In the days before Waze, Google Maps, or even Mapquest, when I needed to figure out how to get somewhere in Southern California, I relied on the Thomas Guide. Still available for many areas, the thick, spiral-bound tome was the location bible. It was not the easiest thing to use. Everyone’s copy was dog-eared through constant flipping back and forth to compare the street name index at the back with the coordinates on the correct map-page at the front. It was time-consuming, and sometimes confusing if you didn’t know the exact version of the street – court versus place versus avenue – or what section of the street you were looking for.
The market landscape for sales enablement automation solutions has been in the Thomas Guide phase of finding solutions. There are a wide range of vendors, with a correspondingly wide range of offerings and capabilities. That leads to the web-based equivalent of flipping back and forth trying to map what it is they really do to where you want to go.
The latest Forrester Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation Solutions and the related toolkit, which includes detailed profiles, looks at 18 vendors and calls out key functions and considerations when starting a search for a sales enablement solution. It discusses why B2B marketers should focus on content, understand how to present and recommend from the seller’s point of view, leverage engagement analytics for multiple audiences, and more.
I quite like this provocative sausage dog picture because it forces marketers to think differently about responsive web design (RWD). More often than not, marketers scale content down to fit a smaller screen; because they then claim that they use RWD and have some mobile apps, they think they have checked the mobile box. In fact, RWD was by far the most common tactic that marketers were using or planning to use in 2015: Only 9% of marketers we surveyed are not planning to use it. When fully implemented, RWD can improve the user experience, but more often than not, it’s implemented as a quick fix to the problem of multiple screen sizes. It often prevents marketers from thinking about the need to contextualize offerings for different devices. Customers do not necessarily want the same content across all their screens. However, a scarily high percentage of marketers we surveyed — 47% — admit their mobile services are primarily a scaled-down version of their PC services. In short:
Marketers misuse mobile marketing tactics. B2C marketers often focus too much on piloting the latest mobile shiny objects and, unfortunately, do not invest enough in adapting to mobile experiences’ core touchpoints -- like email or search -- that most consumers use to engage with brands.
Use mobile to transform brand experiences. Too few marketers think of mobile as an opportunity to transform the brand experience. To really differentiate themselves, they should develop mobile-unique interactions delivering visible value with apps, messaging, and online-to-offline tactics.
A recent Forrester survey found that business leaders in the financial services industry (FSI) saw 34% of revenues in 2015 generated through digital products and services or products sold online. Their expectation is that this digital quotient will surge to more than half of their business by 2020, leading to a digital arms (and capabilities) race against a new breed of competitor. JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon accurately sums up the new competitive dynamic when he notes that “there are hundreds of startups with a lot of brains and money working on various alternatives to traditional banking.”
Our inaugural invitation-only summit in Singapore on Friday, April 15 will bring together an intimate group of senior executives from banks, insurance companies, and fintech firms to share Forrester’s latest FSI digital business research and facilitate a discussion with industry leaders. Our team of esteemed analysts will lead the discussion; here is a snapshot of the topics that will be presented on the morning of the summit:
Frederic Giron (Vice President and Research Director serving CIOs – Singapore): Accelerating Digital Business In Financial Services
Oliwia Berdak (Senior Analyst serving eBusiness and channel strategy professionals – London): How To Organize For Digital Financial Innovation
Randy Heffner (Vice President and Principal Analyst serving application development and delivery professionals – Dallas): APIs Take Center Stage In Financial Services
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a teleconference highlighting IBM Watson’s success stories over the past year. Most of them are under NDA, so I can’t go into the details, but I will say they covered an incredibly broad range of use cases. One use case that I was hoping they would cover and didn’t was content analytics for marketing, aka “quantent.”
In the customer analytics arena, we often talk about “getting the right message to the right customer at the right time.” This is only partly true. Well-built and rigorously tested propensity models will deliver you the right customer and the right time. Behavioral segmentation models may even specify the best channel to use to deliver the message. But that still leaves the message itself. Whatis the right message?
Content analytics begins with entirely different data than customer analytics, and the two analytical streams merge just prior to the point of action. Whereas customer data contains information about customer profiles, transactions, and behaviors, data about content characterizes tone, length, wording, dates, products mentioned, type of offer (if applicable), and other key themes within the content itself. Most importantly, content that has been subject to A/B testing also creates data about the success of the message on an individual customer basis.
One of the S&R team’s newest additions, Principal Analyst Jeff Pollard comes to Forrester after many years at major security services firms. His research guides client initiatives related to managed security services, security outsourcing, and security economics, and integrating security services into operational workflows, incident response processes, threat intelligence applications, and business requirements. Jeff is already racking up briefings and client inquiries, so get on his schedule while you still can! (As a side note, while incident response is generally not funny, Jeff is. He would be at least a strong 3 seed in a hypothetical Forrester Analyst Laugh-Off tournament. Vegas has approved that seeding.)
Prior to joining Forrester, Jeff served as a global architect at Verizon, Dell SecureWorks, and Mandiant, working with the world's largest organizations in financial services, telecommunications, media, and defense. In those roles he helped clients fuse managed security and professional services engagements in security monitoring, security management, red teams, penetration testing, OSINT, forensics, and application security.
Here’s an interesting discrepancy: Marketers and agencies fuss over how many people subscribe to a brand’s YouTube channel. Yet, the ease of subscribing suggests little commitment, and YouTube buries notifications of new videos from subscribed channels.*
Thus, in the context of a report I’m writing, I hypothesized that YouTube subscribers were worthless; brands that had collected thousands of subscribers had only a number. Nothing more.
And I tested the hypothesis.
Take 60 brands with at least 1K YouTube channel subscribers (the average was 350K).
Count views for a dozen videos, each between two weeks and 12 months old.
Establish an average view count, and divide by the subscriber total.
If you're one of my regular readers, you may remember a post from August 2015 – "The Future Of Retail Is Digital" – in which I highlight key findings from a report on the future of retail experience. One recommendation was that retailers should begin to experiment with augmented and virtual reality technology early, so that potential use cases can be piloted in-store. Well this week, Microsoft announced a partnership with Lowe's to demonstrate the viability of Microsoft's Hololens to help Lowe's customers visualize custom kitchens.
While VR/AR is a long way from widespread market adoption (see this March 16 post by J.P. Gownder), the time needed to pilot and experiment with this technology means tech and CX teams in retailers need to be piloting use cases now in order to figure out what, if any, business impact the technology will have. (See also my comments from CES 2016).
Yes, I think someone’s banging on the door. Pretty hard actually.
In fact, it’s deafening.
The knocking is empowered digital media buyers. The slowness to answer is the media ecosystem of publishers, media agencies, and broadcasters.
I shared the video below a week ago on LinkedIn and people clearly like it. It’s the parable I just stated, but acted out. Listen to Gabe Leydon of Machine Zone (big digital media buyer) slam the media ecosystem. It’s painful. Cathartic. Iconoclastic. Focus on two segments: 11:00 -> 11:45 and 12:55 -> 13:55.
This is the advertising ecosystem’s reckoning with the age of the customer. The customers want to cut through all of the layers of BS that advertising has traditionally wrapped itself up in.
I had a few takeaways given Leydon’s analysis:
Media businesses are trying to be technology platforms, but are mostly houses on fire.
Analytics agencies are the new media agencies.
Media agencies are just houses on fire.
If you’re a marketer, pull your media-buying capabilities close to your chest. Invest in better analytics. And do everything in your power to get a measurable, direct-to-consumer sales channel on its feet, if only to provide insights to the marketing that feeds your indirect channels.
Forrester has a long tradition of boomerangs— former employees who re-join the company—and I joined their ranks back in January. It’s been an incredibly busy first few months, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. The quick re-immersion has meant that I’ve started to solidify my coverage area (social marketing primarily with a bit of overall marketing strategy sprinkled in), had some great collaborations with the rest of the social team (Erna, Jessie and Sam), and already have an updated piece of research to share.
We’ve just published our updated Vision report for the Social Marketing Playbook, Integrate Social Into Your Marketing RaDaR. With the near-ubiquity of social—both in consumers’ lives and marketers’ plans—it’s more important than ever to ensure that you have a strategic, measurable approach to social marketing. This updated report has new data and examples to help you make the most of social across the entire customer lifecycle, making the just-checking-the-box style of social planning as unnecessary as it is obsolete.
Instagram announced this week that it is joining Facebook and Twitter and ditching its clean chronological feed in favor of an algorithm-based personalized feed. No one is surprised given Instagram has inched closer and closer to Facebook since its 2012 acquisition.
What does this mean for users? Instagram's initial appeal was its simplicity: mobile only, pictures only, square size only, chronological order, and one-way friendship. In the last year, Instagram has abandoned those simple principles by introducing an inordinate number of ads, varying visual sizes, and auto-play video, seemingly resulting in a40% drop in interaction rate in 2015. The big social networks seem committed to complicating their feeds as their companies mature and financial expectations grow. For purists, replacing an elegant user experience with a bogged down interaction is a turnoff. My own Facebook and Twitter usage nosedived once their feeds became messy; Instagram, currently my #1 social app for time spent, is facing a similar fate.