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1to1 UX

Intersection between 1to1 marketing (and related marketing strategies) and user experience.

Rules and laws are coming

Adding to my December blog posting, more information is coming out about the Peppers and Rogers book "Rules to break and laws to follow". First, the official web site for the book is now online:

Second, I went to Martha's talk last week (thanks for the ticket Marcia), which might have been the first stop on the book tour. It was a great presentation: here are some of my notes.

  • In her previous books, she was focused on marketing but now she sees how things like 1to1 are affecting the entire organization.
  • If customers are not talking to each other, advertising is the critical factor for business success. If customers talk to each other, then customer experience is the most important factor. See Smart Marketing: Making Word-of-Mouth Work.
  • 3 rules to break: Marketing and sales can always get more customers, value comes from your products and services, and the best measure of success is your current sales and profit.
  • Steps to a good experience: Ask, remember and do something in return. The Goldfish principle: Dori on Nemo (no memory).
  • Examples of good experiences: Mayo clinic (carpenters to install ramps, not health care but what their customers/patients need), "Wardrobe management" by men (not just selling them clothes), Going from "explosives business" to "broken rock business".
  • Companies often optimize for making money (short term) but destroy value (long term). Example: a marketing campaign makes $250k but how many customers did it turn off / use up? "Guilty of committing mass marketing".
  • What if Apple and Nike teamed up to count your steps? And other examples to personalized products and services. See Frost & Sullivan: 1to1 Impact Awards for more.
  • Which is better investment? (a) Spend $10 per customer, make $10 profit each, 100% ROI. (b) Spend $20 per customer, make $15 profit each, 75% ROI.
  • The Internet: Increases importance of trust and reputation. Google "Yours is a very bad hotel".
  • Who (within the organization) has the goal of adding value to the customer?
  • Trust: it is good for business.
  • You can always get more capital; customers are the scarce resource.

(When looking for stuff for this blog entry, I also found Creating Customer Value: A (podcast) series with Peppers and Rogers which has many more nuggets. My favorite is in Volume 7: "A good experience is not just 1 piece of theater".)

Third, I am fortunate to now have a draft copy of the book, so I will start writing up reviews of pieces as I digest it. I am not sure yet what cadence will be best - chapter by chapter, the book all at once, themes across the whole book, etc.

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Rules to break and laws to follow

I know I am not reading all of the business books a well-rounded user experience professional is supposed to read these days (in topics like business and design, change management, business of experience), but I have kept up with the "1 to 1" series by Martha Rogers and Don Peppers. The next installment is due out in February: Rules to Break and Laws to Follow.

This one looks like it will be right up my alley, knitting in many things I have learned while focused on web user experiences the last decade or so.

An excerpt from a recent 1to1 magazine article (you need an account to read the article online). Added emphasis is by me.

To succeed with your business today, you might need to start breaking some rules -- rules that for the past century or so have underpinned most businesses' efforts to grow, meet financial goals, and make shareholders happy.

As we scanned the business landscape researching our next book, it became apparent to us that new interactive and information technologies have created a dramatically different business environment -- an environment in which customers share information with other customers easily and efficiently, the pace of technological change is not just rapid but accelerating, and organizational structures are becoming less important as the lowliest employees can leap tall hierarchies in a single click.

They list three "rules to break" in the article:

  • The best measure of success for your business is current sales and profit. Short-term optimization leads to long-term problems. Give tools to your employees so they can provide a quality customer experience. And then trust them to do a good job. That will give you the customer trust you need for long-term success.
  • With the right sales and marketing effort, you can always get more customers. Customers are the scarce resource and now that they are all connected, you cannot focus on only the one-to-one relationship with a single customer. You need to address the social network around each customer.
  • Company value is created by offering differentiated products and services. Products and services are important, of course, but they mean nothing without customers. When you measure the value of your company based on your customers (instead of your inventory or revenue or costs), the customer experience becomes a key factor. A bad experience by a single customer: the value of your company goes down just a little bit. Good experience: value rises a little. The touch points all add up. We can track these small changes better now with technology. And because customers are so well connected to each other, a small pebble dropped in the customer experience pond can ripple out to a large wave.

I am looking forward to reading the other rules to break and which laws are still worth following. Some of the topics listed in the table of contents that sound interesting to me:

  • A "Perfect Storm" of New Technologies
  • Which Do You Choose? Customers or Money?
  • Treat Employees the Way You Want Them to Treat Customers
  • Galloping Decentralization Means Culture is More Important
  • Reputations Go Online
  • Technology Seen Through the Wrong End of the Telescope
  • Customer-Inspired Innovation
  • Technology, Progress, and Change
  • The Power of the Network

I notice that this book is published by Wiley, part of their "Microsoft Executive Leadership Series". This may be the first book in the series.

Finally, with a new book comes the book tour. I might get to attend the first stop, January 22, sponsored by the University of Toledo Center for Family Business. The talk will be at The Pinnacle, which is 1.8 miles away. It is nice that Martha starts her tour in her "hometown".

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CIM Forum

I just discovered the Customer Interaction Management Forum. It appears to be just a few weeks old - at least late July was when the press started talking about it.

