AI for Retail: Supercharge Every Stage of the Customer Journey

AI for Retail

Does AI sound like it’s all hype? For the retail sector, it turns out that AI can have many applications. Similarly, it can help you integrate processes across the value chain.

Why AI for Retail?

84% of customers say that experience is as important as products or services themselves. Furthermore, customer expectations are at an all-time high. Besides, these expectations are true for all touchpoints that your brand interacts with them on.

In order to deliver great customer experience, you have to be everywhere they are. Furthermore, you have to anticipate where they will be next. For instance, when retailers realized that Instagram was a great platform for sales, they improvised and found ways to sell even before the platform released its official feature.

The Future of Retail

Platforms are getting more fragmented. As a result, there are more new channels for customers to interact with you every day. This means that the competitive advantage you enjoy as a brand must translate to every touchpoint. Here are some retail statistics that give you an indication of where the future is headed:

  • 55% of all orders are now on mobile
  • There is an almost 70% increase in orders through social media
  • 26% of revenue comes from AI-driven product recommendations

Now that we understand where retail is headed in the near future, let’s look at how AI fits into the picture.

AI can help you in every step of the customer journey, right from your value chain to pre and post-purchase stages.

AI for the Retail Value Chain

  1. Efficient Order Management: From the time a customer places an order, your automated system can take all the steps to ensure that the fulfillment center has all the information they need in a matter of seconds.
  2. Better Inventory Planning: AI can help you automate your inventory planning. This means it can check, fulfill and restock goods so that you save time and money.

Pre-Purchase Experience

  1. AI for Retail Marketing: Programmatic advertising can save you time and make your ad budget more efficient. The automated system can also optimize bids for your campaigns within micro-seconds.
  2. Loyalty Programs: AI can help you collect, store and analyze vast amounts of data that stems from your loyalty programs. This means that you can automate customer upgrades, reward redemptions and more.
  3. AI-Powered Email Marketing: AI can help you refine your email marketing over time. As a result, you can enjoy increased open rates and engagement on emails.

Interested in learning how to practically implement AI in your email marketing efforts? Download our guide to learn more.

Storefront or Purchase Stage

  1. Data-Driven Personalization: Data generated through AI-powered retail systems can help you drive personalization. AI systems can hence process several data points on the fly and offer an experience that is tailored to the shopper’s interests.
  2. Real-Time Customization: Customer experience can be tailored in real-time through API. For example, as soon as a customer visits your website, you can show them products based on their browsing history. Furthermore, you can show them products in price ranges based on their wealth signals, etc.
  3. Increased Cross & Upselling: AI for retail recommendation engines can make a significant difference to the cart value of your customers. Making useful recommendations in a relevant and timely manner increases the possibility of upselling and cross-selling.

Post-Purchase Service

  1. 24/7 Customer Service: With AI for retail customer support, it is possible to take care of clients’ needs round the clock. Chatbots, automated phone, and email service take the pressure off of customer support teams. Further, they help reduce costs by answering common queries. Hence, you can only direct more complex needs to a representative.
  2. Better Insights for Continuous Improvement: With AI integrating into your CRM, your loyalty programs and customer support channels, you can get integrated data. Moreover, this data can deliver actionable insights that can help you refine the customer experience across every touchpoint.

Supercharge Your Retail Process Now

Interested in learning more about how technology can help you scale personalization?

Catch a recap of Accenture’s talk Making it Personal at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Watch Bob Ghafouri’s Session Now–>

Financial Services Planning and Budgeting: Get in Gear for the Next Year

financial services planning and budgeting

Are you still in the middle of your planning and budgeting for next year? Don’t panic. We have pulled together top tips for financial services planning and budgeting. ‘Tis the season not only for holiday cheer but also for pressure on planning ahead for the next year. Planning will set you up in order to start the new year off strong.

Some financial services companies may begin their planning and budgeting activities as early as Q3. Others begin with a few weeks left until the holidays.

If you’re in the latter group, here are the top 5 best practice tips to guide your planning and budgeting activities:

1. Start with Your Organization’s Goals

When it comes to financial services planning and budgeting, it is easy to over-complicate the process. You may find that you are planning for several contingencies and taking several factors into consideration.

Before you do this, you have to take a step back and analyze how many of these factors actually fit with your business goals. You need to be able to pare down to the basics and focus on the big picture.

For instance, let’s say your goal is to reduce customer churn over the next year. In order to do this, your plan and budget need to enable your client engagement team to offer personalized services to those clients who are most at risk.

2. Leverage Learnings from the Previous Year

Financial services planning and budgeting can seem especially tedious in comparison to other sectors. It needn’t actually be this way. When you begin from your business goal and then apply learnings, you will find that you are already several steps ahead.

In fact, you can use your previous year’s budget as a blueprint for this one. Gather your team to analyze what worked for them and where they found deficits. In doing so, you can rebalance your budget to areas that are most in need. Further, by validating these areas against your business goal, you can ensure that your budget is being allocated in the most efficient way.

3. Use Data-Modeling to Predict Outcomes

If you had a way to predict how much each department needs, you might think that this solves a significant portion of your planning and budgeting challenges.

You can, in fact, predict allocation by predicting customer behavior. Imagine if you could understand which customers will need extra attention in the following year. Similarly, if you could identify which ones are most likely to invest more with you. You could then actually plan your activities efficiently around these predictions.

This is possible through data-modeling. Models can help you identify customers based on steps in their journey. The predictive nature of these models can provide a lot of structure to your financial services planning and budgeting activities.

Want to know more about how models can benefit the financial services sector?

4. Plan with Foresight but Leave Room for Iteration

The power of prediction gives you a fair bit of foresight into your planning and budgeting. The more certainty you can have, the better it is for your plan. Having an air-tight plan can set you up for great success in the coming year.

