Main Feature Marketing APAC

Consumer expectations are changing: Are marketers keeping up?

What can marketers do to keep up with this seismic shift in consumer expectations where hyper-personalised relationships with brands are the only way forward? According to Cheetah Digital’s new Digital Consumer Trends Index, 67% of consumers do not trust the advertising they see on social media platforms. And more than half (63%) don’t trust social media platforms with their data.

 In a recent Cheetah Digital-hosted webinar, Teresa Sperti, founder and director at Arktic Fox doesn’t find the results surprising at all. 

“Over time, there has been an erosion in the level of trust for social platforms,” she points out. “As a whole, this has led consumers to be increasingly wary about the information they provide on these platforms and how their data is being utilised.” 

She credits this erosion of trust to a couple of things. First, consumers are concerned about the social impact these platforms have on society; and secondly, consumers are worried about the approach that’s taken to harvest their data.

Consumer trust in social media ads on the decline

A recent Washington Post poll finds that, of all the large tech companies, social platforms like Facebook and Tiktok have the lowest level of consumer trust. In fact, 72% of internet users rated their level of trust in Facebook as ‘not much’ or ‘not at all’ to responsibly handle their personal information and data on their internet activity. And roughly six in 10 distrust TikTok and Instagram, while slight majorities distrust WhatsApp and YouTube. This decline in trust mirrors Cheetah Digital’s findings to a T. 

Adam Posner, CEO and founder at The Point of Loyalty, and one of the panellists in the webinar agrees, pointing out the disruptive aspect of social ads. “The ads interrupt and are, oftentimes, irrelevant. But even more, they’re invasive. That aspect of social ads feels creepy, which works to erode consumer trust as well,” he says.

It’s ironic when you consider that social platforms emerged as a way to drive engagement with the audience. Since it’s moved into a sphere of profit over people, they’ve moved further from their reason for existence. 

“These days, it’s all about monetisation of the platforms. As they’ve increased the amount of advertising, consumers have become bombarded with all kinds of messages,” Teresa says. “It’s become hard for consumers to decipher what’s ‘fake news’, if a product is quality or if they’re potentially being taken for a ride.”

Adam brings up the idea that, on these platforms, the consumer is essentially the product. “It’s a real awakening,” he says. “Consumers are realising that if they’re the product through their data, then that means they’re valuable. So, naturally, they’ve become even more protective over their data.”

It seems what that’s creating is a data economy as a consumer. We’re going to see a shift to a value exchange where the platform says give me your data, and I’ll give you something to make it worth your while. That’s when social platforms will start regaining consumer trust.

Teresa adds, “Customer expectation is changing. The brands that are going to win moving ahead are those that have earned the right to effectively communicate, earned the right to be entrusted with data and are able to retain the right to utilise that data. And a lot of that comes back to control and consent.”

Meanwhile, Cheetah Digital’s report also shows that email still reigns supreme when it comes to driving sales, beating paid social and display advertising by up to 228%. “The statistics don’t lie. We’ve gone back to the future of marketing, in a sense. In light of all the creepy advertising, marketers are going back to the basics of building a brand. And that’s putting the spotlight back on email.

Email continues to be a trusted channel. At least 90% of consumer brands have emails and it’s widely accepted. So it’s a great foundation and super effective for marketers.

A new era of ‘relationship marketing’

The findings in Cheetah Digital’s report signal a new era of relationship marketing. 63% of consumers are willing to pay more to purchase from a trusted brand. Almost half (40%) of consumers are more likely to take part in loyalty programs compared to last year. And 24% of consumers left their favourite brand because they didn’t feel valued as a customer. 

Relationship marketing is personalisation on a deep one-to-one level. It’s really about understanding your consumer, listening and building a relationship with them. It’s marketing to them the things they actually care about. Because that’s what relationship marketing is all about, caring about each other.

“There are many layers to relationship marketing,” Adam adds. “And a lot of it is contextual. Some customers might want a transactional relationship with one brand and a more personalised relationship with another. But all customers want acknowledgement and appreciation.”

In today’s competitive landscape, brands are finding it increasingly challenging to maintain loyalty and build strong relationships, Teresa says. Even more, many marketing teams are pushed to do more with the same resources. It’s the perfect storm, keeping their relationship marketing strategies stagnant and transactional.

“Many are still very transactional and predominantly focused on delivering business outcomes rather than providing real value to the customer,” Teresa points out. 

“Value exchange is so important. Yet it still feels like much of the activity that brands are driving to market is about what they want the customer to do and what outcomes they’re looking to achieve as opposed to truly understanding what it is that the customer wants. 

“You have to go out and talk to them. As brands, we’re still not very good at listening to our customers. It’s really hard to do relationship marketing when we don’t understand our customers intimately.”

A brand that is hitting it out of the park when it comes to relationship marketing, Teresa says, is Starbucks. “Starbucks invested early in understanding the customer and driving loyalty. It knows that in an ever-changing landscape, its customers want convenience and frictionless experiences. The experiences that Starbucks has developed deliver true value to its customers.”

The double-edged sword of privacy in a cookie-less world

The death of the third-party cookie is imminent. And for consumers, it won’t get here a moment too soon. According to Cheetah Digital’s report, a staggering 69% of consumers think product recommendations from cookie tracking or similar is creepy, not cool. And while only around one in 10 (13%) consumers will miss cookies and think they make for a better experience; the number of marketers who will miss them is likely a lot more. 

“I don’t think brands are ready for a cookie-less future,” Teresa insists. “We recently surveyed over 200 senior digital marketing leaders from brands, big and small, for our 2022 Marketing State of Play report. We found that only 12% of brands feel like they have a clear path forward, and almost half admitted they have yet to start planning for the change that’s coming.”

