Tag Archives: customer insight

Is your competition eating your lunch in social media?

A leading bank discovered it was losing customers to an aggressive competitor. The method was simple: whenever the competitor saw a customer complaining about the leading bank on Twitter, they invited him or her to change banks.

The tactic worked only too well to be ignored.

Higland straight kitten and Dalmatian puppy eating from a bowl

Image: istockphoto.com

The morale of the story: if you want to make the most of the web, you don’t just monitor what people say about you online. You need to take action based on what you learn from those discussions.

Furthermore, you are not limited to monitoring what people say about your company. Everything that you can monitor about your own company, you can also monitor about your competitors.

Therefore, it’s no wonder that most organizations, large and small, are now monitoring social media, and in fact not just social media but the web as a whole. There are literally hundreds of tools and services out there to offer you social media monitoring and analysis.

Accuracy of social media monitoring determines your success

In order for monitoring to be useful, though, the tools that we use must come with advanced analytics.

Imagine the following scenario. You want to measure brand sentiment on the web and categorize brand mentions into positive, negative or neutral. Easy, right?

You go ahead and try one of the free social media monitoring tools, for example  socialmention.com, and stumble upon the first problem – noise. Noise is for example if you’re measuring online mentions for Santander (a bank), but your monitoring tool includes mentions of the Spanish city of Santander in your results.

If your monitoring tool is not able to filter out the irrelevant content, imagine what happens to the reliability of your sentiment analysis. Garbage in, garbage out, as the old saying goes. So you’ll need a good filter that is able to stop the irrelevant stuff from contaminating your sentiment analysis – and your own professional reputation.

Check out the amount of noise that your monitoring tool will capture if you work for – or compete with – for example If (insurance), SAS (airline, software, military), or 3 (telco operator).

Enter text analytics and natural language processing

Having filtered out the noise, your tool needs to figure out which statements are positive, negative or neutral about your organization.

Are the words “high” or “low” positive or negative? There’s no way to know if you don’t know the context of the word. This is why your analytics tool needs some heavy duty text analytics as well as what they call natural language processing. You will want your analytics tool to be able to capture and understand not only individual words, but terms and phrases consisting of several words.

Your tool also needs to understand the structure of your language, or many languages, if you are an international company.

For example, if our bank’s customer writes about “a high interest rate”, we don’t know if he or she is happy or unhappy. Your analytics tool needs to figure out if the person is talking about his home loan or his bank account.

These are just some of the reasons why you’ll want your (social) media monitoring and analytics tool to come from someone who is strong in advanced analytics.

Accuracy of measurement is key, whether it’s about brand sentiment or other social media metrics. Without good accuracy, you can’t take any meaningful business action based on your monitoring.

Our bank under attack revisited

So what happened to our friends in the bank that was losing its customers to an aggressive competitor?

They started using a social media analytics tool that captured and analyzed customer complaints in real time. As a result, they are now able to contact dissatisfied customers immediately and prevent the competitor from stealing their customers.

Posted previously in BI Blogg, Norway’s leading business intelligence website http://biblogg.no/2012/06/15/is-your-competition-eating-your-lunch-in-social-media/   

The Bridge that has a Loyalty Program

If you’ve watched the crime drama “The Bridge” on TV, you’ll be familiar with the bridge connecting the Danish capital Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmö.(* The CRM and email program of that bridge is surprisingly sophisticated.


More than 20 000 cars cross the Öresund bridge between Denmark and Sweden daily. Most of the bridge users live close by, and about half of the trips are related to leisure travel, the other half being business.

The bridge has nearly 300 000 loyalty program members, carrying a device that allows them to pass the toll booth through a priority lane. This is only one of the benefits they receive.

Increased sales

If each loyalty program member crossed the bridge one additional time each month, the bridge company sales would increase by 60 million euros. Boosting traffic is the aim of the loyalty program. In other words, they want to increase the number of customers and increase their shopping frequency, like in any other loyalty program.

Each member gets profiled according to his or her behavior pattern for using the bridge, and their declared and observed interests for leisure time. Based on the profile, the customer gets personalized communication from the bridge company, whether it’s by email, contact center, website or the mobile app of the bridge.

Does your CRM program have these ten features?

Here’s some of the stuff the Öresund Bridge loyalty program does. Is there something on the list that you could apply in your program?

  1. Customer contacts are tailored based on the customer profile that is unique to each individual. The same message never goes to all customers.
  2. Customer segmentation is based on the customer’s actual and observed behavior – not just on what they claim to be interested in when asked in surveys.
  3. In marketing emails, each click on each link on every email gets registered for each individual customer. This data is stored in the customer analytics and dialogue database. For instance, the customer clicking a link about a golf tour offer is probably interested in golf and will see golf-related offers in the future as well.
  4. The profile -based offers are presented to customers in both outbound and inbound channels. The customer contacting the call center is informed about the current offers most relevant to him or her.
  5. Every email campaign is used for testing different versions of the message. This so-called A/B testing is done in all campaigns. Consequently, there’s continuous learning and improvement in campaign results. The open rate of the personalized emails is impressive, over 30%.
  6. Communications program based on customer life cycle stage. The bridge company takes the customer’s life cycle stage into account in each contact. The stages they use are: Generate =>Develop => Nursing => Winback.
  7. Most of the 1-to-1 messages going to the customers are sent automatically, based on triggers. Automatized communications result in huge savings by reducing manual work and by preventing errors that are typical when creating campaigns manually. The triggers are typically something that the customer did – or didn’t do.
  8. Email addresses that are no more in use (hard bounces) are actively updated by asking the customer to give his or her current email address at every opportunity in the other contact channels. An email address is not less valuable than a postal mail address.
  9. Prospects visiting the web site of the bridge get targeted display-advertising after their visit. Even though the visitor is not yet identified, he or she gets retargeted by behavior-based web ads.
  10. The bridge has a mobile app for their customers. With the app, you can plan your trip, and it also prompts you about current offers. The app can also be used to post the trip on social media.

 Does your loyalty program win the Öresund Bridge?

This loyalty program is a nice example of good use of customer analytics and marketing automation. If your CRM program does all the things listed above – congratulations! If the Bridge beats you, how about your competition then, are you able to beat them in the customer centricity game?

(*The American version of “The Bridge” TV series features a different bridge, namely the one connecting El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

Photo credit: Nikos Roussos, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

This is an English version of an article published in the Finnish DMA yearbook. 

Kesko dared, will S-group follow suit?


This fall Finland’s number two retailer Kesko began targeting their direct marketing based on their customers’ purchase history. Doesn’t sound too special, but that’s what it is. They became actually the first brick-and-mortar retailer to do it in this country.

Finnish retailers have been gathering their customers’ purchase data for years. However, from the customer’s point of view, this data has largely been left unused. From here onwards, the customer will hopefully see well executed personalized offers on products they like. In addition, there should be an improvement in customer experience, resulting from improved insight from analyzing the purchase data.

Kesko has thus embarked on a journey paved by Tesco in Britain some 20 years ago. Making use of customer analytics catapulted Tesco to the market leader position in Britain, made it the second largest retailer in the world, and helped it create a sizable ebusiness. According to former CEO Terry Leahy, productivity of Tesco’s marketing improved by 1000% because “offers could be tailored to what people actually wanted to buy”. Simple and smart.

The story of Tesco’s loyalty program can be read in this book that has already become a classic of sorts among marketers interested in customer insight. One of the key messages of the book is that in addition to marketing, actually everything that the company does is guided by the insight they get from customer data.

Finnish retail has finally entered the 1-to-1 marketing era. Kesko dared take the risk and face the criticism of those consumers who have privacy concerns about customer analytics. This sort of hesitation is probably hard to understand in many parts of the world but in this country it’s been the reality so far.

So, will Finns abandon shopping at Kesko stores as a protest? Of course not.

It’ll be interesting to see the response from S-group – the number one retailer – who’s expected to nominate its new CEO tomorrow. One of his key tasks will be to embrace ecommerce, something that Finnish retailers have so far left mostly to foreign competition. And this is starting to hurt.

Hence, this time the logical step for S-group would be to follow on Kesko’s footsteps, as it’s hard to imagine ecommerce without personalized marketing.