Five Minutes With: Meaningful Relationships, not Meaningless Messages, says Berkley Bowen

What are your biggest opportunities & challenges in marketing tech for next 12-24 months?

At Cue Connect, we view the next 12-24 months as an enormous opportunity. The eCommerce industry is booming and as consumers continue to recognize the convenience of online retail, we anticipate that the market will continue to expand. Specifically, there’s a huge opportunity for retailers to capture important customer data through their eCommerce sites in order to make meaningful connections with shoppers. People respond to emotion and appreciate being viewed as more than just a number, and retailers can capitalize on the massive amount of data available to get to know each of their customer’s by name.   

Our challenge in the coming year is rooted in education. While many are familiar with the social sharing or wishlist functions on retailer’s sites, they’ve been an overlooked resource by some. We are challenged with defining all of the value that exists in this function to both consumers and retailers alike. We are confident that once both sides of the equation recognize the benefits of these solutions, they will quickly be recognized as critical functions on retail sites.

What keeps your clients up at night?

We’re in the Age of the Customer. Today’s consumers have a lot of demands and high expectations and our clients are constantly focused on making sure they’re anticipating those demands by providing one-to- one marketing through personalized touchpoints across all channels. Many retailers have set a precedent that their merchandise will eventually be discounted several times. This leads consumers to no longer view a brand as being worthy of a full price sale and their purchases reflect it. This is taking a serious toll on retailers bottom line, and it’s important that they find a way to appeal to consumers without continuous discounting.

Given that we work with several small to mid-sized retailers, they’re also very concerned with the amount of competition across the marketplace. They’re being compared to the big box retailers of the world, like Amazon, and it’s critical that they stand out and become known for their unique offerings in order to succeed in the crowded Internet marketplace. 

What’s the hardest thing to educate clients about?

We spend a lot of time educating clients on how they can better connect with their customers on a much more personal level. While many clients understand that customer service is paramount in today’s commerce environment, they sometimes struggle with meeting their customer’s lofty expectations. We work to educate them on the critical need to innovate and individualize the customer experience in order to build a loyal customer base.

What are some unmet needs in marketing technology landscape?

One of the challenges that we saw when creating Cue Connect was that the marketing tech landscape often fails to understand what the consumer wants, instead they focus their technology on the retailer’s needs. They spend too much time oversaturating consumers with a multitude of meaningless messages rather than taking the time to develop a meaningful relationship, through the information that the customer chooses to share.

With Cue’s technology, we recognized the natural behavior of storing and organizing merchandise, but realized that websites like Pinterest weren’t going far enough to communicate these rich customers insights back to retailers. Beyond that, consumers were becoming frustrated because their items of interest were often left in a folder, forgotten about. It’s important that marketing technology providers, marry existing consumer behavior with retail need, in order to achieve success.

How do you see social networks changing in the next year? 

In the next year we anticipate that social channels and eCommerce sites will be intertwined. We will see social networks incorporating purchasing features from retailers into their websites to make a shopper’s path to purchase that much shorter. Consumers are growing increasingly confident in leveraging non-traditional channels to complete everyday tasks and retail is certainly at the forefront. We anticipate that mediums such as Snapchat, which recently eclipsed Twitter in the number of active users per day, will have continued growth and find new innovative ways to engage with consumers across their path to purchase.

–Berkley Bowen is CEO of Cue Connect

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