However, most financial services professionals may overlook the need for iteration. While predictions can give you foresight, there are always unforeseen circumstances such as macro-economic instability. Due to this, it is better to include room in your plan for alterations as you go through the year.

5. Empower Your Marketing Team

Financial marketers may find that they are at loggerheads when it comes time for financial services planning and budgeting. As someone in charge of your budget, it will help you to set aside marketing dollars for campaigns and promotions.

Marketing goals need to align clearly with business goals. When this is the case, empowering your marketing team can help you ensure that you closer to achieving your goals. Over time, more marketing efforts have become measurable. This means that the marketing team can present results from their activities in the previous year and your allocation can be driven by this data.

Kick Your Plan into High Gear

By using a collaborative approach, you can make sure that you have received input from all relevant teams. Doing this also helps you speed things up as you have more contributors to the process. Secondly, having a flexible plan reduces the pressure on you to have every detail figured out. Doing this also gives you the ability to iterate as you go.

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas to Find Your Next Best HNW Customer

financial advisor marketing ideas

Are you a financial advisor or wealth manager who has wondered how to foray into marketing? Or maybe you have wondered if marketing is the right thing for your business. If so, we have the answer. You are looking for your next best prospects and financial advisor marketing ideas can help you find them.

As you know, the financial services industry has its own brand of challenges. Issues may stem from increasing competition. Similarly, there could be pressure from building a high degree of trust with customers. Whether you’re in retail banking or in wealth management, these issues may ring true for everyone.

What can you do to grow your customer base?

Financial Advisor Marketing Ideas

Before we begin to talk about ideas, it is first important to consider your financial services marketing strategy. Your strategy should fit with your overall business goals. For example, as a wealth manager or financial advisor, let’s say your goal is to have a personalized and niche luxury consulting business. This means that your marketing strategy will have to focus on HNWIs and UHNWIs. Your tone of voice must be personalized. Moreover, your advice must be tailored to customer needs. Your plan must take on a more concierge marketing type of approach.

Interested in learning more about marketing strategy in the financial sector?

Now, let’s talk about financial advisor marketing ideas. There is a lot you can do both online and offline.

Traditional Marketing Ideas

Here are three effective offline techniques you could use to encourage customer growth:

  1. Create curated events for customers. These events could educate them on financial topics. Alternatively, they could give your customers the opportunity to network with other business owners. Creating exclusive events that add value beyond your services will help build a lasting relationship with customers.
  2. Use direct mail in conjunction with other marketing efforts. Direct mail can have a great visual and tactile impact. Well-designed pieces of direct mail can be used as event invitations or sending thoughtful seasonal gifts. Doing this can help you remain top of mind with your customers. Further, sending them an interesting item that they can see in their everyday space could trigger conversations between them and their network about your company.
  3. Additionally, you can leverage your peer network’s inner circle to gain warm introductions to new prospects. When you receive a peer-to-peer introduction, there is a built-in sense of trust which shortens the lead time for customer acquisition.

Digital Marketing for Financial Advisors or Wealth Managers

You should complement your offline techniques with online ones. This brings us to digital marketing for financial advisors. Here are the top five digital marketing ideas for wealth managers:

  1. Leverage LinkedIn– when it comes to social media, you may choose to have a presence on channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. These might be good for you to widen your outreach, however, the most effective medium for you is LinkedIn. You can build professional credibility, seek recommendations from clients, grow your network and enjoy those peer-to-peer connections through this platform.
  2. Modernize your website- your website is your chance to make a digital first impression. Make sure that it is well-designed, optimized for different devices and most importantly optimized for search engines. Doing this allows you to rank highly on searches about wealth management, financial advisory and other relevant terms that could bring you leads.
  3. Feature testimonials & success stories- a proven track record inspires trust in customers and makes them more open to taking risks. Showcasing testimonials and success stories on your social media channels as well as your website helps you inspire trust among your customers.
  4. Use email marketing best practices- when it comes to reaching your customers via email, you may find that there are several different approaches. However, using email marketing best practices can make a difference. This means that your communication not only reaches your customers but also resonates with them.
  5. Leverage existing customers- most importantly, you must leverage your existing customers to help you find new ones.

How can you do this?

Follow our three-step financial advisor marketing plan.

Financial Advisor Marketing Plan- Find New Prospects Like Your Top Customers

  1. Screen your current customers- wealth screening allows you to add a breadth of information on customers. Understand their wealth, demographics, lifestyle, affinities and interests. With this, you can have more meaningful exchanges with them.
  2. Run a Look-Alike Model- Screening not only gives you rich insights but also provides a basis for analysis. Running a look-alike model helps you identify the top common traits among your best customers. These patterns can help you create more meaningful events.
  3. Find more prospects like them- You have now understood what your top customers are like. Hence, you can use these patterns as filters in your prospecting. This means that you will find new prospects who closely resemble your top customers. Thus, they are also likely to make decisions like your top customers.

You now have a much more targeted marketing plan to grow your customer base. You can now apply your financial advisor marketing ideas towards this base. In doing so you can enjoy a higher conversion rate on your campaigns while lowering your costs.

Find New Prospects Now

We can help you with every step of your financial advisor marketing plan. Request a demo today to see how you can kick off your three-step plan.

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Challenges in the Retail Banking Industry & How Data Can Address Them

retail banking customer segmentation

You may be no stranger to challenges in the retail banking industry. Here’s an alarming fact that you may have come across if you’re from this sector:

challenges in retail banking industry

This poses a huge challenge for sales & marketing professionals. Luckily, data and analytics can be their allies. With the right insights, it’s possible to solve this and more challenges that plague the sector.

Let’s take a look at the top 5 challenges in the retail banking industry. Furthermore, let’s understand how data can help you solve each one.

