Mobile Consumers Create Multichannel Value

Multichannel customers have traditionally been more profitable for consumer product, service, and media companies. Consumers who shop both online and in-store spend more.

Multichannel media consumers have higher levels of engagement than those present in only one channel. The more one watches TV, listens to the radio, spends time online, etc., the more advertising they consume.

Mobile adds a new dimension, a new medium, and a new tool to allow brands to engage with their consumers. Mobile is an even more contextual medium than TV or online. Mobile phones are personal. Mobile phones tie into an environment. Certainly, location is one aspect, but “where” is more than location. “Where” can mean the living room at home, in the car, or in a store.

Forrester recently completed a case study on Yahoo! Fantasy Football. Fantasy football presents a unique opportunity, given that the majority of NFL games are played on Sunday. Not everyone can plunk down on the couch in front of the TV on Sunday to track their players. Moreover, most people don’t have the ability to follow multiple games at one time – at least in the level of detail required to follow all of their players on all of their teams. Historically (pre-Internet), fantasy football players had to wait until Monday or even Tuesday to get player stats and begin to compile their scores. The Internet offered players the ability to do this in real time. Mobile offers players the opportunity to follow their teams, players, and scores in real time anywhere. Mobile offers immediacy. Mobile frees participants to go out in the yard to play with the kids or run errands without losing track of their games, scores, and players.

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US Consumers Aren't Satisfied With Web-Store Shopping

Forrester surveyed US consumers about their satisfaction with Web-to-store and store-to-Web transitions in three retail segments — apparel/accessories/footwear, consumer electronics, and wireless phones and service.

The results: Satisfaction with both Web-to-store and store-to-Web shopping is low.

  • Consumer electronics: 66% satisfied with Web-to-store shopping, and 55% satisfied with store-to-Web shopping.
  • Apparel/footwear/accessories: 60% satisfied with Web-to-store shopping, and 53% satisfied with store-to-Web shopping.
  • Wireless products and services: 54% satisfied with Web-to-store shopping, and 48% satisfied with store-to-Web shopping.

Some of our other findings:

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Online Testing Platforms Forrester Wave™ - Now It's Your Turn To Participate!

Greetings from balmy Orlando, Florida, where I'm at the Unica Marketing Innovation Summit 2010. It's been a good week, the attendees are very globally diverse, and in a unique twist on event entertainment there has been a live band on the main stage, a la The Tonight Show!  If you aren't here in person but are interested in getting a feel for the event, check out the Twitter hashtag, #unicamis.

Earlier this year, my blog noted that I have initiated a Forrester Wave evaluation of Online Testing Platform vendors.  We've got a great group of vendor participants and the process is well under way.  We're on target for publication in Q3.  As with any Forrester Wave, we are putting the vendors through their paces with briefings, scorecards and lab demonstrations.  And of course we're speaking with client references to get additional feedback.

Now it is your turn to join the process.  Is your firm actively leveraging a/b or multivariate testing techniques to improve site performance and the customer experience?  We want to hear from you!

I invite you to complete our Online Testing Platform Customer Reference survey, located here.  It is a quick survey and should only take about 15 minutes of your time to complete. 

Please rest assured that all information provided is completely confidential.  The only information that reaches the report is aggregated and anonymous.  Alternatively, if you would prefer to have a private discussion drop me a line, and we can arrange a mutually agreeable time to communicate via other means.

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We're Hiring In London

I have a great job. My role, essentially, is to uncover the most interesting questions in interactive marketing (things like 'How should we measure our social media programs?' and 'What are the best ways to use online video for marketing?' and 'Can you really build a brand online?') and then talk to as many smart people as I can until I find some answers. I then get to present those answers in research reports, blog posts, speeches, teleconferences, workshops, and consulting projects. 

If that sounds fun to you, and you have a couple years experience in marketing, you may want to consider applying for the Researcher job we have open in London. Our Researchers play a crucial role in all aspects of the research process: they help us find those smart people we talk to, and then help us conduct the interviews; they help us field surveys and analyze the resulting data; they contribute to our written reports -- and eventually write entire reports on their own. Along the way, they learn a remarkable amount about interactive marketing and the research process. And if they're good, like my last researcher was, they get promoted to analyst.

