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Multi Channel Marketing Here To Stay :

The Rise And Rise Of Mobile And The Transformation Of The Customer Journey


As soon as any mobile (mobile enabled device) statistic goes to print it is out of date such is its rapid growth. The increasing importance of this channel has been well documented over the last few years. Perhaps then surprising to hear from Forrester in 2012 only 40% of companies they interviewed had a mobile strategy / 12 month road map


The UK consumer is in particular leading the way in Europe , smart phone penetration is now around 65% and predicted to be 75% by the end of 2013 and is already approaching 100% in some geographies and some customer segments. 64% of phone users, use their phone in-store. 20% of smart phone users also have tablets


Mobile search is around 40% of all search and is predicted to overtake desktop search by 2015


E-Commerce makes up around 10% of total retail and Mobile Commerce is around 20% of E Commerce . Look beyond the averages and some retailers such as  John Lewis, (seventh biggest UK mobile retailer source: comScore GSMA MMM November 2012) are seeing triple- digit growth, both in  traffic and revenue


There is some debate about what technology or approach is best , Mobile standalone site (m.), Responsive Web Design (RWD) , Responsive Design + Server Side Components(RESS) and/ or an App. Some are hedging their bets and doing everything. While It is a legitimate strategy of offering varying channel choices and experiences for specific customers types / segments, adding too many channels can create customer confusion and ultimately lost sales.


CIRRUS Marketing Consulting’s own research showed for a recent client more than 50% of their customers said they would use an App, if  they built one,and half of those wanted it to make purchases. Follow up research showed these customers specifically rated a competitors App and its ease of use compared to the client’s current mobile “optimised” site. What customers were actually saying was they wanted something easy to use and engaging (either Web or App) , emphasising it’s more about the customer experience than the technology.


A great piece of advice shared at a recent IDM (Institute of Direct and Digital Marketing) event is start with your customer, understand the customer journey and identify which technology can add value at each stage: what ,when and how. For example is the focus on closing the sale (eg One click purchase, 25% of consumers think entering payment details into a mobile phone is too difficult) or more about encouraging discovery ( eg tactile browsing) .. Gartner identifies a key trend of the Companion Screen, (the use of mobile devices whilst watching TV) and the opportunity of creating enhanced content such as Apps with additional programming and social features that create closer community interactions


The real prize then comes less from thinking of channels in silos , such as creating a mobile optimised strategy, but instead comes from creating a joined up  multi channel experience with the customer at its centre.


Handset innovation, 4G, Mobile Wallet, Mobile Loyalty and NFC are just a few more reasons why smart phones and tablets are set for further double digit growth


 Posted @ 12:56:05 on 27 March 2013  back to top




Gamification , Behaviour Management and Cutomer Engagement Optimisation

From Gamification to Behaviour Management and Customer Engagement Optimisation


Garnter say by 2014


•         70 percent of global 2000 organisations will have at least one gamified application


•         80 percent of them will fail to meet business objectives primarily due to poor design


 In the rush to jump on the band wagon and implement first without thinking through the goals and objectives it seems there is a risk of repeating some of the mistakes associated with Loyalty programmes in the 1990s. People are already talking about gamified CRM and gamified Loyalty.


But what actually is gamification and what is its value ? It sounds fun surely everyone should be at it?


One definition is that it is the application of gaming ideas and techniques to change customer behaviour and build customer engagement.  On one level it is about the application of techniques such as leader boards, points and badges. Trip Advisor provides a good example here


However  for long term success often it needs to be more than just this.


Having spoken with Badgeville last week , gamification market leaders , it is clear they believe in a much richer definition of gamification... gamification  is all about  Behaviour Management. It could be customer, employee or organisational behaviour management


So if the term gamification is not to your liking then perhaps Behaviour Management or even  Customer Behaviour Optimisation, or Customer Engagement Optimisation are better still as they focus more on the outcomes and less on the tools


It is true no sustained change in customer behaviour can be created unless value  is being created for the customer.  For any given customer type or segment , the objective is to take their unique set of needs and then to optimise interactions with the organisation across each touch point to generate maximised brand engagement and ROI


The fastest growing gamification sector is actually Enterprise Gamification solutions aimed at employees. It is clear to see how this could especially be applied to customer facing teams and departments , rewarding behaviour in line with the Brand Promise and punishing behaviours not aligned


At the heart of gamification is customer psychology , motivation and behaviour, and so customer insight is a crirtcal element before and during the design phase of any successful initiative. If designed properly gamification can  also generate new customer insights in a live environment .


It is said for a gamified application truly to engage its audience, three key ingredients must be present and correctly positioned: motivation, momentum and meaning or put more simply ,there must be lasting value




Posted @ 11:11:11 on 04 March 2013  back to top




Big Data - getting behind the hype

The global data supply reached 2.8 zettabytes (ZB) in 2012 - or 2.8 trillion GB and is forecast to rise exponentially. IDC estimated that almost a quarter of data currently held could yield value  if properly tagged and analysed though only 3% of all data is currently tagged and ready for manipulation, and only one sixth of this - 0.5% - is currently used for analysis


Much of the discussion to date about Big Data has focussed on the exponential growth of data and the technology to store and process it . Technology companies make references to the application of their software to diverse sectors such as DNA sequencing and counter terrorism . No doubt there is a great opportunity for money to be made there.


So what actually is Big Data and what does it mean for customer marketing?


There is no denying that the volume of data we have is increasing. This has been brought about by advances in technology allowing us to capture and store more and more data, more cheaply and also brought about by a transformation in the way consumers interact with businesses , in particular the arrival of multi-channel marketing and more complex customer journeys which include web and mobile.


For decades marketing, especially in the retail sector has been faced with too much data and the challenge was always how to turn it into meaningful insight which could be acted upon quickly. So in many ways the challenge is not a new one.  Relatively speaking  the relationship between the volume of data and the ability to analyse it is not so different now compared to say 15 years ago when retailers were grappling with for example the masses of data being generated by loyalty programmes and epos systems with mainframe computers with the same processing power as today's smart phone.


An over focus on the technology and the data itself is not likely to drive the best outcomes. Not all data is created equal. It is actionable customer insights that drive ROI not expensive technology systems. Working out what data is valuable should be the priority.


The process of joining up customer data across the customer journey and across channels and devices , should remain the priority . The goal of understanding the customer better than the competition by creating a 360 degree customer  view across all customer touch points is as important  today as it has ever been.


 A practical step is to start first by focussing on the customer segments that matter ,  selectively build data sets and join them together, use these insights to develop test programmes and if successful roll out and automate.






Posted @ 12:37:33 on 25 February 2013  back to top




The Serious Business of Trust And Brand Reputation: The Horse Meat Crisis


The Serious Business of Trust And Brand Reputation: The Horse Meat Crisis


Customer focussed businesses understand consumer Trust is a key foundation on which a Brand is built and developed.  Trust  drives long term profitability, is associated with higher levels of recommendations and higher trial rates of new products. Trust is a serious business, easy to loose difficult to earn.


What consumers could once take for granted they now question so it was no over reaction when last week Mark Price Managing Director, Waitrose  and Philip Clarke Chief Executive of Tesco emailed their respective customers in an attempt to re-assure and win back trust . Videos were placed on facebook pages and press ads were taken out.


YouGovs Buzz Scores which measures the cut through of both positive and negative stories across the media showed week on week negative scores across all supermarkets with the exception of Morrisons. Tesco and Aldi and food producer Findus were especially hard hit


The Edelman Global Trust Monitor shows Trust in business, governments and organisations has been falling consistently in recent years. Trust remains at its highest in the technology and automotive sectors and lowest in Energy, Media and Banking. The food sector scores somewhere in the middle though this is now likely to fall in the UK


Research shows the majority of consumers will need to hear/see information 3-5 times before they start believing information,  whether it be positive or negative.


Traditional sources of information are becoming less important. Information found online and via social media is valued more and more. Trust in CEOs and celebrities is weakening and trust in “people like me” or” the average employee” is increasing.


The reach of Tesco on Twitter (the proportion of UK Twitter users exposed to comments about Tesco) was around 10% , but rose to 31% last week with the top two words associated with Tesco being “horse” and “Findus” Tesco suffered brand damage through association.


Winning back trust requires a concerted effort across the organisation. Communications must be completely transparent. Brand values and commitments to the customer must be clarified and strengthened. A clear action plan should be described and progress should be regularly reported. Monitoring and managing brand reputation is essential for all organisations large and small, continuously and not just in times of crisis




Posted @ 16:02:29 on 18 February 2013  back to top




Tesco’s sales fall 2.3%... the beginning of the end...( Club Card to the rescue )


Tesco’s sales fall 2.3%... the beginning of the end...( Club Card to the rescue )


Not quite. Tesco is clearly armed with all the data and insight it needs to turn things around.


Its Club Card data will show precisely which categories, which sub categories , which brands, which customer segments and which individuals contributed to the 2.3% YOY sales drop over the important Christmas trading period. It has an email, telephone number and address of every one of them and can respond at an individual level.


And what about the non collectors estimated by some to be around 20% of sales ? It maybe that the real problems , defection to Asda, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, M&S  etc are here, in which case it may be more problematic to respond. What proportion of these customers are target , high profit customers worthy of win back investment?


The Big Price Drop promotion didn’t generate a volume uplift to compensate for the price cuts of £500m so can it all be blamed on one promotion? The rise of online sales (Ocado up 23.8%) and under investment in the store and customer experience have been suggested by some as contributing factors.


CIRRUS Marketing Consulting’s own research carried out in Dec 2011 looked at why consumers switched brands during 2011 across services, retail and product sectors. Looking specifically at the Grocery Store/ Supermarket sector analysis shows more than 10% switched brands.


 Of those who switched Brands in the Grocery Store/ Supermarket sector    more than a third switched because it was cheaper, around 20% for better VFM, around a 15% for Better Quality and 15% Better Customer Service. Around half said they would probably or definitely purchase again. More than half said price discounts, and around a quarter said multibuys would tempt them back. Around a quarter said better customer service would tempt them back.


A 360 degree customer view is what is needed to establish not only the changes in purchase patterns within Tesco but how Tesco customers use competitors for treats, for top up shopping,  for speciality purchases and local convenience stores. Understanding customer satisfaction / performance at each touch point is an important part of this 360 degree customer view


Tesco has the resources and insight capability to respond, let’s see what happens




Posted @ 13:09:50 on 13 January 2012  back to top




Best Buy UK closure : bad timing?

Best Buy has been widely reported as announcing it will close its 11 UK stores.  Though interestingly their Facebook page says no final decision has been made. So will the world’s largest electrical retailer throw in the towel in the UK?


Another example of a failing cross border investment and underestimating the importance of local and cultural factors or something different?


A small online survey conducted by CIRRUS Marketing Consulting courtesy of Toluna showed


•More than 1/3 of consumers had not heard of Best Buy

•Around a half had heard of Best Buy though never visited a store

•Less than10% had visited a store.

◦Of those who visited around half thought Best Buy was better than the competition, the remaining half thought Best Buy was the same as the competition.

◦Around half who had visited a store had purchased something sometime since launch



The numbers are indicative only but suggest, Best Buy never achieved critical mass and never achieved high national awareness. It seems despite a reputation for better customer service than its rivals and ok to better than ok prices, they never managed to persuade enough to visit a store and purchase.


Could the proposition have been explained in a more compelling way? Value, Range and Service what else? Was the brand promise rich enough, distinct enough and did Best Buy deliver consistently?


Managing brand advocates during launch can be especially effective, there is no better way to tell your story then through highly engaged customers


Yes things could have been done differently, perhaps capitalising more on the Carphone Warehouse connection, particularly exploiting its national coverage, though it should be remembered the launch in the UK couldn’t have been at a worse time, the recession, increasing price competition from online retailers, other stores raising their game significantly, a slow down in some traditional sectors such as the pc sector and rapid growth in others such as smart phones/tablets


The sector’s troubles are not limited to Best Buy, Kesa, the owner of Comet, has agreed to sell the troubled electrical retailer to a private equity-backed firm for just £2

In May 2008 Dixons Retail started their major Renewal & Transformation plan to transform the Group, focusing on customers, its timing was no coincidence. Although PC World / Dixons Retail Group are probably sighing with relief the consumer is left with a little less choice than before, though they can at least thank Best Buy in part for the whole sector raising their game and becoming more customer focussed.



Posted @ 12:14:37 on 09 November 2011  back to top




Remarketing : Ecommerce Nirvana or Nightmare

Remarketing : Ecommerce Nirvana or Nightmare


Remarketing aka Retargeting  is now a mainstream marketing tool to allow e commerce sites in particular to improve conversion rates by re advertising products previously viewed whilst the visitor browses other sites. John Lewis, Gap are just a few example of retailers involved in Remarketing , and mainstream email providers such as Hotmail host such ads. It is now also an option on Google AdWords campaigns. For some it is an intrusion and disregards many consumers sensitivity to privacy for others a smart way of delivering relevant timely advertising.


Managing the conversion funnel, the visit to purchase process, is a key goal of any ecommerce site and Remarketing allows another attempt at converting visitors. The majority of web visitors do not purchase and so it is a credible way of managing the missed sales opportunity.


But it is not without its pitfalls. Those that use multiple devices or different browsers makes things less straightforward and different consumers and categories have varying browsing/ purchase cycles. If you have visited a web site and later gone on to purchase the product you may well receive ads for the same product or products you rejected for weeks to come, worse still advertised at a discount. If you returned a product or cancelled an order the same could apply. So rather than providing a positive brand experience, relevant timely ads, the reverse occurs it reminds the web visitor on many occasions of their negative experiences further damaging the brand’s reputation. Remarketing providers such as Criteo, do provide an opt out mechanism, retrospectively however after the ad is delivered.


From the consumer’s perspective , Retargeting is perhaps the most blatant use of tracking, across web sites. Is it Remarketing  and similar techniques that have prompted the introduction of the EU Privacy law regarding the use of non service cookies?


The new EU Privacy Law effectively means all visitors need to positively opt in to accepting non service cookies on each website they visit. This law was in effect from 26th May 2011, though with a 1 year “implementation window”. The impact could be significant requiring unsightly opt in pop ups and a major drop in analytics data, rendering tools like Google Analytics potentially useless. Many in the industry are praying for a magic browser solution, from the likes of Chrome and Internet Explorer, to manage the cookie opt in process for them, the alternative quite literally could turn into a nightmare for both the web visitor and web owner.




Posted @ 15:58:15 on 26 August 2011  back to top




Offshore Call Centres ... why would you?

In a week week where yet another company brings its call centre operations back to the UK, this time it is Santander it makes you wonder why the trend ever started as the relationships a company has with its customers is one of the most valuable assets it has and is the biggest contributor to current and future profitability.


Surely outsourcing offshore is a no brainer... costs a third of UK call centres, can be used to create a global 24/7 capability, graduate skilled workforce on tap and it is consistent with our global village philosophy


The reality has been quite different for many. Banks such as Natwest actually make a point to emphasise they operate UK call centres. Simply do a Google search on call centres and you will have no shortage of examples of customers attitudes to the offshore variety. There are even facebook groups campaigning against them.


Many now have hybrid solutions , offshore for "everyday customer service" and onshore for more complex scenarios . Some even segment by customer value/ profitability.


More fundamental than where you call centre is located, is do you believe your Customer Contact Operations are an investment in customer relationships or a merely a cost to be cut back year on year? For many searching for the lowest cost has become a false economy.


Perhaps more worrying is why it took many organisations so long to realise the damage being done to their brand reputation. A simple switch back to the UK is not sufficient a clear set of brand values, a defined customer promise, a customer focused culture, quality processes, continual performance monitoring are just some of the prerequisites.






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