Instagram adds Superzoom and new Halloween filters

Instagram has added two cool features that enhance how users transform their photos to increase engagement and share fascinating Halloween moments in a new

5 easy ways to turn website visitors into email subscribers

Email marketing remains to be crucial to the marketing mix for businesses of all sizes. Whilst the inbox has become crowded, it still remains an effective

International Women's Day - Let’s hear it for women!

It’s encouraging, albeit stunningly late in the day, to see brands starting to recognise women as individuals and speak to them accordingly. For the past t

Amazon launches two new Alexa enabled devices but no release date for the UK - Who wants one of these?

Amazon have introduced two new Alexa enabled devices, Echo Dot and Amazon Tap but still no word on when an Alexa enabled device will come to the UK. The Am

Academy to live stream 2016 Oscars through Facebook

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will stream backstage content before, during and after the 2016 Oscars through Facebook Live as reported

The UKs 100 most influential people in data for 2016 revealed

DataIQ has launched their 2016 DataIQ Big Data 100, a list of the top professionals working in data in the UK. Payal Jain, Managing Director for Strategic

4 things we can expect to see in 100 years according including underwater cities!

Underwater cities, flights into space and super skyscrapers are just some of the things we can expect to see in 100 years according to a new report by Sams

WhatsApp now free and WhatsApp for business coming soon?

In a blog post on Monday WhatsApp announced they will be making WhatsApp free for everyone and are testing new tools for allowing users to communicate with

Watch McDonald’s UK's New Christmas Advert featuring James Corden and the British Public singing 'I wish it could be Christmas everyday'

McDonald’s UK’s latest Christmas advert features the public and James Corden singing to the Wizzard classic ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’.

The one off advert will air during the break of one of the most popular programmes on Christmas Day – Coronation Street.

[jwplayer player="5" mediaid="20127"]

The advert is the final part of the ‘Journey to Christmas’ campaign which launched in November. The initial advert prompted the British public to film themselves singing ‘I wish it could be Christmas everyday’ whilst driving.

The videos sent in were then used and edited to create the 90 second advert.

“We set out to do something different with our festive campaign this year and we needed the British public to turn it into something special” said Steve Hill, Head of Marketing at McDonald’s UK. “It gives me great delight to confirm that they’ve done just that - our backseat singers really steal the show with this advert and we’re very proud of how well it has turned out.

The one off advert is the final part of the ‘The Journey to Christmas’ campaign, which was created in partnership with Leo Burnett London, OMD UK and Razorfish and directed by James Rouse.
Fourth Source

10 Completely free stock photo websites

There's always a great need for great photo's, specially in the social media and visual economy era. The picture you use along side your link or the image used in an ad can make all the difference to its success. But often buying stock photo's can work out to be expensive, especially for small business and start ups.

Recently there has been an increase in people sharing free photo's, these can be used however you want for both commercial and non-commercial purposes. These photo's are released under the CC0 licence. This means you can "You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission". Take the one you see in this post for example, it is from one of these websites.

Below are 10 awesome websites where you can find free stock photo's.

1. Unsplash

Unsplash has a ton of free stock photo's one of my favourites. Best for landscape and scenery images. Up and till now you have't been able to search for a photo but it seems they are now working towards that by tagging photos, which will be really useful. They add 10 new photos every 10 days so be sure to check frequently.

2. Picjumbo

Picjumbo is another one of my favourites. They have a large number of images and they are searchable by category.


Again another one of my favourites. Really high quality images, with new images being added on a weekly basis. What I like about StockSnap is the photo's follow trends, the current recentl photo's added are all related Christmas, which is what most designers will be looking for at the moment. They also have a really great search feature.

4. Gratisography

Gratisography has some really cool and somewhat unusual photo's. If you're looking for something different you will definitely find it here. They do have a search function available.

5. Pixabay

Pixabay claim to have over 530,000 photo's so you will be sure to find something here. Pixabay also include vectors and videos. Pixabay have a whole variety of images all with a really simple searchable tool.

6. New Old Stock

If you are looking for something antique or historic pictures this one is for you. They have curated old photo's from the public archives that are free of any copyright. They are really interesting. Unfortunately, not searchable.

