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Day 29 - Segment

Level 10

In my prior life, I spent a good deal of time speaking and writing about customer loyalty and engagement, and how marketers needed to adapt to support customers’ changing needs.

Marketers have traditionally viewed customers in groups – segments – who exhibit common purchasing, engagement, or other behaviors. But with the increase in data companies can gather about their customers, together with the wealth of interaction data customers generate almost constantly, marketing stakes are higher today than ever before. Traditional segments are now too wide.

I regularly spoke about individualization – the practice of observing customers’ behavior, interactions, and needs, and delivering an experience relevant to a segment of one. I thought today would be fitting to share some of my thoughts on this subject with this audience of IT pros, many of whom help marketers and the businesses they support, address the challenges of the Age of the Customer. Though I would typically write for marketers regarding their customers in the B2C sense, IT pros perhaps understand these experience expectations even better than their marketing peers, complete with quick complaints and rare compliments.

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If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

- General Eric Shinseki, U.S. Army, Ret., Former Secretary Veterans Affairs

Customers are evolving, as is the technology they rely on, meaning marketers have to adjust their sails and navigate the winds of change. These changes provide us with the opportunity to transform our businesses for the better, provided that we embrace it. As General Shinseki alluded to in his quote above, you become rigid at your own peril.

What’s at the heart of all this change? Technology. The ever-increasing velocity of digital technology has accelerated what Forrester calls “The Age of the Customer.” We know how easy it is to pull out a smartphone or tablet and find out virtually anything – and that’s exactly what today’s consumer does. They can research and buy whatever they need – whether a product, service, or experience – with just a click, wielding tremendous, instantaneous control.

Of course, for marketers, this customer-driven dynamic can be maddening! Speed and control have transformed buying behaviors – customers expect to access what they want, when they want it, wherever they are... instantly. When they can’t find exactly what they want, they move on with just a click. That leaves little room for error, and no room for irrelevance.

In addition, the velocity of digital technology has created a cacophony of marketing noise and color, an onslaught of marketing madness competing to be noticed. As a result, details often get missed, and many marketers settle for “close enough.” But “close enough” means profiling audiences instead of building relationships with individuals.

Customers are flooded by marketing – it’s like living in Times Square 24/7. It’s a spectacle to behold, but it’s impossible to have a meaningful conversation in that environment. This intense availability of options makes it incredibly easy for a customer to try something new – especially when the cost to switch is practically non-existent. Without relevance, relationships are short, and attention wanders.

In spite of the noise in the market, customers are creating relationships with brands to get more value from the business they provide – COLLOQUY has seen loyalty program memberships more than triple over the past 15 years. That’s because customers are willing to create relationships with brands – if those relationships deliver value. And that value can flow both ways.

Rich insights come from a relationship where the customer receives a true value for the information they share – and that, in turn, empowers brands to improve profitability and increase engagement with their highest-value customers.

In fact, small shifts in loyal customer behavior drive huge rewards. Bain & Company has found that increasing customer retention by 5% increases profits by 25-95%. That’s why loyalty remains a powerful strategy for companies seeking a deeper understanding of their best customers and improved ability to retain, grow, and acquire more high-value customers.

So, if loyal customer behavior offers such tremendous advantages, why are so many companies struggling with their loyalty programs? According to COLLOQUY, it’s because even though overall membership shows growth, loyalty program engagement has decelerated. For example, while the average U.S. household holds memberships in 29 loyalty programs, that same household is only active in 12.

As consumers, we establish relationships with brands to get something of value from the exchange. But when that value exchange doesn’t meet our needs, we split our share of wallet with another brand. Because let’s face it – customers aren’t interested in a company’s org charts and system integrations. When individual understanding is left out of their experience, customers feel betrayed. Their brand loyalty is ignored.

And all too often, they move on.

For decades, many brands have built a wall between their loyalty and engagement initiatives and the entirety of their customer experience, and that’s what’s driving the decelerating engagement. COLLOQUY advises marketers to leverage loyalty learnings across the organization, and ramp up integration of all channels to improve relevance and increase engagement with members. Rosetta Consulting’s 2014 Customer Engagement Survey finds that customers switch platformsup to 27 times an hour, yet they demand relevance and coherence in every interaction with the brand.

