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Posts tagged ‘Social CRM’

How Cloud Computing Is Accelerating Context-Aware Coupons, Offers and Promotions

Retailers and marketers often face the challenge of getting coupons, offers and promotions delivered at the perfect time and in the right context to their customers.

The rapid advances in cyber foragingcontextual computing and cloud computing platforms are succeeding at revolutionizing this aspect of the retail shopping experience.  Context-aware advertising platforms and strategies can also provide precise audience and segment-based messaging directly to customers while they are in the store or retail outlet.

What makes context-aware advertising so unique and well adapted to the cloud is the real-time data integration and contextual intelligence they use for tailoring and transmitting offers to customers.  When a customer opts in to retailer’s contextually-based advertising system, they are periodically sent alerts, coupons, and offers on products of interest once they are in or near the store.  Real-time offer engines chose which alerts, coupons or offers to send, when, and in which context.  Cloud-based analytics and predictive modeling applications will be used for further fine-tuning of alerts, coupons and offers as well.  The ROI of each campaign, even to a very specific audience, will be measurable.  Companies investing in cloud-based contextual advertising systems include Apple, Google, Greystripe, Jumptap, Microsoft, Millennial Media, Velti and Yahoo.

Exploring the Framework of Me Marketing and Context-Aware Offers

A few years ago, a student in one of my MBA courses in international marketing did their dissertation on cyber foraging and contextual mobile applications’ potential use for streamlining business travel throughout Europe.  As a network engineer for Cisco at the time, he viewed the world very systemically; instead of getting frustrated with long waits he would dissect the problem and look at the challenges from a system-centric view.  The result was a great dissertation on cyber foraging and the potential use of Near Field Communications (NFC) and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) as sensors to define contextual location and make business travel easier.  One of the greatest benefits of teaching, even part-time, is the opportunity to learn so much from students.

I’ve been following this area since, and when Gartner published Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-Time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods this month I immediately read it.  Gartner is defining Me Marketing as real-time, context-aware offers in grocery stores. Given the abundance of data on transactions that occur in grocery stores, Gartner is predicting this will be the most popular and fastest-growing area of context-aware offers.  The formula for Me Marketing is shown below:

The four steps of the Me Marketing formula are briefly described as follows:

Me marketing framework for contextual coupons

 

  • Consumer Insight and Permission – The first step of the framework and the most difficult from a change management standpoint, this requires customers to opt in to receiving alerts, coupons, offers and promotions.  The best retailers also have invested heavily in security and authentication technologies here too.
  • Delivery Mechanism and In-the-Moment Context – The real-time offer engine is used to determining which coupons, offers and promotions are best suited for a specific customer based on their shopping patterns, preferences and locations.
  • Select Best Offer – Next, the real-time offer engine next defines a very specific product or service offer based on location, previous purchase history, social media analysis, predictive and behavioral analysis, and previous learned patterns of purchasing.
  • Redemption – The purchase of the item offered.  Initial pilots have shown that less frequent yet highly relevant, targeted offers have a higher redemption rate.  It is encouraging to see that early tests of these systems show that spamming customers leads to immediate opt-outs and in some cases shopping competitors.

A Short Overview of Contextual Advertising and the Cloud

Cloud-based systems and applications are necessary for retailers to gain the full value that contextual advertising can provide.  This includes the social context, with specific focus on aggregation and analysis of Social CRM, CRM, and social media content, in addition to behavioral analytics and sentiment analysis.  It also includes the previous browsing, purchasing, returns and prices paid by product for each customer.  Cloud-based integration architectures are necessary for making contextual advertising a reality in several hundred or even thousands of retail stores at the same time.

Geographical data and analysis is also essential.  RFID has often been included in cyber foraging and contextual advertising pilots, in addition to NFC.  As Global Positioning System (GPS) chip sets have dropped in price and become more accurate, companies including Google, Microsoft and Yahoo are basing their contextual advertising platforms on them.  Finally the activity or task also needs to have a contextual definition.

Combining all three of these elements gives the context of the customer in the retail store.  The figure below is from Three-Dimensional Context-Aware Tailoring of Information.  This study also took into account how personas are used by companies building cloud-based contextual advertising systems.  The taxonomies shown in the figure are used for building personas of customers.

context aware technology

There are many pilot projects and enterprise-wide system tests going on right now in the area of cloud-based contextual advertising.  One of the more interesting is an application suite created entirely on Google App Engine, Android, and Cloud Services.  The pilot is explained in the study Exploring Solutions for Mobile Companionship: A Design Research Approach to Context-Aware Management.  The following figure shows a diagram of the suite.  This pilot uses Cloud to Device Messaging (C2DM) which is part of the Android API to link the Google App Engine server and Android client.  Google will most likely add more depth of support for C2DM as it plays a critical role in contextual system development.

context aware Google Ad Platform

Benefits of a Cloud-based Contextual Advertising Platform

For the customer, cloud-based advertising systems over time will learn their preferences and eventually impact the demand planning and forecasting systems of retailers.  This translates into the customer-centric benefits of products being out of stock less.  In addition, customers will receive more relevant offers.  The entire shopping experience will be more pleasant with expectations being met more often.

For the retailer, better management of product categories and more effective gross margin growth will be possible. Having real-time analytics of each coupon, offer and promotion will also give them immediate insights into which of their selling strategies are working or not.

For the manufacturer, the opportunity to finally understand how customers respond at the store level to promotions, programs including the results of co-op funds investment and pricing strategies will be known.  The manufacturers who partner with retailers using these systems will also have the chance at attaining greater product differentiation as their coupons, offers and promotions will only go to the most relevant customers.

References:

Me Marketing: Get Ready for the Promise of Real-Time, Context-Aware Offers in Consumer Goods Published: 24 December 2012 Analyst(s): Don Scheibenreif, Dale Hagemeyer

Tor-Morten Grønli, Ghinea, G., & Bygstad, B. (2013). Exploring Solutions for Mobile Companionship: A Design Research Approach to Context-Aware Management. International Journal of Information Management, 33(1), 227. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0268401212001259

Tor-Morten Grønli, & Ghinea, G. (2010). Three-Dimensional Context-Aware Tailoring of Information. Online Information Review, 34(6), 892-906. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/journals.htm?articleid=1896452

Using Search Analytics To See Into Gartner’s $232B Big Data Forecast

By combining search analytics and the latest Gartner forecast on big data published last week, it’s possible to get a glimpse into this areas’ highest growth industry sectors.  Big data is consistently a leading search term on Gartner.com, which is the basis of the twelve months of data used for the analysis.

In addition, data from Gartner’s latest report, Big Data Drives Rapid Changes in Infrastructure and $232 Billion in IT Spending Through 2016 by Mark A. Beyer, John-David Lovelock, Dan Sommer, and Merv Adrian is also used.  These authors have done a great job of explaining how big data is rapidly emerging as a market force, not just a single market unto itself.  This distinction pervades their analysis and the following table showing Total IT Spending Driven by Big Data reflects the composite market approach.  Use cases from enterprise software spending, storage management, IT services, social media and search forecasts are the basis of the Enterprise Software Spending for Specified Sub-Markets Forecast.  Social Media Analytics are the basis of the Social Media Revenue Worldwide forecast.

Additional Take-Aways

  • Enterprise software spending for specified sub-markets will attain a 16.65% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in revenue from 2011 to 2016.
  • Attaining a 96.77% CAGR from 2011 through 2016, Social Media Revenue Is one of the primary use case catalysts of this latest forecast.
  • Big Data IT Services Spending will attain a 10.20% CAGR from 2011 to 2016.
  • $29B will be spent on big data throughout 2012 by IT departments.  Of this figure, $5.5B will be for software sales and the balance for IT services.
  • Gartner is projecting a 45% per year average growth rate for social media, social network analysis and content analysis from 2011 to 2016.
  • Gartner projects a 20 times ratio of IT Services to Software in the short term, dropping as this market matures and more expertise is available.
  • By 2020, big data functionality will be part of the baseline of enterprise software, with enterprise vendors enhancing the value of their applications with it.
  • Organizations are already replacing early implementations of big data solutions – and Gartner is projecting this will continue through 2020.
  • By 2016 spending on Application Infrastructure and Middleware becomes one of the most dominant for big data in Enterprise Software-Specified Sub Markets.

  • $232B is projected to be sold in total across all categories in the forecast from 2011 to 2016. From $24.4B in 2011 to $43.7B in 2016, this presents a 12.42% CAGR in total market growth.

Search Analytics and Big Data

Big data is continually one of the top terms search on Gartner.com, and over the last twelve months, this trend has accelerated.  The following time series graph shows the weekly number of inquiries Gartner clients have made, with the red line being the logarithmic trend.

Banking (25%), Services (15%) and Manufacturing (15%) are the three most active industries in making inquiries about big data to Gartner over the last twelve months.  The majority of these are large organizations (63%) located in North America (59%) and Europe (19%).

