Digital Transformation at Organizations – Connecting Boardroom objectives to IT re-platforming

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Transformation is all the rage. The Board of Directors is probably interested.

Connecting Boardroom objectives to IT re-platforming is essential.

This video explores and identifies the connected themes across business and IT decision makers while collating the big picture on how digital transformations need to be all-inclusive across functions in organizations.

 

“We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.’ ” ~~Herb Kelleher

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I don’t think I would advocate not having a strategic plan but they probably could be simpler than we make most of them. Regardless of what you call it, the focus should be on getting something done, on doing things. The focus should be execution.

In the world of business technology, speed is huge. Executing is huge. Results reign supreme. Experiments are the norm.

I ought to obsess about the customer and sweat the details about executing what helps them. We should keep moving and never stop thinking of what the customer experience is like. No stone should be left unturned in my  pursuit of amazing customer service. It is in fact the small courtesies that create an emotional connection to our products and services.

  • Is every contact with us memorable?
  • Did we add value?
  • Are we doing it?
  • Are we getting it done today?

We have a strategic plan. It’s called ‘doing things.” —Herb Kelleher, Southwest Airlines CEO and Founder

Am I more powerful than I think?

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And so … Seth’s wisdom is always helpful.

“You are more powerful than you think
It’s bigger than you
Leaders are made, not born
Leveling up is a choice
They say you can’t, we know you can
Dance with fear
See, assert, change
Overwhelmed is temporary
Out loud, in public
Hard work is far better than busy work
The crowd is wrong. The critics are wrong. Useful feedback is precious…
Management matters. So does leadership…
“Here, I made this.” Or possibly, “Here, we made this.”
See the end before you begin the journey
Culture defeats everything
It’s personal” ~Seth Godin

Source: Seth’s Blog: You are more powerful than you think

Unifying Online & Offline Customer Data for a Consistent Experience

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Unify Data - Convergence Ahead

Unify Data – Convergence Ahead

The challenge of creating meaningful relationships is complicated by an abundance of data from both online and offline sources, as well as a multitude of communication channels to contend with.

A big issue is how to consolidate customer information to drive consistent communications across channels. By taking a unified approach, marketers can better shape interactions with their organization to create outstanding customer experiences.

What should we think through?

  1. How to collect and manage online and offline data in order to truly understand our customers
  2. Why a unified experience is essential for growth
  3. Common inconsistencies and gaps in the customer experience, and how to handle them
  4. How to use data to track customer interactions, and use this information to improve communications across multiple channels

Here are the key ideas:

  1. This is an ecosystem built for data, insight and action – Resist the temptation to focus and organize around silos. While silos can maximize a part of the system, they sub-optimize the whole. We are building a customer (digital) ecosystem.
  2. What we should collect – We probably shouldn’t try to collect everything. We also should be collecting the “right” data. We should consider enhancing the data we collect to make it more valuable. Several suggested priorities are all online transaction detail and insight, most offline transaction detail and insight, social media data and insights and finally, call center transactions and insights.
  3. The value of offline data – Not all data is as valuable as others. The human resources to manually enter offline data can be daunting and so many times it is the last priority. There are great services that automate the collection of offline data at a reasonable cost. The first step in the automation process is to create a data value strategy. That will help justify the cost of capturing the offline data and integrating it into your customer systems.
  4. Understanding the customer – Data is very useful if it allows us to understand our customers better. Collecting data is of no value if it doesn’t lead to insight. Think data, insight and action.
  5. Unifying the data – Even 2 pieces of unified data is more powerful than one. Having a plan for the most valuable sources and at least integrating some of the data will move insight ahead.
  6. Unifying the experience – This is not all about data. At the end of the day, customers will expect a great (unified) experience across multiple channels.
  7. Doing something about the gaps – Knowing you have a gap in the data and the experience is one thing. Doing something that improves the experience is another. Insight is very useful but it must lead to action.
  8. Creating a value framework – Not all data is of equal value and not every customer is either. Part of the framework that leads from insight to action is understanding which customers are of more value and those that will lead to greater levels of renewal.
  9. An “Omni-Channel” approach – Unified data and a unified experience is created by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-Channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels. All channels need to be fused into a single approach.

Employees will provide an amazing customer experience. What should I focus on today?

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When it comes to the customer experience, it is important to think through very carefully what will employees actually do. It is my job, as a leader, to know how to have the most engaged employees possible. No on else can do that for me.

  • What is measured about the customer experience, will get done. I have to make sure that I am measuring the right thing. What is the one thing that will make a difference in the customer experience? Do I know? Am I measuring it?
  • What is incented will get done. Incentives can include compensation but should not do so exclusively.
  • What wins are we celebrating? What I spend time celebrating with employees is important. Everyone will pay attention.

So don’t blame people, change their environment. I can do that no matter what level I am in the organization.

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What is the (ROI) return on the investment in the stunning?

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Return on Investment

Return on Investment

There comes a time where we have to make a decision. What will we invest in? It is a serious question and not a budget exercise. If we are going to be intentional and proactive, we need to make an investment. At first that may be just our time as a digital executive.

Eventually it will be about people, our processes, our strategies and our technology. If we don’t become intentional in our approach to our digital customer experiences we will continue to be haphazard in our approach; reacting, responding, solving toxic experiences in real time. This intention however must be about heartfelt experiences. It must create a passion for our mission as a digital business.

Here are the key ideas:

  • There is a difference in the mediocre / ho hum experience and the stunning. Begin to believe in the amazing. If inspires you it will inspire your customers.
  • Decide you are going to decide. Not seeing you have alternatives can create inertia that can undermine progress.
  • Reacting to customer pain points is a “net zero” game. It stops the bleeding but doesn’t improve your health. You do need to stop the bleeding however. It can’t be ignored.
  • Having stopped the bleeding if you need to, start investing in the stunning. It is one thing to prevent a problem, it is another to improve your wellbeing.
  • In considering your investment in the amazing, test your alternatives to help make the decision.