Yet, Forrester found that only 34% of loyalty marketers feel their internal systems (such as their loyalty and campaign management platforms) are integrated enough to leverage the insights they need to connect with customers. Forrester says “marketers need to step up their technology execution and analytical prowess to act on the useful customer insights they create.” Without doing so, marketers neglect to recognize their most valued customers wherever and whenever they engage with the brand.

As Fara Howard, global VP of Marketing for Vans, said at the 2015 Gartner Digital Marketing Conference, when marketers fail to use the insights they’ve gained, the customer is left in the cold, saying, “I love you, and you don’t even know my name.”

I love you, and you don’t even know my name.

- Fara Howard, VP of Global Marketing for Vans

Now, organizations are racing to connect digital touchpoints in a loosely woven fabric of point solutions, and they’re attempting to collect – but not always integrate – information through every channel. But that often leaves loyalty and engagement siloed off to the side.

Steve Dennis of Sageberry Consulting described it this way: “The battle between what your customer wants, needs and expects, and that which your various silo chieftains and defenders of the status quo try to hold onto, is intensifying.”

For Emily Collins of Forrester, the relationships companies have with their customers and the loyalty they demonstrate to those companies trump traditional competitive advantages. Loyalty is mission critical, she says.

In too many cases, the recognition we enjoy as loyalty members is disconnected from our experience elsewhere with the brand. We expect that a brand with whom we have a relationship should know us and recognize us everywhere we go – we’re part of the tribe. And yet, when we’re treated like strangers instead of family? It’s damaging to say the least, and regularly ends the relationship.

The speed at which always-on customers move today, the breadth of options available to them, and the constant hail of marketing messages they’re pelted with all work to erode the customer relationship – and can keep it from even getting started. Without properly onboarding new customer relationships, or bolstering the one-to-one connection with high-value customers, those relationships wither away, if they ever take hold in the first place. It sends you scrambling to find more customers to fill the gap, requiring 6-7x more resources to acquire new customers to replace existing customers.

­But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Engineering Serendipity

Futurist Jason Silva, host of NatGeo’s Brain Games, sees the vast oceans of data our customers generate as an opportunity for brands to connect with empowered individuals in a more meaningful way. “We move into a world of engineered serendipity,” he says.

We move into a world of engineered serendipity.

- Jason Silva

The word “serendipity” means a “pleasant surprise.” When brands create relationships that please the individual by consistently delivering convenience, unique rewards, engaging moments, and a true value exchange for the information they share – it may be a surprise for the customer, but it’s the product of considerable engineering by the marketer.

By unifying a brand’s disparate understandings of individual customers, they can clearly see the highest-value among them, those that have high potential, and get a better view of where they should be focusing acquisition efforts in the future. Then, by leveraging those insights through an integrated technology platform – they can engage your best of the best, surprise and delight them, and deliver value worthy of both the business they give the brand and the information they share.

That’s exactly the opportunity businesses have today. They can create an experience that captures the moment with the customer and holds them rapt, and experience that makes them deeply loyal and incredibly engaged with the brand.

Every new insight creates the chance for companies to engineer a little serendipity, by connecting in right-time relevant ways, by surprising and delighting their customers, and by rewarding their relationship and engagement with the brand through an experience that keeps them coming back. Because engagement that cuts through the noise and truly connects with the customer as an individual, is the new loyalty.

There are as many tools in the loyalty toolbox as there are brands looking to use them. Creating the right experience for your customers is about listening to the information they provide – and answering with the most relevant approach for their needs. Relevance is what cuts through the clutter, connects with the individual, and keeps them from clicking away. Intimate relevance – driven by individualized insights – elevates the loyalty programs of the past to the engagement of the future. Because it’s all about the individual. Individualized engagement – fully-integrated into your enterprise and your customer experience – enables brands to use deep insights to connect in a vibrantly relevant way, and deepen engagement with individuals in a more rewarding manner – ultimately driving customer loyalty.

