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Stay up to date on ActionIQ events.

ActionIQ is changing the way brands think about, and transform, customer experience. Please continue to check back in on this page for the latest information about our upcoming events.

Shoptalk 2020
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Las Vegas, NV

Shoptalk 2020 will kick off the next decade of retail innovation and ActionIQ is a proud sponsor.  

Merkle Executive Summit
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Merkle Executive Summit

Palm Beach, FL

ActionIQ is a proud Silver Sponsor of the 2020 Merkle Executive Summit. Look out for our demo station in the demo area to learn more about how ActionIQ and Merkle are working together.

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Chicago, IL

ActionIQ is a proud sponsor of CRMC 2020.

Past Events

Managing the Customer Experience during COVID with American Express and Pearson Education

Executives from American Express, Pearson Education and More on COVID-19 and the New Reality of Customer Experience

On 4/30, ActionIQ hosted a virtual forum where executives and industry leaders discussed how they are adapting to manage the customer experience and meet rapidly changing customer needs during the global pandemic crisis. Moderated by ActionIQ’s Ryan Greene and Tamara Gruzbarg, the panel featured: Paul Evers, EVP of Financial Services at Merkle, previously an executive and leader at Wyndham Worldwide, Cendant and Ernst & Young Sarkis Kalashian, VP of Product at American Express, Distinguished Faculty Member & Lead Instructor of Product Management at General Assembly  Stefano Fanfarillo, Partner and Director, Personalization & Digital Marketing at Boston Consulting Group, formerly a consulting leader at CSC and Accenture Drew Miller, VP of North America Marketing at Pearson Education, previously Executive Director of Marketing Analytics and Insights at Dell The discussion delivered a series of helpful and insightful takeaways, beginning with thoughts on short term strategies for brands and marketers and moving on to strategies for emerging from the crisis stronger. #1  – Responding When a Channel Goes Down In previous virtual forum sessions, panelists extensively discussed the effect of brick-and-mortar shutdowns on non-essential retail brands. But the effect has also been profound in banking and financial services, where consumers and businesses are facing a financial crisis in addition to the health crisis. With the most vulnerable demographics of our population also the most dependent on branches—the shifts in behavior were immediate. Call centers were slammed. Banks saw a need to react and respond quickly, taking measures such as: Setting up processes to keep branches open for by-appointment services Utilizing personalization techniques to rapidly deploy new processes, messaging and training to call centers Creating training videos aimed at teaching offline customers to use online services Implementing virtual conferencing to replace select in-person interactions #2 — Taking a Solution Approach Call center volume continued as a hot topic among the panelists. Nearly all consumer-facing sectors have seen a surge, presenting a nearly impossible customer experience challenge. How do you meet customer expectations for response time at the call center when volume is going through the roof, and your own resources are constrained due to stay-at-home orders impacting operations? The answer for many was to take a solution-focused approach–finding alternative ways to address the underlying customer problem. For instance, one financial services institution was seeing a spike in customer inquiries related to travel charges. Rather than solely focusing on adding capacity to handle calls, they urged travel partners to craft and publicize more generous cancellation and