Preparing for a world where customers learn to say no (from CIOCentral)

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Julio Hernandez, the global head for customer analytics at Accenture beautifully captures one of the most important realities of customer behavior in today’s world.

Customers are bombarded with unimaginably huge number of brand messages each day. Yankelwich, a US-based market research firm estimates that city dwellers are exposed to about 5000 ad messages each day (I’m assuming this will only be higher here in India!); which is 3-5 messages each minute. Hence, customers are not interested in engaging with brands. Social media has provided customers with access to peer reviews of products, services and brands at their fingertips.

A mind-boggling statistic: 14% consumers trust ad messages, 90% trust peer reviews (Nielsen)

With this in mind, here are the 3 actions that he lists to re-establish trusted relationships with customers: Stop, Look and Listen

Stop sending irrelevant and non-personalized messages to your customers

Look for information about your customers which will help identify micro-segments. Here is where analytics and customer insights comes into play. The article talks about a company which benefited from a 170% increase in conversion rates across cross and up-selling campaigns

Lastly, Listen to your customers. This will help you take a proactive approach to solving your customers problems (This links back to the article in last week’s newsletter)

Another fascinating statistic found by Accenture Research: 64% consumers switched a service provider last year due to poor customer service.

Here is the article

Consumption & Retailing In India In The Years Ahead (By Kishore Biyani)

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“Independent India may be over sixty years old but a large majority of Indians today are not even in their middle age. Life expectancy has crossed seventy years, but more than 890 million Indians are below the age of forty-five. Half of the country hasn’t yet reached the age of twenty-five. We are a Republic of the Young wherein the young generation has never been part of our socialist era and doesn’t know scarcity. A young working population will not only drive productivity but also set a spiraling effect on consumption and income generation. A young nation is willing to work harder, earn higher and spend more on buying goods and services.

Few can deny that India today provides the single biggest consumption opportunity in the world. Over the course of the last six decades, Indian GDP grew and touched $1 trillion dollars. However, at the current growth rate, India’s GDP will double within this decade and add another trillion dollars to its economy. What took almost sixty years will happen over the course of a decade. This additional trillion dollar of new economy will throw up new opportunities including a doubling of consumption demand in the country. The additional $450 billion of discretionary consumption demand can be catered to by modern retailers.”

Read this enlightening article from the future group on the future of retail in India

Is CRM Marketing Too Old School for Social? (from Clickz)

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Stephanie Miller in this article defends the ‘going social way’ for CRM Marketing and asserts that social marketing does have an effect on conversions. (By social marketing, I gather that she means, social media marketing)

3 ways to track social marketing and tie it to the CRM Database (as is from the article)

  • Identify influential tweeters or bloggers in your database and send them offers intended to engage and motivate them to become brand ambassadors. Track the response of these people vs. the general database and test offers to come up with content strategies that can be replicated with new influencers or even high-value customers. Sophisticated sentiment analysis can also help to identify the influence of the influencers on a given message or offer.
  • Use social activity to rank audience members as high, medium, or low value in terms of influence, and then measure the effect of offers, cadence, and frequency on each. I often find that influencers are motivated by different things. So tap into that to strengthen the relationship.
  • Collect social monikers on intake forms in order to first identify the networks that are most important to your audience and second, to create multi-channel campaigns to those customers willing to be communicated with across channels.

Four ways analytics is going to change over the next decade (SAS Blogs)

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“We’ve come a long way. Things change, and they change quickly; the only eternal truth is that nothing’s constant. It’s glib, but it’s true. And, those who don’t (or can’t) adjust get relegated to the history books.

There’s a storm brewing and, by my bet, the nearer term future for analytics is going to look vastly different to the way things are today. Bob Flores, ex-CTO of the CIA said earlier this week at a joint IAPA / Greenplum event that in his time working in intelligence, he’s seen the problem domain shift significantly. One thing that really stuck with me was that the NSA was dealing with Big Data (proportionally) as far back as the early 80’s. In a time when the 3½-inch single sided disk had just been launched with a storage capacity of 280 kilobytes, they were already dealing with a production system capable of storing over 100 gigabytes of data.

Staying ahead of the curve isn’t easy. But, it’s important. And, here’s some of the issues we, as a discipline, are going to need to deal with over the next decade:

Near-enough isn’t good enough. It’s real-time or nothing.