There is of course, a very real cost to reacting. Scrutinize your budget and you will see that most of our fixed expenses are reactionary. What if we invested in proactive and intentional experiences of the heart up front? Could we radically reduce our reactionary and bloated fixed expenses? In fact, my guess is the reactionary expenses vastly exceed proactive expenses. I know companies that are ramping up their expenses in reactionary engagement and relationships. The good news is that they are succeeding in shifting the negative to neutral or even the positive.

So what is the outcome of taking a negative and balancing it with a positive? Is it engagement or damage control?

So what is the cost and value of neutralizing the negative? Shouldn’t we start with the amazing?

What is the return on that investment in the stunning?

What is probably most concerning is that most of use are not measuring much of this. And why are we struggling to generate more sales? Now think about that question. Why is our revenue flat? Why are customers not engaged and renewing?

Is the experience we are creating wonderfully sharable? If not, what is our investment over the next 3 months going to be in changing that? We must invest in not only a positive experience but an experience that screams out for our customer and clients to share it with everyone they know. That encourages others to join in. It also offsets any negative experiences anyone else has shared. Think about it. We all read the ratings and comments. If there are 100 over the top ones we can ignore the one that is virally negative writing it off to a weirdo.

What is the biggest deal? Trying to offset the negative experiences or proactively creating amazing ones? Creating amazing ones is everything. That is not an exaggeration. You know, from your own experiences, that it is true. The cost of reacting is always eclipsed by the upside of the stunning.

Think of what you want. You are a consumer. You are the customer who wants something from your company you are doing business with. Are you looking for the ordinary? No, you are looking for an experience, no, the experience.

Any company that recognizes you, remembers you, and gives you an amazing service experience will win your heart. And it is all about your heart. You will be loyal to them no matter what. That is what we know as relevance. A passion of our heart that transcends anything else. What would the answer be if you asked you customers the following question: Can you imagine the world without (XYZ Company)? On a scale of 1 to 10, what would your average rating be?

And so, that heartfelt experience is not just a so-so something. That heartfelt, amazing experience, is everything. That kind of vision is the father of innovation. Who needs the mother of invention in that kind of world?

You have a number of alternatives before you as a digital executive. Which will you choose? One filter should be which of the experiences will create an emotional connection. Have you factored that into your decision analysis? You can actually measure the difference in terms of engagement. Does one alternative improve engagement or not? Some level of rigor in measuring the results will help.

There are constraints in terms of investments. Consider small tests with some level of “A-B” spilt analysis. “A-B’ tests are not just for the marketing department.

Why Customer Experiences should be intentional

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Intentional Customer Experience

Intentional Customer Experience

As a digital executive, design is important. What is being sold is important but the experience the customer has in buying it has become critical.

What does the future of your business look like? Is it focused on your mission AND design?

Here are the key ideas:

  • Customer experiences need to be intentionally designed.
  • Customers aren’t satisfied with the ordinary and expect more.
  • Measuring customer experiences gives benchmarks for how we are doing.
  • Creating an intentional focus that also frames out what things to stop is transformative.

Digital business transformation is all about being intentional about the experiences your customers are having.

How many products and services do you have? How many channels (Web, Social, Mobile, Call Center, Direct Mail, etc.) are you focused on? Do they all have a unified design and experience?

Mission + Design = Intentional experiences

We are clear about our mission. Are we clear about our design?

If not, we aren’t ready to be the digital executive of the future. If we aren’t ready to be a digital executive, we aren’t ready for the future. If we aren’t ready for the future, will we have a relevant job 5 to 10 years from now? Tough questions I know but worth considering.

So here are a couple more of intriguing questions:

  1. How do we ensure that our customers are having an amazing experience?
  2. Why make customers cope with the ordinary?
  3. Why aren’t customers more engaged with both your mission and revenue opportunities?

Our focus and day to day work should be about creating  amazing “customer experiences” in this new age of consumerism. What is going on in the rest of the world isn’t lost on your customers. They are judging you based on those experiences. We can bury our head in the sand. That will only get us left behind. Our credibility as an executive is at stake.

What should we focus on? What is amazing? There is actually some simplicity to it and it can be measured.

  1. How enjoyable are we to do business with?
  2. How easy are we to do business with?
  3. How effective are we at meeting customer needs?

Consumers expect more from businesses more than ever before. So our products and services have a level of expectation that our business may not be aware of. How does the experience your customers are having compare to USAA for example? Do you know?

Here is the harsh reality. Customers not only expect better experiences, they believe they are absolutely entitled to them. Will we be intentional in delivering on those expectations? Are we ready to get left behind with stagnant growth if we don’t deliver those experiences? We may not be ready for that but it may already be happening. I encourage you to think about it. It is a good question to ponder.

There is a unique opportunity to create amazing and positive experiences at our stores, on the web, at your call center (if you have one), on smart phones and in our direct mail pieces. Are all of those unified? Is the experience amazing?

That amazing or ordinary (or perhaps even bad) experience will be how your business is measured in terms of satisfaction or even our revenue success. Do you know how your customers feel about the experience they are having with your company? If not, why not? Are you being intentional about that experience they just had at your store? Is it consistent with the experience they want on your web site?

As an executive, you have an amazing opportunity to lead the charge regardless of your role. If you do, you will be a hero. To focus on what needs to be improved, the current experiences need to be measured so changes can be proven to make a difference.

Designing and unifying customer experiences will require skillsets that may not exist today. Deciding what else that is being done today that can be stopped so that staff can focus on design, experience mapping and unification efforts will require focus. The constraints of time and money will be important to address early in the transformation efforts.

 

“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing.” ~~Guy Kawasaki -Apple

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Do you have a strong inbound marketing program? Are you devoting more resources to it than last year?

If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.” Guy Kawasaki, former Apple evangelist and co-founder of Alltop.com Source: Making a Case for Inbound Marketing.