change policies. With travel brands offering resolutions directly to customers, the financial institution was removed as an intermediary—and call center volume went down. #3 — Going From Analog to Digital in Days Brands and businesses of every type are working to increase their digital servicing capacity to most effectively and efficiently serve customers during the crisis. Perhaps the most significant and rapid digital transformation, however, is happening in the education sector. Nearly all in-person schooling around the world has been shut down, and hundreds of millions of students’ learning experience was shifted online in a matter of weeks. Learning institutions were in varied states of preparedness to make the shift, and each is moving along its own maturity curve to provide the highest value online learning experience possible. From a business standpoint, this shift has been especially critical for tuition-based institutions. For these schools, it’s not enough to meet a minimum set of education requirements. Rather, they must deliver tremendous value over virtual platforms in order to retain students whose initial enrollment was based on the expectation of an on campus experience. Learning platforms and schools are deep in a second wave of planning and execution to rise to the challenge. Testing is another challenge the education industry is preparing to tackle, as even online tests were designed to be administered in physical locations supervised by proctors. Leaders in the industry will be developing technology and processes to maintain the integrity of testing processes in a fully virtual mode. #4 — Rapid Increase in Digital Servicing Across the board, consumers and companies are reaching for—and racing to deliver—digital solutions. Whether it’s bringing new solutions online or scaling existing platforms. There is such a surge in digital needs, one panelist described it as working to achieve “10 years of change in 2 weeks.” Ecommerce channels have been supporting Black Friday levels of volume for weeks, with ecommerce seeing a 25% or more increase in overall spending. Panelists described a number of different digital trends they’re observing: Acceleration in digital media spend relative to non-digital Rush to provide omnichannel capabilities such as click and collect Increase in use of digital payments and use of digital products Massive efforts to enable remote workforces Businesses are also working to increasingly deploy timely personalized communications via website and email. For example, banks were charged with meeting aggressive rollout requirements for the CARES Act set by the federal government. Business applicants were thirsting for information about how and when they could apply for relief funds, and were eager to start the process as soon as possible. The banks who were either a)small enough to handle customers personally or b)had invested in web, email and app-based personalization were able to distribute timely and relevant information to customers, manage the application processes digitally, and help their customer secure funds. #5 — Achieving Empathy at Scale During the discussion, panelists described a conundrum: while serving customers effectively during the crisis requires the efficiency of digital processes, people are also seeking human interaction. To serve these competing needs, brands must seek to achieve what a panelist described as “empathy at scale.” Doing so requires: Making customer experience the responsibility of every single person in the organization Listening intently to what customers need at any given time Taking action to meet customer need Immediately, the conversation turned to customer signals, and how to use data to improve the customer experience. #6 — Listening to Signals Understanding customer needs–and being ready to serve them at scale—requires listening to signals. Our…

Customer Experience Management with ActionIQ

Marketing Execs and Thought Leaders from U.S. Bank, Sequoia Capital, Pepperdine Graziadio Business School and More on COVID-19 and the New Reality

On 4/22 ActionIQ hosted a virtual forum where brand executives and industry leaders discussed how they are adapting customer experience management to meet rapidly changing customer needs during the global pandemic crisis. Moderated by ActionIQ’s Ryan Greene and Tamara Gruzbarg, the panel featured: James Buckhouse, Design Partner at Sequoia Capital, previously holding senior design roles at Twitter and Dreamworks Animation Jennifer Borchardt, VP, Omnichannel Experience & Strategy, Wealth Management at U.S. Bank, previously a digital experience executive and leader at Wells Fargo and E*TRADE Claudio Ludovisi, Assistant Dean, Marketing Strategy & Corporate Relations at Pepperdine Graziadio Business School, previously a senior executive at Disney, NBC, IMAX and Warner Bros. Leslie Doty, Interim CEO at Women in the Boardroom, previously CMO and operating executive at Time Inc., Trusted Media Brands, CVS Health and Mastercard Craig Howard, Chief Solution Architect at Merkle, previously a marketing technology leader at Epsilon, DoubleClick and Accenture Elizabeth Shaw, Advisor to Fortune 500 CMOs, former analyst at Gartner and Forrester, previously a marketing leader at SEPHORA, Constellation Brands and Cisco Systems  The discussion delivered a series of helpful and insightful takeaways, beginning with thoughts on short term strategies for brands and marketers and moving on to techniques for emerging from the crisis stronger. #1 — Three Keys to Brand Relevance As discussed in a previous virtual forum on 4/8, relevance is everything for brands during the COVID-19 crisis. Our panel offered three keys to staying relevant: Rethink Messaging. Many brands are yet to shift messaging and are still talking about growth. Messages should emphasize empathy, acknowledging the customer’s pains and communicating how the brand is helping. Offer Solutions. Brands should move from selling a product to providing a solution, and being helpful, as opposed to opportunistic. Be Ready to Pivot Many brands are consumed with how to slash budget and downsize staff. But brands on track to overcome are successfully pivoting the entire organization to solve new challenges.  #2 — Examples of Effective Brand Pivots Panelists went on to share examples of effective responses and creative pivots by brands in order to remain relevant and offer solutions to the challenges of COVID-19. Airbnb launched Airbnb Experiences—delivering transporting experiences true to its brand, but without requiring physical travel. LinkedIn, The New York Times and Scholastic took down paywalls and to offer free solutions for helping children learn at home. Juice Press transformed literally overnight from a retail juice store into a fresh produce delivery service—filling the vacuum left by grocery delivery services that can’t meet demand. Regional food wholesalers have done the same, shifting business model to take and fulfill direct-to-consumer delivery orders. Carbon shifted from 3D printing custom sneaker soles for Adidas to making PPE face shields and sampling swabs, assisting with the shortage in protective gear for frontline healthcare workers. Food delivery services are implementing contactless deliveries, aided by technology, making life easier for people trapped at home and keeping revenue alive for struggling restaurants. Jack Dorsey transferred $1B of his equity in Square—28% of his personal wealth—to set up a COVID-19 relief fund. #3 — Customer Obsession is the Foundation Our panelists went on to discuss how brands can design the best way to reposition themselves to help customers with real pain points, and stay relevant during the crisis. It all begins with shifting focus away from product, inventory and channels. Rather, brands should become customer obsessed. This means truly knowing the customer—not simply their “stats and facts”–but what are they going through, what is their emotional state? How are they trying to keep their families healthy, safe, and fed? Next, brands shouldn’t jump to selling the solution. Rather, they should deeply understand the problem and convey that deeper and differentiated understanding of the problem to the market. It is proof of a superior understanding of the problem that sets brands apart and earns them the right to provide a solution. Lastly, brands must find a way to convey that the customer will be personally transformed by adopting the solution. Why should you use Zoom? Because your children go from having no connection with their teachers and classmates to being able to learn together from home. #4 — How Did You Make Your Customer Feel? In a prior virtual forum held on 4/8, panelists emphasized that after the crisis, people will remember how brands treated their customers and their employees. In this discussion, our panelists continued on the theme, stressing that it’s not enough to provide the product or service customers need right now. What they’ll remember is “how did you make me feel?” As the financial challenges of the crisis begin to mount, financial institutions are on the front lines. Consumers who are typically anxious about finances are now twice as anxious. People who exhibit avoidance (I don’t want to think about bills or financial planning) are now twice as avoidant. Banks that are customer obsessed are responding–using every available channel from call center to digital to mobile app. Even though the trend in banking has been to automate and digitize the experience—for convenience and cost reduction—banks are now working to support as many personal interactions as possible to solve customer problems and ease anxieties. This ranges from working to help those without access to traditional banking gain access to stimulus funds, through to helping investors make sense of unprecedented market conditions. Smaller banks, particularly, have led the way. And when the bulk of the crisis is behind us, and consumers are more free to exercise choice, efforts to make consumers feel more financially secure during the crisis will pay dividends for those brands. #5 — Going From Customer to Fan Many brands have become addicted to expensive paid media to support messaging, promotions and launches, but have lost touch with how to use authentic consumer engagement to propel their messages. By going beyond gaining customers to creating fans, brands get an exponential lift from self-motivated ambassadors outside their company. Creating fandom begins with defining a crystal clear brand purpose, one that touches…

Customer Experience

Marketing and CX Executives from AEO, Kate Spade, Shiseido, Vera Bradley on COVID-19 and Adjusting to Customer Needs

