The Data Digest: The Values-Based Consumer

Anjali Lai

If Thursday morning’s controversial tweet from McDonald’s is any indication, brands are no longer safe. I’m not just talking about the threat of a data breach or hack — I’m talking about the threat of consumers who force brands to expose their ethics and beliefs or remain at the mercy of consumer perception and interpretation in a polarized environment. As we’ve seen with other examples of ubiquitous and once universally loved brands like Kellogg’s and L.L. Bean, consumers increasingly judge companies on the basis of their values — and while customers are skeptical of firms that stay silent, they open their wallets for those that champion appealing causes.

Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that this is hardly a passing cloud; customers are becoming more aware of — and sensitive to — social issues overall. For instance, more consumers regularly follow politics, read about science, and identify as being environmentally conscious today than in 2014: 

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Do You Have An Opinion On How Digital Is Changing Business?

Nigel Fenwick

Do you have an opinion on how technology is changing your business?

As you likely know, each year we conduct in-depth business leader research to help identify trends across industries. This year we are once again partnering with executive search firm Odgers Berndtson, reaching out to senior business executives around the world for their perspectives on how digital is changing their business.

We're also reaching out to a wider audience through social media to broaden the perspectives gathered in this study. No matter what your perspective, no matter what your role – CEO, CMO, CIO, Business leader – if you're in senior management in a medium or large enterprise, we'd like to hear from you.

To make your opinion count, simply click the link below to begin the confidential online survey.
Please note: while the survey has been designed to complete on any device, including mobile phones, you must finish the survey using the same device from which you begin by clicking this link: http://forr.com/digitalsurvey2017. All responses are confidential.

Here's a selection of blog posts from this stream of research:

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Platforms Are The Foundation For New Value Creation

Dan Bieler

While a lot has been written about consumer-facing platforms like Facebook and Uber, the platform impact on business-to-business relationships has not been as extensively investigated. However, these “business platform models” are transforming the way how traditional businesses create value. Business platforms will reorganize a wide variety of markets, work arrangements, and ultimately value creation and capture.

Business platforms push productivity improvements beyond automation activities. The real value creation now comes from analyzing data. These platform dynamics force every business to rethink its approach to innovation, marketing, sales, product development, delivery, and customer engagement. Business and technology leaders need to prepare to platform dynamics for several reasons:

  • Platforms change customer behavior and how businesses interact with customers. Business platforms will trigger radical changes to how we work, engage with customers, create value, and compete for the resulting profits. These business platforms offer companies fast access to scalable expertise at transparent cost and drive the much needed agility to quickly adjust customer experiences to changing requirements.
  • Business platform value creation centers on information gathering, sharing, and analyzing. Platforms focus on information exchange and provide an easier, more transparent way to access, analyze, and share this information. Business platform owners are developing power that may be more influential than that of the actual factory owners. But business platform owners do not have to own all factors of production; they tap into the expertise of platform participants.
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Which Nifty Mobile Banking Features Is Your App Missing?

Peter Wannemacher

Not long ago, Forrester published a report that listed “Eleven Mobile Features That More Banks Should Offer.” These features are nifty and valuable mobile services that a majority of banks worldwide don’t offer. As a follow-up to this research, we thought that we’d share three additional mobile banking features that we see more companies rolling outin the near future:

  • Cardless ATM transactions. Over the next five years, Forrester predicts a sharp rise in cross-channel banking interactions - in which a customer or prospect moves from one touchpoint to another to complete an objective. Mobile will act as the so-called “connective tissue” in many of these cross-channel journeys. For example, some banks* now support mobile-to-ATM cardless cash withdrawals. In general, the bank’s mobile app generates a code that customers can either use to enable ATM usage or send to others who can then withdraw cash directly from an ATM. Leading banks are enabling cardless ATM transactions in an effort to expand their mobile services. Wells Fargo, for example, already has a good mobile app — and the company is now being proactive by rolling out cardless ATM access and other next-generation features. There are many scenarios and mobile moments where cardless ATM transactions will prove their worth in convenience and value to customers.
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The Event Horizon of In-Store Retail Automation

It came out of nowhere: A muffled, mechanical voice with electronica undertones called out “Hel-lo there.” It was leering down at me and a few other eTail West attendees: Over 7’6”, a fiberglass robot straight out of a Transformers movie with giant glowing blue eyes and dark mechanical fingers that looked as if they had 300 psi of hydraulic force – enough to crush a car.

Of course, this robot was a ContentSquare-emblazoned suit with a person inside, but the subsequent conversation was surreal.  “Can I take a picture?” a fellow attendee blurted out.  “Cer-tain-ly.  Step ov-er here for a nice-ly lit shot,” in staccato English with the eerie, deep mechanical voice.  The neurons in my head started firing.

