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Customer World



It is everything to do with how enterprises, marketing, media, communication & technology professionals have to reengineer themselves to the new emerging customer controlled economy.



Updated: 2016-08-01T08:02:23+05:30

 










































Information monopolies and customer empowerment in the digital economy

2016-08-01T08:02:23+05:30

Recently, I got a news alert on a topic that I was interested. When I clicked on it, I got this message below: I was extremely perturbed as I was not expecting a pop-up message like this, as I really...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]Recently, I got a news alert on a topic that I was interested. When I clicked on it, I got this message below: I was extremely perturbed as I was not expecting a pop-up message like this, as I really wanted to control the choice of ads from my side, to decide whether I wanted to see any ad or not. I really didn't care, I found an alternative source for the same information and got to read it. What I having been observing is that businesses still follow 20th century marketing models which I strongly believe does not work in the new emerging digital ecosystem.  Also, marketing of yesteryears was about "pushing" messages but marketing of the future is about managing and engaging empowered customers who decide to "pull" and then engage with the message or not. Information monopolies & interruption marketers really don't work that way. They believe now with digital, they have captive customers looking into their home screens and they can apply the same old world marketing principles. Those principles don't work any more. The TV remote/Set-top boxes changed the way customers started viewing television programs & skipping marketing messages. In the digital world, the quick switch to a new page or clicking a skip button makes marketing messages a blind spot even more.  The Consumer Decision Journey is changing In an interesting article, Jack Loechner, Editor of Centre of Media research, writes "Marketing has always sought those moments, or touch points, when consumers are open to influence....Marketers have learned to “push” marketing toward consumers at each stage of the funnel process to influence their behavior. But the qualitative and quantitative research in the automobile, skin care, insurance, consumer electronics, and mobile-telecom industries shows that something quite different now occurs..."  Information Monopolies  & marketers need to learn and adapt to this new paradigm. Publishers need to look at themselves thro' a new lens More recently, a leading Privacy advocate Alexander Hanff  led a revolt against publishers which caught the attention of European regulators. And he outlines possible ways in which publishers, of course with the support of marketers, how they need to change their approach. Information monopolies should work closely with marketers and build a transparent dialog platform to engage with these new informed, empowered customers in the digital economy. They need to move away from "message  & influence" mindset to a "inform & dialog" mindset. It requires not a "Talk down" approach but a "Listen-up" approach.                     Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]






Unilever buys Dollar Shave Club - Is this the emerging era of direct mass marketing?

2016-07-25T02:15:56+05:30

Last week, Unilever announced it had acquired Dollar Shave Club. Tech Crunch carried an interesting article on the $1 billion acquisition and the challenges reputed & established FMCG brands face with the onslaught of innovative and emerging brands. FMCG companies...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]Last week, Unilever announced it had acquired Dollar Shave Club.  Tech Crunch carried an interesting article on the $1 billion acquisition and the challenges reputed & established FMCG brands face with the onslaught of innovative and emerging brands.  FMCG companies have been living in an era of mass marketing for over 100 years now. They have working on the premise that if they  create a great brand and have an efficient supply chain, then the sale is done. Hence, over the last few decades, they have been working on building an efficient supply chain and ensuring the stocks are placed ahead of competition and replenished efficiently. As far as the customers were concerned, if they had a top-of-mind recall about the brands and if there was availability when they landed in a retailer's store, the sale was completed. However, digital disruption and democratization of technology is transforming the  FMCG industry. Leaders like Unilever, P&G, Nestle, L'Oreal and the like have been reeling under this disruption. The thinking of FMCG companies has to move from managing the supply chain to building a robust demand chain. The FMCG companies' supply chain approach  is about 3P strategy- " Place, Push & Purchase". However, the demand chain approach requires a drastically different mindset which is a 3F strategy " Find, Fill & Fullfill". The customer behavior here is about "Discover & Buy" rather than "Reach & Buy". Also, it is no more about replenishing retailers'' stock but it is about replenishing customers' stock. This for FMCG companies turns their marketing thinking on its head. However, the customers are lapping it up, as they are able to get value & convenience like never before. This also throws-up new big data opportunities about customer purchase behaviour for FMCG companies as new direct-to-customer digital channels are emerging to engage with customers and they now need to understand the insights that arise out of these huge data sources. The era of direct mass marketing is around the corner for FMCG companies and they need to serve these customers in new ways in the future.                         Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]






Deep Learning, Personalization & Privacy

2016-07-17T10:53:55+05:30

These three - Deep Learning, Personalization and Privacy are indeed oxymorons. The fact that when they come together for contextualization, relevance and differentiated customer experience - privacy takes a back seat! When Privacy takes centre stage, then Deep Learning &...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]These three - Deep Learning, Personalization and Privacy are indeed oxymorons.  The fact that when they come together for contextualization, relevance and differentiated customer experience - privacy takes a back seat!  When Privacy takes centre stage, then Deep Learning & personalization take a backseat! The real question, is from a customer point of view, can they work in harmony? How do companies use them effectively? What deep learning can do is well documented. When you listen to this talk by Jeff Dean on Large scale deep learning at Google, you will realize the power of its capability. The most important difference you will see is how Google has embedded that in its products and services.This then brings the issue of privacy to the center of the debate, as this is the data of the customer that Google analyzes & monetizes. However, when it comes to the synergy between Deep learning and personalization, all the data that is used to understand this customer, effectively means personalization can be done like never before. So, the next time you walk-in to your favorite store, or your bank, or your online store, or your health care provider - the personalization possibilities thro' virtual assistants can create a phenomenal experience to the customer. Hence, if deep learning helps customers make their life simpler, then what's the problem with privacy? I think if this is done with the permission of the customer, then puts to rest the debate. However, this has a lot of learning for the other industries - as the customer pays and owns their products, unlike Google where products are sometimes used for free. Take for example an automotive brand - the applications of deep learning, personalization is phenomenal. With most cars fitted now with navigation systems and telematics devices, the data this can throw about the customer, their driving habits into their automotive platform is phenomenal. The driving habits, the engine data, travel data, innovative use of public data all represent great deep learning application opportunities for the automotive brands to drive personalization & differentiation. Here, privacy is something of little consequence or debate as any assisted customer service will only enhance the customer experience. The same goes with banks - where the usage of the mobile app, online banking, payment apps, shopping data  thro' credit cards, public financial data etc. will only create opportunities for deep learning applications and personalization for enabling personalized financial solutions. The question really is not will they but they will have to do it soon.                     Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform[...]












Building a data coalition around personal data

2016-06-26T23:23:48+05:30

Last week Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer - Stephen Deadman, wrote about the need to refocus the debate around personal data. It was a thought provoking article where Stephen talks about the need for a kind of a new coalition between...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]Last week Facebook's Chief Privacy Officer - Stephen Deadman, wrote about the need to refocus the debate around personal data. It was a thought provoking article where Stephen talks about the need for a kind of a new coalition between tech companies on the use of personal data. I had also written the week earlier on my blog on the trends that I saw - Transformation of software vendors as data vendors. As I read  his piece, some interesting thoughts, challenges & framework to use personal data came to my mind. It also needs a variety of stakeholders - policy makers, governments, tech companies and citizen groups across the world to come together.  Also, Doc Searls and Dan Mitchell who I follow, added a lot of perspectives around this topic and the initiatives that are being undertaken.  The key issue that came to my mind was, who is more empowered today to use personal data and who is the owner of personal data. I strongly feel, the individual is highly dis-empowered today when it comes to use of his or her own personal data. Very often, I find tick boxes, check boxes, cookies that outlines all kinds of T&Cs  that we literally have no control of this data. Also, the way marketers treat this data, is purely in terms of economics and there is no strand of trust, whatsoever. It represents an unequal relationship, an accelerating decay of distrust for the individual when it comes to her personal data. When it comes to personal data, the internet has disrupted national boundaries. The data individuals leave behind, for example in Uber or Amazon or Facebook or Google or Apple to put it mildly is subject to interpretation on ownership. When it comes to offline identity, governments have found a solution with Social Security numbers  or Citizenship or the like. But, when it comes to personal data, the rules are however archaic. The coming of a Data Passport Era There is a need to build a ecosystem by linking offline identities of individuals thro' what I believe will look like Data Passports. This will be fundamental to building a data coalition that Stephen talks about across companies. Data Passports are an equivalent of Data Vaults that will be owned by the individuals against their passports, mobile devices, broadband connections, banking relationships etc. etc. Data Passports will have streams of an individual's personal data. This massive repository will have links to personal data of individuals and will be classified with specific lifestyle and usage behaviour tags. Like ICANN, there is a need for a non-for-profit organization - called DCANN( Data Corporation of Assigned Names & Numbers) which will be linked to the massive Data Passport APIs across various countries & personal data passport vaults. This data passport vault, which will be owned by the individual along with other identities, will have permiss[...]






