Throw open the boardroom doors. Videoconferencing is making a dash to to the huddle room, your desktop, and the cloud. In Forrester’s new Vendor Landscape: Videoconferencing Platforms we look at videoconferencing market trends and the 15 vendors that support the space.
Videoconferencing is a must have for employee experience. It drives hard cost savings with travel reductions and decreased time to market and soft savings with employees--particularly remote workers--who are more engaged. Global software decision makers aren’t in the dark about the benefits of videoconferencing as its implementation has been outpaced only by IP telephony.
There are three key reasons that have driven videoconferencing out of the boardroom including:
It's not about whether brands have value. It's about how to manage the value.
Twilight Of The Brands
In early 2014, our profession faced an existential crisis. The end was near, said James Surowiecki, in his New Yorker article, "Twilight Of The Brands." Look at Lululemon, he cried. The cult-like athletic wear brand was reeling from product failure and leadership indelicacies. And he referenced new research that said consumers were "supremely well informed," and did not need to "rely on logos" to determine value.
In The Pink Of Health
Turns out Surowiecki wasn't so well informed after all:
More is not better. It is true that the digital age brings with it more information about brands. More than many would care for, really. And therein lies the rub – this tsunami without filter or curation does little to clarify and more to confuse.
Brands signify more than information. The idea of brand as a signal of value is valid, although simplistic. More information may bridge quality and trustworthiness gaps, but a brand is much more. It conveys an emotional connection. Information plays no role in sipping a Coke or running in Nike.
Forrester conducted another successful conference last Friday, September 1, at our Customer Experience (CX) Marketing Shanghai 2016 Forum.With insightful content, influential industry speakers, and great event organization, we are grateful for the excellent feedback that we received from the delegates who were present.
A total of 190 CX and marketing professionals attended this event, joined by 23 Forresterites from all over the globe. As the event host, I was approached by many attendees during the networking breaks and at the end of the event who unanimously expressed their appreciation and their willingness to work with Forrester for their CX initiatives. CX, though in its early stage in the China market, is getting traction from senior leadership in many organizations, and Forrester is definitely at the forefront of CX research in challenging thinking and leading change.
Forrester analysts and our distinguished guest speakers shared their insights into the following topics with the audience:
Innovation. From the latest digital trends to design thinking, companies now have access to an arsenal of methodologies and tools to improve their CX and drive sustainable business growth with CX excellence.
Social. Social media is indeed an integral part of our lives, and CX and marketing pros ought to leverage it to take their CX to the next level. Speakers from Tencent, IHG, Decathlon, and Social Touch showcased their thought leadership in this area and demonstrated that social media can help up your game and generate tangible results.
Today’s business marketers and their prospects are engaged in a frustrating content “dating” game. To get the content they want – and avoid the inevitable follow-up sales call or nurturing emails – more and more buyers are populating your gating forms with false, incomplete, or non-business information. They get the whitepaper, but all you get is another useless “lead.”
To assess the current state of content gating and uncover innovative solutions to this problem, we reviewed 35 B2B websites and interviewed 15 B2B marketing practitioners across four industries, the results of which are available in my latest report, entitled Unlock Content Gates To Support Self-Educating Buyers. Here are a few of the high points:
Gating practices vary across industries, but the pendulum is clearly swinging back to more open access. The early adopters of content marketing have learned the hard way that too many forms too early in the buyer’s journey do more harm than good.
Business marketers have reached a consensus on what content to gate and not gate. The dividing line is determined by the buyer’s need and purpose, whether they are in education mode or seriously evaluating your offering.
To improve the buyer’s experience, innovative marketers are experimenting with progressive profiling, personalizing content based on form data, augmenting minimalist forms with third-party data, and even profiling anonymous site visitors before they fill out a form.
Companies of all stripes are getting bot happy, rolling out bots for third-party platforms like Facebook Messenger, Kik, WeChat, Slack, and more. Firms like Yahoo, H&M, KLM Airlines, and others use these chat bots — software built to simulate human conversation and to help consumers complete tasks — in an effort to better win, serve, and retain customers.
A few banking providers are beginning to dip their bank-shaped toes into the bot space: Capital One allows customers to take actions like paying bills via Alexa on Echo devices; Bank of America has announced plans to roll out a bot on Facebook Messenger; and numerous Chinese providers offer banking services via WeChat.
But while a few banks are in a position to experiment, digital business executives at most banks must decide whether to use precious resources to build or buy a chat bot offering. Forrester’s brand-new research report argues that most of these executives should hold off on launching chat bots for messaging platforms. This is because:
Today’s bots often lead to uneven — or worse — experiences for customers. In our research, we found many instances where a chat bot offered a quick and effective answer to a consumer’s question; however, about one-third of the time, existing chat bots either failed to complete the consumer’s request or provided a clunky, awkward experience.
I joined Forrester earlier this year as an associate forecast analyst on the ForecastView team, focusing on digital marketing (DM) topics. The ForecastView team’s goal is to answer the questions “How much?” and “When?” To this end, we publish five-year forecasts that provide forward-looking, quantitative guidance around the key issues that our research analysts are discussing as well as the important trends that Forrester’s Technographics® survey data reveals. To learn how our forecasts can help you with your investment decisions, see our ForecastView overview.
On the DM forecast team, we evaluate various facets of the digital marketing space, including online display, online video, social media, paid search, email marketing, mobile advertising, and ad tech.
Our latest report, the Forrester Readiness Index: Digital Marketing, 2016, touches on many of these areas. In it, we quantify the digital marketing readiness of 55 countries across six continents based on data collected for 23 variables — ranging from display, search, and social ad spending to per-capita online traffic and video consumption to penetration rates for PC, smartphone, internet, and broadband usage to GDP growth, number of businesses, and the percentage of businesses selling online. It provides one of the most comprehensive and digestible evaluations of the global digital marketing landscape available in one place.
On their constant quest to enable users to quickly find the best answers to their questions, Google announced last week that starting in January 2017, they will burymobile websites where the content is blocked by intrusive interstitials. In other words, mobile websites that have pop-up ads won’t rank as high in Google’s search results.
We’ve all felt the pain of having to hover our finger over the closeout sign of a large ad, before we can get to the content we set out to find. This frustrates us, and takes away from the immediacy we desire in mobile moments.
Facebook can't buy a break with its newsfeeds. Every time it changes the model, somebody complains. But its latest snafu -- turning over the job to an algorithm without expert oversight is not the answer. Posting a fake story just isn't smart. It's not insights-driven; it's head-in-the-sand.
(The provenance of this image is opaque. If you own it, please let me know so I can attribute it properly.)
Rule #2: Marry algorithms and expertise to continuously improve outcomes. Algorithms are not a secret sauce; they are a model of the real world. If the algorithm says X and the expert says Y, then there's room to improve either the algorithm or human understanding. Innovators like Allstate Insurance (and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) accomplish this by putting product experts (or oncologists) and data scientists in a room to continually refine their cognitive assistants. (see endnote 9)
The age of the customer demands that businesses drive innovation at ever faster speeds and with limited budgets. More than ever, innovation is of the essence, and innovation must be cost-effective. Frugal innovation offers an alternative approach to driving innovation as it is based on the tenet to do “more with less” in contrast to the widespread practice to increase the R&D budget. Frugal innovation:
Opens opportunities to cater to people “at the bottom of the pyramid.” Traditional R&D often ignores those customers with lower purchasing power. Frugal innovation specifically targets this customer segment, opening up opportunities for new revenue streams.
Is complimentary to traditional R&D, not a substitute. Frugal innovation will not replace traditional innovation, but it will add a new approach to drive innovation.
Requires a change of mindset and a different approach to innovation. The frugal innovator’s mindset sees constraints not as a disadvantage, but an opportunity. Frugal innovation supports and furthers a mindset for global innovative collaboration.