By centralizing the customer view to include the traditional behavioral data together with emotional insights, marketers crystallize their understanding of who their best customers are, what they need and want from their brands. They shift from just addressing audience segments to co-creating value exchanges with individual customers. And that experience touches every point of interaction with the customer – online, offline, wherever she is and whenever she is ready to interact.

This two-way exchange establishes more lasting relationships, fuels engagement, and allows marketers not only to increase their share of wallet, but as Hal Brierley, founder of Brierley+Partners, says, grow “share of mind’ with their customers. Make no mistake. This ain’t your grandma’s loyalty program.

Disney MagicBands

Borne out of a desire to remove friction and deliver a more magical Disney experience, the MagicBand is the key to providing a superior experience. RFID-enabled bands are individualized to each guest, and remove the need for paper tickets, FastPass+, and even your wallet. And it allows Disney to track your visit through its parks.

Imagine the look on your little princess’ face when Anna and Elsa greet her by name – and even know that she saw Mickey and Minnie at breakfast. Describing this individualized experience, Disney COO Tom Staggs quotes Arthur C. Clarke: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

By reducing even the friction of choice – what lines to wait in, where to hunt down Disney characters, even deciding what to eat – visitors free themselves up to experience more of the park – so they do more, create more memories, and ultimately, spend more. It’s this magic that shows how well brands can create opportunities for customers to clamor to share their information. As Cliff Kuang of WIRED wrote in his article about MagicBands, “No matter how often we say we’re creeped out by technology, we tend to acclimate quickly if it delivers what we want before we want it.”

No matter how often we say we’re creeped out by technology, we tend to acclimate quickly if it delivers what we want before we want it.

- Cliff Kuang, WIRED

Starbucks Rewards

Today’s loyalty members are leaving the plastic far behind, instead carrying their memberships with them via smartphone. The 2015 Bond Brand Loyalty Report called mobile the “strategic high ground in loyalty.” Combining communication, unique ID, and a payment vehicle, it adds utility to marketing by providing the customer with a link between online and the real world.

This trend prompted Starbucks to transition all of its Starbucks Rewards members from plastic cards to the Starbucks mobile app in 2016. After all, we’ve all stood in line at Starbucks, and as we waited, what did we have in our hands? Certainly a more reliable way of tracking payments than a gift card you might leave out of your wallet. In fact, Starbucks mobile app transactions accounted for 16% of total revenue, with 7 million transactions tracked per week, across the 13 million active app users – and over 9 million active My Starbucks Rewards members in 2015. By engaging loyal customers through mobile, Starbucks has embraced the digital experience as much as they have focused on the in-store “third place” experience. This clear, cohesive focus on their customer’s experience across all channels shows what loyalty can achieve when it is embedded throughout the connected experience.

If we think about the tens, hundreds of times per day we interact with different brands, the opportunity for any of them to resonate in a meaningful way is slight. The apps we interact with obsessively for a few weeks [remember Angry Birds? Words With Friends? Candy Crush?], the websites we visit, the emails we receive that go unread – we waste interactions without reservation. And yet, consumers are embracing entirely new channels through which we can connect with them.

Apple Watch

The Apple Watch – and other connected wearables like it – provide a unique opportunity to individualize relevance in a truly intimate way. Gathering data and providing valuable information as American Airlines and its AAdvantage program is doing through its Watch app version – enables brands to connect directly with known individuals, with a right-time relevant value exchange so imperative to how we go about their day that a competing brand never has a chance to disrupt the relationship. Loyalty and engagement are changing – as all of marketing is. But though the mechanics are evolving, the power remains.

Building a relationship with a brand’s best customers provides proven results. Engaging customers to propel them forward outpaces acquisition every day of the week. Understanding customers more deeply as individuals empowers companies to create a differentiated customer experience that keeps their best customers coming back. By embracing real customer obsession, unifying loyalty and engagement and infusing it throughout the customer experience, brands communicate clearly the value they offer their customers, and give them a real reason to connect and engage with a company – and be loyal now, and in the future.

I believe in the power of the individual – and in rising above mere mass personalization to connect with the customer through a truly individualized experience. Loyalty has always been about engaging the individual – and this next evolution in individualized loyalty and engagement will enable marketers to harness that power to retain and grow their most profitable customers.

