Ed Hadley[Posted by , Senior Mar­ket­ing Man­ager, Neolane, Inc.]

Hun­dreds of mar­keters gath­ered in beau­ti­ful Paris this week for Neolane Evo­lu­tion 2013, our world­wide user con­fer­ence.  From amaz­ing speak­ers and con­tent to a truly mem­o­rable evening at the Lou­vre with pri­vate museum tours and a gala din­ner under the pyra­mid, the event lived up to its theme of “inspir­ing extra­or­di­nary experiences.”

We’ll be doing a series of blog posts about Neolane Evo­lu­tion over the next cou­ple of weeks.  To start, I thought I would recap the six over­ar­ch­ing themes that jumped out at me.  How can you cre­ate extra­or­di­nary expe­ri­ences for their own cus­tomers?  Read on to find out.

  • Neolane Evolution 2013Inspir­ing Extra­or­di­nary Expe­ri­ences – Nearly every ses­sion touched upon cus­tomer expe­ri­ence in some way.  For­rester Prin­ci­pal Ana­lyst Shar Van­Boskirk noted that dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion cre­ates 10 times the inno­va­tors with 100 times the power at 1/10th the cost.  The only way to dif­fer­en­ti­ate, she said, is to deliver extra­or­di­nary cus­tomer expe­ri­ences.  Vit­tal echoed this mes­sage, par­tic­u­larly when out­lin­ing his cross-channel mar­ket­ing man­i­festo: know your con­sumer, be account­able, and respect the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence.  He went on to pre­view results from a joint sur­vey with The CMO Club that was fea­tured in the Wall Street Jour­nal.  Accord­ing to the sur­vey, while 90% of CMOs are per­son­ally respon­si­ble for their brand’s cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, only 11% actu­ally own the cus­tomer P&L.  In addi­tion, CMOs lack com­pe­tence with the most essen­tial tools for deliv­er­ing great cus­tomer expe­ri­ences, includ­ing inter­ac­tion man­age­ment, loy­alty man­age­ment, and pre­dic­tive ana­lyt­ics.  While these stats are trou­bling, there’s an oppor­tu­nity for brands to gain on edge by mak­ing the right invest­ments now.
  • Multi-Dimensional, Cross-Channel - In his open­ing keynote, Neolane CEO Stephane Dehoche dis­cussed how the ana­log and dig­i­tal worlds are con­verg­ing, cre­at­ing a new multi-dimensional real­ity.  This con­ver­gence is cre­at­ing both chal­lenges and oppor­tu­ni­ties for mar­keters, as the need to bridge the gap has never been greater.  For­tu­nately, many Neolane cus­tomers are ahead of the curve in terms of embrac­ing cross-channel mar­ket­ing.  Accord­ing to Dehoche, 66% of Neolane cus­tomers use two or more mar­ket­ing chan­nels; 38% use three or more; and 20% use four or more chan­nels.  Van­Boskirk reit­er­ated this point, say­ing that brands must cre­ate uni­fied, not uni­form, cus­tomer expe­ri­ences.  More­over, she pointed out that customer–centric marketing—orchestrating mes­sage flows around cus­tomer needs and behavior—requires one plat­form that exe­cutes across dig­i­tal channels.
  • Mobile: Dis­rup­tor and Oppor­tu­nity – It’s not sur­pris­ing that mobile received a lot of attention—both as a dis­rup­tor and an oppor­tu­nity (and of course, as a chan­nel).  Van­Boskirk out­lined Forrester’s con­cept of the always-addressable cus­tomer: some­one who goes online mul­ti­ple times a day from mul­ti­ple loca­tions from mul­ti­ple platforms/devices.  This “mobile mind shift” is rad­i­cally alter­ing con­sumer behav­ior, par­tic­u­larly in terms of how they research and pur­chase prod­ucts.  Vit­tal shared some eye-opening stats, includ­ing that 61% of mobile users use a smart­phone dur­ing an in-store pur­chase, and mobile influ­ence on store pur­chase is more than e-commerce and m-commerce com­bined.  To cap­i­tal­ize on these trends, Van­Boskirk empha­sized that brands should think mobile first in the plan­ning and design process.
