The Data Digest: How US Shoppers Use Their Mobile

Smartphones have changed consumer' shopping behavior significantly.  Our Technographics data shows that almost one-third of consumers are using their phones to locate a store nearby to find a specific product, and once they’re in the store, they’re using their phones to look up product information (21%) and to compare prices (14%). The retail industry should cater to this need and develop a mobile presence that guides consumers in their decision-making process and makes the information consumers seek easily accessible to seamlessly move them to the cashier.

graphic on consumer's mobile shopping behavior

Retailers can only benefit at this point because the “hard” part is already done:  The consumer already wants the product.  But without delivering on this last step toward the purchase decision, retailers aren't capitalizing on their previous marketing efforts that got the consumer interested in their product or their store in the first place-- it’s like running a race and stopping 5 feet before the finish line.

Rather than relying on a third-party app that could easily get the consumer walking next door for the lower price he just found, retailers should develop a mobile Website (and if relevant for their target audience, a mobile app)  that will support and enhance consumers’ in-store experience when they’re looking up information and also build up loyalty and improve the cross-channel shopping experience.

Profiling Your Best Mobile Customers

Nine months ago, I wondered if there was a life beyond the iPhone and beyond mobile applications. Recent data gathered by Forrester makes me think that such a life exists!

Bear with me one second. I am not denying the fact that iPhone owners are the heaviest users of mobile services. I am just saying that there are plenty of opportunities in the mobile space on other smartphone platforms and with selected audiences. Mobile is not just about applications or mobile Web sites. Even good old SMS can be powerful depending on the objectives you have set and the audiences you want to interact with.

What’s certain is that iPhone owners can only be a subset of your customer base. Only 2% of European mobile users report having an iPhone as their main mobile phone. Does that mean that there are no opportunities to target more mainstream audiences? Not at all.

A much larger near- and medium-term opportunity exists within other groups — particularly among young consumers, business users, and consumers with flat-rate data plans — as well as, increasingly, with new, competing smartphone platforms. In fact, if you’re not targeting them, you’re neglecting the majority of your customer base — including many consumers who are mobile-savvy but don’t have an iPhone.

Let’s make this even clearer. 96% of European 16- to 24-year-olds do not own an iPhone. Should you avoid engaging with youth via mobile because of that? I don’t think so.

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What Is The Value Of A Facebook Fan? Zero!

It is a question I hear several times a week:  What is the value of a Facebook Fan?  I’ve seen answers ranging from $136.38 to $3.60.  I can’t blame vendors, agencies and consultants for trying to answer the question -- the hunger from clients is so great that anyone promising a simple answer is likely to get attention.  The problem is that there is no simple answer to such a complex question. In fact, it may be best if marketers approached this question as if the answer is zero -- unless and until the brand does something to create value with Facebook Fans. 

There are numerous reasons the question of Facebook fan valuation is problematic: 

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Publishers Need Popcorn, Not Paywalls

Publishers across the world will be keenly scrutinizing the response to The Times’ freshly erected paywall. Tired of giving its expensively acquired content away for free online, News Corp. has decided that users must now pay for it. Are paywalls the answer? They may be an answer — but to the wrong question.

Instead of asking how much more money they can get for the content, companies should be focusing on how that content can help create new revenue streams. It’s a small but crucial difference. The value in a media business lies in its dialogue with consumers. And if a paywall removes 90% of your audience (as Sunday Times editor John Witherow has suggested — and even that may be an underestimate), the challenge becomes even harder. Focusing on the sale of content is missing a trick: Media companies are not actually in the content business; they are in the audience business.

We may speculate as to whether 2%, or 5%, or 10% of Times readers will pay for the paper’s content online in the face of competition from free rivals. We will have to see. But we have plenty of evidence that consumers do spend money online on products and services. Indeed, online news fans are even more likely than the average online user to buy books, tickets, travel, or clothing online. The key is not to monetize the content but to monetize the audience.

The challenge is to really understand that audience and identify the way that compelling content can build a strong relationship, creating new opportunities for monetization elsewhere. In this respect, passion-based products such as Times Plus (or Guardian Extra) that reward keen readers with additional content and offers represent a smarter long-term solution than a simple paywall that drives users into the welcoming arms of your (free) rivals.

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Product Strategists Want Social Innovation

As part of my new research coverage that I'm calling product creation and innovation, I'm looking at big-picture ideas and themes that resonate with product strategists across a wide range of industries.  Sitting at the top of the list is the adoption of social technologies by consumer product strategists: It's a bona fide hot topic that has been critically important within Forrester's other role-based research; it is applicable to a wide range of consumer product and service companies; and it's something that many companies are just getting comfortable with. 