Rather than being classified into a segment, each customer should be seen as a “segment of one.”

- Jeff Berry, former COLLOQUY Research Director, now Senior Director, LoyaltyOne Global Solutions

The days of grouping customers as “close enough” profiled segments are over. The future of marketing is all about engaging the loyalty of a segment of one.

43 Comments
Level 15

that’s one heck of a post!

one thing that kept occurring to me throughout: what about a fundamental shift in how companies see their employees ?

in the past 4ish years, i’ve had the opportunity to interact with about 500 unique clients/companies. there were 2 lasting impressions from these experiences.

1) the best hotel coffee is at residence inn

2) companies that treat their engineers as worker bees will receive neither

i think it is a standard that companies segment their workforce via org charts. but allowing silos to restrict engineering (and other) skill sets is one of the main complaints i heard over casual lunches with the engineering core. the companies who refused to mold to an evolving workforce were almost always the ones with the least happy employees, in my highly (un)scientific research.

this speaks loudly to the shift from being specialists back towards being jack-of-all-trades engineers. we can’t keep putting ourselves into comfy little boxes. to thrive, we need to keep pushing. and our companies need to encourage that growth at a molecular level.

Level 12

DAY 29; SEGMENT.

The Dictionary definition of this Noun is as follows;

     “Each of the parts into which something is or may be divided”.

With this being said, it is good to know where to ‘Segment’ your tasks for the successful deployment of any project big or small.

Level 12

If we could only segment our lives and divide ourselves

MVP
MVP

Interesting article. I particularly like:  “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

As IT professionals we are called upon to make technology transparent and easy to use. Sometimes we get caught out or upset that the end users don't see how difficult this is at times, but those that get it see that we are doing "magic."

MVP
MVP

Interesting post about marketing and loyalty programs from the marketers perspective. I mentioned in earlier threads that I've recently moved and thus needing to update my address details. I grabbed my wallet and started going through all of the cards I've collected and I was surprised at how many loyalty program cards I had stashed away.

One of the major supermarkets in Australia had a rewards program for shopping and customers were able to get Qantas frequent flyer points as part of a linked program. In 2015, this supermarket updated their loyalty program by changing how rewards were received but they also dropped the Qantas FF relationship from its rewards program and there was a huge backlash. A lot of social media posts about changing to a competitor supermarket for a more rewarding loyalty program, or how the frequent flyer points were the only reason they shopped at that supermarket.

The resulting loyalty program was confusing, under-rewarding, and only available for certain products. The consumer backlash was so great, they ended up revamping the program months later to add the frequent flyer points back in. The new scheme offered significantly less points than the original program but I would be intrigued to see the retention numbers that caused them to bring it back.

Woolworths faces criticism after dropping frequent flyer points in new-look loyalty program - CMO Au...

Woolworths Loyalty Card: Scott Mate rewards rant post goes viral

Six months on – How Woolworths screwed up a perfectly good loyalty card scheme

Woolworths Rewards to offer Qantas frequent flyer points again in 2016

Level 12

People segment things to make it easier to comprehend, remember and categorize. This applies to everything from phone numbers, to data stores on hard drives, and even your closets. If you just mashed everything together without a segmented order to it, finding things and remember them would be next to impossible. Sit back once and take a look at everything you deal with on a daily basis and see how it is laid out and organized. I bet you will start to see a lot more segmentation to it then you realize was happening. Just looking at my desk here at work I can see layers of segmentation going on just with my little area here.

Level 10

I certainly perceive the fruits of IT labor as magic, though I have enough of a peek behind the curtains to know that it's anything but.

Level 10

Having gone through a number of initial program designs, program redesigns, and program re-redesigns, this rings so true. Too often, companies start with a perception of what they're trying to achieve, and then force the program to fit it. While I don't advocate consumerism too strongly influencing program design [because let's face it, companies are trying to achieve ROI], you have to start by listening to the customer.

Level 10

True. But allowing segmentation to remain a ceiling isn't acceptable when you're trying to achieve a connection with your customer.

