and focus are other critical factors required to get maximum results. Amar Doshi, VP of Product at 6sense, says, 'Marketing can't operate in a silo if the enterprise wants to be successful at data-driven marketing. It takes a team that includes resources across the organization to work together.' He adds, 'Marketers are also trying to do too much and, as a result, not doing anything well.' The key is to agree on performance goals and metrics. CMO Solution Guide suggests to always be testing and measuring. But in all these processes and focus, importance of creativity should never be forgotten. Robert Glazer, founder and managing director of Acceleration Partners, says, 'Marketing needs to do both, but too often it's choosing the data over creative. Focusing on creative doesn't mean ignoring data. In fact, data plays an important role in directing creative. Incorporating both data and creativity means maintaining a balance between insight-driven ideas and compelling execution. Smart marketers bring their creative team and data geeks together.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 jun 2016
E-Commerce strategy once was a source of competitive advantage and differentiating factor in business. But now it is an essential strategy for businesses to connect and engage with their customers and, market and sell their products and services online. AJ Agrawal, Founder and CEO of Alumnify, suggests 4 affordable marketing strategies to boost e-commerce efforts and stand out from the competition - (1) Start Testing More On Facebook: Utilize split testing or A/B testing to evaluate advertising effectiveness and save cost. Continue the process until best results are achieved. One tactic you can implement in your testing is to prequalify leads. (2) Use The Right Influencers: Word of mouth generates twice the number of sales as paid advertising. Invest in reputation marketing and word of mouth marketing. Use the right and relevant influencers. (3) Invest In Your Email Marketing Campaign: 44% of customers click on promotional emails and then make a purchase. Build email list and invest in email marketing campaign. Finally get a group of brand ambassadors from the list and initiate word of mouth marketing through them. (4) Retargeting In The Right Style: Use retargeting to highlight and establish that unique selling point to convince them to buy and not go to competitors. Use data analytics to understand customer behavior. Segment your adds based on user interactions with site. Keep testing advertising effectiveness until best results are achieved. Continuous testing of marketing strategies and improving upon them will help in differentiating from competitors and attract customers. Read on...
4 Marketing Strategies To Take eCommerce To The Next Level
Author: AJ Agrawal
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 24 may 2016
Altimeter Group's April 2016 report, 'The Race Against Digital Darwinism: Six Stages of Digital Transformation', defines 'Digital Transformation' as, 'The realignment of, or new investment in technology, business models, and processes to drive new value for customers and employees to effectively compete in an ever-changing digital economy.' According to Brian Solis, an analyst at Altimeter, 'Many conversations around digital transformation are focused on the IT side, and technology does play a big role, but there's a human side of the story and it's driven by the customer experience.' He explains that most digital transformation happens without top leadership, and it actually develops from the middle of the organization, from change agents, who act as lawyers, cheerleaders, and politicians, as they have to gather evidence, rally everyone together, and convince people to work together. The report provides six stages for digital transformation - (1) Business As Usual: Digital is present but not prioritized; Leadership is change resistant; Roadmap focuses on technology, not customer experience; Customer strategies and processes are siloed; Teams are not collaborating. (2) Present and Active: Occurence of early adopters experimenting with new technologies; Teams operating independently; Focus on customer experience starts to develop; Change agents are present and engage with colleagues to share latest digital trends. (3) Formalized: More collaboration happens between change agents and early adopters; Decision making driven by data, analytics and insights starts; Conversations revolve around customer experience, digital vs traditional; Need for formal vision regarding digital transformation and executive sponsorship for it; Education and training for digital begins. (4) Strategic: Most parts of the organization are now aware of digital transformation efforts and mapped processes; They start to get streamlined; Change agents become prominent; Role of CDO (Chief Digital Officer) or CCO (Chief Customer Officer) emerges; Data and analytics become more important; More collaboration is visible; Digital investments become ROI focused. (5) Converged: Digital efforts converge and get streamlined; Customer experience efforts now influence all processes; Change agents become leaders; Top leadership gets actively involved in digital transformation; Governing body is established to oversee changes; More collaboration between IT and customer experience teams. (6) Innovative and Adaptive: Digital transformation and innovation become interwoven into the fabric of the organization; An omni-channel system develops and provides consolidated information on customer data and its effects; New teams and roles evolve that prioritize digital. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 apr 2016
