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How Mobile Has Rewritten The Rules - No More Idle Micro Moments

mobile moments

A few days ago, while waiting for my turn at the post office, I have witnessed the definitive disappearance of the downtime. Do you remember how boring was to carry out some dull activities only ten years ago?

Well, we have now said goodbye to the idle moments. The smartphone is the key to unlock the potential of those moments when we have nothing to do but waiting and waiting. The queue has never been so exciting.

Mind you, we are not saying that we will not be stuck in the waiting rooms in the next future. The digital disruption has changed a lot but, at least till now, we still have to face the boredom from time to time.

What has changed is the quality of these experiences. The random unattractive magazines stacked on the table of the doctor’s waiting room have given way to the smartphone. Thus, we have the whole world in our hands.

We live in the era of the Micro Moments and no idle moments are allowed anymore. Google has tackled this important matter in a recent article published on Think With Google. The post, titled “How mobile became a power tool in idle moments”, starts from the awareness that:

“The smartphone has become indispensable in getting things done. In our latest research, we found that 75% of people say their smartphones help them to be more productive. But it’s more than that. Productivity has an emotional impact as well. Fifty-four percent of people say their phones reduce stress and/or anxiety in their lives.”

And we all know how stressful it can be to stand in line waiting for a turn that never comes.

Mobile quickly delivers results when they’re impatient, provides inspiration at their fingertips when they’re curious, and gives them a personalized experience when they’re demanding one.

Google researchers have identified five typical scenarios when people turn to their phones to fight boredom.

A SPARK

This happens, for example, when something either just pops into your head or you are triggered by something you see.

AN URGENT NEED

This happens, for example, when you suddenly realize that you need something and you don’t know where to get it.

IN-STORE ASSISTANCE

This happens, for example, when you are strolling through the store’s aisles and use the smartphone to look for info, discounts, reviews.

MICRO-PRODUCTIVITY

This happens, for example, when you are stuck somewhere and scroll the list of things to do to move forward.

PLANNING AHEAD

This happens, for example, when you use the phone to plan the next moves in your life, from weekend trips to important purchases.

This is the story from customers’ perspective. What about your Brand? What about your marketing strategy? How can you exploit these micro moments to engage your customers and win their loyalty?

We leave you with a pretty interesting video, highlighting how mobile is impacting the opportunities and challenges for Brand and marketers.

 

 

 

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Topics: digital transformation Mobile customer engagement

Read These Essential Books And Start 2018 With Momentum

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What is the best way to jump start your new year's resolutions? Reading insightful and enlightening books, of course. In this whirlwind of social and technological disruptions, digital leaders must focus on the continuous improvement of themselves, if they aim at improving their strategy. 

We all know how important is to learn from the experiences of the others, and books can help you achieve a more profound and accurate vision of your environment, customers, and business. Here is our list - revamped for 2018 - of the essential books that will inspire you and the ones around you all year long.

We originally published this list at the end of 2015. Of course, a lot has happened in the last two years: the smartphone has definitely become our daily companion; new technologies have taken the center stage (i.e. the Internet of Things) and old one have gained a new bright light (virtual and augmented reality).

Ultimately, the social rules have evolved and people too. Many books have tackled the challenge of the digital disruption and its consequences on our life as human beings, customers, entrepreneurs. 

To be truly effective in understanding and engaging your digital customers, you need to be willing to learn. Learning is so important, in fact, that we have included it as one of the seven steps in the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a step-by-step guide to deliver an amazing digital customer experience.

Know yourself, know your customers, know your context. Stay current; embrace the constant flow of digital innovations; enhance the user experience at every single touch point of the customer journey.

We corssed the threshold that separates the old world (with traditional business patterns and marketing funnel) and the new world (where empowered digital customers dictate the brand agenda).

Changes happen so fast that even the most successful brands - Apple, Google, Amazon - do not rest on their laurels. Digital business is a work in progress, by definition.

The next disruption may come from unexpected places: the Internet of Things, psychographics, machine learning and predictive analytics, proximity marketing, wearable technology, cloud computing, innovative social media, virtual and augmented reality.

None will ever grow by staying closed in his comfort zone. You must confront with the best-in-class, because the only way to see the future is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Here is our updated list of the essential readings you should not miss.

THE LIFE PROJECT, HELEN PEARSON

"The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story Of 70,000 Ordinary Lives", by science journalist Helen Pearson, narrates the longest-running study of human development in the world, started in 1946 and grown to encompass five generations of children. This is the tale of these studies and the remarkable discoveries that have come from them.

PRE-SUASION, ROBERT CIALDINI

Included in the list of the best business books of 2016, "Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way To Influence And Persuade" is the latest effort by social psychologist Robert Cialdini, author of the renowned "Influence". The book explains how to capitalize the "privileged moment for change" to deliver your message in the most effective way. To change minds but also states of mind. 

DISRUPTING DIGITAL BUSINESS, R “RAY” WANG

In the world where companies no longer control the conversation, they need to learn how to create an authentic experience for their customers. Digital leaders must shift from creating promises to keeping promises. In this era of social connections and constant connectivity, the experience becomes the main competitive differentiator, influencing the way brands plan and execute their strategy.  

