My Next Chapter In B2B Marketing

Almost four years ago, I began a new journey at Forrester Research when I agreed to take on the B2B marketing research coverage and practice. The first significant research that I conducted and wrote, “B2B Marketing Needs A Makeover – Now,” looked at the challenges B2B marketers face and how they address these issues through marketing programs and technology investment.  Little did I know that “Makeover” would become the seminal piece of research in a series that extends across those four years and culminates in an upcoming report next week.

Today, it is with a mix of pride, nostalgia, excitement, and deep appreciation that I announce the next step in that B2B marketing journey, which started in 2006 here at Forrester, but extends back more than a decade earlier through various high-technology marketing positions I held prior to becoming an analyst.

At the end of March, I will leave Forrester to become the Vice President of Industry Marketing for Xerox Global Services, North America.

Very simply, I have been helping many clients face down their marketing challenges, adopt new approaches, and improve the reputation and standing of marketing at their firms for some time.  While personally rewarding in so many ways, I longed to return to my roots where I could do more practicing and less preaching. Xerox offers me this opportunity.

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Take Stock In Customer Experience Leaders

Jon Picoult, the Founder of Watermark Consulting, just published a blog post called Yes, Virginia, There Is A Return On Customer Experience Investments. He looked at the stock performance of companies based on how well they did in Forrester’s Customer Experience Index (CxPi).

It’s great work! Here’s a graphic from his post that shows how customer experience leaders outperform customer experience laggards in the stock market. His analysis used the results from our 2007 CxPi.

(Customer Think) Yes, Virginia, There Is A Return On Customer Experience Investments

My take: Picoult’s work complements my findings from research called customer experience boosts revenue in which I analyzed last year’s CxPi. Here’s the difference in loyalty that I found between companies in the top quartile of customer experience (when measured against industry averages) and the companies in the lowest quartile:

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Want to join the IM analyst team?

Our team has been growing fast! We just hired two great new researchers and are currently interviewing candidates for analyst positions as well. We are looking for someone who has experience measuring campaign performance across digital channels and who can look at how emerging technologies will fit into a cross channel strategy. We are looking for someone with 5-10 years experience. We are open to hiring this person in NYC, Cambridge or Foster City, CA. If you or someone you know is interested in working at Forrester, please submit your resume here: http://forrester.myvurv.com/main/careerportal/Job_Profile.cfm?szOrderID=...

Why Mobile's Time Has Come

Virtually every firm has been burned in the past by failed mobile initiatives that launched before the market, consumers, or technology were ready. This time is different. Why?  There's now the critical mix of great devices; widely available fast mobile networks; often unlimited data tariffs; a shift in mobile carrier attitudes; and a focus from US-based firms placing mobile as a core part of their strategy, this raises the amount of mobile services and content available and in so doing boosts the value of mobile to every consumer.

The spectre of Apple's innovation has driven every mobile handset maker, every mobile operator, and every media or entertainment firm to raise their game.  It's taken a while for those new smartphones and service plans to come to market. Now they are, and it is changing everything.

We're in the process of ramping up our research around mobile product strategy to help all types of companies -- in essence every firm that has an Internet presence -- to determine when and how to embrace mobile. We've published numerous recent reports, some are referenced here.

And, to pull together in a little more depth why mobile and why now, and set out how we can help different types of firms with their mobile strategy, we've put together a short document. Anyone can read this, whether or not you are a Forrester client:- Forrester's CPS Mobile Consulting capabilities

For the cynics out there, especially those too lazy to follow that link, here's my take on why mobile's time really has come:

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Outsourced AR Isn't Making The Connection To Their Sales Enablement Value

A lot of emerging companies think they've "arrived" when they've launched their first analyst briefing "tour." Oftentimes, these start-ups have very small to no marketing function internally, instead turning to outside agencies for public relations, marketing communications, and of course, the debut to the analyst influencers. These small firms feel confident that once they've placed themselves in the hands of the seemingly capable agencies, they'll get all the ink and influence needed to execute the hockey-stick growth curve they've presented to their board and investors. The agency then scurries off, schedules a bunch of analyst briefings, and gives themselves a big pat on the back: mission accomplished! The appointed briefing time comes, the firm's show dog delivers the pitch, and then. . . the promise of a successful briefing fizzles.

Earlier this week, I had a briefing with just such a start-up. The agency dutifully sent me the slides in advance and, as analysts are inclined to do, I took a look. . . and was left wondering just what value this agency was providing to this client. Why? The slide deck, while short, did nothing to sell this company to me, the analyst. Here's the start-up's value proposition:

To this end, Company X seeks to design a system leveraging the latest technologies and utilizing a common processing engine and user interface to provide an integrated, easy-to-use, cost effective solution for financial institution.

Huh?

The start-up's strategic direction?

Our goal is to provide a product that:

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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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The Data Digest: The State Of P2P File Sharing

This week my colleague James McQuivey published a report called 'Casual Video Piracy Kept At Bay For Now'. Forrester's Technographics research shows that online video piracy is a minority behavior. Just 7% of US online adults regularly engage in peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing, and less than half of them use it for video files. In fact, more people have given up on P2P file sharing than currently still do it.

 

Peer to Peer filesharing uptake

Another data point in this report revealed that everyone prefers a legal alternative. Our respondents were eager to reassure us that they prefer to use legal sites for watching videos, if these would give them a convenient way to serve their video needs.

Pink Floyd Score a Pyrrhic Victory for the Analogue Age

Pink Floyd yesterday won a court battle with EMI over the label’s ability to sell individual songs from the band’s albums in digital format.  There’s a fair amount of debate about what sort of precedent this may set and its implications for the broader digital music market.  In my view though the ruling is an unfortunate and retrograde step that reinforces many of the 20th century shackles that continue to prevent the 21st century music business from truly breaking free of its analogue past.

 

As I proposed in my Music Product Manifesto, the future of a successful music business - if there is to be such a thing - depends squarely upon radical product innovation that follows consumer demand rather than try to dictate it.  The world has changed markedly since the days when the needle was cutting grooves into the master lacquer of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.  In those days the record labels had a near-absolute monopoly of control of distribution.  If you wanted to have a copy of ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ you had to buy a copy in your local high street music store.  But in the digital age the audience has complete control.  If a modern day fan only wants to download ‘Money’ they have the freedom to skip the other 9 tracks on the album.  And it doesn’t matter if Pink Floyd have succeeded in stopping EMI from selling it that way, because if iTunes doesn’t let you download ‘Money’ on its own then BitTorrent certainly will.

 

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Five Highlights From HP’s Analyst Briefing This Week

By Peter O'Neill

I spent a couple of days with HP executives this week here in Boston. As I worked there myself for 20 years (up to 2001, so I have distance as well), I’d like to comment about how their enterprise business strategy now looks. Of course, I wasn’t alone there; there were 250 of us. Those who follow my peers in Twitter may already be overloaded with multiple 140-character cuts: my impression is that the tool tends to makes them behave more like adolescent journalists than analysts. Often, they were broadcasting tweets before even noticing that a particular statement was “under NDA”. Vendors will learn to be more cautious in the future; which is not good for us analysts. Anyway, here are my highlights of the HP briefings.

HP’s Converged Infrastructure story includes the pending acquisition of 3COM

Nice to see that HP now has (servers + storage + networking) PLUS power & cooling! Now, HP has Cisco squarely within their sights with this one, dropping statements like “they’re just a $30B vendor while we spend over $50B in our supply chain”; “as soon as we can, we will replace ALL our Cisco gear with 3COM and realize 45% savings”; and “of course, all 3COM products use the same operating environment, unlike them”. 

My Take: Well, Cisco started this. They are, indeed, seriously threatened. If HP apply their financial muscle and play the pricing game, Cisco’s business and margins may well suffer. Remember, networking is the highest margin area in IT infrastructure: HP is adding it, Cisco is diluting it. But, I also think that Cisco will make other game changing moves in the next months. HP strategists should not be resting on their laurels, they should be doing scenario planning - and thinking way outside the IT infrastructure box.

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