Sunrise Executive Series Recap: The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter

Written by Suky Lawlor

Sunrise Executive Series: January 22nd, 2015
The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter
Jennifer Ramirez, VP Global Customer Experience, Western Union

On January 22nd, marketers from around the Chicago area gathered for our first Sunrise Executive Series Breakfast of the year: The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments that Matter. Our speaker for this event, Jennifer Ramirez, VP of Global Customer Experience for Western Union, shared her thoughts on loyalty and retention strategies, with an emphasis on creating an exceptional experience for their customer.

Founded 1851, Western Union has been providing money transfer services to their customers for more than 160 years.   During this time, they have built a strong brand, becoming synonymous with transferring money both domestically and internationally. With 29 transactions per second and over $5.5 billion in revenue, Western Union is definitely not hurting for customers.

So why the shift in ideology when things seemed to be working well enough as is? According to Jennifer, conversion rates were a strong motivator. Somewhere along the path to purchase, customers were dropping off. With a little introspection, they realized that they were only “talking to” the customer, not “doing for” the customer. Until about 18 months ago, the idea of customer experience went from a “nice to have” to an integral operational strategy at Western Union.

As a means to better understand their customer’s needs, Western Union worked with several organizations, including Ideo and Forrester, to map their the customer journey. By conducting interviews with 200 of their customers, they were able to better understand the process, attitudes and behaviors involved in completing a transaction from end to end.

Through this dialogue, they found that the most important moments within the customer journey happened at both the beginning and the end of a transaction. In particular, they found that the area within their website that listed their products was more of a “choose your own adventure” experience rather than the guided tour that it should be. To address this, Western Union adopted an interface that broke down the transaction into easy-to-follow steps. By taking some of the guesswork out of the process early on, they were able to alleviate some of their customer’s anxiety, thus making it easier to continue on to the next step of the journey.

In addition, insight into the final stages of the transaction highlighted the lack of transparency into what happened to the money after it left the customers hands. In turn, this was having an adverse affect on the customer’s loyalty and likelihood to return for repeat transactions. To address this problem, Western Union established a more transparent interface that mapped the path of the money from Point A to Point B and gave an estimate of the time it would take until it reached its destination.

By developing a more customer-centric outlook, Western Union has seen itself transform from a “transactional” mentality to a “customer-focused” mindset. They have turned actionable customer insights into standards by which they measure their behavior across all future transactions. As marketers, we should keep this in mind and execute our strategies with Western Union’s idea of “doing for” the customer instead of just “talking to” the customer.

Market Research SIG- Millennials: What’s Their Impact on Marketing?

Millennials: What’s Their Impact on Marketing?
Our Market Research SIG held an interactive discussion on the impact of Millennials in the Marketplace and what it means for consumer marketers. Approximately 20 marketers attended the event at National Qualitative Centers in Chicago.
Curt Fedder, Managing Partner
of Life Stage Research Insights LLC, shared learnings from his research on Millennials. He presented ten key insights about this segment:

  1. Millennials are tied with Baby Boomers for being the largest demographic segment in the U.S. Many predict Millennials will eventually surpass Baby Boomers in size.
  2. Millennials have a strong impact on the economy and the future of brand marketing.
  3. But, the economic outlook is not as strong as it was for prior generations, despite 
being the most well educated segment with seemingly many opportunities.
  4. Millennials are not adhering to traditional rites of passage for people in their 20s in light of a “perfect storm” of a tough economy, rising debt and cost of living.
  5. Millennials are defined by a mix of seemingly contradictory personality characteristics.
  6. Millennials are on the forefront of changing societal attitudes.
  7. Recognized for their ingenious use of technology, Millennials are indeed “the 
technology generation.”
  8. Millennials’ behavior and attitudes toward shopping differs from other segments.
  9. Millennials prefer brands to speak with them, not to them, through Social Media—It’s about having a conversation with a brand, not being sold to.
  10. Though Social Media is tremendously popular, traditional communication channels are still effective.

Attendees then broke up into 4 teams. Each group was given 2-3 insights. They spent time reviewing the insights along with the data supporting the insight. Participants then discussed and developed implications for their particular business. The full group was reconvened and each team then shared with the larger group the implications they’d developed.

If you missed the event, contact Curt Fedder at Curt@LifeStageResearchInsights.com for a copy of the presentation he shared.