  • According to HubSpot’s State of Inbound Marketing report, one-third of marketing budgets are being allocated to inbound tactics.
  • The report shows that almost half of marketers were planning to increase their inbound marketing spending
  • HubSpot noting this was the third consecutive year that inbound budgets were increasing at a close to 50 percent pace.

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Our customers are empowered and we can’t control that

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Customer Empowerment

Customer Empowerment

Consumers are absolutely empowered through technology now. That means your customers are as well. It has happened and it is a fact. We can’t control that. Sorry to point that out but that is our starting reality.

Here are the key ideas:

  • Customers are in control of defining the experience and will communicate it whether it is good, bad or ugly.
  • You need a monitoring system or command center to stay on top of it, identify the root causes and fix them. Service breakdowns can’t be ignore. They won’t go away on their own. We need to identify them, report them up to senior executives and create a plan to fix the persistent ones.
  • We should define an amazing experience for them and make sure that all touch points that define that journey are aligned to deliver that experience.
  • Develop a continuous improvement process to take improvements to the next level on a regular basis. The average may be your next target but that isn’t the end game.

Our customers are empowered. They know it. Do we?

They know they have influence. Do we know they have influence?

Our customers know they have a voice that is powerful. They know they have more power than ever before. Do we know that they do and do we act like it?

If you are  a member of the C-Suite or executive team, did you receive a report today alerting you to what your customers or clients said about you on Facebook, your call center, Twitter, YouTube, Tumbler, Blogs, Pinterest, etc. (the list is ever evolving). Do you receive it every day? Do you get weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual summaries? Have you engaged with any of them personally yourself? If not, it is a reasonable question why that isn’t important to you?

Even if we aren’t seeing it, other customers (or potential customers) are seeing what is going on. They are forming an opinion of us based on those comments. We can’t control what is being said. We can control how we will react in real time about it. We can control changing the experience in the future.

Say a customer has a bad experience on your web site and they tweet about it. Do we think others have had the same experience and haven’t said anything? You bet they have. Do we think others will find the same thing and either say something or not in the future? Yes they will find it and yes they will say something or not.

There is no hiding. If there is one horrible review out there, they will find it and not the 100 positive things others have said about us.

Companies are beginning to listen to what is being said on social media and respond to it if they can. It does require a commitment of resources but it is not going away. More and more customers (or potential customers) are going to share the good, the bad and the ugly about their experience with us.

Have you started to shift resources into engaging on social platforms? How does that compare to your investment in your call center? Is your call center and social media center integrated in the approach you want your customers to have? We have to manage our online reputation.

What are our customers going to align with if we don’t first define the experience up front? What do we want them to be a part of? Now is the time to invest more in the experience rather than improve how the sales transaction occurs. Our future as executives is in creating programs that scream out in splendor. It is about experiences that kindle meaningful and sincere interactions at every turn. At the center of our evolution (or is it a revolution) is the experience. The experience is everything now.

What is our responsibility to engage employees in the customer experience obsession?

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It is a leadership responsibility to engage employees in our customer experience obsession. We know it leads to higher levels of customer engagement and profitability. According to customer experience guru Bruce Temkin, we should consider 5 I’s.

  • Employees really want to be inspired with a compelling vision. While salary is important, real engagement comes from an inspired message followed up by real action.
  • Employees want to be involved in being part of the solution. The closer an employee is to real customer interactions, the better the insight.
  • The need to be informed about what we are doing to improve the customer experience is always essential. Middle management plays a huge role in this on a daily basis.
  • We need to create a learning environment where instruction is the norm. Improving the customer experience is a continuous process where our learning is a key.
  • Leadership needs to incent employees to be successful. While some of this is about compensation, there are many ways to incent employees that involve soft investments. Have we discovered what works for the members of our team of direct reports?

True employee engagement will lead us to great levels of customer engagement.

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Why being customer obsessed and focused improves transformation

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Customer Expectations

Customer Expectations

Being obsessed and focused is not an either/or kind of thing. It is “yes/and” at its core. We need to be obsessed AND we need to be focused. We need to be passionate about our focus on the things that make a difference for our customers and will transform us into a digital business.

Obsession is more an emotion. Focus is more intent and then execution. It is all well and good to focus on customers. What level of focus is that? Moderate? High? The range of focus doesn’t qualify the intensity of the focus.

Obsession is clear. You think of nothing else. All you really care about is the experience and loyalty that your customers have with you. Obsession is focus on steroids. When all you care about is your customers, which is real focus, then you have moved to obsession.

Focus narrows intent and execution of strategy. Strategy, at many levels, is about choices and tradeoffs. It recognizes that we can do everything. What will make a difference to our customers? What will not, and hence, can come off our plates?

The great thing about obsession and focus. It will pay off for your customers, you and your company. And you know it in your gut. Being obsessed is about passion and energy. Being focused is about clear execution of the few things that make a difference. Being passionate about the few things that make a difference is the name of the game.

When you get up in the morning, what gives you energy? Is the first thing you think of is “what can I improve” for my customers over the next 3 months?

There is probably a “burning imperative” or “burning platform” that can help focus everyone. Leaders and managers need to find it and articulate why it needs to be addressed. This is the framework of transformation.

Obsession, much more than focus, brings clarity and drive. What do you want to accomplish with your customer initiatives? What are you obsessed with that will make a difference? The answers to these questions bring clarity.

Knowing what will make a difference over a 3 to 6 month horizon is a huge driver. Devoting every minute that you can to take the customer experience to a new level will produce results for your obsession and the focus you bring to it.

Focus is important. It is not to be over looked. It is easy to say you should be passionate. It is hard to say what you should focus on. Your passion and the discovery you make as a result of it will give you hints about the focus.

Deciding on a focus area that delivers a quick, early win can really rally everyone to get on board with focus areas. In addition, one over-riding message can radically improve communication for transformation efforts.

There needs to be a balance between passion and focus. They both, however, are critical to building a digital business. Having neither passion nor focus is an invitation to disaster.

It is everyone’s job to bring a health mix of obsessing over customers and focusing on the few things that bring about transformation and results. Senior management bears a heavy burden to help staff focus. Senior management can remove barriers, devote resources and help set priorities.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Passion for the customer and focus on the critical few need to be balanced.
  2. Put all the energy you can into the critical few
  3. Start with a burning imperative to create singular focus
  4. Delivering one early win gives the team confidence
  5. Driving one over-riding message improves communication

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” –Doug Conant

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Much of life is about habits. Really great habits make for an engaged workforce committed to stunning customer experiences.

Here are some ideas on how to get some traction.

  • Encourage story sharing formally in meetings and in one-on-one conversations. We all have some great stories to tell.
  • Establish learning opportunities for all staff, appropriate for roles. We all want to grow.
  • Fund team celebrations around great service. There is plenty to celebrate. Find something, anything. It will make a difference.

“To win in the marketplace you must first win in the workplace.” –Doug Conant

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The Human Conversational Model (Infographic)

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In the report, Humanizing Digital Interactions, the Temkin Group decoded successful person-to-person interactions as a step in developing the Human Conversational Model. It’s the foundation for building compelling interactions with customers.

Here are some highlights of the report:

  • They developed The Human Conversational Model, which is made up of seven elements – Intent Decoding, Contextual Framing, Empathetic Agility, Supportive Feedback, Basic Manners, Self-Awareness, and Emotional Reflection.
  • They share over 35 examples of best practices from companies that are designing digital experiences across the seven elements of The Human Conversational Model.
  • They demonstrate how you could apply The Human Conversational Model to three types of digital activities: opening a new bank account online, purchasing a pair of shoes through an app, and getting technical support online.

Continue reading

“Shun the non-believers and sell to people who want to go on a journey with you.” ~Seth Godin

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Rear view mirror

Will everyone but what I am selling?

  • There is a huge percentage of the market place that doesn’t buy what I am sell. They just don’t believe the value I am offering.
  • Should I move forward by continually looking in the rear view mirror?
  • How do I find the potential customers who want to go on a journey with me? Finding them is the key.

“Shun the non-believers and sell to people who want to go on a journey with you.” ~Seth Godin

Source: Seth’s Blog: Learning from the rejection

Future of Work – Is AI being over-hyped?

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Axios reports that we are in a robot-and-artificial intelligence bubble, and experts are starting to push back. Among their gripes: over-the-top hype of AI’s capabilities and its near-term danger to society.

One of those grumbling is Rodney Brooks, a father of modern robotics. He tells Axios that we are not near an age of super-human machines — robots are here, but not about to take over:

  • “AI is not inherently powerful. In hundreds of years, it could be different. But we aren’t on the cusp of this.”
  • Some companies are making exaggerated claims of AI capability in their products.
  • “AI washing is very, very prevalent,” Brooks says, forecasting “some disappointments ahead — a bubble that bursts.”

Where we are now: In terms of commercial products, we are in an age of simple robots doing the simplest of tasks again and again, mainly because no one has yet invented one that reliably does something more complicated that is actually in demand. We are talking machines like the Roomba, the robot vacuum cleaner of which Brooks is a co-inventor. “Customers want something that out of the box will just work, at a price they want to pay,” he says. “And they don’t want to read a manual.”

Where we’re going: The greatest near-term need is robots that will help the elderly stay in their homes, he says. “We will be lucky if we have enough robots to fill the gaps needed for the aging population. They will be dumb robots.”

Source: Future of Work –

Employees are more engaged when you ask for their feedback and act upon what they say.

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There are a couple of things that really create un-engaged employees.

The first one isn’t that difficult to do. That is to ask employees for their feedback. Of course, if you don’t want to know, please don’t ask.

The second, and this takes courage, is to act on what they say. Maybe this isn’t possible 100% of the time because of culture issues or perhaps cost.

Could it be 90% of the time? What is it today?

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Brian Solis on Innovation and Perspective 

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Brian Solis takes a break from his X book tour to share his thoughts on innovation and why we need to shift our perspective to see and do things differently. In this video, he shares some of his favorite, recent innovations to show us that there are no limits to our imagination and capabilities. http://www.briansolis.com/speaking/SHOW MORE

Is your Sales Process Still Out of Step with the Buyer’s Journey?

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With this wealth of online information at their disposal, buyers have the opportunity to research vendors and solutions long before ever talking to sales.

“Today’s modern and tech-savvy customers are likely to have conducted major research on specific products and services before even once speaking with a sales rep,” says Jamie Anderson, senior vice president, marketing, customer engagement, and commerce solutions at SAP.

“In order to deliver the ‘tell me, don’t sell me’ approach buyers prefer, sales professionals must create unique and personalized interactions that keep customers focused and engaged throughout the entire sales process.”

Therefore, despite the suppliers’ potential unwillingness to change, salespeople must evolve into trusted advisors if they wish to remain relevant and valuable to prospects and customers.

Personalization allows vendors to demonstrate their understanding of customer needs, transparency facilitates strong partnerships, and seamless service enhances experience, ultimately laying the foundation for long-term trust.

And, trust is the key if you really want me to buy from you.

via Market Pulse | Sales Still Out of Step with the Buyer’s Journey. Continue reading

Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017. Does it make a difference?

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As executives, we are always faced with the question of will improving the Customer Experience make a difference? A number analysis continues to point in the direction of “yes, it does”. Forrester Research has some great data to demonstrate this.

In addition toe the Forrester data, the Temkin Group just published their annual report, Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017.

Here’s the executive summary:

“Net Promoter® Score (NPS®) is a popular metric that companies use to analyze their customer experience efforts. But how does this metric actually relate to loyalty? To uncover the relationship between NPS and loyalty, we asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to give an NPS to 331 companies across 20 industries, and we then looked at how this score correlated with four key loyalty behaviors. Here are some highlights from this research:

Compared to detractors, promoters are over four times more likely to repurchase from a company, over five times more likely to forgive a company if it makes a mistake, over seven times more likely to try new offerings from a company, and almost five times more likely to trust a company.

