Mapp’s Vice President of Global Strategy Ricardas Montvila takes a deep dive into why the huge investments marketers are making toward improving customer experience are missing the mark, what moving to an insight-led approach really means, and how even small improvements based on insights can drive big results.
Hello, everybody. Welcome to the next edition of Annex Cloud Market Movers. I'm Erin Raese, and I'm here today with Rick Montvila, Vice President Global Strategy at Mapp. Welcome Rick.
Hi, Erin. Thanks for having me.
We're excited you're here. To get us started, why don't you tell us a bit about yourself, Mapp and your role?
Sure. Yeah. So, to start about myself. Working in a strategy team, it kind of ended up being, because I had so much experience in going through the ranks. I've been at Mapp for over 10 years now and I enjoyed every single moment of it because I get to work with marketers. I find marketing space just so fascinating. I'm sure you find it the same way because there's just so many opportunities to improve. And as a kid, I always liked taking things apart and breaking it and putting it back together and I think marketing is the perfect thing about it. And that's kind of what appealed me to Mapp. And this is why I stayed with Mapp for such a long time. We probably, about a couple of years ago, we reached the point where we were kind of a market leading marketing automation platform and like many platforms you have the decision, do we add more channels?
Do you go to paid media? All these types of things. And then we thought, well, what is this thing that's going to kind of add this continuous incremental value to marketers. And after we thought about it, we realized that actually it's providing these insights on tap for marketers because the analytics and insights still seems to be such a difficult topic in many cases for me organizations, and this is why we've acquired Germany's leading analytics platform. And now we go to market with insight led customer experience proposition, where basically marketers are able to extract insights, share those insights across different teams, across their agencies, and then activate those insights immediately across whether it's paid media, CRM, marketing across all those different channels. So, yeah. Very exciting.
I love it too. I tend to be a bit of a data geek. So, love to talk about the analytics. And I love that you said insights led as well. We recently did a webinar with Forrester and they were talking about data driven versus data led and data led is really the key. It's understanding the data before you move versus data driven. You're moving in the way you think the data should be going, if I said that right. But yeah, it's certainly according to them. And I agree. It's definitely the smarter way to go. So, great to hear that you guys are already ahead of the curve on that. Obviously you're sitting in that strategy seat now, and as you shared loving all of the, you talking to the marketers in their business. What are you seeing, what are some of the biggest trends that are happening right now?
There's so many, and we probably track over 15 trends when it comes to kind of designing strategies for customers or kind of developing our own roadmaps. But I think there's three primary things that really probably not necessarily trends, but they're like, they're fundamentally changing the way marketing and specifically digital marketing will work in the future. And one of those things is that now there's more than ever digitally savvy consumers. So, the e-commerce market has grown far faster than ever before, obviously because of COVID impact and how consumers had to adopt some of these channels. And let me just pause and dig deeper in this, because I think many people say, well, consumers have become digitally savvy. Consumers have become digitally savvy since 1980s. That hasn't changed. But if you really think about what it means, I have a such a good example where recently I moved to a new place and I was filling in, got an application form for local doctors here.
And I had to unstaple some papers. And I was unstapling them. And I realized I made a mistake because I need to staple them back. So, my first reaction was, oh, I can just undo it. I can undo it. Only because I'm so used to dealing with like PowerPoint and Excel and whatever it might be like that's my first reaction as a human being. And I'm sure every single person kind of interacting across digital media interacting with brands. Our minds have changed from the mentally, especially during COVID times in the way we interact with brands. And this is really pushing kind of brands to compete against the likes of Amazon, against Deliveroo on the same level. You can only compete unless you really start to differentiate yourself.
So, that's the first trend and that's accelerated faster than ever before. The second trend is this, the cookie jar is closing. From 2022 the first party data will be the primary source for extracting insights about your customers to understand what they're actually doing, which means that the typical roles of CRM marketing teams, or kind of anyone dealing with customer data will be in huge demand. But that also means that the expectations from the senior management will significantly increase. You'll have to provide those insights on that. So, if you're not exactly the data savvy right now where you don't have those insights, you'll be in trouble, which takes me in ... Actually there's one more example through that. More recently Apple have announced that they will be, in the new release of Apple Mail, they will be blocking tracking and emails as well.
So, there's more and more of these technologies creating these kind of gates for marketers to access data, which means that you really have to start relying on data that you already have and extract as much value as you can of the data. And then kind of the third, kind of a really major trend, and it's probably a combination of the first two is the fact that brands will realize that they need greater focus on customer centricity and customer focus and really understanding what does it mean to provide a great customer experience. And when they realized that, when they stop doing those activities, very quickly, brands will recognize that actually they may not necessarily have the talent or the abilities to extract those insights on tap, because customer experience, it may seem like a very, such a simple term, and everyone's using it.