DEEP THINKING, GARRY KASPAROV

We all know Garry Kasparov as the greatest chess player of all times. With his book, titled "Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends And Human Creativity Begins", he also proves himself to be a great explorer of the artificial intelligence. The story starts in 1997 with the chess match against the IBM supercomputer Deep Blue, a watershed moment in the history of technology.

THE THANK YOU ECONOMY, GARY VAYNERCHUK

The entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk proclaims, with data-driven evidence, that we have entered into a new era for business. In this one, companies need to scale their communication to a one-to-one level, no matter how big they are and how much money they invest. The best way to do it is to harness the power from social media, used as a word-of-mouth and customer experience platform.

THE TELOMERE EFFECT, ELIZABETH BLACKBURN & ELISSA EPEL

Have you wondered why some sixty-year-olds look and feel like forty-year-olds and why some forty-year-olds look and feel like sixty-year-olds? Molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of telomeres. In this book, with the help of her colleague Elissa Epel, she highlights how the changes we can make to our daily habits can protect our telomeres and increase our health spans.

THE STARBUCKS EXPERIENCE, JOSEPH MICHELLI

Why should I pay more for an average coffee? The secret behind the 'Starbucks formula' lies in the ability to turn the ordinary into extraordinary, focusing on the overall customer experience rather than the product. If you want to understand what loyalty means in the digital era, Starbucks is your landmark brand: personalized experiences, employee engagement, omni-channel customer journey.

THE NORDSTROM WAY, ROBERT SPECTOR

Nordstrom, a very well-known retail brand, is universally recognized as one of the best examples of customer service excellence. In fact, all other companies use it as a cornerstone, aiming at becoming the “Nordstrom of their industry”. What is the secret of this enduring - even in economic turmoil - success? The direct link between empowering your employees and creating a long-term relationship with your customers.

MASTERING LEADERSHIP, ROBERT J. ANDERSON & WILLIAM A. ADAMS

Is leadership a competitive advantage, or is it just costing you in terms of time, money and personal development? Today's escalating complexity puts leadership effectiveness at a premium. Mastering Leadership involves developing the effectiveness of leaders - individually and collectively - and turning that leadership into a competitive advantage. This book aims at offering "an integrated framework for breakthrough performance and extraordinary business results".

THE CUSTOMER MANIFESTO, PAMELA HERRMANN

Let’s start with two numbers: 80 percent of businesses believe they are providing superior customer experience, yet only 8 percent of their customers agree they provide it. The disconnect is due to the fact that amazing customer experience is not the result of a program, it is the effect of a human and personal connection, across all touch points. This is where successful entrepreneurs start, to grow their business.

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE FIASCO, ANDREW REISE

To learn the foundations of an amazing experience for customers, you must learn not just the best practices and success stories, but also the misguided adventures. Using a fictional situation, the book - written by the experts of Andrew Reise Consulting - tells the story of how you can start from a fiasco (a YouTube video, in this case) to build a successful customer experience strategy.

OUTSIDE IN, HARLEY MANNING

This book is about the power of putting customers at the center of your business. Customer experience is the most powerful - and yet misunderstood - element of corporate strategy today. Your business value is not established just by the quality of the output (your product) but also by the quality of the connection between you and your customers (the experience). Identifying and solving the problems inside your organization has the potential to increase dramatically sales and decrease costs.

I LOVE YOU MORE THAN MY DOG, JEANNE BLISS

The theory is good, case studies are even better. This book is all about true stories that can teach you how to improve your strategy. In the end, you will understand the difference between having customers who like you and customers who love you (truly, madly, deeply). Loyal and engaged customers are the key, and the author has studied tons of companies to identify the five decisions that drive extreme customer loyalty, in good times and bad.

INBOUND MARKETING, BRIAN HALLIGAN & DHARMESH SHAH

Inbound marketing is a new paradigm in the relationship with customers, a methodology that replaces interruption with communication and value creation. This book, written by the two founders of the automation platform Hubspot, gives you all introductory hints to change your content strategy and ultimately attract, convert, close and delight. Transforming your customers from complete strangers to loyal promoters.

TO SELL IS HUMAN, DANIEL PINK

If you need a fresh look at the art of selling in the age of digital disruption, this book will offer a new perspective, based on the idea that we are all salespeople. Among all other things, the author describes the six successors to the elevator pitch, the three rules for understanding another's perspective, and the five frames that can make your message clearer and more persuasive. Because, in sales, numbers matter.

Of course, there are lots of great readings we did non include in this brief list. Please, use the comments to suggest your personal favorites.

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Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Storytelling Inbound Marketing Mobile

Travel Customer Journey - The Evolution Of Planning and Purchasing

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Brace Yourself; Vacation days coming!

Whether it is the summer or winter season, the desire to travel never misses the opportunity. For those who want to plan their trip, but also those who produce and sell vacation-related products and services.

The desire to explore the world has not changed over the last century, and will not change in the next future. What has evolved dramatically - in the last decade - is the way we research, plan and purchase our trips. What Google has called The Travel Customer Journey. A disruption made possible - again - by the smartphone. 

Long gone are the days when planning a vacation (a honeymoon or a business trip) meant you had to trust a specialized agency, with little control over the final result. In the nineties, the Internet has opened a whole world of information for the customers, and then mobile technology did the rest, switching the balance of power definitely.

Today, the smartphone is the first point of reference whenever we need to find the solution to a problem or the product that perfectly fits our needs. Travel planning makes no exception, as perfectly summed up by a series of reports released by Google on Think With Google.