We performed a detailed analysis of the loyalty data for promoters, passives, and detractors across 20 different industries: airlines, auto dealers, banks, computer and tablet makers, credit card issuers, fast food chains, health plans, hotels and rooms, insurance carriers, investment firms, parcel delivery services, rental car and transport agencies, retailers, software firms, streaming media services, supermarkets, TV and Internet service providers, TVs and appliance makers, utilities, and wireless carriers.

Ultimately, if a company wants to benefit from using NPS as a key metric, it must focus on improving customer experience, not obsessing over the metric itself.

Source: Report: Economics of Net Promoter Score, 2017 | Customer Experience Matters®

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates

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The pain of a collision with the expectations of a customer gets my attention. I can’t afford to lose anyone. Can you?

It happens and I have to learn.

To do otherwise is disastrous.

“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” – Bill Gates Continue reading

The Importance of Culture in Digital Transformation and “the human quotient”

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Two of the most promising drivers in digital transformation are EX and CX (employee experience and customer experience). At Oracle’s Modern Business Experience in Paris, world renowned digital analyst, futurist and author Brian Solis, shared his views on what he calls, “the human quotient” and why companies must take a human-centered approach to digital transformation and customer and employee engagement. In his presentation, he explores the need for innovation in corporate culture.

Brian shows how shifts in perspective will allow executives, HR, CX strategists to introduce new engagement models, roles and processes, and develop purposeful technology roadmaps to more effectively understand and engage a new generation of employees and customers. This work becomes the blueprint for creating modern businesses through modern experiences.

Lead your Digital Transformation – No Fancy, Schmancy Job Title Required!

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We all have a chance to lead. Every business, nonprofit, department, government agency, and school must transform to the new digital reality. We don’t have a lack of talent to rise to the challenge across the board.

It is everyone’s job. It is my job. It is your job.

Do I need a title? Do I need a job description?

There is no doubt about it. Or is there?

“What is your company doing about digital transformation?  What are you doing about digital transformation? Digital transformation is not a question of “if”.”

Source: Lead your Digital Transformation – No Fancy, Schmancy Job Title Required!

Most CEOs Can’t Lead A Digital Transformation

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I am a big fan of Jim Collins. It is nice to hear again about his influence.

It is also sad to hear about CEO’s that don’t seem “to get it” when it comes our new digital world. It is also sad for the stock holders.

It is not a question of “if they will get it” but when, if at all. The velocity of digital transformations is stunning.

Years ago, Jim Collins wrote the best-selling book, Good to Great, praised by business leaders and academics alike. Collins noted seven characteristics common to firms that go from “good to great,” one of which was their ability to get the right people “on the bus.” This obviously includes the bus driver as well—the executives who guide their organizations. Unfortunately, more and more companies are concluding that they don’t have the right leadership. Significant CEO departures like Jeffrey Immelt leaving General Electric and Mark Fields stepping down at Ford highlight the struggle many companies face to find the right leadership in the digital age. As Michael Useem, professor at the Wharton School, said to the NY Times, “Who ever thought Ford would be competing with Google? But they are, and Mark Fields wasn’t moving fast enough.”

Speed is a serious concern for incumbent organizations. While their leaders are “driving the bus,” Jeff Bezos is flying past in a Prime-branded rocket ship. What has changed in the past sixteen years? The evolution of new, more profitable business models using new technologies like social, mobile, cloud, analytics, and platforms. The underlying technologies and rapid speed of evolution required to succeed with newer business models are real challenges for the average executive. Incumbent companies and traditional boards need new thinking and skills to succeed.

Source: Most CEOs Can’t Lead A Digital Transformation

The US government’s requirements for passwords has changed

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This makes sense. Password security needs an overhaul. Let’s see if this takes off.

It might be getting easier to remember all of your passwords. The standards organization of the United States, NIST, has concluded that many common requirements for passwords, like forcing you to use special characters, are misguided.

Instead, NIST recommends the use of lengthy passwords, and instructs administrators to allow passwords to run at least 64 characters long. It also says people should only be forced to change their passwords if there is evidence of tampering, rather than at an arbitrary interval.

Source: The US government’s requirements for passwords has changed — Quartz

Corporate Culture Dictates the Success or Failure of Digital Transformation

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We know it is all about the culture. Am I willing to tackle the issue? Am I will to put a stake in the ground with the CEO? Will I focus my team on transforming if the rest of the organization isn’t on board?

I can find all kinds of scapegoats for lack of traction or failure.

Am I willing to address the elephant in the room?

62 percent of employees consider culture as the number 1 hurdle to digital transformation. This is one of the many startling statistics uncovered in my latest culture research report with Jerome Buvat at CapGemini, “The Digital Culture Challenge: Closing the Employee-Leadership Gap.

Corporate culture is one of the most important and misunderstood pillars of any organization. This isn’t news. What is news however is the extent of which companies need to but can’t fully invest in digital transformation to compete in an era of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. Said another way, digital transformation is critical to the survival of incumbents and their ability to digitally transform is greatly hindered by the lack of a digital culture, digital literacy and digital vision. Yes, that’s a lot of “digital” in one sentence, but each element in its own right requires understanding, empathy and mastery to navigate complicated and often counter-intuitive paths.

Source: Corporate Culture Dictates the Success or Failure of Digital Transformation | Brian Solis | Pulse | LinkedIn

“You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling.” ~Peter Thiel

Return on Mission

Why?

That is the big question to answer and then shout it at the top of our lungs to everyone.

Employees love to know why but then is it compelling? Can I get passionate about it? Will I be devoted? Will I become an evangelist?