If you'd like to apply -- or you know someone who might -- we're collecting applications now. Check out the full job description, and apply using the online tool. And if you have any questions about the job, feel free to drop me a line: nelliott at forrester dot com.

It Is Time To Reinvent Vendor Selection Processes

I have had the good fortune (well, good most of the time) of having been involved in many, many vendor selection processes for eCommerce technology.* I’ve seen this play out from every conceivable side of the table: as a business leader at a large retail eCommerce company; as a technical leader charged with implementation; as a solution provider (vendor) supplying eCommerce technology to clients; as an independent consultant advising large eCommerce clients, and now as an analyst supporting the process through written research and advisory consulting.
In the course of that work I have learned that the typical RFP-driven vendor selection process produces poor results. Clients find the technology or services are not what they expected, vendors are frustrated, and projects are delayed and costly. We have all been there.
With this in mind, we set out to solve this dilemma; we sought to discover and articulate a better way. The result is what we call:

“STEP: Scenario-based Technology Evaluation Process.”

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The Myth Of Consumer-Directed Healthcare

At the heart of every healthcare expenditure is a consumer. This consumer determines whether and where to seek diagnosis, undergo tests, and follow up on the advice and treatment suggestions of medical professionals. Thus consumers have an enormous influence over medical costs. This fact is not lost on health plans, technology vendors, or even policy makers, all of whom have been seeking to enable "consumerism" by giving consumers tools to take more control over their healthcare decisions. But somehow these tools — which include tax-advantaged health savings accounts (HSAs), personal health records (PHRs), and even health coaching and behavior change support programs — never seem to unleash the consumer-driven revolution that proponents promise. For example, Forrester's research shows a decline in consumer engagement in the "consumer-directed health plan" market, even as adoption of health savings accounts increases. And despite pushes by both Google and Microsoft, only about 3% of US online consumers report having an Internet-based PHR.

Why is this? Are consumers incapable of taking charge of their healthcare decisions? Are they still shackled to the legacy of the Marcus Welby-era passive patient paradigm? Not likely. Successful campaigns by patient groups to accelerate market availability of treatments in the AIDS market suggest that motivated and empowered healthcare consumers can and do exist. And they can move mountains.

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What Makes A Centralized Customer Experience Team Successful?

Last week I met with a group in charge of driving improvements to the company’s enterprise customer experience. They’re a small team with a big task – make the company culture more customer-centric. What makes the challenge even harder is that this team lacks the formal authority to force other organizations to change the way they do business. Instead they have to make people want to do things differently.

During the meeting they asked a question that I often hear from clients – what have other people like us done that has worked?  I had just completed a new report on that topic and was able to share some of the key findings from that research. Here’s a quick summary of what I told them:

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Curated Computing: Designing For The Post-iPad Era

iPad mania has reached full tilt: Apple announced that it has sold more than 1 million units, and Apple’s competitors (like RIM and potentially Google) are rushing to get their own products out (or not, as the case may be for HP). But there’s something very significant about the device that has nothing to do with how many units it will sell. What’s revolutionary about the iPad is the experience that it delivers: The iPad is a new kind of PC that ushers in an era of Curated Computing.

Forrester defines “Curated Computing” as:

A mode of computing where choice is constrained to deliver less complex, more relevant experiences.

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Thoughts And Reflections On The Great Escape

I’ve just come back from a day at the UK music event the ‘Great Escape’. Though it was a bit of a flying visit, I had the opportunity to listen to a Q&A with Universal Music Group International’s VP of Digital, Francis Keeling, and to co-judge a panel of new British digital music startups. Here are my highlights.

Universal Music understands the value of product innovation.

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The Data Digest: How Customers Rate Banks, Brokerages, And Insurers By Industry

Early in 2010, my colleague Bill Doyle published a report called 'Customer Advocacy 2010: How Customers Rate US Banks, Investment Firms, And Insurers'. This report includes trended Technographics® data that shows that US consumer trust in financial institutions is returning. One year after the financial crisis that brought the US economy to its knees, customers are more likely to say that their financial institutions do what's best for them, but not all of the financial sectors benefit equally.

Insurers score better than ever compared with other retail financial services firms. Smaller banks also do well, while some of the biggest banks again land at the very bottom of our rankings. And after years of rating higher than banks, investment firms as a group now score worst.

Forrester clients can access the report with the scores for 46 US financial companies here.