Liberty, equality and mobility

I find it quite amazing to see the societal impact of mobile phones. 

They have changed the way we communicate and live. There is a drastic change in the way children and parents communicate, in our individual relationships with time and location and in so many other parts of our daily lives. There are interesting books and theses about this topic. I recently came across an interesting view point from Russell Buckley about the "Unintended Consequences and the Success of Blackberry in the Middle East", which is further proof of how disruptive mobile can be. As communication and creation/media tools, mobile phones offer new ways to upload and access information (remember the riots in Iran). As such, governments have to monitor and anticipate this impact. 

Beyond this, public authorities can make the most of mobile services. Many local councils, regional and national governments, and transport authorities are launching mobile initiatives, creating new value-added services for citizens, and trying to use mobile to connect with the least connected. They need to anticipate the arrival of NFC technology and make the most of more mature mobile ecosystems. They should balance their mobile investments with the constant need to avoid discriminating against particular groups of citizens and to allocate funds to projects with critical mass. Governments in particular can play a key role in stimulating ideas for new services and in backing and funding the most relevant initiatives.

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The Online Panel Quality Debate

A few years ago, Procter & Gamble publicly stated that it had experienced inconsistent research results from successive online research projects. Other organizations shared similar experiences, and questions were raised about “professional respondents.” The trustworthiness of online research was in question, and multiple initiatives arose. In the past two years, we’ve seen a lot of debate around this topic, and associations such as ESOMAR and ARF have come up with protocols that all good panels should follow — and many have. But what does this mean from a client perspective? How have initiatives like ARF's Quality Enhancement Process, MarketTools' TrueSample, or processes like machine fingerprinting changed the industry?

Next month, I'm hosting a panel at Forrester's Marketing Forum 2010 with participants from Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and the ARS Group to understand what the challenges with online sampling are today — and how they affect adaptability.

Questions I will discuss with the panel include the following:

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Facebook Asked; Now What Will It Do About Its Privacy Policy Change?

If nothing else, Facebook is demonstrating it learned a lesson from the Beacon situation.  Launched in 2007, Facebook Beacon became a magnet of criticism in part because the company sprung the program--which involved sharing user data with third parties--on unaware consumers.  So this time it's asking what consumers think before loosening the Facebook Privacy Policy.  And how did consumers respond?  The mystery isn't what consumers said but what Facebook will do with all the feedback it received. 

In a post to the Facebook blog, Michael Richter, Facebook's Deputy General Counsel, shared some of the proposed policy changes and noted, "We hope you'll take the time to review all of the changes we're proposing and share your comments."  Most of these changes seem uncontroversial, but then there's this: 

In the proposed privacy policy, we've also explained the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site. In such instances, we would only introduce this feature with a small, select group of partners and we would also offer new controls. 

This functionality, which is part of Facebook Platform, is quite similar to the way Beacon worked, only this time Facebook is asking for feedback rather than simply implementing changes.  The specifics contained within the proposed privacy policy state (in part and with my comments): 

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Integrating Social Media Into B2B Marketing Strategies: A (Final) Webinar With Harte-Hanks

Four years ago, I waved good-bye to my Pharma industry research and began writing about B2B marketing best practices, as part of Forrester's marketing and strategy research group headed up by Elana Anderson. Harte-Hanks sponsored my first Webinar in this new role -- called "Improving the Maturity of your Lead Management Process" -- and Elana and I teamed up to present the webcast that aired on June 7, 2006. At that time, my research on lead management best practices was only beginning and social media was an emerging concept that Charlene Li had just started to explore in Forrester's seminal research, the "Social Computing" report. A lot has changed since then.

Through an amazing coincidence, my life as one of Forrester's top B2B marketing analysts begins and ends with Harte-Hanks. Tomorrow, March 30, I will broadcast my last Webinar with Forrester and I am so very pleased to do so with folks at Harte-Hanks who helped me launch this journey.

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Pam Kaufman, CMO of Nickelodeon, to speak at 2010 Forrester Marketing Forum

As spring approaches, we are entering high planning season for our upcoming Forrester Marketing Forum. This is my third year designing the event content, and my co-host Carl Doty and I are working with the keynotes on their speeches. Things are shaping up nicely!

We just caught up with Pam Kaufman, CMO of Nickelodeon, and her team. Nickelodeon (producer of my son's favorite SpongeBob SquarePants) is undergoing a big effort to link their family of brands to the parent Nickelodeon brand. Forrester's event will be the first time that they've told their story externally. Pam has great passion and enthusiasm for her brand and this effort - I can't wait to hear more . . .

If you have a specific question that you'd like to ask Pam during the Q&A, then feel free to comment here or send me an email (coverby@forrester.com).

We hope to see you at the forum. Our Early Bird rate expired March 12, but if you call our Events Team at 617.613.5905 with discount code MFXBLG, and they’ll extend the $200 discount for you.

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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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Marketers Must Lead Agency Change

Today we released the report "The Future Of Agency Relationships" covered in AdAge today, in which we set out on a journey to answer the question: what is the role of agencies in the new marketing landscape?  After over 50 in-depth interviews with marketing leaders, interactive marketers, procurement teams, agency leaders and industry organizations, one conclusion has become very evident - marketers must lead agency change. Virtually everyone we interviewed recognized that marketing is experiencing drastic changes, with interactive and digital technologies beginning to replace mass media as the foundation of marketing. At Forrester we call this the "Adaptive Marketing era" and it requires marketers to take a more flexible and always on approach to marketing due to the two-way communication that is now visible between consumers and companies. While most agencies are taking at least some steps to reinvent themselves, they can only go as far as their clients allow. And while many marketers are demanding agency change one moment, they’re still asking where their 30 second spot is the next. Marketers won’t see real change in the agency landscape until they begin to apply a new set of criteria to their agency partners.

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Capturing The Unconscious

Last week, I attended Research 2010, the research conference organized by the UK's Research Organization. One session was on innovative research methodologies, and although it's not completely new to the industry, I was surprised to see two of the presentations covering research methodologies that capture people's unconscious behavior through technology.

The first was a presentation about lifelogging, or “glogging” for those in the know. Simply put, lifelogging documents somebody's life through technology worn by the “respondent.”

Bob Cook from Firefish presented how this technology helps researchers better understand the tradeoffs that people constantly make. Lifelogging has a long history, and it was started by Steve Mann. In the early 1980s, he walked around with recording gear that looked more like a suit of armor.

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Agencies Enter Into a "Great Race" For Relevance

 

Agencies appeared in the mid 19th century as retailers and manufacturers recognized they could communicate with the masses through the explosion of newspapers during the Industrial Revolution. From that point on, agencies adapted to changes in mass media (e.g. TV, radio), society and business. That is, until the rise of the Internet at the end of the 20th Century. At that point, most traditional agencies (whether creative, PR, full service or other) were slow to adopt interactive skills which opened the door for a new kind of interactive agency that would work with a new kind of marketer focused specifically on the digital space.

 

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Word of Mouth and Social Media: A Tale of Two Burger Joints

AJ Bombers

Image by tray via Flickr

I moved to the Bay Area from Milwaukee about five months ago.  Among the things I miss from my hometown are my two favorite burger restaurants--AJ Bombers and Sobelman's.  Both have used Word of Mouth (WOM) to become successful small businesses, but while one built its buzz over 10 years, the other used social media to become a success in just one year.  The stories of these two businesses can provide insight and inspiration to much larger brands seeking to create benefits with social media.    

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