As more research happens in the traveler's customer journey, there are more micro moments - when people turn to a device with intent to answer an immediate need. In these moments, the stakes are high for travel brands as preferences are shaped, and decisions are made. What happens in these micro-moments ultimately affects the travel decision-making process.” 

In our times of economic constraints, organizing a vacation can be tricky business:

  • People see the travel as an investment, and so take all the time needed to research the possibilities (mostly using their mobile devices).
  • Travelers usually worry they are not finding the best solution or making the best decision, even while they are paying and booking.
  • Even when they find a last minute opportunity, most customers bounce back and forth between destinations, websites, agencies, and price comparison engines.  

Customers are much more conscious and demanding than in the past. They spend more time researching and comparing the alternatives (in terms of destinations and providers). They go through a multitude of touchpoints and, even though they take quick decisions, ultimately ponder every single detail.

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If your brand plays in this industry, the task is clear and simple:

  • You must show up during the critical micro moments of travel research process;
  • You must be there, reachable whenever customers need your attention or help;
  • You must be useful, engaging them with relevant, useful, personalized contents and offers;
  • You must be quick. If you do not convert your customers, someone else will (namely a competitor).

The main reference for this article is the ‘Travel Micro-Moments Guide’ published by Google. The underlying assumption is that “travelers increasingly turn to mobile in real time and on-the-go, making informed decisions faster than ever before. For marketers, this means there are new opportunities to connect throughout the entire travel customer journey, across devices and channels.

Researchers have defined four main travel micro moments that matter:

I Want To Get Away - We explore options and ideas, looking for inspiration.

Time To Make a Plan - We have a destination, and look for dates, flights, accommodation.

Let’s Book It - We are ready to book and look for extra activities to reserve.

Can’t Wait To Explore - We prepare to live the experience, and share it with the others.

Given the premise, we see a huge opportunity for those who provide products and services related to the various the steps of the travel experience. The digital customer journey of the travelers has become more complex than ever, and so you have multiple chances to engage customers. 

Whether you are an online or offline business, you may tap into one of the main micro moments or everywhere in between those, proposing suitable and innovative solutions. In example: a micro-insurance delivered on the smartphone at the right time; a local transportation mobile app filled with shopping and entertainment suggestions; a conversational interface or Facebook Messenger chatbot that helps customers find the best prices or deal.

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Of course, mobile is the keyword to understand the new scenario, because the micro moments mostly unravel online: 

Recent data show that there are already more searches on mobile than desktop for select travel categories, such as family vacations and luxury travel. And when it comes to planning holiday activities, mobile devices are giving travelers increased flexibility. Many travelers are willing to plan activities on the fly, while they are at their destination. 

The optimization for mobile is mandatory now that customers take faster decisions and expect faster experiences: 

Over 90% of travelers using mobile devices will switch to another site or app if their needs are not being met. 79% of mobile travelers say that when researching on their smartphones, they are looking for the most relevant information available, regardless of where it comes from.

The continuous transition from the real world to the digital dimension generate a whole new set of data that you can use to get a better understanding of customers. When it comes to travels, in fact, not all customers are equal.

Also, this type of experiences is heavily influenced by the emotional and psychological traits. Data-backed psychographics research becomes essential if you want to sketch a proper customer journey map, build a successful digital strategy, and ultimately deliver truly personalized contents linked to the emotional profiles of the different customers.

Once you determine customers’ behaviors and deepest needs, you can anticipate their needs and desires. You will also be able to prioritize the right audience and target the most valuable customers with tailor-cut contents, notifications, and promotions. 

Travel marketers need to account for the new multi-device, multi-channel landscape. And those who are moments-ready—and consistently manage their share of intent to meet consumer demand—will take the lion's share of the reward.

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Topics: Customer Journey customer engagement customer loyalty Digital Customer Experience Mobile

The Digital Change Agent’s Manifesto - Revolution From Within

digital change agent digital transformation

How can you set the spark of the digital transformation on fire? We always stress the importance of change in the era of constant technological evolution, but more than often it is not clear who should lead this change. Who is the agent of drift towards the future?

What it means to be a successful change agent in the digital economy is the main focus of the latest report published by Brian Solis, analyst at Altimeter. The prophet from the age of Digital Darwinism has shared, once again, the opportunities and hardships of moving a Brand from the old patterns and habits. 

The report has a self-evident title: “The Digital Change Agent's Manifesto - How the People Behind Digital Transformation Lead Change From Within”. It starts with the awareness that technology and society still evolve at a faster pace than organizations. Even though they are investing in their digital transformation, most Brands are often too slow.

They react rather than act and anticipate the changes. The efforts of those who become the flag bearer of transformation “are often hindered by an organizational culture that is risk-averse and slow to change. Not everyone believes in change, however, nor that they need to learn or even unlearn skills and perspectives to compete for the future. Any effort to change comes down to people, and in the absence of supportive leadership, people typically form roadblocks.” (Brian Solis)

Behind this lack of agility, there is, of course, a cultural limit that should not be underestimated, but the main obstacle can be traced in the absence of a ‘digital change agent’:

In most organizations, however, these digital transformation efforts often take place in isolated pockets, sometimes with little coordination and collaboration across the enterprise. Even still, these movements are important and often driven by individuals who share a deep expertise and passion for digital and are ardent advocates of its potential to help their companies compete more effectively. These individuals are the digital change agents and they represent the future of the organization.

The idea of a digital change agent coming from within is powerful, nonetheless difficult to identify in today’s structured organizations. Who is this agent? Where does it come from? What should be his core capabilities? There is not a simple, one-fits-all answer to these questions. The change agent, in fact, is hardly someone trained to play this role:

While change agents are well-versed in all things digital, they aren’t necessarily seasoned
or trained at navigating the cultural dynamics that drive change in an organization. They
typically pick up leadership and change-management skills on the fly as they learn to face
and manage the behavioral challenges that often prevent colleagues from accepting their
perspectives, ideas, and digital innovations.

Given the premise, it is evident that there is no one type of change agent. Each one brings to the table different skillsets, goals, and aspirations, “but they all wear similar hats at different points in their journey, serving as data gatherers and storytellers, influencers and case makers, relationship builders, and champions of digital transformation.

What are the highlights of these digital agents?

  • Although digital transformation is one of the biggest trends in business today and companies are investing heavily in new technologies and innovations, many still do so as a grassroots effort driven by resourceful individuals — digital change agents — across the organization.

  • Digital change agents are passionate about digital innovations and ardent believers in their potential to help the organization succeed — but they are sometimes reluctant to step into a leadership or change-management role.

  • Change agents can rise from anywhere in the organization and often begin as digital advocates — employees who introduce or promote new digital ideas or products — and eventually progress to experienced transformers.

digital change agent

The research shows how these agents should operate from a strategic manifesto to guide them in their digital transformation efforts, expedite change, and minimize complications and detractions. The agents move across different steps of a journey that unravels inside and outside their company:

  • Embrace being a catalyst;
  • Organize with other change agents;
  • Learn to speak the language of the C-Suite;
  • Make allies;
  • Spread digital literacy;
  • Create a digital transformation roadmap;
  • Link digital transformation efforts to business and individuals’ goals;
  • Set metrics and milestones;
  • Democratize ideation;
  • Capitalize on their own inherent “superpowers”.

As a CEO, you should always ask yourself what can you do to make the digital change agent feel less lonely. Of course, transforming and leading the organization towards the future is never easy but, when all the pieces align, there you will find the evolved digital organization you have been longing to achieve.

We strongly advise you to download The Digital Change Agent's Manifesto, a thoughtful, brilliant piece of research by Brian Solis.

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Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Digital Customer Experience digital transformation Mobile Customer Journey customer engagement Exponential Organization

Take These 5 Steps And Reinvent Your Customer Journey Map

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The journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.

With the wisdom of this Chinese saying, let's start 'our journey' to discover how the 'customer journey' has changed in the last five years, pushed by the evolution of mobile technology, and what this means for your Brand.  

The rise of the born-digital generations of customers (Millennials and post-Millennials) makes your traditional customer journey map obsolete. Every single map that you have used in the last decades is now useless. How can you recover?

In the digital ecosystem, everything changes at such an impressive pace that you risk losing sight if you do not get a new compass, a unique perspective to engage and monetize customers. The disruption brought in by the smartphone is unprecedented and requires drastic measures.

First things first, we need to clarify the difference between traditional customer journeys and the digital customer journey. We can simplify and streamline the two processes:

Traditional Customer Journey

Think of it as a (mostly) linear sequence going from the Awareness to the Consideration and then Purchase:

  • This funnel unravels across few touch points, well-known and presided by marketers;
  • The customer has a limited set of alternatives;
  • The communication is usually top-down and lead by the Brand;
  • Customer's choices are influenced by the 4 Ps of marketing, by routine and the trusted opinions of my closed circle of friends and relatives.

Digital Customer Journey

A neverending journey, not necessarily starting from the Attention/Awareness or ending with the Loyalty:

  • This funnel unravels across an increasing number of touch points, both in physical and digital worlds.
  • The customer has tons of alternatives;
  • The communication is always two-way;
  • Customer's choices are rarely influenced by advertising, price or routine. The circle of trust includes the online communities: social networks, e-commerce reviews, forums and blogs.

The evolution of technology reshapes the essence of the journey and this, in return, defines the pillars of your marketing strategy. In our ecosystem you should never underestimate:  

  1. The arise of young customers - the picky millennials and the elusive GenerationZ.
  2. The growth of connected technologies - trackers, wearables, beacons, the Internet of Things.
  3. The dawn of Micro Moments - real-time mobile interactions, driven by specific intents.

The digital customers are accustomed to living surrounded by connected devices that melt the offline and online worlds. They build their identity by interacting with their virtual and pshysical communities, and do not recognize any other way of experiencing (life, emotions, and relationships).

In our markets, made flat by the globalization, your customers refuse to be considered as part of an indistinct mass. Each customer wants to be treated as an individual. This rejection of the massification requires that you invest your marketing efforts on the personalization and relevance of contents and experiences.

Today, there is a question to answer: Why should people buy from you when they can choose from a potentially infinite set of alternatives? You are not simply battling against your neighbors; you are fighting against thousands of suppliers from all over the world. Even a great, unique product might be not enough to win.  

What then? The customer experience becomes the real key to differentiate your Brand, and the creation of a new customer journey map the ground to deliver personalized experiences. You need an innovative approach to the mapping of an unstructured journey, or your clients will still be strangers, inanimate figures you do not know anything about.