I think of segment as a part of a market.   When we as a company try to look at trends or KPI's we look at our market segments and try to narrow down the focus.   Each segment to itself.  

as defined by Google - In computing, a code segment, also known as a text segment or simply as text, is a portion of an object file or the corresponding section of the program's virtual address space that contains executable instructions.

My day has segments, one where I wear my Director hat and focus on strategic planning and corporate focus, the other as a Sys admin where I focus on the systems and infrastructure.  My favorite segment is when i get home and get to be Husband an father.   That makes the rest of the day worth the effort.

Level 12

In woodturning, you can create turning blanks out of multiple pieces, this is called segmented turning. Here is my first attempt at a segmented turning:

segmented-oil-lamp.jpg

Wow!  I wasn't thinking of ANY of the ideas you put forth for "segment".  But your ideas show a much bigger picture about business than my more narrowly defined ideas and experiences with the way the word applies to my work environment--which is Networking.

pastedImage_0.png

Thinking of the definition of "segment", and of the images and ideas that come to my mind, I covered:

  • A section of an earthworm is called a "segment".  (Hey, I'm a fisherman, I use worms for bait.  And long ago I was a little boy, and earthworms were cool and gross and fascinating.)
  • Oranges and grapefruit contain delicious "segments".  Sometimes accessing that deliciousness results in a citric acid squirt in the eye!  But citrus segments bring healthy vitamins and tasty juice and useful roughage to our diets.
  • A network "segment" containing a collision domain and all of the devices that can communicate to each other via Layer 2.

The most problematic definition of "segment" (for me) is when I.T. Security experts, and I.T. hardware and applications vendors, started talking about "segmentation" or "segmenting the network for better security" in ways that cause me a lot more work and headaches.  My companies uses Cisco ACI and Cisco ISE (for NAC, as well as for other things) to turn 75,000 network switch ports into 75,000 ACL-based mini-firewalls.  Using these technologies to change the network is challenging and a bit frustrating.

"Challenging" in that training dollars are few, and the impact of implementing security segmentation can be very visible and can impact customers and corporations wildly.

"Frustrating" in that the processes and hardware limitations aren't defined and shared well enough (remember the training dollars comments above?), which means surprises for technology staff AND for their clients--never a good thing!  MANY hardware manufactures, VAR's, and Support Staff for those devices or applications have no idea what destination ports are required for their device to successfully communicate.  That makes building an effective security ACL in ISE or ACE for the traffic impossible--we end up having to disable security (which is a policy violation) or not use the device or its application (which is another kind of customer violation entirely).

(Side observation:  I saw negative impact on NCM's ability to backup my fully-populated Cisco 4510 chassis switches when ISE NAC configuration was implemented on their 392 ports.  The 4510s' configuration files grew so large that they couldn't be reliably moved to NCM archives via TFTP, and I had to change transport options to get them into NCM for Daily Configuration Change Reports and for archiving & restoring)

Prior to ACI and ISE, I thought of "segmentation" as simply isolating broadcast domains & collision domains to Layer 2 VLAN's, isolated (ideally) between a Layer 3 switch or router and a single switch.  At worst, the VLAN might be spanned into multiple switches to accommodate primitive operating systems and hardware whose creators never imagined an enterprise network that requires scaling across vast distances.  I have seen too many devices whose network cards have no subnet mask fields and no default gateway field.  When these primitive devices are built so they can only communicate with their server and with each other while they're on the same VLAN/subnet, my beautifully efficient and intuitive network design breaks down.  Imagine having a single device's NIC create a broadcast storm that shuts down the same VLAN in a dozen network rooms.  Now imagine trying to discover which network room hosts the switch to which the problem device is attached. Ugh.  Stay away from these devices and their vendors!

Where you wrote "Rich insights come from a relationship where the customer receives a true value for the information they share . . ."  I immediately thought of Facebook "stealing" my personal information, my FB friends & their friends, and selling this information or using it for selling services to advertisers.  Never a good thing from my point of view, and while I realize I don't pay money for social networking, and therefore am the thing being sold to others, it doesn't make targeted advertising hitting me or my friends appreciated.