Challenges in the Retail Banking Industry

We will analyze each challenge, describe how it affects your strategy, and propose data-driven solutions to help you navigate these hurdles with ease.

Challenge 1: Increasing Competition

The banking industry has seen increasing competition, especially from the FinTech sector. The user-friendly and digital nature of FinTech companies offers customers the flexibility they need and the freedom to choose between different providers.

How This Affects You: Customer Retention

Retail banking customers find it easy to switch between providers. This is now possible as it is less of a hassle to open or close accounts. This means that it has become harder to keep customers. Sales & Marketing professionals thus spend more on retaining and re-acquiring customers.

Want to Know How to Reach Millennial Millionaires?

By the end of 2019, millennials will be the largest, living adult population. They stand to inherit an estimated $60 billion in the great wealth transfer. Read our report in collaboration with Coldwell Banker Global Luxury to understand how you can reach them.

How Data Can Help: Retail Banking Customer Segmentation

Retail banking customer segmentation is key to retaining customers. Similarly, it can help drive up their lifetime value (LTV). Lifecycle marketing can help you create engaging conversations in every stage of their journey. By segmenting customers this way, you can apply a marketing strategy that communicates the right message at the right time.

For instance, running a data model can help you predict which customers are most likely to churn. This way, you can reach out to them to understand their needs and provide an offering that suits their needs. By reaching out to them in a timely manner, you reduce the risk of churn.

Challenge 2: Operational Silos

You may find that different departments in your institution collect different data-points on your customers. Overall, it is possible to develop a rich picture of who your customer is. However, the challenge is that information rests in silos. As a retail banker, you may have access to transactional data. Wealth managers in your institution may have access to the estimated net worth, home loans may have information on property value, etc.

How This Affects You: Missing an Integrated View of the Customer

Since information rests in silos, it becomes difficult to see a 360-degree view of the customer. This further restricts you from being able to anticipate their needs or upsell products.

How Data Can Help: Omnichannel Marketing

When you store data in an integrated manner, you allow every relevant team member to understand the big picture. Doing this allows your institution to have better insights into your customers. When you combine your own data with third-party information, you can have a richer view of your customers. For instance, wealth screening can add a variety of insights on demographics, lifestyle, interests, and affinities.

With richer insights, you can have an omnichannel approach in your outreach. You will be able to provide consistent, personalized service. Furthermore, this can be done no matter which touch-point a customer interacts with you on. For instance, a customer may look up use your mobile banking app to information on opening another savings account. When they next come into a branch, a representative can ask them if they still have questions about this or need assistance in setting up an account.

Challenge 3: Increasing Costs

Another challenge in the retail banking industry is the ever-increasing costs. Costs are going up in every sphere ranging from marketing to compliance. Increasing competition and pressure on customer retention, when combined with increasing costs, presents a major challenge to retail banks.

How This Affects You: Reduced ROI

Greater costs result in reduced ROI. When you spend more on acquiring and retaining customers, your team will have more pressure to drive up the ROI on each account.

How Data Can Help: Predictive Prospecting

Taking retail banking customer segmentation a step further, you can focus on highly targeted prospecting when it comes to customer acquisition. In fact, your top customers today can help you find your next best prospects. You can achieve this by using a look-alike model.

A model like this can recognize patterns of traits among your top customers. These traits can then be used as filters when prospecting for new customers. Thus, by finding new prospects who match your existing customers, you are ensuring that your approach is much more targeted. This further enables you to predict customer behavior.

Challenge 4: Pressure to Improve Customer Experience

Since the retail banking industry is challenged by increased competition, institutions have greater pressure to improve the customer experience. The experience you offer should be able to set you apart from competitors. Thus, it should allow you the advantage of nurturing long-term relationships with your customers. Doing this needs an in-depth understanding of customer needs.

How This Affects You: Requires Broad Systemic Changes

Offering your customers a better experience may need sweeping, systemic changes. For instance, your brand may have to become more relatable. Your employees have to learn how to make customers feel appreciated with every interaction.

How Data Can Help: Identifying Money in Motion

One of the ways to offer the best customer experience is by offering customers exactly what they are looking for when they need it the most. Again, this goes beyond the level of retail banking customer segmentation. Data can help you identify money-in-motion. This means you can trace your customer’s life stage and offer products and services that are relevant and timely.

When customers know you are looking out for them, they enjoy a better experience with your brand. Furthermore, you increase retention with every additional product or service that you offer them.

Challenge 5: Employee Retention & Engagement

Customer retention is important, of course. But for your institution to have a good culture, it is necessary to think about employee retention as well. When you experience high employee turnover, it becomes harder to build a sense of company culture.

How This Affects You: Loss of Company Culture

For you losing employees means an erosion of company values. Additionally, this also results in gaps in knowledge transfer. These gaps, especially when they pertain to your customers can create holes in customer experience.

For instance, let’s say a senior citizen is used to coming and in and interacting with the same teller at one of your branches. This teller will know them well enough to serve them quickly or offer them solutions based on their needs. If this customer comes in and sees a new face within short intervals, it becomes harder for them to build long-term trust in your institution.

How Data Can Help: Every Employee Becomes a Marketer

When you create an integrated system of data and provide actionable insights to every relevant employee, you create a culture of ownership. Every employee feels accountable for customer satisfaction. With this becoming an organization-wide outlook, your customers will surely feel the difference in the personalized service that they receive. This can also help you address other challenges in retail banking such as low retention, high costs, and increasing competition.

Mitigating Challenges to Thrive in the Retail Banking Industry

Thus, data and analytics can help set you apart in a crowded marketplace.  Remember that innovation can come not only from you but also your clients. Learn how to how US Bank achieved success by elevating client-led innovation.

