US Marketers Spent More Than $10 Billion On Content In 2016

Ryan Skinner

I've always poo-poohed efforts to size the 'content marketing market'. The definition of content marketing's very squirrelly, meaning:

a) if you size it including A, B, and C, then people will invariably say it should also include D, E, and F (but not B, or C), and
b) if you ask marketers to give you a number, then you're at the mercy of however each marketer defines it (combining apples and oranges).

Last year, when setting up our big annual survey of marketing leaders, we sidestepped the definition mine-fields by asking marketers to tell us how much of their budgets would go to content creation. Taking that data and applying some approximations (% of revenue going to marketing budget and total domestic industrial revenues) gets you to my headline figure: $10 billion spent on content (all of it, not just 'pull content', 'media content', or whatever content ghetto you want to define) in the US in 2016. Considering US GDP is about one-quarter of global GDP, that brings us to a ballpark figure of $40 billion annually in global marketing content spend in 2016.

The figure's admittedly a ballpark estimate, but at least it describes clearly what it contains (marketing content), and it's pleasingly well lower than other, more hyperbolic estimates for content marketing that I've seen bandied about.

For those with Forrester access who want to dive a bit deeper into spending figures, see the full content spending report.

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Forget Amazon — Kmart Has Already Disrupted Australian Retail

Tom Champion

In the lead-up to Mount Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption — as foreshocks became more frequent and the air grew tainted — the citizens of Pompeii gossiped about a celestial force set to punish them for their sins. Around 2,000 years later, and there’s the same apocalyptic mood around Amazon’s looming impact on retail in Australia.

But while Amazon’s eventual launch will certainly disrupt incumbents, don’t overlook the impact of another silent assassin: Kmart.

Kmart has been gracefully reinventing itself while its peers are getting squeezed out of the picture. Last year, Kmart achieved a market-leading 14% increase in revenue while also achieving the top increase nationwide in its Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) score
 
This is no coincidence. Forrester has confirmed the link between customer experience improvement and revenue growth. It leads to customers who spend more, recommend you to others more, and stick with you. But what is really surprising is the hypnotic way Kmart achieved this.
 
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What Advertisers Must Do Now To Counter The “Fake News” Phenomenon

Carlton Doty

My colleagues Melissa Parrish, Richard Joyce, Susan Bidel and I spent a lot of time since the US Presidential election researching the effect of the so-called “fake news” epidemic. Why is this so prominent, and why now? The truth is this 2016 election cycle shed an enormous spotlight on a nagging problem for advertisers that existed long before the era of WikiLeaks, PizzaGate, and Breitbart News Network

Today we revealed a new report that assesses the challenge ahead for advertisers, outlines the risks to brands, and provides a prescription for how to protect the ever-increasing budgets that continue to funnel into programmatic advertising.  For the details, read the full report (client access only): Fake News: More Proof That Advertisers Must Choose Quality Over Quantity.

Here’s a quick summary:

  • Don’t confuse satire or opinion with fabrication. Understand the difference between what is blatantly fabricated with ill intent vs. satirical (e.g. The Onion) or opinion-based publications. The risk to your brand differs across this spectrum, and so must your mitigation tactics.  
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Context Matters: Functional Or Domain Challenges Cross Industries

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

In a previous blog, I outlined how context matters, and specifically how the industry context in which you are doing business matters to the strategic decisions you make. But there are also commonalities across industries. Some business challenges plague multiple industries such as how to improve customer experience, retain loyal customers, and improve sales whether in the retail or hospitality sector, or how to get the inputs you need to make your products and to get your products to market in a timely manner in  the manufacturing or pharmaceutical sectors. And, everyone these days is increasingly concerned about fraud, risk and security.

 

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Ironic Discontinuity — Today’s Typical B2B Events Experience

Caroline Robertson

Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.

I was reminded of this trip after editing Laura Ramos’ newest report “Increase The Payoff For B2B Events With Digital Immersion” because the digital best practices that she writes about surprisingly parallel the most memorable attributes of my Longlines visit:

  • I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
  • It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
  • My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)
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Uber's Movement In The Right Direction

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Uber’s new initiative, Movement, is a step in the right direction. Facing criticism, the company decided to open its treasure trove of data to the cities in which it operates. Hidden in the anonymized ridership data are potential insights about the impact of major events, rush hour, lane closures or other factors on traffic flow and congestion.While the details remain to be seen, the website shows dashboards and data visualizations. Uber plans to build out the Movement platform, and will roll it out across cities and eventually to the public.

 

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Skynet is nearing awareness?

Matthew Guarini

In the Terminator franchise, the rise of uncontrollable artificial intelligence (AI) result in threats to the existence of mankind. While the movies provide a stark image of where AI may take us, the risks have a basis in reality. I will leave it to my colleague, Martha Bennett, to talk about the challenges that AI presents to today's tech leaders. Check out her blog here: http://blogs.forrester.com/martha_bennett/17-01-09-reap_the_benefits_while_avoiding_the_pitfalls_the_three_key_challenges_that_could_derail_your_ai_pr.

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Digital Customer Experience ROI: (How To) Show Me The Money

Ted Schadler

Forrester's clients frequently ask us how to build the business case for customer journey mapping, particularly for digital experiences and digital products. We have proven that better customer experiences drive revenue in industries with low switching costs. But what about investments in customer journey mapping?

Now that I've taken on Forrester's digital business and transformation playbook, I've been thinking a lot about the benefits of journey mapping, which I believe is the front end to any transformation initiative. I don't have a wealth of evidence yet to justify your investments in journey mapping (though my CX colleagues have a lot more to share for Forrester clients). But I have been developing a framework to measure the impact of better customer experiences. These metrics range from hard to squishy:

  • Higher satisfaction drives repeat business, hence higher customer lifetime value. This is a hard metric, particularly if you are using journey mapping to improve an existing touchpoint. A major online retailer told us that they prioritize digital investments (in, for example, a better mobile web experience) based on two metrics: revenue and satisfaction. Their business model succeeds or fails based on repeat business, so they build, measure, and continuously optimize the best digital engagement possible. Repeat business is something you can measure. Next, bracket the business improvement through better customer understanding with a best-case and worst-case analysis. Start by correlating customer satisfaction studies with touchpoint use and experience quality.
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Welcome to 2017: The year of #DevOps

Robert Stroud

We are eager to announce a beacon of light to help penetrate the post-holiday fog: Forrester’s DevOps Benchmark Survey for 2017 is officially live! Led by myself and Researcher Elinor Klavens, this benchmark survey serves as the backbone for a large portion of our DevOps research, facilitating the identification and tracking of trends and supporting our research including predictions for the future. Pivotal to many of our reports, this is your opportunity to shape our research, including our upcoming report “Six Trends That Shape DevOps Adoption In 2017 And Beyond.”

The DevOps survey expands on the extensive data contained in Forrester’s Business Technographics survey, drilling into the context, adoption, use, and plans with DevOps. The research team uses the survey’s findings to provide deeper, more informed insights to help guide your DevOps journey.  Questions - including how you are dealing with the business mandate of velocity, how DevOps is changing your culture, and where you see DevOps heading - are partnered with practical use of tools and automation.

No matter where you are on your DevOps journey, please take five minutes to complete the survey! All participants can receive an executive summary of the results of the survey after it closes on February 13, 2017.

Additionally, should you want to share your DevOps experiences in more detail or provide more feedback please connect with me at RStroud@Forrester.com or @RobertEStroud

Again, welcome to 2017, the year of #DevOps…. 

In The Digital World, CIOs Need To Help The Business Move Faster

Tim Sheedy
Too many businesses believe that their digital business strategy is actually a roadmap, or a series of IT projects. Being digital is a capability – in your business it impacts the culture, metrics, organization, skills, and finally – the technology.
 
As a CIO, one of the most important roles you’ll play is helping to make the business FAST – removing friction points from processes and enabling new capabilities to be developed as required by the customer, partners, and business stakeholders. Too often technology is one of the (many!) bottlenecks in our ability to quickly meet customer needs or respond to changing or new competitive threats.
 
I recently had the chance to spend some time with some senior technology leaders in Sydney discussing the need for quality when delivering digital business outcomes. With the growing need for speed, many businesses sacrifice quality for speed. This is ok – to an extent – but there are also many companies with their own horror stories of delivering a mobile app that is unstable, a website that is slow, or a connected/smart product that doesn’t work as planned. It can take years to recover from negative feedback and bad mobile app ratings, and poor products can cost millions in ongoing customer support.
 
Unfortunately, QA and Testing have too often been afterthoughts in the rush to Agile development. Your Quality Assurance and Testing practices must adapt to digital business too – testing needs to be able to accelerate development – not slow it down. QA needs to focus on customer needs. The QA team need to speak the language of the customer, get involved with new technology projects at the ideation stage, line up and manage test data before it is required, and empower developers to do much of the testing themselves. 
 
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