You’ll attract the employees you need if you can explain why your mission is compelling: not why it’s important in general, but why you’re doing something important that no one else is going to get done. Peter Thiel

Why did I start this journey in the first place?

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Transformation isn’t easy. We all know that most transformation initiatives, of any kind, fail. The reasons are well known. Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.

If transformation in general is difficult, then it must be known that Customer Experience transformation is really, really difficult. Why can it fail? Too many priorities. Too little focus. New shiny objects appear on the horizon which beg our desire to chase them.

It will help to stay positive. It is always way too easy to become discouraged. There are many speed bumps in the way and it easy for the wheels to come off if we don’t slow down sometimes. I must remember why I started the journey in the first place.

It is imperative that we celebrate success along the way. Little benchmarks offers the opportunity to celebrate frequently. Celebrations engages the team members and energizes leadership.

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Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program (Video)

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Customer connectedness is one of Temkin Group’s four CX core competencies. A key capability in this area is a strong voice of the customer (VoC) program. This video highlights their model for creating a VoC program, called the 6D’s: Detect, Disseminate, Diagnose, Discuss, Design, and Deploy.

via Building a Strong Voice of the Customer Program (Video) | Customer Experience Matters.

Understanding your Digital Business Model by its Business Functional Requirements for Operational Technology

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Digital Transformation

Am I focused on making this goal or process or people issue supported by a digital component?

Am I thinking digital in terms of potential solutions to my daily challenges?

Am I a digital champion?

Digital Business Transformation must, by definition, mean a wider consideration of exactly how an enterprise does functional operate when its business model becomes based not only on Technology, but also on external Technology and Services provided by new deployment models.

This is not an argument for the chaos of Enterprise wide transformation in response to the introduction of IT, and PCs and ERP technologies as in the past. Instead it is an argument for managing a graceful change by letting go of non-core activities and re focusing on what will increase competitive differentiation in support of Digital Business.

via Understanding your Digital Business Model by its Business Functional Requirements for Operational Technology | Constellation Research Inc..

What is really important around here?

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Senior management gets behind lots of things. There are plenty of culture change initiatives. Some of them are real. A few of them actually happen.

What is really important?

Look at the agendas for last 12 months of executive team meetings. If you a member of the C-Suite, take a hard look and say … Yes! That is what we want.

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark

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Heart

Do I believe that highly engaged employees make a difference in the customer experience?

There is plenty of evidence and facts to demonstrate if facts move me.

Or … do I believe in my heart and soul that passionate employees who want to serve customers are the key?

It makes sense to invest in my and my employees heart. Passion for service is a key.

Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” ~Timothy R. Clark

How are nonprofit’s measuring multi-channel campaigns?

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Return on Investment

We hear so much about the importance of sending multi-channel campaigns and integrating direct mail, email, social and website messaging. And I see more nonprofits doing this the past few years.

Where I see nonprofits often still coming up short, though, is measuring multi-channel results, especially beyond email conversions. If these other channels are now part of your campaigns, then you have to be able to measure them, too.

What are the metrics?

  1. Revenue
  2. Expense
  3. ROI
  4. Multi-channel engagement
  5. Conversion from expensive channels to cheaper channels
  6. Net Promoter score

 

Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.

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Highly engaged employees lead to loyal customers. Study after study reveal this simple fact.

So … Cvent reports that on average, customer retention rates are 18% higher when employees are highly engaged.

Question: Am I building a culture of highly engaged employees? How do I measure it?

Source: How Company Culture Impacts Customer Experience | CustomerThink

“When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home.” –Betty Bender

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Engagement

Work and success is about passion for what we do. We get up and go to work for a reason. It could be just for the paycheck. It could be for the satisfaction of contributing to something important.

Emotional connection to our company’s mission is critical. Engagement is real. Engagement makes a difference. Engaged employees lead to engaged customers.

When people go to work, they shouldn’t have to leave their hearts at home. –Betty Bender

Am I willing to prioritize customer experience investments to keep my promise?

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Investment

We have made promises to our customers. They may not have been well thought out but we have made them. If our promises are not the ones that add value, we should think about changing them.

Is our promise clear to us and our customers? Do we know what it will cost us to keep it? It is important to plan our customer experiences around our promises.

Making the customer experience, relative to the promise, a priority will help keep us all focused.

What investments am I willing to make to keep our customer experience promise?

The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity

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A recently published global survey of C-Suite level executives and IT Decision Makers (ITDMs) revealed a large gap in assessments of cyber threats, costs and areas of responsibilities. Among the most significant disconnects:

  • 80% of the executives surveyed in the U.S. believe cybersecurity to be a significant challenge facing their business, while only 50% of ITDMs agree.
  • ITDMs estimated the average cost of a cyber breach at $27.2 million, much higher than the average $5.9 million cited by executives.
  • 50% of the executives surveyed believe the reason why an attack on their organization would succeed would be due to human error of employees, compared to 31% of ITDMs.

The research shows there is a lack of understanding when it comes to the cost of a successful breach, which many underestimate. It isn’t just about what the thieves get away with. A successful cyber attack can have far reaching implications such as impacting share price, lost business, fines — even a failed strategic investment or merger.

Source: The C-Suite and IT Need to Get on the Same Page on Cybersecurity

"The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’" ~~Jeffrey Bezos

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Golden Circle – Why, How and What

It is all about the question most days. As leaders, we get to ask the questions and help everyone focus.

Why not should be a big one we ask a lot.

The common question that gets asked in business is, ‘why?’ That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, ‘why not?’ ~Jeffrey Bezos

Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet. When, not if, will you change your strategy?

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Some days the message comes through load and clear. If my company is “digital” yet, I am way behind things and getting “behinder”.

Yesterday was too late for a strategy.

So … when will you abandon the “non digital” approach? When will you adopt a new strategy? This is not a question of if, but when.

All the talk of digital disruption turning incumbents into dinosaurs and unicorns into masters of entirely new domains might lead you to think this is already an old narrative—so 2016. In fact, digitization has barely started, and so has the accompanying upheaval.