Everyone's talking about customer experience platforms, but what does experience actually mean? Experience is not something that you send someone to via a WhatsApp or mobile push message. It's something that you feel as a human being. If you really got to go down to the bottom of it. And you can't do it without having the data about all the customer behavior across variety of channels, but also without the ability to kind of activate and leverage those insights across a variety of channels. And connect that across a variety of the departments that all too often still operate in silos. I'm looking after our paid social, I'm looking after email marketing. That just cannot happen. If we're talking about customer experience, it's not about improving customer experience in email, it's not about customer experience on the site. It's about improving the holistic customer experience. And that will result in these kinds of realizations that talent might be an issue.
Interesting. Interesting. And I want to hit on that piece, that talent piece. Because I think when we were prepping for this, you were telling me that you guys did some research with Forrester. And that was something that you found in the research had something to do with talent and needing for potentially better training or upskilling of talent, correct? I got that right?
Yeah, it's one of the things that came out of the research. We haven't specifically asked the question about talent, but some of the insights about talent were kind of were mind blowing and I was really surprised. Let me just kind of rewind a bit what the research is about, because often when you engage Forrester, and obviously as a vendor you know this research that doesn't come cheap and quite reasonably so. The amount of work these guys do in terms of crunching numbers, in terms of preparing the questions and then extracting insights is absolutely phenomenal. But we decided rather than going forward, the usual topics like, hey marketing adoption of AI technologies in the future. All those types of things that everyone typically talks about, we decided how about we go back to the basics.
Marketers and advertisers, they spend so much money, they spend millions on improving customer experience, or so they say so. In improving targeting, improve personalization, improving talent, all those things. And yet somehow still the customer experience is not improving as fast as they would have wanted to. So, the questions that we posed to these over 200 senior marketing decision makers in retail, CPG and finance, was what are the things that actually worked and what things haven't worked in terms of improving the customer experience? So, what are the things that we should be focusing on and what are you planning to do in the future? So, these are the kinds of questions that we ask quite open-ended, but nevertheless, very, very important. So, we know what to focus on the future. And the study is called Use Analytics and Insights to Accelerate Your Customer Experience Strategy. And one of the first things that came out of the study is that 89% of senior marketing decision makers said that the customer experience strategy is either important or extremely important.
And which is great. It doesn't come to surprise. In fact, some marketers even said that it's that important, the customer experience is so important that they're no longer even looking for ROI justification for improving the customer experience, which is also a great, great thing to hear. However, only half that I think that was 47% of respondents. They said that they actually actively revisit their strategy with all the teams once a year or even less frequently. So, this is extremely important. They don't want to prove their ROI. And yet they only ever looked at it once a year. Especially during this pandemic, especially as the consumer expectations are changing. This is quite phenomenal. And this shows that brands still have so much way to go in terms of actually kind of understanding how to extract the customer insights and to develop those strategies.
And number one thing that kind of most marketers believe that they have a challenge in, in terms of developing those strategies is this lack of customer insights and lack of customer understanding. And this really kind of highlights some of these challenges that marketers are saying, but normally if you ask a market there and say, what are your primary concerns? What are your primary challenges? They would rarely say talent or they would rarely say customer insights. They would say things like we want to improve our personalization. We want to improve our targeting. We want to improve our marketing automation. But the reality is unless you know who your customers are, unless you have the customer insights, what exactly are you improving? You're just improving the automation based on these inefficiencies and understanding who the customers are.
So, this is why I believe the number one challenge was actually kind of understanding customer insights. And then when we asked them, why do they think they have this challenge? So, why did they have this lack of understanding of customer insights, more than half of senior marketing decision makers said that lack of skilled talent is holding them back from delivering better customer experience strategy. And this is mind blowing. So, these are the brands that are spending a lot of money on kind of one technologies on hiring these people. And yet talent is not providing the results that they actually wanted to. But anyone listening to this, I want to reassure you, because some of you might be thinking, geez, I better start writing my resume.
My boss doesn't believe in me. He doesn't think I have the right skillset, maybe he's right. I don't know how to program in R. That is not the answer, because then when we asked them, well, what are the things that have delivered the least success in last two years when it comes to improving kind of a customer experience. And improving talent was number one thing that has delivered the least success, followed by improving content, followed by replacing their agencies? So, on one hand you have marketers saying that we have a talent problem. On the other hand, marketers that have went down this path, they're saying talent is actually not fixing the problem.
So, this is kind of the most interesting fact that they came out of it. And the way we, at Mapp and Forrester, interpreted this is that it doesn't matter kind of how talented is your talent, unless they have the right technology to extract the insights kind of on tap and more importantly, make those insights available to the team members that are actually creating those experiences. You're not going to see the significant improvement in customer experience and that is the answer.
I'm sorry. Okay. Let me ask you a question there. So, one of the things that you were talking about that, that I was thinking about too, I had a conversation with a brand recently that was talking about, we're talking about like the concept of having a customer golden record and this particular person was in the loyalty space. And she was all excited because she actually has an insights team that is part of loyalty. And in her previous lives at different organizations, the insights where the analytics team sat somewhere else in a different area. Do you think that is potentially a fundamental challenge too? That the insights group maybe being led by a different team in a different "silo", from maybe the business team that's using the actual data and insights? So, maybe there's a disconnect there as well.
For sure. I think that's probably the reason why we ended up there, but I think that was also a natural progression. So, when a brand wants to become insight led, you probably have to start there because you have to kind of build up the internal kind of brain muscle in terms of understanding, okay, what data actually has value? how do we get this data in there? How do we clean the data? How do we make this data available? Because that's what the kind of data scientists and data insights teams can really help with. But then the next step is okay, how do you operationalize that insight? Because I think this is where most brands really struggled with. You have this insight, but then there's so many steps removed until that insight reaches the individuals that actually created those experiences.
And I think this is why this step is very important is that the next logical step for those brands would be, is to make those not necessarily kind of a, bring an insights team into the kind of a marketing team, but it's actually enabling every single person in marketing with those insights, not with data, not with analytics, but actually the actual insight. Things like, hey, this campaign is underperforming because you've just launched this other side campaign that's actually detracting your customers. These are the real insights that a person that runs paid media, runs email marketing campaigns, they can actually act upon. And I think that's the logical next step.
Well, insights is different or insights are different than looking at data on a dashboard.
And you need somebody that can go in and dig behind that dashboard or double click in there deeper and understand more the how's and the why's of those surface numbers.
And that tends to be, I think where maybe we're falling short too. So, we're always looking for the next opportunity with, is my campaign working or not, but we're not asking those extra questions.
Well, we're not asking extra questions, but also sometimes because that data to provide insights is locked in with some teams. In fact, I spoke to one of the major retailers in Germany and their answer to analytics was that we actively do not give our campaign managers access to GA, because that just confuses them. They don't know what to do with that. They spend too much time looking at them. So, instead we have the insights team providing insights through to the campaign team that they implement. But the challenge with that is the insights team doesn't necessarily always know the decisions that the marketing team or the campaign team makes. Because every single thing, every single kind of a subject line, piece of creative, the segmentation logic. All those things are these small decisions that the campaign team still has to make.
And sometimes there might be some improvements to the campaign itself, kind of a higher up the funnel. So, it might be kind of improvements based on accuracy of data capture, which directly impacts the role. But unless they can see that, because that's covered from them, they will not be improving it. They'll just be trying to improve this one thing that they have, but actually if they improve this one thing in a different team, just marginally, that will make a major improvement to their campaign effort.
Yeah. I love that point too. I talk about this a lot, is to do things better, you don't have to do a lot. You can take baby steps on your way there. You can find a couple of little nuggets in the insights, action on those, and you're already going to begin to improve versus trying to boil the ocean and do it all at once. So, I love the conversation and I'm convinced, yes, we need data, we need the insights. A plug for loyalty is that your loyalty brings that first party data into that mix and can help organizations get to those insights a lot faster. But how about some examples of what this means in real life? So, people can listen to what we're talking about now, their head go, yeah, hey, I get it. I want to be insights led, but how is that actually going to help me? So, what are some of those actions that people are taking where they're having some of these aha moments and being able to make the switch?
Yeah. I love this question. As I was saying earlier, I really like taking things apart and I think all too often, in kind of in marketing of technology vendors or agencies, we speak so much about these high level terms, like customer experience and insights without really going into detail. So, I really appreciate this question. I like to look at it through the lens of a, kind of a e-commerce funnel, because I think that's probably the easiest to understand. And to be fair, most brands are moving towards that e-commerce funnel. Whether it's travel, whether it's finance, it's always there. And if you think about as e-commerce funnel, it kind of starts with, let's say, brand discovery, then maybe visit of the homepage, followed by the product page, followed by add to cart, followed by conversion, and perhaps some sort of re-engagement.