But I also thought of my customers, of ways that we can retain them and improve their satisfaction with our services.  I was surprised to learn that customer loyalty in health care is not always reliable.  There are other clinics, other hospitals, other health care systems available to most of our customers, and we try to guard their trust and provide the best satisfaction to them as we can.  In that way will we be able to help them bring return business to us instead of to a competing business.

The Disney Magic Bracelets are (IMHO) creepy.  Yes, they can improve a local experience, and that's a good thing.  The apparent added cost is a higher Disney bill, and that's OK.  I bet someone wouldn't be required to use those bracelets if they wanted to spend a little less at Disney.  But the hidden added cost is lost privacy.  Just as I don't want my Amazon searches generating targeted advertising in my Facebook wasted space (advertisement columns), so too do I not want people knowing me by name, knowing what I've searched for, where I've visited, knowing my children's names, etc.  Worse, once that information is gathered, I've no guarantee of it remaining secure for the life of my family.  I strongly believe no one needs to know those details--but I know that many people WANT this private information so they can better target us for their products, to more efficiently separate us from our pay.  All of my life I've been subjected to that kind of activity by advertisers, stores, parents, children--it seems the way of life.  I've no need for more of the same.

But I might consider accepting it, even embracing and supporting it, if the information were someone truly secured forever, and if the product being sold were safe AND beneficial.  That leaves out Starbucks for me--no matter how much you love the flavor and the buzz, coffee doesn't fit into my definition of safe and beneficial.  It takes $$ from our pockets, stains our teeth, increases halitosis, increases our blood pressure, causes withdrawal symptoms, growing it and transporting it and processing it damages the environment in so many ways . . .   I apologize to all who love it and who have become addicted to it, but coffee doesn't make my "beneficial" list.  Apple is out, too.  For far too many reason to go into here, most to do with their style and politics and attitudes.  'Nuff said on them.

What products WOULD be so useful AND beneficial that I'd gladly sacrifice my family's security along with my own?  That'll take some time to think about.  Probably genetics and health are fields that I'd benefit strongly enough from that I'd tolerate sharing that information--AFTER it's been proven the data will not be used against us to deny us insurance coverage, or to raise insurance rates, or shared with any other entitie4s

I really enjoyed the in-depth thoughts you've provided here, jennebarbour!  I'm impressed at the thoroughness and at the big-picture view you took on "segment".  I look forward to reading more of your thoughts as they appear in Thwack!

Swift packets to you & yours,

Rick Schroeder 

Level 10

Does each color segment of candy corn taste the same or different?

I am a frequent visitor for Disney World and a wearer of the Magic Bands. I can speak firsthand of their benefits to the overall Disney experience. And phoey! to Disney knowing my whereabouts at any given moment in their parks or on their properties. The trade-off is worth it. I can buy things with it. I can open my hotel door with it. I can even swim with it. My wallet never has to leave my pocket and yet I can still spend my money. How convenient is that? (Umm! Now that I think about it...)

All of that data is being pumped into big SAP HANA DB's and being processed in real-time. All sort of weird and crazy demographic studies are derived from it too. Multi-million decisions on their parks are made based off this data (Yet Stitch's Great Escape lasted for years before being closed!) It goes to show you that even numbers can be unpredictable.

The same... awful!

Level 13

We segment our networks with VLANs.  We segment our work with employees that are dedicated to each segment of our network:  SAN, Server management, Network management.

Our society is segmented into blue states and red states. 

Everything is segmented even our fruits and vegetables

Image result for grocery store fruit phone

Level 11

Image result for segment

Level 9

This is how I prefer my Segments untitled.png

Level 10

segment.jpg

Level 10

many times we think of segmentation as separation but I think we're able to work together as a cohesive whole much better when we break things down into segments. While there is a separation that occurs, in a way, when we segment different groups and roles into categories and jobs, it creates a better sense of purpose and makes sure everyone is doing the jobs they're best at. When the whole machine is designated and segmented into it's different parts it creates a unity of each part making the whole thing work.

Level 11

If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.

- General Eric Shinseki, U.S. Army, Ret., Former Secretary Veterans Affairs

jennebarbour​, now I have found a quote for people who do not like change; well, and for myself too when change seems uncomfortable. Thank you for this.

