I won't try to diagnose them all (my colleague Sarah Sikowitz did a good job on the agency transparency issue on her blog). And I won't even go into the fact that the agencies didn't challenge these bogus counts.
But I have a word of advice for the digital industry: stop obsessing over bits and pixels and clicks (Oh My!). I've been in digital for 20 years and by now the industry should have learned that no matter how readily available this data is, it is meaningless relative to what advertisers really want to know: is my message getting through and having an impact? I may sound old fashioned, but in contrast to these irrelevant, spurious, and potentially inflated data, I'll take a good-old exposed/unexposed ad communication/awareness/attribute association/purchase intent lift survey any day.
True, I give up the individual-level data the digital prides itself on. But if the data is this weak and subject to manipulation, it is at best an inaccurate view of ad performance and likely to be downright misleading.
Your customers use apps like Facebook, Skype, Snapchat, and Facetime to hold video calls and you should be using video to connect with them, too. In our report Now You See Me — Video Chat Improves The Customer Experiencewe found that retail, financial services, healthcare, and other verticals embrace video chat as a way to serve customers in their time of need and as a way to drive measureable ROI.
The cultural and technology barriers to easy video chat have come down in recent years. A UK-based bank deployed video chat for its advisors to use with high net worth clients. These clients, who are typically older, are just as familiar with video calling as their younger cohorts--they use Skype and Facetime to talk to children and grandchildren. On the technology end, a key enabler for video chat is WebRTC, which allows browser-based video conversations without the requirement for downloading plugins. A key driver to adoption is reducing friction.
Human beings are emotional. The chemical reactions that trigger emotions determine our feelings toward a brand and our likelihood to spend. This fundamental, primal relationship is baked into how humans operate; however, it is not yet baked into how most companies operate.
Initial CX efforts gave us better insights into customer journeys across digital, physical, and human touchpoints. That opened a window into what causes emotional responses and provided an early warning system for emotions that provoke actions. But we’ve only begun to uncover the profound relationship between emotion and revenue. For example:
In the hotel industry, among customers who felt valued, 90% will advocate for the brand, 67% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and 87% plan to stay with the brand, per Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) Index.
According to CX Index data, the TV service provider industry had the largest percentage of customers who felt annoyed compared with any other industry in our study. The result is that just 8% will advocate for the brand, only 13% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and barely 15% plan to stay with the brand.
Users can abandon digital sites and purchase paths within 50 milliseconds if the experience does not meet their (ever-increasing) expectations.
“The answers you get depend on the questions you ask.”
― Thomas S. Kuhn
The Socratic method proposes that you can learn much by asking questions to test the logic of various facts and beliefs to stimulate critical thinking. Forrester's 30-minute inquiries often become a miniature version of the Socratic approach, usually with the client having an initial set of questions and the analyst then having a few questions in return to clarify the topic.
“To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered.”
― John Ruskin
After 11 months, I have engaged in dozens of inquiries with customers from many industries — all of them asking about sales enablement automation (SEA). Questions range from what technology to use to how to organize and support it, among other areas. As you'd expect, certain questions come up more than others. My latest report, “Brief: Six Sales Enablement FAQs — And Three More That Should Be On Your List,” presents the most common questions (and answers), which — I hope — stimulate some critical thinking about how B2B marketers can use SEA to sell better and more.
“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.”
― Attributed to Voltaire
It’s worth looking at the first six questions and determining how you would answer them for your own organization:
In the spring of 2015, we began to hear a curious cacophony around ABM. ABM stands for “account-based marketing,” a marketing concept that’s been around for decades. All of a sudden, it was being used in reams of promotional copy distributed by marketing consultancies, data service providers, and software automation vendors alike.
Marketing-led prophesies can sometimes be self-fulfilling. So now, B2B marketers everywhere are busy researching, launching, and conducting ABM initiatives — ostensibly to engage prospects at target accounts with personalized messaging, content, and offers. And as a growing number of product vendors, service providers, and event organizers enter this gold rush, B2B marketers are in danger of falling for the “fool’s gold” of unrealistic revenue windfalls and investment returns.
It is time to take stock and sieve this topic more effectively. The musicians among us would prefer to hear more harmony than discord. But the truth is that ABM means different things to different people; our recent survey of 120 B2B marketers on their strategies and tactics shows that:
“73% agreed that ABM is a term that lacks specific meaning and is used inconsistently today.”