That last point was a hypothesis on our part initially, but we can now confirm it as so. In May of 2010, Forrester surveyed 181 consumer product strategy professionals from companies around the world in order to understand if and how they are currently implementing social strategies in the service of product creation and development. My recent "Product Strategists Want Social Innovation" report reveals the results of that survey, and the title makes no effort to mask the results: the use of social technologies by product strategy professionals is strong but not pervasive, and there are lots of unanswered questions out there.  Some interesting tidbits from that survey include:

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Highlights Of Recent ITSMA Webinar On New Marketing Organization And Competencies


By Peter O'Neill

Last week, in addition to presenting at my quarterly Forrester Teleconference, I spoke at a Webinar hosted by the IT Services Marketing Association (ITSMA). I was in illustrious company: David Edelman, partner for the marketing and sales practice at McKinsey; John Lenzen, VP and global head of marketing at TCS; plus our host, Richard Seymour, managing director at ITSMA EMEA. We talked about the emerging organization model and competencies for marketing organizations in the tech industry.

Richard opened with this really interesting data slide, which shows that service providers are actually reducing their marketing spend in a dramatic fashion (see below). 

Our recent survey confirms the 2010 increase in marketing budgets and reveals much more about how service provider marketing differs from other industries (see this report). Richard then listed some of the challenges that marketing is facing and postulated that “marketing has to change.” 

David talked about the impact of the digital marketing challenge and discussed four critical questions that marketers should be asking themselves:

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Getting Right-Channeling Right

Right-channeling often gets a bad rap. Many eBusiness professionals interpret right-channeling to mean railroading customers into the lowest-cost customer service channel. But that is only half the picture. Cost savings are certainly an objective — but not at the expense of customer satisfaction. Right-channeling means providing customers with a satisfying service experience through the most cost-appropriate channel.

Today, effective customer service right-channeling is challenged by limited channels. Mediocre site search and static FAQs result in unsatisfactory self-service with little option but slow motion email or the most costly channel: the telephone. Luckily, there are many variable cost-per-contact online customer service channels to consider: virtual agents, click to chat, mobile, and social. eBusiness professionals face the challenge of determining what customer service channel(s) to introduce and to what extent these new channels will deflect volumes from existing channels.

I have recently written a document called “Selecting Online Customer Service Channels To Satisfy Customers And Reduce Costs” to address this challenge. In this document, I look at how to select new cost-appropriate customer service channels that will satisfy customer needs and how to estimate the impact that introducing new channels will have on existing ones. This process begins with:

  • Determining what proportion of your current customer service contacts originate from your Web site.
  • Identifying what proportion of your customer service contacts are low-, medium-, and high-complexity.
  • Deciding which customer service channels align with your customers’ needs. 


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The New Frontier By Orange -- Conquests 2015

Orange announced today its new industrial project, "conquests 2015." After NExT from Didier Lombard, the recently appointed CEO is now communicating Orange's five-year action plan.

One of the main objectives of the plan is the "conquest of employee pride" and the recruitment of 10,000 additional employees (including the 3,500 already announced for 2010) between 2010 and 2012. Following the unprecedented social crisis that took place in France, the company had no other choice than to offer a new management vision and to make sure employees can participate in the future of the company, involving them in such a way that they feel part of a long-term project.

Beyond this initial objective, a couple of other interesting conquests have been announced:

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Oh, Yes! Tech Buyers In Germany Are Well Into Social Media


By Peter O'Neill

Last week, I held my quarterly Forrester Teleconference and discussed my April report on how European tech buyers use social media. Usually, we Europeans are asked to speak twice in the day - once at a convenient time for European audiences and once for our clients in North America. Unusually for an analyst, I hate repeating myself. So I elected to present the European slot in German and present specifically about Germany. This was, I think, a first for Forrester. Of course, we also leveraged the opportunity to get a few prospects listening in and even had several journalists collecting information. Now, not every Forrester analyst can present in German, so don’t expect all of us to do this, but the fact is: We actually have more German-speaking analysts than that other research company. 

Our B2B Social Technographics data shows that German social media activity is really quite heavy: In some categories, the numbers we report show more aggressive behavior than in the US or other countries. After several client meetings where our data was questioned - especially by more experienced marketing executives who themselves are not using social media and expect the same backwardness from their peers - I am now well equipped with backup data that proves our points. So here is what I told the audience about German social media usage by tech buyers:

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The Data Digest: On Which Devices Do Generations Play Games?

Americans of all ages — not just the young — spend a lot of time playing games. Our Technographics data shows that all generations spend about 7 hours a week playing PC games, but younger consumers also play games on consoles, handhelds, and mobile phones. Generation Y spends close to 20 hours a week playing games!

The reason why console gamers play on game consoles is that they can play against others (49%), while computer gamers choose their platform because it's convenient (55%). Forrester wrote a report about the role of PCs and portable devices in gaming called “The Re-Emergence Of The PC As A Proper Gaming Platform.” The accessibility of gaming today is one important reason that video gaming is very popular. Mobile devices, like the iPad, give consumers the ability to play games nearly anywhere at any time, and, in many cases, they can play for free.