Luckily, you can still rely on a few basic requirements that have not changed ever since the idea of ‘customer journey map’ was considered for the first time. While the contents and the framework evolves with technology, you will always have to start your planning from these foundational elements:

Buyer Personas + Customers + Emotions + Research + Touch Points + Objectives + Measurement

On the one hand, marketers need to reach the customers when they stand in the early stages of the journey; unfortunately, that is the most obscure moment. The Brands usually know very little about customers' emotional profiles, and the traditional research methodologies does not provide useful data that show what clients were doing and thinking before - let's say - they entered your website or store.

That is exactly why you need a revamped version of the journey mapping. Starting with the following prerequisites.

RETHINK THE JOURNEY

Of course, behind a new mapping there is a new journey. Every single social and technological trend leads to the inevitable reinvention of the customer journey. There is no value in a map that ignores the different sources of interaction brought out by the mobile disruption.

The innovation extends the relationship between companies and people, to embrace the added value for both Brands and customers. Stay eyes wide open and willing to test and learn new means of engagement and fidelization; only then you will earn customer's loyalty and trust.

ENGAGE THE CUSTOMER

The foundational element of the journey is the traveller, of course. And yet, you might be surprised to know how many marketers still design their journey map starting from the company and the products instead of the customers.

Since the whole point here is to improve the relationship between your clients and your business, the only way you can build a map that actually works is to bring the customer's perspective into the process. Describe not the experience that you want to provide (or you think you are providing) but the experience that people expect (and you are actually providing).

UNVEIL THE EMOTIONS

The key is to understand how people take decisions and choose what to buy and how to buy. In a world where the smartphone has become the first screen and the attention span is lower than ever, not all customers are alike, and not all journeys should be considered equal.

People embark on very different journeys, driven by peculiar behaviors and personality traits. Each journey has different touch points that can be influenced by unexpected causes and intents. Individual needs, emotions and expectations lead to very personal behaviors. If you do not study these patterns (i.e. Psychographic profiling), you will not be able to reach the contextualization required to appeal each person. 

CONNECT THE DOTS

Mobile technology reshapes the journey, influencing both the space and time of the interaction. The smartphone reboots the entire experience of communicating, searching for information, and connecting with people and brands. According to Nielsen, half of customers believe that mobile is the most important resource in the purchase decision-making.

Mobile platforms already account for more than 60% of total time spent on digital media. Your strategy should think mobile and act local, combining location and behavior to deliver meaningful contents, wherever your customers are. Connect the dots to get a holistic view of the ecosystem.

UNLOCK THE (SMALL) DATA

While it is still hard to understand what customers think and do in the early stages of their journey, companies can now take advantage of something they did not have before. Something that shuffles the cards on the table: small data.

Connected technologies create a large quantity of information about the customer's path; you only have to find the way to unlock the power hidden into this information. The key is to match the different sources and step from Big to Small data. Always remember that the real value not the information itself but what you do with this knowledge.

"Activating customer journeys to capture value requires journeys to be treated like products that need to be actively managed, measured, and nurtured. How well companies are able to do that will dictate how successful they are in making customer journeys a competitive advantage." (McKinsey)

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Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty 

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy with the latest trends and advancements of digital customer experience.

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Project Management Branding Big Data Mobile Customer Journey

3 Areas You Should Invest In To Improve Mobile Experiences

mobile-experience

Today, we do not go online. We live online. Even when we do not use the smartphone, it lies there in our pocket, ready to get into action. This simple fact implies the radical change of our behaviors, as human beings and customers.

The customer experience is always also a mobile experience. One would be led to believe that such a revolution has influenced the way businesses operate, yet most of the times it is not so.

Many companies, in fact, still lack the vision needed to embark on the journey of the digital transformation properly. All too often mobile is seen as an afterthought rather than the cornerstone of the customer experience.

This approach is common to those organizations that are accustomed to conducting the “business as usual” and not for the future, to quote Brian Solis. They walk through the fog without landmarks on the horizon.

When you choose not to evolve, you think you can still market your products and Brand the way you used to. The truth is they cannot survive for long if they keep thinking and acting this way. Something disruptive happened along the way. The mobile disruption happened.

The traditional business patterns inevitably lead to a disconnected and inconsistent experience across the customer journey. You will end up showing different identities online and offline, making the relationship with your Brand a nightmare for customers.

What happens on your digital properties should have the same level of priority with respect to what happens elsewhere (namely, in your physical store). And yet, the mobile experience is still too overlooked.

In a recent data collection report published on Think With Google, a few stats brilliantly sum up this contradiction:

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A negative experience on mobile can alienate the customer preference. What does it mean for your business? First of all, that the entire process of customer experience management should have a common direction, whether it is digital, smartphone, point of sale, social media.

It is less important for a shopper to be present in-store than for the store to be present wherever and whenever a shopper needs them.” (Google)

Google is right at the center of this mobile revolution. Everything started with the definition of the Micro Moments, driven by a specific intent, that can shape the decisions and preferences of customers.