Watch the Session from WE Prosper Summit 2019 Now–>

Data Strategy Best Practices to Drive Value & Personalization

data strategy best practices

Data is everywhere. We all have to deal with it, irrespective of our industry or sector. Every customer or donor transaction generates a data point. Simply collecting these data points cannot help you achieve personalization or derive value from your data. Data strategy best practices, when tailored to the needs of your organization, can deliver great value.

Data can serve many purposes. It can deliver insights, help you personalize your outreach, increase conversion rates, and deliver greater ROI. Furthermore, people are doing great things with data. Using “Data for Good” is becoming a growing phenomenon. So, the question is how can data help you?

Tom Monahan, Founder and Managing Partner of Norton Street Capital, recently shared insights on leveraging data to drive value and personalization at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Interested in learning more about Tom’s talk on building authentic data strategies? Catch a recap of his keynote from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Read on to see how you can meet your organization’s goals through applying these data strategy best practices. 

We’re All in the Business of Persuasion

Think of the last time you changed your mind about something. The process usually involves learning some news or receiving new data. You’ve learned something new that has led you to reconsider what you know. This means data is persuasive.

We’re all in the business of changing people’s minds. This could mean that they need to be convinced to give to your organization or to purchase your brand’s items. Your data strategy can help you accomplish this.

Data is like Oil

Clive Humby, British mathematician said, “Data is the new oil…” This means that data cannot offer value in its raw form. Like oil, it needs to be refined to deliver value. Furthermore, like oil, more value is accrued by the users of data than the owners of it.

So, how do you refine your data to ensure that it delivers value? Applying the core principles of strategy can help you derive valuable and actionable insights.

Core Principles of Strategy

At any organization, the overall strategy needs to be:

  1. Focused- If you find something that works specifically for your organization, pay attention to it and develop it to a point of exclusion of competing elements.
  2. Distinctive- Every player in the market cannot have the same strategy.  So, by understanding where you stand out and taking advantage of your position is ideal.
  3. Authentic- The way you stand out has to be true to your organization’s story. Your position should be organic. Furthermore, aiming for fairness is not always appropriate for your strategy. It’s better to stay out of fair fights and enter markets where you have a singular, unfair advantage over your competitors.
  4. Iterative- A strategy will do you no good if it is static. As much as you want to have a core mission and vision, your organization has to be flexible enough to accommodate what is contextual and relevant.
  5. Sustainable- Competition is forever. Although your strategy needs to be iterative, it also needs to be sustainable in the long run. If your strategy becomes plateaus, your organization could be headed for trouble.
  6. Valuable- Ultimately, it comes down to offering real value to your customer or donor. You need to offer a solution that makes a difference in your customer’s life. Similarly, as a nonprofit, you need to offer a solution so that your donor can make a difference.

These core principles are universal and can be applied to your data management. Thus, here are a few data strategy best practices to help you fulfill your fundraising or marketing goals.

Top 5 Data Strategy Best Practices

1. Sourcing

Don’t simply focus on what you can do, but on areas where you can excel. Many companies can claim that they have unique data. While that may be true, does your data have broad applications?

If the data you collect is accurate and informative but very specific to your industry and even more so to your organization, it offers no value to others. This means that your data cannot be an added source in your revenue stream. Similarly, when you source data from other entities, you have to ensure that it serves the broader purpose of your organization and not just a single department.

2. Staging and Structure

Save, combine, and protect data in interesting ways. Any of these could prove to be advantageous.

For example, WealthEngine goes beyond industry standards when it comes to data protection. Our regularly audited SOC 2 Type II certification sets us apart from other wealth data analytics solutions. This certification ensures all of our users that no one can misuse or hack the data they are compiling.

3. Analytics

Your data strategy could lie in combining your unique data with other data points. By doing so, you may be able to predict something that no one else can. While your data may be proprietary and well-suited to deliver insights to your organization, you can strengthen this even further with third-party data.

For instance, you may want to run a direct mail campaign. Your team already has a list of prospects and their addresses. You can make your campaign much more effective through personalization. Your team can add demographic and lifestyle data on these contacts through a wealth screening. Now, you are working with a broader picture of who these people are and what makes them tick. It is easier for you to deliver more impactful messages to them.

4. Value Creation

Your data strategy must create unique value. It is better to avoid broad, obvious approaches if you want your approach to be sustainable. Similarly, avoiding gimmicks to provide real value to your customers and donors will increase their LTV.

You could stand out by offering convenience, unique/intuitive bundling, economic benefits, or even emotional benefits. For instance, let’s say you are a university. Typically, you will have various departments collect data for their specific purpose. Admissions has data on incoming students, while alumni relations has data on graduates. Similarly, various academic departments have data on current students. These databases can often be silos. By unifying your database and creating a cohesive picture of all students and alumni, you will identify missed opportunities for cross-departmental collaboration.

5. Value Extraction

How do you get a fair return on the value you create? You begin by defining what fair means to you.  Any value return must benefit your customers, employees, and investors. You cannot choose to please only one of these parties as they all have opposing needs. Therefore, balance is key in your data strategy.

Finally, keep customer permissions in mind. There is a thin line between valuable and creepy.

3 Key Data Strategy Takeaways

  1. Your data strategy cannot just be to collect lots of it. Volume does not equal value. Data is like oil- it has to be refined and processed correctly to be valuable.
  2. Your data can be unique, but it has to have broad applications. Moreover, you can add value by offering unique insights or predicting something that no one else can.
  3. Ensure that you get a fair return on your data. Return could mean both the price that a third party pays for your insights as well as how much your data-strategy can support your overall organizational goals.
    For example, Starbucks and McDonalds are both data-driven QSRs, they both use data differently. But it pays off for each one because it serves each of their business strategies. McDonald’s uses data to increase speed while Starbucks uses it to create a curated cafe experience with personalized offerings.

