The Social Media Data Arms Race

Today, Converseon announced an agreement with Twitter to feed the firehose of tweets – around 65 million per day – into Converseon’s listening platform. This deal improves upon Converseon’s data sourcing, a critical step to the listening process. Only a small handful of other vendors dare tread in the rushing rapids of the Twitter firehose – for now, just Jive and Crimson Hexagon – but the race for social media data is on.

Alternatively, during the past year I’ve seen a shift in vendors' pitches, moving away from touting superior data sourcing and instead focusing on better data processing or insight delivery. Data became a commodity. And while the movement toward improved insights continues – because what good is a plethora of data if you can’t find what you’re looking for – the recent focus on pulling in all of Twitter makes for two key assumptions:

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Suresh Vittal And Joe Stanhope Consider The News Of IBM Acquiring Unica

I’m pleased to join forces this afternoon with my colleague and Customer Intelligence Practice Leader Suresh Vittal for a joint blog post on the very interesting IBM announcement this morning that it will buy Unica for US$480 million (greater than 100% premium on its previous day close). Suresh has covered Unica for many years in the enterprise marketing space, and I cover them from the Web analytics and online marketing suite perspectives. So besides a striking outcome for Unica’s shareholders, this deal impacts many marketers and customer intelligence professionals. After all, Unica is the preeminent provider of campaign management software and a leading provider of marketing operations, Web analytics, and interaction management solutions.

So let’s walk through some of the implications of this deal:

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The Forrester Wave: Online Testing, Q3 2010

Online testing has consistently been top of mind with Forrester clients since my earliest days with the company at the beginning of the year.  Clients are a major driver in composing my research agenda, and online testing shot to the top of the list. Clearly, the market had many unanswered questions about online testing and it was time to do a deep dive.

To anchor a new stream of research covering online testing, we’ve just published The Forrester Wave: Online Testing, Q3 2010. If you’re new to Forrester’s research, the Wave methodology is Forrester’s time tested, exhaustive, and transparent approach to vendor evaluations. This research is based on data gathered through extensive vendor briefings, product demonstrations, customer reference calls, and online user surveys.  We evaluated eight leading vendors against 82 criteria and interviewed nearly 90 user companies.

This is Forrester’s inaugural evaluation of online testing vendors. This Wave focused on established vendors who offer products that support both A/B and Multivariate testing techniques.  We evaluated the following companies: Adobe, Amadesa, Autonomy, Google, Maxymiser, SiteSpect, Vertster, and Webtrends.

Forrester clients can read the full report to see how the vendors ranked, including underlying scorecard details and the ability to customize the Wave model with personalized weightings. 

We found a diverse market of vendors that are differentiated by several key markers that serve as crucial considerations for online testing programs:

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A Week In The Life Of An Analyst

In my job prior to Forrester, my responsibilities included a fair amount of analyst relations, and I had pretty solid relationships with analysts at different firms. As such, I felt I had a pretty good handle on what the analyst job entails. But, as in every job, there's no compensating for "doing" to fully understand the breadth and depth of the role.

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Effective Marketing Dashboards And My Upcoming Schedule

I'm pleased to have published new research this week. "Demonstrate Marketing Accountability with Effective Dashboards" is a companion report to "The Marketing Accountability Index." Customer Intelligence (CI) professionals are under intensifying pressure to demonstrate accountability and results to support the case for continued marketing investments, and Forrester's marketing accountability framework provides a structural guideline for meeting these challenges. Marketing dashboards help address one key tenet of marketing accountability — the transparent communication of results.

The report discusses how CI pros can leverage dashboards to bring marketing accountability to life through:

  • Visibility. Dashboards drive insights into the organization, providing context and tying together disparate information.
  • User-specific content. Dashboards are not a one-size-fits-all proposition and should be tailored to the needs of users.
  • Appropriate measures of success. Metrics and schedules form the KPI currency of dashboards.

Also, I will also be on a panel discussion covering marketing dashboards in October at eMetrics in Washington, DC; see below for more details. I couldn't have planned it better myself!

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