I am not really sure what it is or what it is about, but with a tagline "Sharing best practices for an exceptional customer experience" and sponsorship by IBM, I felt obligated to join. (^: Their description:

Combining extensive Customer Interaction Management (CIM) experience with knowledge and insight gleaned from millions of customer interaction sessions, The CIM Forum explores thought leading topics, proven best practices, technical infrastructure, and key performance indicators associated with creating consistently positive customer experiences.

It looks like the IBM Content Discovery people are behind this, since that is the IBM product mentioned on the site.

After I joined the site, I got access to additional resources. The one that popped out at me was "How Findability Can Drive Business Growth: IBM WebSphere Content Discovery Server and the IBM Content Discovery Foundation" by Susan E. Aldrich, Sr. VP and Sr. Consultant, Patricia Seybold Group, April 2006. It has some intro sections on "What Terrific Search Does for the Business" and their search evaluation framework. Then a lot on Content Discovery Server (because the report was prepared for IBM).

Good report overall, but PSG missed the boat on findability - using the term in the title but otherwise ignoring it, in essence equating "findability" with "search technology".

By the way, you can get this white paper from lots of different places, including on ibm.com. Registration appears to be required most places.

Anyway, I will track this CIM forum and see where user experience, information architecture and user-centered design come into play.

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WBGU PBS premieres 'Return On Customer'

Catching up on email on a Saturday morning, I see I missed this from a month ago:

How do companies strike the right balance between maximizing current-period profits and building long-term enterprise value? Join best-selling authors and world-renowned consultants Don Peppers and Dr. Martha Rogers on "Return on Customer" and find out how. This one-hour business primer, based on their new book of the same name, premieres tonight, March 2, at 8 p.m. The program will be repeated at 11 p.m. tonight; 11:30 p.m. Sunday, March 5; 8:30 p.m. Friday, March 10, and 3:30 p.m. Sunday, March 12.

This program illustrates how to grow the value of your business enterprise and your scarcest resource--your customer. "Return on Customer" (ROC) is a metric designed to gauge the rate at which a business does, in fact, create enterprise value from any customer or group of customers.

Dr. Rogers, a former BGSU professor, will be in the WBGU-PBS studio Thursday evening for the premiere.

I hope I can catch it on re-runs. Martha is a local.

I could not find any of details online about the show, but here is a start:

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Do the direct marketing people get it now?

Jeremy Zawodny is going to help direct marketers 'harness the buzz power of blogs' but what I find more interesting are the usability sessions on the DMA 05 conference program.

Web Usability Lab (3 of them): Join this informative and interactive session, run by usability experts from Creative Good, that will give you insight about customer experiences on Web sites. These labs offer a peek at what a customer experiences when they visit selected Web sites. An attendee will navigate a Web site while the audience observes. Then, experts will offer solutions for improvement.

I thought Creative Good called them "listening labs" but at least DMA has someone there talking about the experience. And teaching them how to really "learn to listen to your customer".

I have never seen a DMA program before - is this a first for them? These 3 sessions are still a drop in the bucket for experience compared to all of their other sessions.

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Martha talks to Business Now

A few weeks ago, a local business TV segment, Business Now, re-ran their interview with "business intellectual" Martha Rogers. I missed the first airing in March, and since I had recommended they interview Martha, I really wanted to see it. I caught it this time: short but good. Watch the 3 minute video clip.

I met Martha at BGSU in 1995. I can still remember learning about her first book, The One to One Future, as I was flipping by the other local PBS station late one night in 1994. In 2001, I was fortunate to be able present at the same event as her and relate web usability to her customer strategy.

I have tried to keep up with her other books (all co-authored with Don Peppers), but they crank them out faster than I can read them. Their latest is Return on customer - turning ROI on its head. My goal is to read this before the end of 2005: look for a blog entry here once I do.

I do have 1 nit, however. In her interview, Martha says that the 1to1 book does not mention the World Wide Web because "there wasn't one" in 1993. Yes, it did exist in 1993, and like Jakob, I was trying to figure out how to make it easier to use. Of course, Martha is right that the WWW was not a crucial part of the customer experience back in 1993. But 1to1 and WWW are tied at the hip now, and experience design is the bridge between the WWW technology and the 1to1 strategy.

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The Race for First: Siebel and SAP

In the July 10 (2004) INSIDE 1to1 email newsletter, the lead article is about SAP and Siebel competing in the CRM software space.

One quote of note: "You cannot have a product that is too usable. CRM is hard. You have to think of the business outcome and make it a goal that is approachable and applicable to the people that have to use it."

Admin note: this was originally blogged in 2004 at my blogger.com account. I moved the entry here in 2006 and took that old blog down.

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Timberland Blazes a Better User Experience Trail

This is the first reference I have found in the "1to1 literature" specifically about the quality of the user experience: Timberland Blazes a Better User Experience Trail.

It mentions the importance of navigation and the web experience. Timberland was tracking (disappointing) sales and noticed that design issues were getting in the way. Do some user-centered design and sales climb. Makes sense to me!

Admin note: this was originally blogged in 2003 at my blogger.com account. I moved the entry here in 2006 and took that old blog down.

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