Yes! to Better CX

Alterian Sponsors the Yes Summit 2017

Yes Summit 2017

This September, Alterian was the platinum sponsor for the Yes Summit 2017 by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. The two-day, invitation-only event brought together a combination of tacticians, visionaries, and technologists to discuss the current states, best practices, and emerging trends in marketing and customer experience.

“The Yes 2017 Summit was an exciting event and we were thrilled Alterian was there as our platinum sponsor. Their presence generated several conversations about our integrated capabilities with their platform, Chameleon. The combination of our technologies allows us to provide a cutting edge marketing solution for our clients.”

– Sal Pecoraro, VP, Marketing Technology and Support, Yes Lifecycle Marketing

A Few Key Takeaways

  • Organizational alignment behind a common goal—for our purposes, excellent customer experience—is key. Different groups with different agendas always fail, so make sure that a CX-focused culture is everyone’s responsibility.
  • Data insight is how you understand your customers, and is the most important enabler for any enterprise; but integration and maintenance are challenges. When bringing in data, know where it’s coming from and do it right the first time instead of trying to clean up the mess later.
  • Always pick solution providers that have a larger vision and capability set, whether in technology or consulting. Why? Because technology is only efficient if it matches your business strategy. Partners that are also strategic can steer you in the right direction.

Those Two Little Words: Customer Experience

Scott Liewehr, CEO of Digital Clarity Group, emceed the Yes Summit. He was lively, funny, and not afraid to poke fun at anyone. He even took a particular liking to our “fire extinguishers.”

He was also the first speaker with a spirited keynote address, Raising the Bar on Customer Experience. Liewehr reminded us that the greatest customer experience design in the world won’t make a difference if you don’t have shared expectations with your customer or organizational readiness and alignment.

He’s right—in the age of the empowered consumer, marketers are no longer in full control. Customers demand superior experiences, take unpredictable and multichannel paths to conversion, and enjoy the two-way communication of social media with brands to interact and express their opinions. This means that customer experience can’t just be a single department’s goal or an afterthought. As Kathy Hecht, CMO of Silver Star Brands expressed, marketing and sales can’t do it all anymore; dedication to good CX is a mentality that must be adopted by your entire organization.

Liewehr also offered an equation that really resonated with the audience:


Put it this way: The more you can exceed people’s expectations, the more satisfied they will be. This translates directly to loyalty and increased revenue for you. Need some stats to back that up? 89% of people will switch brands because of poor CX, and 86% will pay premium pricing for excellent CX. Those numbers don’t lie—attention to customer experience matters.

“The failure of a single interaction threatens a customer’s entire perception of a brand.”

– Scott Liewehr, CEO, Digital Clarity Group

If you don’t believe me, take it from Kathleen Stockham at MAG Retail Group. She lit up the room with a down-to-earth, practical, colorful, and insightful discussion. She literally won the award for the best quote, a life lesson from her grandmother:  “You can’t fall out of a ditch.” To paraphrase her approach, “Let’s get really real.” She pulled no punches in describing the previous situation with their former ESP, a very negative customer experience that ultimately caused them to switch partners. To demonstrate the importance of positive CX, she outlined the fantastic value that Yes Lifecycle Marketing has provided during and after their conversion. When your customer is so thrilled with your product that they jump at the chance to speak about it on stage for you, you know you’ve hit the CX nail on the head.

But, not so fast! When you have a hammer, every problem begins to look like a nail; in fact, some are screws, some are bolts, some are staples. Forrester Vice President, Principal Analyst Joe Stanhope (and Alterian alum, I might add) caught everyone’s attention by stressing that we all need to change our technology mindset. Martech—of any kind—is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s not the solution, it’s part of the solution.

Conquering the differences between being marketer-driven versus customer-driven is a never-ending challenge. The first step to this shift toward an effective customer experience, Stanhope argues, is to consider strategy before technology. When tools become a hindrance to marketers rather than helping, it’s not because technology is a problem. It’s because the wrong technology is a problem. These days, you need a solution that will enable you to quickly adapt to consumers with hyper-personalization in the right moments—their moments.

I got my first actual shout out for tweeting… my daughters are proud.