Digital technologies and processes have penetrated only about 35% of the way into the average industry, meaning that merely a third of a typical company’s products and operations that could be digitized have been. Yet the impact has already been dramatic: Globally, digital disruption is shaving 45% off incumbent companies’ revenue growth and 35% off their earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT). As digitization accelerates, the hit to revenues and profits of digital laggards will grow significantly, even as the digital leaders capture disproportionate gains.

These findings emerge from a research effort my McKinsey colleagues and I undertook to examine the nature, extent, and implications of digitization’s spread. We wanted to understand how economic performance will change as digital technology continues its advance, and what strategies are most likely to win the game.

Source: Think digital is a big deal? You ain’t seen nothing yet | Strategy & Corporate Finance | McKinsey & Company

Converting Crowdfunding Donors: Using Data and Testing to Drive Long-Term Engagement

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Loyalty

There are days I ask myself, what happened to the annual campaign and a core of loyal donors?

There aren’t any easy answers. Nonprofits need money and they need it now. There doesn’t seem to be time to build and sustain growth. But is it a case of “easy come” and “easy go”?

As organizations develop and successfully implement crowdfunding events, many are and should be asking themselves what to do with all those new crowdfunding donors.

Questions like “Can these donors become long-term valuable supporters to the organization, and if so, how?” are certainly on the minds of fundraisers as we see an influx of these “new” type of constituents.

via Converting Crowdfunding Donors: Using Data and Testing to Drive Long-Term Engagement.

An “Omni-Channel” Donor approach will make a difference

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Omni Channel

Unified donor data and a unified experience is supported by an Omni-Channel approach. Omni-channel creates a unified approach seamlessly across channels all of your donor channels like direct marketing, advertising, donating, digital like the web /  mobile and donor service (call center). All channels need to be fused into a single approach for our donors.

At its core, Omni-channel is about the donor and being obsessed with the experience they have with you. Anything that is disjointed will throw them off. The focus here is on seamless and consistency.

Many times, off line is forgotten about in this approach. It may be first thing you want to tackle. How can your off line marketing support your online approach and vice versa? Are you spurring engagement with your nonprofit? Are you creating evangelists for your products and services?

Your donors are now interacting with you in many ways. They may see your ad at night on TV. They may search for you on the web in the morning on a desk top before leaving for work. They may go to your site during the day on a smartphone or tablet while on the go during the day. While on Facebook, they may look for your page. They may search Twitter to see what others are saying about you.  Do they experience the same thing in all those interactions?

A great example of this approach is Progressive Insurance. Check out their web site and see if you don’t recognize the approach. http://www.progressive.com/

Because their journey is dynamic, accessible and continuous, today’s donors increasingly expect a seamless, integrated, consistent and personalized experience with their service providers which current multi-channel models—with their multiple silos of donor contact—are unable to provide. Instead, a fully integrated response to these new donor requirements will need to be both donor-driven and omni-channel in nature.

Source: Accenture: The new Omni-Channel Approach to Serving Donors

Here are some important things to know about the complexity of the connected donor.

  1. They are more knowledgeable than you may think. It is just too easy to search and research a nonprofit.
  2. Donors are becoming very demanding. Donors are under a crunch and value convenience highly.
  3. Donors are very empowered. They can easily find an alternative to what you are offering and don’t hesitate to if they aren’t engaged with you.
  4. Donors are increasingly social and collaborative in their approach.
  5. Donors are extremely diverse and may not fit your traditional market segments.
  6. Donors are very interactive in their approach. They may ask you a question on Facebook or Twitter and actually expect you will answer very fast.
  7. Donors on the go and mobile is very important to them. They may consume your content and purchase your services anytime / anywhere.

You might think that this sounds very difficult. There are of course some major challenges. But take a very difficult challenge of retail. How would you approach this? These examples may be helpful in seeing how it can be done in a very difficult industry. Check out these five:

  1. Crate & Barrel – The nonprofit recognizes that many shoppers switch from web to smartphone to tablet when conducting research and completing purchases, so when donors are signed in, the C&B app saves their shopping cart so they can access their information across multiple devices and browsers. This enables them to pick up where they left off no matter where they are in the shopping process.
  2. Oasis – UK fashion retailer Oasis has an ecommerce site, a mobile app, and several brick-and-mortar locations and it does a pretty good job in fusing those channels to give people a great shopping experience.
  3. Starbucks – The Starbucks rewards app is frequently mentioned in “top” lists of omnichannel efforts and for good reason: the coffee nonprofit does an excellent job in providing a seamless user experience across all channels.
  4. Sephora – Through its “My Beauty Bag” program, cosmetics retailer Sephora makes it easy for its loyal donors to manage their “loved” products and purchase history from any device.
  5. Chipotle – Chipotle Mexican Grill is utilizing multiple channels to enable donors to place orders wherever they are. People can place an order online for pick-up at the nearest Chipotle location, and they can also use its official mobile app to order on the go.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start with understanding what omni-channel means your donor.
  2. Create the strategy to integrate your approach for all channels.
  3. Identify gaps and easy / quick fixes.
  4. Begin with a few simple but quickly executable initiatives. Don’t try to rebuild everything.
  5. Form an Omni-channel donor engagement team to discuss how to get traction and be ambassadors for the approach.
  6. Encourage offline and online integration quickly.
  7. Don’t forget about your donor service (call center) operations.
  8. Create an integrated content calendar and repurpose content across channels.

Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Jumps To Highest Levels

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The Temkin Group has been doing large-scale consumer research for several years. As part of our ongoing studies, they  track many consumer attitudes. To gauge the overall quality of life for the U.S. population, they created the Temkin Well-Being Index (TWBi) based on a few of those attitudinal elements.

