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Tim Peter

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August 25, 2017

7 Expert CX, AI, and Digital Tips to Boost Your Bottom Line: E-commerce Link Digest

August 25, 2017 | By | No Comments

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7 expert CX, AI, and digital tips to boost your bottom line

Hei, hei, Big Thinkers! I just got back from Norway and that’s everyone says “hello” there. Hope you get to use that in all your travels. This week’s edition of the E-commerce Link Digest Series rounds-up 7 expert CX, AI, and digital tips to boost your bottom line — and I hope you get to do just that too. Enjoy:

  1. The fine folks over at Brand Quarterly have outlined “The Importance Of Consistency Within Omnichannel Marketing” for us all… and done a nice job of it to boot. Well worth your time to read.
  2. While thinking about getting things right, CMO.com has a terrific piece that asks “Do You View Your Customer As A Name Or A Number?” Guess which one works better.
  3. Sticking with our friends at CMO.com, here’s a fantastic round-up of “7 Digital Trends That Will Change Business Forever” for you. While I don’t know about the “forever” part, they’re all worth checking out.
  4. On a highly-related note, we rounded up “6 Proven Digital Marketing Trends in The Best of Thinks Out Loud recently. Give ’em all a listen when you get a moment, OK?
  5. Yet another outstanding CMO.com article connects two of my favorite topics with these “4 Ways Machine Learning Boosts The Customer Experience.” Much like the old Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups commercial claimed, these are two great tastes that taste great together.
  6. Since I may have mentioned before that “AI Makes Big Data Little” — and getting your “data house” in order represents a key first step for your AI strategy — you’ll probablby appreciate this quick refresher on “Finding and Following Your Customer’s Digital Footprint.”9 Great Posts Focused on Digital Transformation, Strategy, and AI: E-commerce Link Digest
  7. Finally, let’s close out this week’s look at 7 expert CX, AI, and digital tips to boost your bottom line with a post that asks — and answers — “How Can You Succeed at Digital Marketing Next Year? 17 Great Posts Offer Answers.”

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

Finally, you might enjoy some of these past posts from Thinks to help you build your e-commerce strategy and your digital success:

Tim Peter

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June 7, 2017

AI For Marketers: AI Makes Big Data Little (Thinks Out Loud Episode 196)

June 7, 2017 | By | No Comments

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AI for Marketers: AI Makes Big Data Little (Thinks Out Loud Episode 196)

AI For Marketers: AI Makes Big Data Little (Thinks Out Loud Episode 196) – Headlines and Show Notes

NB: Credit for this weeks title to Ed St.Onge of Flip.to

Tim Peter

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November 10, 2015

The Hidden Factor OTA’s Use to Get Between You and Your Guests (Travel Tuesday)

November 10, 2015 | By | No Comments

The Hidden Factor OTA’s Use to Get Between You and Your Guests

When I talk with hotel industry leaders, it seems we’re continually discussing the same set of topics:

  • How can we compete effectively with new the distribution and lodging players available to guests?
  • How can we ensure marketing messages cut through the clutter and reach the right guests?
  • How can we attribute marketing correctly to allocate budget effectively and efficiently?
  • And, how can we do all this without driving costs increasingly higher every year?

While no single tactic, tip, or trick will answer all these questions, it’s important to recognize what connects each of these critical areas for your hotel. It’s not your marketing strategy. It’s not technology. It’s not even the quality of your service — though, undoubtedly, each of these plays a crucial role. But the one thing that can help you find the right answer to these key questions is how you apply your hotel’s data to your marketing and operations.

As you consider the questions above, consider as well the questions you need to ask about your guests:

  • How are your most profitable guests finding, researching, and booking you?
  • Which marketing and distribution channels contribute to their booking decision?
  • How much revenue and profit do they provide from reservations vs. on-property spend?
  • And what opportunities exist to increase the former, the latter, or both?