Software vendors as data vendors - How will convergence, interplay & privacy make a difference?

2016-06-20T00:00:38+05:30

Last week, we saw Microsoft announcing the acquisition of Linked-In for US $ 26.2 billion. With the acquisition of Linked-In, Microsoft now has access to over 400 million accurate profiles of professionals from Linked-In across the world. Over the last...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]Last week, we saw Microsoft announcing the acquisition of Linked-In for US $ 26.2 billion. With the acquisition of Linked-In, Microsoft now has access to over 400 million accurate profiles of professionals from Linked-In across the world. Over the last year or two, I have been seeing this trend where large software vendors like Salesforce.com acquiring Jigsaw and Oracle acquiring Blue Kai, who predominantly own data. So, this got me to think, what are the implications one can expect or must see over the next few years with these kind of trends? Meanwhile, I was also reading an interesting article written by Sangeet Paul Choudhary in his blog, where it is mentioned how Linked-In was trying to get into the enterprise CRM space but lacked the infrastructure & tools( post written by Myk Pono) and Sangeet's view on how Microsoft can take advantage of this acquisition but lacks the understanding of network & data layers. The key questions that came-up to me was - What does it take for a software vendor to work  & behave like a data vendor or as a platform player? Also, how can all these data seamlessly flow into Microsoft's strategy of leveraging its Enterprise CRM, Windows, Azure, gaming business etc.? To understand & appreciate this, first we need to look at some of Google's acquisition of DoubleClick, Andriod etc. way back in 2007 & 2004 which made a huge difference to their platform strategy. As Google transformed itself from a search to an online advertising platform, many of these acquisitions made sense - with Android becoming the defacto mobile OS platform while still Microsoft was managing Nokia as a Mobile Phone company and not as a platform.This led to the death of Nokia as a mobile phone brand, as Microsoft thought of it like a licensing business(which is their DNA) more than a mobile computing platform.  If Microsoft needs to take advantage of Linked-In's acquisition & their data, then - the transformation of Microsoft as a platform company is critical. For example,they need to look at  Office365 as a central platform or a hub is critical. This free & paid subscription based platform must leverage the 400 million Linked-In professional's data for their own personal devices & computing services- Home PCs, mobiles, gaming consoles etc. This then can change the game for Microsoft. However, if we look back at history, neither Hotmail or Nokia was leveraged to its full by Microsoft due its software vendor thinking. Microsoft will have to change its strategy & execution this time. The next most important question was the issue of Privacy. What is the sanctity of privacy information owned by Linked-In & do the limited or full permissions that was given to Linked-In by these 400 million professionals, hold good for Microsoft too[...]