There aren’t enough people to do everything everyone wants to. And, there won’t be.

Not everyone’s equal. The market will find a way to tell the difference, but only after a great deal of confusion and frustration.

Classic analytics consulting models will start to break down. In their place, new offerings will grow.”

Read the article here 

Going Green with Data Mining (from Discoverycorpsinc)

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As companies around the world are finding means of going green by adopting various measures. And many sustainability practitioners and companies who’ve adopted sustainability practices would tell you that ‘sustainability makes business sense and in the long run contributes to well-being and adds value’ Tim Graettinger in this article adds one more measure to the list – ‘bring data mining to your organization’

Excerpts from the article

  • “Are we in the right locations?”
  • “Where should we open a new site?”
  • “How big should it be?”
  • “Which existing sites should be closed?”
  • “Which sites should be relocated to bigger/smaller facilities?”

Data mining (DM) can help answer these questions.  Using a combination of geographic, demographic, and behavioral information for existing customers and sites, DM can estimate how many people will come to a new location, how many will switch from an existing one, and the like.

Certainly, many factors influence decisions to open, close, or re-locate facilities.  And this is all very important from a business standpoint, but what does it have to do with going green?  First, data mining can provide estimates of average driving times and distances to new, existing, or re-located facilities.  Other factors being equal, decisions can be made that will reduce drive time and distance – and thereby fuel – resulting in happier customers, happier employees, and a happier planet. Further, by estimating the number of customers that will come to a newly-proposed or a re-located site, data mining helps to “right-size” the facility

Selecting the right customers and prospects to visit is analogous to selecting the right persons to mail in the direct marketing application discussed above.  Some differences exist for B2B versus B2C sales and marketing, but the core concepts and approach are exactly the same from a data mining perspective.

 The new mantra to DM is to “mail the right offer to the right person at the right time.”  Clearly, this call to action is contingent on information – about demographics, lifestyle, life stage[1], preferences, and past buying behavior.  To take action, though, requires mining that data to estimate all the critical propensities: who will buy, when, and how much.

So, what is the business benefit of data mining in this instance?  What is the environmental benefit?  For the business, data mining can increase – or at least maintain – revenue while decreasing print costs by selecting the right promotions, the right recipients, and the right times to mail.  The results are increased profits and increased return on investment (ROI).  The positives for the environment include: less paper, less printing, and less energy input to produce the mail pieces, less fuel required to deliver them, and fewer pieces going to waste.  It makes for happier customers and prospects, too, when they are receiving timely, relevant offers from your company.

The business and “green” benefits are similar as well.  With a sales and marketing force focused on more productive customers and prospects, they can close more business with less time on the road.  That means they can grow the business while leveling or even reducing travel expenses.  The planet will thank you for keeping a small carbon footprint.  And your sales force will thank you for improving their close rates, their morale, and their bonuses – and maybe even for the opportunity to spend a little more time at home with their families.

Is DTH Industry going the mobile way?

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Interesting article highlighting the similarities and differences between DTH and Mobile industry in a crisp way. It also highlights the challenges for DTH industry in future

Here is the article

To Appa, With Love (A touching article in the Times Crest Edition on the occasion of Father’s Day)

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A tribute to Appa, an ordinary man in the eyes of the world, but an extraordinary man to his children.

One of my earliest memories of Appa is of him as a son, not a father. There was my grandfather, very old and feeble but still a proud and obstinate man. Ajja would insist on tottering with his walking stick to our Indianstyle toilet but be left breathless after a few steps. Appa would support him firmly, sit him down on a square, bottomed-out chair, give him a bed pan and clean up after him with the minimum of fuss. Ajja, that fascinating teller of tales, had a huge brood of 18 children, but when his end was near, he chose to be with Appa, his 15th child and I daresay his dearest son. Today as I look at Appa, 80 years young but with the unmistakable visage of Ajja visited on him, that indelible recollection of his gentleness with his father overrides everything else about him. 

Dads come in many shapes, sizes, colours and moods. Appa was of slender build, fair and handsome (our family used to call him that much before savvy MNCs appropriated the term), his aquiline features belying his Dravidian roots. He was, and is, a charmer with his happy demeanour and sweet tongue (old-timers, including grandmothers, in his native village of Palya in Hassan district recall his pranks and peccadilloes with affection). Continued

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