A recent article in The Wall Street Journal mentioned that Google could team up with MasterCard and Citigroup to pursue a role in mobile payments; this is yet another indication that disruption is looming in the payment space.
In his keynote at 2011’s Mobile World Congress, Google CEO Eric Schmidt stated that “NFC should revolutionize electronic commerce as well as payments.”
What does Google have to do with payments? Well, it has already rolled out (quite unsuccessfully so far) Google Checkout. What’s different about this new proposal is that this is not just about payments: Google would embed Near Field Communication (NFC) technology in Android mobile devices, allowing consumers to make purchases by waving their smartphones in front of a small reader at checkout counters. So what? Well, NFC is more than just a payment technology; it brings mobile payments together with mobile marketing and loyalty programs. As with mobile devices in general, it helps bridge the digital and physical worlds.
If the overarching tech marketing theme in the ’90s was all about marketing as branding, and in the ’00s, marketing as lead generation, then the ’teens are shaping up to be about marketing as education. But not about educating customers about your product, per se. No, what I mean is educating customers about the business process/function and best practices that underlay your product, i.e., that your product supports.
In our recent B2B Social Technographics survey, fielded in Q1 2011, we asked customers, “Which are the most important vendor action factors when selecting the best vendor for a technology purchase?” By far, the No. 1 response was “how well the vendor can supplement our knowledge on the business process/function its product/technology supports.” [Other response options included “vendor’s demonstrated ability to communicate the economic benefit of implementing its product/technology” and “vendor salesperson’s demonstrated ability to understand our business problem.”]
An example is called for. I began my career as a programmer analyst (that title ages me!) for an aerospace and defense firm. I had the opportunity to “rotate” through all of the IT groups, including business applications, engineering systems, CAD/CAM, and IT operations. I won’t say I became a wizard in aeronautical engineering (although I know more than I ever wanted to about downwash), but by the time I wrapped up my stint in biz apps, I’m pretty certain I knew more about most of the company’s business processes than anyone other than, perhaps, the COO.
To be a great analyst, it's not sufficient to say what will happen. The best analysts make the call and tell clients what actions they should take as a result. But before creating those client recommendations, it's vital that an analyst correctly predicts what will happen. Otherwise, those recommendations are based on the wrong foundations.
Earlier this year, we published our Smartphone Trends 2011 report, which I wrote back in November. In it, we set out the key trends that smartphone-related product strategy needed to be built around. There are numerous predictions in that report. But already at the end of the first quarter, we have successfully predicted numerous events. Read the report now for the rest.
Events that we predicted include:
The arrival of 3D smartphones from HTC and LG. We identified 3D smartphones as a trend that would arrive in western markets. It has: LG's Optimus 3D was announced at Mobile World Congress in February and goes on sale in Q2 in Europe. It's being sold in the US as the AT&T Thrill. HTC's 3D Evo was announced at CTIA for US CDMA networks and is coming to Europe too. My colleague Nick Thomas will be publishing a report on 3D product strategy across all devices soon and what actions firms must take now.
I am excited! Not just about the fact that Forrester's Marketing Forum is just around the corner. I am excited because I just got to spend some time with Ross Martin, the energetic executive vice president (EVP) of MTV Scratch. His team is a center of innovation at MTV for helping marketers connect with millenials, and his enthusiasm for the next digital decade is palpable. If you are coming to the Forum in San Francisco next week, you will get to hear Ross and his client and counterpart Jim Trebilcock, CMO at Dr. Pepper Snapple (DPS) Group, talk about the nationwide launch of Sun Drop soda that kicked off a few weeks ago.
Not to spoil that story, here are some of the things Ross and I discussed about the future of marketing:
DC: Given what you have done with DPS, what do you see as the future agency model? Can media companies replace agencies?
RM: We see new and inspiring work from agencies every day and have been lucky to collaborate with some great partners. Much has been said about the challenges agencies face with so many new models emerging. We believe these new models will continue to evolve, as agencies large and small pursue new ways to serve their clients.
Great agencies will look to capitalize on the strengths of media companies in both traditional and nontraditional ways — from ad sales and integrated marketing to the kinds of services Scratch offers, such as design and product planning, retail activation, creative execution, social media, marketing strategy, and more.
Cloud computing and CRM giant salesforce.com has acquired Radian6 to add real social media monitoring and engagement to its suite of clouds, in a deal valued at $326 million. Why do I say "real"? Salesforce.com has been talking about social CRM and the importance of feeding social media mentions into sales and service processes for quite some time, but this acquisition will let salesforce.com deliver on that vision in a much bigger way.
I wrote about social listening platforms in my February report on "Emerging Technologies B2B CMOs Should Watch In 2011." CMOs should take notice of this acquisition because it represents the first foray for salesforce.com into capabilities that CMOs at large enterprises should care about, and since salesforce.com is aggressively trying to increase its penetration in the large-enterprise market, it could be followed by other additions to form the strikingly missing marketing cloud, namely marketing automation to support lead nurturing and closed-loop marketing. Salesforce.com will also likely take Radian6, or a version it ports to the Force.com platform, to its bread-and-butter midmarket, making social listening a bigger part of the marketing strategy for smaller and midsize firms, as it should be.
Here are a few valuable use cases that will result from this marriage that can improve sales and marketing effectiveness and/or the customer experience your firm delivers:
Find more leads. Marketers can listen for buying signals in the postings and discussions on social sites, blogs, and communities and use these signals to identify new warm leads to add to the system and start marketing to these people.
It's been quiet on the social media data acquisition front the past few months, but today's announcement — that salesforce.com plans to acquire Radian6 — is the biggest news yet, both financially ($326 million) and for what it means to the social space. First off, congratulations to both parties involved; this deal will benefit you both.
Watching the two companies over the past year, this acquisition comes as a natural extension of what was already a strong partnership. Radian6 was one of the first listening platforms to identify the need for — and implement — salesforce.com integration. Salesforce.com recently announced a Radian6 app as part of its service cloud. Last month Radian6 began feeding salesforce.com's Chatter data into its Engagement Console. And just last year, Radian6 brought on a new director — former salesforce.com CMO, Tien Tzuo — to advise on its SaaS offering. The deal is a logical step for salesforce.com and a testatment to Radian6's strength in the listening platform market.
This is an apt proverb for my current mood. Chicago's winter has been interminably long, but I'm optimistic that spring is just around the corner. After nearly four straight months of cold and record breaking amounts snow, certainly the weather must warm up and the sun must shine eventually, right?
Nevertheless, as winter winds down, March was a great (and busy) month. I attended three straight weeks of vendor user conferences: Webtrends, Adobe Omniture, and Coremetrics. These were well run, valuable, and diverse events; it was great to catch up with friends in the industry and clients around the country. Perhaps the most interesting part of the 2011 round of vendor events was the barrage of product releases, an exciting combination of new products, and ongoing development to core products. I will be updating the Forrester Wave on web analytics later this year, and we're looking forward to doing a deep dive on the updated platforms.
Spring and early summer promise to be equally interesting (and busy). Here's my event schedule for the next six months:
Data 2.0 Conference - April 4 - San Francisco - This event is about the rise of data accessibility and new innovations to harness the growing abundance of social, geo, government, and advertising data.
Forrester Marketing Forum 2011 - April 5-6 - San Francisco - This is extremely exciting, my first Marketing Forum as a Forrester analyst! You may remember that I missed the 2010 event because I was stranded in the UK due to the volcano in Iceland. This is a great event about innovating marketing for the next digital decade; check out the phenomenal roster of keynote speakers!
The report is written for marketers, but these days, my main role at Forrester is to serve the eBusiness & Channel Strategy professional. So naturally, I find myself asking what these new numbers might mean for eBusiness in Australia.
The report's top-line message is continued growth. In particular, the report shows that the absolute number of Australians who regularly use social media has increased to an all-time high of 13.4 million people. However, I'd class that nugget as a "nice to know." It's a useful stat to use the next time you get in one of those tedious debates about why social media matters at all, but the Australian eBusiness leaders I speak with have largely passed that point. Their burning question is not whether to use social media at all. Instead, they want to know what tools and tactics to prioritize, so let's address three of the most common social commerce practices.
Yesterday, I had some time to catch up with Marc Menesguen, the managing director of strategic marketing at L'Oréal. While Marc has been with L'Oréal for years, he's just recently taken on this new — for him and for the company — role at L'Oréal. He was finishing work on one very beautiful presentation for the Forrester Marketing Forum in San Francisco next week. Marc's keynote, "L'Oréal: Where Digital Unleashes The Power Of Beauty," tells the story of brands — like Lancome, Maybelline, Vichy, and L'Oréal Paris — which can finally interact with consumers.
I asked Marc a few questions about how technology and beauty fit together. As my pre-teen daughter would have told me, it turns out that they fit together well, very well. Both beauty and digital are keys to connection. I like that. And I'm looking forward to hearing more from him.
MBK: Marc, what one thing most surprises you about consumers’ adoption and use of technology?
MM: Technology is changing so rapidly that the most surprising thing to me is how technology-savvy these customers are. Consumers today want to be part of the conversation, and it’s up to us to engage them in ways that are meaningful and relevant.
If you haven't yet heard Seth Priebatsch, chief ninja of SCVNGR — a mobile company looking to gamify the world — address a conference audience, you're in for a treat. It's something that I and about 20,000 of my closest friends and colleagues were fortunate to experience at SXSW this year, and for those of you attending Forrester's Marketing Forum next week, you'll see why the pleasure was all ours.
For a taste of Seth's personality, you need look no further than his bio ("An avid supporter of blood drives, Seth consistently donates plasma for use in large-screen televisions.") For a glimpse at what he'll be talking about at the forum, check out the description for his session "The Perils Of "Wait-And-See" Marketing Strategy: Five "Future" Trends For The Present."
Lest you fear that he'll be all jokes and pie-in-the-sky outlooks, I've asked Seth a few questions about what "gamification" means and what potential there is for growth in the location-based marketing arena. You'll see from his answers that while he's obviously a future-thinker, he's also a practical-talker.
Here's a taste of what you can expect in San Francisco next week: