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IBM survey: CMOs challenged to reach connected consumers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Armonk, N.Y. — A survey released Thursday by IBM found that chief marketing officers and chief information officers must join forces in order to connect with today’s consumer across new channels including mobile devices and social networks.

More than half (60%) of marketers pointed to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers. One key new finding of the survey showed that with mobile marketing working well, marketers are now preparing to go beyond coupons and deliver mobile advertising that reaches customers on their smart phone and tablets.

According to the study, 34% of respondents stated that in less than 12 months, they intend to deliver mobile ads, the highest rate of new marketing tactic adoption in the five-year history of the study. Overall, 46% of respondents are currently using mobile web sites followed by 45% mobile applications, up from 40% and 44% respectively since last year.



While the mobile channel is thriving, marketers lack this same clear consensus on how to best utilize social media which will result in ongoing experimentation with these channels. For example, when looking toward the remainder of the year, 26% intend to launch applications on 3rd party social network sites, 24% plan to incorporate user-generated content into their social media efforts and 23% are looking to launch social media ads or share links in email and web offers.



IBM’s “State of Marketing 2012” surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals. In the study, 51% of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT, 10% higher than other companies.

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, VP IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group. “CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”



Additional results from the survey include: While 48% of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60% indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology.

While 71% believe integration across owned, earned and paid channels is important, only 29% are effectively integrating these different channels. When asked why, 59% said that existing systems are too disparate to integrate these channels. This is most evident in areas such as mobile and social where only 21% and 22% of respondents run these tactics as part of integrated campaigns with the remainder conducting them in silos, discretely and on an ad hoc basis, a practice which inhibits their ability to deliver effective cross-channel campaigns.

While new social media and mobile devices are vital, 41% stated that keeping pace with the growth of these channels and device choices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. And, while marketers continue to experiment with social media channels, 51% are not using this data to inform decisions about marketing offers and messages. This may represent a missed opportunity for marketers looking to best meet the needs of today’s customer.

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Von Maur to expand e-commerce fulfillment center

BY Staff Writer

Davenport, Iowa — Department store retailer Von Maur said Thursday it has begun construction on an expansion of its e-commerce fulfillment center to support continued growth in its web presence.

Projected for completion in October 2012, the expansion will add an additional 73,000 sq. ft. to the company’s current 46,000-sq.-ft. center in Davenport, Iowa.

The expansion, said the retailer, reflects the company’s successful online business at vonmaur.com, which has seen triple-digit percentage sales increases every year since 2008. Having already outgrown its original 46,000-sq.-ft. facility built in 2010, the new 119,000-sq.-ft. center will further enable Von Maur to serve a nationwide online customer base and grow its presence beyond its established Midwestern roots.

"E-commerce will continue to be a key driver of growth, helping us further extend the one-of-a-kind Von Maur brand and offering to customers across the country," said Jim von Maur, president of Von Maur Department Store.

In addition to growing its online presence, Von Maur is expanding its national footprint with plans to add three new stores to its current 27 stores. A second Atlanta retail location is scheduled to open in fall 2012, and locations in Alabama and New York are scheduled to open in fall 2013.

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CVS takes personalization to next level with new CVS.com site

BY Antoinette Alexander

Woonsocket, R.I. — CVS/pharmacy officially unveiled on Thursday a new personalized digital experience on CVS.com, which features extensive health information and resources in addition to customized deals and savings information.

“It is one step of many that is focused on creating the most personalized and accessible shopping experience. … After 14 years of ExtraCare’s track record, we are uniquely positioned to make sure that the logic and the thinking and the insights that we have really pay off for the customer, both in terms of their health objectives and their savings objectives,” Rob Price, senior VP and CMO for CVS/pharmacy, said.

One of the key highlights of the revamped site is the pharmacy page, which is designed for easy management of health information so shoppers can not only remember to refill and pick up prescriptions but also gather the information they need about what’s in their medicine cabinet. Visitors also have access to a Drug Information Center to check for drug interactions and identify pills by shape, color and imprint.

The new site also features a hub for ExtraCare members to help them manage their savings and deals. ExtraCare members can view their ExtraSavings and ExtraBucks Rewards and send ExtraBucks Rewards and select coupons directly to their card via the "Send to Card" digital savings option. In addition, shoppers can turn toward the new deals hub for even more exclusive offers including "Deal of the Day" flash sales.

As part of its digital commerce initiative, CVS has also developed the Endless Aisle, which features those items available only online or offers a deeper product assortment than what might be available in the store.

“We are going to be looking at a number of categories where we have the credibility and the trust from our customers to add to our assortment online, and there will be more to come on that in the coming months,” Price said.

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