Financial services industry has vast amount of consumer data and firms can utilize analytics to gather purposeful insights for better customer relationships and business success. Consumers are now more digitally connected than before. But according to Boston Consulting Group, despite the huge availability of data and better analytics tools, banks are far from realizing big data's full potential. Some of the reasons are - Competing priorities like regulatory changes that happened during financial crisis; IT complexity due to multilayered systems and siloed data; Lack of coordinated vision. Jim Marous, Co-Publisher of The Financial Brand and Publisher of the Digital Banking Report, suggests steps that traditional banking and financial institutions can take to take advantage of consumer data and analytics - (1) The Partnership Between Banking and Fintech: A win-win is created by combining data and technology skills of many of the entrepreneurial financial technology firms with the data from the larger legacy firms. (2) Removing Friction from the Customer Journey: Focus on providing better digital experience at each step of customer interaction by leveraging advance customer insights that go far beyond simple demographics to include channel preferences, lifestage insights and even geolocational information. (3) Making Data Actionable: Beth Merle, VP of Enterprise Solutions at Epsilon, says, 'Banks need to stop talking about gathering big data and starting using big data to make a difference for the consumer. We need to see the integration and synchronization of data sources, enabling real-time determination of relevant data points for analysis, communication, and decision making, the 'trifecta' of big data. (4) Introduction of Optichannel Delivery: Financial organizations have to go beyond multichannel and omnichannel strategy and provide 'optichannel' experience by delivering solutions using the best (optimum) channel based on the customer's need and preferred channel. In the future, the integration of processes from the consumer's perspective is foundational to the optichannel theme. According to Nicole Sturgill, Principal Executive Advisor for CEB TowerGroup, 'Rather than looking at channels independently, banking needs to develop and provide financial tools that are integrated in daily life.' (5) Exploring Advanced Technology: Jim Eckenrode, Executive Director of the Deloitte Center for Financial Services, says, 'By enabling the collection and exchange of information from objects, the IoT (Internet of Things) has the potential to be as broadly transformational to the financial services industry as the Internet itself.' In the process of leveraging customer data legacy firms face multiple challenges that they need to overcome to reap financial benefits and establish data and analytics expertise that would be hard to replicate by competitors. Some of these challenges include - Lack of talent; Lack of resources; Lack of urgency. Despite advanced data analysis being one of the top challenges mentioned in the recently released State of Financial Services Marketing, only the largest regional and national banks (over US$ 10 billion) ranked improving data and analytics capabilities in their top three priorities (47%), compared to community banks and credit unions (only 8%). Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 13 apr 2016
Businesses apply different set of strategies and tactics when they market and sell to other businesses or directly to consumers. Daniel Scalco, CEO of Digitalux, provides 5 important B2B (Business to Business) marketing strategies that should be considered to increase leads, ROI (Return on Investments) and finally sales - (1) Dig deeper when targeting your demographic: Use 'hyper-targeting' to narrow down audience. (2) Get feedback: Strategy should be data driven; Use survey process into marketing methods. (3) Extend your funnel: B2B marketing strategy cycle to go from a prospect, to lead to consumer is much longer than B2C; Nurture leads by extending funnel through better content, webinars and social media to engage with target audience. (4) Invest in an explainer video: eMarketer study found that B2B buyers consider video as top 3 most useful content for marking purchases; Inform potential customers through a story-based video. (5) Create goals and milestones: Break down the journey to reach marketing goals into smaller steps or milestones for effective execution. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 20 mar 2016
