New Podcast Episode: Find Your Popcorn, Monetizing Content In The Digital Age

Click the embedded video below to view our latest Consumer Product Strategy Podcast episode. This is episode two in our 'Find Your Popcorn' series in which analyst Nick Thomas looks at new ways to build revenue around content in the digital age.

This podcast series is part of the buildup to a major research report on the same topic, and we'd love your feedback and thoughts as we develop the thinking. So please feel free to make any comments and suggestions as we progress. Enjoy the podcast!

The Next Generation Of Marketing And Online Selling In Financial Services

Yesterday I attended the Finovate Conference in San Francisco. Out of the 36, 7-minute demos I sat through (whew!) only a handful stood out as innovative and interesting. During the networking session, I had a chance to meet with one of those companies -- a company called Segmint. While the Segmint Web site does a less-than-stellar job communicating the benefits of their software, I had a chance to speak with David Hadley, CTO of Segmint. When I did, the opportunity was clear to me. But before I get there, let me explain the void a company like Segmint fills.

Most of the on-site, online marketing efforts of financial service firms are still rudimentary in nature. Few have moved beyond basic, non-targeted banner advertisements. But unlike other industries, financial services offers the unique opportunity of going WAY beyond anything retail, travel, or any other industry can provide because in financial services we get a daily, on-going snapshot into customers' financial lives - what they buy, where they buy it, the channels they use, and the fees they pay.  Problem is for the most part nobody uses this incredible information. Exceptions that I am aware of include cross-sell efforts by firms like, Wells Fargo, and Royal Bank of Canada. What I saw from Segmint yesterday takes this a step further.

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How Have You Responded To Facebook's Recent Privacy Changes And Breaches? [POLL]

Facebook announced new Open Graph and Instant Personalization features at the F8 conference on April 21, 2010.  Since that time, several privacy bugs have been found and patched. 

All of this has resulted in greater awareness about privacy issues on Facebook.  Some have predicted that Facebook might lose users as people delete their accounts out of fear or frustration about their data being shared or exposed. 

So, how have Facebook's changes and news affected you personally on Facebook?  Have you made any changes or altered your behavior on Facebook as a result?  Please participate in the poll below.  (Your data will, of course, be kept confidential.)  Thanks. 

You will find the poll in the right column of this page, below the "About the Analyst" or "About this Blog" section.


How Do I Get My Customers To Use My Mobile Services?

You have to have a plan. It has to be part of your budget for mobile. There are hundreds of thousands of applications let alone SMS programs and mobile Web sites. You'll have to be active in creating awareness and driving adoption and usage.

First, you build great mobile services that are appropriate to your audience, objectives and offerings (what services you offer).

Then ... you promote them! You promote them at your physical locations. You promote them online. You promote them at the ATM if you are a bank like Wells Fargo or Bank of America.

I was walking down University Avenue in Palo Alto on Monday evening and I saw these signs outside of Walgreen's. Ok, they are handmade ... well, look to be locally created and printed as opposed to being created and endorsed by corporate. It's a sign though that the local managers and pharmacists are engaged - they support the program and are looking to help drive registrations. I noticed the sign while walking down the street. Getting buy-in from local employees that can help educate consumers and drive registrations may be one of the most effective means I suspect of driving adoption.

And the close-up ....

It’s Time To Help Me Benchmark!

That’s right: It’s time for us to start thinking about our annual US Consumer Benchmark report. We are currently in the field with our annual mail survey of more than 40,000 US consumers ages 18 and up and are eagerly awaiting the return of the data. While we wait patiently (or not so patiently), it’s time for us to start preparing for our annual Benchmark report. Many of you are already familiar with this mega-data report that we publish each year based on our Technographics® data. For those of you who aren’t, let me get you up to speed!

Each year, we do a thorough analysis of our Benchmark mail survey and create a report called “The State Of Consumers And Technology.” This report covers everything from device ownership to online activities to mobile behaviors, and it serves as the Holy Grail for many market researchers. At more than 20 pages long, this report is an absolute labor of love and takes many hands to make it happen. And this year, we need your help, too! When we begin writing this document, we always start by choosing a lens to use throughout the analysis. Last year, we looked at life stages:

 Lifestage Lens for 2009 Technographics Consumer Benchmark Report


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iPad Mobile Marketing Applications ... 2008 Revisited, But Much Cooler

When the Apple iPhone App Store launched a couple of years ago, we saw a flurry of marketing applications released. Some were exceptional. Many were average. iPhone apps were "hot," and consumer brands rushed to build them. They were somewhat expensive with most of the return based on press mentions and buzz. Brands felt that the perception of tech-savviness generated by the presence of an iPhone application would enhance their brand. I think they were right, but soon consumers began to expect iPhone applications. Initally, the iPhone didn't offer much reach. The iPod touch helped build the numbers. Apple's most recent announcement put total sales at over 80 million. Pretty good.