7. Getrefe

Getrefe has a wide range of stock photo's. However you may frequently find yourself coming across photo's you have already seen on other websites. Images are not searchable.

8. The Pic Pac

This one is interesting, they have images of planes! They also have pictures from specific US cities. If you are looking for photo's of San Francisco, this is the stock photo website for you. New photos are added weekly. Images are not yet searchable, but given the limited number of images at the moment, it is not required, they are broken down by theme.

9. Splitshire

Splitshire has a wide range of photo's. You cannot search but the images are tagged.

10. Life of Pix

Life of Pix is a website by an advertising agency in Montreal. They have some really cool original photos. They are all searchable and new photo's are added weekly.

Note: we have not checked every single photo on these websites, so please make sure they are under the CC0 licence before using.

If you come across any other websites please let us know in the comments and we will try to add them here and keep an up to date list.
Fourth Source

Why Black Friday was a missed opportunity for online loyalty programmes

Since crossing the Atlantic a few years ago, Black Friday has quickly become the biggest day of the year for UK retailers, with flash sales and extended opening hours signalling the start of the Christmas shopping season.

However, with many brands wary of the potential for chaotic in-store scenes, and recognising consumer enthusiasm for e-commerce, this Black Friday saw a greater-than-ever focus on online sales.
The online opportunity for UK brands
Consumer appetite for online deals was stronger than ever, with overall online shopping activity up 28 per cent year on year and in-store footfall reportedly down 6.5 per cent.

Dixons Carphone, for example, reported website traffic for its Currys and PC World consumer electronics chains as high as the previous Boxing Day. saw year-on-year online sales double.

Meanwhile, Collinson Latitude’s own research into Black Friday shopping activity shows mobile to be a growing force, with more than a quarter of online purchases made on smartphones or tablets.

With these trends expected to continue next year, 2016’s Christmas holiday shopping season could once again set a record, but brands will need to ensure they are providing the right environment and experience for customers if they are to take full advantage.

And there’s another twist to the story, as the short-term revenue boost produced by the holiday shopping season masks a missed opportunity to use online loyalty reward programmes (such as earn malls) to differentiate a brand from its competitors and secure longer-term customer engagement.

As predicted, UK online consumer spending on Black Friday passed the £1 billion mark, the first time it had done so on a single day. Shoppers could have pocketed approximately three billion reward points had all £1.1 billion gone through earn malls. But why is it so important to take advantage now?
Your earn mall can earn you more
Across all sectors, from retail to banking to travel, loyalty is big business. Companies understand that acquiring new customers is up to 10 times more expensive than retaining existing ones. Existing customers also spend 67% more than first-time shoppers. The business case for running a loyalty programme is watertight.

UK travel loyalty programme members we analysed had an average basket spend of £158 when shopping through earn malls on Black Friday 2015. And, our recent study of more than 2000 online shoppers tells us that rewards points and brand loyalty play a significant role in their buying decisions.

Black Friday purchases were unsurprisingly driven by the desire to grab a great deal, but other, loyalty-led incentives weren’t far behind: ‘brand loyalty’ (58%) and ‘reward points on offer’ (39%) also scored highly.

Yet consumers told us that they planned to use just one in four of their online loyalty programmes for both Black Friday and Christmas shopping, suggesting that brands are not doing enough to convince programme members of the merits of shopping through online loyalty programmes like earn malls.

Respondents also cited the reasons they wouldn’t be using loyalty programmes for their seasonal shopping; ‘a lack of special deals’ (34%), ’I didn’t know I could use my programme’ (22%), and ‘the offers aren’t relevant to me’ (13%). It seems rewards programmes themselves are failing to communicate how and where members can earn reward points.
Bring non-core rewards to your earn mall
When asked which type of loyalty programmes they will use to earn points, the overwhelming majority of consumers (87%) chose retail programmes, with finance (47%) and travel (6%) programmes falling a long way behind. A cause for concern, but also a clear opportunity for brands in these sectors.

Airlines, for instance, have long been leaders in the development of brand loyalty programmes. More than anything else, customers shopping online with airline reward programmes are looking for earn malls stocked with diverse, but relevant, non-core inventory rewards.

Travel brands must do more to make programme members aware of the ability to buy more than their core inventory offerings such as flights and hotel stays – and to earn points by doing so. When asked ‘what aspect of your reward programme could be improved for the holiday season’ – 60% of consumers pinpointed ‘more choice of rewards and retailers’.

Our research strongly suggests that loyalty programme providers, particularly those outside the retail sector, need to be thinking beyond price in order to make their shopping environments more attractive to their members.
Rewarding behaviours
Loyalty programme managers, especially in the lucrative travel and banking sectors, must deliver the right user experience and do more to inform customers of relevant deals and incentives – such as double points, special offers, and featured retailers – that will help them earn more points from their ordinary online shopping.

Next year’s bigger and better sales events may seem a long way off. But for loyalty programme members, Black Friday is yet another opportunity to earn from ordinary online spending. For programme managers it’s a chance to increase customer engagement and maintain it – long after the day itself has passed.

Don’t let another loyalty opportunity slip away in 2016.

Fourth Source

The Evolution of Consumer Identity: Five Predictions for 2016

Thanks to the continued growth of regional privacy regulations, the Internet of Things and biometric authentication, 2015 saw a marked change in the way leading enterprises approached and understood customer identities.

2016 promises to be a year of enhanced development in the customer identity and access management (CIAM) space, with customer experience, data privacy and personalisation proving to be increasingly critical components of business success. Let’s take a look at five identity-related trends we foresee taking hold in the New Year.
1. Traditional usernames and passwords will begin to die
Consumer patience is all but disappearing as real-time, frictionless access to information, applications and social connections proliferates. Technologies like social authentication and Apple’s Touch ID have become exceedingly popular in light of the increasing emphasis on convenience.

According to a 2015 survey, 88% of US consumers claim to have logged into a website or mobile application using social login, citing dissatisfaction with spending time filling out registration forms as the number one reason why they choose to log in socially.

2016 is poised for a continuation of this trend, with traditional usernames and passwords slowly moving toward extinction. As advanced means of biometric authentication gain greater adoption and mobile becomes the new norm, consumers will continue to opt for signing in using their existing social (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and payment (Amazon, PayPal, etc.) credentials or thumbprints over creating and remembering another username and password.
2. Global enterprises will adopt multiple international data centres to remain compliant
2014 saw the mandate that all Russian citizens’ data must be stored within Russian borders. 2015 saw the invalidation of the EU-US Safe Harbour agreement. And 2016 will see leading enterprises adopt multiple data centres across the globe to adhere to localised data privacy regulations.

Additionally, with international enterprises now required to manage their users' data in multiple geographies and support unique scenarios like users moving from one region to another, on-premises storage of consumer data is becoming increasingly costly and unfeasible. The growing need to comply with new and evolving regional data regulations will also drive businesses’ on-going migration to cloud-based identity and data repositories.
3. Data brokers’ revenues will decline due to brands focusing on first-party data
Data brokers have built a multi-billion dollar industry dedicated to sourcing and selling consumer information from a variety of places, including surveys and questionnaires, public records like voter documentation, enterprise insights from loyalty programs and more. However, modern brands are finding that these third-party consumer profiles are often outdated, limited to device-specific insights and simply inaccurate due to being pieced together from a variety of disparate sources.

Uncertainties regarding the accuracy, completeness and origins of this data make it nearly impossible for marketers to know exactly who they’re reaching and to effectively measure the success of their campaigns, causing more brands to turn to first-party data. Because it is collected directly from customers and takes multi-device activities into account, first-party data is much more reliable than third-party data.

In addition to being essentially free to collect, first-party data lowers campaign costs by enabling marketers to target audiences with highly relevant messaging, minimising the number of impressions it takes for users to engage and driving conversions at a faster and higher rate. For these key reasons, we predict that 2016 will be the year that data broker revenues begin to decline.
4. Security and customer experience will converge
For marketers to create relevant user experiences, they must be able to identify and connect with customers as they move across today’s landscape of channels and connected devices. However, user tolerance for security barriers like passwords and CAPTCHA is diminishing, causing them to abandon these barriers in search of newer and more convenient experiences.

To continue to earn access to customer identities and data, companies must deliver the frictionless registration and engagement processes that users expect. This is a new concept for IT leaders accustomed to focusing on captive employees, who have no choice but to deal with latency and strict authentication protocols when it comes to internal business systems.

