Why we should welcome GDPR

Why we should welcome GDPR

There has been much discussion of GDPR in recent months and this is only set to increase ahead of May next year. It’s fair to say that there has been a general feeling of confusion and trepidation around the new regulation, but it is time for organisations to start focusing on the positives it can bring in terms re-connecting with customers and offering them an improved brand experience.

Getting your house in order 

GDPR offers a real opportunity for organisations to review current practices and get their data management and governance in order. Advocates of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and now is the perfect time to do that. Just like any asset, businesses should attach cost and value to their data.

By establishing what ‘good’ looks like (something that will vary depending on the nature of a particular business) and constantly asking ‘where’s the value?’, Organisations can start to better measure the effectiveness of their data strategy and in turn make more use of data to improve the customer experience.

Re-engaging with customers 

As well as harnessing data to improve the customer journey, GDPR also presents a real chance for businesses to re-engage with customers and educate them on the benefits of data sharing. People are often increasingly reluctant to part with data and organisations need to demonstrate the value exchange involved. This includes improved service, a better understanding of customer needs and a better brand experience.

Getting ahead of the game 

By taking this approach, businesses can also get ahead of the game in terms of allaying any fears individuals may have around how their data is gathered and used. Many people may have no real idea of exactly what happens to their data and with GDPR looming, there is a real danger that common misconceptions around data use and storage will be magnified.

Showing that they have strong, secure data governance strategies in place can go a long way in fostering consumer trust and helping to build strong brand relationships, something which is good for everyone.

 

Register here to read myBench’s ‘Ask the Experts’ GDPR report.

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The Knowledge Bench – Key take-aways

 

On 22 November, myBench hosted a festive Knowledge Bench event at Bar Soho, London, where Data and Marketing Technology experts gathered to hear the latest 2017 market predictions. The informal advice forum was led by Dan Telling, Managing Partner at myBench, and sponsor IBM’s Derick Wiesner, IBM Commerce and Digital Marketing Agencies Segment Leader, Europe. The panel addressed the six big issues that will be shaping the marketplace in 2017 and discussed the challenges and opportunities that will arise.

Six predictions for 2017:

  • Rise of the machines – everyone will be buying cognitive computing! Be ready for the effects on marketing acquisition and CRM and watch early adopters start deployment.
  • Thinking Teapots – web enabled products will start to think as part of a wider IoT ecosystem with retailers rushing to enhance their website functionality and marketers starting to sell to devices.
  • Fluffy Little Clouds – organisations will continue to wonder if the Cloud will bring stormy weather or a smarter way to get value out of software.
  • Plausible Deniability – data security, information security and management will be top of the agenda with more breaches and greater concerns around legislation as there is a move towards General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
  • Get Real – we will finally start to see many more implementations of real time software, organisations may have bought it up to three years ago because it was the next big thing but many were not ready to use it. They finally are now!
  • What does one do with a Unicorn? – confusion and excitement will continue to reign around Data Management Platforms (DMPs), what they are and the promise they can bring.


Key take-away tips from the experts included:

  • Don’t over look the importance of understanding people and different cultures, people are the basis of everything marketers do.
  • Don’t get dazzled by the next big thing. There needs to be a point to technology, over and above it just being the next big thing.
  • Make sure you are asking the right questions when selecting and implementing new technology. ‘Where is the value?’ should be top of this list
  • Buy-in from the C-suite is absolutely key. Have a solid plan in place for how to achieve this (tip: answering the above question re: value will help!)
  • Hold onto your hat regarding new skill sets as marketing becomes an increasingly technical function.


Missed this event?
The Knowledge Bench is an informal forum for interested and like-minded people to get together and share challenges, network and see what’s new. If you’re interested in attending the next event please visit mybench.co.uk for more information.

Over the last few weeks we have been sharing our advice for achieving data technology success, featuring excerpts from the ‘Ask The Experts’ report. To read the report in full request your copy.

Find out more regarding our ‘Knowledge Bench’ events.

Get in touch if you want to learn more.

Ensuring data technology success: a summary

All too often, we see organisations either rushing to buy marketing and data technology, or investing in new technology, which then does not deliver on its promise or expectation. They are all driven by a desire to stay one step ahead of the competition and carve out an advantage in an increasingly crowded and fast-paced environment, yet many fail to achieve the desired results.

Frustratingly, the technology to enable them to do this is available, however it’s just not being selected and implemented in the right way. In order to really unleash the potential of marketing and data technology organisations need to shift their mindset, this is not an easy task, but with access to the right skills and expertise, it is achievable.

Over the last few weeks we have been sharing excerpts from our recently launched ‘Ask The Experts’ report which details the critical steps organisations need to take in order to achieve data technology success. These steps can be summarised as follows:

  1. Don’t start with technology

Understanding how your customers interact with your brand, how they will in the future and what disruptions in the market might change this relationship are key to mapping customer experience. This understanding can then be used to develop a customer-focused strategy, which, once in place, can indicate what specific role technology needs to play in delivering this strategy.     

  1. Conduct an audit

Before purchasing any new technology, organisations first need to fully understand current systems, as many already have multiple systems in place that are not being used properly. By closely examining current marketing and data architecture, and the way systems, tools and data presently connect, organisations can gather a clearer idea of where there is a genuine need for new technology. Often, organisations can get as much value from using its current system better, than putting a whole new technology in place. 

  1. Choose the right technology for your needs

There are more marketing and data technologies available than ever before. Having the skills to know which technology will not only deliver results for your specific needs, but also fit with your existing systems, is vital. Niche expertise and experience is required for this, however this is not commonly found within in-house marketing and IT departments so seeking independent, expert advice can save considerable time and money. 

  1. Keep it agile

Do not make the mistake of rushing and not effectively managing expectations across the business as this often means new technology is viewed as a failure if it does not deliver quickly. The key is to carefully balance the adoption of the technology with what you’re trying to achieve, in order to bring greater value in the longer term. 

  1. Choose your team wisely

Having a tight, expert team is the difference between success and failure. This is especially true in terms of integrating new technology with existing systems. If new technology is not integrated correctly, then adoption rates are likely to be low, it will be perceived badly and ultimately it will not provide the required return on investment or solve the issues it was brought in to address.

The pace at which things are moving – not just in terms of customer demands and technological advancements, but the speed at which marketers are expected to react to – is becoming increasing rapid. By following the above steps organisations will be well on their way to achieving data technology success but it won’t be without the need to invest some serious time and investment. In getting it right however, the potential benefits, could be huge.

Over the last few weeks we have been sharing our advice for achieving data technology success, featuring excerpts from the ‘Ask The Experts’ report.To read the report in full request your copy.

Bench also runs regular ‘Knowledge Bench’ events, which are informal forums for interested and like-minded people to get together, share data and marketing technology challenges. Find out more or Register to attend.

 

Talk to us if you want to learn more.

Ensuring data technology success: Choose your team wisely

Digital marketing evangelist Avinash Kaushik was spot on when he said “invest 90% of your effort in the people”. Having a tight, expert team is the difference between success and failure when it comes to marketing and data technology. An organisation can select the best piece of technology in the world, but its true value cannot be unlocked without the appropriate expertise to implement, integrate and optimise it. For instance, a particular technology may claim to deliver X,Y and Z straight out of the box, but in reality it will need careful configuration and this means having the right talent available.

Many organisations may find however that there is a talent gap when it comes to this process yet, in bringing together a virtual team of subject matter experts, this void can be filled. This requires a mindset shift; developing relationships with contractors or even gaining support from a third party agency that can manage this process and the required expertise.

This is especially true in terms of integrating new technology with existing systems. Organisations need to really understand how certain technologies work with others, as well as the strengths and limitations of both existing and new technologies. For example, making sure marketing automation tools work closely with CRM tools to help track the entire customer experience.

If a new technology is not integrated correctly, then adoption rates are likely to be low, it will be perceived badly and ultimately it will not provide the required return on investment or solve the issues it was bought in to address.

It’s also not just technical expertise that is needed. Your team also needs to be expert communicators and bridge the gap between both marketing and technology, but also the rest of the organisation. While the ‘war’ between CIOs and CMOs might not be quite the battle it has been made out to be, the fact remains that all too often, marketing technology can often be purchased in silos, which are then not integrated. For example, 85% of CMOs say the biggest barrier to cross channel marketing is customer data that is unavailable or spread out across disparate data sources and assets[1] and all too often, marketing, digital and data are seen as departmental issues, when in fact they are enablers for every part of the business.

Indeed, for organisations to become truly customer orientated, an overall cultural shift is needed, which is championed by the leadership team. This can be achieved by obtaining stakeholder buy-in across the business and by ensuring that they are regularly communicating about how the implementation and integration process is progressing and highlighting success in areas where value can be demonstrated quickly. A failure to do so, will only bring about further challenges and inefficiencies within the overall strategy.

Over the last few weeks we have been sharing our advice for achieving data technology success, featuring excerpts from the ‘Ask The Experts’ report.To read the report in full request your copy.

Bench also runs regular ‘Knowledge Bench’ events, which are informal forums for interested and like-minded people to get together, share data and marketing technology challenges. Find out more or Register to attend.

 

Get in touch to find out more.

 

[1] Econsultancy Data Driven Marketing Trends 2015

 

Ensuring data technology success: keep it agile

When it comes to implementing new systems or software, many organisations make the mistake of rushing and trying to implement technology too quickly. This is perhaps understandable, as there is often immense pressure to deliver results. Indeed, 55% of big data projects fail as they cannot demonstrate value quickly enough[1].

However, this approach rarely delivers true value in the long-term and in fact, can often be counter-productive. By rushing implementation, and not effectively managing expectations across the business, the technology is unfairly viewed as a failure.

The key is to carefully balance the adoption of the technology with what you’re trying to achieve with it. This is precisely why developing a roadmap prior to implementation is so important. Built into this roadmap should be incremental targets, some of which can be delivered quickly in order to demonstrate value up front, as well as clear objectives that the business can work towards.

These ‘quick wins’ are critical for demonstrating the value of a system and getting that all in important buy in. This stage should not be underestimated, particularly as businesses are placing more pressure than ever before on return on investment. CRM can sometimes be viewed within organisations as a concern and previous experiences with holistic technology can leave people scarred. However, if the process is delivered in an agile fashion with expert help, businesses can create pockets of value very quickly. A lengthy implementation and failure to demonstrate value swiftly, will only further alienate an audience that might already be skeptical.

It is also imperative that organisations have access to the right expertise in order to implement their chosen technology in the most appropriate way. While taking an agile and iterative approach is often recommended, some technology needs a long-term approach. Businesses need to be able to identify this upfront and communicate it widely to manage expectations too.

Over the last few weeks we have been sharing our advice for achieving data technology success, featuring excerpts from the ‘Ask The Experts’ report.To read the report in full request your copy.

Bench also runs regular ‘Knowledge Bench’ events, which are informal forums for interested and like-minded people to get together, share data and marketing technology challenges. Find out more or Register to attend.

Talk to us if you want to learn more.

 

[1] Infochimp big data research 2013

 

Ensuring data technology success: choosing the right technology for your needs

This the fourth post in our series of articles about achieving data technology success. In our last few LinkedIn posts we have talked you through the reasons for placing the customer at the very heart of any marketing strategy, how you can go about developing a robust data strategy and why all organisations should complete a technology audit before investing in a new system. The strategy and audit are very important first steps in the journey to data technology success and today we help guide you through the process a little further, offering practical advice about how to choose the right technology for your needs…

When implemented and integrated correctly, marketing and data technologies have the potential to drive digital transformation, enable business intelligence, allow organisations to become truly data led and ultimately transform customer experience for the better.

However, marketing and data technology implementation all too often does not deliver the benefits it should. Recent research from Oracle found that only 8% of those questioned felt that marketing technology had been implemented well. 40% did not think technology had been implemented even partially well and 40% were unconvinced by marketing technology’s benefits.

Once you have mapped out your ideal customer experience, examined your existing technology and subsequently identified a specific need for new technology, then comes the challenge of selecting the most appropriate technology for your needs. Yet, in an age when there are more marketing and data technologies to choose from than ever before, having the skills to know which will not only deliver results for your specific needs, but also fit into your existing eco-systems, is vital.

As it stands, the niche expertise and experience required to wade through all the available technology options, identify the best fit and see how it can be successfully integrated into existing systems, are not commonly found within marketing or IT departments. As such, seeking independent, expert advice can save considerable time and money.

Organisations like Bench provide granular and specialist expertise in the implementation, installation and adoption of marketing and information management technology, including Adobe, IBM and SAS amongst others. Our dynamic and flexible team of experts are one of only a few in the world to have this level of specialist knowledge, in each of their respected fields and this means we can offer tailored support and a ‘one stop shop’ for all requirements. In short, Bench can save you money and offer more commercial value too. Call us today to discuss your requirements in more detail.

 

To read the report in full request your copy.

Bench also runs regular ‘Knowledge Bench’ events, which are informal forums for interested and like-minded people to get together, share data and marketing technology challenges. Find out more or Register to attend.

Get in touch to find out more.

Ensuring data technology success: conduct an audit

In our last report excerpt we talked you through the reasons for placing the customer at the very heart of any marketing strategy. We explained the reasons why the customer should come first when it comes to buying data marketing technologies and what initial steps need to be taken to ensure organisations choose the very best technology for them. In this latest instalment, we discuss why businesses should complete an audit of existing technology before committing to buy any new data technology sets and how they can roll one out efficiently and effectively. Read on to find out more…

Before purchasing any new technology, organisations first need to fully understand the systems they already have. Due to the particularly high turn-over in senior marketing roles, coupled with increasing marketing technology spend, most businesses are likely to have multiple systems in place, which are often not being utilised properly.

Yet, by closely examining current marketing and data architecture, and the way systems, tools and data presently connect (or fail to connect as the case may be), organisations can gather a much clearer idea of where there is a genuine need for new technology. An audit, for instance, may avoid the need to make unnecessary purchases, particularly when technology already exists within organisations, but that is perhaps being under-utilised. This often happens when there is a lack of staff knowledge for using and maximising particular systems, which could be easily resolved with additional training; often a much cheaper alternative to a brand new system!

Configuring or integrating existing technology in a smarter way however can only be achieved successfully if organisations have access to a team of people with the right skills and expertise who can help establish how and where the technology might be better capitalised on. This is where organisations like Bench can help. We work with companies to set-up, manage and run data technology solutions which deliver results and really drive commercial revenue. If you’re unsure of where to start, pick up the phone to us today and see how we can help.

To read the report in full request your copy.

Bench also runs regular ‘Knowledge Bench’ events, which are informal forums for interested and like-minded people to get together, share data and marketing technology challenges. Find out more or Register to attend.

Get in touch to find  out more.

Customer Experience – does Technology get in the way?

Wikipedia defines “Customer experience” as “the product of an interaction between an organisation and a customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction includes a customer’s attraction, awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy and purchase and use of a service.” Companies increasingly leverage products such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to help “deliver the customer experience”.

Many of us have experienced that “computer says no” moment. Sometimes it appears that the technology being employed by the organisation that we’re reaching out to is actively trying to discourage us from buying the product or service. Yet other organisations seem to be able to remove all barriers and help us through the process of buying.

There is a surprisingly simple technique to ensure that technology is helping rather than hindering the sales process. Place the customer at the centre of your process, procedures and technology.

First of all, a quick disclaimer – I sell CRM technology for a living. And when I visit a prospect the conversation often starts with me saying, “so, run me through your high level marketing, sales and customer service process.” All too often, the prospect will walk me through a process like this:

  1. Target
  2. Sell
  3. Deliver
  4. Support

 

After all, this is what businesses do, right? It targets its market, sells to the prospects that respond to the targeting, delivers the product or service and then tries to support the customer if and when it goes wrong.

The problem with this view is that it is completely different to the journey that the customer is trying to undertake. To illustrate this, I often then ask the prospect to walk me through how they go about procuring a technology solution. They will often walk me through a cycle such as this:

  1. Identify Need
  2. Research Market
  3. Determine Shortlist
  4. Approach Providers
  5. Trial the Product
  6. Purchase Product/Service
  7. Use Product/Service

 

By doing this, I can establish a simple way to help educate the prospect that their own customers are likely to be going through a similar journey with them – yet the marketing, sales and customer service processes they have just outlined do nothing to help the customer along the way.

A full understanding of the customer will reveal not only the high level steps that define the customer’s journey but will also drive out the milestones that define where on the journey the customer considers they are, the tasks that must be completed to help the customer reach the next milestone, the channels and touch points the customer prefers to use at each stage and the metrics to measure this all by.

When the content management, marketing automation and customer relationship management solutions are employed with this journey in mind, it helps positively reinforce the customer’s experience rather than acting as a barrier which may stall it. The results can often span:

  • More “top of the funnel” leads
  • Better conversion of marketing campaigns
  • Shorter sales cycles
  • Higher conversion rates with higher margins
  • Reduced customer churn
  • Increased Net Promoter Scores
  • Higher levels of cross and up-sell


Written by Nick Holt

 

Talk to us if you want to learn more.

CRM – Focus on the customer

If you have customers, then you will know that the relationship that you and your team have with them is perhaps the single most important factor for success in your business. While you may not realise it, you already “do” Customer Relationship Management (CRM), because every time you send an email, hold a phone call, schedule a follow up, attend a meeting, send a quote or proposal, you are already managing this relationship.

To truly appreciate the difference that CRM can make to your business, it is first helpful to understand what CRM actually means…

CRM is a strategy for making sure that every time one of your team engages with a customer or prospect that the interaction always enhances the existing relationship. You could argue about how to measure the quality of that engagement in any particular industry, but now more than ever, the customer relationship remains the key to profitability and I believe that this definition gets us to the heart of the matter:

 “Engage Better, Earn More”

As businesses grow, the ability to relate personally to each and every prospect and customer becomes a real challenge. This is because there are many more people to keep track of and just dealing with the day-to-day issues of running a busy department or the demands of managing a team of employees steals time away from what you should be doing – which is talking to your customers and trying to understand how you can best meet their needs.

Over time, a business will develop mechanisms to cope with these problems. For instance, new staff members are often taken on to help, but they will all need direction and management. A plethora of spreadsheets can often then get created, designed to help one person achieve one specific task. But these grow in complexity and keeping the information up-to-date across numerous spreadsheets takes time. Different versions are stored in different departments and on different PCs. The result? Mistakes happen because the information is out of date, because person ‘A’ doesn’t know that person ‘B’ is giving the customer a different story, and because hand-over from one person’s area of responsibility to another’s, can easily break down. In short, there is no single source of the truth. Customer information starts to feel “locked up” in the email inbox and resolving questions often means trawling through mountains of email history.

Being out of the office means that you’re out-of-touch with what’s going on “back at the ranch”. Keeping on top of anything means holding more and more meetings – and in order to make the meetings themselves productive, people are spending long periods “pulling together” information from various sources so that you can discuss things that are fundamentally basic, like: “how much business will we do this quarter?”

The biggest problem with all of this is that all of the “work” above is just work for work’s sake. It’s not selling, it’s not resolving customer problems, it’s not developing your product, identifying new markets or finding new customers. And it is most definitely not making the customer feel special and valued. It’s just sapping energy away from growing your business. Believe me; it does not have to be this way!

A better way

Taking a formal approach to CRM can help you to get your business focus back on to the customer. It does this in many ways:

1) It stores everything related to your customers in one central, well organised, place. Now that there is just one common copy of the customer’s name, address, contact details, marketing preferences, marketing history, enquiry, purchase and customer issue history you stand a much better chance of it being accurate and up to date. And it’s suddenly so much easier just to find information.

2) It facilitates collaboration. Different members of your team can share and assign information. You can opt to “follow” key accounts or deals and stay up to date with what is happening on them. You can share key documents – such as the proposal or contract.

3) It enables end-to-end processes to be implemented and followed, aligning marketing, sales and customer service. The results of that marketing drive are fed to the sales team, who can maximise each and every opportunity, coordinating and collaborating on the best approach to each and every deal. Once the deal is done, you can prioritise and track fulfilment and service needs. Regular tasks can be automated, scheduled and assigned. Customer communication can be automated.

4) It allows you to report, measure, track and forecast. You gain visibility into your customer base and valuable insight. You can identify customer traits, trends and cross-sell opportunity. Measure the value of the clients by sector or by product, see which marketing streams provide the greatest return and compare performance of different team members. Dashboard metrics pull the information together for you. Meetings are shorter, take less preparation and are more productive too.

5) And finally, CRM allows you to do all of the above, wherever you are – in the office, on the road, or even when working from home.

The bottom line

CRM might not solve every challenge your business faces. But it can make a real difference to your bottom line. So, what could your business look like if you implemented a sound CRM strategy? The Aberdeen Group conducted in-depth research into this area. They found that, without a doubt, CRM can produce dramatic results. Here’s a summary from their report:

 

Metric Do not use CRM Do use CRM Potential Improvement
Customer Retention 54% 62% 15%
Resolving customer issues in one call 20% 45% 125%
Sales Team delivering to Quota 40% 56% 40%
Individual Reps delivering to Quota 36% 51% 41%
Inbound contacts that result in a sale 15% 24% 60%
Cost per customer contact $16.50 $9.25 (44%)

 

Source: Making the most of your CRM: How Best in Class Sales Teams Maximize Revenue and Customer Experience.

As you can see, in every single metric, the companies that use CRM do considerably better than those companies that did not. On average, customer retention was increased, sales were increased, forecasting was more accurate and the cost of servicing customers was reduced.

The evidence for the benefits for CRM are clear. So now is the time to ask yourself:

  • What would a 60% increase in the number of calls that convert to a sales look like on your bottom line?
  • What would happen to customer satisfaction if you could resolve 125% more customer service calls first time?

The answer to the above questions is ‘fantastic’.

But, most importantly, with CRM you would be free to focus again on valuing the relationship you have with your customers and, in turn, having your customers place more value on you and your business too. Can you afford to delay any longer?

Written by Nick Holt 

 

Talk to us if you want to learn more.