Interested in learning more about Tom’s talk on data strategy? Catch a recap of his session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Watch Now–>

Delivering Innovation by Balancing Technology with the Human Touch

delivering innovation

Personalization is at the tip of every fundraiser and marketer’s tongue. Achieving personalization in your organization’s outreach requires innovation. Delivering innovation means thinking beyond convention. This out-of-the-box thinking can be driven by you or even by your donors or customers.

In the case of the latter, you need to listen to your contacts and let them tell you what suits them best.  Innovation trends across various industries are changing client expectations.  

What Customers & Donors Look For

Chady AlAhmar, SVP of Strategy and Analytics, U.S. Bank Wealth Management has said that there is a  5-step process that has helped them drive innovation.

Interested in learning more about Chady’s talk on delivering innovation? Catch a recap of his session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

You begin with your customer or donor. Understand their expectations in order to deliver innovation. Here is what they expect based on their journey:

1. Ease, Simplicity, and Increased Control

The extent of technology in our daily lives has made people expect ease of transactions whether it comes to giving, saving, or spending. They know that they produce data with each transaction and that is okay as long as data is collected in a transparent way that gives them control over it.

The emphasis here is on data- your donors and customers are saying “I expect you to know me.”

2. Personalization and holistic communication

You cannot be everything to everyone. By the same token, not everything you send out will appeal to everyone. For instance, if you reach out with a 401K message to everyone in your database, it may not resonate. To deliver innovation here means to offer support instead of seeking a sale. In the previous instance, if you find out who has just changed jobs or moved and then reach out to them- you can offer advice and guidance on updating their 401K. Doing this would make your message resonate better.

The emphasis here is on prioritization– your donors and customers are saying, “Find me at the right time.”

3. Cost-Efficiency

Your contacts expect that you will find the most cost-effective way to reach them. Invest in innovation that meets their expectations but does not increase your costs dramatically, trickling down to increased costs for them.

What’s important here is the distribution of efficiencies. The expectation is, “Not only do I want you to find me at the right time, but I also want you to find me in the right place.”

4. Social Responsibility

This is becoming an increasingly important expectation, especially among younger generations. Your contacts are saying, “if there is no purpose behind this, I am not interested in it”. If you are a nonprofit, for you, this means that every appeal that you send them has to be something that strikes an emotional chord. Every appeal must also showcase the impact of any gift clearly.

The emphasis here is on activation. You are expected to “Offer me purpose and meaning, not sales pitches.”

5. Comfort with algorithm-based decisions

Users are becoming more and more comfortable with algorithm-based decision-making. This means that they are okay with their GPS predicting their destination in the morning as well as Alexa predicting their mood to create a playlist. Technology is being embraced by your customers and donors, which means that you can deliver innovation by using the latest tech.

Don’t fear technology. But, don’t lose sight of learning. “The more we interact, the better you will know me (and others like me).”

6. Security

The ease with technology and with the ubiquitous nature of data means that security is a growing concern. Your contacts expect you to take precautions to secure the data you have gathered about them.

Delivering innovation here means finding a way to bridge the gap between privacy and personalization.

How You Can Deliver Innovation Based on Expectations

Knowing your contacts’ expectations now empowers you to deliver innovation in a personalized manner. But, how can you meet these expectations?

The answer lies in being able to balance IQ with eQ. In fact, it is all about human capital and human potential. Delivering innovation comes down to using technology to empower humans to do great things.

PEOPLE + INNOVATION = A Winning Combination.

The balance, of course, depends on the nature of service and the complexity of client needs. For example, a museum competes not only against other museums but also for people’s time. As the museum, you need to make visitors feel a certain way when they are there. Therefore, they should be driven to return.

Innovation means realizing that your offer strikes an emotional chord as well as offers ease and convenience. You need to use data to drive customer experience. Listen to them, understand how they feel. Deliver a solution that caters to their needs.

Delivering Innovation: 3 Key Takeaways

  1. Embrace technology to enhance the donor or customer experience. Thus, you can adjust your innovation strategy to include expectations created by emerging client journeys.
  2. Improve your value proposition through data analytics. It’s important to embrace data and machine learning to deliver innovation. But, don’t lose sight of the value that the human perspective can offer. Thus, you should sense check your data-driven strategies with your instinct and experience.
  3. Think about how you make your client feel. Ultimately, the best experiences are driven by appealing to your contacts’  IQ as well as eQ.

Interested in learning more about Chady’s talk on delivering innovation? Catch a recap of his session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

Watch Now–>

Retail Marketing: Using Technology to Drive Personalization at Scale

retail marketing

We’ve heard that personalization should be at the core of retail marketing strategy. Does this mean that you send discounts on jeans to previous customers who bought jeans? Yes, that’s a part of it, but there is so much more. Every touchpoint needs to make the customer feel like they are having a one-on-one conversation with you. However, from a business standpoint, your strategy needs to be scalable as well. The question then becomes about balancing scalability with that personal touch.

Bob Ghafouri, Senior Managing Director, Founder, Bloom by Accenture recently addressed this question and others at WE Prosper Summit.

Interested in learning more about Bob’s talk on personalized retail marketing? Catch a recap of his keynote from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

How Can You Scale Personalization?

Platforms are disrupting every industry. Retail marketing is no different. In fact, platforms can enable you to achieve personalization at scale. They are able to do this by focusing on three elements:

  1. Experience Disruption- creating a frictionless customer experience that makes everyone pivot. Eg: AirBnB made it so convenient to find the comfort of home in a new city that people started to prefer them to hotels for certain types of trips.
  2. Business Model Disruption- changing the value chain or existing business models to find an advantage. Eg: Dollar Shave Club cut out other players in the value chain and went direct to consumer. By doing this, they were able to keep costs very low and provide value and convenience to their customers.
  3. Technological Disruption- when technology enables you to take leaps, speed up innovation or benefit from convenience. Eg: Amazon’s Redshift platform- a new business could use this to launch themselves into the market in a matter of days

These disruptions all allow retail marketers to personalize their offerings. For instance, experiences can be curated to meet customer preferences. Similarly, value and/or convenience can be factored in based on what is most important to each customer segment. With the help of technology, these offerings can remain customized but can be scaled as businesses grow.

