Q&A: Stewart Pearson, Wunderman chief client officer

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Stewart Pearson
Stewart Pearson

Stewart Pearson, chief client officer at Wunderman, discusses the benefits of social CRM and how loyalty programs can turn one-off customers into brand advocates.

Direct Marketing News (DMN): How has social media affected how your agency develops its CRM strategy?
Stewart Pearson (Wunderman):
Social media is a huge part of our business now. We used to be the experts in one-to-one relationships. Now we have to be experts in many-to-many. It's because we're analytics-driven we've invested a lot in our listening platform to gather the conversations and measure the impact and influence they have.

DMN: Can social be used to effectively make direct offers?
We are pushing out offers. A Facebook share could have the impact of an email. We use Facebook to stimulate purchases by connecting with fans of a brand and people who have a history of sharing. We amplify the impact of sharing a promotion. We discover who in that universe we should engage with. In a lot of ways, we're learning as we progress and we're learning with consumers as they progress. Social won't replace email. You could argue email was the first social because it was great for sharing content. When we're working with some of the retailers we're going to drive their business by exerting the influence of social, peers and experiences closer to the point of purchase.

DMN: Can the same data-gathering be used on the mobile platform?
What we think is the key is to get location data. This allows us to make offers and to deliver messaging in context. We try to think about things not as an isolated channel but what the appropriate messaging is. Some pathways are for redemption and retail, while some are for messaging. We've been doing this on the fixed Web, matching client data with online data to understand the path to purchase.

DMN: Will privacy legislation get in the way of gathering the pertinent information?
I believe we'll be able to regulate ourselves. We do regulate ourselves. A lot of the data we collect is anonymous. What we're doing is creating value and experiences. If it's timed, targeted and personalized, it's appreciated.

DMN: It appears that agencies are investing more in technology and technology companies are investing more to developing creative. Have you noticed this as well?
A client recently asked us to connect their Facebook presence with their traditional rewards program. We need to understand and master their technical environment and the client's in-house technology environment. We're not a heavy technology company. We don't build major systems, but we have to understand the tools and data these systems use.

DMN: How can brands use loyalty programs to turn one-off customers into brand advocates?
Using the data you gathered to cross-sell other products and services and to engage with other parts of your messaging and services. In the social space, you're connecting one-time buyers to very happy consumers and champions. We can connect the content champions create to these buyers to give them a deeper experience.

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