Interview: marketers changing skill-sets impact significantly customer loyalty
Marketing roles in the retail sector are undergoing seismic change that involves a greater emphasis placed on mathematics and data, which can ultimately contribute to engendering much improved engagement and loyalty with customers.
By Glynn Davis
Ahead of presenting at the 5th Retail Bulletin Customer Loyalty Conference 2014 on June 10 David Rosen, head of strategy, analytics and customer insights at Tibco Loyalty Lab, highlights how the marketers role has evolved in recent years.
Traditionally focused on the likes of TV and newspaper advertising the role now involves marketing analytics and consumer insights, which he says represents a “huge change” that is leading to some disruption in the industry: “There is tremendous turnover as retailers struggle with the right skill-sets and question what is the role of the marketer.”
Driving this change is the need for marketers to contend with a massive amount of data. Not only have the volumes of data increased but the variety has also grown massively – now taking in channels that marketers never had access to before such as social media – and there is also an explosion in the velocity of data that is moving extremely quickly.
This latter variety involves information that would not have been stored in a database as it is “in motion” and includes social and mobile data as well as most web data too. Using such data is essential if retailers are to gain an integrated view of their customers.
With this mass of data flowing around retailers’ businesses it is vital that context is understood, according to Rosen, who says this requires marketers to grasp pattern recognition. “To understand propensity in a modeled way they must rely on mathematics and pre-built pattern recognition. A marketer has to have these different skill-sets,” he explains.
Retailers around the world have handled this change in skill-sets at different paces although all have recognized the need to change, says Rosen, who cites research that shows 73% of CMO jobs advertised globally require familiarity with customer intelligence and 20% say it is the lead requirement for the role.
But there is clearly some way to go as 65% of retailers do not yet use data-driven marketing for personalised content and 82% of CMOs plan to use social media in their decision making, which suggests only a modest 18% do so at present.
Although Rosen controversially suggests that loyalty programmes do not engender loyalty from customers he believes they are a powerful platform from which today’s new data-driven communications can be successfully delivered and controlled.
“They do a good job of gaining permission from customers to market to them. They also do a good job with privacy [concerns] and they give marketing more of a purpose. Loyalty marketing teams have a plan and they place more emphasis on profitability,” he says.
Real loyalty, he believes, is derived from retailers adopting a number of policies including: making customers feel valued by reciprocating the value customers place in them, which does not simply mean lower prices; building trust; speaking with a relevant voice through targeted offers; giving a consistency of experience across channels; and giving customers control over how retailers communicate and engage with them.
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