Posted by Mallory Green on October 22nd, 2014
Recently, data breaches and credit card fraud have been in the headlines starting with the massive attack on Target in December 2013 when every location across the country was hacked and nearly 40 million credit and debit card numbers were stolen.1 In September 2014, Home Depot was at the center of a data breach that impacted 56 million cardholders, and it probably will not end there.2 As more people utilize electronic forms of payment, the higher the risk for larger and even more devastating attempts for hackers to steal credit and debit card numbers. But change may be on the way in the form of a microchip.
Currently, most American bank issued credit and debit cards rely heavily on a magnetic strip located on the back on the card. The magnetic strip “contains and unchanging set of information that includes the cardholder’s account number, expiration date, and security code.”1 Although you aren’t necessarily putting yourself at risk every single time you use your card, the static information on the strip makes it easy for the information to be reused once hackers obtain the data, because counterfeiters can easily create duplicate magnetic strips using encoding machines. The duplicated strips are then placed on fake credit cards and sold.
But, integrated circuit cards or EMV, which is named after credit card companies EuroPay, MasterCard and Visa, could change all of that. Currently, close to 100 percent of all credit card terminals in Europe are using a chip-based technology, which have proven to significantly reduce card fraud.1 Instead of utilizing the same set of static card information every time you buy something in the store, EMV focuses on a chip-based authentication, which changes the numbers every time the card is swiped making duplication impossible.
The jump from magnetic strips to EMV chips should help financial institutions and credit card companies alike. The promise of security has become a huge marketing tool as more Americans are asking questions about how their data is being handled and what processes are in place to rectify a breach. The switch could eliminate fear and encourage people to begin using their credit and debit cards at point of sale checkout machines once again without hesitation.
Posted by Deanna Cruzan on October 17th, 2014
Direct marketing principles indicate that in order to keep your list from dwindling, you need to implement prospecting strategies to attract potential customers. However, those same principles also state that attracting new customers costs more than reaching out to current customers. Email offers an ideal way to address this situation in the form of re-engagement campaigns, which focus on opening up a fresh line of communication with members of your mailing list to whom you previously stopped mailing due to inactivity. By converting the previously disengaged into “new” engaged recipients, you benefit from prospecting efforts without incurring additional costs of trying to attract new prospects.
To begin, it is always best to determine a timeframe for inactive recipients. For example, you can decide any customer that hasn’t converted in the last 2-4 years is still a potential prospect. Then, you must understand why they became disengaged in the first place. This can be determined by conducting attrition surveys. These surveys provide valuable insight as to why customers are leaving and what could have made them stay.
If you don’t have access to attrition survey data, the next best option is to segment your buyers into groups, such as the RFM approach involving groups based on the recency, frequency and monetary value of their purchases.
Some ideas outside of the standard RFM include products purchased, geographic location, or previous email render/click activity. Once segmented, test out different incentives to entice your old customer base to come back. Do they respond to promotions? Discounts? Events?
Inactive recipients typically re-engage within the first 90 days, but those who don’t may need to receive a different type of communication such as an educational piece or a newsletter. If there still is no response, you may want to consider removing those names from your mailings to prevent future unsubscribes or spam issues.
While you won’t see your overall list grow, reactivating recipients will increase your “active” list, thus positively influencing your bottom line and improving customer loyalty. To keep your list healthy, continue to test out different segments and incentives while taking note of what is driving engagement and what is not. From there, adjust accordingly to get the most out of your current customer base.
Posted by Mallory Green on October 15th, 2014
Being a leader in the Social Age is more than who has the most Facebook likes, retweets, Instagram comments, new followers and blog shares. It is about taking these communication platforms and leveraging them to form better connections and building solid relationships. You become an industry leader by listening to those around you for the greater good of your brand.
Social media shouldn’t be all about marketing, but should be used as a way to assign human characteristics to your business. The platforms should be used as an opportunity to take a more personalized approach by asking your customers questions about their experiences with your product or make references to topics your customers can relate to. By taking the time to address customers in a more approachable way, you are creating loyalty, which leads to advocacy.
The use of social channels leaves your brand open to public criticism, but also gives you the opportunity to rectify issues, which your networks will see. Any response to both positive and negative reviews will prove that you are listening, quick on your feet and can easily adapt to the changing minds and opinions of today’s Social Age consumer. If you are not easily malleable, this will make you slower to meet the needs of your customers, who can easily jump ship to a competitor who appears, thanks to social media, to always be there for its customers.
