It's Time For B2B Brand Equity To Step Out Of The Shadows

Dipanjan Chatterjee

B2B brand management has come a long way from its roots in consumer packaged goods and has gradually branched out to play an equally central role in B2B markets. B2B CMOs are just as invested in bettering their brands as B2C. No longer relegated to industry rags and trade shows, B2B marketing is entering a new age, with firms like CA Technologies, General Electric, and IBM in the vanguard. At a Forrester event, General Electric CMO Linda Boff remarked that GE is often the first brand —not just the first B2B brand —on platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Vine.

But are most B2B brands successful in following in the footsteps of these trail blazers? Forrester research with over 1,000 B2B and B2C decision-makers reveals mixed results. Here's the good news: B2B CMOs include Brand in their top three priorities and consider Brand Management to be the strongest skill set in the department. But here's where it gets ugly: 25% of B2B CMOs consider Brand Awareness an important marketing metric; only 15% believe Brand Equity is important.     

This chasm between awareness and equity, which also exists for B2C brands, can prove particularly vexing and stubborn for B2B because of some commonly held misconceptions:

  1. Brand matters more for B2C (a lingering notion despite being soundly dispelled)
  2. The role of brand (in a traditional sales-driven culture) is to drive awareness and fill the mouth of the funnel (the reality points to a vital role in securing choice and loyalty)
  3. Brand Equity is amorphous, eludes specification, and hence best avoided (there exist many robust quantitatively-specified equity models
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Missed Some Of Our Business Insights Research In 2016?

Customer Obsession Will Remake App-Development Tools

John R. Rymer
Application-development leaders shifting to modern techniques are like acrobats performing above a flimsy net. The tools and technologies they need to support the planning, execution, and evaluation of customer-focused applications just aren't widely available yet. The biggest gaps are in portfolio management, test-and-learn development environments, and digital application platforms. This report provides an overview of the tools and technologies application-development leaders need. 
 
Our key findings: 
 
  1. Organizing Principles For Tools: Composition, Collaboration, Continuous Delivery. An emphasis on composition, collaboration, and continuous delivery makes modern application development different from prior eras. Tools and technologies must support with equal facility apps, projects, and assets living in public clouds and private data centers. They must also foster contextual collaboration in near real time to enable rapid, continuous delivery.
  2. Tools Reflect The Needs Of Cross-Skilled "Two-Pizza” Teams. Tools for modern application development and delivery reflect the convergence of roles across the old boundaries between product management, design, development, QA, and operations. Not all market-leading products act on this reality; they still address siloed roles as before. Thus, application-development teams will look to new tools — even command-line editors — and open source projects to improve project flow.
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B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment

Mary Shea

 

Are your marketing and sales teams caught in that endless loop of finger pointing? B2B sellers who complain about lead quality/quantity and marketers who criticize sellers for poor follow up? After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds. Just “google” marketing and sales relationships and see what you find. I did and I surfaced 98 million results! Titles such as: “The Rocky Road Between Sales and Marketing” and “How to Survive a Soured Sales and Marketing Relationship” show the dissonance and drama still very much in play.

Five years into the age of the customer and the modern B2B buyer has high expectations. They’re more knowledgeable, independent and self-directed than ever. They no longer rely on your sales people for product, pricing and other information. And they don’t want to be told what they already know. As I explore in our recently published report, B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales, the empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. And, by in large, they want their experiences with sales people to be high value or frictionless. Think of a 2 or 5-star hotel experience – each has its merits - but 3 and 4-star hotels often disappoint.

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Start Caring About VR And 360-Degree Video

Nick Barber

At the International CES mega show in Las Vegas, virtual reality hardware makers moved the needle on both consumption and creation devices for formats like VR and 360-degree video. Specifically in the area of 360 video creation technology, we saw some impressive cameras at CES.


Insta360 Pro debuted
 an 8K camera (left) that can also shoot 4K video at 100 frames per second. Slow mo, high res VR, anyone? The Insta360 also employs new H.265 encoding, which can deliver better video quality at the same bitrate versus H.264 compression. The camera is priced at $3,000, which is steep, but much more competitive than the $60,000 Nokia Ozo.

Ricoh added to its lineup of cameras with the Theta R, which can livestream in 2K resolution at 30 frames per second for up to 24 hours.

At $800 the Vuze Camera will finally begin to ship in March. Its compact size and price point will be good for brands and businesses that want to dip their toes into new content

VR and 360 content can be a powerful tool for companies. For example, Delta used a 360 image to show off its new Delta Premium offering. It drove 2,700 shares and 16,000 engagements. Click on the post below to see it in 360.

The hardware for VR and 360 video is one piece, but the technical and production component is equally as important. When it comes to producing 360 video, remember:

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Confusion And Vendor Adolescence Stalls AI Innovation In Financial Services

Craig Le Clair

 

AI is a hot topic in financial services. And its easy to see why. Increasing margins on transactions, decimated by compliance costs and low interest rates, reaching new market segments, and automating routine tasks, makes AI innovation attractive. And in one sense, FinServ has always been about algorithmic innovation. There is no higher potential ROI than beating the market. Advanced analytics for program trading have been banging away at this goal for decades, with a rich base of advances.

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How self-service technology is changing the contact center job landscape

Ian Jacobs

Over the holidays, I was a guest on the Modern Customer Podcast, a wonderful podcast hosted by Forbes’ blogger Blake Morgan. She describes the podcast as providing “surprising and counter-intuitive insights on customer experience, social customer service and content.” No pressure there, then. During our episode, Blake and I discussed the ways that increased usage of self-service has begun to dramatically transform the jobs of customer service personnel and contact center agents.

At heart, my argument goes like this: customers have begun to use, and in some cases even prefer, non-agented interactions. They use knowledgebases, FAQs, mobile customer self-service, chatbots, and peer-to-peer communities in increasing numbers. This means that:

  • Because self-service solves many of the simpler issues that customers have, the inquiries that do make it through to contact center agents are the more complex, difficult, or relationship-dependent ones. So, contact center agents now need to be prepared for solving harder problems than in the past.
  • Because most customers that actually do reach a contact center agent will have tried to self-serve and failed, they will more frustrated than they were in the past. In a world where the phone and even chat are actually escalation channels, agents start three steps back by the time they say the word, “Hello.”
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European consumers may be active on social networks – but does that mean they use social in their path to purchase?

Samantha Merlivat
To understand how open customers are to receiving messages from brands in social media, the question has to shift from “How social are our customers?” to “How social are our customers in their path to purchase?” 
 
Given the amount of time consumers spend on social networks, marketers intuitively know they need to be present on social media but many still struggle to pin point exactly:
 
  • Why they need a social presence - or rather, how they can be relevant on social media,
  • How much resources to invest in social media,
  • And where to invest these resources.
 
Forrester has developed the Social Technographics Framework to help marketers address exactly these questions. Using Forrester data to analyze the social behavior of various consumer groups and their inclination to use social touchpoints in their interactions with brands, the framework helps marketers determine:
 
  1. How important social media should be to their marketing plan
  2. When their audiences rely on social touchpoints in their customer journey 
  3. What social touchpoints their audiences use, and to what ends 
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Divide (BI Governance From Data Governance) And Conquer

Boris Evelson

Stop! Before you invest even 10 minutes of your precious time reading this blog, please make sure it's really business intelligence (BI) governance, and not data governance best practices, that you are looking for. BI governance is a key component of data governance, but they're not the same. Data governance deals with the entire spectrum (creation, transformation, ownership, etc.) of people, processes, policies, and technologies that manage and govern an enterprise's use of its data assets (such as data governance stewardship applications, master data management, metadata management, and data quality).  On the other hand, BI governance only deals with who uses the data, when, and how.

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Lessons From Mars

One of my kids gave me the book The Martian for Christmas. He knew that I had loved the movie and thought that I might enjoy a deeper dive. Check. I highly recommend this book, even if you have seen the film. Beautifully outlined and beautifully written, the book lets you bathe in astronaut Mark Watney's perils and ingenuity as he tries to stay alive on Mars alone after having been left for dead. Plus, the tech is very, very cool, and according to NASA and the physics community, it's generally accurate. 

And there are some bigger lessons that all of us can use here on Earth:

1) Anything can be fixed. When your strategy isn't performing, your product is fading, or your market is changing, diagnose and repair. There is always a way.

2) Fix, then monitor. Watney would repair, but he was always running diagnostics -- he never trusted that things would operate dependably. He was always checking back in to verify.

3) Solve the first problem, then go on to the next, and on to the next. When a company is transforming to be digital and customer-obsessed, Forrester has found that leadership often doesn't know where to begin. The Martian's lesson is to just start. Resolving many small issues and maintaining forward velocity will lead to big results.

4) Always keep duct tape on hand. Watney saves himself and his equipment a bunch of times with gray tape. The duct tape of digital transformation is MVP -- minimum viable product -- building something basic and then improving the hell out of it. It's a hack, like tape, but it keeps you in the game.

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