Take a Pragmatic Approach To Personalization

Anjali Yakkundi

Co-authored by Allison Cazalet 

Has the topic of personalization come up within your organization recently? Chances are that personalization not only comes up, it’s also a foremost priority: 68% of the firms we surveyed in our Q1 2016 Digital Experience Delivery Online Survey said personalization was one of the most important initiatives for their business today. Why? Because personalization is one of the best ways to contextually engage with customers across a variety of touch points. But many organizations we speak with today struggle to get initiatives off the ground and struggle to prove the business value of personalization.

To help organizations get started on their personalization program, my colleague Ted Schadler and I researched how best-in-class organizations today have operationalized personalization. The most successful firms we spoke with created a four-pronged personalization program that Forrester calls POST:

People – Before doing anything else, successful firms ask and answer this question: Which customers am I trying to reach and serve? In order to implement a successful personalization program, you will need to do the same by researching your customers in their context so that you know which ones to prioritize.  

Objectives – The next step to a successful personalization program is to make sure you and your personalization team have an in depth understanding of what you are trying to accomplish. You must keep this simple. Determine what business outcome you are optimizing, the experiences you will personalize, and what data you need to make it all happen.

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How To Get Resources For Digital Intelligence

Cinny Little

Congrats.  You, like digital customer insights pros in many firms, continue to advance your ability to provide insights about your customers’ digital behavior.  However, you’re leaving money on the table. Too many digital analytics teams still operate in separate silos aligned with the firm’s channels and org chart, which means that you're not keeping up with today's device-hopping customers. You need to invest in changes that measure customers wherever they actually are, which is across all of your digital touchpoints. And to do that, you need an effective business case. 

A business case is not a blah, blah, blah checklist item.  No matter what your firm’s processes may be for budget requests, headcount requisition, or procurement, you need a management tool that tells the story of the business value you’ll deliver with the investment you’re requesting.   And that tool is a business case.  We’ve done the work to help you pull together an effective one. See the bottom of this post for a summary of the key elements you'll need.

Here’s where you’re heading with your business case.  Your analytics must mature to become what Forrester calls “digital intelligence” - a holistic view of your customers that drives continuous optimization of the digital customer experiences that matter most to business outcomes.   This integrated approach to your data and analytics technologies and practices reaps value such as growing sales by connecting customer data that lets you see across formerly siloed product lines or channels.  Visibility across channels enables insights that can drive improvement in holistic business metrics that matter, such as churn, lifetime value, customer satisfaction, efficiency.  Your business case will outline that holistic story.

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Is Data Visualization A Separate Market Or Just A Feature Of Business Intelligence Platforms?

Boris Evelson

Lots of my clients are confused. They start a Forrester inquiry with a question about data visualization capabilities, but when I lead them into discussion about business intelligence (BI) platforms, they say "but we already have a BI platform. All we really want is an ability to create and share data visualizations". Is there a separate market for that? If there is, I am not aware of one. Here's my take on it:

  • If what you are looking for includes requirements for data visualization administration, security, data management, version control, collaboration, etc, you really need a BI platform with data visualization capabilities.
    • The last time Forrester looked at Data Visualization as a separate capability was in 2012 and even then, as you will see from the URL, we ended up evaluated BI platforms.
    • In our last (and going forward) Wave on the topic we grouped data visualization and self service BI capabilities together as we see them inseparable.
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AI Is The Sincerest Form of Flattery ... And Fear

Mike Gualtieri

Pure AI is true intelligence that can mimic or exceed the intelligence of human beings. It is still a long way off, if it can even ever be achieved. But what if AI became pure — could perceive, think, act, and even replicate as we do? Look to humanity for the answer. Humanity has been both beautiful and brutal:

  • The beauty of ingenuity, survival, exploration, art, and kindness.
  • The brutality of crime, war, and pettiness.
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L2RM Automation Is Powering A B2B Marketing Transformation

Lori Wizdo

Forrester just published The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q4 2016.  Our research uncovered a robust market in which Act-On, Adobe, IBM, Marketo, and Oracle lead the pack; bpm'online, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Salesfusion offer competitive options; and CallidusCloud and Right On Interactive are Contenders.  Forrester’s Wave ™ process is comprehensive (we evaluated the products across 36 different criteria); rigorous (the process comprises executive briefings, detailed product review and demo, all validated with customer references); and completely transparent (each criteria is graded on a 0-5 scale with the scale explanation openly published).  There’s no hiding in the Forrester Wave ™ process – for the vendor, or for the analyst.  As the lead analyst on this research I want to thank the marketing and product marketing teams of the vendors who participated in the Wave research process.  

Our last Forrester Wave ™ analysis on L2RM platforms was published in 2014 and we found significant differences in:

  • Practitioner motivation: 
    B2B marketers are moving beyond revenue performance to life-cycle customer engagement
  • Platform maturity:
    Support for advanced B2B marketing practice is the differentiator with marketing practitioners looking for their marketing operating system.
  • Marketplace adoption: 
    There’s a lot of runway in the L2RM Platform Market.
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Three Ways That Retailers Can Step Their Game Up In 2017

This year has been no picnic for retailers. With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, many retailers are in the throes of the holidays and are doing all they can to achieve a strong finish to a bumpy, even bewildering, year. Retailers now must deliver rich, personalized customer experiences to win the customer loyalty battle for two key reasons:

  • Consumers are still cautious…:Almost 10 years after the last financial crisis, the national unemployment rate is low, gas prices are down, and real income is up – but continued tempered spending shows that consumers aren’t taking anything for granted. Economic and political turmoil globally isn’t helping, nor is uncertainty about the implications of Brexit and the U.S. elections.
  • …But they’re also empowered:Owning multiple connected devices is increasingly the norm in the U.S., so it’s not surprising that 42% of U.S. online adults are researching products via online customer reviews weekly if not daily– double the activity just two years earlier. In an era of “anywhere, anytime” commerce, consumers are actively using their smartphones not just on the go, but even in the store itself. And while they may be fiscally skittish, we’ve found that consumers today are willing to try new things faster than in the past.  
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SapientRazorfish...a necessary consolidation and harbinger of things to come

Sarah Sikowitz

This post is co-authored by Anjali Yakkundi, senior analyst at Forrester

Two years ago, we published our take on Publicis Groupe’s acquisition of then independent, digital powerhouse, Sapient. In that report, we predicted that it would be difficult to integrate the capabilities and culture of Sapient with existing Publicis agencies Razorfish and DigitasLBi to drive value for clients. 

We were right, it was difficult.  Clients struggled to find clear points of differentiation between the firms, which often competed against one another for new business. Revenue suffered. Meanwhile, consultancies like Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital continued to move into digital agency territory.

And now, two years later, Publicis Groupe is merging SapientNitro and Razorfish to form SapientRazorfish. The new entity will sit under Publicis Groupe’s digital arm, Publicis.Sapient and will begin fully operating in the new model on January 2, 2017.

This merger is smart because it:

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Call For Marketers In China – Join Forrester’s 2016 Global Mobile Executive Survey

Xiaofeng Wang

Forrester’s 2016 Global Mobile Executive Survey is open, and we are calling for marketers in China. If you’re a marketer who is involved in mobile consumer initiative in China, please take this opportunity to provide your perspective.

My colleagues Julie AskThomas Husson and Jeniffer Wise are collecting responses from marketers in the US and Europe. If you want to understand the role that mobile is playing in various organizations in different regions, what their objectives are, how they measure the success of their mobile initiatives, and a lot more, you just have to share with us your own perspective and we will aggregate the answers.

For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the survey results.

Click HERE to start the questionnaire.

If you’re not familiar with your company’s mobile consumer approach, please forward this survey to the relevant colleagues who are in charge of defining or implementing your mobile consumer approach.

The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.

The survey will be live until November 29, 2016.

Responses will be kept strictly confidential and published only in an aggregated and anonymous manner.

Needless to say, we will filter responses and exclude irrelevant answers as well as answers from vendors or consulting organizations.

This Black Friday, Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

Dipanjan Chatterjee

Black Friday approaches. I should be breathless with anticipation. You see, I’m a brand strategist. To me, the prospect of millions of people reveling in thousands of brands and turning the bottom line from red to black is brand nirvana. It’s like Christmas came early. Which it does, in a way, on Black Friday.

Yet, the tendrils of self-doubt infiltrate my exuberance. Must a weekend so treasured for time spent with friends and family be ruined by being pepper-sprayed at Walmart, by being gored in the Pamplona bull run down the aisles at Best Buy to save 50 bucks on a TV I don’t need? Do we really need to spend any more time glued to our devices buying more clutter?

Maybe you feel this way, and maybe you don’t. But you would expect brands to be cheerleaders for Black Friday, right? Wrong.

Black Friday 2011: Patagonia buys a full-page ad in the New York Times and instructs readers not to buy its jackets. That’s right, they pay good money to tell folks not to buy their stuff. Citing the “astonishing” environmental cost of making jackets, they encourage people to reuse and recycle. Fast forward to Black Friday 2016. This year, Patagonia is donating 100% of Black Friday sales to grass roots organizations "working to create positive change for the planet in their own backyards."  Yes, you did read that correctly. 100%. And sales, not profit.  

Black Friday, 2015: REI decides to remain closed that day and give all its employees a paid day off. No, their P&L does not self-combust. Instead, they choose to close shop again for Black Friday 2016. REI’s CEO says that this “reinforces both REI’s culture with employees and the message that resonates with the company’s core customer base.” About 2 million people plan to #OptOutside with REI.

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Marketers, You’re Also Culpable In Facebook's Metrics Mess

Jessica Liu

Yesterday Facebook blogged "An Update on Metrics and Reporting" to inform marketers that several of their organic metrics were misreported including organic reach, time spent on Instant Articles, and follower count. This follows Facebook's revelatory September announcement that their video metrics contained a discrepancy and were over-reported.

The industry was outraged. But who’s really at fault here? Tina Moffett and I break it down like Judge Judy.

For The Defense: Facebook

How long did it take TV to standardize measurement? The social media industry is young and a fast-changing work in progress. Lest we forget, Facebook is only 12 years old and started as a platform for people; metrics was the furthest thing from their minds. But, it’s now the biggest social network serving people, brands, and publishers and is constantly having to prove value to all three. We would be surprised if Facebook was not screwing up along the way. To build their platform, Facebook will continue to mess up and correct, mess up and correct. Instead, let's focus on how Facebook's metrics woes will impact their relationship with marketers (and agencies):

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