Marketing in "micromoments" in a post digital world

2016-06-12T17:56:29+05:30

I was reading an interesting update on Forrester Marketing 2016, where companies & marketers were asked to take cognizance of micromoments. I don't disagree fundamentally with this theory but I was thinking how do marketers prepare & adapt to this...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]I was reading an interesting update on Forrester Marketing 2016, where companies & marketers were asked to take cognizance of micromoments. I don't disagree fundamentally with this theory but I was thinking how do marketers prepare & adapt to this new paradigm. One of the top questions that came to my head was - How do marketers really identify these micromoments? In an increasingly walled garden world of Facebook, Google, Twitter, Amazon- many customers' micromoments are happening, as I write this, in different digital platforms independently. Not only that, there are ever so many billion micromoments that happen offline in a customers' life and how do marketers make sense of it? My premise is that it is now increasingly becoming  O2O(Offline-to-Online & Vice-versa) world, marketers need to look at this very differently. Here's my view of how this should be looked at: Intent-driven micromoments - Some digital platforms naturally fit into intent-driven micromoments. For example, Google is a great example of a digital platform where "billions of intents" are searched by customers. People don't search for a product, they search for a need.They can be searching for a home, for a restaurant, for a car, for a college education, for naming a baby to be born, comparing a product to be bought, for a holiday etc. etc. In a customer's buying cycle - the trigger, consider & search- happens here. Marketers need to find a way of dominating "intent-share" at these micromoments. Sharing-driven micromoments - Google, as a platform, does not naturally fit into this micromoment as customers don't share their moments there. A digital platform like Facebook fits here far more beautifully & perfectly. It is not difficult to see people sharing their convocation photos during the current season, their holiday, their child's birthday, their family get-together etc. etc. Sharing-driven moments provide opportunities for marketers to blend brands with their customer's life needs and see how they can be a part of these different micromoments. Marketers need to find ways of dominating "sharing-driven moments" & align it with their brand's storytelling. Experience-driven micromoments - Some digital platforms like Twitter, Facebook, blogs fall here as customers share their experience - good and bad - here. For example, tweeting about poor govt. services is becoming a norm and governments globally are encouraging this. The same is with product performance, customer service, product support etc. where again experiences are largely drive this micromoment and is shared with world outside.  This micromoment can be a new business opportunity for a competing brand and retention opportunity for the incumbent brand. Again, marketers need to [...]












Cost-to-Serve(CTS) Vs Cost-to-do-business(CTB) - Looking at it from customer's eyes!

2016-05-22T11:30:08+05:30

I often hear a lot of businesses and managers talking about a metric Cost-to-Serve(CTS) - reducing cost-to-serve a customer. They continuously talk about moving customers to lower cost channels and hence reducing the cost-to-serve & improving profitability. I find this...                    Related StoriesHow companies need to respond to rewired customers' brain.How IoT is the third age of marketing technology & giving a voice to products!Thinking Customer Experience - Stop thinking platform,resources and bandwidth first  [...]I often hear a lot of businesses and managers talking about a metric Cost-to-Serve(CTS) - reducing cost-to-serve a customer. They continuously talk about moving customers to lower cost channels and hence reducing the cost-to-serve & improving profitability. I find this ridiculous as an independent metric measured by businesses.   Let me explain you why: What does Cost-to-Serve(CTS) mean? Currently, if a business is using high cost channels, resources to service customers and hence it eats into the  profit margin of the business. Hence, the managers & leaders in the company are mandated to move customers to lower cost channels so that it is a self-serve channel for the customer and minimizes resources from the business's end. Let me now look at it from a customer's point of view - What is Cost-to-do-business(CTB)? I reached out to my service provider thro' the phone( a relatively lower cost channel) and spent about half hour explaining my problem to the associate on the other side of the phone. I was told that the problem will be resolved in 24 hrs and that they were transferring it to another technical team who will address it. I waited and nothing happened - no response or no resolution was in sight. I called my service provider on the phone again and this time to my horror, I had to repeat the problem all over again for another half hour. Here's one hour of a customer's time that has been wasted by the company -that's pretty precious, in my view which businesses give a damn, as it does not cost them anything. I also emailed the problem I was facing, to put things in writing to customer service - which took me another 15 mins and then there was a spate of automated mails that were generated promising resolution within further 2 working days! Now, I had lost close to 72 hours in addition to an hour over the phone. Now, the web channel again was a low cost channel to business but it was a high cost-to-do-business for me, as a customer, as nothing was resolved. Neither, the channels were integrated to treat my problem on priority given my prior poor experience. The Cost-to-do-business with the company was too high for me, as it was eating into my time and effort - that close to 73 hrs and 15 mins( 72 hours of lost opportunity and 1 hour and 15 mins of interacting with them over different channels). How does business pay for these costs and factor for these? Many of the financial services companies who I do business with, have asked me to move to e-statements, mobile app, online banking etc. Now, I am increasing my storage space on cloud to factor for these and storing them as if I ask fo[...]