New Agency Research

Sean Corcoran, Vidya Drego and I just published a report on The Future Of Agency Relationships. The report is written for CMOs and includes a call for marketing leaders to lead agency change to survive in the Adaptive Marketing era. We posit that marketers should assess their partners using three I's — ideas, interaction, and intelligence — to select the right partners. Sean posted a blog post this morning on the Marketing Leadership blog, and Ad Age featured the report on today’s front page.

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The Social Intelligence Teleconference

Over the last few weeks I've been busy talking to clients about my recent research on Social Intelligence - the strategy of using social media data to drive actionable marketing and business insight. It seems that this topic sparked a lot of interest with most marketers and Customer Intelligence professionals out there because, and I'll put this relatively lightly, managing the rapidly expanding vastness of social media data is an overwhelming challenge.

Many marketers I've talked to share the similar pain of trying to "keep up" with so much online conversation, but there's also a crowd that's starting to use all of this conversation to generate rich insights around their customers and brands. But how? Social media can generate a lot of action, both reactive and proactive - it's all in how you look at it and the goals and strategy you create.

This morning at 11am Eastern, I'm leading a teleconference on this subject titled "Driving Customer Insight With Social Media Data" during which I'll talk about the challenges, risks, and (more importantly) opportunities found within social media data. I'll highlight the many different potential uses for social media data and talk about some of the vendors that make this all possible. The teleconference is for Forrester clients only, but after it's finished I'd like to use the comments section here to keep the discussion going and open it up to the public. I hope you can join me for the call, but if not - please join the discussion back here afterwards.

Customer Intelligence Can Drive Irrefutable Marketing Accountability

Would you classify your marketing organization as "highly accountable"? What I mean is, are you always able to accurately measure the true business value of your marketing efforts, and do your senior leaders trust the results? If you're like most marketers, the honest answer to that question is a resounding "no". Proving the business value of multichannel marketing is getting progressively harder—and more important—because:

  • Traditional marketing measurement practices are rooted in stable but inflexible tactics that leave marketers ill-equipped to keep pace with the real time nature of channel digitization.
  • CFOs wield ever-more influence over marketing budgets, which is driving your CMO to lean harder on you to measure business results with scientific rigor.
  • Your customers are in control; uncertainty and unpredictability are the norm; and marketers that can't adapt appropriately are doomed to fail.

This is where you come in. I believe that Customer Intelligence professionals are remarkably well positioned to address these challenges head on, and improve marketing accountability across the enterprise. Why? Because you sit at the cross-section of unfettered access to mountains of customer data from a dizzying array of online and offline sources. "Big data" as the recent article data, data, everywhere in The Economist puts it, is big business. CI professionals are right in the middle of it all helping firms capture customer data, analyze it, measure business results, and act upon the findings.

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Google announces plans to offer Google Analytics Opt-Out

I was on client calls most of the day, and when I came up for air in the afternoon to check my RSS reader and Tweetdeck to see what what going on in the world I made a fascinating discovery.  Like many of you I came across the following post from the Google Analytics Blog:

http://analytics.blogspot.com/2010/03/more-choice-for-users-browser-based-opt.html

This was most unexpected, and my Thursday suddenly got alot more interesting.

Before we go any further let me state that I have not been briefed by Google on this news item.  This post is purely based on my own initial thoughts on the matter.

The blog post announces Google's plans to release a browser plug-in that would allow consumers to opt-out of Google Analytics tracking.  This offering is still in development, and the post offers no specifics on the release date, although it implies that this is only weeks away.

(Side note: It is also interesting to note the language used in the post.  The post leads with "As an enterprise-class web analytics solution..."  This isn't a surprising or entirely inappropriate assertion, but it strongly implies Google's aspirations for GA.)

There are many reasons why Google's course of action is counterintuitive.  Naturally, the marketer in me recoils at the idea of voluntarily allowing measurable data to slip through our hands.  Rationalizing web analytics data is already hard enough, and now this?  And we can certainly debate the true privacy impact of web analytics on consumers. 

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Welcome To The New Customer Intelligence Blog

Hello Customer Intelligence Pros:

In case you haven’t heard by now, Forrester just launched its new blog platform yesterday. Why bother you ask? Well, most importantly, we want to more easily allow you to follow individual analysts and streams of research that are most relevant to you. Here is what Cliff Condon, our guru of Forrester communities and blogs, has to say about the new platform. I urge you to please take a look around, and let me know what you think. Also, let me know what type of content and discussion you would like to see from the Customer Intelligence team in the near future.

Thanks,

Carl

What Is Social Intelligence?

Social media has forced companies into reactive mode. Brands want to know "who's saying something bad about me and how do I track the negative fall-out". But the real power of social media is that your customers voluntarily share a wealth of data that can drive improvements to your business strategy. Right now, your customers, without any prompting, openly share information that would have taken months of surveys - and lots of money - to collect. As social data continues to pile up, it's time to start taking these online conversations seriously and use them to inform your customer intelligence.

The concept of monitoring social media might sound obvious, because most data-hungry marketers understand the value of their customers' social data. But based on my research, even though most marketers may collect this data, far fewer actually use it to inform an enterprise-view of their customers. As any analytical mind knows: collecting data is only the first step.

Over the last few months I've talked to dozens of marketers about how they manage data generated from online discussion - the best practices they use, the pitfalls they've encountered, and the very cool applications they have for using social media data. In my latest research, Defining Social Intelligence (client access), I outline the process and use cases for harnessing social media data to inform your business strategy - a process we call "Social Intelligence".

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Online Testing and Targeting Platforms - We want your input!

Greetings from beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah, where I'm at the 2010 Omniture Summit. It's been a good week, I must say that my favorite part has been the opportunity to meet with so many web analytics practitioners, friends, Forrester clients and the Omniture team.  If you didn't attend but are interested in getting a feel for the event, check out the Twitter hashtag, #omtrsummit.

I am pleased to announce that this week we are initiating the research process for the inaugural Forrester Wave™ evaluation of Online Testing and Targeting platforms.  We plan to publish this Wave report in the third quarter of 2010. Upon completion this research will be distributed to senior marketing executives at hundreds of large marketing organizations globally.

The first phase of the process is to determine the field of vendors who comprise the Online Testing and Targeting landscape.  We have already identified and contacted a number of companies who participate in the market via previous research efforts.

Forrester is actively innovating our use of social media, and this extends to the research process.  I would like to solicit your input through two modes of participation:

1. If you are a practitioner, please share which Online Testing and Targeting vendors you currently or have previously used.  Also please let me know if you would be interested in receiving followup communications to discuss your experiences with vendors and online testing in general.

2. If you represent a vendor in the Online Testing and Targeting space and would like to be considered for inclusion in the Wave report please let me know and we'll send you  our preliminary vendor survey to complete and submit.

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Hispanics’ Use Of Social Media – Is It The New Mainstream?

It’s been almost 18 months since I wrote Hispanic Social Technographics Revealed, which highlighted this consumer segment’s very strong inroads using social media of all types. And in that time, the volume around how, why, and when companies should use social media has grown even louder. Likewise, Hispanics' engagement in social media has grown.

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Godiva’s MROC Gives Way To A New Product

I thought I would share a recent MROC case study from an event I highlighted in one of my previous entries. These are the main points of a presentation from Rich Keller, the global business director of Godiva. The real kicker in this story is that Godiva doesn’t even have a research department. The research fell to marketing, and one very passionate leader in Rich.

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