Forrester successfully held the annual Marketing Leadership Summit in Shanghai on March 25th. I gave a speech introduced how to build a contextual marketing engine and propel customers to the next best interaction. Key take-aways of my presentation include:
Various customer contexts are generated by heavy mobile users in China. Heavy usage of mobile devices in China changes people’s touch point with enterprises. Customers don’t only have activities with enterprises like customer response, customer purchase and customer services, but more commonly interact with brands outside of those campaigns. The context of all those interactions determines whether they will engage and, more importantly, transact with the brand again.
Contextual interactions change marketing in China. Early adopters in China like Didi Taxi use contextual marketing from day, and provide a persistent incentive to engage with both drivers and consumers. Wanda Group, the Chinese leading business real-estate vendor acknowledges customer contextual interactions in their nationwide shopping malls and lends the mobile moments to merchants who can drive more-effective targeting.
Being the sports enthusiast that I am, I love this time of year. March Madness is in full swing and down to the Final Four. And what madness this year’s tournament has delivered so far. Exciting opening rounds, Sweet Sixteen and Elight Eight games. A decision here or there has decided great games, and amazing execution has followed. We’ve seen surprise after surprise of upsets of favored teams by the upstarts — all with the common goal of cutting down that net.
While surprises, upsets, and last-minute execution shifts may make for thrilling college basketball games and entertainment, they’re not part of a winning strategy for your market messaging and customer engagement, which drive the growth that your CEO expects.
In our discussions with CMOs and marketing leaders across industries and business models, we find that many senior marketing executives still struggle with bringing a disciplined approach to the creation and execution of messaging. Rather, we see messages developed in an ad hoc way to solve the need of the moment, giving little thought to alignment from the customer’s view across touchpoints.
As companies get serious about digital transformation, we see investments shifting toward extensible software platforms used to build and manage a differentiated customer experience. My colleague John McCarthy has an excellent slide describing what's happening:
Before, tech management spent most of its time and budget managing a set of monolithic enterprise applications and databases. With an addressable market of a finite number of networked PCs, spending on the front end was largely an afterthought.
Today, applications must scale to millions, if not billions of connected devices while retaining a rich and seamless user experience. Infrastructure, in turn, must flex to meet these new specs. Since complete overhauls of the back end are a nonstarter for large enterprises with 30-plus years of investments in mainframes and legacy server systems, new investments gear toward the intermediary software platforms that connect digital touchpoints with enterprise applications and transaction systems.
At Forrester, we’ve been working to quantify some of the most viable software categories that exemplify this shift. A shortlist below:
· API management solutions: US CAGR 2015-2020: 22%.
· Public cloud platforms: Global CAGR 2015-2020: 30%. (Note: We have a forecast update in the works that segments the market into subcategories.)
But saying CX is a priority is easy, making it actionable speaks volumes. Frankly, if your firm isn’t taking action to relentlessly pursue CX improvement, to become customer obsessed, you’re making a mistake.
Those actions give CIOs and their teams an incredible opportunity. Technology empowers your customers, members, clients, and buyers today. And your business leaders need you to expand beyond using technology to support or transform internal operations - what we call the IT agenda. Today, business leaders need your help to compete for customer loyalty. Today, business leaders need you and your teams to help them apply technology, systems,and process to win, serve, and retain customers- the business technology (BT) agenda.
Executing on the BT agenda gives you and your team the opportunity to make the biggest, most visible contribution to your firm I can think of - top line growth. Keep three things in mind as you strive to take advantage of this opportunity:
S&R pros, is there a Chief Data Officer (CDO) in your organization? Do you work with them? Previously, John and I wrote about the CDO role and how we believe that CDOs will help to drive security policy in the future because they can 1) directly tie business value to data assets, 2) have a deep understanding of data identity and purpose, and 3) possess a great incentive to protect the company’s data (it’s a strategic business asset after all!). Colleagues like Gene have also written about the CDO and the importance of the CDO in data management.
