Forrester's CEO Hip With Mobile Marketing

In his welcome to the crowd of 600 marketers, sponsors, and guests at the Marketing Forum, Forrester CEO George Colony showed that he understands the power of technology for marketing.  "The last frontier," George said, "is the connection of the physical world to the digital world."  He illustrated with the use of QR codes in JapanWikiqr has put marketing in the palm of consumers' hands.  The US isn't as advanced in its use of mobile bar codes or mobile marketing in general -- mobile marketing is the wild East, so to speak.  Mobile marketing presents a challenge both on the technology integration front and on the customer-centricity front because of the incredibly personal nature of the device.  Christine Overby

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Marketers = Experience Integrators

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

Sylvia Reynolds faces a unique challange as Wells Fargo's CMO. "We have the opportunity to delight or disappoint our customers in moments of trust every day," she said. And there are a lot of opportunities for Wells Fargo, who receives 250 million phone calls to its call centers each year.

But how do you create delight in a world that is divided into 80+ silos, and justify organizational change when each silo is hugely successful? "Paradox is possible," said Sylvia, meaning that while the 150+ year old Wells Fargo might be financially booming, that doesn't mean it's providing a consistently strong customer experience.  Her recommendations:

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The Customer Rules

Gary Skidmore, Corporate Officer and Executive Vice President at Harte-Hanks shared some tangible examples of companies that embody customer centricity.  Skidmore emphasized that companies should make their customers "fanatical" about their brands.  Whose customers are fanatical?  Starbucks:  customers, who are treated as individuals with the ability to customize their drink orders, were in a tizzy over the company's Make It Your Drink promotion where they could get their drink order printed on a custome T-shirt.  Apple:  iTunes users also thrive on customization.  Like custom-designed snowflakes, no two playlists are the same, and Skidmore treasures the playlist his daughters created for him.  But customization isn't the only way to put customers in the driver's seat.  How else then?  Skidmore showed that focusing on employee satisfaction leads to customer satisfaction.  Companies like Goog

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Sony's Customer Centric (Re)organization

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

What does SpiderMan 3 have to do with customer-centricity?  A lot if you’re Sony Electronics CMO Michael Fasulo, who spoke today on the mainstage with Senior Analyst Brian Haven. That’s because Sony’s large, global family of diverse brands, from Vaio to Sony Pictures, presents an organizational hurdle towards customer centricity.

“The successful brands of this 21st century will be only those brands that can truly execute a customer centric model,” said Fasulo. And he isolated two curtail elements for achieving this success: 1) changing the company culture, first and foremost, and 2) leveraging the Total Brand.

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Making Customer Centric Marketing Real: Questions

After his brilliant speech, Pete took questions from the audience.  Maybe they're the same questions you're struggling with.  If not, ask your own in the comments.

Are customer centric metrics inconsistent with business metrics?  No.  Focusing on the customer is the best indicator of future purchase intent.

How does social marketing and UGC fit?  Marketers always had to be good to customers, and now they have new channels to work with.  Building relationships is always key.

What about customer centric P&Ls?  Organizational structure often hinders customer centricity.  Some organizations have created phantom P&Ls.

Who should we partner with to execute our customer centric strategy?  HR, IT, Finance, and the CEO!

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Making Customer Centric Marketing Real

Peter Kim addressed the Marketing Forum about how to make customer-centric marketing real.  To introduce the idea he connected Miami to Spring Break to Girls Gone Wild to Miami again to Senior Citizens to Hanging Chads to Al Gore to his film, An Inconvenient Truth, to the idea that his house consumes 10x more electricity than any other house in the city:  wanting to save the environment is easier than actually doing it.  Just like wanting to practice customer-centric marketing is difficult, too.  But it is super important:  customers have high expectations and social computing has shifted power to consumers.  Pete said that customer centricity is in the details.  His examples?  Wal-Mart's failures in blogging and social computing illustrate that customer centricity is easy to say and hard to do.  Three examples of marketers who practice customer centricity through metrics, culture, and technology: 

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Forrester Marketing Forum - Kick Off

The 2007 Forrester Marketing Forum officially kicked off this morning with opening remarks from Forrester Research Chairman and CEO, George F. Colony. To set the stage for the conference, George reviewed the six things he tells the CEOs he talks with:

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What's a Marketing Forum without. . .

. . . marketing?  Some early morning shots of our sponsor booths before attendees arrive:Sponsor_001Sponsor_002

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More than just a warm body

It's the day before our Marketing Forum. I came down to Miami early to sit in on Forrester's Direct Marketing Council meeting, and I was surprised by the different methods marketers use to find the analytics staff they need.  Their overall challenges?  Building a consistent definition of the customer, measuring campaigns and media mix (among other things), and justifying their actions to senior management. Companies look for a combination of skills in modern database marketers:  heavy data abilities and strong interpersonal skills.  That combination -- folks who know data and can translate the numbers and analysis into business language -- is rare. So where do companies find these yellow diamonds?  A few recruit from MBA programs with personal recommendations from academic connections.  Others take antithetical approaches:  some find folks with analytical prowess and develop their business acumen so they can use data strategically; others train skilled business people from outside of database marketing on modeling.  Talent is hard to find, but no official word on which recruitment approach works best.