I'm a big fan of the digital home, even if the phrase itself has slipped from popular use lately. I cannot wait for it to happen to me -- I'll have connected displays (does the word TV even apply anymore?) throughout the house, including the ones in my pocket, in my lap, or otherwise within reach at all times. Those displays will all speak IP, the language of the Internet, and they'll all speak to each other as well, allowing me to control one display -- say, my TV -- with another one -- my Droid X, for example. There's so much product innovation yet to come in the digital home that I love my job.
I'm not the only one who sees it, of course. If you follow the excited announcements from TV makers and electronics retailers like Best Buy, the next TV we all buy will be a connected TV (defined as a TV set with its own Internet connection whether wired or wireless and some kind of software platform), a critical first step toward that future digital home nirvana.
Connected TVs are going to be a big deal; to understand why, read my latest report which includes US survey results about connected TVs along with a forecast for connected TV penetration through the middle of the decade. It just went live to Forrester clients last week. In the report, we show that thanks to the enthusiasm on the supply side, connected TVs are going to sell like proverbial hotcakes. By 2015, we forecast that more than 43 million US homes will have at least one. That's a remarkable number, especially considering that we entered 2010 with fewer than 2 million connected TV homes in the US.
I don’t know if it was the Great Recession, the emergence of social media, or the result of new decision-makers coming on the scene, but marketers have been on a shopping spree for new agency partners. Over the past 18 months, we’ve witnessed everything from Zappo's RFP gone wild to the sudden agency changes at Chevrolet and Cadillac. In my latest report "When To Outsource Your Agency Search," I found that:
Agency reviews have been rampant. According to the 4A's list of publicly known accounts in review, there have been more agency reviews over the past 18 months (1,006) than in the prior three years combined (917).
Yet interestingly, search consultants haven’t been called to the table as frequently. Using the same 4A's list of accounts in review, search consultants were involved in approximately 23% of agency reviews, compared with 34% in 2008 and 40% in 2007.
Marketers Need To Know When To Outsource The Agency Search Process
Considering the importance of the decision and the commitment required to conduct a search, it’s surprising that more marketers have been handling the agency review process internally. Especially when CMOs and marketing leaders are saddled with more responsibility than ever. That's why Forrester believes there are four cases when marketers would be better off using a third-party advisor for their agency search process.
You are the CMO or the head of marketing for your company, and you’ve just finalized your social media plans for 2011 at the request of the CEO. Despite the unknowns out there, you are comfortable with your target audience, your message, your content plan, and the platforms you will use. You’ve even got a great candidate who loves the brand and wants to be the evangelist. But last week, your social media evangelist brought you an iPad to try out. You take it home for the weekend, you use it nonstop, and now you are thinking, “Where does this fit in my plans for next year?” While 2011 will see huge growth in spending on mobile advertising, and the display and search markets are back on track from the semi-slump of 2009, where does the iPad and other tablets to be announced from Google, Dell, Nokia, and others fit into your plans?
From a marketer’s perspective, the Web browser is pretty well understood — targeted banner ads that ideally would be integrated into content so as not to be intrusive. Mobile is getting cooler, and the ad platform to support visible ads on small screens is in the hands of the two (now) most popular smartphone platforms, Apple and Android. But this tablet segment seems to be gaining traction as a platform for what marketers dream of:
The inspiration for my first report, “Let Your Product Do The Talking,” was that marketers rely too much on communications to build their brand. Using consumer trends from Forrester’s Technographics Survey, I identified that while consumers are tuning out marketing messages, they are actually seeking out more product experiences.
In the future, I believe that companies will successfully build their brands by:
Having spent my entire 15-year career in the “advice giving” industry, between management consulting and advertising, I have found that the best advice is pragmatic, forward-thinking, grounded in research, and relevant to your needs. Relevance being the most important ingredient.
And the best way for me to provide relevant advice is to listen to your needs.
So the purpose of my blog will be as much about understanding the issues and concerns of CMOs and Marketing Leaders as it will be about providing advice.
Coverage areas and topics I’m interested in.
Speaking of relevance, here are the topics that are relevant to me:
I’ll be primarily focused on helping CMOs and Marketing Leadership Professionals create the new brand experience. In order to create the new brand experience, I will be challenging the standard assumptions about brand strategy, positioning, and integrated marketing strategy. That means I will be taking a broad look across the entire marketing mix to create new synergies between the Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. In particular, I will focus on helping marketers leverage emerging digital trends, capabilities, and technologies to enable the new brand experience.
Secondarily, I will be focusing on helping marketers optimize their agency relationships to create the new brand experience – whether through brainstorming, benchmarking, digital thought leadership, consumer insights, digital strategies, or even agency selection.
Finally, I will be focusing on helping marketers adapt their organization so they can deliver the new brand experience.