The emergence of this role now brings about more questions than answers, and we’d like to provide more in-depth analysis and clarity around this topic. What is a CDO, and what do they do exactly? Is this a temporary role, or a critical C-level position that is here to stay? Why should we even care about this CDO role? These and other questions are ones that a team of analysts from Forrester are exploring in upcoming joint research, and we’d love to hear from you if you are a CDO, currently work with one, or don’t feel there is a need for a CDO because there are other roles in your organization are responsible for data strategy. Some of the key themes we are looking into include:
The responsibilities of the CDO role
Where CDOs reside in firms’ organizational structure
How CDOs help their firms win, retain, and serve their customers
Webster dictionary defines a synonym as "a word having the same or nearly the same meaning" or as "a word or expression accepted as another name for something." This is so true for popular definitions of BI and big data. Forrester defines BI as:
A set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information used to enable more effective strategic, tactical, and operational insights and decision-making.
While BI has been a thriving market for decades and will continue to flourish for the foreseeable future, the world doesn't stand still and:
The majority of large organizations have either already shifted away from using BI as just another back-office process and toward competing on BI-enabled information or are in the process of doing so. Businesses can no longer compete just on the cost, margins, or quality of their products and services in an increasingly commoditized global economy. Two kinds of companies will ultimately be more successful, prosperous, and profitable:
More and deeper insights will generate competitive advantage. Companies with richer, more accurate information about their customers and products than their competitors will gain substantial competitive advantage.
Faster access to insights will make companies more agile. Companies that have the same quality of information as their competitors but get it sooner and can turn it into action faster will outpace their peers.
The CRM market serving the large enterprise is mature. A great amount of consolidation has happened in the last five years. For example, Oracle, focused on providing consistent end-to-end customer experiences across touchpoints, has acquired a great number of point solutions to round out its customer experience portfolio. SAP, like Oracle, aims to provide consistent end-to-end customer experiences via its breadth of products and has also made a few key acquisitions. Similarly, Salesforce has made a series of moves to round out the Service Cloud. It has used this same tactic to broaden its CRM footprint with the notable acquisition of ExactTarget for business-to-company (B2C) marketing automation (2013).
The large CRM vendors increasingly offer broader and deeper capabilities which bloat their footprint and increase their complexity with features that many users can't leverage. At the same time, new point solution vendors are popping up at an unprecedented rate and are delivering modern interfaces and mobile-first strategies that address specific business problems such as sales performance management, lead to revenue management, and digital customer experience.
The breadth and depth of CRM capabilities available from vendor solutions makes it increasingly challenging to be confident of your technology choice. In the Forrester Wave: CRM Suites For Large Organizations, Q1 2015, we pinpoint the strengths of leading vendors that offer solutions suitable for large and very large CRM teams. Here are some of our key findings:
During the session, we recapped the highlights—and lowlights—of privacy in 2014, discussed some of the major trends and issues in the space, and made some predictions for 2015 and beyond.
What stood out for me, as a customer insights (CI) professional, is how critical our teams are to the work of privacy and how much we must guide the process of contextual privacy. There is a lot of work to be done to build stronger organization-wide consensus around better privacy. Like they were the nexus point between business technology and marketing teams, CI pros are now the nexus between security, legal, and marketing teams.
I’ve linked the full session below. Please enjoy, and please consider getting involved in Data Privacy Day 2016 - the effort could use more marketers and business leaders.
Have you seen the movie Birdman — the one that just won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscars? It’s about a middle-aged man who was once a popular movie star but has been criticized throughout his career and how he finally achieved a breakthrough performance and found great success in a Broadway production of the play What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.
The story of Microsoft Azure is similar. Microsoft was hugely popular in the age of the PC but has sailed into troubled waters in the cloud era. But now — a year after Azure’s commercial launch in China — CIOs and EA professionals must understand how and where Azure might impact their existing MSFT technology investments to achieve business transformation. Azure is one of the leading forces driving cloud adoption in China. We attribute this to the progress that Microsoft has made by:
Expanding product offerings.Microsoft Azure now has local products in four key categories: compute, network, data, and application. Beyond basic components like virtual machines, websites, storage, and content delivery networks, Azure also has advanced features that are important for Chinese customers to address their unique challenges, including mobile services for the rapid development of mobile apps to accommodate the massive shift to mobile; a service bus for integration to eliminate information silos in the cloud; and HDInsight for big data capabilities to gain the customer insights necessary to compete with digital disruption from local Internet companies.