What unifies all of these industries from a big data standpoint is how critical the stability of their customer relationships are to their business models.  Banks have become famous for bad service and according to the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) have shown anemic growth in customer satisfaction in the latest period measured, 2010 to 2011.  The potential for using big data to becoming more attuned to customer expectations and deliver more effective customer experiences in this and all services industries shows great upside.

Bottom line: Companies struggling with flat or dropping rankings on the ACSI need to consider big data strategies based on structured and unstructured customer data.  In adopting this strategy the potential exists to drastically improve customer satisfaction, loyalty, and ultimately profits.

Gartner Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012: Sales Turns to the Cloud for Quick Relief

Sales VPs for years have been test-driving SaaS-based CRM systems, piloting them with sales teams to see if using them leads to higher sales and greater customer retention.  Marketing VPs and Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) also continue to pilot SaaS-based web analytics and marketing automation applications.

What’s been missing from these pilots is the ability to bring CRM, marketing automation, sales management and web analytics systems into existing enterprise IT architectures just as fast.  This is changing quickly.  CRM vendors have been quick to respond to the challenge, offering Application Programmer Interfaces (APIs), integration adapters, connectors and from larger vendors, integrated bus architectures.

What the Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012 Means

CRM’s real value is in unifying an entire enterprise based on its ability to sell, serve and retain customers better than before. Gartner shows this is a high priority for its CRM clients by underscoring which technology and application areas of the hype cycle are responding to his market dynamic, and which aren’t.

This Hype Cycle also reflects the urgency I hear from Sales VPs who want to get in control of the complex compensation, quota, territory management, job appraisal and sales coaching responsibilities they have.  While each of these areas is essential, many companies, even those in enterprise software, have ignored these areas, allowing them to stay manually based. Gartner calls this area Sales Performance Management (SPM) and shows it has the highest benefit of all SaaS-based sales management applications in the next two years. Gartner’s analysis captures the time shortage that Sales VPs I know are facing; they have to get to high quota levels while also managing a diverse set of leadership responsibilities as well. The Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012 (G00234919) is shown below:

 

  • Gartner estimates 35% of all CRM implementations today use SaaS, growing to over 50% by 2020 according to their projections. In 2011, more than $5 billion was invested in sales applications.
  • Cloud adoption varies significantly across CRM software categories with Web analytics achieving 95% adoption, Sales Force Automation achieving just over 50%, and Configure Price Quote (CPQ) achieving 40%.  Cloud-based Sales Performance Management has the highest compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of any CRM category according to inquiry and client calls.
  • Sales, Customer Service, Social CRM and Marketing are the four fastest-growing areas of enterprise Sales applications on SaaS.  Campaign Management is increasingly quickly, up from 19% using SaaS in 2010 to 29% in 2011.
  • Gartner sees significant growth in Configure Price Quote (CPQ), projecting a market of $300M in 2012, up from $240M in 2011.  Gartner is due out with a MarketScope on CPQ shortly, where the 15 major vendors it tracks in this area will be ranked.  40% of existing implementations are on SaaS, and that proportion is increasing relative to licensed versions.  Of the 15 vendors in this market, 12 have announced SaaS-based versions of their applications.
  • There are 3.8M Sales Force Automation SaaS users globally today.
  • By 2017, 25% of companies adopting CRM will have extended their customer service contact centers to include social media including Facebook, Twitter and other emerging online communities.  As of 2012, Gartner is seeing only 1% of companies integrate social media into their companies’ departments and workflows to ensure a consistent customer experience.
  • Price Optimization will experience transformational growth in two to five years. Gartner sees this area as one of the most promising across all CRM Sales as can be seen in the Priority Matrix for CRM Sales 2012 below from the Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012.  The research firm has defined this market as including price analysis, price optimization and price execution.  Gartner estimates this market was $180M to $190M in 2010.  Vendor competing in this market include Accenture, Deloitte, Pros, Vendavo, Vistaar Technologies and Zilliant.

  • Social CRM (SCRM) for Sales is at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, with 90% of spending for these applications being generated from B2C companies.  Gartner expects B2B companies to lead the growth of these applications through 2015, increasing spending from 5% of total SCRM sales in 2011 to 30% by 2015.
  • SaaS-based CRM sales within enterprises are expected to reach $4.48B in 2012, growing to $6.3B in 2015.  The following table from the report Forecast: Software as a Service, Worldwide 2010-2015, 2H11 Update provides a frame of reference for SaaS-based CRM growth overall.