The evidence that the most relevant Micro Moments today happen on mobile devices has then brought Google to change its core business, the search engine, in three steps:

  • The mobile-friendly algorithm, that has caused panic and forced thousands of companies to run for cover and adapt their presence online in the name of a smooth mobile experience.
  • The AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages), that have started the process of separating the desktop and mobile experiences, inducing marketers to invest - time and money - in properly formatted mobile contents.
  • The mobile search index, the inevitable consequence of the new philosophy. The Internet is definitively divided into two separated experiences, with the mobile index destined to become the primary reference for Brands and customers.

Now you know that you have to embrace the winds of change, but where and how? According to Google, there are three areas you should invest in to improve mobile experiences.

HELP ME FASTER

Today, the scarcest resource is not money, it is time. The attention span of your customer is quite low, and your competitors are ready to fill any opportunity you leave unattended.

Thanks to the smartphone, we can take informed decisions faster than ever, and so customers shift their thinking from “Who does it best?” to “Who does it best, now?”.

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Your speed is essential at any stage of the customer journey.

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KNOW ME BETTER

You will never be able to engage customers and earn their trust and loyalty if you do not understand them in the first place. Knowledge is power, and you have all the data you need to accomplish this hard task.

Understanding your customers means not only mapping their journey and behaviors. It means also using the small data to define their peculiar emotional and psychological traits (Psychographics).

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WOW ME EVERYWHERE

Customers expect a consistent experience every time they interact with your Brand. Consistency is one of the key pillars of the customer engagement and becomes even more critical in times of mobile disruption.

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If you see the word ‘experience’ come out very often it is because the difference in the digital markets is not a matter of quality or price. You are no longer competing with other companies in your industry. You are competing with the best experiences your customer has ever had.

Photo by Adrian Sava on Unsplash

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: Mobile Digital Customer Experience Customer Journey

5 Books Every Digital Marketer Should Read This Summer

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Once you stop learning, you start dying.” This famous quote by Albert Einstein is still relevant to understand a major truth of the digital era: the only thing that is constant is change, and so you should never stop learning if you want to stay relevant.  

Of course, this applies both to companies and individuals. Inspiration is all around us and it will empower you to gain competitive advantage, if you can get out of the comfort zone. What better way to improve than by reading a smart book?

The American political journalist P.J. O’Rourke once said that you should “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” What’s not to love about this sentence? Learning is such a critical process that we have chosen it as one of the steps in The DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a guide that’ll help you build an amazing customer experience.

The problem with reading, today, is that we are all caught in a fast-paced world with a short attention span. Too many things happen around us, so many sources to check and so little time to do it. We are quite lucky, though, because someone else has done the hard work for us. Authors that have tackled the challenge to help digital leaders to keep up with the evolution of marketing and technology.

The more provoking is the book you read, the more you will be forced out of your comfort zone. Once you question your beliefs and layered knowledge, then you are ready to move forward. It is not just theory: In the era of the digital transformation you can’t hack your growth if you still rely on the old-fashioned way to do things.

You need innovative approaches to old questions. How can I grow my business? How can I overcome the challenges of the digital transformation? How can I engage and monetize my digital customers? How can I convert random customers into loyal brand advocates?

If you are looking for an answer to these - and many more - business problems, you might find useful insights through the pages of these five books every digital marketer should read.

EVERYBODY LIES, BY SETH STEPHENS-DAVIDOWITZ

Part technology research part psychological study, this book offers an illuminating look at what the Internet can tell us about who we really are. Everyday we create a vast amounts of information with our web searches, and all thiese data reveal truths about ourselves and our world that we did not even imagine. 

What percentage of white voters did not vote for Barack Obama because he is black? Do violent films affect the crime rate? How regularly do we lie about our sex lives? The answers to these - and many more - questions are hidden behind what we type on Google in the safety of our room. 

HARNESSING OUR DIGITAL FUTURE, BY ANDREW MCAFEE

Co-written with Erik Brynjolfsson, "Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future" is one of the most exciting books of 2017 so far. This is a must-read analysis of the effects of the digital disruption, a guide for the digital leaders, marketers and CEOs who truly want to understand the power of exponential. 

To survive the big wave of digital shifts, in fact, "we must rethink the integration of minds and machines, of products and platforms, and of the core and the crowd. In all three cases, the balance now favors the second element of the pair, with massive implications for how we run our companies and live our lives."

PRE-SUASION, BY ROBERT CIALDINI

Robert Cialdini is the renowned author of Influence, a bestseller dated 1984. At the end of 2016 we have finally seen the long-awaited sequel, titled Pre-Suasion. This book is destined to become even more relevant than Influence because it comes out in a era when marketing and psychology are more intertwined than ever. 

What separates effective communicators from truly successful persuaders? Using a rigorous scientific approach, Cialdini "shines a light on effective persuasion and reveals that the secret doesn’t lie in the message itself, but in the key moment before that message is delivered."

HOOKED, BY NIR EYAL

We always emphasize the importance of a well planned, meaningful customer experience on the road to business success. But there is a plain fact that none can ignore: If people don't like the product you sell, your strategy is more than likely doomed. So, how can you develop and market a product or service that customers will love?

Nir Eyal tries to find an answer in his book "Hooked: How To Build Habit-Forming Products". Want to be the next sensation? Try with the Hook Model, "a four-step process embedded into the products of many successful companies to subtly encourage customer behavior.

ORIGINALS, BY ADAM GRANT

"Originals - How Non-Conformists Move The World" is yet another brilliant take on how we can generate new ideas, improving the world in the process. Sharing powerful and surprising business stories, Adam Grant offers groundbreaking insights about rejecting conformity and improving the status quo.