And as I was saying earlier, there's so many opportunities to improve the funnel, but at the same time, there's also so many opportunities to get things terribly wrong. Because in most cases, a majority of the decisions are being done based on gut feel or maybe experience, but these opportunities are being missed very often. And what we like to say at Mapp is that marketing on averages, it often results in average performance. And this is because often when we make those gut decisions, we look at things like average add to cart rate, or average kind of abandoned cart rate, or average time to re-engage. And typically we do things like, or marketers do things like, they do an AB test to say, okay, someone abandoned the basket, let's try sending them a message, maybe four hours and maybe 12 hours after they abandoned.
Now, let's try a free delivery versus 10% off and see which one performs better. And then perhaps after a couple of weeks, you get a good result. So, you say, okay, my variant A seems to work better. Therefore, this is what we're going to do. So, I just made the decision based on average, but in reality, it depends on what type of products you're selling. Some customers will be abandoning a basket with $5. Other customers will abandon baskets with $5,000. And also these customers have a different value to you as a brand. So, some customers might be new or other customers might be high loyal customers that shop on a regular basis. So, all of those things really, really matter when it comes to making that decision, because if you make the decision based on average, that means that either you're going to be rewarding that customer with a coupon way too early, because they're not ready to make the buying decision yet, because it's $5,000.
I want to talk to my spouse. Maybe my parent, whatever it might be. I might spend a week deliberating. And so this is why you kind of do those which ones get missed. And we believe that it's so critical that during each of those decisions, during each of those phases, the people that are responsible for making those decisions of when to send that message of what incentive to show, they should have those insights available to them. So, they can make a decision to actually for this type of customer, because of the basket value. We're going to be sending this incentive via mobile push, maybe in three days time, because that's going to give us a better result, not only better conversion, but also better margin, because we might not have to incentivize that conversion, because they're going to convert anyway. And that's just one of many kind of examples.
I love, I'm sorry, I love your point on the average piece. And especially the way you're talking about, if somebody is going to make a purchase, somebody is going to make it more frequently. Someone's going to take longer. And how do you know that in an average? You can't. Once you get the insights, once you understand and know that I'm a, let's say we're a sporting goods company. And I have a kid that did sports every season. So, my big purchases were quarterly or seasonally and I'd get offers to come back or my loyalty was to come back in the next two weeks or three weeks. And it's so irrelevant, because I just purchased everything I could possibly purchase, but it's significantly different. And maybe you're somebody that would purchase more frequently. And so being able to, once you identify the differences between you and I, there's automation technology now, where you can automatically set that up. So, this isn't always a heavy lift every time, right?
Yeah. Exactly. And insights, it doesn't have to be a manual ... Insights is not just about operationalizing the manual workload. It's also about kind of identifying those key triggers. And it could be kind of an automatic insight to say, hey here's an anomaly occurring in your database. These people are acting way different than what they did last week. That's a very valuable insight that you can act upon immediately. But it can also be an insight that kind of changes the rules automatically. So, some of the examples that we frequently do with customers are things like exit intent overlay. So, such a common tactic in retail e-commerce. You go to a website for the first time, just when you're about to leave, it says, "Hey, please stay, here's a 10% off coupon."
There's so much opportunity in that tactic alone, by being able to leverage some of the, kind of a behavior of previous customers. So, for example, you can do things like score the likelihood to convert and also score the likelihood to spend in that session. So, if I know you had no intent of converting, you haven't clicked enough. So, maybe giving you an incentive right now is not the best thing to do. However, if I know that you are about to spend a $100 in the session, and you're about to leave, now, that's going to change the way I'm going to kind of present that tactic to you.
So, rather than saying, hey, 10% off, maybe I'll say, actually, if you spend $150 in this session, I'm going to give you $25 off this purchase. So, you can really, not only kind of capture the customer in the moment, make it more relevant, but also kind of increase the value and increase the basket size for that customer. Because if that customer was about to spend $5,000 and they spent five minutes on the website and they're about to leave that, maybe, $10 voucher could be an insult. So, you really have to ... And this is where the kind of the connection to the customer experience comes into play, where it's also important to look at what's happening right now in a session. And what is the most appropriate thing for this customer right now.
Great. Great. And you guys have, at Mapp, have a process to really help customers with this. You call it your blueprint.
Yes. So, I'll talk about the blueprint in a second, but actually when it comes to this kind of this challenge around bringing the insights closer to the marketing team, we have developed what we call kind of e-commerce and retail accelerators. So, typically the way it kind of analytics used to work is that you'll approach a vendor and then there is a three or six month exercise, try to understand what insights do actually matter to you, what would you want to extract? But then we actually learned that most brands kind of end up in a similar place when it comes to what kind of insights you want to get out of the e-commerce.