Two years ago, consumers mostly used their cell phones for communication. They also listened to some music and got a bit of weather, traffic and news. Now ... they do just about anything. They shop. They research products. They blog. They look up recipes. Are they doing so in large numbers? No, not yet. Consumers are a lot more likely to do more complex tasks on smartphones like the iPhone. The stakes are much higher for marketers - the potential return is higher with the ability to generate real leads and sales.

Here we are in 2010. Apple recently announced sales of 1 million iPads. Forrester believes that number will at least triple by year end. Apple has launched the iAd platform and promised consumers an engaging media experience that will include advertising, but not be disrupted by it. iAd includes the iPhone platform. iPads add another dimension or canvas that will unleash advertiser/agency creativity. We are now seeing our first marketing (first perhaps) and commerce (secondary?) applications. They are engaging. They offer rich media. They are interactive. They offer opportunities to link to videos, music, social networking sites, and shopping.

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Lithium Buys Scout Labs, Puts The Spotlight On Social Media Data

After a weekend of speculation, today Lithium announced its acquisition of the social media monitoring tool, Scout Labs. Lithium is known for its community platform software, powering popular user communities like Best Buy's support forum and Barnes & Noble's Book Club and by integrating Scout Labs into its offerings, plans to track customers and brands on site through communities, and off site through social media. This deal strengthens Lithium's commitment to its message of "Social CRM", giving it a broader set of customer data to integrate.

This acquisition comes just weeks after Attensity announced its purchase of Biz360 and a few months after Jive bought Filtrbox. The growing number of acquisitions in the social media technology space is common for a young industry, but also indicates two distinct trends:

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Creating A Social Customer Service Strategy

Social CRM is a popular topic and social customer service is a subset that I’m commonly asked about.

Social customer service is new and adoption is relatively small compared to other channels:  7% of US online consumers have used a company sponsored online forum for customer service support and 6% have used a third party forum. (Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009)

But nascent interest shouldn’t automatically relegate social customer service to your backburner. Customer satisfaction with social customer service is high. At 66%, satisfaction with third party customer service forums is the second most appealing channel behind the telephone. (Source: North American Technographics Customer Experience Online Survey, Q4 2009)

And in addition to customer satisfaction, there are several compelling business benefits to social customer service such as reputation management, building your knowledge base, deflecting calls to your call center, and shortening resolution times.

Social customer service comes in many forms, including:

  • Offering customer Ask and Answer or forums;
  • Participating in third party forums;
  • Using social channels such as Twitter or Facebook for customer service;
  • Developing a wiki.


Questions about if you should be using social customer service and what it should look like are complex. To help answer that question, my report called “How To Create A Social Customer Service Strategy” has just been published. In this report, I recommend using Forrester’s systematic approach to social strategy that we summarize by the acronym POST –people, objectives, strategy, and technology.

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Trends And Challenges In Social Market Research

Has an inflammatory tweet about your brand ever caused a panic in your company’s executive ranks? Has your market research department ever attempted to put into context how representative that one tweet might (or might not) be of your total market? For many companies we work with, the answer to the first question is yes. The answer to the second question is more likely to be “I don’t know.” Well, the time has come for market researchers to understand the implications of social technologies for their role.

After many months of talking up my social market research report on this blog, via Twitter, and with many vendors and clients, my report is now Web live! It’s aptly entitled “How Can Market Researchers Get Social?”, as this was the core question I began asking myself at the very end of last year when I kicked off this project.

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Seven Things Your Organization Must Do Because Of Social Media

In the mid- to late-90s, many business leaders observed the advent of the Web and asked the wrong question:  “What will the Internet do for us?”  Instead, they should have been asking, “What will the Internet do to us?” 

The difference between these two questions is the difference between a false sense of security and a necessity for action.  It’s the difference between Amazon organizing itself around the online channel in 1994 and Barnes & Noble opening an e-commerce site in 1997—today Amazon is worth $55.7B and Barnes & Noble has a $1.1B market cap.   It’s also the difference between newspapers struggling with a 70% decline in classified advertising over the course of a decade and eBay seeing revenues increase over 1900% in the same period.

Today, many business leaders are again asking the wrong question:  “What will social media do for us?” instead of “What will social media do to us?”  The difference between those two questions will define the business winners and losers of the next decade.  Let’s explore what social media already is doing to business and how organizations must adapt. 

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