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Too many experts, too many choices, too much technology, too much data, too much media, yet it seems fewer and fewer real choices. As we have discussed in the past, there is a great opportunity to create unique engagement and loyalty between brands and their customers, more technology, and a market focused on CX and Loyalty. However, more struggle than ever before. The lack of metrics is a challenge we discussed in the last blog post on Loyalty360. It is a huge challenge, but as Barry Schwartz discussed so eloquently in the Power of Choice, too much choice is not always a good thing.

During a typical week at Loyalty360 we speak with 10 to 15 senior level marketers (VP, SVP, CMO) about the state of customer loyalty. Many of these marketers are members of Loyalty360, such as Jeff Pearson – SVP of Marketing at LIDS and Tariq Farid – CEO of Edible Arrangements. These are just two examples of the kinds of interviews we do for the Loyalty360 website, Loyalty Management Magazine, or one of our conferences.
As we have discussed in the past, there is a huge dichotomy on the marketer side between those who put the customer first and those who speak to putting the customer first.

We cherish the opportunity to speak with brands and, as the numbers are growing, we continue to focus on helping create a more engaged and educated discussion around customer loyalty. A year ago, speaking with the CMO of Banner Health, the CMO of Synchrony Financial, or the COO of Daimler (all articles to come soon) all on one day would have seemed impossible. 

However, we speak with a similar number of technology suppliers, consultants, and keynote speakers who are either approaching us with a new study or a product release. Sometimes they have a new client that is running their software or may have adopted their platform or technology. We love to have smart conversations about smart technologies. 

Our goal at Loyalty360 continues to be to put our audience first and help cut through the clutter and the noise in the market. We have an analyst on staff who looks at the technologies in the market, usually as part of a membership process, and we want to make sure we understand the platform and can recommend them as applicable. Increasingly, we are speaking with non-members on the technology side as well to get an understanding of their offerings as well.

The Age of Too Much comes into play in a typical conversation, and this is where the confusion is exacerbated for marketers. It is great to live in an era of experts, but when Gartner estimates that over 75 percent of IT projects fail, is having too many experts really a good thing?

It may seem a bit sardonic, but here is a typical conversation.

Me: Dear Scuba Steve, thank you for taking the time to speak with me today about Aquatics’ technology. It seems you have a very interesting technology platform that could be of interest to our audience. Can you tell us a little bit about your offering?

Interviewee: Thank you Mark. Aquatics Technology is like NOTHING else in the market. We were developed in response to an unmet need in the market, our technology took 30,000-man years of development, and our technology does something that no one else in the market can do, or will do for the next 10 years. Our technology does X, Y, and Z.

Me: Mr. Steve, can I call you Scuba; that is quite interesting, it sounds very much like Deep Blue Sky and Ocean Reef Analytics, we are familiar with them, we know a couple of their clients and this seems to be somewhat similar. How are you different from them?

Interviewee: Mark, seriously, Deep Blue Sky is a cloud-based technology that only looks at online channels, we look at online, off-line, under line, CRM data sets, structured and unstructured data sources, and we can do descriptive and predictive models in no-time flat. Ocean Reef, no, no, no, they are VC funded and they do not have any clients (well I think they may have a few). Our FTP processes are so powerful that they can solve any retailer, bank, travel, restaurant, or even Zoo’s challenges and solve them in 10 minutes. Our technology is very robust and has a very simple dashboard that can be easily configured to make the most challenged CSR or call agent sanguine.

Me: Wow, that is awesome! It sounds like you have an amazing product, it sounds like you have the tools and secret sauce that could really help make brands’ marketing efforts more simplified and engaging. You mentioned that Ocean Reef is VC funded, but didn’t you just raise a C round? Do you have any clients that are using the platform and, if so, how are they measuring the efficacy? You know that CMOs, COOs, COOs & CFOs all need financial accountability. You mentioned FTP, what does a file transfer protocol have to do with your platform?

Interviewee: We have tons of clients, and they are doing more with us today than in the past. As for the C round, I’m not sure, I will have to get back to you on that after I speak with legal and PR. For metrics, we have plenty. Those brands who use our technology see a 25-45 percent increase in engagement.

Me: Can you give us an example of how a restaurant might use your platform? Can you please define engagement and said increases?

Interviewee: Well we don’t have any restaurants that are using it. Engagement can be measured in a number of ways, depending on the restaurant.

Me: I thought you just said you did not have any restaurants running the platform?

Interviewee: I may need to get back to you.

An interesting quote I heard this week from a technology consultant that I really think puts it all in perspective, as they have an amazing process, states: “We usually pay the price for those who have been there before.”

That makes perfect sense.

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