So, instead we develop these kind of a e-commerce accelerator that comes with over 30 different dashboards that have anything from a high level, kind of a senior manager insights into how well you're performing in marketing. So, in terms of driving traffic, conversions, reengaging customers, but then for the campaign managers, you can drill down all the way through to the channel level and the campaign level, as well as slice data across a variety of different customer segments.
Yeah, and when we talk about the customer segments, it's not just the demographic segments or transaction segments. We also look at kind of individual customer stages within the funnel. So, have they just browsed once or are they browsing on a regular basis? Are they kind of a frequent shopper? So, all those types of things. And then we overlay that with some additional AI based segmentation. So, how much do we predict that you like to spend the next 30 days or the next 60 days? And more importantly, this data is not just kind of a curiosity that you can analyze and extract some insights.
You can actually act upon that. So, you can connect this to your execution channels, whether it's email, mobile push, paid media activation. So, the same insights that are available now for your data insights team that are able to slice and dice data is available to senior marketing managers, perhaps even your agencies. So, you're aligned on the same set of KPIs. Because agency is a funny example. We work with a number of kind of retailers where we, every couple of weeks, we meet up and we discuss the objectives for the next quarter, for the next month. And every single agency comes in with their own different dashboards and KPIs.
The social media agency will bring Facebook dashboards. The paid search team will bring some Google dashboards. The e-commerce team will have their own insights and everyone's kind of trying to optimize the conversion. So, every single channel is talking about how they're going to increase the conversions for the next quarter. And going back to the customer experience conversation, we know that if every single team, every single agency just talks about conversions, that is not a great customer experience. Customer experience comes from combination of all these channels. And only when you have kind of a single dashboard for everyone to understand what role does this channel actually play in terms of delivering the customer experience only then you can start discussing how you improve and optimize that.
Love it, love it. That's great. Perfect. Well, thank you for everything you've shared today. I'm wondering if you have any other closing advice to the marketers who are listening, I mean, any wisdom to part with?
Sure, absolutely. There's so many. Well, if you guys are on the path of becoming kind of insight led or would like to start developing your ... if you're one of those brands that only kind of improve your customer experience strategy in a once a year, I do encourage you to download this white paper or this study that we've done with Forrester. They have some really good insights. And I guess we're going to share a link later. But also what we've done is we built this kind of a marketing community that is totally free to use it's called improve your marketing. So, that's https://improveyour.marketing. And there you can actually shortlist your tactics and priorities that you want to focus on for the next 12 months. Whether it's in acquiring customers, nurturing customers or growing customers. And then from those tactics, you can build your strategy blueprint that you can then use to discuss with your teams or agencies around your priorities and the things that you want to improve. So, I highly encourage you try that.
Great. Great. We will make sure to add that into the video too. So, when people are watching, they'll have that. That's terrific. Thank you so much for the conversation today. I learned a ton. I love it.
Thanks, Erin. It's the same here. And I look forward to doing this again. Thanks for having me.
SVP of Revenue, Annex Cloud
VP Global Strategy, Mapp
Since 2010, Annex Cloud has provided industry leading loyalty solutions to more than 250 leading brands and retailers, including Jenni Kayne, Hewlett-Packard, Bed Bath & Beyond, e.l.f. Cosmetics, Olympus, Sugarfina, Mizuno, MacKenzie-Childs, VF Corp., with the ability to engage tens of millions of their customers one-to-one at scale.
The Annex Cloud platform provides fully integrated Customer Loyalty, Referral Marketing, and User Generated Content (UGC) solutions that seamlessly work together to optimize the customer journey and deliver a unified customer experience that is designed to accelerate revenue growth, retain valuable customers, increase average order values (AOV) and drive repeat order frequency.
Mapp's digital marketing platform helps over 3,000 businesses stand out from the crowd. With the insight-led customer experience platform Mapp Cloud, marketing decision-makers have more time for the essentials and can place their brand messages in the best possible way.Through customer intelligence and marketing analytics, companies easily and effectively gain cross-channel customer insights from data, which enables highly personalized marketing. Mapp's customers benefit from customized and self-optimizing cross-channel campaigns based on AI-powered predictive models. Automated messages can be sent in the ideal marketing channel, at the optimal time, with the right contact frequency. Thanks to powerful one-to-one personalization, maximum engagement and long-term customer retention are achieved.
To learn more about Mapp , visit https://mapp.com/