Despite all the buzz about third-party cookies, Teresa believes brands haven’t fully grasped what it truly means. And a significant part of the issue is data literacy. “Our report reveals that there are very low levels of data literacy within marketing teams in this country. Only one in three feel that their teams have strong data literacy,” she explains. “That’s part of what’s driving this. It’s very hard to know how to adapt when you don’t have strong data literacy or knowledge about concepts like cookies.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Teresa shares how brands are typically slow to adapt without a catalyst. Take COVID, for instance. Brands should’ve been working on their digital transformation long before March 2020. But it took this unprecedented event just to get them started. She says the same is likely to happen with cookies. Brands will scramble to change the day third-party cookies die. 

Their first line of defence will have to be a first-party data strategy in the form of a loyalty program. However, it’s vital that brands recognise that loyalty is only one piece of the puzzle. 

Loyalty programs are a great tool to get first-party data, preferences and all the things that help a brand understand its customers. But there’s still a long way for brands to go. They need to figure out how to go to market with their limited budgets, all the information we provide and with some tech behind it to make it happen.

The takeaway message for brands, the panellists concede, is to be brave. If you remain fearful, you’ll never evolve and innovate. It takes having the right champions in place who are willing to be bold enough to take the brand through a true digital transformation. To take their data renaissance to the next level. 

Access the webinar free and on-demand here.

This article is written by Miles Toolin, senior solutions consultant at Cheetah Digital.

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite enables marketers to create personalised experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies to meet the changing demands of today’s consumer.

Marketing Featured APAC

How APAC marketers can ‘dial up’ their mobile marketing strategy

There’s a mounting pile of evidence, highlighting what many of us already know – we’re inextricably obsessed with our mobiles. For marketers and brands, this obsession translates into endless opportunities, especially as the third-party cookie crumbles and relationship marketing emerges as king of the marketing paradigm.

Smaller than a wallet and thinner than a notebook, smartphones have changed our lives in big ways. They’re often the first thing people reach for when they wake up and the last thing they touch before going to bed. According to app monitoring firm (formerly App Annie), people devote a third of their waking hours to mobile apps and upwards of five hours a day on their mobile phones.

APAC marketers get this. In fact, 58% of APAC marketers are creating mobile-specific content as a strategy to improve engagement, and the majority of marketing professionals (84%) consider ad length and design for mobile when creating mobile content, according to a recent WARC report. 

That’s because relevant and timely messaging, which SMS and apps so easily provide, is key to educating customers, minimising friction, building purchase consideration, and developing deeper relationships. 

Compared to different channels, mobile is a compelling way to communicate with customers because brands can be confident their message will be read and acted upon in a short amount of time. There’s up to a 19% click-through rate for personalised links. 

And where there’s a call to action, that percentage spikes to 45%. For a company that wants to send a message out to all of its customers using technology that’s just as familiar to a 14-year-old as it is to an 85-year-old, there’s little in terms of alternatives that can provide the same value that mobile does.

The challenge: Extracting value from mobile marketing

Despite mobile marketing emerging as the hottest trend in relationship marketing, some brands and organisations are still hesitant to latch on. It all comes down to the three key reasons, including the inability to know how to get started, indecision and ‘analysis paralysis’ and regulatory concerns.

In order to overcome these challenges here are four strategies to help kickstart your mobile marketing strategy:

1. Master the value exchange: Before any marketing can occur, you must gain consent to communicate with your audience and learn about their true interests. First, an organisation must identify its value proposition whereby a customer feels a compelling reason to access that value by enrolling in a program. This is not limited to promotions but could be for convenience, better service, information updates, exclusive access to content and the list goes on — this is called creating a ‘value exchange.’

Once the value has been set, it’s time for a brand to spread the word. This is where mobile plays a considerable role, as it builds customer awareness and enables sign-up beyond the laptop, casting the net further afield into any other environment. This could be adding a QR code or a short code on physical banners, TV, receipts, shop windows or on the hotel bedside table – directing customers to use their mobile to engage with the brand. Simply put, mobile offers boundless flexibility to provide a doorway to value in any environment.

2. Power real-time contextual engagement: In the digital marketing space, it’s about getting the right message to the right person at the right moment. Mobile is instrumental to achieving real-time, relevant and impactful customer engagement.

There is an increasing number of markets where mobile penetration is greater than 100%, and that provides an ecosystem where brands can be confident they can serve any of their customers at any moment in time. It is not just the ubiquitous nature and the ‘always o’ accessibility that distinguishes mobile, but the immediacy it can offer when compared to other channels.

This is why time and business-critical messages are sent using mobile channels. Within banking, this could be for two-factor authentication or fraud alerts; for a restaurant, this may be sending a reservation reminder; or for a retailer, this could include shipment delivery notifications — the list goes on. But the power of immediacy is what makes old technology like SMS continue to have double-digit growth year-on-year.

3. Eliminate silos: There’s a lot of talk about communication channels not residing in silos. And for good reason – customers’ circumstances may evolve when they have a change in geography, disposable income, relationship, preference or because they’re influenced by interactions with a competitor. Simply because a customer is enrolled in a loyalty program, it does not mean that he/she is an advocate, nor that your brand is his/her first choice. This is important to succeed in driving longer-lasting customer relationships.

With this in mind, it is important for enterprises to actively seek customer feedback, listen to their preferences and continue to check in with them. Mobile offers the ability to gain further insights, address all customers and drive real-time contextual engagements. We see brands leverage mobile apps as an impactful solution for driving customer loyalty and benefiting from the assets of this environment.

Customers who download an enterprise app and opt-in for communications have actively chosen to have a closer relationship with a brand; these are some of your most valuable customers. They should be nurtured and catered to, and a loyalty program is suited for just that. 