According to the latest study 'The State of Consumer Healthcare: A Study of Patient Experience from Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group', that incorporates responses from 3000 consumers and 300 senior leaders (Vice President or higher) at healthcare provider systems that employ at least 20 physicians, patient experience is one of the main concern as 81% of consumers surveyed indicate that they are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience. Moreover, the study also points towards a large gap between consumer expectations and what providers believe regarding their service offerings. Jeff Gourdji of Prophet says, 'There is a misperception among providers about how well they are truly meeting consumer expectations.' CEO's surveyed in the study also said that patient satisfaction is not currently among their top five priorities. According to Helen Stewart of GE Healthcare, 'The common misperception is that focusing on the patient experience means spending less time on other cost and revenue initiatives...Investments to improve the patient experience can drive both growth and cost reduction.' Paul Schrimpf of Prophet says, 'Providers are struggling to adapt to the rising culture of 'consumerism', which has heightened people's expectations. The power has shifted to the consumer in nearly every industry, and now it's healthcare's turn.' Laura Jacobs, President of GE Healthcare Camden Group, explains, 'Creating better and more holistic experiences doesn't just mean happier patients. It translates to increased capacity, lower operating costs, improved financial performance, and higher employee satisfaction and retention. For healthcare providers, the key to profitability and longevity lies in their ability to deliver a superior consumer experience.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 10 mar 2016
According to the recent forecast available at IDC.com, the big data technology and services market will grow at 26.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to US$41.5 billion through 2018, or about six times the growth rate of the overall information technology market. While on the other hand, McKinsey estimates 1.5 million more data managers will be required by 2018 in the US alone. The demand for talent with big data and analytics skills may far exceed the supply. A new field of study has emerged in educational institutions to fulfil anticipated talent shortage. Business schools are partnering with companies that are at the cutting edge of big data technologies to structure big data and analytics focused programs. Some are providing MOOCs to impart knowledge and train business professionals for the data-driven world. While others are leveraging the strengths of their computer science departments to bring technology know-how to the business classrooms. Massimo Beduschi, CEO of WPP in Italy, says, 'The big data wave is surging through every sector - and profound digital transformations are making it mandatory to leverage analytics.' MIT Sloan School of Management has launched master's in business analytics and the senior lecturer and associate dean at the school, Jake Cohen, says, 'Recruiters have said they are looking for training in advanced business analytics...people who can take insight to action.' Prof. Soumitra Dutta, dean of Cornell University's Johnson School of Management (US), says, 'Many schools have courses linked to digital technology, one way or another.' Cornell is partnering with Twitter and Linkedln for analytics in their MBA program. Prof. Dutta is concerned at slow pace of transformation towards blended technology and business management education. Radhika Chadwick, a partner at Ernst & Young, comments, 'I applaud that we have universities tackling this, but we need to do it at a higher speed.' Stanford Graduate School of Business have electives like digital competition, business intelligence from big data, and data-driven decision-making. Maeve Richard, director of Career Management Center at Stanford GSB (US), says, 'Most of the curriculum is about looking for opportunities to be transformative.' University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School (US) offers a program track and MOOCs on business analytics. According to Prof. Peter Fader, co-director of Wharton's Customer Analytics Initiative, 'Now we have all this data, how do we actually build strategies? How do we use the data and the models to run businesses better?' Prof. Juergen Branke of UK's Warwick Business School, that was one of the pioneers and had a program since 2008 developed in partnership with IBM and SAS, advocates for new education and skills to managing effectively in the digital economy. Prof. Jeffrey Camm, chair of business analytics at Wake Forest University (US), says, 'Managers need to understand analytics, how it converts data to valuable insights, and also understand issues such as data privacy, and the ethical use of data and analytical models.' Commenting on slow development and adoption of new curriculum, Prof. Jim Hamill, director of futurdigitalleaders.com and teaches digital leadership module at University of Edinburgh Business School (UK), says, 'Most senior deans and professors are not 'digital natives'. They are baby boomers.' According to Prof. G. Anandalingam, dean of Imperial College Business School (UK) that launched a Data Observatory in partnership with KPMG and offers a degree in business analytics, 'Big data is changing the way everyone operates...need to be able to make sense of all the valuable information.' Prof. Juan José Casado Quintero, director of masters in business analytics at IE School of Business (Spain), developed with IBM, says, 'Companies are struggling to fill their data science positions.' Prof. Gregory LaBlanc, faculty director at Haas School of Business at University of California at Berkeley (US), that works with Accenture, says, 'There is huge unmet demand for data science.' Industry-institution collaborations are a win-win for both, as they provide companies access to talent and to universities the expertise and knowledge of latest business practices and market technologies. Read on...
Future Of Big Data - These Business Analytics Degrees Are Bridging The Gaping Skills Gap
Author: Seb Murray
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 feb 2016
Reviews and recommendations related to products and companies are an important part of consumer buying decisions. Nowadays, technology has transformed word of mouth into word of clicks and taps, bringing consumers closer to other consumers and brands. Online communities around interests, products, and brands have mushroomed. Social media has further brought quality, quantity and speed into the recommendation and review process. According to a study by McKinsey, social media recommendations induced an average of 26% of purchases in 2014, that's up from 10% in 2013. Kishore Kumar, serial entrepreneur and CEO of AllThingsMine, explains how social media networks are assisting cosumers in their buying and purchasing decisions and what companies need to do to effectively utilize these channels for their product marketing and competitive strategies. According to him three aspects of social media influence consumers, and companies have to incorporate them to expand their product sales - (1) Social Referrals: Brands have to encourage and invest in social media referrals. Adweek infographic suggests that 71% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase based on social media referrals. Recommendations from friends and trusted sources are more valuable than product advertisements. (2) Access to Reviews: Consumers research before buying products and reviews are an important source. Companies should provide product reviews and give incentives to those consumers that leave a review. (3) Social Media Accessibility: Social media is freely available to anyone with an internet connection. Consumers can now purchase products directly from their social media feeds when people in their network recommend them. Companies need to effectively tap this potential and reach out to larger public through influencers. Read on...
How Social Networks Impact Buying Decisions And The Modern Consumer Society
Author: Kishore Kumar
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 30 dec 2015
The technology-enabled interactions of consumers and businesses have provided opportunities to capture data and utilize analytics to improve business processes and enhance products and services for customers in variety of industries. The analytics industry ecosystem is mushrooming with numerous vendors, from niche providers to one-stop solutions that include capture, storage, access and study of data for valuable insights. Suhale Kapoor, Co-founder of Absolutdata Analytics, captures various aspects of the analytics industry and its evolution in 2015 and explains what are the expected trends in the year ahead. Trends in 2015 - Growth of new startups and digital marketing tools; Increased use of analytics and Business Intelligence (BI); Rise in use of social media and social advertising on mobile; Rapid expansion of Internet of Things (IoT); Video content; Content marketing and predictive analytics; End-user experience and integration of online and offline content to improve service standards. Trends for 2016 - Shift towards cloud; Streaming architectures will hasten data computations; Visuals will come to rule; Data integration tools will assume more importance; Centre of Excellence (COE) will equip a business in understanding the peculiar needs and challenges for a data scientist; The Internet of Things (IoT) is all poised to bring about a data revolution; Non-analysts will start to dabble in data. Read on...
The Analytics Sector - Emerging trends and forecast for 2016
Author: Suhale Kapoor
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 29 dec 2015
Although Business Intelligence (BI) and Big Data Analytics (BDA) are being successfully utilized for incremental innovation, but they are insufficient to provide breakthrough innovation, which is more challenging and requires uncovering latent needs, or even creating needs and meaning. Soren Petersen, author of the book 'Profit from Design', and Finn Birger Lie (Co-founder and Chairman of Northern Analytics AS), explains how combination of BDA and Small Data (SD) when integrated at the early stages of new product development process can create breakthrough innovation. The conventional design process includes steps that combine analysis and synthesis, prototyping, testing and learning to create unique and valuable insights. While more advanced design processes, like Design Thinking, include an element of design research or Design Science Research, to enable design teams gain better understanding of the current and future market, and technologies, leverage this knowledge, and then create roadmap that includes the concurrent building of new capabilities that assist them to design future offerings. Mr. Petersen says, 'Innovation is often ambiguous. The 'Market-Technology Risk Matrix' provides a useful mapping of new ventures and offerings according to their position in the market (Recognized Needs, Clarifying Needs and Realizing Needs) and their technology level (Current Technology, Applied New Technology and Development of New Technology). Different combinations of Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Small Data Analytics (SDA) may prove more productive, depending on where design identifies insights within the Market-Technology Risk Matrix.' With grounded research and vertical thinking, BDA can support incremental innovation, while through lateral thinking, SDA can utilize a combination of hypothesis and grounded research to support breakthrough innovation. Read on...
