(Timing markets has never been in my golden gut; anticipating technology relevance is. Watches and body cameras, for example, will never be mainstream, nor will drones or curved TVs. Ping me and I'll explain why. Or do this cosmo quiz to make your own prediction for consumer technology.)
As reported (and powerfully visualized by CB Insights), Unicorns are crowding the market. Look at the density of Unicorn logos starting in February 2014, three short years ago. It's astounding. Why this proliferation? Why now? Why so dramatic?
I believe three things have created and propped up the Unicorn valuations of tech startups:
If you're an investor, there's no place better to put your cash. The returns on real assets are small. The returns on exuberance (like big fancy new houses) can be large. So investors have lots of cash to place bets on startups that might just pop.)
The recent election, with a hoped-for impact of deregulation and infrastructure spending, left the market energized about the potential for growth. The market's up. So the potential for healthy exits and IPOs (even ones without a clear revenue growth model such as Snap's) is up.
We followed a rigorous, academic approach that started with the premise that improving CX drives customer loyalty. Using our Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) survey questions about customers’ loyalty to and spending with a particular brand and combining them with industry-level numerical assumptions, we answered the following question: How likely is a customer to stay with your brand, or spend more, or recommend you to others — and what would that be worth to your organization in dollars and cents?
For each customer, we calculated a loyalty-based revenue potential and a CX Index score. Calculating these numbers at the individual level allows us to track the relationship between CX and revenue throughout the entire range of CX Index scores and develop models to describe the nuances of how CX drives revenue in a particular industry. With these models, we can predict the revenue associated with a brand’s CX improving — or even deteriorating.
We tested several models to find the “shape” that best describes the data. We found that the relationship between CX and revenue potential tends to follow three main shapes:
Linear. CX and revenue move in lockstep. Whether you improve a poor experience, a mediocre experience, or a good experience, the impact on revenue will be the same.
Well fellow marketers, the beginning of 2017 has been fast and furious! I’m sure I’m amongst friends when I share my year-end was a combination of: wrapping up projects, supporting last minute revenue efforts, reviewing predictions for 2017, and saying goodbye to 2016 actions that should never be repeated. I'm proud to say, now that 2017 is finally here, I’m doubling down on my “dismantle the silo” charge. And the reason is simple: customers. We are running out of time and opportunities to grab and keep their attention. They don’t have time or the desire to entertain disjointed experiences. Let’s face it, as customers ourselves, we feel the same. Now is the time to act which means business units within organizations must join forces to create differentiated brand experiences.
My latest report written with my colleagues Ian Jacobs and Laura Naparstek , “Use Social To Bridge The Gap Between Marketing and Customer Service,” discusses the benefits a marketing and customer service pairing creates for customers and the brand. Legacy silos prevent innovation and the cultivation of new internal connections. If we let these silos stand, we end up contributing to the negative customer experiences that happen when marketing and servicing don’t work together. So, keep the following in mind:
In today's world, customers decide how customer-centric a company is. Good customer service should capture the fundamentals of a great experience: ease, effectiveness, and emotion
Looking ahead, Forrester sees 10 trends for 2017 that customer service professionals should take into account as they move the needle on the quality of service that they deliver: Here are six of them:
Customer service organizations address a smaller volume of simple voice-based customer contacts as they mature their self-service, automated engagement, and digital operations.
Trend No. 1: Companies extend and enhance self-service. Customers of all ages are moving away from using the phone to using self-service — web and mobile self-service, communities, virtual agents, automated chat dialogs, or chatbots — as a first point of contact with a company Dimension Data reports growth in every digital channel and a 12% decrease in phone volume. In 2017: Customer service will continue to invest in structured knowledge management and leverage communities to extend the reach of curated content. Service will become more ubiquitous, via speech interfaces, devices with embedded knowledge, and wearables for service technicians.
Just like a US President gives Congress information on the "state of our union", Forrester has just released a state of the union on the search marketing world. But instead of constant interruptions for applause or the opposition's response to the state of the union, let's cut to the chase.
The state of search marketing is strong. But there are cracks forming in its foundation. That's not to say that search marketing is under immediate seige from foreign adversaries, but it is to say that there will be challenges and opportunities for agencies, vendors, and marketers that are tasked with owning SEO and/or paid search.
Change is nothing new in the search world -- especially when you consider how often Google updates it's ranking algorithm. And 2016 was no different. There were a few major highlights in my eyes:
Google nixed right-hand rail ads. Back in February, Google confirmed that all ads (except PLAs and some knowledge graph ads) would no longer appear on the right hand side of desktop search results. The reason Google did this was to provide a more consistent experience across devices, which it did. The good news for marketers though? The decrease in total inventory didn't increase CPCs. In fact, CPCs on Google declined 5% since Q3 2015.
Organic search is still top of mind for marketers...and customers. Let's face it: SEO is not the sexiest digital marketing topic. But it works: according to Forrester's Consumer Technographics data, natural search engine results are the top way customers find websites. So it should be no surprise that my top inquiry topic in 2016 was on all things SEO.
Just after a few months since the European Parliament approved the final version of the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Commission is working on updating yet another set of privacy rules. The European Commission published a new text that, when approved, will replace the current ePrivacy Directive: the EU law that ensures confidentiality of communication and the protection of personal data in the electronic communications sector.
While the Commission plans to complete the reform process quickly enough to allow the new law to come into force in May 2018 together with the GDPR, the road ahead is long and tortuous. In fact, both the EU Councils of Ministers and the EU Parliament must agree and approve the final text.
While EU policy makers aspire to finalize a new version of the ePrivacy Directive that goes hand-in-hand with the GDPR, it’s a task for all companies to update their processes, technology, workforce's expertise, and oversight mechaninsms to comply with both sets of rules. To meet compliance requirements consistently and without redundancies, it’s crucial that firms understand what’s changing and how ahead of time. According to the proposed text, the new ePrivacy law will:
Each year at the end of summer, several members of Forrester’s Security & Risk research team look back at publicly reported breach events and data privacy violations of the previous 12 months to spot trends and identify cases to feature where we feel there are lessons learned for S&R pros. In 2016, this was a joint effort alongside my colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo from Forrester’s Customer Insights research team. Leading up to Data Privacy Day, I’d like to share some lessons learned from one of the five key trends we saw in our 2016 analysis.
The intersection of privacy and customer experience reminds us of the importance of collecting and managing consent, whether that involves collecting data to personalize an experience or marketing or another initiative we aim to pursue. We saw notable examples (Verizon Wireless! InMobi!) of how FCC and FTC actions in 2015 and 2016 converged on issues of consumer privacy and consent. In both cases, firms used tracking information to deliver targeted ads.
Intuitively, it makes sense that if a consumer engages with a brand’s ad or marketing message, this should count as a positive outcome. Yet, we’ve spoken to a number of marketers and measurement companies that found that optimizing for engagement ultimately did not help them drive positive business outcomes – instead leading them to waste time and media dollars on the wrong users.
The issue we keep encountering in discussions around engagement is that advertisers count interactions – clicks, shares, likes, comments, views – as proxies for engagement. There’s no clear link between these individual actions and what they are really trying to measure: are their messages moving consumers along their path to purchase, by driving either brand preference or sales?
Over the course of my career as a marketing analytics practitioner and as a Forrester analyst,I’ve tried to tackle some of the most pressing questions around measuring marketing’s effectiveness. I’ve seen a recent surge in marketers using the metric “engagement” as a way to measure marketing success. When I start to question what they mean by the term “engagement” and how they measure it, I’m often met with a flurry of answers, including a running list of metrics, such as likes, shares, or time spent on the site, that marketers Read more