4. Become a customer know-it-all: Marketers’ ability to effectively communicate with customers is highly dependent on having ready access to key data sources and the right tools to act on that data at scale.

With handcuffs increasingly being placed on former data assets through policy, regulation and a more data-conscious consumer, mobile apps can offer a unique environment from which brands can gain great insights into customer behaviours.

Mobile apps offer insights such as customer frequency, recency, pages visited, products clicked on and many others, which can help enterprises better understand their customers. This helps serve them in the best manner possible.

A customer’s duration in an app can help brands understand and cater to their customers’ needs. For a bank, a short duration may be desired to make a payment and if there is an observed delay then a communication may be triggered to provide help. For a sports team, a long duration in the app may be a success indicator, representing fan engagement and attention. 

The future of mobile marketing is exciting

It’s not enough for a brand or organisation to have an SMS program with notifications, promotions and alerts set up. They have to personalise each message to ensure it is relevant to the consumer.

Enterprises that know their customers better, and can contextually serve them, according to insights will positively differentiate themselves. Mobile offers a wealth of assets, equipping brands to do exactly this. The insights gained from mobile can be applied across any form of customer engagement to deliver a more personalised and impactful relationship.

This article is written by Andy Gladwin, Head of Global Mobile GTM at Cheetah Digital.

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider for the modern marketer. The Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite enables marketers to create personalised experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies, underpinned by an engagement data platform that can scale to meet the changing demands of today’s consumer.

Marketing Featured APAC

Starbucks shares insights on customer personalisation and engagement

Seattle, Washington – Barbara Spiering, Starbucks’ VP of marketing technology & quality engineering, reveals how a measured approach to technology adoption and implementation has led to deeper and more meaningful relationships with its customers.

This ‘human approach’ to the brand experience was outlined by Spiering in the latest instalment of Cheetah Digital’s ‘Signals Executive interview Series.’

In this interview, Spiering highlights four key elements critical to their success with Cheetah Digital’s relationship marketing platform:

1. Don’t Let Tech Take The Wheel

Prioritise technology that enhances customer relationships and enables greater personalisation. Tech should never interrupt the connection between a brand and its customers. Used properly, technology can strengthen relationships across formats, with personalisation as the foundation of all communications. 

“The goal of technology is to create that bridge between the physical and the digital.” Spiering said. “So customers feel as seen and known in all of our digital channels as when they walk into the store, and that it’s a seamless experience.”

2. Personalisation Is Everything

More than 60% of all Starbucks orders are customised to the individual customer. That highlights the need for useful technology that allows Starbucks to keep the personal connection authentic throughout the entire customer lifecycle.

“Customers (need to) feel as seen and known in all of our digital channels as when they walk into the store,” Spiering said. “Because that’s why people come in, they want to be seen and known from the digital, to the physical. We know who you are, and it’s throughout the entire lifecycle. And that is really our goal, to create that connection.”

3. Clean Data > Big Data

Data is only as good as its accuracy. Tech is great at collecting data, but it requires a guiding hand to ensure the data collected is accurate and useful. That means technology partners must share the same vision for executing relationship marketing at the highest level possible. 

“You need to have really strong data governance practices, machine learning at scale,” Spiering said. “If you don’t have clean data, you’re never going to send the right message.”

4. POV Matters

Brands need to stand for something when communicating with customers in order for the message to be authentic. That means developing a point-of-view and ensuring it’s reflected in all customer interactions.

“You need to understand the message that you want to send to your customers and why you want to have that dialogue”, Spiering said. “Because personalisation won’t be effective unless you understand what you want to say and what relationship you want to have. Bring the head with the heart, and that’s your message.”

Emphasising the importance of a well-functioning customer relationship and personalisation strategy, the most recent Cheetah Digital 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index survey found that 74% of global consumers want brands to treat them as an individual (a 110% increase from 2021), and 71% have a favourite brand as it strives to develop a relationship with its customers. Both are critical factors for brands to consider as the economy points to more challenges ahead.

“As brands move to acquire zero-party data to future proof their advertising and relationship marketing efforts, they can look at Starbucks as the blueprint,” said Wendy Werve, Cheetah Digital’s CMO.

“Our clients are bracing for a potentially turbulent economic landscape ahead by reinforcing their investments in owned channels such as email and SMS. This is where zero-party data and personalisation can impact the bottom line, especially as cookies and third-party data continue to disintegrate,” Werve adds. 

Marketing Featured APAC

Five ways marketers can satisfy their ‘sweet tooth’ in a cookie-less world

Nobody can deny that the pace and degree of digital transformation is accelerating in the wake of the pandemic, creating mounting pressure to meet customers wherever they are. Those who were once never online are now navigating the digital world with a new sense of confidence.

This new world has also brought its fair share of challenges as well. Consumers, for one, are increasingly skeptical when it comes to their privacy and the privacy of their data, in particular. Their expectations of brands are also changing. They want more personalised and relevant experiences. Essentially, if they provide their data, then they expect to benefit from an enhanced experience.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak at the Digital Leadership Forum (DLF), conducted in partnership with BPP, where we discussed the above digital customer trends in the APAC region. From what today’s consumers want to privacy, cookies and more, this is the information all marketers need as they tiptoe into a future without third-party cookies.

The privacy paradox

Thanks to digital acceleration, consumers are becoming increasingly careful, informed, sophisticated, and demanding in their shopping interactions. At the same time, they’re also far less tolerant of sub-standard shopping experiences, both online and in-store.

Their digital expectations have also risen exponentially, causing brands everywhere to face their biggest challenge yet — balancing customers’ desires for personalised interactions while fiercely protecting customer privacy.

It’s what we’re calling the privacy paradox. Consumers are really skeptical about how brands are using their data. Facebook has only added fuel to the fire with the controversy surrounding it in recent years. At Cheetah Digital, we’re finding more and more consumer sentiment around social channels becoming negative.

In Australia, our 2022 Digital Consumer Trends Index revealed that 63% of consumers do not trust these platforms with their data. Now, of course, that doesn’t mean they’re not using these platforms. They’re just treating them with a healthy dose of skepticism.

For example, when asked, a whopping 86% of consumers said they wanted to see brands spend more on their loyalty offering and less on Facebook advertising. Interestingly, there has also been a large positive sentiment for brands that have pulled ads from Facebook altogether because of concerns about the rise of harmful content. Consumers know the value of their data, as a result, they’re being increasingly protective of it.

When I think of a really tremendous example of digital transformation and acceleration, I think of our customer Purebaby. In a very short period of time, the Australian company underwent an incredible transformation.

Previously, Purebaby relied heavily on brick-and-mortar stores to drive revenue. Its online offering was just a secondary thought. That is until COVID-19 came to be. When it hit, Purebaby rapidly and successfully pivoted, resulting in roughly 90% of its revenue coming in from online sales. It has completely changed the brand’s business and business model forever.

The great thing about this transformation success story is that to bolster its online experience, Purebaby shifted from focusing on purely promotional marketing to building up robust lifecycle programs. To give you some context, Purebaby set up 22 email programs within the space of just 18 months. 

The brand did this to ensure the online experience was seamless for its new demanding digital customers. Purebaby provided different touchpoints that were more triggered and personal than ever before. So when you look at how digital acceleration is changing the way consumers engage, it essentially comes down to the fact that they’re becoming more careful, and therefore, require brands to earn their trust.

Beefed up GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

Life is about to change big time for APAC marketers. As we all know, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy. The model is being adopted for the APAC region as well, leading to the death of the cookie.

This means brands and companies are at risk of facing regulatory penalties and lawsuits if they don’t adhere to the new privacy requirements. Even more, companies can no longer assume that if they cannot identify someone through an IP address that the law won’t apply to them. Because it will. As marketers, we need to be more cautious than ever in our approach to treating unknown users.

The question is, are we ready for this change? According to Forrester, probably not. Its research revealed that 43% of marketers say their current practices rely on third-party cookies. Even more, 59% of marketers in APAC say they only fulfil the minimum requirements to comply with data privacy regulations. That means there is a large portion of people who still don’t feel like they’re meeting minimum requirements.

With customers’ demands going beyond those minimum requirements, how can we make sure that we meet them in a place that keeps them happy and comfortable? Apple CEO Tim Cook said it best — “Technology does not need vast troves of personal data, stitched together across dozens of websites and apps in order to succeed. Advertising existed and thrived for decades without it.”

He continues, “If a business is built on misleading users, on data exploitation, on choices that are no choices at all; it does not deserve our praise. It deserves reform.” Case in point: Business owners and marketers cannot get away with what they’ve done in the past anymore.

Look at Apple’s mail privacy protection functionality that came into play in September last year. The update essentially allows users to turn off their opening tracking, hide IP addresses, and in some cases, hide email addresses. So it’s a lot more difficult to judge how a consumer is interacting with the communication you’ve sent them. This is some of the “fun” that we as marketers have to accept in this new cookie-less world.

As the cookie crumbles

We’ve been discussing the death of the cookie for a long time. Google announced plans to entirely phase out third-party cookies within two years. And although Google’s privacy pivot is a win for privacy-conscious consumers; it’s a headache for marketers and businesses who rely on these third-party cookies to advertise effectively. Next year will be here before we know it; so we need to be ready. We need to find a new way to satisfy our “sweet tooth” because the cookie is truly crumbling.

At Cheetah Digital, our goal is to always get brands to focus on building out a zero-party data strategy. And the reason is simple: this preference data comes directly from the consumer so there are no intermediaries — no guesswork. They’re telling you exactly what their preference is. It’s psychographic data that includes your customers’ values, attitudes, interests, and personality traits.

The only thing to be cognizant of is this will change over time. Unlike first-party data like first and last names and mobile numbers, which remain pretty static, zero-party data relating to attitudes and life stages continually evolves. So you have to keep understanding and collecting.

Cosying up with consumer expectations

We’ve established that consumers have the expectation for brands to know them. But what they’re comfortable with is a different story. Our research shows that most people actually want a consistent experience regardless of whether they interact online or in-store.

Consumers want messages that recognise their shopping history. They want their data to be used in ways that make them feel comfortable and like an individual. So don’t send them irrelevant content or offers based on information they haven’t directly shared with you — that’s considered creepy.

At the end of the day, it’s essentially a value exchange. Our research reveals that 55% of consumers are comfortable with sharing data with brands in exchange for better service. So if you want to know more about the consumer, figure out what you can give them in return for that information. At Cheetah Digital, we find that consumers respond positively to discounts, coupons, loyalty points, and rewards.

Use those aspects to gain additional insight into your consumer, understand your audience better, and then target them, using the data in a way that they find relevant and useful. Also understand that consumers have high expectations for brands. All it takes is one misstep or one bad experience for them to go elsewhere because, with today’s bustling online world, they have more options than ever before right at their fingertips.

For marketers who are struggling to meet the needs of consumers and their various demands, it’s time to update their toolkits to include new strategies and tactics to thrive. They need to market to an individual with authenticity, relevance, and accuracy and that requires an entirely new way of thinking.

Take a look below for five ways to thrive in a world with no third-party cookies.

5 ways to survive a cookie-less future:

1. Stop renting data: Build your own databases through direct-consumer relationships. Have a robust data-collection strategy to support this. And know that the data you need to market to individuals with the right level of relevance and privacy doesn’t come easily. It requires a strategy that incentivises consumers to tell you about themselves willingly, with the permission to use that data.