Digging Into Data

On another key theme of the Yes Summit, Alterian CSO Jeff Hassemer spoke on a panel, Nobody Puts Data in the Corner: Data Management Best Practices. While some panel members recommended only keeping the data that you need, others preferred to keep everything and mine for golden nuggets. Either way, your work is never truly done; marketing databases undergo constant change and updates. The real challenge, though, is in balancing investment and attention against the potential value you may receive. The Pareto principle, thoroughly vetted for each organization, provides a starting point for the decision-making here. Despite a few well-defended differences of opinion (the best part of any panel), everyone agreed that data integration and management as well as adapting to customer behaviors across multiple channels in the right time frame were the two biggest challenges currently facing marketers.

This challenge, however, must be tackled head on. As Craig Ajeska from West Marine pointed out in his keynote, solid data is essential to a successful CX strategy. The more we know about our customers, the more valuable we are to them; we are able to target them with highly relevant and personalized messaging, which in turn produces better results. Everyone’s happy.

Data doesn’t magically do anything, though—for that, you need insights, and actionable ones at that. The panel Being an Insights-Driven Business Shouldn’t Be an Urban Myth encouraged marketers to stop looking for perfect data. Hint: It doesn’t exist. Instead, look at data through the lens of the customer. What is actually important to them? What pieces of information can you utilize to target individuals for the best possible customer experience? See, to be insight-driven, you need to understand the “why,” not the “what.” Data is frequently seen as technical, rigid, and analytical, but ultimately it’s only useful if you transform it into a story.

“Right message, right time. Media, message, moment.”

– James Edwards, Senior CRM Marketing Manager, PureGym

Marketzone Platinum™

Tackling these customer experience, marketing, and data challenges may seem daunting, but you simply need the right tools. Alterian and Yes Lifecycle Marketing have partnered for over 16 years to deliver industry-leading analytics and campaign management solutions. The Marketzone Platinum™ solution is powered by Alterian’s Chameleon™ Adaptive Customer Experience™ Platform.

Key Benefits:

  • Provides a 360° view of the customer
  • Eliminates silos to perform customer analysis and segmentation across all touch points
  • Orchestrates multichannel campaigns to meet challenges of inbound, outbound, and real-time interactions
  • Intuitive user experience design adapts to the needs of every user

This intelligent marketing solution enables brands to remain competitive by driving relevance at every touchpoint. Personalization and opportune messaging across all devices and channels delivers a unique and meaningful customer experience—which, as we demonstrated at the Yes Summit, is essential to business success in the era of modern marketing.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, the event was engaging, enjoyable, and valuable to our team. We covered real life topics, not merely abstract concepts that can be difficult to grasp and apply to your own situation. Everyone left with actionable insights for creating a superior customer experience that could be implemented right away.

The Yes Summit was a nice size; large enough for excellent networking and learning opportunities, but small enough to feel intimate and allow you to more deeply connect with your peers. We also thoroughly enjoyed socializing at the Cubs game (which they won 8-3, I might add) and watching a gorgeous sunset with drinks in hand.

Alterian Cubs Game Yes Summit 2017

Thank you to Yes Lifecycle Marketing for having us, as well as to the other sponsors and the insightful speakers. Plus, a special shout out to Linda Vetter for organizing the event. We’re looking forward to the Yes 2018 Summit already.

Bob Hale headshot

Bob Hale, Chief Executive Officer

Bob Hale is a global technology executive known for successfully transforming and leading marketing technology organizations with domestic and international settings. With 27 years of executive-level experience in the industry, Bob operates with a hungry, start-up mentality wherever he goes and inspires his team to do the same. He understands the diverse and ever-changing nature of technology and prides himself on recognizing and pursuing opportunities for change. 

Bob loves living in the beautiful Rocky Mountains just outside of Denver, Colorado and enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. Outside of the office, Bob likes to hike, tinker on projects around home, and has a passion for classic cars. 

Why do you do what you do?

“Marketing is what humanizes a company to its customers. Helping companies be better than their competition is my passion. Plus, at the end of the day, we are all consumers—how would you want to experience a brand? That’s how we get to the heart of business’s needs.”