The book "explores how to recognize a good idea, speak up without getting silenced, build a coalition of allies, choose the right time to act, and manage fear and doubt; how parents and teachers can nurture originality in children; and how leaders can build cultures that welcome dissent."

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

If you need more food for thought during your Summer vacations, you can also download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

Get The Mobile Engagement Playbook

 

Topics: Content Marketing Mobile Digital Customer Experience Innovation

Internet Trends 2017 Report - The Major Takeaways

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The annual Internet Trends Report is easily one of the most anticipated presentations of the year. Compiled as usual by Mary Meeker, the report is the best way to keep the pace with the digital transformation and understand what is going on in the business world.

The Internet Trends 2017 Report comes in the form of a gigantic 355 slides deck, covering everything tech: global trends, online advertising, gaming, cloud computing, and digital healthcare. Ready to check the major takeaways?

Even though the report (that you can find below) may seem daunting at first glance, Mary Meeker, a partner at venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield, and Byers, has the ability to provide a complete overview of the evolution of technologies, markets and organizations.

The first interesting insight: both the smartphone and the Internet penetration growth are slowing down, a sign that the market is finally reaching the saturation. The global smartphone installed base equals 2.8 billion, a +12% year over year (it was +25% in 2015).

The time spent using the Internet on mobile devices, however, keeps on increasing and confirms that the smartphone is not just a channel anymore. It is a proxy of the customer. Everything we do (search for information; make weighted decisions; purchase products or services; share experiences), we do it using our smartphone.

The second major takeaway is about advertising. Sometimes we hear dark prophecies that envision the death of online advertising, but the data tell another story. Online ads evolve, become more measurable and actionable, and still represent a growing market (+22% in revenues in 2016).

The most promising new formats are those that create a bridge between the user and the Brand, exploiting the qualities of the smartphone: product listing on Google search result page; targeted pins on Pinterest; contextual ads on Facebook; geo-targeted local ads on Google to drive foot traffic to stores; incentive-based video ads; dynamic in-app ads.

As a matter of fact, the evolution of advertising is driven by mobile and is eclipsing the share of TV and desktop advertising. The downside is that the growth has been captured mainly by two players: Google and Facebook (85%). We witness a concentration of power that leaves very few opportunities to the competitors. Take it or leave it.

The way the companies communicate evolves with technology, and so do the customers. In example how we use the mobile device: Voice is beginning to replace typing. In 2016, 20% of mobile queries were made via voice, thanks to an accuracy that has reached about 95% (Google voice recognition).

We are surrounded by smart devices that can communicate even without human intervention. They gather data and sometimes can anticipate our needs and requests. Being able to interact with these technologies will open a whole new world, both for the company (voice orders, notifications, and recommendations) and the customer (simplified experiences and fastest path to purchase).

Another takeaway is about social media and their power to improve the customer experience and support. We already know how valuable is the proper management of this channel in a world that is more and more ‘visual’. Social media can provide the opportunity to strengthen the relationship between people and Brands.

The main objective is to drive accountability and foster real-time online conversations, and the emergence of conversational interfaces (chatbots) is the key technology. Machine learning and small data, connected to the social profile of customers, open the door to a deeper understanding of the customer, rooted in the psychographic dimensions.

We want to highlight one more insight, this time about the revolution in healthcare. There is no doubt that we are moving towards a digital-enabled healthcare. Again, the spreading of mobile devices (wearables) has paved the way for the rapid growth in sources of digital health data.

60% of customers are willing to share their health data with the likes of Google. The result is the proliferation of digitally-native data sets. A whole new market that generates scientifically relevant insights, and profoundly impacts on the delivery of therapeutics and healthcare.

Read the full Internet Trends 2017 Report:

 

Download The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

 

Topics: Internet of Things Mobile Digital Customer Experience

The Seven Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

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Is Brand Loyalty still relevant for customers? In a market where the limitations of space and time are canceled by technology - and we can buy everything we want directly with a tap on a mobile screen - does it make sense to talk about loyalty?

The answer is ‘Yes’ to both questions. Customer Loyalty is still relevant, but it is hard to get and even harder to retain as the competition is so tight. This is the starting point of The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty, our new checklist that will help you improve your strategy and evolve to stay relevant. 

As said, loyalty is still important and will continue to be in the next future. Indeed, in times when we have become accustomed to brand switching and polygamous loyalty, the ability to attract and retain the attention and engagement of customers is even more critical.

The reason lies not only in the economic value of this long-lasting relationship - loyal customers buy more and more often - but also in exponential effects regarding competitive advantage (i.e. the sharing of 'positive vibrations' in their communities and social networks).

If the intrinsic value of the customer loyalty remains unchanged, however, the same can not be said of the relationship between companies and people. This connection has been deeply altered by the advent of the digital technology, that has shaped the market scenario in which we have been immersed for more than ten years now.

Not to mention that the pace of this change has further accelerated with the advent of the mobile devices. In a few years, in fact, the smartphone has become the primary point of reference we all turn to when we need information and make weighted decisions.

Whether it is a car purchase, a comparison between two TV models, a holiday booking, the choice of the perfect outfit for the evening, or the sharing of our opinions, the answer is always there, in the palm of our hand.