We believe that, with continued development for biometric forms of authentication and API-focused security, for example, 2016 will find more leading brands striking a balance between usability and security, adopting the tools needed to maximise frictionless user experiences while minimising risk.
5. The importance of the IDoT will eclipse fascination with the IoT
Cisco projects that the Internet of Things (IoT) is a $14 trillion revenue opportunity, making smart, connected products – and the technologies that make them tick – drivers of huge new growth opportunities. However, according to Gartner, Inc, “Managing identities and access is critical to the success of the Internet of Things,” making the Identity of Things, or IDoT, the new focus of the IoT.

The IDoT is based on the principle that all entities in the IoT ecosystem – including people, apps, services and connected things – have identities comprised of identifiers and their attributes, and that those identities define relationships between every entity. Managing the data that flows between these identities requires an identity management solution that unifies every entity in the system – a core requirement for businesses looking to capitalise on the IoT in 2016.
Fourth Source

Is Star Wars a branding force that will work for your business?

Walk into any supermarket, in fact into just about any shop in the world right now, and you’ll see Star Wars branding on pretty much everything.

We’ve spotted Yoda packaging on grapes, BB-8 oranges, Darth Vader apples, special edition mascaras, children’s toothpaste, Princess Leia toilet roll, Chewbacca soup and even a tea strainer and a vacuum cleaner with Star Wars branding.

But, is it necessarily a good tactic if the Force is with your brand? While there’s no doubt about the excitement which has surrounded the launch of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, does that mean your business will benefit from the buzz?

The most important consideration when thinking about a brand collaboration of any kind is what your main buyer groups are likely to be attracted to. If Star Wars is up there, then you could be on to a good thing.

A good branding strategy always starts with the buyer, not your products, your services, or Star Wars! So, even if you are the world’s biggest Star Wars fan and have every Star Wars toy ever made gathering dust in your attic, your customer may simply not care about the fate of Hans Solo.

The aim of a collaboration is that you have a win-win scenario for both parties so you need to ask yourself whether Star Wars or anything else you are considering will appeal to your potential buyer and impact positively on your bottom line, footfall or profile, depending on your aim.

While Star Wars branding may appeal to children as they walk around the supermarket with their parents, it may simply lead them to ask whether they can go to see the new movie rather than persuading mum or dad to buy a particular product.

The Force Awakens was already in profit even before the film hit the silver screen as a result of so many collaborations, and well thought through branding using movies or characters can also be a force for good for you.

While existing customers are unlikely to be deterred by special edition branding, it could be that you do attract other buyer types who have not tried your product before.

It may be that the effect does not last any longer than the time the branding is on your packaging. After all, are you likely to continue to choose a particular brand of oranges once they have no distinctive images on the label, or are you simply going to go back to the ones that look the juiciest or are at the best price?

If, however, your goal is for a quick sales boost during the a specific time period or to attract a new audience then aligning your own firm with that of a film which is set to make more than £1bn in profits could be a wise branding decision.

It’s a move which requires a careful weighing up of the pros and cons and a real understanding of your buyers’ interests. In the words of Yoda; “Choose wisely”.
Fourth Source

Top 5 digital marketing trends to prepare for in 2016

Marketing has changed dramatically over the past five years, driven by changes in consumer behaviour and advances in technology. During this period, marketing budgets have been growing and are set to increase again in 2016, of which a large percentage will be allocated to digital advertising.

Our industry is growing and generating an abundance of data. Adding to this, the emergence of new performance metrics is making the measurement of the ROI of digital marketing spend more reliable and accountable than traditional measurements associated with print and television advertising. Unlike traditional advertising channels, it is possible to review and adapt digital campaigns in real-time and ensure budgets are optimised. This allows brands to trial creatives and take more risks in an effort to cut through the mass of advertising consumers are presented with every day, without committing to large upfront media buying outlays.

The increase in digital marketing activity has resulted in an avalanche of data. This wealth of data provides marketing professionals with an advantage – but also an analysis challenge — when it comes to understanding their target market. Harnessing data to gain actionable insight will prove key to marketers’ success in 2016. Using insights into their customers’ online behaviours, marketers should focus on the following five areas to produce and measure results during the coming year.
1. The need to demonstrate ROI
The measurement and effectiveness of traditional advertising, such as television ads, is widely understood and accepted. However, TV advertising measurement metrics lack accountability and, according to Forrester Research, TV advertising has become less effective. The ability to account for every penny spent makes the less established digital advertising an attractive customer acquisition channel.

