iPhone: advertising and brand monitoring

IphonetodayThe iPhone goes on sale today, which you probably knew.  Do you remember seeing any ads for it?  TV?  Print?  Banners?

I've seen some paid keywords on Google.  Given the amount of buzz, hype, anticipation around the launch - why even bother?  (unless you're marketing Blackberries.)  Today I got an email with the image at left.  Search ads and email - that's it.  Compare that to the consumer-generated content around the product:  on YouTube, Flickr, and in blogs.

Here's what brand monitoring experts have to say about the launch:

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Verizon ' s iPlan

Verizon Wireless has begun the heavy promotion of music-capable cell phones in response to Apple's iPhone launch with AT&T. (See Fierce story.)

It's a good response. For many in the younger age groups, the new iPhone will be off limits unless their entire family (which is the case with tens of millions of subscribers in the US) can switch to AT&T. We just published research on the kids, tweens and young adult market. Most cell phone users in these segments are still on their parents' plan. About half of 18 to 24 year old's are.

A friend of mine called me about a month ago. Her nephew (age 16) was having a COMPLETE meltdown because he wanted an LG Chocolate (he'd just lost his Razr), but the family was on Sprint. They ended up getting him another music-capable phone, but not the LG Chocolate.

The promotion of music-capable phones and accessories is a good one.

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What North American banks can learn from Europe

Cliff Condon, Head of Research for Forrester's Marketing & Strategy cohort, gave Finance Forum attendees an eye-opening look into European online banking trends.  Cliff happens to be the perfect person to deliver this cross-cultural perspective, originally from Boston and having lived in Amsterdam for the past seven years, working in the financial services industry on both sides of the Atlantic.  His charge to the audience:  benchmark globally, differentiate locally.

Europe's leading innovators are ahead of the game in three areas:

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Customer Advocacy 2007: USAA wins again

This morning at Forrester's Finance Forum, Bill Doyle released the results of how consumers rate their financial institutions on customer advocacy:

"the perception that a firm does what's best for its customers, not just the firm's bottom line."

Why does customer advocacy matter? Our research shows that it's the strongest predictor of future purchase intent - even more so than customer satisfaction.

For the fourth straight year, USAA has finished with the highest rating in our research.  Insurers in general did well as a group; large banks languish in the bottom third of the list.  The full report shows where 52 other brands ended up; I recently published a case study on USAA's culture as well.

Fidelity Investments: Moving beyond customer satisfaction

FidelityFidelity Brokerage Company has over $1,900,000,000,000 $1,770,000,000,000 in assets under management administration.  With success like that, you can imagine they've learned a thing or two about customer service.  But some of the best insight from today's Q&A session between Bill Doyle and Ellyn McColgan was where Fidelity is moving beyond customer satisfaction:  customer success.

What is customer success?  Not being satisfied with how well you did yesterday and looking in the opposite direction:  thinking about how an individual can reach a goal.  Success is not only a number but also a series of choices and Fidelity intends to help customers make the next best choice at each step along the way.  For example, you call in and want to open an IRA.  They should ask if you have a 401(k) at work - and if you're taking advantage of any employer match.  If so, after you've maximized that option, then opening an IRA is your next best choice.

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Turning Customer Experience Into A Competitive Weapon

Ebd_3Bruce Temkin delivered this morning's opening keynote at Forrester's Finance Forum in New York.  New Forrester research with American Banker indicates that 97% of banking executives indicate that focusing on customer experience is important to competitiveness over the next three years.

A great way to think about customer experience (CXP)?  It's a production, just like a movie.  Successful firms practice "experienced-based differentiation" based on three key areas.

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Cincinnati Bell & Fixed Mobile Convergence: Service or Feature?

Cincinnati Bell launched their dual mode (cellular + Wi-Fi) handsets and service today. (See story) The concept of improved indoor coverage and unlimited calling is very appealing. Our consumers tell us that quality of coverage and perceived value are the two most important criteria when selecting a wireless service provider. This service hits both. Few people today add Wireless service to their home bundle - this could move those numbers.

I think it's an interesting play especially for the smaller, regional operators who are already offering broadband, local and long distance, wireless and TV service. They also have a public hotspot service. Owning the network end-to-end should play in their favor though it's unclear in how many households this condition exists. They didn't mention the need to purchase a new router (or have one issued by Cincinnati Bell) or have Cincinnati Bell broadband service though this may be assumed.

The service requires the purchase of a new handset which appears to be a fairly typical phone (i.e., adequate

with great features, but not the LG Chocolate so many teenagers want). Handset replacement cycles may slow the uptake of the service as consumers may not be ready to upgrade or are waiting for higher end options.

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Three things about Avenue A/Razorfish

While in New York this week, Brian and I paid a visit to Avenue A/Razorfish.  A few things were notable:

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The luxury market, Google, and Critical Mass

I was down in New York earlier this week to discuss the luxury market at events sponsored by Google and Critical Mass, leading up to the Luxury Interactive 2007 conference.  The premise was a lot of fun for me personally, having worked with PUMA's design partners to bring collaborations to life online (e.g. Christy Turlington, Philippe Starck, Neil Barrett).

Some might argue that luxury and interactive go together like a Porsche with automatic transmission.  Not so!  Forrester's Consumer Technographics data shows that in comparison to the general U.S. population, luxury shoppers are more technology-optimistic, are veteran cross-channel shoppers, and spend almost double the amount of time using the internet.

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Experiencing Community

Hi there.  This is my first time posting on the Marketing Blog.  I'm the analyst on Forrester's Marketing team focused on two high-engagement verticals: life sciences and automotive.  So thinking about feelings (customers' feelings) and experiences is my business.

Right now I'm fascinated by the question of *how* people experience community.  For my current report -- Social Media Strategy For Life Sciences -- I've had the opportunity to talk with three companies that are thinking really creatively about how to bring the experience of community online: CarePages, PeerTrainer, and DailyStrength

What do I mean by "experiencing community"?  Getting by with a little help from my friends on the Marketing Team, I'll show you.  Think about a community or group that you're a part of -- an ultimate frisbee club, a spiritual community, a health support group -- and remember how you feel when you're with that group.  What's going on? 

Shared Emotions

If you learn that you have a rare disease like cancer or MS (or you're caring for someone who does), chances are that you'll be flooded with feelings you've never had before.  All of a sudden you're overwhelmed by by feelings that no one around you is having.  How do you express these feelings and how do you relate to other people when everyone's going about their daily lives?  Finding other people who feel, or have felt, how you feel can be enormously comforting.  You're like the people around you and expressing your feelings feels natural and appropriate. 

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