Segmentation can be good if it is done well to achieve a purpose of "one" but when it is done with unfairly with hidden agendas, there is bound to be conflict.

Level 9

Without segmentation, you end up with one large collision domain. I like the variety of my work, but I find in a place with all generalist, we are colliding a little too often.

Level 10

Level 10

It is true, segmentation limits collision domain in a computer network. Is it possible to bring the concept of "Segment of one" to networks?

MVP
MVP

That was more reading than I was expecting on a Saturday evening!

Company loyalty programmes have certainly evolved. In the UK I believe Tesco was one of the first to introduce mass scale loyalty scheme and is heralded as being a tool which has shaped how we are communicated to, interactive with and essentially sold to. The amount of knowledge and insight gained from consumer behaviour must be extraordinary.

A strong point of your article is how these have moved on from just data mining and learning how to sell to customers, but also the channels used for that interaction. Individual physical cards, no matter how small, are migrating to smart phones. Which being what they are and how we are so used to interacting with, are a nirvana position for a company to use as the platform for engagement. From a customer swiping to purchase in their eWallet (cash or company credit) which is the immediate card replacement, but moving to the company app presenting offers, information, support and any other communication they wish is immensely engaging and useful to both parties.

With this comes huge responsibility, hence government compliance on how customer data is handled, stored, processed and shared. We have seen several companies deal with massive PR disasters where customer data breaches will have direct impact on future loyalty of their customers. If a company is seen to be using data irresponsibly or a security breach occurs; loyalty will be affected to the point that could threaten the entire company. Choice as you indicated is greater and easier to apply than ever before.

Level 9

jennebarbour  very informative and interesting article. I'm relatively new to SolarWinds and very impressed with the engagement in the brand and care I've experienced with customer service.

I look forward to the challenges and enjoy learning about the products offered by SolarWinds. My first tool download was for a class I was taking at the time, and it was followed by a phone call offering assistance with the product. There was no "hard sell" and I was left with the impression that the "free" tools offered by SolarWinds were actually there for me to use no strings attached.

I've downloaded other trial products to learn how to install and configre them. We use SolarWinds NPM and DPA at work, but they were already up and running when I started, and a coworker is tasked with their management, but I wanted to learn more. I received a call again offering help with the product trial. The gentleman was very friendly and supportive.

While perusing the SolarWinds site I discovered another interesting item and watched an episode of SolarWinds Lab, which was very entertaining and informative. It left me wishing I had more time to watch additional episodes.

I generally don't post on social media. I don't update my status or feel the need to share anything really. For the first time I feel engaged. I see the SolarWinds staff and community members as people not nameless faceless tag lines. The breadth of knowledge possessed by the individuals posting here can be very intimidating, expecially for someone with a major case of FUD and Imposter syndrome, yet I feel accepted.

"By embracing real customer obsession, unifying loyalty and engagement and infusing it throughout the customer experience, brands communicate clearly the value they offer their customers, and give them a real reason to connect and engage with a company – and be loyal now, and in the future."

Well done SolarWinds and thank you.

Level 12

Yes, that was a lot to digest. I don't think I can add anything of value. So here I offer a loosely related image I find amusing:

give me a br mug.png

Level 20

You're always welcome here cpotridge​!

Level 20

The Disney RFID thing sounds like a pretty big deal for Disney patrons... although a little spooky too!  A segment is part of a whole to me.  Usually segments are uniform but not always.

Thanks for the excellent write up jennebarbour​. Lots of insights from the marketing perspective.

How small is a segment? As a noun segment can mean a part of a whole, as others have mentioned. As a verb it means to divide into parts. So as I segment a segment when does it become pointless? Is a pixel the smallest segment of a picture? Are the standard model particles the smallest things in the known universe?

From the marketing perspective you can segment down to the individual but is it pointless? Can a single customer make a difference to your top or bottom line? The trick is to make the individual feel like they matter when they really only matter as a larger group. I can see where companies might look at segmenting their market and targeting their advertising funds as increasing ROI, yet can they tell? The local grocery chain has had a loyalty program for several years now. The benefit I get from it is a few cents off on my gasoline from at least three different regional distributors. On the flip side they send us targeted coupons in the mail, email, and at the register that clearly indicate they are watching what we spend our money on. It is so rarely for anything we purchase on a regular basis. [I don't recall ever seeing a coupon for fresh fruit or vegetables.] They aren't effectively targeting me. Can they even tell? I know that is anecdotal, but we are only a family of 2 and for this large regional chain we don't amount to a huge share of their profits. Then does it really matter to them?

