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Customer Science Blog

Every marketer knows that if you want to get noticed, you need to stand out. However, this is easier said than done amidst the array of channels and the plethora of generic marketing noise which has grown to dominate consumers’ lives in our “always on” world.  Consumers have become increasingly adept at tuning out irrelevant communications, but have shown they are not immune to exchanges which are relevant, personalised and appeal to their sense of self. The groundswell of customers insisting on being treated as individuals, and the increase in companies bringing to bear customer science (extracting actionable insight from customer data) to deliver tailored offerings, is fuelling the trend towards ‘Younique’ products, services and interactions.Image

The Younique trend taps into the consumer desire to be seen, heard and acknowledged as an individual, but only recent advances in technology and data have really enabled brands and retailers to respond in meaningful ways to this need. Lower manufacturing costs have brought about the opportunity for personalisation of products, but in many ways more importantly, the rise of social media has facilitated direct conversations, in real time, between customers and brands. More opportunity to complain in a public domain some might cry, but the transparency of the channel gives brands and retailers an enormous opportunity to put personality into their responses and engage with their customers in a unique way. Putting trust in staff to respond “outside the box” can have an extremely positive effect, as evidenced by some examples of great social media exchanges between supermarkets and customers as recently published by the Telegraph.

A type of extreme personalisation that consumers can control and influence, Younique reflects the explosion of new initiatives that have been created, not through focus groups and organisational think tanks, but through crowd-sourcing and direct collaboration with customers themselves. This growing expectation from consumers that their individual opinions will drive product development in a pro-active rather than reactive way is a positive opportunity for businesses, who are willing to embrace and nurture this approach, to delight their customers with offerings that they truly desire.

Brands and businesses who will dominate the Younique trend are those that cater to differing needs and wants, rather than aiming at the masses.  To find out more about the opportunities, download our trends report here

Every marketer knows that if you want to get noticed, you need to stand out. However, this is easier said than done amidst the array of channels and the plethora of generic marketing noise which has grown to dominate consumers’ lives in our “always on” world.  Consumers have become increasingly adept at tuning out irrelevant communications, but have shown they are not immune to exchanges which are relevant, personalised and appeal to their sense of self. The groundswell of customers insisting on being treated as individuals, and the increase in companies bringing to bear customer science (extracting actionable insight from customer data) to deliver tailored offerings, is fuelling the trend towards ‘Younique’ products, services and interactions.Image

The Younique trend taps into the consumer desire to be seen, heard and acknowledged as an individual, but only recent advances in technology and data have really enabled brands and retailers to respond in meaningful ways to this need. Lower manufacturing costs have brought about the opportunity for personalisation of products, but in many ways more importantly, the rise of social media has facilitated direct conversations, in real time, between customers and brands. More opportunity to complain in a public domain some might cry, but the transparency of the channel gives brands and retailers an enormous opportunity to put personality into their responses and engage with their customers in a unique way. Putting trust in staff to respond “outside the box” can have an extremely positive effect, as evidenced by some examples of great social media exchanges between supermarkets and customers as recently published by the Telegraph.

A type of extreme personalisation that consumers can control and influence, Younique reflects the explosion of new initiatives that have been created, not through focus groups and organisational think tanks, but through crowd-sourcing and direct collaboration with customers themselves. This growing expectation from consumers that their individual opinions will drive product development in a pro-active rather than reactive way is a positive opportunity for businesses, who are willing to embrace and nurture this approach, to delight their customers with offerings that they truly desire.

Brands and businesses who will dominate the Younique trend are those that cater to differing needs and wants, rather than aiming at the masses.  To find out more about the opportunities, download our trends report here

28 Jul 2015

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Jon O’Toole is one of the founders of BzzAgent, and has the scars to prove it. Since 2001 he’s managed BzzAgent’s community of volunteer brand advocates, which means he wears lots of hats. A typical day will find him fielding customer service issues, writing copy for BzzCampaigns, and even dancing in video designed to educate BzzAgents about household cleaners. Along the way he’s become a social media powerhouse, with 45,000 followers on Twitter, and almost 200,000 on Facebook.

In this episode of the Customer Science Podcast, Jon shares his insight into what works in social: what makes people pay attention, what customers expect from the companies they do business with, and what the future of social media will look like. Tune in to hear more!

 

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Jon O’Toole is one of the founders of BzzAgent, and has the scars to prove it. Since 2001 he’s managed BzzAgent’s community of volunteer brand advocates, which means he wears lots of hats. A typical day will find him fielding customer service issues, writing copy for BzzCampaigns, and even dancing in video designed to educate BzzAgents about household cleaners. Along the way he’s become a social media powerhouse, with 45,000 followers on Twitter, and almost 200,000 on Facebook.

In this episode of the Customer Science Podcast, Jon shares his insight into what works in social: what makes people pay attention, what customers expect from the companies they do business with, and what the future of social media will look like. Tune in to hear more!

 

23 Jul 2015

Published on Techcrunch.com

We’ve reached a point technologically where consumers are no longer impressed by access to data, as data availability, even our own, is increasingly the norm. Instead, the usability of that data is what’s driving demand for new products and services. Even the term “Big Data” is slowly being replaced by “Business Intelligence” as data is increasingly becoming commoditized.