2. “Know them and show them”: Consumers expect digital interactions that are immediate and highly relevant to them. They have real-time expectations and think you should “know them and show them” how well you understand them. This requires a single view of the customer with preferences and insights that can be used for decisioning in the moment to drive engaging experiences anywhere your customer interacts with you.

3. Devise a loyalty initiative: Not every brand needs a loyalty program. But every brand does have to provide some sort of value exchange. Well-executed interactions across channels help customers feel a connection, and that connection leads to them reciprocating with purchases and eventually, loyalty to your brand.

4. Know the rules of engagement: Consumers expect to engage with you on different devices. In fact, today’s consumers use an average of nearly six touchpoints, with half of them regularly using more than four when engaging with a brand.

5. Create a craving: When customers want to participate in your loyalty program, you need to do more than incentivise transactions. You want to reward them for behaviours as well. Loyalty program management is vital to keep customers coming back for more.

Don’t take my word for it. Market research by Twilio’s Segment reveals that 44% of consumers will likely become repeat buyers and 32% will likely leave a positive review after a personalised shopping experience. There is life after the death of the cookie, and if you’re prepared, it has the potential to be even sweeter.

And talking about a ‘sweet’ success story – check out how Bakers Delight increased its basket size by more than 20% when its ‘Dough Getters’ loyalty program launched in the first half of 2021.

The key takeaway is, when you know individuals and can market to them with personalised experiences that they welcome — not because you snooped on them — magical things happen. 

This article was written by Alexandra Smit, digital marketing & automation specialist at Cheetah Digital. Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider that enables marketers to create personalised experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies.

Marketing Featured APAC

Cheetah Digital named ‘strong performer’ in email marketing service providers report by independent research firm

USA Cheetah Digital, a cross-channel relationship management solution provider for the modern marketer, has been named a Strong Performer by The Forrester Wave™: Email Marketing Service Providers report for Q1 2022.

Published by independent research firm Forrester, the report gave Cheetah Digital’s email marketing solution the highest scores possible across seven criteria including: dynamic content, privacy, security, distributed business model support, full-service support, globalization and product vision.

“Cheetah Digital positions its overall value, product strategy, and workflow as creating value through key stages of a customer’s brand relationship: acquisition, engagement, and loyalty,” read the report. It also noted that the Cheetah Digital platform “is designed to solve global marketer problems, not just offer a suite of functionality…big retailers, banks, and hotel chains that want comprehensive relationship marketing, not just email or mobile messaging execution, will find Cheetah Digital’s white-glove service unmatched.”

This year’s report evaluated 13 email marketing service providers based on 24 criteria, which are split into three categories—current offering, strategy, and market presence. Cheetah Digital has also been recognized in Forrester’s Now Tech: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q4 2021, and The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management (EMSS Modules), Q2 2021 reports.

“Email marketing is more relevant than ever, but only when executed properly on top of a secure infrastructure,” said Cheetah Digital VP of Content Tim Glomb

“Forrester’s report ranks the top providers in the space based on their 24-criterion evaluation. We appreciate the recognition of both the individual features and overall mission of the Cheetah Digital platform, as reflected in the report. At the end of the day, our goal is to help our customers exceed their customers’ expectations by making every interaction a moment of value,” added Glomb.

In working with American Airlines, the company saw a 50% email open rate and 84% completion rate (of the Experience using the Cheetah Digital Customer Engagement Suite). 

“We have a great relationship with Cheetah and we’ve been on the messaging platform for a while. So this was a good opportunity for us to see what else is out there in the Customer Engagement Suite from Cheetah,” said Ein Lomers, senior manager for marketing comms planning & owned channels at American Airlines.

This article is contributed by Cheetah Digital.

Marketing Featured Global

Cheetah Digital unveils key trends on relationship marketing–from loyalty to messaging

Australia – Global cross-channel relationship management solution provider Cheetah Digital has recently launched its consumer trends index this year, which unveiled the latest key trends regarding relationship marketing, ranging from privacy trends to loyalty and messaging.

In regards to privacy trends, the index has noted huge rises in those turning to incognito browsing, amounting to a 50% increase, a 48% increase for using a PC cleaner software, a 40% increase in using a password generator, a 37% increase in usage of ad blocking tech, a 31% increase in those paying for premium software, and a 31% increase in usage of a password manager.

Staying on the topic of privacy, the index also noted that users prefer brands to only use data that they have explicitly shared directly to the brand. Other methods such as ads based on location data, retargeting ads derived from tracking cookies, and ads related to something they discussed near a smart device ‘creep’ out users.

Meanwhile, in regards to brand loyalty, around 57% of consumers say they are prepared to pay more to buy from a preferred brand, with loyalty metrics spiking across the board. Among the growing reasons they stay loyal are when brands understand customers as individuals (110% increase), treat their data with respect (71% increase), align with their personal values (58% increase) and offer admirable loyalty programs (55% increase).

Furthermore, consumers’ expectations of the loyalty programs are maturing, with a desire for contests and sweepstakes, increasing to around 73%. Other loyalty initiatives that customers expect include exclusive access and content (58% increase), and personalised product recommendations (56% increase).

Lastly, when it comes to messaging marketing to customers, email remains one of the most effective channels, beating banner ads, social media ads, organic posts, and SMS by up to 108%. Half of consumers report purchasing a product directly as a result of an email they received in the last 12 months. 

Speaking about the index release, Tim Glomb, VP of content at Cheetah Digital, said, “The path to customer acquisition has evolved from a relatively straightforward train track to a bowl of spaghetti, with multiple channels and formats to navigate. Brands can no longer get away with lumping customers into segments, but rather must treat them as individuals. This requires developing authentic relationships, offering real value exchange, and interpreting the right customer signals at the right time in the right channel.”