Research by ZenithOptimedia shows that by 2017 the internet will be the biggest advertising medium in 12 key markets, which together represent 28 per cent of global ad spend. As more brands move their budgets online, the simple economics of supply and demand will come into force. I expect this channel will become increasingly expensive as brands compete for consumers’ attention. If marketers are getting less for their money, there will also be increased pressure to invest in the right places. The correct metrics to measure ROI will therefore be more important to marketers than ever.
2. Content (delivery) remains king
In 2016 marketers need to stop thinking ‘channel’ and start thinking ‘consumer’. Marketers are often guilty of placing too much focus on separate channels, whether that is social media, print or instore branding. Consumers don’t see brands this way. For a consumer, there is no distinction between channels; communication channels between a brand and its customers are entwined in a complex relationship that often demands a two way conversation, rather than the out-dated method of broadcasting branded messages.

Marketers need to adapt to this way of thinking and develop content that reflects how their customers want to interact with brands across different channels. Content will continue to reign as king. Where, how and the way in which it is consumed will continue to evolve and marketers must ensure success by delivering it in a relevant manner. As Steve Jobs once said, we need to ‘create relevance not awareness’. Marketers need to ensure that their messages are consistent across multiple channels, this doesn’t mean the same, however. Messages need to be tailored to the channel and the consumer — for example, people consume content on social media very differently than by email — but the content needs to be on brand.
3. Mobile advertising will mature
More Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on computers in ten countries, including the US and Japan. Brands that are not yet taking mobile seriously need to take note. It’s surprising how many big brands still haven’t mobile optimised their websites and those that have often neglect to optimise their entire online shopping route. For example, if the shopping experience is mobile optimised, when the customer goes to their basket to checkout they are directed to a desktop payment page. This results in many lost customers simply due to poor user experience at the point of purchase. Ensuring the customer journey is viable on all major devices is a basic requirement for all brands (even small to medium sized businesses), if they want to optimise their digital marketing budget effectively.
4. Traffic sources will widen
Wearable tech has been on the news agenda for some time and although adoption has been relatively slow, we expect that marketers will start to take these new channels more seriously during 2016. The ‘internet of things’ will continue to be a theme with tech getting smarter in general, including white goods like smart-fridges. With the pool of devices available in the digital marketing mix growing, the amount of traffic will widen. Marketers need to ensure they allocate their digital budgets to the right channels and use customer insights to optimise across devices.
5. Online to offline
Not only do marketers need to think holistically when planning their activity across multiple digital channels, they need to bridge the gap between their online and offline marketing. Not simply regarding tone of voice and branding, but the user journey between online and offline. Click and collect is a prime example of how user experience doesn’t stop at the online checkout. Voucher codes and brand loyalty schemes need to be optimised to facilitate a user’s purchase journey across different devices, channels, and in-store retail experiences. According to our research, between a quarter and a third of people go online while in store to look at reviews and price comparison websites, among others, which is why it’s so important to ensure you’re reaching out to new or existing customers via all possible touch points.

From prioritising content to investing in mobile, it’s clear that there are steps that marketers need to be planning for now. In advance of 2016, it’s vital that marketers assess the rapidly changing landscape and adapt. The clear theme that will emerge in 2016 is the importance of measuring success in digital, mobile and performance marketing, as well as the need to use data to target customers in the right way at the right time to maximise impact of digital marketing activities.
Fourth Source

10 ways to tell your customer experience and engagement strategy is behind the times

2016 is fast approaching and this time of year presents us with a chance to reflect. How did your marketing and customer engagement efforts pan out this year? Are you keeping up with the changing customer landscape, or are you stuck in the past, doing things the way you always have?