Social is still a growing media trend, but with Gen Yers leading the way, a world without it won’t exist in the very near future. Businesses will move away from hiring experts to run and leverage their social strategies, and C-level employees to college interns will all be connected. Everyone will have a smart phone with 24-hour access to email and social platforms, and everyone in the organization will be expected to network, communicate and make decisions on their own, because customers in the Social Age will expect it.
Posted by Kavita Jaswal on October 9th, 2014
Content marketing continues to be an effective tool for marketers to engage consumers while promoting brand awareness. Although there are several budget-friendly options to choose from, one type of content marketing that marketers continue to overlook is video. With a tight lock on marketing budgets and a lack of manpower, some organizations struggle to give value to a strategy that is seen as pricey. But recent studies have proven that implementing a video content strategy into a marketing campaign is not only extremely beneficial, but can be cost-effective with the right tools.
According to Forrester research, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.1 For marketers, this offers a great opportunity to promote their company’s brand, services, products and culture all while visually engaging consumers. Offering a clickable video on a company’s website, through social media or placed in an email campaign allows marketers to reach an unlimited number of existing and potential customers. Statistics show that video on a landing page increases conversion rates by 130%.2
The added entertainment value that video offers makes it a key component in any marketing strategy. Axonn research showed 70% of consumer’s perception of a brand was positively altered after seeing interesting video content.3 Consumers want and need to be entertained, and video offers marketers the opportunity to captivate their audience and illustrate a multitude of information in a short amount of time.
The value that video brings to any marketing strategy cannot be discounted. Some marketers do see the value and potential that video can offer, but they may not have the increased budget or time to allocate to a big video project. Luckily, with today’s technology and software, marketers can create video that offers some of the same benefits as a big production but at a very minimal cost. Presentation software such as Prezi and emaze offer marketers the ability to turn digital content into an engaging video by incorporating audio and music files, which then can be embedded on their website or pushed through social media channels to target customers.
Because of the impact video content can have on current and prospective customers, brands must not completely disregard implementing it into their marketing strategies. Consumers need to be engaged and marketers can use video to maintain customer interest while promoting brand awareness without breaking the bank.
Posted by Rob Ropars on October 7th, 2014
In January, I wrote about the technology evolution known as “The Internet of Things,” and I thought it was time to check on the status of “IoT” and what’s ahead short and long term. Next week, Cisco is hosting a world forum on IoT in Chicago (10/14-16) as every technology company is racing to both define and fulfill the future of everything.
This is part of the complication around this topic. Everyone wants to define what “it” is and ensure they’re at the forefront of delivering “it” to consumers. While Cisco is calling IoT, “the network of physical objects accessed through the Internet, as defined by technology analysts and visionaries,” IBM says it’s, “an evolution in which objects are capable of interacting with other objects.”1 Regardless of the precise definition, a paradigm shift is upon us.
Every new connected “smart” device presents an opportunity for increased efficiency and solutions we’re only just starting to imagine. It also means, more ways for hackers and malware to infest, hijack and ruin the coming utopia. The same challenges to the success of IoT exist already with our attempts to convert the population to broadband access. The layers of legal/privacy issues are manifold. Will we have to agree to an end user license agreement to use a toaster, because it will send data to some entity that will then email/text us to buy more bread, with a coupon of course, while providing your personal usage/info to advertisers?
Some trend analysis work suggests that by 2020, there will be more “things” than “us” on the Internet. At this point, topic experts are discussing and defining, manufacturers of transmitter devices are preparing to update everything and the rest of us still struggle to consistently stream movies at home without buffering.
Product manufacturers will need to begin, if they haven’t already, planning ahead for which object should have connectivity and how that will work. Ergonomics and general usage will need to be considered and don’t forget about the growing trend of wearable tech. People want to have the coolest, latest things and be trendy, but they also want to look cool using easy-to-use objects.
And therein lies the real rub. The easier things are made, the less people will think about the ramifications of using them. If we’ve learned anything over the last few years, no connected system/device is safe from attack and our privacy is ever eroding as marketers, law enforcement, government agencies, etc. compile anything and everything we do every day (and with whom, when, where, etc.). We must be cautious as we exponentially increase our personal footprint online.
And just think of all those machines that will be talking to each other, learning from each other and deciding whether to keep us around…
Wait. That’s only in the movies…