He added, “This report offers brands an extraordinary opportunity to assess their ability to create and execute campaigns that meet and exceed consumers’ growing demand for more personalisation, more privacy and a deeper relationship with the brands they know and trust.”

Cheetah Digital’s index is available for download here.

Technology Platforms ANZ

Purebaby partners with Cheetah Digital to strengthen customer journey and loyalty

Australia Purebaby, Australia’s largest independent babywear brand has announced it is transforming its customer loyalty strategy with the power of cross-channel customer engagement solution Cheetah Digital.

Purebaby was on the hunt for a software solution that would enable them to send personalised email messages to their existing and prospective customer base and allow them to move away from ‘batch-and-blast’ customer emails. 

“You have a database, you’re sending them one electronic direct marketing campaign (EDM), and that was it.” Sanjay Gill, CEO at Purebaby, says, “With the old platform, we were not getting what we needed in terms of segmentation and personalisation. It felt as if we were not using our database to its fullest potential, so we decided we needed a change.”

Another issue Purebaby had with their old platform was their support team was based in the U.S, which meant the Purebaby staff never had face-to-face meetings and seldom spoke with their provider. Purebaby wanted a locally based team to liaise with to offer more custom and real-time support.

“One of our conditions we had when we were onboarding with Cheetah Digital was for the teams to talk on a regular basis. There was an endless number of sessions that happened between our teams where we mapped out critical journeys for our customers,” Sanjay explains. 

A transformative solution

In July 2018, Purebaby turned to Cheetah Digital, sat down and mapped out an entire customer journey to decide at exactly which touchpoints the retailer wished to interact with their customers. 

“During those sessions, we mapped out the entire journey. such as which touchpoints were especially sensitive and important to our customers, such as when they announce they’re having a baby, to having the baby,” Sanjay says. 

From those sessions, Cheetah Digital helped create a bespoke number of “series,” which were personalised EDMs aimed at their customers’ experience at each critical touchpoint:

  • Milestone series: For a baby’s first birthday, for example 
  • Welcome series: Welcoming a new customer
  • Size-up series: When the baby needs a bigger size of clothing
  • Due date series: For mothers about to give birth

Purebaby also tries to incorporate highly personalised EDMs for milestones such as a first birthday or a baby shower when parents give that specific information. 

“As an example, we mapped out the birthday journey,” Sanjay explains. “When the customer is having a birthday or the baby’s first birthday — there’s a whole journey regarding those milestones. A whole journey was mapped out by Purebaby and Cheetah Digital. There were specific campaigns built around it and those campaigns were triggered at different times.” 

Additionally, Cheetah Digital and Purebaby worked on a “welcome series,” so when a customer signs up to the loyalty program called “Pure Love,” there are a series of personalised emails sent to them. These aren’t marketing emails, they are beautiful, introductory, experiential messages, introducing the parent to the brand, and showing them why Purebaby is special and what products they offer. 

“Our loyalty program is data-driven, as you come into the store, you sign up and it’s offline and online. This means a customer could walk into our store or could go to the website, sign up, and the journey will be the same,” Sanjay adds. 

Purebaby also has a “size-up” trigger for parents with newborn babies informing them it may be time to buy the next size-up for the newborn’s clothes. 

“Receiving that email knowing the parents are busy and they may not have time to go to the shop, receiving that email is very helpful from the feedback we hear. It also gives them time to plan if they’ve placed the order, it will be delivered in 24-hours, it does help the parents,” Sanjay explains. 

The “due date series” is sent to mothers who tell Purebaby their due date and they are sent helpful content pre- and post-birth, such as hospital checklists. 

“We realised a lot of people were entering the parenting journey underprepared. The due date series is about helping parents be prepared, we send them the hospital checklist, we send them the first wardrobe checklist. If someone has done that work for you and it is a matter of purchasing it, it makes it easier. It goes back to making parenthood easier for customers and make the journey easier,” Sanjay says. 

Supporting revenue growth and adaptability during the pandemic

Since implementing Cheetah Digital, Purebaby’s revenue has grown 47% compared to the prior year. Its email channel has become Purebaby’s second-highest revenue-driving channel. 

Through engaging with Cheetah Digital, the “welcome series” EDM has a 50% engagement rate; the “due date” EDM campaign has a 70% open rate and 14% unique click rate and the “size-up program” is performing on par with the “welcome series” at a 50% engagement rate. 

Between November 2020 and October 2021, email accounted for 21% of Purebaby’s total revenue and 16% of its total traffic, in the same period a year prior, its email accounted for 19.5% of its total revenue and 15.8% of its total traffic. 

Like many brands, Purebaby was concerned about the pandemic when it first hit Australian shores in March. Their retail sales halted and their digital sales took off. Sanjay says Purebaby was slowly undergoing digital transformation and COVID accelerated it for them. 

“Within weeks, 90% of our sales were coming from digital, whereas previously only 10% of sales came from online retail,” Sanjay says. “Our retail versus online sales has now balanced to 50/50, the digital sales have not gone backwards, they are much higher but the retail is standing on its own,” Sanjay says.

“Having a good platform, especially a good engagement platform like Cheetah Digital where we were able to ramp up our engagement with the customer was important for us.”

Cheetah’s VP, Go to Market APAC, Billy Loizou, says it’s exciting to partner with innovative brands like Purebaby that are leveraging innovative loyalty programs to transform customer experience at scale.

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with such a global retail leader that is revolutionising how brands unlock the value of their data to help build meaningful, long-term relationships with their customers. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Purebaby and are excited to see how the brand continues to evolve and grow.”

Purebay sits has been running for more than 20 years and began as a wholesale brand selling to the likes of Myer and David Jones. Its founders, husband and wife team Sanjay Gill and Mirabai Winford, wanted to create a timeless, quality brand that was functional and fashionable to the market.

In 2010, the business started its transition into retail. The company now has 23 stores in Australia and distributes to more than seven countries worldwide, including the U.S., U.K., and the Middle East.

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider that enables marketers to create personalized experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies.

Marketing Featured APAC

How one iconic bakery brand embraced digital to turbocharge customer loyalty

A powerful customer engagement strategy involves more than a loyalty offering. It needs a ‘customer-obsessed’ mindset that puts the customer experience at the heart and centre.

A customer-obsessed culture will enable better customer retention rates, plus open up opportunities to generate. Getting revenue from your existing customer base, which is often easier and probably less expensive than acquiring a new one. But you have to do both, and loyalty can help achieve this goal.

However, a loyalty program also has to be easy and valuable for both existing and new customers. An innovative loyalty program is best integrated across all consumer touch points rather than live in a silo. This means loyalty needs to permeate all channels such as email, SMS, point-of-sale, and beyond.

In the recent Cheetah Digital Signals21 event, Richard Jones, CMO at Cheetah Digital, spoke with Brad Bissonnette, vice president for marketing & franchise recruitment at COBS Bread, the sister store to the iconic Australian bakery chain Bakers Delight. With over 100 locations across Canada, COBS Bread wanted to engage consumers with surprise and delight. They also wanted to gather critical product and sentiment data to help keep their offerings top of mind with consumers.

COBS Bread partnered with Cheetah Digital to build a unique solution that engaged customers, offered flexibility across the rewards, and fed the company with high-quality consumer data. COBS Bread wanted to optimise and personalise their offers for customers by feeding data to inform their product and menu items.

A loyalty program is more than just a point system

A loyalty program needs to go beyond points for purchase and provide more value and convenience for the customer. Bissonnette explains that by looking at loyalty in a silo, you’re really missing the larger opportunity with loyalty.

“Ensuring your loyalty program is an experience, rather than just points from purchase, will heighten a customer’s experience, leading to more sales for your business. This is because loyalty transcends far more than points and for our journey, it again is around how do we provide more utility for our customers? How do we make their lives so much easier? That’s the journey that we’ve embarked on,” said Bissonnette.

“For brands that are considering heading down the loyalty channel, it’s really asking that important question; how can I provide more convenience? How can I provide more utility for our customers?” Bissonnette adds.

Rolled out in Canada mid-2021, Bissonnette says the COBS Club loyalty program embraces loyalty as a more holistic approach.

“It’s early days into our digital loyalty program COBS Club. Our initial offering focused on points, but the ultimate vision is to deliver a digital customer experience that cannot be matched. This will transcend beyond collecting points and continue to add more utility for our customers,” Bissonnette says. 

The key to success for COBS Bread has been buy-in across the organisation – from its franchise network to the rest of the organisation, which allows them to continue to embark on the path.

“We now have COBS Club up and running with customers now collecting points on everything they purchase within the bakery. We’re looking forward to the next iterations where we get to a single source of truth and the ability to ultimately order online and everything from store value and gift cards. This is phase one in what will be a multi-year journey to continue to provide more utility and convenience for our customers,” Bissonnette explains.

Unpacking the key phases of a loyalty program

Currently, COBS Bread is in the early stages of rolling out COBS Club. Bissonnette says the bakery franchise is solely focused on acquisition.

“Our goal right now is to do whatever we can to bring customers onto the platform, so that we can then start to truly understand our customer’s needs and wants. From there we’ll start to get into the other common metrics of sales per transaction, average basket size, and average monthly value of the customer. We’ll have all these metrics starting to flow through.” Bissonnette says.

COBS Bread has started off with great results. The company originally forecasted that in their first year they would acquire between 75,000 to 80,000 customers. But six weeks into the program and they have more than 100,000 new customers.

“Our goal in the first year now is heading towards 250,000 customers. While those metrics are interesting, they can give us a sense of the health of the program,” Brad explains.

Bissonnette says within three to six months into the program, the next phase will begin. In this phase, the company will start to know the demographic information and start to understand the behaviour of their customers.

“I am keen to view customer purchase patterns, explore what’s in their basket and start to really segment using this type of purchasing behaviour. If we can get into that and truly understand those commonalities, we can then start to cater content that is going to provide incremental value and truly take that core metric of active users to 60%,” said Bissonnette.

“It is basic numbers right now but it’s all about acquisition. Our goal is to have the numbers to be able to cater customer experience moving forward,” Bissonnette explains.

A digital loyalty platform can help in so many ways; he says, “Whether that is understanding the financial implications for your finance team to unlock further growth, developing consumer insights through your customer service team or understanding the operational aspects within each one of your units.”

“If you only look at loyalty from a sales or marketing perspective, you’re missing out on all the potential opportunities a loyalty platform can bring,” he adds.

Culture is at the core of a robust loyalty program

Bissonnette says loyalty culture boils down to the culture of a customer service-centric focused organisation.

“For us, it came from day one with the vision from Roger and Leslie Gillespie, who opened the first Bakers Delight in Australia. Their key focus was on delivering high-quality products, outstanding customer service environment, and supporting the communities,” Bissonnette explains.

When your DNA has ‘service’ running all the way through, it has to have loyalty running all the way through it as well, he notes. This is because you ultimately have to take that next step to deliver on a loyalty platform that allows you to elevate your service.

“Loyalty is the next phase of ensuring we can deliver a customer experience that cannot be matched. Having a loyalty platform, it’s giving us the data that we have missed for years. This data provides us with a true sense of what our customers want, what they are purchasing, and how we can ensure that we can meet their needs,” Bissonnette concludes.


This article is written by Billy Loizou, VP for Go To Market for APAC at Cheetah Digital.