  • The Right Time for Real-Time – Given consumer’s increased con­nec­tiv­ity and expec­ta­tions, real-time mar­ket­ing was another key theme of Neolane Evo­lu­tion.  Vittal’s three key rec­om­men­da­tions included pro­gres­sively pro­file cus­tomers, act in real time, and exper­i­ment relent­lessly.  Neolane Senior Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Patrick Tripp explored the real-time mar­ket­ing theme in greater depth.  He shared sur­vey results which revealed that 77% of mar­keters believe that real-time per­son­al­iza­tion is of high impor­tance.  More­over, while 22% of Euro­pean mar­keters per­son­al­ize their web­site in real-time today, 59% will do within the next 12 months.  This increased adop­tion of real-time capa­bil­i­ties was reflected in sev­eral cus­tomer pre­sen­ta­tions, includ­ing PMU, which has increased cross-sell rev­enue 200% increase with real-time web per­son­al­iza­tion; Yves Rocher, which has uni­fied cus­tomer inter­ac­tions across inbound and out­bound chan­nels; and Bax­ter Credit Union, which will be imple­ment­ing Neolane Inter­ac­tion to deliver next best offers via its call cen­ter & web channels.
  • Social Moves Toward Mon­e­ti­za­tion – Social media was the other big chan­nel dis­cussed.  EMI Music gave a great pre­sen­ta­tion on using Neolane Social Mar­ket­ing to trans­form anony­mous social con­tacts into loyal and qual­i­fied fans.  To illus­trate the enor­mous poten­tial of social CRM, there are 1 bil­lion anony­mous fans through EMI artist Face­book pages & Twit­ter pro­files, ver­sus 15 mil­lion qual­i­fied con­tacts in its mar­ket­ing data­base.  The label’s social CRM strat­egy, there­fore, is to acquire these con­tacts, enrich the mar­ket­ing data­base with social pro­file infor­ma­tion, and then engage them with 1-to-1 cam­paigns across email, mobile, and social.  As an exam­ple of the effec­tive­ness of EMI’s Face­book mar­ket­ing efforts, a lis­ten­ing party app for Tris­tan Pret­ty­man grew the artist’s list by 30%; more­over, those con­tacts are 21% more engaged than oth­ers.  In another ses­sion, Gen­er­a­tor shared how a Johnny Cash Face­book app increased the artist’s email list 20% while enrich­ing sub­scriber pro­files and dri­ving deeper engage­ment.  Generator’s Thai Ran­dolph made the point that social and email are bet­ter together.  Social helps amass large audi­ences while email mon­e­tizes them at low cost.  To help mar­keters quan­tify their social media mar­ket­ing efforts, Neolane Prod­uct Mar­ket­ing Man­ager Mick­ael Bentz out­lined a prag­matic frame­work for cal­cu­lat­ing ROI on Face­book and Twitter.
  • Loy­alty & Trust Must Be Earned – Another key theme of Dehoche’s open­ing remarks was that loy­alty today is elu­sive, so brands have to deliver truly mem­o­rable expe­ri­ences.  While more informed cus­tomers are harder to per­suade, there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for brands to learn more about cus­tomers and deliver con­sis­tent, rel­e­vant expe­ri­ences.  Keynote Don Pep­pers from Pep­pers & Rogers Group added some inter­est­ing per­spec­tive about the role of trust in build­ing cus­tomer loy­alty.  Cit­ing “Zuckerberg’s Law”— every 20 years, we inter­act a 1,000 times as much with others—Peppers dis­cussed how the more we inter­act, the more we require trust because we need a way to fil­ter out the noise.  He then out­lined the con­cept of Trusta­bil­ity, which hinges upon brands exhibit­ing com­pe­tence (doing things right) and good inten­tions (doing the right things)—and doing so proac­tively.  An exam­ple is Ama­zon alert­ing cus­tomers that the price of an item in their shop­ping cart has been dropped.  By doing so, brands reduce short-term profit to gain long-term value.  Ulti­mately, it comes down to hav­ing empa­thy, or under­stand­ing what it’s like to be the cus­tomer; this, accord­ing to Pep­pers, is the ulti­mate form of cus­tomer insight.

What were your key take­aways from Neolane Evo­lu­tion?  Leave a com­ment below.



  1. […] week, I recapped the six over­ar­ch­ing themes that emerged from Neolane Evo­lu­tion 2013.  Most of that mate­r­ial came from the event’s keynote […]