This is where Design Thinking becomes so powerful. What insights can we extract and how do we present those insights to the user? The difficulty with that question is that it requires restraint and focus.

IDEO’s President and CEO described that practice best, stating, “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

What are the requirements for business success and how does data help to enable that success? Most big data startups are simply interpreting and presenting data to end users. However, the ability to do that effectively is something that many startups struggle to achieve.

Luckily, as part of my job I’m afforded the opportunity to interview hundreds of incredible startups per year; many in the “Big Data” space. In doing so, it becomes apparent which practices work best and which are still struggling to answer the following questions.

Who is The User?

One of the questions I always ask is “Who within the org would use this product?” Is this coming out of the marketing department budget or the sales department budget? There may be scenarios where multiple departments could utilize this tool… This is usually a trap. Building for everyone’s needs dilutes the impact of your tool and will muddle the insights you are trying to present.

Getting this question right will affect how you sell the product and more importantly how you design the product. This is one of the reasons why EMR software is so painful; they try to sell across specialty even though the clinical process for a general practitioner is far different than an ophthalmologist or neurologist. Yet many of the largest players have designed their products to serve everyone and as a result, most doctors had to be bribed with federal funding and penalties in order to make the switch.

One of our portfolio companies, Askuity, a fast-growing start-up in the retail analyticsmarket, is a great example of a company that built their product from the ground up around their core users. For just a single client they may analyze up to 16K SKU’s for over 6K stores worldwide. There is no doubt that this data asset could be harnessed across multiple departments and user groups but restraint and focus helped them capitalize on a single user who was desperate for insights.

"Some of the best advice we got early on from senior people in the industry was to 'keep it simple' if we really wanted our target user group - national retail account managers for product companies - to be engaged users of our platform," notes Eric Green, CEO and co-founder of Askuity.

"And when a 30 year veteran retail sales manager tells us that our application is his homepage in his browser, that's a good sign that we're on the right path."

How Should the Data Be Presented?

I’ve found that the biggest mistake on the data side is trying to present too much information. Most startups in the space will find that they will eventually need to scale back to a few need-to-know insights with deep dive capability. Essentially, identify 2-3 need-to-know insights, and make that the focus of the product.

The goal of the product is to be consistently used by all users, not just power users, and the only way to accomplish this is to make it as simple as possible to discover the relevant insights. Reduce clicks and noise.

Another one of our portfolio companies, Content Analytics, is a great example of a startup successfully reimagining the user experience. They were capturing so much data that clients could have easily become overwhelmed. Simplifying the presentation of complex information was critical. David Feinleib, CEO of Content Analytics put it as follows:

“We work with brand managers and site merchants. These clients are busy managing the business and don't have time to dig through huge quantities of data. We present them with visual e-commerce dashboards that provide actionable insights rather than a pile of data. That allows them to prioritize and improve quickly.”

Understand Your Competition

Rather than thinking about competing products, think about competing processes. If you are selling into the marketing department, what is their current process for accomplishing the task you are serving? Your goal should be to make that process faster and more efficient. Additional features are great but if a potential client can do X faster with their current process, your offering of Y & Z doesn’t matter. You may win early but it will be difficult to last.

Slack has done a remarkable job of accomplishing this. They are in a super competitive space of workplace collaboration. They did not win because of features; they won because of ease and simplicity.

Data is a commodity, just because the dataset is big, does not mean the feature-set needs to be big. Identify your user and show them what they need to know faster and more efficiently than anyone else.

Published on Techcrunch.com

We’ve reached a point technologically where consumers are no longer impressed by access to data, as data availability, even our own, is increasingly the norm. Instead, the usability of that data is what’s driving demand for new products and services. Even the term “Big Data” is slowly being replaced by “Business Intelligence” as data is increasingly becoming commoditized.

This is where Design Thinking becomes so powerful. What insights can we extract and how do we present those insights to the user? The difficulty with that question is that it requires restraint and focus.

IDEO’s President and CEO described that practice best, stating, “Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.

What are the requirements for business success and how does data help to enable that success? Most big data startups are simply interpreting and presenting data to end users. However, the ability to do that effectively is something that many startups struggle to achieve.

Luckily, as part of my job I’m afforded the opportunity to interview hundreds of incredible startups per year; many in the “Big Data” space. In doing so, it becomes apparent which practices work best and which are still struggling to answer the following questions.

Who is The User?

One of the questions I always ask is “Who within the org would use this product?” Is this coming out of the marketing department budget or the sales department budget? There may be scenarios where multiple departments could utilize this tool… This is usually a trap. Building for everyone’s needs dilutes the impact of your tool and will muddle the insights you are trying to present.

Getting this question right will affect how you sell the product and more importantly how you design the product. This is one of the reasons why EMR software is so painful; they try to sell across specialty even though the clinical process for a general practitioner is far different than an ophthalmologist or neurologist. Yet many of the largest players have designed their products to serve everyone and as a result, most doctors had to be bribed with federal funding and penalties in order to make the switch.

One of our portfolio companies, Askuity, a fast-growing start-up in the retail analyticsmarket, is a great example of a company that built their product from the ground up around their core users. For just a single client they may analyze up to 16K SKU’s for over 6K stores worldwide. There is no doubt that this data asset could be harnessed across multiple departments and user groups but restraint and focus helped them capitalize on a single user who was desperate for insights.

"Some of the best advice we got early on from senior people in the industry was to 'keep it simple' if we really wanted our target user group - national retail account managers for product companies - to be engaged users of our platform," notes Eric Green, CEO and co-founder of Askuity.

"And when a 30 year veteran retail sales manager tells us that our application is his homepage in his browser, that's a good sign that we're on the right path."

How Should the Data Be Presented?

I’ve found that the biggest mistake on the data side is trying to present too much information. Most startups in the space will find that they will eventually need to scale back to a few need-to-know insights with deep dive capability. Essentially, identify 2-3 need-to-know insights, and make that the focus of the product.

The goal of the product is to be consistently used by all users, not just power users, and the only way to accomplish this is to make it as simple as possible to discover the relevant insights. Reduce clicks and noise.

Another one of our portfolio companies, Content Analytics, is a great example of a startup successfully reimagining the user experience. They were capturing so much data that clients could have easily become overwhelmed. Simplifying the presentation of complex information was critical. David Feinleib, CEO of Content Analytics put it as follows:

“We work with brand managers and site merchants. These clients are busy managing the business and don't have time to dig through huge quantities of data. We present them with visual e-commerce dashboards that provide actionable insights rather than a pile of data. That allows them to prioritize and improve quickly.”

Understand Your Competition

Rather than thinking about competing products, think about competing processes. If you are selling into the marketing department, what is their current process for accomplishing the task you are serving? Your goal should be to make that process faster and more efficient. Additional features are great but if a potential client can do X faster with their current process, your offering of Y & Z doesn’t matter. You may win early but it will be difficult to last.

Slack has done a remarkable job of accomplishing this. They are in a super competitive space of workplace collaboration. They did not win because of features; they won because of ease and simplicity.

Data is a commodity, just because the dataset is big, does not mean the feature-set needs to be big. Identify your user and show them what they need to know faster and more efficiently than anyone else.

22 Jul 2015

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new service that solves many of the challenges healthcare providers face today and helps people lead healthier lives.  dunnhumby Health brings our industry-leading customer science to hospitals and insurance companies to help them deliver more relevant patient experiences that build loyalty, lower unnecessary costs, and deliver personalized health communications.

Healthcare in the US is complex and evolving rapidly.  With constantly changing insurance practices, widespread waste (estimated at $765 billion a year), and many new retail medical facilities available, patients can get frustrated and lose trust in the system.  More of us are taking greater control over where we turn for insurance, advice, treatment and preventative care.  With all these choices available, loyalty is now becoming an important issue for healthcare providers.   

With our customer science, hospitals learn more about their patient engagement, gaps in service, areas of inefficiency and what they need to do to meet the changing needs of their patients in the future.  We’ll show them how putting the patient at the center of every decision can deliver the most personalized experiences in the doctor’s office, online and at home.  

As much as 75% of healthcare costs are driven by preventable chronic conditions.  Add to that an aging population and increases in the levels of obesity, and it’s easy to see how important the right data-driven engagement programs are to promoting preventative care and adherence to medical treatment and medications.

Patrick Johnson is a leader on the dunnhumby Health team.  He discusses some of the ways he’s applying data analysis to these problems today in our latest episode of the Customer Science Podcast.

Learn more about dunnhumby Health at www.dunnhumby.com/health and in the news release.

We’re excited to announce the launch of a new service that solves many of the challenges healthcare providers face today and helps people lead healthier lives.  dunnhumby Health brings our industry-leading customer science to hospitals and insurance companies to help them deliver more relevant patient experiences that build loyalty, lower unnecessary costs, and deliver personalized health communications.

Healthcare in the US is complex and evolving rapidly.  With constantly changing insurance practices, widespread waste (estimated at $765 billion a year), and many new retail medical facilities available, patients can get frustrated and lose trust in the system.  More of us are taking greater control over where we turn for insurance, advice, treatment and preventative care.  With all these choices available, loyalty is now becoming an important issue for healthcare providers.   

With our customer science, hospitals learn more about their patient engagement, gaps in service, areas of inefficiency and what they need to do to meet the changing needs of their patients in the future.  We’ll show them how putting the patient at the center of every decision can deliver the most personalized experiences in the doctor’s office, online and at home.  

As much as 75% of healthcare costs are driven by preventable chronic conditions.  Add to that an aging population and increases in the levels of obesity, and it’s easy to see how important the right data-driven engagement programs are to promoting preventative care and adherence to medical treatment and medications.

Patrick Johnson is a leader on the dunnhumby Health team.  He discusses some of the ways he’s applying data analysis to these problems today in our latest episode of the Customer Science Podcast.

Learn more about dunnhumby Health at www.dunnhumby.com/health and in the news release.

21 Jul 2015