Passive subscriber churn — and how to mitigate it (VB Live)

VB LIVE: Subscription businesses can lose the happiest of subscribers because of involuntary churn. But machine learning can automatically reduce this passive churn and boost monthly recurring revenue by an average of 9 percent. Learn more about how to improve transaction success rates and billing continuity when you join this VB Live event! Access…Read More

Hyper-personalization: Marketing to a segment of one (VB Live)

Customers expect you to know what they want, and then deliver it. In other words, hyper-personalization. Learn how to trigger interest, engage, and drive sales with hyper-personalized one-on-one marketing when you join our latest VB Live event!

Don’t miss out! Register now.

Forget the Internet of Things. Consumers are now happily living in the Internet of Me era, where their every wish is your command — and that’s a huge opportunity for marketers. By understanding what your customers like, what they enjoy, and what they spend money on, you can unlock the ability to deliver personalized recommendations that don’t even feel like advertisements. Relevance allows you to position yourself as an assistant, an invaluable asset to their browsing and shopping life, rather than an interruption.

The numbers don’t lie:

  • Forrester uncovered the fact that 77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or even paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
  • Accenture found that 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy when you show you recognize them as an individual and provide recommendations based on their unique wants and needs.
  • Infosys discovered that 59 percent of consumers rely on personalization to influences their shopping choices.
  • Rapt Media wants you to know that 63 percent of consumers said their hearts would grow fonder of a brand that offers up valuable, interesting or relevant content.
  • Infosys also revealed that 74 percent of customers get frustrated when they encounter website content that’s not personalized.
  • Marketo learned that 63 percent of consumers are pissed at you for blasting generic ad messages at them all the time.
  • Marketo also found that over 78 percent of consumers reject offers unless they’ve been personalized to their previous brand experience.

More than ever, consumers are willing to share data in exchange for personalized shopping experiences. And once you get their consent, you can offer them outstanding experiences that amaze and delight, netting you those progressively more discerning customers who increasingly make up the majority of consumers in the market.

Our latest VB Live event will get you started with a bang. Register now to learn how to select, implement, and optimize hyper-personalization technology like AI and shopping bots, build individual customer profiles, and leverage one-to-one marketing at scale — without coming off as a creeper.

Don’t miss out!

Register today.

You’ll learn:

  • Why broad segmentation is no longer enough
  • How shopping bots, AI, and more enable one-to-one marketing
  • How psychographics, lifecycle data, and multi-channel behavior can build customer profiles
  • How engagement, experience, and retention improves one-to-one marketing
  • The importance of not being creepy
  • Trends and future of hyper-personalization


  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VentureBeat

Intelligent assistants vs. chatbots: Which is best for your biz? (VB Live)

Looking to implement an intelligent assistant or chatbot? Don’t miss our latest VB Live event, where we tap a panel of developers with long-term, hands-on experience in selecting the right digital engagement solution, planning a strategy, and seeing results. Register now!

Register for free right here.

The future is here; it’s just not evenly distributed – yet. As chatbots and intelligent assistants get more sophisticated and use cases start piling up, they’re finally moving out of the early adopter phase and into the need-to-have territory for businesses.

A recent study shows that consumers are ready for them, if they’re done right. It revealed that 40 percent of consumers would make a purchase from a chatbot interface, and nearly 60 percent of would engage with a chatbot especially if it meant receiving coupons or special offers.

But the buzz surrounding these tools has done a lot to obscure what they actually are, what they can do for your company, and how you can implement one successfully, and not egregiously.

The difference

Today’s chatbots and virtual assistants have evolved past basic logic with the integration of back-end artificial intelligence. It helps to create experiences that are more conversational while providing a lot more utility for the end user.

Chatbots are generally focused on on a single purpose, whether it’s in ecommerce as a shopping agent, first-level customer service, or customer engagement and entertainment. With less complicated machine learning algorithms and leaner architecture, they require less infrastructure and are far quicker to build, deploy, and implement than an AI-powered virtual assistant, letting you automate a single business function with a smaller investment.

Intelligent assistants can technically be chatbots if they interact with you through a conversational interface such as Slack or Facebook Messenger, but they’re powered by more advanced cognitive computing technologies such as advancements in natural language processing, complex machine learning, and AI. They can continuously learn from consumer interaction to become better at predicting end users’ needs, and can potentially understand and carry out multi-step requests and perform more complex tasks such as making a hotel or plane reservation.

The measure of success

The key measure of success of either is how much value the chatbot or assistant adds. No user is impressed by a shiny new feature that doesn’t do anything to add value to their experience — which makes your company breathlessly bandwagony, rather than technologically sophisticated.

A chatbot or virtual assistant should either be performing a task a person would find hard to do themselves, or saving your user time by performing tasks that would take them a long while to accomplish. Just think about the times you’ve been forced into a voice recognition maze with no “hit zero for an operator” option. And how very, very close you probably came to throwing your phone out the window.

Do you really need one?

You can actually hurt your business if you don’t think critically about if your brand really will benefit from the power of chatbots or virtual assistants — or if you’re just riding a trend. Plus, if it’s implemented without a plan, the execution is going to provide actual pain and frustration to your consumer (think about that endless voice tree).

So learn how to get those customers on board, plus which platform you need and how to launch, when you join our latest VB Live event!

Don’t miss out!

Register now.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Understand the messaging platforms of the future
  • Learn which platforms people are using — and why
  • Measure the success of your chatbot through best-practice KPIs
  • Create personalized interaction between your organization and your customers


  • Amir Shevat, Director of Developer Relations, Slack
  • Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VB
  • Rachael Brownell, Moderator, VB

You can call it hype — but Watson is getting marketers ROI

IBM CMO Rashmy Chatterjee is a featured speaker at MB 2017, July 11-12 in San Francisco. She’s among dozens of others from some of the most iconic brands who will be sharing how marketers are using AI within the broad marketing ecosystem to stay ahead. See the full roster of speakers here.

“AI, or cognitive computing, absolutely should be table stakes today,” says Rashmy Chatterjee, IBM’s North America CMO. “In the future, cognitive computing (AI) won’t even be an option anymore. You’ll use it as a matter of course.”

In her upcoming talk at MB 2017, “Applied AI for Real ROI,” she’ll break down the real-world examples that prove her statement out — like the five-fold increase in conversions that BMO (Bank of Montreal) achieved using strategies fueled by Watson, IBM’s powerful AI platform.

“BMO uses our client experience tools, and their conversion rate on mobile — from customer interest to actual business — went up from ten percent to 50 percent,” Chatterjee says. “With American Eagle, we’ve seen an almost 20 percent increase in mobile traffic because AI implementation dramatically increased their understanding of customer issues.”

Chatterjee has an unshakable focus on making IBM’s clients successful, and goes on to explain this goal is achieved by helping brands better understand their customers, discern context of action and queries,  provide multiple options to engage, respond to feedback quickly in a personalized way — and, ultimately, by enabling them to deliver an unmatched superior experience.

Enter Watson, IBM’s poster child for AI, which now has APIs that can discern tone, understand personality quirks, and learn where and how the client is seeking to be engaged, with real-time input from customers that is immediately actionable.

“Watson has a set of capabilities, and with each of them the goal is: Can we make this experience better for the client, and can we make them more successful in what they want to do?” Chatterjee says.

For instance, the Tone Analyzer capability uses linguistic analysis to detect communication tones in text to understand conversations and communications — allowing brands to respond to customer needs, worries and wants. Or to better analyze and understand what’s really behind the thousands of comments customers leave scattered across social media.

“We also use Tone Analyzer for customer experience assessments and customer support, and with this information, we keep getting better,” she adds. “We’re constantly asking, what does it mean, and how can we respond to it better?”

Then there’s Watson’s Personality Insights service which extracts personality characteristics based on a variety of written communications using customers’ social media entries, enterprise data, and other digital communications.

Try a demo here and Watson may tell you that “you are helpful and analytical,” and “your choices are driven by a desire for well being” (along with a much fuller description). Or you may learn from that “you are excitable and adventurous, eager to try new things.. and you tend to speak up and take charge of situations.”

By enabling companies to learn who their customers are as individuals, they can improve acquisition, retention, and engagement with highly personalized interactions.

Chatterjee points out that mobile is where these AI capabilities have the most potential to shine. Of course, the bar is high. Customers already expect to be able to do most transactions on mobile, and take things like location capabilities for granted.

“But what is the next frontier?” asks Chatterjee. “What are the next things we can do — through emotions, through tone, through personalities, through so many other technological capabilities that will create an even more differentiated client experience?”

Chatterjee will be speaking about how her teams are already making progress on this next frontier — and where it’s going next. You can register for MB 2017 right here.

2 secrets to eliminating involuntary subscriber churn (VB Live)

Find out how to optimize subscriber acquisition and accelerate your business growth when you join this interactive VB Live event to find out — plus tap into the latest research and benchmarks on key subscriber acquisition metrics.

Register here for free.

Up-front, reliably recurring revenue is probably the shiny, candy-red apple that tempts you into developing a subscription model, but it’s the long-term advantages that pack the most punch for business growth, says Emma Clark, senior product manager at subscription platform Recurly.

“The benefit of moving to a subscription model is that you’re able to develop a relationship with the customer,” Clark explains. “You’re able to learn more about the customer that you wouldn’t be able to through a one-time transaction — and really maximize the value of that relationship.”

But the biggest mistake a subscription business can make is underestimating the complexity of payments and billing, which directly impacts customer retention.

“Companies think about churn traditionally as the customer not wanting to use their service anymore, but they forget about what we call involuntary churn,” Clark says. And that happens when a customer’s credit card payments fail and the customer drops your service, either because they don’t notice or because it’s not convenient to update their info.

“You put a lot of investment up front to acquire customers, so the value you get from them is the most important revenue driver,” Clark says. “Over the lifetime of the subscriber, if you’re not managing your churn, then your LTV or your subscriber lifetime value is always going to be lower than you want, and that costs a lot to the business. You may not even get a payback on that customer.”

There are two steps to manage this, says Clark, both in-house and with the help of a subscription platform.

“On our side, we work with the credit card companies and we automatically update the credit card information for the customer, so that the next time the payment is run it will automatically go through, assuming the information is accurate,” she says.

The other is by always staying on top of those payment failures, and make re-upping as frictionless as is possible.

“When either payment information is out of date or when a customer cancels, proactively reach out to those customers before they churn,” Clark says. “Reach out to your customers and say hey, remember the value proposition? We do want your business, we want you to re-enage with us, please reach out to us.”

And then, she says, make that really simple for them. “So no going online, clicking five steps to update your credit card information,” Clark adds. “Either make it a one-click process to update it, or give them one number for them to update their information. We see a lot of success with our customers out there who are trying to minimize that friction.”

For more essential best practices for customer retention, what data you need to stay on top of and why, plus the latest research and benchmarks on key subscriber acquisition metrics, don’t miss this interactive VB Live event.

Don’t miss out!

Register here for free.

In this VB Live event, you’ll:

  • Identify the most effective subscription plans and promotions
  • Compare your trial program performance against industry benchmarks
  • Use best practices to create a frictionless subscription experience
  • Capture the key metrics for measuring acquisition performance–plan performance, MRR, LTV and more.


  • Emma Clark, Senior Product Manager, Recurly
  • Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

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