A special thanks to National Qualitative Centers (NQC) who hosted the event. Located at 625 N. Michigan Avenue, NQC is a focus group facility complete with the latest technology to host qualitative research.

Peter MorichPeter Morich is President of Consumer & Professional Research, Inc (CPR) a Chicago-based full-service survey research firm with a focus on on-line, telephone, and other quantitative methods. Pete is a member of the Chicago AMA and serves as the Chair of the Market Research SIG.

CMO of Western Union to Speak for Chicago AMA on January 22, 2015

Written by Michael Long, CAE, Executive Director

On January 22, Jennifer Ramirz, VP of Western Union, will present,“The Customer Journey: Owning the Moments That Matter.” She will discuss how to create and maintain Customer Loyalty and Retention. Experience how Jennifer has helped the brand evolve – creating strong emotional connectivity between Western Union and its core base with this important marketing strategy. Join the conversation on Twitter @chicagoama #camasunrise.

 

BIO:  Jennifer Ramirez leads Global Customer Experience Transformation for The Western Union Company. In this role, Jennifer oversees the charge of building stronger relationships with the hundreds of millions of people and businesses that use Western Union’s services every day. She is responsible for developing the organization’s multi-year customer experience strategy and transformation initiatives, and for driving the optimal customer and Agent experience across all channels and touchpoints in 200 countries and territories.

Based at Western Union’s global headquarters in Englewood, Colo., Ramirez has held various leadership roles with Western Union and former parent company First Data for 15 years. Key leadership roles have included product management, channel management, product delivery, new product development, strategy and large-scale program management.

Prior to joining Western Union, Jennifer spent five years in management consulting and three years in the nonprofit sector.

In addition to her professional career, Ramirez is passionate about volunteering and giving back to her community. She currently serves as a board member and officer for Upwardly Global, is co-founder of 501c3 Kids Giving to Kids, and is an ambassador for the Western Union Foundation.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Florida State University and a master’s degree in Behavioral Psychology from the University of Kansas.

For more information, visit: Sunrise Executive Series

Darcy Schuller, President Chicago AMA, 2014-15

The Chicago AMA Gives Back To Our Community

Nearly $9,000 raised for UCAN at our annual holiday party!

CAMAGivesBack

December 9th marked the second annual Chicago AMA Gives Back Holiday Party, with proceeds benefitting UCAN.  UCAN is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization whose vision is that youth who have suffered trauma can become our future leaders. Established in 1869 as a Civil War orphanage, UCAN has grown into one of Chicago’s oldest yet most innovative social service agencies. UCAN serves more than 10,000 children and families annually in the greater Chicagoland area through a range of 30+ programs that promote compassionate healing, education, and empowerment.

The Chicago AMA was proud to work alongside UCAN for this special fundraising event.  It was a festive night filled will great food, fun networking and, most importantly, an opportunity to give back to the Chicago community.  We had an amazing raffle with great prizes as well as generous sponsors who donated to UCAN on behalf of the Chicago AMA.  Together, we were able to raise nearly $9,000 for UCAN, well exceeding our goals.  Thank you to everyone who made it out to the event.  It was truly a very special evening.

None of this would have been possible without the tremendous work and support of our volunteer committee, our sponsors and those who donated cash and prizes.  I would like to thank our Board sponsor and VP of Strategic Relations, Stepheny Lauer for her oversight of this project for the past two years.  Under her leadership, this event has grown and blossomed into a strategic initiative for our chapter.  I’d also like to thank our Chair for the event, Lauri Konik Zessar, as well as everyone who served on the committee and provided personal donations, raffle prizes and their time and talent to pulling this event off.  Great work by everyone!

I would also like to thank and recognize our very generous host sponsor, Russ Klein and Nancy Costopulus from the American Marketing Association.  Their significant contribution as a Host Sponsor will help to make a huge difference in the lives of these youth.

Thank you to our friends at LYFE kitchen for the great venue.  And lastly, thank you to Ann Kniola, Zach Schrantz the entire UCAN team for all that you do to make a difference in the lives of our future leaders.  We are thrilled to be able to support you in those efforts.

Marketing Insights for the Digital Age: Bill Whitman, Jr.

Written by Wendy Lalli

With Social Media, “word of mouth” has a more powerful bite than ever before.