Perhaps the most important question you can ask is how much you have invested in answering these questions. It’s no secret that the major players including Priceline, Expedia, Google, TripAdvisor, and AirBnB have invested heavily in understanding guest needs and where their efforts pay off. Priceline’s acquisition spree over the last few years — snapping up buuteeq, HotelNinjas, Pricematch, Rocketmiles, OpenTable, Kayak, and AS Digital, as well as its partnerships with Marriott on providing white-label booking engines for a number of languages — not only increase its bottom-line, but also help it gain an end-to-end view of guest behaviors and a robust database of potential customers to contact via low-cost marketing channels and to convert to future stays. In fact, Priceline’s Darren Huston has openly stated,

“Much more importantly than a source of transactions, mobile is a chance to plumb the end-to-end user experience… Say you are looking for an accommodation on an iPad but then you book on a PC. But, then you show up at the hotel with your iPhone. All of that is plumbed to [a Booking.com] account… it is increasing our value to the customer [in ways] that would be very difficult for an independent hotel to do.”

Expedia, Google, TripAdvisor and the rest have invested heavily in trying to solve similar problems, using their technological prowess to gather data at every possible step of the guest journey. That’s the hidden factor OTA’s and other intermediaries use. And it’s one you need to use too.

The point here isn’t that hotels need to become technology companies in the hospitality industry; you can buy the right tech from highly capable providers. But if you don’t have the right data —if you’re not working every day to understand your guests’ changing needs, and behaviors — you’re continually putting yourself at the mercy of high-cost marketing and distribution channels who do invest in answering these questions. Worse, you’re giving the keys to your kingdom to the very competitors hotel marketers and distribution executives worry about most.

A 100-room hotel with 1.4 guests per room running between 55% and 60% occupancy gathers data from roughly 30,000 guests every year. Yes, you absolutely need to fill the top of the funnel to increase your potential pool of guests every year. But if you’re not also investing in learning more about how to retain and reconnect with those tens of thousands of guests already walking through your door, you’re likely to find that you end each year with the same questions you started with, plus one more: “Why are we still not getting ahead?”

Tim Peter

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June 15, 2015

Facebook’s Big Beacon Secret

June 15, 2015 | By | No Comments

Facebook beacons: What do they mean for your business?

So, Facebook recently introduced its Place Tips for businesses, offering:

“…useful information about a business or landmark—like posts from the business’ Page, upcoming events and friends’ recommendations and check-ins—and show it at the top of News Feed to in-store visitors.”

And to make Place Tips work, the social media giant recommends requesting a free Facebook beacon for your storefront, restaurant, hotel, what-have-you. Linda Bustos over at GetElastic had a fairly fantastic run-down of the pros and cons of the beacons. But buried way down in that list is a brilliant insight, suggesting Facebook could also do this:

“Collect data on response to offers, like click to claim this offer, so the advertiser could have some form of measurement, record store traffic, not just Page traffic, etc.”

Now, why’s that so brilliant? Well, quite simply, Facebook makes most of its money from advertising. And what no one has been able to consistently do at all well is connect online-to-offline. Well, until now.

Maybe.

First, Facebook hasn’t said they’re going to do this. I can’t imagine they won’t. But they haven’t announced it yet.

Second, I suspect they haven’t announced end-to-end measurement because:

  1. Facebook hasn’t worked out the privacy details. Facebook, for all its past missteps, appears to be getting better at treating customer privacy with respect. They’re either not sure how to protect consumer privacy in this instance (especially when small businesses/local retailers/restaurants might only drive single-digit traffic in-store), or aren’t sure how to communicate it. Or both, I suppose. And then,
  2. They don’t know if it will work. It’s also possible that Facebook will want to see the data for themselves before opening it up to its business customers. But I suspect that, if their ads really do drive foot traffic, they’ll start telling that story real quick.

I’m really curious to see where this one goes and will be testing with some of my clients over the next few months. But given that Google has started to lose search share to mobile apps, these beacons offer Facebook an amazing opportunity to steal marketing dollars from the search giant as well. And, if they do, there’s no way Facebook keeps that a secret.

Do you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing? Be sure an register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

Tim Peter

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March 11, 2015

Why Data Always Wins – Thinks Out Loud Episode 114

March 11, 2015 | By | No Comments

Why data always wins

Why Data Always Wins – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy the slides from my recent webinar, Digital Marketing Directions: Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year,:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 11s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below: