So, I just got back from Forrester’s Customer Experience Forum in New York. This year, it was at the Marriott Marquis, right in the heart of Times Square. Now, if you’re like me and have lived in a rural (ok, backwoods) town for the past 10 years, Times Square can be pretty overwhelming. You feel like you’re wading through a sea of people with every step. You hear more languages and see more diverse cultures in a block than in an around-the-world trip. And the neon and pictures and street-hawkers and . . . and . . . and. It’s total information overload.
Even worse, I had arranged to meet clients in the middle of this chaos. I was lost and running late. The call was short but clear: “Can you hear us? We’re here. Where are you? We need to leave soon.”
For many market insights professionals, my experience in Times Square is a microcosm of reality. Many have been stuck in the back office, already struggling to meet present stakeholders' needs. Suddenly, you're thrust into an overwhelming sea of new data sources with an executive mandate to find the customers and figure out their needs. Worse, if you don’t do this quickly, your customers are going to leave.
Change is the only constant. This truism is one of the reasons why web intelligence is so much fun to cover at Forrester Research. Web analytics, site optimization, mobile measurement, and the online marketing suite are constantly evolving, which is not only fascinating but will - one would hope - lead to increasingly productive and relevant marketing.
The market moved again yesterday, as Hubspot announced the acquisition of Performable. You can read the official Hubspot announcement here and the matching Performable announcement here. I had the opportunity this morning to speak with Hubspot's Kirsten Knipp to learn more about the transaction. The terms of the transaction are undisclosed, but clearly Hubspot is feeling empowered in the wake of their recent funding round. The entire Performable team is staying on board, and it appears to be a very collegial meeting of the minds; Performable CEO David Cancel and Hubspot CTO Dharmesh Shah have known one another for several years.
In the wake of these reports, we found that the online marketing suite resonates strongly with Forrester's clients. Organizations definitely have an appetite for a framework to coordinate the content, execution, and analytics that comprise interactive marketing. But time and time again in client meetings, inquiry calls, and at events I've heard the same set of questions: What technologies, skills, and processes does my company need? Which approach should my company take to the online marketing suite? Where should my company start on its online marketing suite journey?
These are topics we will continue to explore, and to get started we published How To Identify Online Marketing Suite Requirements this week. This research provides a needs assessment framework designed to help organizations craft their strategy for implementing the online marketing suite.
A few weeks ago, Zach Hofer-Shall led a tweet jam on social influence. It garnered such a good response that we decided to take another Customer Intelligence approach to the #IMChat. But this week -- at 2 p.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, June 14th -- we’re going to talk about a different hot topic: customer loyalty.
Personally, I would consider myself something of a loyalty program junkie. I sign up for lots of programs and willingly share loads of information about my preferences and interests. But in my experience, most loyalty programs don’t do much with that information. I get discounts and accrue rewards, but the offers are rarely customized to my interests or past transactions.
In this tweet jam, I want to get a sense of your experience with loyalty programs. More specifically, we’ll address the following questions:
What are your favorite loyalty programs? Why?
What makes a loyalty program unsuccessful?
What is the impact of social media on loyalty?
What role do you see gamification playing in loyalty?
These are exciting—and challenging—times for anyone who is responsible for developing, managing, and innovating consumer products. Why? Because digital technology is disrupting everything—the way we communicate with each other; the way we access, store, and share information; the way we purchase and interact with the products and services we use every day; and yes—even the way in which we actually pay for those products and services. Whether you like it or not, digital disruption is happening everywhere, it’s happening fast, and it’s accelerating.
Relationship marketers love customer lifetime value (CLV) as a concept because it puts the customer at the core of the marketing investment decision and sneaks a peek into the future worth of the customer. But in reality, arriving at customer lifetime value is often a herculean task and the assortment of CLV approaches available doesn’t make the process any easier.
My latest research, titled “Navigating The Customer Lifetime Value Conundrum,” highlights key considerations for firms who plan to embark on the CLV journey. As a continuation of this research stream, I asked our Customer Intelligence community members what their experience with CLV was and a few interesting points emerged:
Inclusion of intangible value. At what point is it important to account for the intangible, non-transactional value that customers are generating especially through all the emerging channel interactions such as referrals, recommendations, likes, user-generated content, etc.?
Blurry definitions of "best" customers. Traditionally, resources are channeled toward your best customers with positive net present value (NPV). But often there is conflicting choice between investing in high-value, low-usage customers and low-value, high-usage customers. As a result, defining your "best" or "worst" customer/segment is not as obvious as a positive or negative NPV.
Diversity of CLV users. CLV is not just the domain of marketing or customer-focused teams, but it touches other stakeholders in the organizations. How do non-marketing stakeholders such as finance teams in your organization view this metric? Is CLV as important to non-marketing stakeholders as it is to marketing?
Do you remember your first digital video recorder? Most of us probably started with Tivo, or perhaps a box provided by our cable company. The DVR forever altered how we watch television and introduced the concept of "time shifting" to the media world, much to the consternation of TV networks and advertisers.
The DVR arrived in my home in 2003, and things haven't been the same since. I'm a busy guy - I have a young family, I travel a lot, all the normal stuff - so the freedom afforded by the DVR from the tyranny of network schedules immediately transformed my TV viewing experience. At first it was enough to record my favorite shows and then watch them at my convenience. But it became so much more: I could easily search for and discover new shows and films, I could record and store my favorite shows and films for a rainy day, and I no longer had to watch commercials! I learned to curate video content, much as I manage my music in iTunes; it's just another stream of media to consume.
(Side note: anyone out there have younger kids who have grown up with a DVR? It's fascinating to take note of their conditioning; my children have never known a world without DVRs and are completely used to watching whatever they want when they want it, and are utterly mystified by the concept of commercials during a program.)
Perhaps the biggest impact for me was the change in how I watch sports. I enjoy sports, particularly NCAA basketball and football (go Illini!), NFL (go Bears!), Formula 1, tennis, golf, and I'm occasionally drawn to obscure sports in the middle of the night such as the Scottish Caber Toss or Australian Rules Football. With the DVR I could watch NCAA basketball games in . . . just 40 minutes, not two hours! I was now immune to insufferably long NFL games, chock full of TV time-outs, halftime show pageantry, and constant holding penalties.