Harvard Business Review: Better customer insight – in real time

Real time experience tracking: How it works

We’ve been working with MESH Planning for the past 3 years to develop the analytics around the unique real time experience tracking tool they developed.  A paper drawing on this work appeared in the September issue of Harvard Business Review (http://hbr.org/2012/09/better-customer-insight-in-real-time/ar/1)

Here’s a brief video interview where I talk about our work at Cranfield using this unique approach:


Dr Emma K. Macdonald
CCMF Research Director

Posted in Customer centricity, Customer experience, Customer insight, digital marketing, Harvard Business Review, Marketing communications, measurement, Real time experience tracking | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Orchestrating great customer experiences

Experience never leaves the agenda of marketers so it never leaves our agenda at Cranfield.  Forum Director, Prof Hugh Wilson outlines the key focus areas in a recent video interview:   http://youtu.be/ZB3M1xhkYfM

November 22nd – Orchestrating great customer experiences

The theme of the forthcoming workshop of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum is managing the customer experience.   In a world in which the core product/service is often commoditised, we need to understand our customers’ holistic experience of us, and then optimise it to their benefit and ours. The November workshop provides leading-edge input into each of these topics.  Topics include:

SAS and MESH Planning: on the application of real time experience tracking (RET) technique to a key multichannel challenge: how to gear up the firm to serve the very different channel combinations preferred by different customers.

Cranfield and Spectrum Insight: on how social media data can be used not just qualitatively but quantitatively to understand what brand attributes are driving sales, and where action is most urgently required.   Case studies in the automotive and supermarket categories will be presented.

RBS:  Experience insight is useless unless it’s actioned. And if you want some serious action, hire a black belt! That’s what RBS did when they appointed a Six Sigma expert at improving the customer experience. The results from RBS’s Group Head of Customer Experience are fascinating and insightful.

Attending the November workshop:  If your organisation is already a member of Cranfield Customer Management Forum, then ask your lead contact about attending the forum in November or call Yvonne Thompson on 01234 751122.

Not yet a member?  If your organisation is not yet a CCMF member, then contact us for more information:  email Pippa Highfield at P.A.Highfield@cranfield.ac.uk

Hugh, Emma and the CCMF team

Posted in CRM, Customer experience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cranfield in Harvard Business Review

Following on from our recent HBR.org blogpost (August 2012), we’re delighted to let you know that our 7-page article “Better Customer Insight – in Real Time” appears in the September issue.   (If you are fortunate enough to read the glossy magazine you will notice the article is listed on the front cover!)


This paper on real-time experience tracking (RET) is based on the work we’ve had underway for the past three years with innovative research agency MESH Planning.  MESH developed a technique for capturing customer data via the mobile phone which is revolutionising how companies understand the customer experience.  We’ve been helping MESH and their clients with the analytics to make the most of the data.  This article illustrates some of the applications of this new tool.

For the next few days the article can be read free online (until end of next week 14 Sept 2012).  Please do take a look at it and let us know what you think


Dr Emma Macdonald and Prof Hugh Wilson

Posted in Customer centricity, Customer experience, Customer insight | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

HBR.org: Tracking the customer’s journey to purchase


Unfortunately, few companies have an overall picture of their customers’ journey towards a purchase, because the information is all too often stuck in a channel silo…. A new method, real-time experience tracking (RET) documents the path to purchase…

This post is ‘hot off the press’ today. It’s based on work we’ve been doing over the past couple of years on real-time experience tracking and we’d love to hear what you think about it.



Posted in Customer experience, Customer insight, Harvard Business Review, Real time experience tracking | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Early bird agenda: Marketing innovation

Next Cranfield Customer Management Forum workshop is on Marketing Innovation – 27 Sept 2012

We have super case studies from Orange, Jewson and Ahlstrom, plus Cranfield expert Chris van der Hoven. And an innovative ring-a-friend session to get you some peer support on our own company’s innovation challenges.

CEOs are clear. They want more accountability and more innovation out of marketers. You can’t get radically better metrics without both incremental and step-change innovation, actually. This workshop deals with both.

We start with an expert view on what distinguishes high-innovation firms, industries and countries from low-innovation ones, from Cranfield’s Chris van der Hoven. He will draw on his recent research in India as well as his personal impressive track record.

We then have three case studies tackling different aspects of the challenge, starting with innovation in the brand. Orange Business Services report on a successful three-year project to refresh both the brand and, of course, the customer experience through which the brand is largely perceived. Billion dollar paper and materials group Ahlstrom also have an experience led approach, looking at how the whole value chain contributes to a customer getting their job done – such as us decorating our house – and where the unmet needs are. This systematic approach helps to embed innovation as a habit. Jewson are crowdsourcing their innovation, and will discuss the challenges this poses in opening out the organisational boundary.

Last but not least, we have a syndicate ‘ring-a-friend’ session that will allow delegates to team up with others facing similar issues and provide some peer support.

Further dates for the diary

Finally, further dates for the diary. If you have thoughts about what you most want us to cover, or speaker ideas, or what research we should be doing and feeding back to members on these topics, do let us know.

22 November on customer experience.
Speakers include RBS, Orange, SAS and Cranfield.

28 February 2013 on CRM.

16 May 2013 on multichannel.

For more information about any of these events or joining the forum: CCMF@cranfield.ac.uk


Hugh Wilson
Forum Director

Posted in Customer centricity, Innovation | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enhancing the effectiveness of low resourced campaigns

One syndicate session at the May 2012 meeting of Cranfield Customer Management Forum identified this as a key challenge:

This discussion was inspired by a great presentation on RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution), a UK charity which reached over one million young people off the back of a direct mail campaign to 12 influential bloggers.   (Thanks to Doug Dunn from TunedIn and Debi Bester from Proximity for a truly inspiring session).

Frequently senior management are setting their marketing teams the objective of developing campaigns with minimal resources (time or finances), compelling them to think differently.   These are a few of the principles that the syndicate discussed:

  • Start each marketing campaign meeting from the premise that you have no money to spend and brainstorm ideas based around your campaign objective
  • Leverage your existing assets:  Search for under-utilised assets that already exist within the business but are not being used to their full potential
  • Turn the business inside out:  Look beyond the nuts and bolts of the business and seek resources that can be used in a different way or repurposed.
  • Start lots of small campfires rather than one big bonfire:  Start small and build on what is working.
  • Think thin and deep:  Look for ways to develop deep relationships with a small number of customers who will then become strong advocates on your behalf.
  • Make your customers the heroes: Go beyond testimonials and use your customers to tell your story.
  • Gain senior management buy-in by taking the time to show them: Often people just assume CEOs/senior management don’t value their work or are resistant to new technologies.  But perhaps no one has taken the time to show them.  However, pick your moments.  For instance, one organisation gives printouts of customer feedback to their CEO so that she has something to read on long flights.  This helps to demonstrate the value of the marketing team through the voice of the customer.

Do any of the workshop participants want to add further comments?  Other thoughts welcome!

Posted in Campaign, Customer centricity, Customer experience, Customer insight, Marketing communications | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Challenges of measuring and improving marketing effectiveness

 At the 10 May 2012 meeting of the Cranfield Customer Management Forum, participants were asked the following question:

“List one challenge you are having with measuring and improving marketing effectiveness in your organisation”

We identified five broad themes which we then discussed:

  1. Defining and measuring social media KPIs.
  2. Enhancing the effectiveness of low resourced campaigns.
  3. Allocating an inferred sale when you’re using online/offline, multiplatform campaigns.
  4. Measuring and managing the ‘big orchestration’ approach – efficacy, scale, etc.
  5. How to measure engagement in an actionable way? How do you know what portion of your customer base are disengaged?

We then delved into some of these issues in our syndicate discussions.  Any comments?


Dr Emma Macdonald CCMF Research Director
Follow me: @DrEmmaMacdonald, #CranfieldCMF, ccmf@cranfield.ac.uk

Posted in marketing effectiveness, measurement, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment