Elevating The CI Role Within The Organization

I've had two reports go live in the past week or so which, although we worked on them separately, are in some ways related. First, we argue that Customer Intelligence needs to get out of the weeds to demonstrate value. CI professionals seek to fill a strategic function at their organizations, but many are stuck grappling with the basics -- integrating data, struggling to evolve beyond direct marketing channels, and neglecting inbound marketing.

Today, Tamara Barber and I launched two reports on which we collaborated to understand the intersection and interplay between market insights and CI. We found that, for Customer Intelligence professionals, collaborating with market insights will help to elevate the CI role and that, collectively, they can bring the organization closer to becoming an intelligent enterprise.

This isn't something for every company, and it is something that will require work, but we show that firms can create competitive advantage if they invest the time and resources to build a shared CI and MI culture, align processes, integrate the relevant data, rationalize technology decisions, liaise collectively and directly with business functions, and adopt shared metrics.

Read more

Rabobank’s iPhone App Lets Customers Pay Bills By Simply Taking Pictures Of Them

In my recent report "Next-Generation Digital Financial Services," I argued that eBusiness and channel strategy executives need to develop a new generation of digital financial services that are SUPER: simple, ubiquitous, personal, empowering, and reassuring. Rabobank’s iPhone app is a great example of how to make it simpler for customers. 

About 30% of Dutch consumers pay their bills by using acceptgiros — standard yellow payment forms that merchants sent to them together with their bills. These forms are prefilled with all relevant information that is required to make the payment. The customer can pay the bill by simply signing the acceptgiro and dropping it into the letterbox of his bank or by paying it directly via online banking (which requires typing in a 16-digit code).

To make this process simpler for its customers, Dutch Rabobank added a new functionality to its iPhone mobile banking app last month, which it calls "acceptgiroscan." Users of the app can pay bills by simply taking a picture of the acceptgiro with the phone’s built-in camera. Optical character recognition (OCR) software then reads and translates the scanned image and prefills all necessary form fields. The customer just needs to confirm to initiate the payment. A YouTube video (in Dutch only) shows how the app works in detail.

Read more

Marketing Automation And Marathons: The Will To Win Means Nothing Without The Will To Prepare

While trudging my way through the last few miles of the Boston Marathon last month, I couldn’t help thinking about the similarities between tackling a 26.2-mile running endeavor and implementing marketing automation.

Imagine if you decided to run your first marathon, went over to your local running store to buy those high-performance running shoes, stuffed a few power gels in your pocket, and showed up at the starting line? Well, chances are you wouldn’t achieve your goal. You need to be prepared for how to pace, hydrate, and fuel yourself. You need to spend the time to condition your muscles for the abuse of several hours of rigorous use. And you want to have people along the route to support you.

Over the past few months, I’ve interviewed more than 25 marketing and sales leaders to learn about their experiences in implementing marketing automation platforms. Most of them are using the technology to make it easier to do things they were already doing, like putting out a monthly newsletter, inviting people to their webinars, or capturing more leads and buyer behaviors on their website. 

While this is valuable, it just scratches the surface of what marketing automation can do, which is to help you create a demand management machine that supplies a steady stream of high-quality nurtured leads to the sales organization, a high percentage of which convert to pipeline opportunities. Getting to that outcome takes a lot of preparation because it takes marketing and sales teams beyond things they’ve done before.

Read more

Are You Prepared For The Intelligent Enterprise?

Back in December, I announced that I was kicking off a big report on the future of the market research function. Well, a funny thing happened when this announcement went out — I got a lot of feedback from our clients, from our blog readers, and from my peers here at Forrester. From people saying that the post was sensational or that it was old news — or that it was right on — one overarching thought came through loud and clear. Market insights (MI) professionals aren’t the only ones dealing with data overload and the need to pivot their role in the digital age. But I argue that they are unique from most other roles within the marketing organization since the MI function is specifically tasked with using the proper data and methods to gain an understanding of the customer in a way that drives business decisions. You know who else within your organization is tasked with this? The customer intelligence (CI) team. These two roles may use data that’s gathered differently — i.e., passively collected transactional and behavioral data versus proactively collected market research data — but the success of both of these roles hinges on delivering relevant insights and intelligence that influence the way their companies do business.

Read more

The Data Digest: How Many US Households Have Multiple PCs?

Today’s Data Digest topic comes from a personal observation involving my family. Last weekend, my husband was working on our Mac, I was doing some online shopping on my work laptop, and one of our kids was playing games on my husband’s work laptop. And I suddenly wondered: “Is this how a typical household looks, with every household member having their own PC?” So I dived into our Technographics data and found that we are indeed not atypical for our generation: More than 80% of US households have some type of PC, and almost half have more than one. About 77% of Gen X has a desktop PC at home, and 61%, a laptop.

Whether people have one PC or two, and whether those PCs are desktops, laptops, or netbooks, PCs serve different functions for different generations in the household. While Gen Yers are more likely to use their computer for media activities like playing games or watching TV, Gen Xers and Boomers use theirs for more practical functions, such as word processing or managing personal or family finances.

Harvard Business Review Feature On Creating A Customer-Centered Organization

Harvard Business Review (HBR) is currently running a month-long feature on its blog called Creating a Customer-Centered Organization.  We’re thrilled that HBR is focusing on this topic, as it indicates that customer experience is finally rising to the attention of top business executives.