Here are 10 ways to tell your current customer experience and engagement strategy is behind the times, so that you can make sure you’re starting the New Year with a fresh, current approach:
1. You’re unsure about what your customers really want
A customer engagement or loyalty strategy should aim to encourage customers to spend more, more often, and retain them; but to do this you need be giving customers what they want. If you think your strategy is misaligned to your customers, take some time to find out what they want. Knowing why customers love your brand, but also why they leave you means you can create a strategy to win new customers, build loyalty and retain existing customers to reduce your churn rate.
2. You’re not using insight to better understand and serve your customers
Technology is driving the convergence of the digital and physical worlds; all of which are a fantastic opportunity to start collecting more valuable customer engagement data across multiple touch points from social media, reviews, call listening to feedback surveys and wider consumer trends.

Data should provide you with the insight to understand customer patterns and behaviours. Whilst it’s easy to get swamped in a sea of big data and not know where to begin, make sure you’re only collecting data that is relevant and can be turned into actionable insight. Ask yourself ‘So what? What’s the data telling me?’ You can then not only anticipate needs but also surprise and delight customers by giving them what they want (or didn't even know they wanted). Showing customers you understand them is a major factor in growing loyalty and engagement with a brand.
3. You don’t know the ROI of your marketing spend
46% of surveyed customers admit to spending more due to a loyalty programme (Total Research Corp & Custom Marketing Corp) and we have found for some partners that for every £1 invested they get £6 return. Are you able to demonstrate the effect your marketing efforts have on profitability and your customer base?

The beauty of taking a data driven marketing approach allows you to put numbers against engagement and better spend your budgets on the channels and campaigns that work. The ability to measure performance lets you demonstrate the ROI of every pound invested.
4. Personalisation isn’t on your agenda
Consumers are now switched on 24/7 and expect consistency and personalisation across all channels in real-time, so if you’re not offering a personalised, relevant, targeted and streamlined experience across all channels, chances are you won’t keep your customer for long.
5. Your business is operating in silos
Customer-centricity is vital to the modern business and yet many are still operating in silos - even within the marketing team. Aligning your marketing department around the channels which they are responsible for (e.g. the digital team, the CRM team) is increasingly viewed as out-dated. It’s now time to invest in teams that focus on optimising the customers’ journey, interactions and experience across all of the different touch-points.

But it’s not just down to the ‘marketing team’; customer experience impacts on all areas of the business. From finance to customer services, it is crucial that a culture of customer-centricity is reinforced and maintained across the business to ensure that all staff are always focused on the customer. This isn’t a quick fix and might mean a huge organisational restructure; but it will ensure that you are an agile, customer-focused and forward-thinking business that can withstand the changing consumer landscape for years to come.
6. You don’t have a Chief Customer Experience Officer
Customer-centric businesses are 60% more profitable than those who don’t focus on the customer, according to research by Deloitte. Taking what we discussed above one step further, appointing a Chief Customer Experience Officer (CCEO) is essential to drive your business forward; someone who will take responsibility for customer experience and educate the whole business on its importance and benefits to your business as we touched on above.

A CCEO really knows what matters to your customers; and with this knowledge they can successfully sustain and drive your business’ future growth by ensuring that your customer experience and marketing budget is spent efficiently and effectively to deliver maximum ROI.
7. You think customer loyalty is dead
To some, loyalty is dead. That might be because there’s a new way to describe it – does ‘customer engagement’ sound familiar? Whilst the traditional loyalty mechanics of points and plastics cards may be giving way to softer benefits and other reward mechanisms, the concept of keeping customers loyal and engaged with brands is still very much alive. With more and more brands diversifying into new services and products, and the array of choices that this provides to customers, it can be even more of a challenge to keep customers loyal, but this is why it has never been more important to invest in loyalty and customer engagement. Here are three reasons why:

Loyal customers spend more over their ‘lifetime’ with your business.
They are the best advocates for your brand - your ‘Superfans’ will recommend you to their friends and families via Word of Mouth (not just verbally, but also through reviews and social media).
Loyal customers shop more often. There are 20% more transactions from members of a loyalty programme (Forrester Research), which leads nicely on to the next point:

8. You don’t have a loyalty or customer engagement programme
Data driven marketing is the future; and loyalty programmes present the opportunities to collect this vital data about your customers that will feed into all business departments: from how your marketing budget is spent; to the products/services you offer; right through to merchandising or how your front-line staff communicate with customers.

You can track customer engagement patterns and behaviours with you across multiple touch-points, which then allows you to refine and target your marketing efforts; for example creating relevant content that makes your brand more ‘sticky’ to the customer.