Creating Breakthrough Innovations Through Design With Big and Small Data Analysis
Authors: Soren Petersen, Finn Birger Lie
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 09 dec 2015
While peer recommendations and other customer's views have an important influence on purchasing decisions, but an experiment by Cranfield University's Prof. Hugh N. Wilson, Prof. Emma K. Macdonald and doctoral student Shane Baxendale, identified another influential touchpoint that is mostly ignored by marketers: observing what other customers actually do. They analyzed brand touchpoints of 14000 people from N. America and Europe over a week. The data was collected as text message by using research agency MESH Experiences's real-time experience tracking approach. The people were asked to report their experiences of a brand in one of four categories: mobile handsets, soft drinks, technology products, and electrical goods. The results collected from 69000 text messages found that observing other customers in influencing purchase decisions is as important as word-of-mouth recommendations for mobile handsets and soft drinks, and even more important in case of technology products and electrical goods. The experiment overall found that peer observation was equal in importance to the costly brand advertising. Similar thinking that Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, psychologist and economist, termed as 'System 1 Thinking' also applies in consumer behavior: with many decisions to take, it saves effort to assume that if others are using a product, it's probably good. For marketers, the researchers have the following suggestions - (1) It's important to think about distinctive branding for the product in use not just for the purchase moment. (2) If decision-making is made by the group rather than the individual, marketers can try to win the group. (3) Expose normally invisible customer behaviors to their peers. (4) Build in peer observation to product launches. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 nov 2015
Successful companies provide exemplary customer service. Companies have huge amount of data regarding their customers that they can utilize to achieve better understanding and insights and serve their consumers in the best possible way. But the big question is, how many metrics can customer service professionals focus on to get the best results. Piyanka Jain, President and CEO of Aryng, explains 'There is a better way to drill into the treasure trove of data you have, to find the root causes of your most important metrics slipping - and you don't need to use any complicated systems to do it. 80% of the business problem faced by most front line managers can be solved by using simple business analytics methodologies - (1) Aggregate Analysis (2) Correlation Analysis (3) Trend Analysis (4) Sizing and Estimation. If you and your team can learn to master these four techniques, you can solve most of the business problems you will encounter in your day-to-day workflow. And it can be all done using simple tools like Excel, with the data you already have at hand.' She further povides three simple steps that are to be followed - (I) Determine your team's analytics aptitude (II) Learn how to ask intelligent questions and derive actionable insights from your data (III) Practice and learn to become more proficient with your business analytics. Ms. Jain has devised a framework, 'BADIR Process', that include steps that most analytics projects follow - Real 'B'usiness Question; Hypothesis-driven 'A'nalysis Plan; Collecting Relevant 'D'ata; Deriving 'I'nsights; Making Actionable 'R'ecommendations. If the 'BADIR' framework is utilized in a way as explained, the analysis will find the following biggest drivers of customer dissatisfaction - (1) Multiple calls needed to get an issue resolved. (2) Hold times greater than 150 seconds while the agent looks for the answer. (3) Unprofessional agents. The analysis would show that addressing these drivers would bring customer satisfaction (CSAT) up from 57% to 69%. These important driver metrics should become the part of the daily dashboard - (1) First Call Resolution (FCR) (2) Agent Hold Time (3) Professionalism Among Agents (graded on scale). Read on...
Harvard Business Review:
Improving Customer Satisfaction with Simple Analytics
Author: Piyanka Jain
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 03 nov 2015
Marketing technologies are changing the nature and dynamics of strategies that marketers use to reach, engage and serve their customers. Moreover these technologies continue to evolve and marketers have to keep pace with these advances to stay ahead of the game. The four key innovation areas in marketing technology in which all marketers should have deep understanding and continue to emphasise in their strategies are - (1) Use Advanced Analytics (2) Optimize the Mobile Experience in Real-time (3) Cut Down on Call Center Time to Value (4) Maximize the Voice of Customer (VOC). Marketers should be able to collect, analyze and act on omnichannel data throughout the whole customer funnel (customer journey & engagement process) for each of the mentioned areas to achieve success. This will finally help build better customer profiles, prioritize business actions, analyze macro trends, optimize customer engagement and customize offerings to get better outcomes. Read on...
4 Advanced Use Cases of Marketing Technology Innovation
Author: Rohit Roy
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 23 sep 2015
In a highly competitive market, brands can utilize excellent customer service strategies to differentiate themselves. Listening to voice of the customer, understanding their behavior and analyzing their interactions, can provide companies the needs and wants of the customer. Companies can use these insights to better serve their customers and that has direct impact on their bottom line. According to Defaqto Research, '55% of consumers would pay more for a better customer experience.' Study published in Journal of Marketing (2004 Edition) by team of researchers, Prof. Eugene W. Anderson of University of Michigan (now at University of Miami), Prof. Claes Fornell of University of Michigan and, Prof. Sanal K. Mazvancheryl of Georgetown University (now at American University, Washington DC), quantified the consequence of quality customer service on shareholder value. Study points out, 'Among 200 businesses represented in the Fortune 500 across 40 industries, a 1% improvement in customer satisfaction increased a firm's value by US$275 million.' Danny Wong, co-founder of Blank Label and digital marketer, explains the importance of customer feedback and how ecommerce stores can turn this into a competitive advantage through effective engagement, building relationships and developing better products and services. According to him, 'Develop an intimate understanding of what your customers know, want and need to establish a competitive edge that helps you improve how you do business and the value you offer to end consumers. Start by categorizing reasons for why your customers purchase your products i.e. their primary motivations.' He suggests stores to source high-impact feedback and utilize the following tactics to expand the scope of their customer research - (1) Audit the reviews competitors receive (2) Conduct surveys (3) Dive into your analytics (4) Encourage user-generated content (5) Track public conversations. Once the research is at hand, stores need to summarize actionable takeaways and use the following three steps to build a strong business case for doing anything - (1) Quantify its impact (2) Measure its market opportunity (3) Get leadership buy-in. To implement new changes the stores can use gradual strategies to first consider the high-impact initiatives that are easy to do and then to implement moderate changes and finally move on to more resource intensive projects for long-term meaningful outcomes. Companies should incorporate excellence in customer service into their corporate culture and should consider the opportunity of every interaction with customers to build lasting relationships. Read on...
How to Leverage Customer Feedback to Improve Your Ecommerce Store
Author: Danny Wong
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 19 sep 2015
Retailers need to identify their most valuable customers to specifically target and focus their specialized marketing campaigns for building long-term customer relationships with them. Most valuable customers are to be retained for maximizing profitability. But according to the study 'Engaging Customers Across the Lifecycle Journey: How Clienteling Helps Enhance Customer Relationships' by Yes Lifecycle Marketing and Retail TouchPoints, based on the survey of nearly 200 retail marketing executives, most retailers are still struggling to utilize customer data effectively to find and nurture these important customers. Main highlights of the study are - 52% say identifying and engaging their most valuable customers is one of their top business challenges; Nearly 1/3rd of respondents (32%) say they're not able to integrate or analyze their data in a timely fashion; Employee access to data is uneven and most who need it don't have it (44% of C-level executives have customer data while only 27% of store managers and 13% of store associates have access); Only 27% of retail marketing executives have their customer's lifetime spend on file and only 18% have data related to shopping preferences of customers. Read on...
