Q&A: Stacia Goddard, EVP of strategy at Purple@Epsilon
Stacia Goddard, EVP of strategy at Purple@Epsilon, champions data's role in customer experience and sees loyalty opportunities in social gaming
Q: What role does technology play in today's direct and digital agency?
A: Whether you have it in-house or partner with a provider, you can't do CRM today without technology. Not long ago, consumers each had three electronic devices at home, and now the average is 26 [according to the Consumer Electronics Association]. At the agency level, we look at technology as a means of delivering messages to consumers. Equally important is using technology to understand how people consume those messages. As an agency, having those capabilities under one roof can offer a more integrated look while it also lessens response time.
Q: How has CRM evolved?
A: This is a great time for agencies that live and breathe data because...CRM has evolved to become social CRM. According to Nielsen, 78% of people will trust a review from a complete stranger more than any CRM message or ad campaign.
It's up to us to present a brand experience with the right touch and then manage that experience across the board not just in our push marketing, but in all other social experiences that orbit around it.
Q: How do you manage social CRM?
A: Social amplifies the brand and CRM experience. We need to monitor it, so we rely on technology to give us a platform for listening and keeping track. We have command centers that are like mission control. Gatorade actually did a great video of their mission control center last year. All of this data is streaming in, and it's up to us to draw insights in real time and use them to manage customer experience.
Q: How can brands manage that customer experience offline?
A: Every person, place or thing that the consumer engages with is an extension of the brand and is equally responsible for maintaining that relationship. If I go to a hotel, the employee at the desk has to be a brand ambassador and empowered to manage that customer experience and understand that they themselves represent the experience. That means there's a dossier with customers' past history, including wake-up calls and preferred meals, which makes it all the more important that we have the right data and content.
Q: What's one of the biggest trends you see for this year?
A: Virtual gaming and currency are huge. My son and daughter have Webkinz, which are online avatars they can earn virtual currency for doing certain jobs. In the adult world, it's about status. Gamification is the concept of creating social circles with leaderboards and activities that allow me to have a status in a particular environment. Brands now have to look at the psychology of gaming and incorporate that into loyalty. When consumers earn and burn rewards points, it's usually on an experience, but now people can now burn them on something online, which comes at a much lower expense to the marketer.