Some of our partners’ loyalty programmes have up to an 80% penetration rate! Imagine being able to recognise and understand 80% of your customers and the impact this could have on all areas of your business?
9. You’re not delivering a consistent customer experience
Key to providing an omni-channel experience is offering the same service regardless of device; minimising customer effort and making processes and journeys more streamlined. Whether a customer is on your app, on-premise, or online; your brand should look, act, and feel the same.

Consumers want technology to enhance their path to purchase. So before you get too caught up in investing in the latest tech, think about where in the transactional process you have the best chance to influence purchasing in an easy and attractive way for your customer, whilst creating a seamless experience across all channels. Get your technology and communication balance right, and the complete process will work hard to increase profit.
10. You’re so high-tech that you’ve forgotten the basics
There’s no denying that technology presents exciting opportunities to connect with consumers and provide them with new and enhanced experiences including personalisation, and triggered & automated communications. Often brands forge ahead and invest in shiny new tech, but it has to be for the right reasons - poorly used technology could simply result in disengagement not only from communications, but from your brand altogether. Whilst you may have an all-singing, all-dancing app or in-store kiosk, customers will still welcome the opportunity to talk to a real person. Having that human touch can make processes and transactions simpler, easier and more-user friendly, and is vital to maintaining happy customers and delivering an excellent customer experience.

In summary, to stay one step ahead you need to collect relevant data and apply customer insight across the business to better understand and serve your customers by putting customer loyalty and engagement at the forefront of your agenda. Invest in delivering relevant, personal communications to deliver an omni-channel customer experience. Get this right and watch your business grow.
Fourth Source

Using mobile to influence shopper decisions at the supermarket shelf

Do me a favour: the next time you are in a supermarket take a look at the other shoppers around you. How many of them are using their mobile phones? I’m not proud to admit it and it wasn’t necessarily a career highlight, but I have undertaken this task in a professional capacity. The answer? Three. Three shoppers out of hundreds observed. And can you guess what they were doing? Two were taking calls, and the other was sending a text. None were using their phones to help them with the weekly shop or to plan what to buy for the family dinner that night.
But don’t shoppers take their phones with them everywhere, and touch them 100s of times a day? Shoppers have their mobiles with them when they are shopping so surely mobile is the great opportunity to interrupt shoppers at the point of purchase and influence their purchase decision? Well, yes….and no.
Mobile can be used to influence shopper decisions to devastating effect if, and only if, you first understand how shoppers behave and work in rhythm with that behaviour rather than against it. It is a fact that in most categories the majority of shoppers have decided what they are going to buy before they go shopping, so brands need to find a way to influence the shopper and get onto the shopping list pre-store. As strange or counter-intuitive as it may sound, although a phone will accompany the shopper to store the best way to use mobile to influence shopper decisions is to connect and engage with shoppers pre-store, and win their purchase before they arrive at the shelf.
Mobile is a constant companion for shoppers, and so shoppers do have their phones with them in store. It’s just that this is when they are very busy trying to find and buy all the items they had planned to buy and complete their shop as quickly and as painlessly as possible. Pushing a trolley with one hand, and maybe holding a shopping list in the other. Then using one hand for taking items from the shelf and putting them into the trolley, and perhaps holding another hand in reserve for an errant toddler: consulting your phone in store isn’t always that convenient! But pre-store, and post-store, is another story.
Shoppers are still the same people when they are away from the store, mobile is still their constant companion, and they have a little more opportunity and inclination to interact with their phone. So this is the time to engage with the shopper, or, more precisely, this is the time to let the shopper choose to engage with you. It’s important to recognise that we can’t force the shopper to do things as and when we want them to, they always retain control, but we can make offers and content available for the shopper to view at his or her own convenience. Convenient will be different for each shopper – it maybe in front of the TV with a cup of tea, or on the bus or train, or during a lunch break at work, or on the way to the supermarket. The important thing is that it is convenient, and so the shopper has a chance to consider the information presented and act upon it if they so wish.
Mobile offers, available 24/7 for shoppers to view and consider, are driving awareness for brands and successfully influencing shopper purchase decisions away from the crowded shelves of the supermarket.
If your mobile strategy relies on interrupting shoppers lives or last minute intervention at the point of purchase then you probably haven’t got it right.
Fourth Source

Dealing with data in the IoT age

I downloaded yet another app on my phone recently – this one was to help boost my productivity. People have now started looking at me strangely when I suddenly stand up in the middle of a meeting and sit down again after exactly one minute. Understandably, they ask why. I do it because my Apple iWatch on my wrist tells me to with a small vibration. I then logged onto the app from my desktop to see how this helped boost my heart rate, and sent the progress report to my colleague in a WhatsApp message.