Direct Marketing News:
Infographic - Retailers Fail to Fully Leverage Customer Data
Authors: Elyse Dupre, James Jarnot
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 06 sep 2015
'Digital Marketing' utilizes online technologies and provides opportunities to add prospective customers at the top of the sales funnel and nurture them to build a strong customer base for products and services. Advancement in technologies have provided multiple ways and channels through which marketers can connect and engage with the prospects and build strong relationships. One of the most important aspect of digital marketing is the measurability of the campaign through analytics. The availability of metrics provides marketers with clear understanding of the audience, their interaction with the brands and success of the marketing campaign. According to Jamie Turner, founder of 60 Second Marketer and co-author of 'Go Mobile', the 7 essential channels of digital marketing are - (1) Responsive Websites (2) Search Engine Marketing (SEM) that includes Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Paid Search (3) Online Display Advertising (4) Video (5) Social Media (6) Mobile Marketing may include Mobile Website, Mobile Search, Mobile Display Ads, In-app Display Advertising (7) Email Marketing. The action steps required to leverage digital marketing include - Taking the initiative and start using digital marketing; Implement gradually with complete understanding and continuously analyze campaign progress; Use analytics to measure and track campaign results, make adjustments and optimize the process for better ROI. Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 04 jul 2015
Professor Clayton Christensen of Harvard University on his website claytonchristensen.com, defines 'Disruptive Innovation' as 'A process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves up market, eventually displacing established competitors.' Eli Schwartz, Director of Marketing (APAC) at SurveyMonkey, explains that continuous customer feedback through surveys is an effective approach to be disruptive by staying in the customer's value perception. In a disruptive scenario, satisfying customer needs and obtaining their loyalty are two most important considerations. He cites an example of Uber's constant feedback process that successfully keeps the company closer to the customers and provides them ability to tweak the service offerings based on customer suggestions. He offers following tips on how to utilize Uber like feedback to disrupt the markets - (1) Gather feedback after every customer interaction. (2) Ask actionable questions and act on the feedback. (3) Make feedback an integral part of business metrics. (4) Use Net Promoter Score (NPS) i.e. a question where a customer is asked to rate their likelihood of referring a product or business to their friends. Read on...
Tech in Asia:
A successful disruption requires customer feedback
Author: Eli Schwartz
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 11 jun 2015
Companies are targeting their product and service offerings to the growing Millennial market. Pew Research predicts that this year Millennials, with 75 million people in US under 34, will overtake the Baby Boomers. But the question is: Should the companies consider Millennials as homogeneous entity and design their products and services accordingly? Authors, Timothy Morey and Allison Schoop of frog (a global product and strategy design firm), argue that to design offerings with exclusive focus on generational cohorts will result in meaningless or potentially damaging outcomes. There is little that unites them totally. According to them, 'A better approach is to design for archetypes that are representative of certain attitudinal and behavioral traits, and then combine these with social, market and emerging technology trends-all things that transcend age or generation. Defining an ideal customer for a potential product or service using broader human themes allows you to create solutions that resonate with a larger group of people.' They further explain, 'Far too many companies take a "product-out" view of segmentation, where they essentially ask their customers to line up around their products by demographics such as age or income. They should take an "outside-in" view that orients its products around their customers' attitudes and behaviors instead. Meeting the functional and emotional needs of a group of people is much more likely to generate transformative results than targeting a generational cohort with tenuous links.' Read on...
Mohammad Anas Wahaj | 27 may 2015
Staying close to the customer and fulfil his needs and wants has been the mantra of successful brands and businesses. Technology has brought the customer even closer and given brands the opportunity to better understand and analyze the customer behavior and focus strategies to satisfy him/her. Considering the highly competitive and fast paced world of fashion and luxury, established luxury brands need to think like disrupters by putting customers at the center of their strategies. Disrupters focus on 'jobs to be done' in the present. Clayton Christensen's disrupter framework focuses on consumers' social, emotional or functional problem, and turns business into its solution. This framework makes innovation independent of the latest technology or the hottest new gadget and firmly relies on human behavior. Thinking about customers and their behavior patterns provide brands insights into the future. Understanding the next generation of customers and removing friction from their brand experience with a well thought out solution will hold the key for the brand's survival. Following are four ways established luxury brands can succeed by staying close to the customer - (1) Create a seamless path from inspiration to purchase. (2) Make your brand narrative attainable, intuitive and immersive. (3) Evoke in your customers the feeling of belonging and being special. (4) Serve and reward. Read on...
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