Five Good Minutes with Andy Frawley, CEO of Epsilon

As the newly named CEO of Epsilon who served as president since 2009, Andy leads this cutting-edge digital agency to help marketers succeed in our now consumer-empowered world. Andy is a leader who challenges marketers to look deeper, listen more keenly and learn more to get to know their customers’ dreams, desires and fears during unique moments, so that brands can respond with ideal offerings at the right moment of need.

Andy recently published Igniting Customer Connections, imbued with the same enigmatic raw energy that powers the Epsilon team to generate excitement, kindle engagement and light up meaningful results beyond your typical ROI for brands across the globe.

In his book, Andy introduces, “Return on Experience x Engagement (ROE2),” which is quickly becoming the tour de force for brands who care about attracting and retaining their customers by inspiring and measuring customer connections to improve business results.

Andy helps brand marketers understand the value of creating long-term brand equity by developing lifelong customer relationships, and he shares stories of how to ignite these customer connections in his book. (You can buy it at the other Wiley).

In five good minutes, Wylei hopes to delve deeper into some of Andy’s insights.

Here it goes. So, Andy, here’s what we’d like to know…

We’d love to hear your thoughts on why classic ROI is losing relevance as a way to measure results? Where is the disconnect or what has changed?

During the past few years I have seen large, global brands struggle with how to deploy their marketing resources to create an emotional connection with customers.

With advancements in technology, the old ways of marketing are over. Campaign cycles are measured in mere minutes, not days. Marketers can reach a multitude of new customers with a single click, an email, a post or a tweet.

While technology alone can’t produce great marketing, great marketing today depends on technology. With the digital revolution came the challenge of how to effectively measure the success or failure of a campaign. Traditionally we’ve used ROI, or return on investment, for a marketing campaign, usually in a single channel over a period of time. In Igniting Customer Connections, I introduce a concept called ROE², or Return on Experience x Engagement. This is designed to measure the effectiveness of not a single campaign but a collection of campaigns. And it’s not just about looking at what consumers do – for example did they make a purchase as a result of your marketing effort – but also looking at how consumers feel about your brand. It’s about the behaviors we want our customers to exhibit that aren’t just purchase related. We want them to be viral. We want them to engage with us across social media. We want them to post and blog about us. In fact, those behaviors may be more important than buying. ROE² is designed to address the challenges of measuring results in today’s digital world.

You describe opportunities to make powerful consumer connections by taking full advantage of “atomic moments of truth” can you walk us through a quick example?

Atomic Moments of Truth are pivotal instances when a marketer has an opportunity to connect with their customer on a personal level, influence their buying behavior and lay the foundation for a lasting relationship. It’s the opportunity to make or break the relationship between a consumer and a brand.

Walgreens’ has a great program to reward their customers called Walgreens Balance Rewards. Through this program members get rewarded for taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle. By linking their Fitbit device to their Balance Rewards program they earn 20 points for every mile they walk or run and 20 points per daily weigh-in.

This is one way Walgreens’ is recognizing their customers for making a positive lifestyle change and rewarding them in a manner that matters most to them. That is an Atomic Moment of Truth – that pivotal moment when a brand can deliver value to their customer, engage them on a personal level and land that customer for life.

How can a marketing team amplify the impact of customer experience and engagement?

To ignite meaningful connections, ensure you don’t lose sight of what is most important– the customer. Consumers are communicating all the time, with brands and with each other. They’re looking for information, generating feedback, commenting on brands and buying products. This new consumer landscape requires new ways of thinking about customer connections and the role marketers play in the customer lifecycle.

With the consumer now in the driver’s seat, marketers must keep this front of mind. Now customers want to receive information when they want it, where they want it, and how they want it. And they expect brands to deliver on that. So it’s very important to engage customers where and when they are in the moment, and that requires an omnichannel approach – across email, the web, social media and mobile.

Brands need to realize that every customer interaction, online and offline is an opportunity to impact engagement and experience. These small, yet important moments of brand-to-customer interaction are “Atomic Moments of Truth” and can lead to better brand loyalty, purchases recommendations, positive word-of-mouth and more.

Your advice to marketers working in the trenches everyday how they can create a culture of continuous, measurable, and repeatable growth?

It starts with understanding what is driving consumer behavior. There’s been a monumental change in the way that consumers engage with brands-largely driven by an explosion in media, devices and disruptive technology. Specifically, digital technology has enabled brands to cross borders and oceans to reach consumers in every corner of the globe and it’s moving faster than ever. On top of that, marketers now have access to more data than they could have ever imagined.

All of this means that consumers are communicating with one another and with brands anytime, anywhere. And their expectations are high. Marketing interactions that were once quarterly, monthly or daily are now all the time.

To be successful, marketers need to be relevant, in the moment, enabled at the transaction level, creating an emotional connection, and super-agile, in order to adapt and rise above the noise. They do this by focusing on a powerful combination of customer experience and engagement.

What is the best marketing advice you have ever received?

As we have been discussing, marketing has changed, as have the skills required to be a successful marketing practitioner today. While some of the basic requirements are the same, marketers today are expected to do less with more. They’re expected to be more technically savvy and to be able to prove the value of their efforts at the drop of a dime. Some of the best advice I have ever received is on point with the constant change we have been experiencing.

Always be learning. While you’re expected to have a certain level of knowledge upon entering the workforce, much of what you’ll need to know will be learned on the job. And the learning doesn’t stop there. The field is constantly changing so switch to student mode whenever possible to sharpen and advance your skills.

Be human. Consumers are people. The products we market, the content we write, the apps we create and more will be used and consumed by people. So while technology plays a huge role in marketing today and it should be used to improve processes and customer experiences but when doing so make sure you don’t lose that human touch. Make sure you create a human connection.

Crunch the numbers. As marketers we need to be able to prove the value of our work. This can be difficult today considering the rise of various marketing channels. While you don’t necessarily need to be a mathematician, ensure you have a thorough understanding of how to measure your campaigns in terms of brand revenue and equity.

Wylei loves partnering with Epsilon because of their unique ability to harnesses the power of rich data, world-leading technologies, engaging creativity and transformative ideas to ignite connections between brands and customers. Epsilon really knows how to deliver dramatic results through optimizing relationships, but, more importantly, by keeping those relationship fires burning.

Thanks, Andy. Those were five great minutes.

About Epsilon

Epsilon is the global leader in delivering direct-to-customer connections that drive business performance. Epsilon’s integrated solutions leverage the power of rich transactional and demographic marketing data, strategic insights, analytics, award-winning creative and robust digital and database marketing technologies to connect brands with consumers both online and offline, increasing engagement to generate measurable marketing outcomes. Founded in 1969, Epsilon works with over 2,000 global clients and employs over 4,800 associates in 60 offices worldwide. Epsilon is an Alliance Data company. For more information, visit www.epsilon.com, follow us on Twitter @EpsilonMktg or call 1.800.309.0505.