What do Retail Customers Want?

When it comes to retail, customers know what they want. They want personalization & control. This means that they don’t just want to be offered a multitude of choices. Options generated by retail marketing should cater to their preferences. Furthermore, they want to be in control of their journey and the information you hold about them. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 45% of consumers left a website due to being overwhelmed by too many options
  • 82% of customers are willing to share data- as long as there is transparency, control, and service
  • 79% of consumers have never felt a brand was too personal or invasive
  • 81% of consumers will shop more if you recognize, remember, and make relevant recommendations
  • 75% of consumers want to control their journey

If you’re in retail marketing, the data above shows you that listening to your customers is a large part of the exercise. Let them educate you on how best to serve them.

How can Retail Marketing Address Customer Wants and Needs?

Think service design: a dynamic service experience is critical to getting 1:1 personalization. Customer experience should be designed in such a way that every touchpoint must feel personal. Focus on three elements to develop this design:

personalization

Personalized Shopping: Stalking is Not Personalization

You have several kinds of data at your organization. You don’t have to track your customer’s every move or stalk them in order to get insights. Personalized shopping can be driven by combining different types of data- both your own and that acquired from third parties.

You can use transactional or historical data + shared intent by the customer + insights from machine learning that can provide inferred intent. These three combined can provide actionable insights and be powerful to drive personalization. Further, your communication can be more proactive through these.

For example, your customer may have bought entry-level luxury handbags before. You then notice that they add a high-end luxury bag to their cart and abandon it there for some time. This shows you their intent or preparedness to spend on a big-ticket item. Using data science, you can analyze similar patterns among other customers to predict the value of their next purchase or even predict the likelihood of a big-ticket purchase on their next transaction.

When you have this kind of insight, you can send them tailored offers- maybe a personalized shopping experience in-store or a promotion offered specifically around high-end handbags.

Personalized Merchandising: Profiling is Not Personalization

Data and machine learning are powerful tools in retail marketing, of course. Data-driven segmentation can also help you refine personalization. However, even the best algorithm may not be enough to create something highly personalized. Applying human intuition on a digital platform is what will get you there.

For instance, let’s consider the previous example. Your predictive model indicated that the customer is ready for a luxury purchase in their next transaction. However, as a seasoned retail marketing professional, you may realize that the bag remaining in their cart is a sign. Your instinct can take you from prediction to anticipation. Prediction is about retailers being in control, but anticipation puts the control back in the hands of the customer.  In this case, your experience tells you that the customer is hesitant about making such a big decision.

Knowing how likely they are to make a purchase empowers you to approach them with personalized merchandising. You may send them a video about craftsmanship on the brand of handbags they are interested in. Thus, you showcase the value of the product to them. On the other hand, you may realize that they are ready to make a luxury purchase but maybe the handbag is a bigger commitment than they are ready for. In this instance, personalization could be in the form of promotions on belts, wallets or other smaller items from the same brand.

Personalized Advisor: Chatbots are Not Personalization

Retail consumers seek experts just like anybody else. They are looking for personalization in the form of advice. While chatbots are a nifty solution to interact with customers at scale, they cannot replace real advice.

In the spectrum of virtual to real experts, there are three archetypes that are typically used in retail marketing.

Retail marketers are pivoting towards 1:1 personalized orchestration engines. These are not just about sharing advice but also listening to your consumers.

For instance, when a customer is shopping online your recommendation engine may be showing them similar products. However, customers seek advice more than recommendations. You can drive personalization by showing them how to pair the item they are looking at with others or how to style it for different occasions based on their lifestyle.

You could also offer advice in the form of answering frequently asked questions about the product. This can go beyond product specs to show how the product functions in different settings, how durable it can be, etc.

Thus, you can build personalization into the entire customer journey. By listening as much as recommending, retail marketers can ensure that customers control their own journeys.

Top 4 Retail Marketing Takeaways:

Here are four top takeaways from Bob’s talk on personalization in retail marketing.

  1. Consumers don’t mind that you have data on them. In fact, they preferred to be recognized and offered relevant offers. But, they want transparency and control over the data.
  2. Combine your knowledge of your customers with data science to gain insights.
  3. Become proactive in your communications, open yourself up to listening to your customers. Go from predicting customer behavior to anticipating it.
  4. Retail experiences need to be personalized in every step of the customer journey. In order to achieve this in a meaningful way, you need to combine technology and human instinct.

Catch a Recap of Making it Personal

Watch the full recap of Making it Personal, presented at WE Prosper Summit 2019.

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Donor-Advised Funds: How Your Nonprofit Can Gain Untapped Gifts

Donor Advised Funds

Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) may seem out of reach, but reports show that they are growing at a rapid rate. Furthermore, DAFs have been making a significant impact on giving. For instance, a donor recently found out that his DAF had the ability to support early education impacting 80 children. The fund that went out to support this cause was in the ballpark of $170,000. This was possible through appreciated securities and growth of the fund in their portfolio.

If your nonprofit has not been leveraging Donor-Advised Funds to supplement your fundraising strategies, following our recommended best practices can help you get started. Make sure you get a copy of our best practices guide at the end of this article.

But first, let’s start with the basics.

What is a Donor-Advised Fund?

Amy Pirozzolo, Head of Marketing, Fidelity Charitable says, “A donor advised fund is like having a set-aside investment account just for your charitable giving.”

Interested in learning more about Amy’s talk on donor-advised funds? Catch a recap of her session from WE Prosper Summit 2019.

DAFs are a way for donors to make a charitable contribution and get their tax deduction immediately. However, funds, securities, and assets are held by a public charity. The donor can then recommend grants to go out to charities from these assets.

Three Key Benefits of Using DAFs

  1. The nature of these funds allows donors to be more thoughtful about how they allocate resources to charities. It takes the time pressure off when they have had a financial windfall. They can establish the DAF right away and receive a tax deduction. But, they still have time to think about how best to use these funds.
    In the words of a current DAF donor, these funds allow you to put 98% of the focus on giving and 2% on the implementation/technicalities of it.
  2. Assets can appreciate over time allowing charities to benefit from a higher value contribution.
  3. DAFs are also growing at an exponential rate when compared to the growth of overall giving. For example, giving overall grew 5% in 2017 vs DAFs that grew by 20% in the same period.

Profile of a Typical Donor

  1. The median age is 65. However, giving can begin as early as 55.
  2. 79% of them also volunteer their time with their money
  3. 68% have said that DAF is right for them because they have the money now but haven’t thought about how/where to give yet
  4. 76% give appreciated assets (privately held assets or publically traded stock)
  5. 76% give because it is an investment growth of charitable assets
  6. 27% give because they had a financial windfall

Before we get to our best practice recommendations, let’s understand some commonly held misconceptions about Donor-Advised Funds.

Donor-Advised Fund Myths- What is actually true?

 

Myth

Fact

DAF donors are typically wealthy The average DAF donor has a bank balance of $17,000
DAF contributions are always major gifts Gifts have a wide range, but the average is about $4000
Money doesn’t move when it ends up in a Donor-Advised Fund On average 37% of funds go to charities in year 1, 74% within 5 years and 88% within 10 years
DAFs are limited in number Over 1000 charities have DAF programs

 

5 Best Practices for Nonprofits to Get These Funds

Learn how best to fish in your own pond. Identify prospects for DAF giving from within your donor base.

Download our best practices guide here–>

How to Personalize Engagement: 10 Key Takeaways From WE Prosper Summit 2019

The power of personalized engagement is undeniable. WealthEngine’s WE Prosper Summit 2019 brought together industry experts. They discussed the importance of personalization across industries. Speakers explored how data, AI/ML, and other technology drive tailored outreach and positive social impact.

Experts at the WE Prosper Summit 2019 spoke from their varied perspectives. From those talks, we found that the following key principles exist across industries:

Personalized Engagement can Deliver Exponential ROI

1.  Personalized Engagement is more than just a trending topic.

The WE Prosper Summit confirmed that personalization is more than just a buzzword. Speakers confirmed that it is at the epicenter of all successful fundraising and marketing.

For fundraisers, personalization could be the difference between receiving $50 from a donor or $50,000. For marketers, it enables them to stay informed on customer life stages. So, this means you can predict purchases and keep customers, thereby increasing LTV.

Missed WE Prosper Summit? Catch the full recap now and learn more about The Power of Personalized Engagement.

2. There is a fine line between personalized and creepy.

When you completely rely on technology to drive personalization, you may end up crossing a fine line. Stalking, profiling, and chatbots aren’t effective methods in learning more about your clients. In short, organizations need to find a way to make communication feel personal without losing sight of scalability.

This leads us to our next set of takeaways…

Technology Needs to be Balanced with the Human Touch

3. Data and AI are making huge strides in both the nonprofit world and in marketing.

AI is always exploring the frontier of what is possible. It is a great tool to test and refine your personalized engagement strategy. So, when data is combined with machine learning, it can predict behavior. This can help you be proactive in your outreach.

4. The value of the human touch cannot be undervalued.

It’s important to not be overly-reliant on technology when you’re personalizing your outreach. There are several cases where technology has been used as a substitute for a personal touch. Your donors and customers want to be engaged in authentic ways. They must sense transparency and relevancy in your communications with them. So, you can achieve this by balancing scalability with the human touch.

5. Your data strategy cannot just be to collect lots of it.

Basically, volume does not equal value.

Mathematician, Clive Humby has said that “Data is like oil…”

So, you have to refine data and process it correctly for it to be valuable. Moreover, data collection and insights must add value to your overall business strategy.

6. Combine your data with data from other sources to personalize engagement.

Your data is unique to you but you can increase it’s value to supplementing it with information from other sources. For instance, WealthEngine customers have access to wealth, demographic, lifestyle, and affinity data. These help them gain a more holistic view of their contacts. Similarly, data and machine learning can generate unique insights.

Combining your data with machine learning technology can generate insights that no one else has. These insights can then help you drive personalized engagement. Furthermore, you can use this technology to refine your analysis over time.

7. AI is not out of reach for nonprofits.

By understanding the technology, you can reduce repetitive tasks. Additionally, you can test your strategy and learn from it so that you are constantly refining your outreach.

Impact is Going to be the Next Industrial Revolution

8. Impact is going to affect all organizations.

All stakeholders have an interest in corporate social responsibility. Thus, usher corporations towards public good.

9. Millennials are going to be major influencers of the economy.

They will buy from brands, work at companies, and give to causes that are closely aligned with their principles. Thus, understanding them will be key to driving personalized engagement.

10. Donor-Advised Funds (DAFs) can add to fundraising bottom lines.

DAFs have been growing at a rate of 20%, almost 4X the rate of overall giving. With this being the case, all nonprofits have to do is facilitate receiving funds through them.

Learn More about WE Prosper Summit 2019- The Power of Personalized Engagement

Interested in learning more about what our industry experts had to say? Learn more about the latest trends in prospect engagement.

 

Identity Resolution For Best Match Rates & Unique Pre-Built Profiles

identity resolution

As the proliferation of data continues, identity resolution or entity resolution becomes a topic of greater importance. You may be wondering how such a specific technicality may affect your business. Our in-house expert, Glen Ireland actually answers that question and more on our podcast. Let’s begin with the basics.

Listen to the full podcast here:

What is Identity Resolution?

Identity resolution is the process of matching data from multiple sources with one entity. It can also be referred to more generally as entity
resolution. Basically, when several data points are matched with a person and the association is confirmed, it is identity resolution.

For example, let’s say there’s a contact named Eric Smith in your database. You may find out from another data source that Eric Smith has a net worth of $10M. The problem is that there could be ten different people with the name Eric Smith among your contacts. Identity resolution comes in when you need to find the right one to associate the net worth with.

Businesses Can Also Face Identity Loss

Not only does entity resolution affect people, but it also affects organizations. Even if your organization deals with other businesses, identity resolution could become important for you.

For example, your system may have stored IBM as IBM, International Business Machine, and as IBM Corp. When you add new data, you may add each data point to a different entity. In this case, your data will not be able to paint a holistic picture of the entity for you.

In these instances, computers cannot make judgment calls. Human intervention may be needed. Of course, when you try to achieve entity resolution at scale, you can do this through algorithms.

Entity Resolution & Wealth Data Analytics

When it comes to your wealth data analytics, identity resolution becomes paramount. Let’s consider the case of WealthEngine. Identity resolution enables us to pre-form profiles about every adult in the US. These pre-
formed profiles allow WealthEngine to offer solutions like WE Prospect, and WE Analyze.

Furthermore, with entity resolution, you can perform a nationwide quick search. This means you can look up any individual adult in the US or create segments in the WealthEngine database.

Identity resolution lets WealthEngine procure data from several different data sources. So, each data source has its own unique identifier for each person. WealthEngine can then match all these data sources through entity resolution. This helps us build pre-formed profiles and to update and enrich them over time.

WealthEngine invests millions in acquiring high-quality data from different sources. This means you can learn more and more about Eric Smith on your contacts list with WealthEngine. This includes demographics, lifestyle, behavior, interests, and affinities. Our algorithms and data science help make sure that you have up to date and extensive information to work with.

Identity Resolution to Match Vendor & Customer Data

So, how do you match data from different sources and vendors? Although this is a complex process, two basic techniques can be used. For instance, the main attributes we use to match entities are their name and primary address.

A best practice for identity resolution is standardizing the format for names. To illustrate, turn nicknames into formal names, remove any punctuation from names, etc. You may also want to standardize addresses by reformatting them. The format should match deliverable USPS addresses. Those are two basic things that can be done to enable entity resolution.

There are also other sophisticated techniques to accommodate misspellings. We use some of these advanced practices at WealthEngine. For example, a vendor might send a record with a name that’s missing one character. Similarly, there could be a street name that’s missing two characters. In these instances, we use something called edit distance algorithms. We may also use this and similar techniques to accommodate misspellings in first names, last names, or street names when ingesting vendor data.

Advanced Technology for Higher Match Rates

The above were general best practices, but the process becomes complex at scale. Furthermore, as you ingest data from more sources, you need more sophisticated data science to ensure accuracy. WealthEngine’s industry-leading technology means that our clients can enjoy up to 90% match rates.

In fact, clients have confirmed that other analytics solutions offer about 30-60% while WealthEngine can get them to 90%. This is because WealthEngine has spent 20 years coming up with sophisticated techniques beyond the basics.  For example, we can also use attributes like spouse name or business name to increase that metric.

This is important because both husband and wife can make a decision on something. If you’re targeting a specific individual, you may want to bear in mind that the spouse might actually be the decision-maker. These could be decisions about a donation, about buying a particular product, or using a certain financial services firm. With this being the case, it’s very important to have identity resolution be as accurate as possible.

What Happens When There Is No Match

If a record from a vendor cannot be matched to a profile, WealthEngine has to decide whether or not to create a new profile. If the record coming in from the vendor is complete enough, and it seems like a person that is not already in the database, we create a new profile. For instance, there are something like 10,000 17-year-olds turning 18 every day. They would all be eligible for being loaded into the WealthEngine database.

In other situations, a customer record may match multiple profiles. In this instance of entity resolution, let’s say you add some extra pieces of information to WealthEngine. This may cause one customer record to match multiple WealthEngine profiles. Then, WealthEngine appends information from all matching profiles to the customer record to enrich it as much as possible.

Does this work?

Yes, because  WealthEngine sometimes has more than one profile per person. The reason behind this is that we want to shy away from over-merging. This means, you never want to use identity resolution to combine two different people.  WealthEngine tends to err on the side of what’s called under-merging, where one person is represented by multiple profiles in the WealthEngine database. In fact, competing solutions may have greater inaccuracy because of this.

How You Can Benefit From Identity Resolution

Identity resolution ultimately increases the accuracy of information for customers. This means you can simply search for a person and see all their information compiled into a profile. These profiles are built using data from several different sources. Thus, this presents itself as a convenience for you.

Secondly, having reliable entity resolution in place means you get higher match rates. For instance, WealthEngine match rates are very high, at about 90%. So, when you find out that Eric Smith’s net worth is $10M, you can be sure that it is the right person.

Furthermore, you can keep on enriching your contacts’ profiles with more information. With WealthEngine, the enrichment is automated in most cases. There is a small percentage of data that WealthEngine cannot match. However, with a feature called Find More in WealthEngine9, even this has a solution.

If your customer record does not match a WealthEngine profile, we will still store that record in your My Profiles tab. You can then click into the profile and do a manual identity resolution. First, use Quick Search to find what you believe is a match. Then use Find More to merge it into the uploaded record. Doing this, you can increase the match rate up to 100%. No other wealth intelligence solution can help you do this.

Increase Your Match Rate to 100% Starting Today

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