Evergage - Feed https://www.evergage.comf Real-time behavior-based personalization Tue, 21 Jan 2020 20:56:48 +0000 en hourly 1 CDPs are for B2B Companies Too https://www.evergage.com/blog/cdps-for-b2b-companies/ Fri, 17 Jan 2020 15:48:21 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57724

Keep on reading: CDPs are for B2B Companies Too]]>

The customer data platform (CDP) market continues to expand. While CDPs first resonated with large B2C brands such as retailers, the technology is rapidly gaining momentum among B2B organizations too. After all, for those companies, a unified view of their customers and prospects is also critical.

In fact, the CDP Institute reported last year that a greater percentage of B2B organizations are  planning CDP deployments over the next 12 months than their B2C counterparts. And in another sign the market is rapidly picking up steam, Forrester issued its first-ever Forrester New WaveTM : B2B Customer Data Platforms report and evaluation last year as well.

Clearly, there’s mounting interest – and a compelling and pervasive need – for the technology among B2B organizations. Is it a good fit for your company? Here is some background on CDPs, common goals and frequent B2B use cases to help you assess the value.

What’s a CDP – and Why Do We Need One?

Companies today have mounds (and mounds and mounds) of customer and prospect data – typically sprawled across many systems and multiple channels, and “owned” by different organizational groups. For B2B companies, this information encompasses multichannel behavioral data, as well as attribute and transactional data from CRM solutions, marketing automation platforms (MAPs), call center solutions, survey and customer experience (CX) systems, and more. 

Yet ironically, rather than improve the customer experience, this vast, often-siloed data creates a fragmented view of the customer, and CX suffers. When the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing, customers and prospects have to hunt for what they want (again and again, across channels), fill out the same forms repeatedly and can’t pick up where they left off. For example, when B2B companies can’t recognize and cater to their visitors, they might promote a “free trial” offer to a current user, or promote a video on the homepage that a strategic prospect has already seen. Situations like these are frustrating at best. (And at worst, such disconnects can cause visitors to turn to a competitive solution.) 

On the organizational side, without a single, real-time view of each customer and prospect – and their attributes, interests and intent – companies can’t target their customers well, and are limited in their marketing and sales effectiveness. 

That’s where CDPs come in – bringing all the messy, disparate customer and prospect data into one place, and making it meaningful and actionable. CDPs collect, store and synthesize first- and third-party data from across systems and channels to create a single, unified view of each customer, prospect and account (often called a unified customer profile) – so companies can better understand and engage their audiences.

Not all CDPs are Created Equal

There are multiple types or levels of CDPs, geared toward various use cases and falling under  three principal classifications:

  • Level 1: A customer data repository. This type of CDP is often used for identity “stitching,” analytics and analyses, rather than action. The main users of this type of CDP are typically business analysts and data scientists.
  • Level 2: CDPs that can also pass segment-level data to other systems. These platforms put the synthesized information and insights to use, but only at the segment (group) level – so marketing can, for example, message all customers that are likely to churn, deliver an appropriate homepage experience to all first-time visitors, show a relevant LinkedIn ad to existing users of particular product, etc. 
  • Level 3: Systems of record AND systems of action, at the individual level. Encompassing all the functionality of Level 1 and 2 CDPs, Level 3 CDPs can also process and apply data for real-time, 1-to-1 personalization – all from the same system. Level 3 CDPs use machine learning and real-time processing to decide which individuals to engage, with what content, in which channel and when. For example, they could recommend relevant blog articles and eBooks based on an individual’s patterns of engagement and interest, trigger an email to a prospect who just abandoned a webinar sign-up form, or notify a call center agent about a customer who just viewed an article about how to cancel her account, etc.

CDPs have great potential to positively impact CX, as they sit between a company’s data sources and its engagement channels. For many companies, the whole point of collecting customer and prospect data is being able to do something with it – meaning that near-term and/or future goals typically include driving engagement among audience members, at both the segment and individual levels. A CDP that’s only a system of record can’t support this vision.

Do CDPs Goals Differ Among B2B and B2C Companies?

At a high level, the answer is “no.” It makes sense that all companies want a unified view of their customers, and most want the ability to activate their data too. With more well-rounded customer information (and the no-longer-elusive 360-degree view of the customer), you can greatly improve marketing effectiveness, customer service, product development and more – positively impacting the bottom line.

The strategies that CDPs support often vary, though, among B2B and B2C organizations. For example, B2B companies are often highly interested in insights they can glean – and actions they can take – from their prospect data (e.g., triggering a Slack or SMS to sales based on a prospect’s activity, targeting a strategic prospect with a special offer, etc.). While visitor data is still important in the B2C world, we see a greater emphasis there on using CDPs to amass and activate insights related to existing customers. 

In addition, as account-based marketing (ABM) plays a greater role in B2B companies’ go-to-market strategies, CDPs help them effectively execute those strategies. CDPs often serve as a central hub for buyer/prospect information and communications – with the ability to target key accounts, understand visitor intent, access and activate unified profiles, orchestrate buyer journeys and – importantly – deliver or trigger personalized experiences (over email, web, etc.) based on a complete, up-to-the-moment understanding of the individual and account.

Questions from B2B CDP Buyers

Companies in the market for a CDP often have (and should have!) lots of questions and requirements. At a fundamental level, they sometimes wonder if a CDP is actually necessary. After all, isn’t the CRM, for instance, designed to be their system of record?

CDPs actually complement and integrate with CRMs – but a CRM can’t fulfill the role of a CDP because CRMs weren’t built to process the volume and complexity of data companies amass today (e.g., complex behavioral data for known and anonymous users, unstructured data, multichannel interaction data, etc.). CRMs also weren’t made to readily handle complex digital analytics data; stitch visitor/customer identity information together; and process, interpret and activate data with real-time, 1-to-1 personalization and messaging.

Once they’ve decided to invest in a CDP, and as they narrow down their choices, B2B companies need to determine their goals for CDP usage, along with the capabilities they’ll need now and in the future. This, of course, varies from company to company – though certain capabilities tend to be uniformly important. In its evaluation last year of B2B CDPs, Forrester found “the ability to provide third-party data for augmentation and enrichment; develop unified profiles at the account, buying center and contact levels; and create dynamic segments that trigger automatic activation were the top three differentiators for solutions in this category.”

It’s useful to have a list of questions – vetted by multiple stakeholders in the organization – to ask prospective vendors. Companies often have questions related to CDP scalability, real-time data capture and activation, latency and the level of CDP (1, 2 or 3) supported. We also often see questions grouped into these buckets:

  • Data Capture & Integration (e.g., pertaining to data ingestion in real time from offline and online channels, how the platform integrates with third-party systems, out-of-the-box integrations, etc.)
  • Understanding Customers, Prospects and Accounts (e.g., encompassing processes for identity stitching and resolution; contact and account de-duping; storing/processing attribute, survey and deep behavioral data; applying affinity modeling and predictive scores for a more complete picture of each person, etc.)
  • Deciding on Actions (e.g., looking at how the CDP decides what to say to whom, and when and where to say it. Questions often span audience analytics, segmentation, AI and machine-learning models applied, etc.)
  • Engagement (e.g., looking for a business user- and administrator-friendly UI/UX, whether the CDP supports use cases for personalization and journey orchestration, how it executes personalization across channels, suppression capabilities, testing processes, etc.)
  • Analyzing Results (e.g., questions related to reporting, audience visualization and data modeling)
  • Supporting ‘Extensibility (e.g., whether IT can easily add functions, as extensions to the core system, to support business users and without having to build custom solutions from scratch)

Our partner Publicis Sapient published a comprehensive (90-question) RFP template as a resource for companies evaluating CDP vendors. You can check out a complimentary copy here and adapt questions that make sense for your business.

B2B CDP Use Cases

For B2B companies that have adopted – or plan to adopt – a CDP, we often see them look to support initiatives and achieve goals such as:

  • Gain a holistic view of customer subscriptions (Who is a trial user? Who is a freemium user? Who is a paid customer?) to better target marketing communications and try to drive upsells.
  • Trigger messages to their sales team, based on prospect or customer behavior, to improve internal productivity and agility.
  • Power ABM strategies and initiatives – synthesizing information to target key accounts with customized messaging and offers.
  • Deliver segment-based and 1-to-1 personalization in real time and across channels to improve conversions and engagement.

For more resources on CDPs and on Evergage – a Level 3 CDP that uses machine learning to build customer profiles and deliver real-time, 1-to-1 experiences across channels – feel free to take a look at these complimentary and ungated materials:

And to learn if Evergage could be the right personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.

CDP White Paper CTA

Sara Card
Predictive Modeling: How Data Can Help You Predict the Future https://www.evergage.com/blog/predictive-modeling/ Fri, 10 Jan 2020 14:32:32 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57706

Keep on reading: Predictive Modeling: How Data Can Help You Predict the Future]]>

As a marketer, do you ever wish you could predict the future? If you could just figure out which shoppers were more likely to buy something in the next month, for example, you would know which of them to target with ads. If you could just identify which customers were likely to churn in the near future, you would know which customers to give more attention to.

While it sounds fantastical, it’s not just a dream. It’s a reality with predictive modeling. 

Using predictive modeling, you can leverage machine learning to predict a future event based on an understanding of past events. Let me explain more about using predictive modeling for marketing in this blog post.

How Does Predictive Modeling Work? 

When a predictive model has access to mass volumes of data inputs, including the real outcomes of situations similar to the ones you’re hoping to predict, it will identify patterns and predict what will happen when it is given new inputs.

For example, let’s assume you wanted to predict which of your subscription customers are likely to churn. To do this, you would need to give your model an understanding of which customers have churned in the past, as well as all of the data you have available on those customers. This includes data such as their firmographic or demographic details, their plan level, their login behavior and how they interacted with your service, how they engaged with your emails over time, and much more.

The model can take in all of this information to identify patterns in churned customers vs. retained customers. Then, you can feed it data on all of your existing customers so that it can predict which current customers are most likely to churn.

Thus, the model takes all it learns about past situations to predict what will happen in future situations.

What Can You Predict? 

You can predict just about anything you think would be valuable for your business, provided you have enough relevant data to train the model. Some of the main predictions that businesses may find helpful include a person’s:

  • Likelihood to purchase
  • Likelihood to request a demo or complete an application
  • Likelihood to churn (in a subscription-based business)
  • Likelihood to purchase again (in a retail business)
  • Likelihood to open or click through from an email
  • Likelihood to unsubscribe from an email list 
  • Value to your business within a certain timeframe
  • Total predicted lifetime value
  • Predicted response to any given promotion or campaign
  • Likelihood to qualify for any of your segments 

Some of these are even more valuable when predicted in real time. For example, if you want to know which promotion will appeal to each individual website visitor, you can use a model to predict how each person will respond to each promotion — and then display that promotion in that moment! 

Or, if you want to know if you should offer a small discount to encourage an engaged shopper to convert, you can use a model to predict whether he is likely to convert in this visit. If there is a high likelihood he will convert, you don’t need to lose revenue by offering a discount (as he is to likely buy without one). 

Other predictions are less important to act on in real time, but can make a big impact on your business. When you can predict which of your customers are likely to churn, you can run marketing campaigns designed to incentivize them to stay or work to resolve any issues immediately. When you can predict which of your past retail shoppers are unlikely to return and purchase again, you can send more targeted emails to them to encourage them to come back.

Using Data in Predictive Modeling 

The applications of machine learning-driven predictive modeling are endless, yet it’s important to note that these models can only be effective if they have access to a lot of accurate data. When I say “a lot” of data, I mean data from many different individuals (breadth), as well as many different data points for each individual (depth). 

Without a breadth of data, the model will not have enough situations to learn from. And without a depth of data, the model will be missing big sections of the picture. 

For example, if you want to predict an individual’s lifetime value — but you’re only training your predictive models with website data — the prediction will understandably be less accurate than it would be if you trained the models with data from in-store, mobile, call centers, emails, etc. In another example, if the model doesn’t know that a customer has just called your company with a complaint, it will be missing a key churn indicator.  

In other words, predictive models can be most accurate when they have access to a well-populated customer data platform. And a data science workbench is also important for building and adapting different models.

Final Thoughts

Much of the work marketers do is aimed at understanding and responding to their customers’ current needs and preferences. This remains important, but there are occasions when it’s helpful to use predictive modeling to uncover the future state of your customers to help you make better marketing decisions in the present. For those situations, predictive modeling can be an invaluable asset.

To learn more about Evergage can help you leverage machine learning to improve your business results, request a demo today.


Karl Wirth
Q&A on Personalization Management Offices (PMOs) https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-management-office-qa/ Wed, 08 Jan 2020 18:51:56 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57694

Keep on reading: Q&A on Personalization Management Offices (PMOs)]]>

The personalization market continues to mature as demand continues to rise. According to a Gartner report from last month, “Personalization is now a strategic imperative. It has evolved from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘need to have.’” 

That’s because, for B2B and B2C companies across industries, recognizing their audience members as the individuals they are – and then delivering helpful, relevant experiences – is proven to drive engagement, loyalty and conversions.

As a result, questions about the technology no longer center on “Should we deploy it?” but, rather “How?” and “How can we do so most effectively?” In addition to selecting the right technology, there are people- and process-related questions to consider.

Personalization-Specific Roles

A CMSWire article worth a read discusses the increasing number of employees (especially at large organizations) with “personalization” in their titles – underscoring the importance and central role of the discipline and its intimate link to customer experience. 

We see this trend, too, with enterprises often appointing a “director of personalization” or similar position to act as a quarterback on personalization activities. This individual typically facilitates both strategy development (providing input and gathering input from senior executives across departments) and execution (e.g., integrating data, preparing content and implementing personalization campaigns). Organizations look to this role for help conceiving and carrying out campaigns that align with their corporate goals. Still, successful personalization should involve representatives from multiple key areas of the organization. 

Introducing the Personalization Management Office

Because personalization impacts many different areas and data stores across the business, another trend we see – again, particularly among larger clients – is the development of a “personalization management office” (PMO) within their organization.

As described in our initial post on the topic, a personalization management office acts as the main personalization strategy, solution and technical resource for the company – serving as the point of coordination across business divisions. 

Personalization often involves multiple channels and teams, so the PMO ensures all areas of the business are communicating effectively and working toward the same goals – preventing headaches and hassles; creating cohesive, cross-channel experiences; and ultimately increasing personalization success.

The question arises: Does your organization need a PMO? And then, if so, what should this task force look like? The answers vary, but here, we’ll tackle some foundational questions (the “who,” “what,” “where,” “when,” “why” and “how”) to provide some insights.

PMOs: Asking (and Answering) the 5 W’s + H Questions

Q: Who should be part of the PMO team?

A: At smaller companies, the entirety of the PMO may fit comfortably in a single, small office – with one or two individual contributors, plus an executive sponsor, comprising the team. At larger organizations, there is often a need and opportunity for greater involvement. Typically, the primary champion, along with representatives from operations, analytics, digital marketing and brand marketing, are all involved.  

Companies also often have a PMO strategic/executive sponsor, a dedicated personalization program manager, and additional execution and creative team members. Keep in mind, though: too many “cooks” can hamper agility and slow decision-making, so you don’t want to overcrowd the team. Typically, even at large organizations, the core PMO team doesn’t exceed 8-10 people.

Q: What does a PMO do?

A: As with the previous question, this varies by organization too. Core responsibilities often include defining the company’s personalization strategy, and creating a roadmap for how the company develops and manages personalized experiences. When processes are already in place, the PMO assesses and refines them. In other cases, the PMO builds them – asking and answering questions related to personalization goals, management, planning, team assignments, development of campaigns and messaging, approvals, and determining how to measure success. The PMO team should also articulate what each person’s role is (within and outside of the PMO) with regard to personalization (brainstorming, setting up campaigns, testing, publishing, etc.,) to avoid overlap and confusion, and provide reports to executives on a regular basis, summarizing their personalization efforts and results.

Q: Where does a PMO sit, within an organization? (That is, who has purview over it?)

A: This varies, based on company size and industry. Typically, the PMO reports to the department that has the most to gain from personalization initiatives. In financial services organizations, this might be ebusiness marketing, user experience strategy or strategy, and in retail, it might be product marketing. At a technology company, the PMO might be situated within marketing as a whole – or within demand gen or product management, specifically, depending on the primary use cases. Regardless of which group “owns” the PMO, it’s important to have members from multiple parts of the organization.

Q: When (e.g., how frequently) does a PMO meet?

A: When PMOs are just getting started, members typically meet weekly – moving to biweekly meetings once everyone feels comfortable in their roles and assignments. Eventually, they might move to a monthly cadence to check in on key initiatives. (e.g., “How are our major campaigns performing?” “What do we want to iterate on?” “What should we focus on next?”) Of course, PMO members who are most actively involved in personalization will likely need to meet even more frequently, outside the context of the PMO and without the extended team. 

Q: Why do I need a PMO?

A: Building and maintaining a successful personalization program starts with getting relevant stakeholders aligned on the value of personalization, the roles and processes involved, the overarching strategy and how to measure success. Having an office that facilitates all that can help ensure the left hand talks to the right hand, so to speak – preventing data and organizational silos, balancing priorities, and keeping customer interests and corporate goals top-of-mind. While a formal PMO isn’t a prerequisite for personalization success, it certainly aids the process.

Q: How can a PMO make the biggest impact?

A: The PMO – and personalization strategy itself – need executive support from the top down. Measuring and reporting on results from the get-go is important to build momentum and, subsequently, to affirm the program’s success. When the PMO can demonstrate the impact of personalization on business metrics, they’ll get more attention, investments and buy-in to extend their work. That’s why, when getting started with personalization, it often pays off to first tackle “low-hanging fruit” that’s proven to have an impact and that can help demonstrate positive results early. In short: you need results to get results.For more information and resources on PMOs, check out this previous blog post, along with chapter 7 (“Planning for Personalization”) of Evergage’s book, One-to-One Personalization in the Age of Machine Learning. And to learn how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform (CDP) for your company, request a demo today. 


Sara Card
Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019 https://www.evergage.com/blog/top-10-blog-posts-2019/ Thu, 02 Jan 2020 14:56:06 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57649

Keep on reading: Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019]]>

During the past year on the Evergage blog, we’ve enjoyed sharing with you our ideas, musings, news, best practices, research, accomplishments, customer successes and much, much more – including perspectives from other renowned industry experts. The fields of marketing, personalization, customer data and customer experience technologies continue to evolve and converge – and as they do, we’re committed to thoughtfully exploring them and ways you can benefit.

Over the course of 2019, we published 83 blog posts spanning those topics. What resonated most? Here are our top 10 most popular posts from the year:

#10 – What is Omnichannel Personalization? 

This article – coming in 10th for the most views on our blog in 2019 – describes what omnichannel personalization looks like, why it’s important and how to achieve it.

#9 – Why and How Carhartt Delivers Individualized E-Commerce Experiences to its Shoppers

Learn how premium workwear brand Carhartt executes on its 1-to-1 vision across channels, increasing conversions, clickthrough rates and more. 

#8 – Personalization Trends: 2019 Survey Results

For the past 6 years, Evergage has published a detailed and highly anticipated research report on trends in personalization, conducted with Researchscape International. This blog post highlights salient findings from our most recent study – including personalization benefits achieved, challenges, personalization drivers and more.

#7 – The Future of Personalization: 2019 Predictions

Which of these predictions for 2019 from industry experts came to pass? Take a look and see, in this 7th most popular post on our blog. (And for other experts’ takes on what we can expect in 2020, check out our most recent predictions post too.)

#6 – CDP vs. DMP – What’s the Difference, and How Do You Use Both? 

Coming in #6, this article compares customer data platforms (CDPs) and data management platforms (DMPs), explaining why they’re unique and complementary technologies.

#5 – The Role of Identity Resolution in the Customer Data Platform

CDPs remain a popular topic among marketers at large and our blog readers in particular. This article discusses how CDPs can stitch together multiple profiles for the same individual across channels (e.g., store, call center, mobile app) for a single, comprehensive and unified picture.

#4 and #3 – How to Create an Effective Pop-Up Message and The Secret to Pleasant Pop-Ups

We all browse the web, and we know it: pop-ups can be intrusive and annoying. But – when executed strategically and sparingly – they can also be an effective tactic in a personalization program that can and should add value to visitors. Articles about how to deploy pop-ups well had the 4th and 3rd most views on our blog this year – showing readers’ interest in improving the pop-up experience.

#2 – Personalization Defined: What Is Personalization? 

For readers getting started on their personalization journeys, this article defines personalization, discusses the types of experiences that can be personalized and provides multiple examples.

#1 – 4 Tips for Effective Product Recommendations

Personalized product recommendations are shown to boost engagement and conversions. This article – the top-viewed among our readers in 2019 – provides tips on how to increase the relevance and effectiveness of product recommendations.


Sara Card
B2B Companies: Why Promote When You Can Personalize? https://www.evergage.com/blog/personalization-over-promotion-for-b2b/ Mon, 23 Dec 2019 19:39:17 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57639

Keep on reading: B2B Companies: Why Promote When You Can Personalize?]]>

Think about a brand you interact with regularly. When you go to their website, how do you feel? Do you get excited, or are you frustrated? Can you find what you’re looking for, or do you have to dig around, clicking deep into the site for the right products or content? In this scenario, you’re probably thinking about a retail company, but the questions are just as relevant if you’re engaging with a B2B organization. 

For B2B companies in particular, the key to a great experience is recognizing the difference between promotion and personalization. In practice, this means that, rather than show prospects what you, as a marketer, want them to see, show prospects what they want to see

At our 6th annual Personalization and CDP Summit, held in Boston this past September, we hosted a panel discussion on B2B personalization with guest speakers from Citrix (a leading digital workspace platform company), CIEE (a non-profit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, serving educational institutions and students) and Evariant (providing a leading healthcare information management platform). 

Each panelist discussed how they think about and execute personalization to drive more leads, increase engagement and reduce bounce rates. And each of these examples demonstrates the value of subtle yet impactful personalization for buyers.

1. Exit Intent Messages for Re-engagement

In this first example, Dennis White, web business analyst at Citrix, discussed how his team uses exit intent messages, which appear when website visitors move toward exiting their browser window. These brief and highly visual messages are intended to re-engage visitors about to leave the site, with the goal of reducing bounce rates. This campaign works well for Citrix because the messages provide real value (highlighting relevant content), and are used sparingly and strategically. Check out the example below, which increased clickthrough rates (CTRs) by 5% and conversions by up to 30%, and learn more about Citrix’s personalization strategies and results more generally in this brief video


This exit intent message had a 5% CTR and increased conversions by 10-30%.

2. Machine-Learning Recommendations for Relevant Experiences

In the next example, Giscard James, director of digital marketing at CIEE, highlighted how they use machine-learning-driven recommendations to help students find study abroad programs that fit their interests and needs. Since CIEE has a large catalog of programs – over 200 – it can be overwhelming for a student who is just starting to explore options. Evergage’s customizable machine-learning algorithms serve up recommendations of relevant and trending programs that map to students’ interests, based on their current-session browsing behavior, previous activity and more. This campaign is a perfect example of how to operate within the “personalization-over-promotion” framework and has generated CTRs of up to 38%. Giscard elaborates on CIEE’s personalization strategy and additional benefits they’ve received using Evergage in this brief video.   


These personalized, machine-learning-driven recommendations generated a 21-38% CTR.

3. Progressive Profiling for a Hassle-Free User Experience

In this last example, Sherrie Mersdorf, VP of marketing at Evariant, examined how she and her team could reduce friction in their visitor experience and increase lead conversion. A solution came in the form of progressive profiling – creating shorter, simpler forms that users would complete at varying stages (e.g., The first time users access premium content, they’re asked to fill in a few fields about themselves beforehand. The next time, the site recognizes them, and they’re asked to complete a couple different fields, and so on.) By not frustrating prospects with requests for too much information all at once, progressive profiling decreases abandonment on content landing pages. 

By starting with the end goal in mind of creating a seamless, easy experience for visitors, Evariant was able to increase lead conversions and reduce form abandonment. 


Progressive profiling can improve the user experience and reduce friction, while at the same time increasing lead conversion rates.

Final Thoughts 

These B2B personalization examples are simple, yet powerful, because they started with the visitor in mind and were geared toward helping people find what they’re looking for. For B2B companies, this means presenting relevant content and friction-free experiences, across channels, in real time. Give your prospects the opportunity for meaningful engagement, and they’re much more likely to return, engage and convert. 

P.S. For more helpful tips and success stories, save the date for the 2020 Personalization and CDP Summit (Sept. 22-24, 2020, in Boston)!

Personalization Across the Buyer's Journey Ebook CTA

Suzy Dolan
Crystal Ball Time! 10 Marketing, Tech and CX Predictions for 2020 https://www.evergage.com/blog/2020-marketing-predictions/ Fri, 20 Dec 2019 14:49:14 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57602

Keep on reading: Crystal Ball Time! 10 Marketing, Tech and CX Predictions for 2020]]>

It’s that time of year to break out the crystal ball. As we get ready for a new year and new decade, what does the future hold? 

We asked 10 leading experts in the fields of marketing, customer experience, e-commerce, personalization, customer data platforms (CDPs) and more for their industry predictions for 2020. Read on to see the advances, challenges, opportunities and trends they forecast:

1. AI Customer Support Will Get Better – Especially When It Doesn’t Support The Customer

Shep Hyken, Customer Service & Experience Expert, Author and Forbes Columnist

In the customer support world, artificial intelligence (AI) is a hot topic. It fuels self-service by allowing customers to interact with IVRs and chatbots. Unfortunately, these technologies also frustrate customers. But AI isn’t going anywhere, and the good news is that AI customer support will get better – especially when it doesn’t support the customer. It will understand language better – one of AI’s most powerful abilities – which will help customer support agents better serve customers. AI will shift into a support role for the agent, placing the right answers for customers’ questions and problems right at their fingertips. It can also provide information about the customer’s past purchases, prior support calls, buying behaviors and more to help agents deliver a more personalized customer experience. In short, when AI supports the agents rather than the customers, customer support gets better.

2. CDP Discussion Shifts from “Do I Need It?” to “How Do I Run It?”

David Raab, Founder, The CDP Institute

 The long-awaited release of true CDPs from Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle and other enterprise software vendors will lead marketing and technology staff to accept CDP as a necessary component in an enterprise data architecture and look across all vendors to find the best solutions for their needs. Confusion will remain about exactly which functions should be part of a CDP vs. other systems, but discussion will shift from defining those boundaries to exploring how users can best build, deploy and activate their CDP. There will also be broader interest in using a CDP outside of marketing, where other departments will recognize that unified customer data can solve some of their own problems as well.

3. Email Will Still Drive All Things Marketing

Dom Nicastro, Senior Reporter, CMSWire

We all discuss the “single source of truth” for digital marketing, but many of us are afraid to say what it is for some reason: email. All roads lead through our inboxes. Yes, even Gen Zers often have to sign up for things with email. Email is one of the, if not the, most effective, wide-reaching tool in the digital marketer’s arsenal (look at these crazy stats). Why not make it a thoughtful, effective experience? So, my prediction for 2020 in digital marketing is: Email will still sit at the top of the digital marketing food chain. Put it this way – ask a marketer what they could live without in 2020: email or AI? What’s the answer?

4. More Personalized Experiences will be Driven by Zero-Party Data

Dustin Ritter, Founder and CMO, Personalization ONE

With the emergence of AI-driven experiences and the restrictions of privacy barriers, brands will increasingly seek to find validated intent and turn to zero-party data (ZPD). ZPD is where a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand his or her preferences, purchase intentions and personal context, as well as how the individual wants to be recognized by the brand. Zero-party data is typically provided by the customers for an exchanged value, either real or perceived. Many brands will implement varying levels of AI in combination with ZPD techniques in order to craft the best possible experience for their customers.

5. Retail Experiences Get More Convenient for Consumers

Chris Walton, CEO, Omni Talk and Third Haus; Forbes Contributor

2020 will be marked by efforts to make retail more convenient and available on consumers’ own schedules than ever before – precipitated by Amazon’s continued innovation, as well as retailers realizing that their stores are incredible assets on which to capitalize. Specifically, I expect a flood of activity in hyperlocal micro-fulfillment across the grocery sector, as well as even more high-energy experimentation with Amazon Go and scan-and-go, checkout-free concepts that give consumers time back in their days and that personalize their shopping experiences to an even greater degree. Consumers want what they want, when and where they want it – and if that means going to a physical store, the bar on transaction speed and self-service will continue to be raised higher and higher.

6. The One to One Promise Becomes Real. Now What?

Geoffrey Bock, Principal, Bock & Company, and TechTarget Contributor

We have come a long way since Don Peppers and Martha Rogers first popularized the notion of personalization in their seminal book, The One to One Future, published in 1993 at the dawn of the web. As we begin a new year and a new decade, it’s safe to say that, thanks to advances within the content technology ecosystem, the one-to-one promise is becoming real. Organizations have multiple ways to personalize their digital presence.

Yet success often gives rise to unintended challenges. When it comes to personalization, there are rising questions and concerns about privacy and trust. Is it possible for firms to know too much about their customers and introduce potential business risks?  

To that end, organizations implementing personalization initiatives will devote more effort to these issues in 2020 and beyond. Certainly, there are misinformation and unwarranted fears to overcome. At the same time, I think that organizations are going to need to add guard rails to their digital offerings, to enhance security and privacy, and to deliver “trusted and verified” personalized experiences.

7. Data Will Drive the Experience Economy 

Sheryl Kingstone, Research Vice President for Customer Experience and Commerce, 451 Research

“Good enough” is no longer enough in this experience economy – where experiences, rather than products, remain the battleground of the future. Our research shows 68% of digital leaders are prioritizing the creation of a single view of the customer across disparate data sources, as a means of creating immersive, engaging and contextually relevant experiences. While this goal is nothing new, its attainability is. The key is data – breaking down silos and successfully harnessing it from interactions across channels. Businesses will improve at this because they must. Last year, $87.5 billion in sales were influenced by personalized offers to consumers – highlighting the need for actionable customer intelligence and unified engagement strategies (e.g., across sales, marketing, commerce and support) to drive frictionless, cross-channel interactions.

8. “Cookbooks” Become a Recipe for Personalization Program Success 

Jeffrey MacIntyre, Principal, Bucket Studio

Effective personalization programs often thrive or die on the ability of their participating stakeholders to share and align on common terms and concepts, especially amid complex technology stacks and across team domains like marketing, sales, engineering, product and design. Given the amazing horsepower of personalization engine software, organizations need a way to communicate consistent value through a common, clear and modular vernacular. In 2020, the best personalization teams will adopt mental models and visual frameworks – like this card game prototype – to build a guide to personalization activities (like recipes in a cookbook) in a way that fosters closer, more trusting and high-velocity cross-functional collaboration.

9. Customer Experiences Will be More Valuable, More Often

Susan Aldrich, Consultant in Increasing Customer Experience Value

In the past few years, top brands with massive marketing budgets successfully applied predictive modeling to deliver thrilling experiences for each customer. Those brands will continue to learn how to streamline their operations to make better predictions and better content. Going forward, their technologies, learnings and practices will spread swiftly to the next tier of companies. In a short time, customers will find better experiences at most of their preferred brands. Marketers will profit. All brands, large and small, will be strategically enhancing customer profiles to support predictive, AI-driven customer experience. Those that excel at identifying the most effective data and content, and then making sure to acquire them, will be the leaders.

10. Technology Platforms Will Converge to Improve the Customer Experience

Andy Zimmerman, CMO, Evergage

In 2020, we will continue to see martech solution convergence. For the past couple years, the categories of personalization engines, customer data platforms, marketing automation platforms, content management systems and – in B2B – account-based marketing solutions have all been on a collision course. More and more, they all require capabilities for understanding customers and prospects, activating data at the segment and 1-to-1 levels, orchestrating customer journeys and delivering relevant content. At the same time, companies are seeking a central hub when it comes to customer data management – so the right hand talks to the left, processing information and driving decisions. 

The bottom line is that companies are prioritizing the customer experience and see it as essential for effective audience engagement and long-term customer loyalty. To that end, they will invest in solutions that can both bring together extensive amounts of data and – through the use of AI – make sense of that data in order to use it, in the moment, to deliver unique and differentiated experiences whenever and wherever they interact with a customer or prospect.


Sara Card
Amazon’s Personalized Coupon Strategies – How Your Business Can Use Them Too https://www.evergage.com/blog/amazon-personalized-coupon-strategies/ Fri, 13 Dec 2019 14:58:57 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57536

Keep on reading: Amazon’s Personalized Coupon Strategies – How Your Business Can Use Them Too]]>

Amazon thinks I’m a coupon-driven shopper. They’re right.

If I’ve been mulling over a purchase, the whiff of a deal is often enough to push me over the edge. (And sometimes, to my husband’s chagrin, it’s enough to make me ask a retailer for a credit on a previous purchase… “But I paid double that yesterday!”) 

But back to Amazon – if there’s a coupon I can apply, I’m far more apt to buy something in the moment, congratulating myself on the bargain I’ve scored.

Lately, I’ve been seeing more coupons available to me, for items large and small, when shopping from my desktop or on the Amazon mobile app. Children’s toys for the holidays, trunk organizers and charging ports for our new car, golf rangefinders and more. 

I’ve noticed these personalized coupons (all on non-subscription items) in various scenarios: 

  • For items I’ve engaged with, researched and added to my cart – but not purchased. When I return to my cart, there’s often a coupon to apply (and I clip it fast!).
  • For other items I search for in that same category – there’s often an immediate coupon to click and clip.
  • Even for new items I’m engaging with, I’ll often spot coupons – highlighted right below the item’s price.

Is this a strategy to increase business among shoppers around the holidays? Maybe. It’s also very possible that Amazon recognizes my buying behaviors and patterns, and what makes me convert – knowing I’m much more likely to stop vacillating, go ahead and buy, and buy from them if there’s a coupon I can take advantage of.


In the first image, a search for golf rangefinders highlights a number of deals I may be interested in. The second image shows one I’ve selected, with the coupon applied in my cart.

Amazon-Like Targeting for Any Online Business

For companies with Amazon-like aspirations for personalized coupons and promotions, Evergage helps them accomplish their goals. 

Case in point: our award-winning machine-learning algorithm, Contextual Bandit, delivers split-second personalization that blends what’s best for each individual with what’s best for the business. Among other capabilities, it can determine which shoppers it makes sense to display promotions and discounts to (and how much), and who’s likely to convert without one – and then render experiences accordingly.

Contextual Bandit factors in deep behavioral data at the 1-to-1 level (e.g., an individual’s digital engagement, preferences, typical price point in a given category, intent, session context, etc.), and situational and attribute data (e.g., referring source, browser, device type, lifetime value, loyalty program status, geolocation, etc.). Then, faster than you can blink an eye, it:

  • Estimates the probability of each person interacting with each available promotion.
  • Applies continuous, sophisticated machine learning to predict the content or type of promotion for each visitor with the highest-value return. 
  • Presents each visitor with the optimal experience – considering promotion value and likelihood to engage. 

Contextual Bandit even factors in “promotion-fatigue” – taking into account how often someone has seen a promotion without acting and learning the right time to show something new.

For more resources on Contextual Bandit, check out this on-demand webinar and FAQ. As for me… quick online shopping break. I’ve got some personalized coupons to apply! Request a demo today to learn more about how Contextual Bandit and the Evergage platform could work for your business.

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Sara Card
Beyond ‘Abracadabra’ – 3 Keys to Personalization Magic https://www.evergage.com/blog/3-keys-to-magic-personalization/ Wed, 11 Dec 2019 15:19:44 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57502

Keep on reading: Beyond ‘Abracadabra’ – 3 Keys to Personalization Magic]]>

“What products or content do I want my customers and prospects to see?”

For marketers, often faced with formidable metrics and KPIs to achieve, it’s a tempting question to ask. But effective personalization requires a shift in mindset and the ultimate customer-centric approach. Instead, the key question is: “What does the customer or prospect want to see?”

When you look at customer experience delivery from that perspective, you can make what seems like magic happen – driving experiences that are helpful, individualized and memorable, and turning the 1-to-1 communications dream into a reality. It takes a bit more than saying “abracadabra” though. With a mix of actionable data, well-trained algorithms (or well-crafted rules) and some testing, you can harness the power of personalization to drive greater engagement and more conversions.

Here are three keys to maximizing the results of your personalization efforts and initiatives:

1. Insist on Seeing Magic in Action

Personalization has a certain magic to it, and when I began my internship at Evergage this past fall, I was eager to see the magic in action. And it’s impressive! All the steps that go into experience delivery – from analyzing an individual’s in-session behavior to factoring in their previous history across channels to pulling in third-party data to deciding on the optimal experience and then to displaying it – happen faster than you can blink your eye.

Unlike some magicians that bat away prying eyes and won’t let you look behind the curtain (a “black-box” approach to personalization), Evergage takes a white-box approach: giving marketers insight into the machine-learning algorithms that power their campaigns, along with the ability to test and fine-tune them. That type of approach and technology is important in helping business users see and understand how their recommendation strategies and algorithms work, driving adoption and maximizing success.

2. Go to The Personalization & CDP Summit!

For six years straight, Evergage’s Summit has helped hundreds of marketing, e-commerce, customer experience, product management, data analysis and software development professionals learn and apply best practices for turning raw customer data into refined, relevant experiences in real time. Attendees learn from knowledgeable Evergagers, industry experts, end-users and, importantly, each other.

Sessions and insights are geared toward B2C and B2B practitioners at all levels, with valuable information for non-technical and technical users alike. See some takeaways from this past Summit in this news article.

Evergage’s Summit occurred during my first week on the job. Much like some of the attendees who were just getting started with personalization, I appreciated the opportunity to hear about successful campaigns, cross-channel and omnichannel strategies, the power of a unified personalization and customer data platform (CDP), and how to create a single view of each customer to deliver relevant and cohesive experiences across every touchpoint. (When I take a step back and put on my “consumer hat,” it’s easy to see why this unified, actionable profile is critical. When my experience is seamless and personalized, it adds value to all my interactions and bolsters my impression of a brand. (And when the personalization is done right, I don’t even realize it’s happening.)  


Here I am, on the far right, at Evergage’s Personalization & CDP Summit in September 2019 – helping set up the main stage.

3. Use ‘Extensible’ Systems

New needs pop up constantly for marketers and developers. (“If we could only add this function…” “We also really need our personalization solution to do that…”) Accommodating these important one-offs doesn’t have to result in an untamed martech stack or the need to build custom modules from scratch. To support personalization, customer data management and other critical programs and functions, businesses are seeking platforms with “extensibility” – so they can easily and continually add features to their existing platform, rather than buy (or build) multiple “point” solutions whenever there is an unmet need. 

Extensibility is at the heart of Evergage’s personalization and customer data platform in the form of Evergage Gears™, which enables customers and partners to add functionality that extends the power of Evergage and to easily integrate Evergage with other systems, among other capabilities.

The CDP Institute has an illuminating white paper about the importance and benefits of CDP extensibility that’s worth a read. 

Final Thoughts

My internship at Evergage has shown me how fast technology needs to move to keep pace with and anticipate customers’ needs. As a student-athlete, I’ve also enjoyed being welcomed onto Evergage’s “team” – with friendly, talented and dedicated individuals; a winning and market-leading platform, and a fun atmosphere (with team outings and Friday sushi lunch trips with the business development reps… I always look forward to that!).

It’s especially been illuminating to see and be a part of the personalization “magic,” and I hope these tips help you turn your customers’ experiences into helpful and enchanting ones as well! To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.


Scott Holzwasser
5 Retail Holiday Strategies for Driving Urgency and Conversions https://www.evergage.com/blog/retail-holiday-strategies-for-driving-urgency/ Thu, 05 Dec 2019 15:43:33 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57483

Keep on reading: 5 Retail Holiday Strategies for Driving Urgency and Conversions]]>

Now that Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, retailers have just a few more weeks to drive additional business during their most important quarter – as holiday sales can account for nearly one-third of sales for the year.

Plans have been in place for months, and now the clock is ticking… rather rapidly! That’s because this year, there are six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than in 2018 – creating more urgency in a compressed shopping season, and leading many brands to get an earlier start on campaigns and promotions across channels.

Studies show the average household will spend nearly $1,500 this holiday season. As retailers look to maximize their share, they’re seeking innovative ways to apply their data – driving engagement and loyalty with shoppers and differentiating their brands. 

Here are five personalization tactics and campaigns that some of our clients have employed (and are employing) to spur purchases and create helpful and memorable customer experiences.

1. Tick, Tock… Countdown Timers

The nudging of a ticking clock and imminent deadline can often prompt purchases, especially during the holidays. Clocks and countdown timers remind shoppers to act soon, before a deal or deadline expires.

Tapping into these tendencies, one of our clients – a jewelry designer, renowned for high-end gifts – is preparing to launch a countdown clock atop all the pages on its site. The live timer – which counts down the days, hours and minutes remaining, in order to receive purchases in time for Christmas – is specific to each web/mobile visitor’s local time zone, and has subtle changes in style, based on the page a shopper is visiting.

Here’s another example of ticking clocks in action. Last holiday season, an e-commerce client operating a flash-sale site combined a countdown timer (showing when deals on certain items would end) and “social proof” (showing how many people were viewing that item) – driving a 17% lift in conversion rate.

2. Inventory Counters

Inventory counters and alerts, in addition to social trending information, can also prompt shoppers to make purchases they’ve been mulling over. Using Evergage’s customer data platform (CDP), our clients combine product availability information with shoppers’ current behavioral data; past purchases, history and actions; and affinities to immediately alert shoppers of items they may be interested in, before they sell out.

With personalized triggered emails, push notifications and onsite badging, retailers can notify shoppers of the status of relevant items (“5 Left”; “Last One”; “More on the Way”; etc.).


This triggered email, based on a shopper’s browsing behavior, alerts the shopper that the item has limited availability. Best to act now!

3. Personalized Gift Guides 

During the holiday season, retailers want to make it easy for shoppers to find and select the perfect items for that special someone. Our clients have seen success by deploying personalized digital gift guides/“boutiques” – with dynamic recommendations based on each shopper’s preferences, explicit survey responses (“who are you shopping for?”), current and historical behavior around the holidays, and top items within the categories or collections that person is engaging with.

By keeping the personalized guide accessible within the site navigation – and using it, when appropriate, to collect visitors’ email addresses – retailers can drive greater engagement and remind shoppers of their gifting goals.


Responses to this brief, strategically deployed survey help retailers immediately create relevant recommendations and gift guides.

4. Out-of-Stock Doesn’t Mean Out-of-Luck

For shoppers, the excitement of identifying the perfect holiday gift can quickly deflate – turning into frustration – when they learn that item is out-of-stock. It’s not uncommon for retailers to contend with challenges like these around the holidays, as high volumes of sales often result in low and out-of-stock inventory.

But if shoppers come upon an out-of-stock product, it’s important to try to turn their experience into a positive one. For example, rather than serving up a dead end, our clients often immediately present visitors with relevant recommendations, as alternate choices – mapped to the product the person was shopping for, along with that person’s affinities and preferences (typical price point, preferred categories, etc.).

By recommending similar products and optimizing calls to action, one of our retail clients drove a 12% lift in revenue per user on its out-of-stock pages during a previous holiday season. 

5. Bounce Prevention

It’s a crowded and competitive market for retailers all year long – arguably even more so around the holidays. As a result, retailers want to entice shoppers to buy from their brand and not stray to competitors. 

When visitors display comparison-shopping and exit-intent behavior (e.g., highlighting an item’s price, then moving their mouse to exit the site), retailers can woo them to stay. We often see this in the form of strategically placed pop-ups or other notifications – e.g., highlighting free shipping, a hassle-free return policy, promotions, social proofing information (“50 visitors now have this item in their carts”), competitive differentiators and more. See this example below.


This call-out message to shoppers helps convince them to buy through the site, rather than check out a competitor’s.

Final Thoughts

Although retailers’ 2019 holiday campaigns have long been locked down, retailers will soon be evaluating what worked and what didn’t – and can incorporate best practices and the strategies above into 2020 planning. More and more, we’re seeing companies take a cross-channel approach to strategic planning – thinking about their campaigns and ROI across touchpoints, and seeking to provide a cohesive customer experience.

It bears mentioning, too, that personalization during the holidays can be an interesting and nuanced science – especially when you factor in gift-giving. A frequent, loyal shopper – for example, of high-end women’s clothes – may make purchases outside of her typical buying behavior. But just because, let’s say, that single aunt purchased baby toys for her new nephew, it doesn’t mean she wants to – or should – be bombarded with recommended baby items the whole year through.

Effective personalization and customer data platforms can distinguish gift-giving behavior from a person’s routine activity – factoring in known affinities, behavioral patterns over time, historical activity, current behavioral cues (e.g., did the shopper choose to have the item gift-wrapped?) and more – reconciling various types of purchases within a person’s profile for spot-on personalization. To learn more about how Evergage can be the personalization and customer data platform for your company, request a demo today.

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Laura Saati
What Makes Marketers Thankful? Hear from the Experts https://www.evergage.com/blog/what-makes-marketers-thankful/ Mon, 25 Nov 2019 21:55:07 +0000 https://www.evergage.com/?p=57461

Keep on reading: What Makes Marketers Thankful? Hear from the Experts]]>

With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s an apt time to reflect on what makes us thankful. We posed this question to senior-level marketers and other senior executives – asking what they’re grateful for, from a marketing and customer experience point of view.

As the martech landscape continues to evolve – and with it, ways to reach and engage audiences – these leaders’ responses and expert perspectives offer insights into what’s valuable across businesses and industries today.  

Read on for their reflections:

Nancy Hubacher, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, The Washington Redskins

“As a longtime executive with The Washington Redskins, I am grateful for the various channels our organization leverages to produce innovative experiences that capture the hearts and minds of our fans and partners in our community and around the world. The continuously-evolving digital landscape requires timely and relevant content and communication to capitalize on the real-time and viral moments uniquely associated with live sports and entertainment brands.

Nicole Reineke, Consultant, Technical Product Manager – Office of the CTO, Dell EMC

“I am grateful for the opportunity digital marketing gives us to connect with people. Digital marketing has dramatically shifted the rate we can share the right data, tech and process improvements with the people who can benefit from them. It gives us the opportunity to learn about our customers’ biggest challenges through interactive content, and enables us to use education and collaboration tools to share learnings from the customer base so everyone can take advantage of them.” 

Anna Cole, Director of Global D2C Digital Platforms, Carhartt

“I am thankful to live in an age where brands can have a personal relationship with our consumers that allows us to anticipate and proactively respond to their needs.”

Brendan Cournoyer, VP of Marketing, Brainshark

“Have to appreciate the many ways customers today are empowered to become spokespeople for your brand. Beyond traditional case studies or quotes on a website, customer advocates can easily record video snippets, help influence buyers via tech review sites and social media, share ideas via online communities and forums, and present success stories via a variety of in-person events and webinars. We’re certainly thankful for all our customers who’ve helped spread our stories via these channels (and more) this past year.”

Laura Naylor, SVP Client Experience, C Space

“I am thankful for the growing recognition that emotions matter. Customer experience, especially in B2B professional exchanges, has momentum behind it because we are moving beyond transactional activity to more effective strategies that incorporate how we want people to feel integrated with what we want them to do. Making business more human also makes it more impactful, and I am grateful for this next chapter.”

Gretchen Hoffman, Head of Demand Generation, Continuum

“It is great to have the ability to better segment and target audiences so there is so much more efficiency and less waste in marketing spend. And I love the affordable options digital marketing offers such as social media, hangouts, emails, video and more.”

Ed Gaudet, CEO and Founder, Censinet

“I’m thankful for our Voice of the Customer integrated digital marketing and thought-leadership program, which enables us to share customer experiences and adoption best practices with the healthcare industry. And I am especially thankful for Censinet’s dedicated customers and employees, and their respective families, who too often bear the sacrifice of our shared mission and commitment to making healthcare a safer experience.”

Peep Laja, CEO and Founder, CXL

"I'm thankful for the audience I've built over the years exploring data-driven marketing, digital analytics and conversion optimization. The followers on social media, the newsletter subscribers, the blog readers. They're the foundation of the business. I always make sure to add value to them, and sure enough, the value comes right back at us."

Andy Zimmerman, CMO, Evergage

“I appreciate having a team of innovative marketers who are constantly thinking about improving the experience of our customers and prospects, and finding innovative ways to engage and serve them. The content we create and programs we run are all aimed squarely on this goal, and I’m grateful we have a collaborative team that cares about the success of these efforts and analyzes the results to determine what’s effective and what’s not.”


Sara Card