I was intrigued by the recent announcement that MasterCard and Brighter Planet were teaming up to mine carbon emission data based on corporate cardholder data. This announcement got me thinking about unlikely data partnerships across verticals to productize data and form mutually beneficial partnerships using data as the currency.
But what’s really interesting is that it elevates the conversation of customer intelligence beyond better campaigns and ROI to the use of customer data for sustainability efforts — a relatively uncommon use case for customer intelligence.
The concept of data sharing or data partnerships is not new — entire business models exist on making these services available to organizations for smarter targeting and remarketing. Retail data co-ops, online media audience aggregators, and data coalitions are just a few examples of these models. And MasterCard even sells its MasterCard Advisors solution to provide merchants with enhanced data and targeting capabilities.
After the longest winter I can remember, it's finally getting nice out in New England and it seems summer is finally around the corner. Along with the weather, the market's interest in social intelligence is heating up, too. I'm filling my days talking to marketers interested in using social media data to inform their business strategies.
As a result of this growing interest, I'm hitting the road in June to share my research. Along with a packed series of client and vendor visits, I have a few events coming up that I hope you can attend:
On June 8th, I'll speak at MeasureUp — a conference dedicated to marketing measurement. My session is on "Social Network Analysis" and covers the theory and practice of understanding your customers through the combination of their online conversations with social network connections, all made possible through the customer database.
On June 16th, I'll speak at the Vocus User Conference, in a session titled "Combining Public Relations With Customer Intelligence." In this talk, I'll speak about the different ways social media data is driving a revolution for the PR industry.
On June 20th, I'll lead a session with Forrester's Customer Intelligence Leadership Board (our networking community of CI professionals) on new trends in customer influence. For this session, I'll share some of the data I showed at SXSW this spring and give a sneak peak at my upcoming research on identifying, measuring, and utilizing customer influence.
Recently, I was researching how market insights professionals can enhance their internal position and have a greater influence on their companies’ strategies (for an upcoming Forrester Leadership Board exclusive research report). As part of the research, I spoke with leaders at the market insights and CMO levels to get their views on how market insights professionals can succeed, build internal awareness and reputations and be able to more effectively influence the company’s direction and strategies.
As I spoke to these leaders, I kept hearing things I had read years ago from a beat-up 10-cent book I found at the local flea market. That book was Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. It was published back in 1937, which was right about the time George Gallup (of Gallup Poll fame) founded the American Institute of Public Opinion, part of the growing tide of companies doing this new thing called market research.
For those who are not acquainted with Dale Carnegie’s book, it provides advice on how to make people like you, win them to your way of thinking and change them (without giving offense or arousing resentment). It even provides rules for making your home life happier! Salespeople swear by this book and I have to say that it’s been a great guide for me (and provided an amazing ROI on my 10-cent investment).
Dave Frankland is an analyst’s analyst: a critical and perceptive forward-thinker with an encyclopedic knowledge of customer intelligence services and strategy. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has taken over as our Research Director, with the mandate to oversee all research and ensure that we are as relevant and consistent as possible across the team.
Of course, that left some pretty sizable shoes to fill in our team’s research agenda. Now, maybe I’m a little TOO fond of a challenge, but I raised my hand and asked to be considered for the position.
I’m tremendously honored to announce that, effective immediately, I’ll be taking over Dave’s coverage of CI services (agencies, MSPs, data providers and consultants).
My first report in this new role will provide an assessment of alternate vendors to the recent Database MSP Wave. Then, keep an eye out for a forward-looking analysis of what we’re calling the “Personal Data Cloud.” Future reports will look at outsourcing versus insourcing, vendor selection processes, and the changing role of customer intelligence in traditionally non-CI-driven agencies.
I’m looking very forward to getting to know many of you better and to exploring the changing face of the services landscape. I invite you to engage with me via our Inquiry and/or Briefing teams and to track me down at some upcoming events:
Privacy Innovation Invention: May 19th – 20th (Santa Clara, CA)
Merkle CRM 2.0 Summit: June 6th – 8th (San Diego, CA)
In recent inquiries and discussions with clients about intelligence-driven loyalty, my researcher Emily Murphy and I have gotten a lot of questions about gamification. Specifically, how they should — or shouldn’t — be incorporating it into their loyalty programs and strategies. Gamification is a pretty hot buzzword right now, and no matter what industry you’re in, you’ve probably noticed it being thrown around. Broadly, gamification is the application of gaming principles to a traditionally non-game activity in order to drive a desired behavior. As it relates to loyalty, gamification provides a way for marketers to encourage loyalty members to engage and to share information about themselves. For example, earning rewards points and badges for sharing products with friends on Twitter, filling out a poll about customer preferences, or checking-in on foursquare and Facebook Places.
Social influence is one of the hottest issues for Customer Intelligence and Interactive Marketing professionals today. Not a day goes by that I don't talk with marketers or vendors about how to identify, measure, and utilize influential sources online. But for all the interest, there's not much out there defining or standardizing how influencers work — or what online "influence" even means. As a result, I'm kicking off some new research covering how social media makes it possible to find and engage with your brand's influencers. My last research on this subject — now over a year old — is still one of my most-read reports, proving that there's a need for an update.
As luck would have it, thanks to @SarahSGlass, who's a researcher on our Interactive Marketing team and our Customer Intelligence Community Manager, and @Mike_Grant_FORR, we have a perfect venue to open the discussion around social influence: a tweet jam. Yes, "tweet jam" sounds silly, but it's a great way to connect with others and to share and learn about an interesting topic. Our Interactive Marketing team holds a weekly discussion on Twitter, using the #IMChat hashtag, around certain marketing topics and has had great success so far.
Back in February I announced the introduction of our Customer Intelligence Community -- a place to discuss the news around customer data and the business challenges CI professionals face every day. Over the past few months the community's really started to heat up, with hundreds of new members and many lively discussions, and today I wanted to share some of the highlights.