My former neighbor bought the house next door primarily due to its 9-acre potential. Over the years, I got to see his garden develop from a razed backyard to a well-orchestrated, nearly year-round landscape of seasonal beauty. He’d continually prune out the anemic and plant new varietals that he deemed would more likely thrive in our climate. I was amazed at the ongoing evolution of his garden — and how much of it ended up on his burn pile. But he focused on the success of his garden overall and didn’t overly invest in any one plant, bush, or tree.
Despite his move to the West Coast, I was reminded of my neighbor as I sought a theme that would adequately represent Forrester’s spring webinar series. Today’s marketing leaders’ success depends on their ability to continually balance their investments and programs. So we’ve selected five areas of focus for Forrester’s B2B marketing spring webinar series that balance planting new ideas with pruning existing programs. I hope that you can join us live for them all!
Planting New Ideas: Social Selling And Programmatic Ad Platforms
A riddle: What's the difference between your content and mashed potatoes?
To the technologies that host and deliver your content, the stuff they deliver may just as well be mashed potatoes as text strings or image files.
Even marketers who spend lots of time tagging content know the process is very fallible, often out of date, and only applicable to a handful of pre-selected contexts.
The technology simply doesn't know what the content's actually about, or how it works. It's just content.
The same applies to marketers across the business.
That great video explainer that got made two years ago during another CMO's tenure?
It may as well be a little portion of mashed potatoes buried under a mountain of other mashed potatoes.
Enough of the metaphor. You get it.
Content intelligence changes all that.
It is technology that helps content understand itself - what it's about, how it speaks, how effective it is at accomplishing certain goals, what emotions it calls to mind, etc.
That may sound funny. It is. But it's not necessarily stranger than spellcheck in your word processor.
Thanks to a built-in dictionary, the processor knows that 'recieve' may not be right, and puts a little red line under it.
Content intelligence goes a bit further, in that it's continuously updating itself.
Iimagine a very smart dictionary that automatically absorbed neologisms and understood word choice given context ("you might want to say 'car' here instead of 'automobile'").
But the principle's the same.
And because content's the coin of the digital realm for all things marketing these days, content intelligence delivers a real kick:
Digital disruption is a fairly well understood dynamic: new entrant uses technology in new ways to upend existing business models and disrupt markets. In other words, digital disruption is a distinct force with a distinct life span that is mostly external to traditional markets and businesses.
But what if it is more than that? What if it is the canary in the coal mine representing the first signals of a shift in our economy and society? Consider the following:
7% of jobs will exit the economy due to automation even if one considers the jobs created specifically by automation. Without the creation of different products or markets (think of the app economy), automation can cause a major shock to developed economies.
We are already seeing early indications of how high-performing, highly liquid platforms (think Facebook) can extend services and experiences into different industries (e.g. banking and peer-to-peer lending) to blur or pummel traditional industry lines and norms.
The next step in Uber is self-driving cars which are moving from a cool idea to a reality – and will cause duress or change in automotive, transportation, and insurance markets (let alone public safety norms).
Artificial intelligence offers up the opportunity to change the health of populations, changing life expectancy, the very nature of diagnostic, surgical, and hospital care, and the economics of health insurance.
Clearly Mobile World Congress has evolved from its origins as a telecom event into one that captures the pervasive uses of connectivity and digital transformation broadly. That evolution has created an enormous, eclectic event. This year 108,000 registered attendees and 2,300 exhibitors contributed to that buzz. One could argue that it provides something for everyone or that it does nothing well – and maybe other events are better investments. However, one thing the event does do is bring together innovators and enable opportunity. That happens in the main event as well as in the increasing number of side events and meetings which appeal to specific audience segments. Attendees looking beyond the classic trade show, with specific objectives in mind, should explore these side events:
4YFN (Four Years From Now) aims to develop the next generation. Launched specifically for startups – and those interested in them – 4YFN attracted almost 20,000 attendees, with 600 startups and 700 investors in attendance this year. The event is not just a trade show but includes 9 competitions and more than 40 workshops in how to launch and develop a business. Startups themselves had the opportunity to pitch to VCs and other investors. A dedicated Founders & Investors Area provided space to meet, discover, show, participate and create business relationships.
Attendees flocked to yet another Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this month, attracted by the buzz of new devices, new technologies, and new business opportunities. This year 108,000 registered attendees and 2,300 exhibitors contributed to that buzz.
While the new devices themselves drew much attention, the full impact of these new toys lies in what is done with them. Some of the opportunities on display reflected what I started to see as a Marvelesque duel of good versus evil. Here are a few examples.
It's Time To Put Mobility To Good
Yes, some are for entertainment purposes only but many hold the potential to “do good.” GSM Association (GSMA) promotes the use of mobile technologies to advance the UN sustainability goals. GSMA’s Big Data For Social Good (BDSG) initiative seeks to leverage the networks of 16 operators and 2 billion connections across 100 countries. That might be using the data for analytics and insights on how to improve provide financial services to the unbanked or extend health services to remote rural areas or to better protect marine mammals. Examples of these solutions on the show floor included:
Got data? But more to the point, got the RIGHT data, and now? Low-friction and fast access to data are top priorities for data/analytics and marketing professionals in 2017. Here’s the picture of priorities: It’s a high or critical priority for 70% of marketing pros to increase their use of data and analytics for marketing measurement and customer insights – their fourth highest priority. Data and analytics pros’ highest priority – at 60% of data and analytics pros – is implementing or expanding their complete view of the customer across channels, and over 50% are providing self-service data preparation tools to business users. Firms are stepping up the pace.
What can help with these priorities? Data preparation tools. To accelerate time-to-insights and therefore time-to-actions, business end users and analysts who today wrangle data in spreadsheets or other traditional tools need direct access to data and a significant power assist. Data preparation tools can provide this power, but they must balance features and functions to support different roles and use cases and enable appropriate manageability, security, and governance in today's enterprises — while at the same time delivering speed-to-value.
There are relatively few products that meet those requirements, despite claims by many. Some true data preparation players are large, established players in the business intelligence (BI) and analytics space that have chosen to market and sell their data prep tool as a standalone offering, while others are pure-play offerings and, within that, emphasize different features and functions.
We’ve been busy finalizing the agenda and speakers for the forthcoming CX Forum in Sydney on May 9. That’s only eight weeks away!
Our focus this year is on exploring the current and emerging best practices for the design and delivery of exceptional customer experiences in digital channels. To put it more simply, we’re going way beyond the why and what to dig deeper into how.
CX and digital marketing professionals need to accelerate the pace of change, so for 2017 we’re deep-diving into four key themes:
The future of digital CX. How can you blend new technologies like bots, artificial intelligence, and digital assistants into your existing digital CX strategies? How do these new tools change customer behavior and expectations? And how will the practice of CX be altered as a result?
CX design and delivery. What are the best practices for creating innovative, distinctive customer journeys that cross functions like sales, marketing, and customer service? How can you truly embrace CX as a team sport?
Technology stack and strategy. How can CX and IT collaborate to tackle new thinking about CX technology strategy and management? How can these groups work together to drive the digital transformation of their entire organizations?
Creating and nurturing a CX-driven culture. How can you deliver sustainable, remarkable experiences? What does it really mean to instill a customer-obsessed culture and what are the hallmarks of a CX-driven organization?
Several Forrester colleagues and I attended the Google Next conference earlier this month, an event showcasing the Google Cloud Platform portfolio. One message, however, was distinctly NOT cloudy: Google is aiming at the enterprise market. And that includes your enterprise content.
Source: Forrester, "Make Omnichannel A Cornerstone Of Your Telecom Digital Transformation"
Poor customer experiences remain the Achilles’ heel of telcos’ digital transformation efforts. We live in the age of the customer, and today’s telco customer has expectations that far exceed the traditional standard of telco customer service. A random search on Trustpilot for customer satisfaction with telcos in various countries shows widespread dissatisfaction.
Offering customers seamless omnichannel experiences is critical for telcos’ digital transformation efforts. Today, customers expect to use a variety of digital touchpoints. This omnichannel approach affects telcos’ customer engagement activities at every stage of the customer life cycle, yet many telcos are still struggling to meet their customers’ rising expectations for coherent end-to-end customer engagement. This matters because omnichannel:
Is central to telcos’ customer experience initiatives. Customers do not care about channels. They want to have great experiences irrespective of how they engage with telcos.
Is more of a cultural transformation than a technology project. Omnichannel solutions require a telco to think about the customer journey from the perspective of the customer. This is a radical break with the past.
Opens opportunities for telcos to act as third-party service brokers. Omnichannel will empower telcos to act as service brokers for third parties if they can align their big data, content, and knowledge management strategies.
I don’t know about you, but this spring break is different in my family. My daughter, who has almost finished her first year at a liberal-arts college, came back for spring break with the big question “Mom, what major should I choose?” Of course, as an analyst in technology and — not to brag, but as a professional who has had many roles in IT (programmer, systems administrator, and computer and information systems analyst — my first initial thought was to suggest that she look into computer information systems or computer science. She has the ability; she is an excellent STEM student. So I told her that I would do some research and get back to her.
The highest-growth jobs in computer and information technology are in designing solutions and systems helping organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively (computer systems analysts), with a 21% growth rate.
The second-highest growth is in jobs to address specific topics, such as information security analyst (18%), computer support specialist (12%), and software developer (17%).
Medium growth rates are in jobs that design, build, and support specific technologies, such as computer network architects (9%) and computer systems administrators (8%).
Programming jobs, including computer programmers, are declining (–8%); hardware engineering jobs are growing slowly (3%).