Is this the way of the future? Fujitsu estimates that by 2020, 50 billion devices will be connected to one another. This means in the “Internet of Things” era, all sorts of items, services and devices will be connected. Your fridge will talk to your online Morrison’s shopping cart, telling it you have run out of milk, your washing machine will self-diagnose itself with faults and your home will tell you when it has located a draught that is sucking up all the heating costs!

Whilst we continue to become more connected with the online world through the use of these multiple devices, we are seeing a new dimension which allows businesses to connect to and better understand their customers more fluently through the Internet of Things (IoT). In this IoT era, the data gathered will continue to grow rapidly, and in such a world, it will become necessary for businesses to accurately deal with that data in real time in order to develop their business, and on a global scale.
Data-driven dominance
There is no denying the impact of digital technology on our lives – both professionally and as consumers. With this rapid growth in use, it has become increasingly important for organisations across all sectors to take advantage of the Internet of Things in order to remain both relevant and competitive. People talk about m-2-m (machine-to-machine) communication in this new era, but it is clear that (at least for now), there has to be some human interaction – to interpret – the data that is being created and the solutions that are being recommended.

In January 2015, Fujitsu launched Digital Inside Out, a research report looking into how each industry was delivering on digital services. The research revealed that the UK is well on its way to becoming a “digital-first” nation, with more than a quarter of us always using digital services when given the chance.

As organisations react to this demand and rapid uptake of connected digital services, we are seeing exponential growth in the data produced and gathered from using these. This is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for businesses who want to gain an even better understanding of their target market.

However, organisations need to thoroughly understand the data they have gathered to make real use of it. Technology is a great enabler of this, however it is important to have the right talent in place too. Businesses need to look for professionals who are able to digest and translate the data into the actionable insight they need – in real time – to remain competitive. Did you know that the global bank JP Morgan Chase has more software developers than Google and more technologists than Microsoft? This is because IT is leading the way in changing the business model, and organisations need the talent to do it.
Securing the data assets
But with great amounts of gathered data comes great responsibility.

No matter what industry organisations reside in, data breaches are inevitable and they continue to grow in size, frequency and complexity. It is no longer about if a business will get hit by a breach, but when. The general industry belief about data regulation is that there is not enough focus on data security. Both consumers and businesses seem, for the most part, unconcerned about where data is stored, how trustworthy the providers of cloud services are and what security measures these providers have in place.

To try and shift this perception, the EU data regulation, due to take effect in December 2017, will look to create change for the first time since 1998. It will mean businesses within the EU member states will have make significant changes to the way they collect, store and use the personally identifiable information of EU citizens. Any businesses who are hit by a data breach will be forced to pay fines up to 5% of gross turnover or €100 million, report breaches within 72 hours and employ a data protection officer.

It is vital that organisations take a proactive approach. They must focus on reacting quickly when a breach occurs, and must have well-rehearsed plans in place to understand what happened, minimise the impact, communicate clearly with their customers and restore normal operations as soon as possible. To do this, they need to integrate threat intelligence and other information sources to provide the context necessary to deal with today’s threats. Implementing a strong security education programme underpinned by a robust security framework will allow companies to get on the front foot in combating these types of threats. It’s also important that organisations communicate how they are using personal data to provide benefits to the customer, in a secure manner, and that the right security controls and policies are in place, to remain trusted in the eyes of the consumer.
IoT is shaping the future business model
Internet of Things provides businesses with an unrivaled opportunity to monitor information and drive better decision making. With the right technology and talent in place, this data will form the basis of a new business model for the IoT era. However, it is vital businesses consider the security elements around protecting this data. The impact of data breaches to both businesses and the end-user can be significant so it is vital that organisations invest appropriately to protect themselves and their customers, not just to comply with legislation.
Fourth Source