Key themes from day one

Last night after the Acxiom party, we (Elana, Harley, Cliff, Ross, and I) met to debrief all of yesterday's keynotes.  I had strong objections against including the "beer-a-mid," a reference to Pete's speech and the town of Wellesley's recycling program, in this morning's remarks, but after I went to bed, it appeared in the talk. Beeramid_2

So what should you remember?

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Lester Wunderman: Keynote Thursday

Charlene Li introduced Lester Wunderman.

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He began by stating that we are in the business of creating relationships between buyers and sellers..this is not new, We need some new rules to adopt to the  online world; we don't need new principles.

Relevance, relationships, repurchase and retention; these are the 4 R's for Direct Marketing.

Ask yourself, which product do you buy over and over again and why?

Would you like to be rewarded for your loyalty? He says we are not loyal to products the same way we are to family and friends..That is why relationships are so important. Satisfaction is the keyword.

We must satisfy our customers...the basic thought is the principles that he has been advocationg for years about relationship marketing can be enhanced through tecnology. Use technology to improve the delivery. Delivery of what? The delivery of the relationship. The dialogue.

Satisfaction, relationship, and loyalty...they can be enhanced online. Embrace the technology. Repeat.....embrace it. Add technology to death and taxes to the things that cannot be avoided.

Other comments from Mr. Wunderman: Internet marketing is a strategy, not s tactic. Some rules he notes: Create relationships Trust is the basis. Be accesible to your customers You are what you know

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Lester Wunderman

Yesterday in a conversation with Charlene Li which I will be posting in greater detail later, she mentioned that Lester Wunderman believed that there was no such thing as customer loyalty...that businesses needed to consistently and constantly satisfy their customers; this begins with listening. And with the thought of listening, I am looking forward to his Keynote which begins in a few minutes.

Lester Wunderman, Forrester Marketing Forum, Charlene Li

Ted Schadler: Behavioral Targeting and Using Online Data To Reach Customers

Ted Schadler began his session on behavioral targeting by saying that segmentation is shorthand for understanding customers. He said that segmentation allows marketers to reduce the diversity of consumers to groups that have similar characteristics.

What is the right segmentation? The one that predicts the behavior that you care about. there are three kinds of segmentation: Demographic, Attitudes, and Behavior. Ted highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of each kind and concluded that behavior is the most predictive and therefore the one of most interest to marketing. Simply put, past behavior typically provides insight into future behavior.

The Internet is a rich source of predictive behavioral activity. How to get started? As always, begin with what you want to know and do.

    1. Identify the behaviors that best mirror your product or service.

      2. Begin by looking at who has the enabling technology

    3. Target potential buyers by previous behaviors.

    4. Narrow focus to likely adopters based upon the intensity of their previous behavior.

This was a fascinating session and I will post more later today.  Best chart:

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Peter Kim's Keynote: The Reality of Being Customer Centric

Photo by Josh Hallet

Peter Kim, being Peter Kim, gave an outstanding keynote on the Forrester Conference theme, the Customer Centric Marketing Organization. Pete keeps it real by noting that there is frequently a reality gap between the words customer centric marketing and companies that actually are customer centric. A company needs to build their entire culture around customer advocacy to make this a reality. Forrester's definition of customer advocacy Pete says is, " The perception that a firm does what's best for the customer, not just what's best for the bottom line."

The first step towards a culture of centricity is to accept the reality that you don't own the Brand, the customer does. Although this has always been true, in a social media world, acceptance is a necessity. Peter highlighted several organizations as examples of customer centricity:

USAA tops the Forrester list as well as Business Week's ranking of organizations that understand customer service.

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B2B marketers focus on customers, too

Eric Kintz shared how HP has transformed its organization to be more customer centric by focusing on three things:

  1. Integrating the customer to drive the business.
  2. Measuring and managing what matters to the customer.
  3. Inspiring employees to drive customer centricity.

These themes weave their way through all of today's presentations, but HP's added challenge of executing them in a B2B context shows that customer centricity is possible for all types of marketing organizations. They recognized a relationship between customer loyalty and business results, measured how they evolved over time, and focused investments on what mattered to customers. In addition to the relationship between customer loyalty and business results, HP also found a relationship with their sales partners and loyalty, so they established a closed-loop process to deal with customer feedback.  And they inspired employees by training all of them and building programs that allowed them to more easily share the customer feedback they received.

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Socializing the customer database

By Julie Katz - Researcher, Marketing, Forrester

Database marketing is officially sexy.  Once heavily technical and used only to support direct marketing programs, database marketing now helps brand marketers learn more about their target customers and build loyalty.  Aaron Cano of 1-800-Flowers and Elva Lewis of P&G joined Dave Frankland to discuss how their organizations make use of database marketing to further their business goals and deepen customer relationships.

P&G's 86 brands have traditionally operated independently through mass media to reach theoretical customers.  Now they're experimenting using "sticky" brands like Pampers and Iams to build community and attract loyal users to other relevant brands.  Lewis credits many sources for their success with data and change in mindset:  millennial marketers joining P&G, marketing partners like Merkle and Targetbase, and retail partners like CVS.

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Personas Are For Everyone

By Ross Popoff-Walker - Researcher, Customer Experience, Forrester

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Principal Analyst Moira Dorsey lead a break-out session today on the use of personas for marketing. She was joined by Glenn Drummond from Quarry Integrated, and Net Payne of Nortel, who worked together on a sales enablement tool for Nortel called "Coach." The tool is a set of web-based personas which allows sales people to quickly isolate key
info about their target consumers to feed into their efforts.

At the most basic level a persona is a vivid description of a key target user, based on rigorous research of real people. What Nortel's Coach shows is that personas have a variety of applications outside their design-centric origins.  And there are other examples: Best Buy used personas to craft an in-store experience.  SAP usesd personas for the design of call center software.  What different ways have you found for utilizing personas?

Do You Need a Chief Customer/Experience Officer?

By Ross Popoff-Walker - Researcher, Customer Experience, Forrester

When does your firm need an executive position focused just on customer needs?  While improving customer experience is key to many companies, 57% of firms reported they lack a disciplined approach to managing their customer
experience. So while companies
have figured out the path, that experience is key, many have yet to figure how to walk the path. (And yes, we're evoking Morpheus from the Matrix here).

To Forrester VP Bruce Temkin the path is Experience-Based Differentation (EBD), which he defines as: "Interacting with target customers in a
manner that consistently builds loyalty." EBD focuses on three
principles:

  • Obsess about customer needs, not product features.
  • Reinforce brands with every interaction, not just communications.
  • Treat customer experience as a competence, not a function.

Jeanne Bliss, author of "Chief Customer Officer," joined Bruce for an open Q&A with the audience.  A few key takeaways:

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Measuring Success: Where to Start?

By Julie Katz - Researcher, Marketing, Forrester

Saying that measurement is important to marketers is an understatement.  Business decisions, even compensation, rely on the data marketers collect about customers.  Megan Burns and Christine Overby presented on what data marketers should collect, how to collect it, and how to make the best use of the data available.  Megan emphasized how important it is to measure what actually matters to customers rather than what marketers think customers care about.  As Pete Kim said in his keynote address, "easy to say, hard to do."  Megan outlined some initial steps:

First lay out the steps in your customer's lifecycle (and use personas you may have created since different customers have different needs).  Then use primary research to identify touch points and key attributes. Measure both from a customer and a business perspective.  But don't stop looking at that data once the design phase is complete:  keep using it to close the loop and measure how well you deliver on your goals.  And, use that data to improve your programs.

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