On 4/14 ActionIQ hosted a virtual forum where brand executives and industry leaders discussed how they are adapting to customer experience management and meet rapidly changing customer needs and customer expectations during the global pandemic crisis. Moderated by ActionIQ’s Ryan Greene and Tamara Gruzbarg, the distinguished panel featured: Amanda Bopp, VP of Digital Marketing & CRM at Kate Spade, previously a marketing leader at Michael Kors, dunnhumby and Catalina Oliver Chen, Managing Director — Retail and Luxury Sector Head at Cowen and Company, previously VP and Senior Analyst at Citigroup Investment Research Welington Fonseca, SVP of Customer Marketing at Shiseido Group, previously a marketing executive at Rent the Runway, Gilt Groupe and Lord & Taylor Chris Stephens, VP, Data Technology at American Eagle Outfitters, previously a data science and product team leader at Pivotal Software, Dell EMC and SAS Daren Hull, Chief Customer Officer at Vera Bradley, previously a senior marketing executive at Williams-Sonoma, Amazon and L’Oreal The discussion delivered a series of helpful and insightful takeaways, beginning with thoughts on how to approach leadership during this unprecedented crisis. #1 — For Leadership, Clarity is Key Our expert panelists recommended a back-to-basics, fundamental approach to leadership emphasizing clarity, transparency and availability—especially in the case of organizations that are now working remotely and may not be accustomed to it.  Three core elements of this approach came to the fore: Understanding what your org is capable of executing on right now, and developing an action plan is within those bounds Clearly defining and communicating the responsibilities you want your teams to own Setting out a clear timeline for every goal and deliverable More than a business crisis, however, COVID-19 is a human crisis. Leaders are striving to be present and available for their teams, acknowledge the difficult challenges they are facing both personally and professionally, and help them work through it. Many brands are successfully employing daily team stand-ups and frequent virtual 1-on-1’s as a way to ensure consistent, clear communication, as well as the availability and presence of leadership. Geographically, especially for global businesses, different teams are at different phases in the curve of the crisis. Asia, for instance, is working on reopening, while other regions have just begun to navigate shutdowns. Just as brands’ relationships with customers can no longer be “one size fits all,” management must also attune its style, tactics and expectations of employees based on the situation on the ground in each locale. #2 — Brands Are Listening to Customers in New Ways Customers are also experiencing unique and unprecedented challenges in their lives. And each customer persona has a differing relationship with—and expectations of—the brands they patronize. That’s why listening to customers about their wants and needs, and adapting the customer experience accordingly, is more important than ever to ensure customer satisfaction is met. As was stressed in our prior expert discussions on April 8th and April 2nd—quantitative customer data about behavior is key. But brands are using a range of innovative tactics to gather qualitative insights as well. For instance, a number of brands are turning to social media to observe and engage in conversations—gathering real time insights into customer feedback, opinions and needs. They’re also using those same channels to respond rapidly. Tactics include active solicitation of feedback via surveys and polling, as well as monitoring sentiment on social media, and quickly adjusting messaging and tactics in response to positive and critical customer feedback. #3 — Store Associates are Coming to The Rescue Relationships between associates and customers are also proving an invaluable asset. Though stores are closed, associates are working diligently to maintain customer loyalty and relationships via phone and online engagement. Brands are actively shaping their communications strategies and customer experience based on direct feedback obtained and relayed by associates. One panelist relayed the story of a brand canceling a major launch in partnership with Disney, out of sensitivity for the challenges people are facing with COVID. Through social media channels—and direct feedback to store managers—customers asked the company to reverse course and continue with the launch, conveying that “your brand is so positive, and we need your positivity right now.” After deliberating, the company listened and moved forward. Some consumers were immediately critical of the launch, questioning whether it was appropriate during the crisis. In a heartening turn, customers came to the brand’s defense, self-policing their community and shutting down the negativity—proving out that listening and being receptive to your customers always wins in the end. #4 — Brands are Innovating to Bring The Real World Online Many brands are working through the challenges of trying to engage with store-only or store-first customers via online channels. Once again, despite physical store closures, front line employees are proving invaluable and helping to maintain the customer experience, albeit in a new way. In place of relying on email marketing, one retail brand’s store associates are holding virtual shopping parties, where they use their firsthand customer knowledge to lead guided walkthroughs of the digital store, getting customers excited about exploring their favorite merchandise categories via a digital personalized experience. In another example, a CPG brand’s extended network of local artists is using Instagram to demonstrate the brand’s products in action. The primary goal was to pick up the brand’s traditionally offline engagement with customers in the online world—but it’s also delivered some unexpected revenue and happier customers. #5 — Opportunities Still Exist for Digital Laggards Other brands, who had been lagging in their digital transformation efforts, have been scrambling to find their footing in ways to stimulate customer engagement. Panelists advised that—COVID or no COVID—the future is digital. But COVID has certainly accelerated the future. While brands ill-prepared for digital are in more jeopardy than their digital-ready peers, panelists stressed that the crisis also presents opportunities to kick transformation into gear. Firstly, any internal resistance to change has likely disappeared as brands seek solutions, presenting an opportunity to push forward new initiatives. Secondly—just in the same way consumers are becoming newly accustomed to…

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