The HBR editors asked Forrester to contribute a couple of pieces to this feature based on our recent research, and we happily obliged.

My post, Focus on Your Customer’s Customer, looks at how B2B companies can be successful by taking a B2B2C approach. Here’s an excerpt: “Often, the best way for B2B companies to satisfy the multitude of business customers is to focus on the needs of their customers’ customers. That’s exactly what Portuguese airport operator ANA Aeroportos de Portugal did in its quest to attract more major airlines and connecting routes. To understand the work, first you need to understand an airport’s business model: Its real customer isn’t travelers, but the airlines that rent the gates and terminals, much like a mall owner leases space to retailers.”

Read more

ADAPT To The CORE: How CMOs Can Lead The Revolution In The Next Digital Decade

My colleague, Emily Riley, and I joined forces at Forrester's Marketing Forum to talk about how marketers can prepare for the next digital decade. My message is this. The only way CMOs can effectively lead their organization in the digital era is to ADAPT by embracing a new mental model to overcome the bad habits of marketing. Emily's message is that the digital revolution isn't just a top-down mandate. It's a mission that the entire marketing organization has to embrace at its CORE so that all marketing is customized, optimized, responsive, and empowering.

Tomorrow's Brands Can't Succeed With Yesterday's Leadership

Let’s be clear. I’m not saying today’s marketing leaders need to be replaced. I’m saying your rules need to be replaced.

And the trick to learning new rules is to overcome your mental barriers.

Consider Roger Bannister. He was the first person to run a 4-minute mile. The previous world record of 4 minutes and 1 second had stood for nine years. So many runners had tried to break the 4-minute barrier that scientists actually believed it was beyond the limitations of what the human body was capable of. But in fact, it wasn’t a physical limitation at all. It was a mental barrier. Once Bannister did it, 16 other runners broke it in the following four years. Not necessarily new runners: Many were the same people Bannister had been competing against.

What happened to those runners is what’s happening to you as a marketing leader. You’re having trouble breaking through to the next plateau.

Read more

Attention CMOs: If You Want To Keep Your Job In The Next Digital Decade, Watch These Videos

As a keynote speaker at Forrester's Marketing Forum in early April, I got a backstage pass to talk with some of today's most forward-thinking marketing leaders. Here are two of my favorites speeches from the event.

Dana Anderson, SVP of marketing strategy and communications at Kraft Foods, left us with some memorable lessons about shaking up a buttoned-down global marketing behemoth.

  • Find your swagger. Don't settle for safe and boring. Do something that will make people say, "I want to be a part of that."
  • Be sly. Why waste time and effort battling the entrenched silos when you can just go around the silos?
Read more


Barnes & Noble Upgrades Nook Color Today, Sets A New Bar For eReaders

That's right, I said eReaders. True, it looks like a tablet, runs like a tablet, and delivers a lot of the value that tablets deliver, but the Nook Color's 1.2 upgrade (which is actually a step up to Android 2.2; don't let the numbers confuse you too much) is really a foreshadowing of the future of eReaders, not the future of tablets.

First, the facts. With the new upgrade that will be gradually pushed out to all existing Nook Color devices for free over the next few weeks (or you can download now at www.nookcolor.com/update), the folks at B&N have added some very useful features: an integrated email client, Flash 10.1 support, a curated Android app store (see sidebar), and an improved user experience through a myriad of tweaks. These upgrades make the Nook Color look more and more like a tablet, with a very attractive $249 price point to boot.

Must the iPad now cower in fear? No, not really. Because even at this price point, the Nook Color remains a smaller, less powerful tablet than the iPad. And as we've seen, the range of competitors coming in after the iPad's territory are coming in at higher prices with more powerful features (for example, last week I dropped $529 for an LG G-Slate from T-Mobile with 3D video camera and 4G data plan). The tablet market is gradually moving into higher-power features, not lower-power experiences.

Read more

How The “Most Improved” Companies Raised Their Customer Experience Game Last Year

Every year in January, Forrester publishes its Customer Experience Index (CxPi), which reports how customers rate their interactions with major companies. We learn a lot from studying leaders in various industries — like USAA, which was the top credit card provider, top bank, and top insurance provider this year.

Last week, we published a follow-up report, which examined companies that raised their CxPi scores by at least five points year over year. Among others, these brands included Aetna (up six points), Citi’s credit card business (up 12 points), Charter Communications (up 20 points as an ISP and up seven points as a TV service provider), and Office Depot (up nine points). Our goal was to discover what, if anything, these firms did to earn their improvements.  

And as it turned out, their big gains came as a result of major efforts.

Our research uncovered customer experience initiatives that fell into two buckets. The first bucket was business process re-engineering. Efforts here included creating or enhancing voice of the customer programs, measuring customer experience consistently across the enterprise, and changing incentive programs to reward customer-centric behavior by employees.  

But perhaps the biggest impact came from upgrading the customer experience governance process at the enterprise level. For example, Aetna transformed its decentralized part-time customer experience task force into a full-time enterprise customer experience team. Cox Communications made an even more drastic change, consolidating any function with material customer interactions into one group led by a new senior vice president of customer operations.

Read more