Bill Whitman, Jr. Senior Public Relations & Corporate Communications Advisor

Bill Whitman, Jr.
Senior Public Relations & Corporate Communications Advisor

In this Chicago AMA interview on the industry challenges we face today, Bill Whitman, Jr., senior public relations advisor offers valuable advice to marketers on how to enhance customer relationships.

With over 30 years of experience in global corporate communications and public relations, Bill is a leading expert in media strategy, crisis & issues management and stakeholder engagement. He has served as advisor and manager for a host of organizations including the World Economic Forum, the Executive Leadership Council and the Wall Street Business Roundtable.

Bill’s observations on the importance of developing strong customer relationships are right on the mark – especially in these days when social media and mobile marketing are empowering the consumer as never before. Just consider:

  • In a recent survey conducted by Dimensional Research as many as 90 percent of those interviewed said that positive online reviews influenced their buying decisions.
  • Doing similar research, GE Capital Retail Bank found that 81 percent of consumers research products via product reviews and social media posts before buying them in the store or online.

Word of mouth has always been the most effective form of marketing. However, today’s digital communications have pushed consumer power to a whole new level, making Bill’s insights especially pertinent and timely.  Click here to play the interview.

 

Wendy Lalli VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli
VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

In addition to creating print, direct response and digital communications for clients like GE Healthcare and MB Financial, she has also written articles and blogs for organizations such as the BMA and the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago. Her interest in career development led her to write frequently on job search for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, contribute several chapters to college textbooks on marketing communications and facilitate career seminars at colleges, libraries and professional associations throughout Chicago.

 

 

Marketing Insights for the Digital Age: Michael Kiefer

Written by Wendy Lalli

Mitigating the risks social media poses to the reputation of your brand.

Michael Kiefer General Manager of BrandProtect

Michael Kiefer
General Manager of BrandProtect

In this world of multi-communications channels – print, promotional advertising, broadcast, digital, social media and more – over exposure and improper use of logos and other brand elements have become a major risk for many brands. Michael Kiefer, General Manager of BrandProtect tackles this important issue in this Chicago AMA leadership interview.

As Michael explains, “Brands need to be vigilant regarding what is being said and what is being done by their employees, their customers, their contractors, etc… the Internet provides such phenomenal opportunity for a brand, but it also provides phenomenal risks…”

Kiefer’s insights are similar to observations made by Clifford Young, R. Trenton Ross and Michael Gross in an article prepared for the international research firm IPSOS. “No longer is a good reputation merely an insurance policy against unforeseen threats. Instead, reputation is seen as having a direct impact on consumer purchase intent and that ultimately affects the bottom-line – present value versus future value.”

Of course, a brand’s reputation has always been important. So what’s changed today?

For one thing, social media has given the individual consumer more power to reach a mass audience than ever before. They can share their personal success or horror stories about a product and the company responsible for it with a worldwide audience in literally seconds. According to Michael, what many CMO’s don’t realize is that they may be held personally accountable for any damage done to their company’s reputation due to negative customer communication.

To hear more of what Michael has to say on this subject click here.

 

Wendy Lalli VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli
VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

In addition to creating print, direct response and digital communications for clients like GE Healthcare and MB Financial, she has also written articles and blogs for organizations such as the BMA and the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago. Her interest in career development led her to write frequently on job search for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, contribute several chapters to college textbooks on marketing communications and facilitate career seminars at colleges, libraries and professional associations throughout Chicago.

Marketing Insights for the Digital Age: Michael Timpone

Written by Wendy Lalli

How to grow a start-up? Listen to your customers.

Michael Timpone Founder & CMO, Kapow Events

Michael Timpone
Founder & CMO, Kapow Events

Michael Timpone, founder and CMO, Kapow Events offered some fascinating insights on how a young company can build client relationships in this videotaped interview with the Chicago AMA. Kapow Events is an early stage, high-growth company that offers corporate clients the opportunity to book a wide range of events through the online marketplace. Some of the nation’s most prestigious firms including Google, LinkedIn, HP and Accenture use Kapow to provide uniquely designed social experiences for their clients and staff members.

Michael points out that his relatively new company found success by listening to their clients and incorporating this learning into the structure of their business. He also suggests the following tactics both for entrepreneurs and for established companies that want to deepen client relationships:

    • Find out what your customers like about you and build those elements into your technology platform and content
    • Increase your connections with your customers to increase sales
    • Experience your product as your customers do to become the ultimate expert
    • Partner with companies that provide measureable results for easier, more effective decision making

To hear Michael’s complete interview, please click here.

 

Wendy Lalli VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli
VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

In addition to creating print, direct response and digital communications for clients like GE Healthcare and MB Financial, she has also written articles and blogs for organizations such as the BMA and the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago. Her interest in career development led her to write frequently on job search for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, contribute several chapters to college textbooks on marketing communications and facilitate career seminars at colleges, libraries and professional associations throughout Chicago.

 

Marketing Insights for the Digital Age: Nancy Costopulos

Written by Wendy Lalli

CIO. A CMO’s Natural Partner in this Digital Age.

Nancy Costopulos Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Executive, Nonprofit Sector

Nancy Costopulos
Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Executive, Nonprofit Sector

To Nancy Costopulos, Chief Marketing Officer, Senior Executive, Nonprofit Sector of the AMA there is no question that digital technology has changed marketing in many ways. As she points out in this Chicago AMA leadership interview, today a CMO’s most important professional relationship is with the CIO of their organization.

Just consider the profound influence technology has over the way companies conduct market research, develop a target audience and disseminate brand messaging. All of these developments have made an enormous difference in how we market products.

For example, a restaurant owner who decides at 10 a.m. to offer a discount coupon on sandwiches can publicize this offering through the restaurant’s website, Facebook page and app in time for patrons to save on lunch that day. Or an investment broker can react to a change in the stock market with a blog and email blast to his clients within hours.

Marketers have also been able to make their content more relevant due to digitally gathered research identifying specific markets and analyzing what messages are most likely to resonate with them.

Finally, we can communicate with larger audiences more frequently than ever before, not only because of the international scope of the web, but the myriad of media channels now available. Marketing messages can reach targeted audiences through a wide mix of options including websites, social media, email blasts, banner ads and YouTube videos – not to mention the non-digital media.

To make the most effective use of all these elements, creative marketers ultimately must depend on and collaborate with the people who design and maintain the necessary digital technology. According to Nancy, this relationship depends on developing a sense of trust in each other and respect for the challenges each must face. Click here to hear more of her astute observations on the symbiotic partnership between marketing and IT.

 

Wendy Lalli VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli
VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

In addition to creating print, direct response and digital communications for clients like GE Healthcare and MB Financial, she has also written articles and blogs for organizations such as the BMA and the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago. Her interest in career development led her to write frequently on job search for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, contribute several chapters to college textbooks on marketing communications and facilitate career seminars at colleges, libraries and professional associations throughout Chicago.

Marketing Insights for the Digital Age: Steve Handmaker

Written by Wendy Lalli

Data. It’s not just about numbers – it’s about building customer relationships.

Steve Handmaker CEO, Assurance

Steve Handmaker
CEO, Assurance

Steve Handmaker, CEO of Assurance knows all about data. In this Chicago AMA leadership interview on the subject, he discusses the role data plays in building customer relationships that are vital to the success of every business.

As James Dodd observed in an article for Brandchannel, “marketing in the 21st Century is not about ROI anymore. It’s about the return on customer, maximizing the lifetime relationship with an individual. It’s about getting that one person who purchases your product once to purchase it again. … until they become something more than a customer. They become an advocate for your brand.”

But how does a marketer make this happen? According to Steve, data is the key. It gives us access to what customers really want and value. And that knowledge allows us to build stronger relationships with them through marketing. It also is essential for directing a company’s sales force on what to say and how to say it both to mass audiences and even to individual customers.

To listen to Steve’s enlightening and insightful interview just click here.

 

Wendy Lalli VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli
VP Creative, Crux Creative

Wendy Lalli is an award-winning writer and marketing strategist who has served clients in a wide range of industries and created communications in every format. She describes herself as “Peggy from ‘Madmen’ grownup.” She’s had her own company, Wendy Lalli, Ltd., since 1997 and is now a VP/Creative Director at Crux Creative, a creative and marketing agency in Milwaukee.

In addition to creating print, direct response and digital communications for clients like GE Healthcare and MB Financial, she has also written articles and blogs for organizations such as the BMA and the Professional Women’s Club of Chicago. Her interest in career development led her to write frequently on job search for the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers, contribute several chapters to college textbooks on marketing communications and facilitate career seminars at colleges, libraries and professional associations throughout Chicago.