If we turn the focus on the Brand, the story remains the same: the smartphone is the primary means of spreading contents and messages. When it comes to digital customers (Millennials and Generation Z above all), there is no engagement and loyalty strategy without mobile technology.

We want to emphasize the fact that technology is, as always, a means and not the ultimate goal of your strategy: the solution is not to recreate, in the digital context, the old dynamics of engagement and fidelization typical of the offline world (a virtual loyalty card, to name one).

The reason is that today people do not just want to buy products or services. They want to live experiences. At the heart of any loyalty strategy, there should be the awareness of the value of customer experience as the primary factor of differentiation on the market.

According to Gartner, 89% of companies expect that the decisive battle for relevance on the digital markets will be fought in the field of customer experience. It is not a coincidence: people already consider the experience more important than price and the product itself.

In order to grow your business, you must build personal relationships with customers. Focusing on the experience is the only way to move from a utilitarian loyalty (I spend, and you give me a tangible prize in return) to an emotional loyalty (I choose you because I feel I am an integral part of the Brand).

The evolution from a traditional fidelization to the 'new customer loyalty' is not easy or immediate, but it is necessary if you want to survive in an ecosystem increasingly saturated and competitive. To move towards the future, you must first take a step back, admitting that you do not know your customers, despite the Big Data and your CRM.

The amount of information about customers that the technology makes available to companies is of no use if you do not know what to look for, how to move from macro to micro, and ultimately how to get an intimate understanding of the person.

Before even thinking about customer engagement and loyalty, you have to understand people. Choices are mainly driven by emotional elements, so you need another key to read the traits of personality, behaviors, attitudes, thought patterns, and prejudices.

We are talking about the final step from the study of the Demographics - which tell you who the customers are - to the Psychographics - which tell you what they think and what they want.

Only by studying these essential hidden traits you will be able to gather and select the data you need to personalize experiences and messages. Understanding is the basic requirement to convert customers into Brand Ambassadors.

The purpose of The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty is to define the foundations on which to build your engagement and loyalty strategy, to create innovative experiences and establish a lasting and valuable relationship with your customers.

You can download it for free at the following link:

The 7 Pillars Of The New Customer Loyalty

Topics: customer loyalty customer engagement Digital Customer Experience Mobile

Neosurance From The Silicon Valley To The Partnership With AXA Italy

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After being selected by Plug&Play in March to take part in the four month intensive acceleration program designed for insurtech startups, the time has come for another crucial moment for Neosurance, at the final Expo Demo Day in Silicon Valley.

Neosurance CEO Pietro Menghi pitched to an audience of over 500 participants from the corporate partners and the venture capital communities and announced the new partnership with AXA Italy to launch by the end of June the first push "instant insurance" product in the world.

In the last months the startup went through a step by step process that helped define their business model and market strategy making them ready to take off on the international market.

Official corporate partners of the Plug & Play accelerator have reached now the number of 48, including Aviva, Allianz, Markel, Farmers Insurance, Munich Re, Swiss Re, Nationwide, The Hartford, Talanx, Travelers, Zurich, HDI, USAA, AON and many others.

Neosurance, founded by Neosperience and DigitalTech, has gained much momentum in the last months, receiving prestigious recognitions, such as The Insurance Nexus IoT Europe Award 2016, and the MEDICI Top 21 – InsurTech Award.

Neosurance offers AI and machine learning solutions for insurance companies to enable the sale of micro policies “on the spot”. The core of its value proposition for clients is building a digital customer experience on the basis of contextual, behavioral and emotional data through a “learn by doing” approach.

During the Expo Demo Day, Pietro Menghi, CEO and investor in the young start-up stated: “We had some great and productive months here at Plug & Play Tech Center meeting with VC’s, communities and other interesting start-ups across insurtech and other verticals, and we are now able to go out there and showcase our AI-based solution that is able to offer micro policies via push notifications in a smart and customized way to the users of a community.

Neosurance can boast a brand new partnership with AXA Italy, starting with the launch in the Italian market by the end of June of a travel insurance coverage that can be purchased in 10 seconds. Together they have created a product for Tiassisto24 – an  auto concierge community app – offering a travel insurance that covers medical expenses for the 25K users of the community.

The policy will be soon available through the TiAssisto24 mobile App and will sell customized travel insurance based on the country where the client is travelling to. In a partnership that is the first of this kind in the world, Neosurance provides the technological platform (SaaS) and artificial intelligence system, while AXA Italy provides the insurance policies that are specifically designed for this use case.

After the launch of this first product, Neosurance will be revealing more details about discussions with AXA Italy in order to extend the offering to other communities both in Italy and abroad.

Thanks to the Plug & Play acceleration batch, Neosurance has also closed an insurance commercial agreement with BeeBell, a US community active in the area of events, with more than 800K members.

From the very fruitful meetings organized within the program, we were able to identify suitable partners with whom we are now closing agreements. The American market is very important for insurtech,  so I can anticipate that we decided to incorporate Neosurance in the US and to open an office here to capitalize on all the exciting activities we started in these months in the Valley and to scale our business model up”, said Menghi.

 

Download The Mobile Engagement Playbook, a collection of relevant insights that'll help you to overcome the challenges of the digital transformation and grow your business exponentially.

Get The Mobile Engagement Playbook

Topics: Neosurance Digital Customer Experience Mobile