I agree with rschroeder​ about having ads show up on Facebook, Yahoo, etc. because I searched for something is very annoying. Especially since I made the decision and purchased something months ago. Now the constant push advertising actually drives me in the opposite direction from those brands. When I want to by something I'll go look for it.

Level 10

I'd be excited to see how this could play out!

Level 10

We're glad to have you with us cpotridge​!

Level 10

Digital ads are getting smarter, but they're still challenged by the information available - I often am chased by the same lipstick I already bought. You probably have the same phantoms chasing you.

Level 9

That's how I felt college was after I finally was done with earning my degree.  Broken down in segments, in each learning new tools.

I believe digital ads are already chasing everyone.  I am constantly seeing ads about items me and my wife talk about daily.  There was no google search or anything typed in any of our devices.

Yes, that lipstick I bought for Halloween is still popping up as an ad!

Apparently the difference between individual fruits, or between individual vegetables, justifies separating them.  Certainly their tastes are wildly different.  Imagine a "mixed vegetables" or "mixed fruit"--or worse, "mixed fruit AND vegetables" bin!  I don't want my tomatoes tasting like onions, so they shouldn't be placed in the same bin.

Unlike nuts.  Apparently the taste and texture of nuts isn't as important to separate.  How strange they can all be thrown into the same can or jar, and we're satisfied easting them indiscriminately like one single type of candy.

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I didn't realize companies catered to buyers of M&M's by "segmenting" the candy by color.  Don't all M&M's taste the same?

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Let's not go down the Green M&M's path, OK?  No "Rule 34" for my favorite candy, if you don't mind.  I don't read special meaning into colors--they're all wonderful.

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Level 9

rschroeder  wrote:

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I didn't realize companies catered to buyers of M&M's by "segmenting" the candy by color.  Don't all M&M's taste the same?

...

No sir, they defiantly do not all taste the same.  The Yellow and Orange ones especially taste different to me.

Oh and yes, the Green ones are the best!

Some days I wish I were one of those "super tasters" who have more taste buds per square inch on their tongue.  Maybe I'd sense the flavor differences.

Level 9

Just separate out a bag by color then eat one color at a time and you should notice a slight difference.

Happy Snacking!

Level 10

Back when my (future) wife and I were dating, one day she gave me a small bag of M & M's, knowing I enjoyed them.  A few hours later I tore the bag open and, to my surprise--they were only GREEN M's!

And, innocent that I was (back in 1979), I didn't realize the implications. 

It's brought a smile every time I've thought of it since.

Back then it was not possible to just buy one color, so she'd bought several bags, separated out the green ones, carefully slit open a regular sized bag, emptied it and replaced its content with green M's, and then carefully glued it back closed.  I didn't have a clue.

cpotridge​, like you, I've found Thwack to be the most engaged, most helpful, geographically and technologically diverse group of people anywhere.  It's a happy day when we can welcome someone like you to the team of people who ask and answer questions, who share their ideas, and who are serious about helping and being helped.

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"Segmenting to one" network would play heck with things that require broadcasts to function.  But . . . if we could ELIMINATE all need for broadcasting . . . the network might work a LOT faster.

Segmenting to one device per network would likely be sidestepped by others who may implement multicast to accomplish their nefarious broadcasting schemes.  Oh, the humanity!

About the Author
I grew up in Forest Lake, Minnesota in the 1960's, enjoying fishing, hunting, photography, bird watching, church, theater, music, mini-boggan, snowmobiling, neighborhood friends, and life in general. I've seen a bit, have had my eyes opened more than once, and tend not to make the same mistakes twice. Reinventing the wheel is not my preference, and if I can benefit from someone else's experience, that's good all the way around. If someone can benefit from my experience, it's why I share on Thwack.