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider that enables marketers to create personalized experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

Why marketers should say no to ‘renting’ customer data

It’s a stressful time for marketers. Many believe that their lives will be disrupted to the nth degree without cookies. Meanwhile, consumers are more protective of their personal data than ever. In the Australian Community Attitudes to Privacy Survey 2020, 7 in 10 respondents nominated privacy as a major concern for them, while 87% wanted more control and choice over the collection and use of their personal information.

Experts like Lauren Solomon, CEO of Consumer Policy Research Centre, further notes how data processes are clunky and outdated.

According to research from the Consumer Policy Research Centre, 70 percent of consumers accept consent terms, even if they are not comfortable with them. When asked why, three quarters of consumers said it’s because it’s the only way to access the product.

Meanwhile, the research further revealed more than 90 percent of Australian consumers are uncomfortable with how their data is collected and shared – and they’re disempowered to do anything about it.

“They want the government to intervene and protect them,” Lauren says.

“There also isn’t actually any way for consumers to express the preferences that they have and to acquire products that meet those preferences – because it’s a take it or leave it proposition,” added Lauren.

What is the solution?

Companies need to stop ‘renting data’ and build their own database through direct-to-consumer relationships. The key to future success is building a loyalty initiative that offers mutual value exchange. Customers can willingly offer their personal details, in exchange for a better customer experience.

With the death of the cookies, the ‘value exchange’ between businesses and their customers’ willingness to share personal data has never been so important. Activating cookie-less data, using it to enhance customer experience and derive insights is a craft and skill that marketers need to invest in and develop.

Unlocking the value of loyalty in a cookieless future

The importance of loyalty programs should not be overlooked as a critical part of a marketer’s toolkit. Loyalty programs are the perfect replacement for connecting customers with brands in new and innovative ways now and beyond a cookie-less world. They give organizations a clear, zero-party data approach to unlock deeper insights into their customers, unlock fresh CX opportunities, and open powerful new ways to forge more long-lasting and meaningful customer relationships.

But what makes a great loyalty program? Adam Posner, CEO and Founder of The Point of Loyalty, shares the seven zones that make up the ‘wheel of loyalty fortune’. Organizations need to implement each one of these points to ensure they have a strong, steadfast loyalty program that will benefit both customers and brands.

1. Business: First and foremost a business must be profitable and sustainable.

2. Members: Organizations should understand their loyalty member’s behaviors, beliefs, and belongings.

3. Program: The loyalty program needs to be meaningful and desirable to consumers.

4. Team: The organization’s employees need to buy-in for the loyalty program and be willing to endorse it.

5. Technology: The technology should be fit-for-future rather than fit-for-now.

6. Data: Ensuring the loyalty program captures the data necessary for analysis and for relevant action.

7. Dialogue: Any company dialogue to the customer needs to be dynamic and personal at all times.

It’s time for a new marketing recipe

There is life after the death of the cookie. Zero-party data can help marketers connect with their customers. This preference data comes directly from the consumer. There are no intermediaries and no guesswork — it’s psychographic data that includes the customers’ values, attitudes, interests, and personality traits.

Marketers will need to survive, lead and stay relevant in a cookie-less society – a reality that is right around the corner. Leading with loyalty and adopting a Zero Party Data strategy will help marketers survive by creating long-lasting customer relationships with a clear and concise value exchange.

This article is written by Billy Loizou, VP for Go To Market for APAC at Cheetah Digital.

Cheetah Digital is a cross-channel customer engagement solution provider that enables marketers to create personalized experiences, cross-channel messaging, and loyalty strategies.

Marketing Featured APAC

CM Group merges with Cheetah Digital to further enhance customer-centric marketing solutions

Singapore – CM Group, a portfolio of martech companies focused on multichannel digital marketing, has announced that it will now be merging with customer engagement solution provider, Cheetah Digital, under the CM Group name.

The merger aims to expand and enhance both CM Group’s and Cheetah Digital’s ability to deliver innovative email, omnichannel, and personalization, as well as loyalty solutions. Both will be owning a broad array of technologies, which orchestrate marketer communications with client segments across multiple channels. 

Following the merger, the company will also be planning significant investments across the portfolio to bring new products to its base of more than 70,000 active customers. As marketers increasingly seek multi- and omnichannel technology solutions to meet modern customer expectations, CM Group will be expanding its primary focus from email marketing to overall customer engagement and give marketers the ability to acquire, engage, and retain customers through the channels that matter most. 

Moreover, Cheetah Digital’s Customer Engagement Suite solutions, which includes experiences, personalization, loyalty, and the engagement data platform, will help accelerate the pace of innovation across CM Group’s existing products, enabling customer organizations of all sizes to meet the needs of modern consumers. It will also expand CM Group’s reach into the large enterprise segment across key verticals including retail, e-commerce, media, publishing, and financial services, as well as travel, and hospitality, among others.

Wellford Dillard, CM Group’s CEO, shared that the merger with Cheetah Digital means CM Group will be well-positioned to meet the needs of customers of all sizes and shapes, and will continue to be the group’s marketing technology partner as it grows by delivering the right technology at the right time, tailored to its industry and built for the scale at which they operate.

“By keeping each CM Group product distinct and focused on specific verticals or market segments, we deliver superior solutions, expertise, and outcomes for customers when compared to the large volume of generalist solutions in the market today,” said Dillard. 

Meanwhile, Peter McCormick, the executive chairman at Cheetah Digital, believes that CM Group’s ‘home for every marketer’ model is a completely unique approach in the industry and in broader martech, and this merger offers them the opportunity to bring immense innovation to the customers within the CM Group portfolio through an expanded suite of product offerings.

“The momentum of our ‘innovation engine’ at Cheetah will develop these solutions beyond email to bring net-new value for our customers,” said McCormick.