The same survey showed that four out of five found ABM effectiveness falls short of their expectations. So much for 18 months of marketing spend by all those vendors!
Forrester’s research, in comparison, can be somewhat boring: We have long been talking about the age of the customer, the need for customer obsession, and post-digital marketing — and, of course, we tell our B2B marketing clients that customer obsession should be account-based if that aligns with their business strategy.
We do not make markets; we observe and provide insights about them, so we have been quiet on ABM in that respect.
Wally Ollins, of Wolf Ollins fame and a legend of sorts in the branding world, didn’t look too kindly upon brand measurement. "There are too many people," he said "... who are fed the rubbish that if you can't analyze it - if you can't chew it up into numbers - it doesn't exist." Not one to mince words, he continued, "I deeply reject all that and find it to be a contemporary version of witchcraft." It's hard to argue with Wally; somewhere along the way doctrine and data have dulled the notion that brand is, to quote JetBlue's CEO, "the way we feel."
The Inevitability Of Measurement
David Aaker is a legend of sorts as well in the branding world, and a lot of his work centers on brand equity. David writes of brand as an asset. And as an asset, it is must withstand financial scrutiny and ROI justification. CMOs may know it in their hearts, but CEOs and CFOs must see it on paper. That leaves us with the unenviable task of calculating the incalculable. Many have rushed forward to meet this challenge. I describe various measurement techniques in detail in my new report for Forrester clients: Branding Never Sleeps; a brief summary appears below.
Four Measurement Streams
The nitty gritty of brand performance is relatively easy to measure using survey, operational, and transactional data
Near-real time brandsentiment can be captured by social listening, although skewed samples and lack of established frameworks muddy the water
Perception can be surveyed, but traditional ask-and-tell tracking of emotions is fraught with problems; neuromarketing offers some emerging and exciting avenues
Two years ago, Forrester made the claim that mobile was the new face of social. With more than 3 billion users worldwide, messaging apps demonstrated one of the fastest-growing online behaviors and passed social networks. The reach of these apps is huge, which presents a strong relationship promise for marketers.
Forrester and InfoWorld set the theme for this year’s awards as ‘Speed and Responsiveness – And EA”. The underlying premise is that business leaders are demanding that their business moves faster – everything from updating digital capabilities to bringing more agility in how firms work with customers and suppliers. In theory, enterprise architecture is a key capability to moving faster. But how can EA programs – traditionally policemen of technology – deliver on this potential?
This year’s Enterprise Architecture Award winners show how.
The title of this blog post is taken from the submission of one of our winners – Humana. The exact quote from their submission is:
“Humana believes enterprise architecture is primarily a verb, not a noun.”
But this isn’t just a sentiment unique to Humana. All our winners are delivering business results because they embed insight and guidance into the decisions made by their business and IT leaders – enabling these leaders to ‘enterprise architect’ how they achieve business results. The result? Speed and responsiveness of their enterprise.
Here is how our five winners of this year’s awards are doing this. But before I describe them, I must say that every year, it gets harder to select winners due to the range of innovation and impact our judges are seeing. When a judge says of one firm, not selected as a winner “This is a really neat concept, well conceived and executed. This company could do our profession a great service if they published this model!" – then you know there are many outstanding award submissions.
Think back just a few years — social, mobile, cloud, and big data ruled the emerging technology landscape. Business and technology management executives wondered what big data meant, when the cloud would disrupt their companies, and how to engage effectively on social channels. In 2016, Hadoop turned 10, the cloud has been around even longer, and social has become a way of business and life. So what’s next?
We’ll let you in on a little secret: Pinterest isn’t what you think it is. When Pinterest emerged, it was immediately labeled as a social network alongside Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and even the ill-fated Google+. Why? Because we as humans like to categorize things and also because Pinterest shares a few key features with social networks, such as user authentication and the ability to create, post, like, and share content. This led marketers to believe that they needed yet another always-on brand presence on Pinterest and dedicated social budget to engage with customers on an ongoing basis.
The reality is that Pinterest is not a place for customers to engage with brands like they do on other social networks. Rather, Pinterest is better suited for discovery and for helping consumers find information, ideas, products, and services. Marketers know to go to Google to increase their brands' visibility and awareness but don't think about Pinterest in the same way — and that's a mistake. Don't get us wrong; we're not saying that Pinterest is the next Google. But Pinterest is taking steps that make it more Google-like with its intent-based search and auctioned-based ad pricing, all while maintaining vestiges of a social network.