R.I.P. BlackBerry Phones

Ted Schadler

An era has passed. BlackBerry will no longer make phones. RIM opened our eyes when it put the power of digital communications into our pockets. Email on the go was the beginning of the mobile mind shift.

I loved the passion of Mike Lazaridis and his team for building great devices that we'd drive home and get if we left on the counter. His devices were the first to inspire such passion, such intimacy, such a feeling of empowerment that we now all take for granted. He started it.

As a software guy, I was always saddened by the clunky interface for apps other than email and messaging, but I loved the power flowing into my palms from the BlackBerry devices I carried.

Then along came iPhone. As a software guy, it only took a few months of jailbroke phones and developer-built apps before I realized that the real mobile revolution had arrived -- a computer in your pocket. That's when the mobile mind shift really kicked in, as Julie Ask, Charlie Golvin, and Thomas Husson recognized very early.

Read more

How Do Buyer Journeys Relate To the Customer Life Cycle?

Lori Wizdo

At Forrester, we’re pretty zealous in our recommendations that B2B marketers must shift their marketing focus from a product and channel centric approach to a customer-centric approach, using the customer life cycle as a design framework for company-wide engagement. The customer life cycle is simply the enterprise’s view of the phases a customer passes through in the course of an ongoing relationship with a company.  This shift triggers a number of pivots:

  • From “what we do” to “what your customers want”  
  • From your process to the customer’s
  • From one stage (e.g. acquisition) to the entire life cycle  
  • From “transactions” to “relationships

In our B2B research, we also evangelize about the importance of buyer journey mapping.   Conceptually these two customer processes seem very similar, and I often get this question:

Q: “How should we use Customer Lifecycle when thinking about Buyer Journey? It feels like two different (similar models)”

A: Well spotted!  They are two different models. The Buyer Journey is about one particular decision journey.  There will be multiple buyer journeys throughout the typical customer life cycle, such as:

  • Initial purchase decision
  • Decision or renew (or expand)
  • Entirely new purchase decisions for entirely new stuff (cross-sell/upsell)
Read more

The Canada Customer Experience Index For 2016, Part 1: A Year Of Stagnation

Rick Parrish

I’m happy to announce that we just released this year’s Customer Experience Index report for Canadian brands. The report is based on Forrester's CX Index™ methodology, which measures how well a brand's customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at 193 Canadian brands.

We found that between 2015 and 2016, the Canadian customer experience stagnated.

  • Score changes at the brand level were remarkably minimal. Only about one-quarter of brand scores changed at all, and those changes were small across the board. A similar number of brands rose as fell.
  • Fourteen industry averages showed slight movement. Four industry averages rose and 10 fell. However, these movements were usually very small and rarely changed the rank order of industries significantly. Only two industries’ performance changed substantially: The wireless service provider industry rose, and the PC manufacturer industry fell.
  • Leaders and laggards by industry were mostly unchanged. Within the 18 industries we studied, 12 industry leaders and six industry laggards held their positions. However, some top and bottom spots changed hands only because we added new brands this year that scored higher or lower than last year’ languishing leaders and laggards.
Read more

Bosch And SAP Agree A Strategic Internet Of Things (IoT) Partnership To Facilitate Data Orchestration

Dan Bieler

I recently attended an event at which Bosch and SAP announced a major partnership to more closely align their respective cloud and software expertise around the industrial internet of things. This partnership underlines the fact that SAP and Bosch are prepared to significantly transform their respective business models to generate new value for their customers. The SAP and Bosch partnership focuses on two main items:

  • SAP will add SAP Hana database to Bosch IoT Cloud. Bosch customers will be able to access SAP Hana in the Bosch IoT Cloud with the goal of processing large quantities of data in near-real time. This makes it easier for Bosch’s customers to run analytics of IoT sensor data in the SAP Hana environment.
  • Bosch will make its IoT microservices available to SAP on SAP Hana Cloud Platform. This move will facilitate the safe connection of different devices and components, including vehicles, manufacturing machinery, and smart tools, with open platforms. Customers will benefit from a broad range of emerging services to support their business processes.
Read more

Consultancies are adapting to the digital world

Marc Cecere

The age of the customer is characterized by customer empowerment, digital technology, and new business models. These factors are changing who buys consulting, what they're expecting, how consultants execute on these projects, and how clients pay for them. As a result, firms including Deloitte, McKinsey, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cognizant and others are changing delivery, hiring and contracting models to:

  • Enable reusable assets and software solutions to comprise the bulk of consulting projects. As clients in an increasingly fast world move away from multi year projects, they expect consultants to do the same. Prefab consulting allows consultants to come in with the majority of the work done and focus their problem solving on the issues that are the most unique to that client. This creates a partially “out of the box” solution that eliminates repetitive work from client to client and reduces lead time considerably.
  • Gradually replace technical generalists with specialists. As prefab consulting takes over the work which generalist MBA grads have done in the past, consultants will look to specialists to solve the complex and unique problems that remain after the reusable assets finish the front end work.
  • Provide near immediate access through On demand consulting. In a connected world where we are used to have everything at our fingertips, consultants are expected to be there in our moment of need as well. Consultancies will need to find the experts, make them available, provide context for the questions and connect them with the client- all at the touch of a button.
  • Change the client vs consultancy mindset through co-creation and risk based contracts. Traditional contracts create conflicting goals between the client and consultants. Value-based contracts create greater collaboration as both parties will be striving towards the same metrics.
Read more

Here Are Your Native Advertising Options Mapped Out

Ryan Skinner

Native advertising corresponds to many types of advertising, from paid search and social ads to the sponsored editorial offerings from media companies. Put simply, it’s confusing as hell to understand.

Success at native means both the user of a media site or app and the advertiser explicitly get value out of the experience. To understand if a particular kind of native advertising is going to be successful, marketers should assess four criteria: Format, reach, context, and identification.

The seven core types of native advertising** all function to varying degrees against these criteria.

For example, the paid search ad is a proven format that generates a reasonably predictable response rate; an in-feed ‘click to play’ cinematograph will be less predictable, and probably less reliable. Pinterest’s promoted pins provide considerable reach for some populations; a native ad appearing programmatically in apps and targeted for a specific behavior may have far lower reach. Likewise, there’s wide variety for context and identification.

To help marketers make smart decisions, we broke down all seven native advertising types against these four criteria, and explored compelling examples of each. For Forrester clients, have a look at the analysis – our Vendor Landscape: Native Advertising Technologies, Q3 2016. Not a client? This’ll have to do as a teaser. 

*** those seven types: paid search, paid social, in-feed exchanges, native ad vendors, publisher networks, publisher-specific custom native, and influencer activation.

Update Your Balanced Scorecard With Business Outcome And Agility Metrics

Martha Bennett

We’ve entered the age of the customer, where powerful customers are disrupting every industry.  In response, companies will have to change how they develop, market, sell, and deliver products and services directly to their customers and through their partners. CIOs and their teams are crucial to these strategic responses and will have to track transformation and performance with new metrics to go beyond their traditional IT approach to include the business technology (BT) strategy — technology, systems, and processes to win, serve, and retain customers.

Existing approaches to Balanced Scorecards deliver limited value in this new environment. This is why Forrester has created an updated Tech Management Balanced Scorecard (based on the original framework proposed by Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton) in which we recommend an approach that addresses four components: business outcomes, agility, health, and service (see Figure).

Read more

Predictive Marketing Analytics and The Link to Customer Engagement Action

Allison Snow

Since 73% of companies understand the business value of data and aspire to be data-driven, but just 29% confirm that they are actually turning data into action – it’s not a leap to suspect that organizations are at risk of collecting data without deploying them in ways that support deeper customer engagement.

This concept – linking insights to action – is an example of a mission-critical imperative that transcends client roles. Consider:

Read more

How To Unlock Tech Industry Digital Transformation

Nigel Fenwick

It's no surprise that tech companies are vested in the digital transformation of their customers. But many tech companies find it difficult to leave their product-centric models behind and focus on customer outcomes. That's just one of the findings from the research published on digital transformation in the tech sector.

True customer obsession demands an outside-in perspective. Tech companies must learn to see their business from the perspective of their customers; beginning with customer desires and working back to the new digital capabilities that can enable the outcomes that satisfy those desires.

But a common problem for tech companies is their business structure. Built around successful products, the P&L structure in most tech companies reflects internal strength — business capabilities if you like — the structure optimizes the ability to bring specific products and product features to market. But from the outside looking in, the product structure can seem at odds with what the customer wants. I can't count how many times the same company has treated me like a new customer, even though I already own one of the products made by the brand — my guess is you've had a similar experience.

Of course this isn't a problem unique to the tech industry. But the tech industry sits at the heart of the digital transformation of many businesses — helping their customers take advantage of their technology to transform their businesses. So you might be forgiven for expecting the tech industry to have figured out it's own transformation already. Not so much.

Read more

The Trust Crisis in Advertising

Jim Nail

Facebook's admission that their video viewing numbers have been inflated for two years is one more shoe dropping in an ongoing breakdown of the relationships between advertisers, agencies and media companies in the advertising ecosystem. Coming after the ANA's work on transparency, and the unresolved issue of fraud in the programmatic ecosystem, this points to a larger, more fundamental problem in the advertising industry.

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.

Read more