We recently asked marketing leaders who use content marketing platforms (CMPs) a simple "this or that" question, namely:
What business outcomes did your content marketing initiatives generate last year: top-line benefits (new customers, revenue, sales) or bottom-line benefits (loyalty, reduced marketing or media expenses)?
The responses came down decidedly in the second category. In other words, those marketing leaders who are currently practicing content marketing in a way big enough to necessitate software specific to it believe the value they're generating is less growth than efficiency.
This is in line with the input I've received from both marketing leaders and CMP vendors. Both describe a scenario where all kinds of marketing teams - search-focused, website-focused, customer engagement-focused, social-focused, recruitment-focused, PR-focused - have internalized the value of content, and are commissioning lots of it. To the point of chronic overindulgence.
Their current needs are these:
Producing content once and repurposing it and reusing it in a way that maximizes media efficiency
Managing multichannel fragmentation in a way that doesn't fragment the organization
Maintaining brand consistency when brand is as much about culture and narrative as it is about colors, logos and lock-outs
Learning how to prioritize customer needs and value in all customer engagement situations
To successfully grow in Asia Pacific (AP), you must excel at understanding customers’ needs, wants, and behaviors and have the capabilities necessary to transform this insight into improved customer engagement. But that’s true everywhere. What sets the AP region apart are the continued vast differences between markets. Appreciating these market differences, and the impact they have on customers’ expectations, is critical when sourcing enterprise marketing capabilities.
According to our fellow consumers, we’re more productive. Ask any mother, and she’ll tell you we’re addicted. Listen to a doctor, and you’ll think we’re creating clinical problems. The consequences are up for debate, but the fact of the matter is clear: US online adults get things done by switching from one screen to another.
Today, the majority of the US population uses three or more connected devices; we don’t only live among screens – we live by them. We complete tasks by gliding from one screen to another without a second thought. In fact, over half of US online consumers often carry out a single activity across multiple devices, and one-fifth admits they always do this.
While consumers commonly start certain tasks on their smartphone and complete them on a desktop, they also move from desktops to portable devices. The devices consumers use and the frequency with which they move between screens vary by activity. A blend of Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data and passive behavioral tracking shows that retail behaviors are most fragmented across devices, followed by media consumption activities:
During the first part of this series, I talked about how clients are constantly asking us what to do with their data and how they usually go right to “what technology do I need to solve this?” We learned in that post that technology is most likely not the issue (or solution). In this post, I will go to the core of the issue: your organization.
In order to break down silos and open up a dialogue across business units, you have to start by asking, “What do we want from the data?” This question will start a path that first leads to where the data needs to end up and which audience is digesting it. From there, dig into where it lives (possibly in a top drawer, behind the socks . . . ) and see if what you need is there. In order to have that conversation, marketing, technology management, and analysts need to get in a room together to discuss possibilities and limitation.
Picture this: you're on a website looking for this must-have item for someone special and you know that the product exists on the website but every time you search for it you can't find it for the life you! If you've never had trouble searching for a product or information on a website---well, you're lying. We know that customers are demanding effective and relevant search results in addition to a easy-to-use interface. If they don't get it, they're likely to look elsewhere for what they need---and nobody wants that.
Site search sounds like a no-brainer functionality that every website has and is an easy thing to do but relatively few companies have actually mastered site search. Done well, it:
Promotes customer self-service. If your visitors are able to successfully find what they need, then you’ve done your job while also deflecting calls away from the more expensive contact center.
Increases time-on-site. When customers find what they’re looking for in a painless manner, they’re more likely to spend more time on your site, looking for additional information or products.
Provides overall better customer experiences. Let’s be honest, site search isn’t top-of-mind. But if you can not only make the functionality an accurate, seamless experience for your visitors and provide recommended solutions based on search terms---well you’ve hit the site search jackpot.
Today, I'm officially kicking off the 2015 version of the Mobile Security Technology Radar and I need your help!
Mobile security is one of the fastest changing, most dynamic markets that I have ever seen in my life (and I've been around the block a few times). Just when enterprises think they have it all figured out, a new shiny blinking toy is released that promises to secure mobility better than ever before. I began formally tracking the mobile security space for Forrester in the summer of 2013. One of my early reports was the 2013 Mobile Security Technology Radar which I slightly updated in the winter of 2014. Both enterprises and vendors alike responded very positively to these reports, citing the valuable insights that allowed them to predict the movements of a market that changes faster than Katy Perry at the super bowl halftime show.
What isn't always evident in the reports that we write at Forrester is the depth and details in the research we do. For example, the graphic below represents quantified survey results of industry experts, vendors, and customers of mobile device management technologies that offers insite into the market sentiment on MDM solutions in 2013. MDM was a pretty hot technology in the summer of 2013 and the lack of red market sentiment helped us predict that this technology would thrive in the near future (see graphic below). Things really get interesting when we have year over year trending data to help us gain additional insite into the future market movements.
Think 1.5 million apps is a lot? Pfffft. Netcraft reports 175 million active websites globally. Each one of those sites has many "apps" embedded in it -- one for shopping, one for service, one for each region or product line. I'm guessing we have a global app potential of 1 billion.
The ancient elders of the web era -- vendors, webmasters, marketers, technology managers, agencies -- all appear to operate under the delusion that if they add responsive web templates to their site, they can make each of those billion experiences a mobile moment. Pfffft. They can't. Responsive web techniques are better than nothing -- at least Google will stop cramming your site to the bottom of the search list. But it's not enough to serve customers in their mobile moments of need.
To do that requires knowing exactly what someone needs, then creating the shortest path from I Want to I Get. And that means nailing the mobile moment.
Mobile is not an option. It's your reality. Mobile is as urgent for business customers and employees as for consumers. Here's what one manufacturer had to say: "Our customers look for us when they're installing our equipment in their datacenter. If we're not on their smartphone, then we don't exist."
Recently, in The New Yorker, Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, a small energy company in Vermont, told a story of customer-obsession. Her customer-obsession starts simply: Help customers reduce their energy footprint at no net cost. Green Mountain accomplishes this by investing hugely in the latest and best technology, to pull electricity from the sun, insulate the bejesus out of the house, run massively efficient heat pumps, and micro-manage the draw on the power grid draw. Yes, the capital expenses and labor costs are immense. But when you reduce a home's energy footprint by 85%, you reduce the $250 electric bill by 85% -- or more than $25,000 over 10 years.
Green Mountain Power has a customer-obsessed culture and a customer-obsessed operating model. But it also has become expert in using technology to win, serve, and retain customers. The company is technology-obsessed, often out ahead of even the pundits when it comes to the latest technology. Green Mountain Power unites all three forces to be customer-obsessed: culture, operating model, technology.
The same is true for every company and government. Igniting a culture of customer experience is important. Relentlessly improving the operating model to put customers first is also important. But without the right customer-serving business technology in place, customers will be stuck with ancient web sites, cranky mobile apps, pathetic call centers, and disempowered employees.
Does customer experience really matter to business success — or is CX just the latest flavor of hype? Recently, Forrester completed a six-month research effort aimed at answering that question by examining the relationship between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth.
Why did we pick revenue growth as the measure of business success? Because it’s the No. 1 priority of global business leaders recently surveyed by Forrester.
So with that in mind, here’s what we did: Aided by some long-suffering research associates, some of our top industry experts and I picked pairs of competitors where one of each pair had significantly higher customer experience quality than the other (as rated by their own customers). We did this for five very different industries: cable, airlines, investments, retail, and health insurance. Then we built models that compared the compound annual growth rate in revenue of the CX leaders to the CX laggards between 2010 and 2014.
The results were intriguing. There was a clear correlation between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth for cable companies, airlines, full-service investment firms, direct investment firms, and retailers. However, the magnitude of the difference varied widely by industry, with cable coming out on top: 35.4% for the CX leader versus 5.7% for the CX laggard. Even more interesting, the results were a virtual draw for health insurers — superior CX didn’t seem to matter much when it came to revenue growth.
It is easy to get ahead of ourselves with all the innovation happening with data and analytics. I wouldn't call it hype, as that would imply no value or competency has been achieved. But I would say that what is bright, shiny, and new is always more interesting than the ordinary.
And, to be frank, there is still a lot of ordinary in our data management world.
In fact, over the past couple of weeks, discussions with companies have uncommonly focused on the ordinary. This in some ways appeared to be unusual because questions focused on the basic foundational aspects of data management and governance — and for companies that I have seen talk publicly about their data management successes.
"Where do I clean the data?"
"How do I get the business to invest in data?"
"How do I get a single customer view of my customer for marketing?"
What this tells me is that companies are under siege by zombie data.
Data is living in our business under outdated data policies and rules. Data processes and systems are persisting single-purpose data. As data pros turn over application rocks and navigate through the database bogs to centralize data for analytics and virtualize views for new data capabilities, zombie data is lurching out to consume more of the environment, blocking other potential insight to keep the status quo.
The questions you and your data professional cohorts are asking, as illustrated above, are anything but basic. The fact that these foundational building blocks have to be assessed once again demonstrates that organizations are on a path to crush the zombie data siege, democratize data and insight, and advance the business.
Keep asking basic questions — if you aren't, zombie data will eventually take over, and you and your organization will become part of the walking dead.