Suppose this robot was real? The technology is mostly here.  We have natural language processing, basic AI functionality, robotic prosthetics, centralized controllers.  Now – how about if we gave it a bit more capability – perhaps even manage basic functions in a retail environment.  How about pick and pack capabilities, identifying objects on store shelves and labeling processes.  What about moving it to the front room and engaging with actual customers?  I’m sure it could handle basic questions such as where to find my size 34 jeans or directions to the restroom.  Add a camera or two and it becomes a surveillance device as well – mobile and dynamic for loss prevention and security.  Maybe even a checkout with a torso based kiosk to scan items and a POS.

 

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Introducing The Forrester Readiness Index Report: eCommerce, 2016

Satish Meena

With the increasing significance of the online channel in retail, we need variables other than macroeconomic data or consumer market size to assess the readiness of a market for eCommerce. While there is no universal tool for selecting expansion opportunities, the Forrester Readiness Index (FRI) provides a holistic assessment of the eCommerce setting for each country.

Our recently publihsed Forrester Readiness Index For eCommerce, 2016 is a holistic assessment of the eCommerce setting to provide insights for global expansion needs. The eCommerce index signifies the level of opportunity in each of these countries over the next three to five years and measures the impact of technological and behavioral influences in conjunction with the revenue opportunity.

The FRI evaluates 25 quantitative variables in four areas — consumer, vendor, infrastructure, and online retail opportunities — in 55 countries across the globe. We selected each quantitative and qualitative indicator to measure the relative “readiness” of the platform in each country; these indicators reflect each country’s eCommerce environment and overall retail opportunity. 

Some of the key findings of the Index:

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Google Home Gives In To Ad Interruptions

James McQuivey

Today several users of Google Home -- Google's competitor to Amazon Echo with its Alexa intelligent agent -- reported that Google was inserting Beauty and the Beast movie promos into their conversations. Read The Verge's account of the details and see the tweet from user @brysonmeunier below:

It's surprising that Google is already testing this kind of interruption model for a couple of reasons. First, it's playing catch up to Amazon's much more mature intelligent speaker product and rocking the user boat with something so blatantly counter to the value of the category so soon feels foolhardy. That said, this will hardly cause a backlash so if it shows that Google is willing to test and refine its value proposition more rapidly than Amazon, that's not a terrible thing.

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Empathy Is Key To Engaging B2B Buyers

Laura Ramos

It’s no secret, company websites are a key implement in the B2B marketer’s toolbox.  B2B marketers rate websites as the second most effective demand management tactic for building awareness (behind events) in our 2016 Business Technographics marketing survey. B2B companies also expect more than half of their customers to buy online within three years.[i] These trends show just how important it is for marketers to get the website experience right – and to produce Web content that builds empathy to engage buyers.

So, is anyone doing this well today?  And, if so, what are they doing to make their content more engaging? In “Empathetic Content: The Key To Engaging B2B Buyers” we looked at 60 corporate websites across 12 different industries to figure this out. Sadly, we found most fail to deliver engaging, customer-focused content. Sadder still, not much has improved since we first undertook this exercise in 2014.

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The Top Emerging Technologies For Digital Predators

Nigel Fenwick

If you’ve been following my research, you know I like to divide the business world into three categories of company:

  • Digital Predators successfully use emerging digital technologies to gain market share and/or displace traditional incumbent companies (e.g., Amazon, Lyft, Priceline, Airbnb, Netflix).
  • Digital Transformers evolve a traditional business to take advantage of emerging technologies, creating new sources of value for customers and opening up new competitive strategies (e.g., Burberry, Nestlé, L’Oréal, Unilever, USAA, Ford, Delta).
  • Digital Dinosaurs struggle to leave behind their old business model. These companies are typically slow to change because they must defend large P&Ls, or they have a near monopoly position, or they simply don’t see the opportunity/threat (e.g., many retailers, taxi companies, manufacturing firms, legal firms, recruiters, construction firms).
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Is Facebook Listening? (And So What If They Are.)

Fatemeh Khatibloo

From time to time, an anecdote comes across our desks that, as researchers, we find hard to leave alone. A few months ago, one of these opportunities appeared, and we thought it might be interesting to lift the hood, and show you how we dig into tough research hypotheses and decide if and when to write about them. Here's what happened.

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Over a period of a few days this winter, we heard from one colleague, then another – 20 in all -- that conversations they'd had IRL ("in real life") seemingly resulted in ads and sponsored posts in Facebook. Given the state of "surveillance marketing," we weren't that surprised, until we read Facebook's T&Cs. There, the company explicitly stated that it wouldn't use data collected from a user's microphone for ad targeting. That's when we got curious.

First, we looked to the obvious: had our colleagues searched for the advertised item after having had the conversation? Had they checked into the same place as their friend, at the same time? Were they on the same network -- and thus sharing an IP address -- as someone who'd searched for the product or service? We rounded up the answers to these questions, and determined that "interest-by-proxy" was an unlikely cause.

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