  • Salesforce leads all CRM vendors in market share growth, advancing 2.8% from 2010 to 2011 according to Gartner’s’ global market share analysis shown below. Salesforce attained 26.9% revenue growth from 2010 to 2011 ($1.3B to $1.6B) and 36.7% growth from 2011 to 2012 ($1.6B to $2.27B).  The future momentum of Salesforce is in unifying the enterprise, redefining corporate IT in the context of the customer. Their recent acquisitions show analytics, marketing automation and development platforms are key priorities.  The following table is from the report Market Share Snapshot: CRM Software, 2011 (G00233998).

Bottom line:  Making CRM strategies successful has to start with a common vision and urgency for results.  Both are happening quicker in CRM than ever before, driven by a much clearer understanding of what enterprises need and an impatience for results.

What’s Hot in CRM Applications, 2012

Serving the sales force is a mantra and mindset that resonates through the best companies I’ve ever worked with and for.

That priority alone can help galvanize companies who are adrift in multiple, conflicting agendas, strategies and projects.  Uniting around that goal – serving sales and getting them what they need to excel – can turn around even the most downtrodden companies.  And size doesn’t matter, the intensity of focus and commitment to excel  do.

That’s why the latest report from Gartner’s Ed Thompson, What’s “Hot” in CRM Application 2012, published last Thursday resonates with me.  He’s talking about how sales strategies need to be propelled by rapid advances in mobile technology, social CRM, sales content and collaboration, and clienteling to serve the sales force more thoroughly than ever before.  His assessment of what’s hot in CRM is a great foundation for getting behind the mantra of serving the sales force and engraining it into a corporate culture while getting full value from the latest technologies.

Here are the key take-aways from the report:

  • Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery of CRM applications represented 34% of worldwide CRM application spending in 2011.  More than 50% of all Sales Force Automation (SFA) spending is on the SaaS platform.  Gartner clients who are successfully running SaaS are now looking at how to get value from Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in the context of selling strategies.
  • CRM spending grew 13% in 2011, fueled analytical, operational and social CRM growth.  Operational CRM represents 80% of all CRM spending and grew 10% in 2011.
  • Analytical CRM, in which Gartner includes predictive analytics and market segmentation analysis, grew a solid 10% in 2011 and is having a very strong year with inquiry traffic.
  • Social CRM grew 30% in 2011 in revenue terms and is 7% of total CRM spending globally as of 2011.   90% of Social CRM spending is originating in Business-to-Consumer (B2C) organizations with the remaining occurring in B2B.
  • Gartner is projecting that CRM will be one of the top three search terms on Gartner.com throughout calendar 2012 based on the trends and volume of calls they are seeing today.
  • CEOs see CRM as their #1 technology-enabled investment in 2012 according the query calls through April, 2012.
  • CRM is ascending rapidly in the priorities of CIOs in 2012, moving from 18th place to eight place  in the latest Gartner analysis.
  • The following table of Highest CRM Application Priorities, 2012 show what’s trending within Sales, Customer Service, E-Commerce and Marketing inquiries Gartner is receiving from its clients.  Consider these as leading indicators of interest.  Over time these areas will need to solidify for forecasts to be completed.
  • Apple iPads are the great maverick buy of 2012 with thousands being purchased by Sales and Marketing management with the immediate requirement of IT integration to these devices.   IT departments are scrambling on the security issues and lack of polices on BYOD.  In enterprise software, iPads are proving to be highly effective as demo platforms for new SaaS-based applications.  They have become the new sales bag of the 21rst century.
  •  High Tech, Life Sciences and Insurance are the three industries with the greatest levels of iPad adoption as of April 2012.  Gartner is predicting that by the end of 2012, 80% of all sales representatives in the pharmaceutical industry will be using iPads for their daily sales tasks.
  • Social or community customer service is the hottest area of growth for post-sales service with high-tech, media, travel, telecommunications, retail and education-based clients dominating client inquiries.

SaaS-based ERP Systems are Business Process Stress Tests in Progress

Bottom line: Signing up for an Amazon AWS account is faster than creating a profile on Expedia. As a result, there are dozens of SaaS start-ups in the analytics, CRM, social CRM, ERP, supply chain management and many other areas of enterprise software. The ones that are going to make it already have a very clear vision of which complex, challenging, impossible business processes their customers face that they can standardize on, drive down cost per user per month down, and build a real business on.

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Altimeter and Web Analytics Demystified Release Social Marketing Analytics Report

Bottom line: Altimeter and Web Analytics Demystified have delivered a landmark report on social marketing analytics that is both pragmatic in advice and strategic in the framework delivered.

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