Travel Email Customer Service Leaves Much To Be Desired

Diane Clarkson [Posted by Diane Clarkson]

When I speak with travel eBusiness professionals, it is clear that they value their customers and want this to be reflected throughout their online research to their travel experience.

Why then do travelers overwhelmingly feel that travel companies are failing to make them feel valued? Only 29% of online travelers believe travel companies are making strong efforts to make them feel valued.

I’ve wondered if there is simply a disconnection – that the best efforts of a dedicated marketing team can be thwarted by a weather delay, bad traffic, or a grumpy desk clerk.

We will be publishing a report shortly on making travelers feel valued. In the course of researching this report, I’ve paid a lot of attention to the how travel companies communicate. There is an old expression that the “devil is in the details”. I disagree. Sometimes the big picture is the accumulation of details.

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What to do with your newer bigger ad budget

Riley, Emily by Emily Riley

Major players are showing signs that marketers are starting to spend more online. Yahoo recently made public remarks that they’re optimistic that advertising revenue will start to increase soon. If we do see a near term increase in spending (Forrester is forecasting general growth in the industry over the next 5 years) then it is probably a combination of things including a turn in the economy and the approaching 4th quarter, typically the biggest quarter for ad spending.

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Target Groups, Segmentations and Personas…oh my!

Jackie Anderson [Posted by Jackie Anderson]

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The Three C’s of Digital Content

For the last couple of months Forrester’s global media team has, in collaboration with a number of other Forrester analysts, been working on a series of research looking at the impact of the Media Meltdown and the implications for the future of media businesses. A number of key reports have already been published (see Nick Thomas and David Card’s reports) but there is also plenty ‘in the pipes’. One of these works in progress is a report laying out the product innovation that Forrester believes that music companies need to pursue to survive the Media Meltdown. What is becoming apparent is that many of the fundamental challenges and solutions apply far beyond the music business.

In fact it’s beginning to look like there is the makings of a product innovation blue print for all media companies in the digital age. We’re really excited with where some of these ideas are going and I want to share with you a few of these key concepts here. In return I’d really value your comments and feedback to help us continue to hone our thinking.

One of the core challenges facing any business that tries to sell content to consumers (in digital or physical form) is that content scarcity is gone. In the boom years of the distribution era content scarcity encouraged consumers to think distributors and retailers had a monopoly on the supply of content. In the digital age of ubiquitous availability and pervasive free, scarcity of content simply does not exist.  Consequently consumers' willingness to pay for content fades by the minute. 

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Facebook Acquires Social Veterans in FriendFeed Deal

Jeremiah Owyang

[Posted by Jeremiah K. Owyang]

Facebook makes a play and acquires Friendfeed, a sharing and aggregation tool that helps people find out what their friends are doing. Read Friendfeed's announcement, and Facebook's blog post

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Shifting Tides

Lisa-Bradner  [Posted by Lisa Bradner]

Last week, Tide announced “Tide Basic”, a lower cost and less featured version of their iconic brand.  This is a wise response from P&G, driven by the realities of a recessionary marketplace that has consumers:

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Textbooks On iPhone: New CourseSmart App Launches Today

Today CourseSmart, a joint venture of five of the biggest textbook publishers, is launching an iPhone app to augment its Web subscription service for eTextbooks. Its subscription service offers access to more than 7,000 textbooks, at an average of 50% off print prices. Currently, CourseSmart has a few hundred thousand student subscribers, out of a potential addressable market of 13 million US college students (they only target higher education, not K-12, for now).

The iPhone app is nice, with a snappy thumbnail browse feature. It's not something you'd read on, per se, but offers easy access to look up something, search for something, or access your notes. Having the option of mobile access will undoubtedly increase the appeal of CourseSmart's subscription service, assuming the company is successful at marketing the new feature.

Currently, CourseSmart's content isn't integrated into the Kindle or other dedicated reading devices; this app marks its first move into increasing access to eTextbooks on any kind of mobile device. Maintaining print-identical formatting and pagination is a crucial aspect of its product; eReading devices aren't ready to support this type of content yet, but the iPhone is a move that makes sense.

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24x7 People and the Rise of 24x7 Social Computing

By Ian Fogg (bio, recent research)

Too many firms are building their mobile strategies as a mere extension of the PC Internet, and are missing out on what's now possible when mobile, but which remains impossible using a PC.

A PC is always going to be limited to deliver a part time Internet experience. They are too bulky, too heavy, too power hungry, and increasingly too dependent on the assumption that a super fast fixed-quality broadband connection is present to be something that people will have with them all of the time 24x7. If a PC evolved to be suitable for 24x7 use it wouldn't be a PC anymore.

Today's Internet mobiles offer people that 24x7 digital life. People are becoming connected 24x7 through their Internet phones and that must transform the strategies that firms adopt. Mobile enables a 24x7 relationship between brands and consumers. Mobile enables people to interact with websites 24x7, both to consume -- read and browse -- and to contribute. Mobile opens up new business models through the fusion of location awareness and a 24x7 Internet-connected device.

The first and clearest example of this new world is what's happening with social computing. People are now able to lurk on Facebook or Bebo at anytime, or post photos onto Flickr that are taggged with where they were taken (as well as when).

Read this new report for more on 24x7 people:-
How Mobile Handsets Will Deliver 24x7 Social Computing

I'll be developing this theme in future reports this year.

Are Your Salespeople Stupid?

Come on, admit it.  Einstein

It’s what you think, isn’t it?

If I had a dollar for every time I heard “our salespeople lack the skills or ability to (insert any of the following: cross-sell, sell higher, sell to value, get ahead of the RFP)” I would be a very rich person.

But are selling skills really the problem?

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Tapping Social Networking Sites To Energize B2B Buyers

Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

On June 17, Forrester published my latest research on
how business buyers use social networking sites to inform purchase
decisions, the role these sites will play in future buying processes,
and three key ways for B2B marketers to tap into open, social network
value. 

Two key insights coming from this research:
discussion forums and online communities are poised to become the
online supplement for colleague interaction and the decision to join in
community activity depends mostly on the quality of the participants —
the discussion relevance, demonstrated experience, and shared
thought-leadership.

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