The TWBi is based on a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers in January. The overall index is an average of three measurements representing the percentage of U.S. adults (18 and older) who agree with these statements:

  • I am typically happy
  • I am healthy
  • I am financially secure

They’ve been tracking it since 2012.  As you can see in the figure below:

  • After the TWBi reached 65.9%, the highest over the six years we’ve been tracking the metric.
  • The increase of 4 %-points between 2016 and 2017 is the largest single-year increase.
  • All three areas of the TWBi are at their highest levels, and increased since last year. The largest increase is in financial security, which gained 5.5 %-points between 2016 and 2017.

Source: Temkin Well-Being Index for U.S. Consumers Jumps To Highest Levels | Customer Experience Matters®

6 Reasons Why Most Fundraisers Don’t Know Their Donor Retention Rate

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Donor retention is the key to successful fund raising at non-profits. It is essential to being cost effective. Acquiring new donors is very expensive.

So … what is your donor retention rate?

Over the last six years I have had the privilege of speaking to large gatherings of nonprofit professional fundraisers on an average of 2.5 times per month. At the beginning of each presentation, I typically ask the audience by a show of hands how many in the room know their donor retention rate.

Each time, very few hands go in the air.

I keep thinking that the percentage of people raising their hands will go up by at least a small percent each year, yet it remains a very dismal small percentage.

However, if I ask them any of the following questions, the answers are readily known:

  • What is your fundraising dollar goal for this year?
  • How much did you raise last year?
  • How many donors do you have?
  • How many new donors do you have in the last year?
  • What is your best campaign or appeal?

Why isn’t donor retention on this list?

Source: 6 Reasons Why Most Fundraisers Don’t Know Their Donor Retention Rate

How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys

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We all know how to carry on a conversation.

The challenge in getting feedback from customers is to approach our surveys that way.

Picture this scene: your manager stops by your desk and begins to speak. You wait for a chance to break in and contribute to the conversation. In fact, you welcome it since you have a couple of ideas you think could really improve your team’s productivity. But your manager keeps talking… and talking… and talking… and then walks away without even saying good-bye.

In this scenario, most of us would probably feel offended, slighted, or any one of a dozen other negative emotions.

Sadly, many companies approach their customer relationships in exactly this way. They send newsletters, direct mail, and email blasts, but never invite or allow the customer to join the conversation. They miss the essential truth that communication is a two-way street. If you’re not listening to your customers, you’re not communicating with them. You’re not conversing with them. And you’re probably not keeping them.

Feedback surveys can be a great way to give your customer a seat at the table. Has your organization tried implementing a survey or two, but found them to be less than successful? Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the metrics and KPIs and statistics around surveys that we lose sight of what makes a survey successful. Organizations should take a step back, and apply the principles of successful conversation to your surveys instead.

Source: How to Create Successful Customer Feedback Surveys | CustomerThink

Your Customer Experience Measurement Guide – CX – perience

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The customer experience

We know the customer experience is important.

We struggle with how to measure it.

At the end of the day, there probably isn’t one “right answer” about what the important metrics are. Having the right culture will lead to the right metrics.

The growth, development and profitability of any customer service company depends on its customers and it’s important to track this growth through customer experience measurement. Companies with many satisfied customers will undoubtedly be more prosperous than companies with few dissatisfied customers. A satisfied customer is one who is most likely to purchase from you, rarely shops around, refer other customers to your company and scores high when it comes to advocating for your company.

via Your Customer Experience Measurement Guide – CX – perience.

Creating a donor value framework

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Not all data is of equal value and not every donor is either. Part of the framework that leads from insight to action is understanding which donors are of more value and those that will lead to greater levels of renewal.

Donor Value Framework

Basic value segmentation looks at low actual value and low potential value. The focus is to mine the data and watch for changes from other data.

A second cohort to segment is high current value but low potential value. The focus is to maintain the relationship to renew commitments.

Third, segment those who are low actual value and high potential value. The focus is cultivate the relationship and upgrade the commitment.

The final segment are the donors with high actual and high potential value. The focus here is to invest in the relationship.

It is critical to recognize that not all donors have the same value long term and to invest in the ones that have a high potential. This type of segmentation requires high levels of insight. Standard business processes can be enabled in lots of systems via workflow.

The digital executive has a specific responsibility to insist that this is core to your marketing, donation and digital strategies. An unfocused approach to engaging with donors can be disastrous. If you are a marketing or donation executive, organize a group to help formulate the strategy and become ambassadors for its execution.

One requirement could be to enhance your data with external sources to assist in process of segmenting. Tools like Dunn and Bradstreet data for corporations and wealth screening for individuals may be useful. In some cases it may be as simple as enhancing data based on zip codes and census tracts to get started.

Here are the key ideas:

  1. Start now to create a framework to segment your donors.
  2. Begin to formulate a strategy of how gain enough insights to move donors through the framework.
  3. Encourage investments in building relationships with high potential value donors.
  4. Consider enhancing your data to assist in this type of segmentation.
  5. This may not be easy, insist on finding a way to make it happen.

Don’t let a lack of resources hold you back.

Do you have a content curation strategy? Do you have an eye for the awesome?

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Do you have a content curation strategy?

Do you have a content curation strategy?

Do you have a content curation strategy? If not, now is the time to think about it. Original content is great.

But … knowing what others are saying and amplifying it is very helpful. That is the importance of a librarian at the library. It is not so much knowing everything as knowing where to find it.

One of the keys, however, is organization. That leads to a tagging and categorization approach. Is there a logical way you organize what you produce?

Of course, the ability to spot the awesome helps.

Content curation – the process of finding, organizing, and  sharing topical, relevant content for your audience that supports your nonprofit’s engagement or campaign goals (or your professional learning) begins with “Spotting the Awesome.”   I love that phrase coined by my friends at Upwell.   Do you or your organization have formal guidelines for “spotting the awesome”  like Upwell (see below) or is it more of  ”we know it when we see it?”

via Content Curation: The Art and Science of Spotting Awesome | Beth’s Blog.