Modern Lessons In Brand Leadership — Highlights Of The 2011 ANA Masters Of Marketing Conference

The 2011 ANA Masters of Marketing conference once again brought together the power brokers of US advertising in a state-of-the-state event of entertainment, networking, and speeches over three days. In all, more than 1,700 marketers and marketing service firms convened in Phoenix to share in this year's official theme — growth.

Indeed, these are trying times for CMOs to deliver growth through traditional marketing. Growth has been challenging and inconsistent for most marketers over the past three years as they fight a war on two fronts — the turbulence of the economy and the turbulence of empowered customers. Thomas Friedman reinforced those points, asserting that in order for America to grow, as a market and a people, the notion of "average" cannot be accepted; companies must become exceptional once again by unleashing creativity and innovation on a global stage. That's why the more salient subtext of the conference was leadership.

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Social Listening Isn’t Enough: Start Integrating Social Data

Nearly two years ago, I published our first report on Social Intelligence; it included this headline: “The Time To Start Listening Is Yesterday.” In the report, I pushed for the importance of social listening, but I made a call that there’s more to social media than monitoring conversations for brand mentions. But now, as we near the end of 2011, we’ve found that while most companies do in fact listen, few have Social Intelligence strategies and most don’t yet gain true actionable business insights from the data they collect. So even though listening is still very important for brands, it’s time Customer Intelligence teams start using social data.

That’s why I’m eager to announce our latest research on social media data, “The Road Map To Integrating Social And Customer Data” (client link). This report focuses on the role social media data plays for CI professionals. And as the title hints, the role is “integrated with customer data.”

This research was born out of the idea that too many companies have siloed data practices, keeping marketing and business data on one side of the organization and social media data on another. But as I often say – if you only listen to social media, you only learn about social media. To get the most out of social media data, you must integrate it with other data.

For CI teams, integrating social and business data gives you deeper customer insights, the ability to inform targeted marketing, and a more complete view of marketing measurement. But because integrating social data is easier said than done, we’ve put together a road map on how to do it (hence the “Road Map” part to the report’s title) – here’s a quick peek:

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Oracle Purchases RightNow Technologies

Less than a week after purchasing Endeca, Oracle extended its acquisition run with the announcement that it was purchasing Montana-based RightNow Technologies for $1.5 billion.

This deal is particularly interesting because, as the Wall St Journal notes, it marks the first time Oracle has bought a company  that sells application programs accessed primarily over the Internet as software as a service. This is being widely interpreted as a shot across Salesforce’s bow.

RightNow has a lot to offer Oracle. We rate RightNow as a leader in our WAVE for CRM customer service suites.  Along with, we called out RightNow as a SaaS solution that was faster to deploy and easier to change than traditional on-premise offerings. RightNow is well positioned to give Oracle a customer service offering for the mid market.

Like all M&A, there will be growing pains.  The companies have different strengths, sizes, and cultures.

Success will very much rely upon how effectively Oracle can differentiate between their many customer service products to ensure their portfolio targeting is optimized. With this acquisition and previous ones - such as ATG and InQuira -  there is overlapping customer service technology. It will be critical to differentiate between products such as knowledge management and chat. This will not be an easy task in this complex and ever-changing customer service technology landscape.

Understanding The Keys to Cross-Selling Success

A result of the recent and continuing rash of government regulations is a renewed desire on the part of banks and credit unions to drive new sources of revenue and profitability. One outcome of drive for revenue is a renewed interest in cross-selling to deepen customer relationships.

Cross-Sell Strategy Is Not New

Cross-selling as a strategy is nothing new. Wells Fargo has been a champion of the concept for decades. Cross sell efforts in general have been marginally successful, with the average bank owning just 2.1 financial products out of nearly seven owned per household. The struggles of cross-selling to customers are two-fold. On the consumer side, there is a natural inclination that one provider cannot have the best product in all situations. On the bank side, organizational silos and a general failure to appreciate the impact of effective cross-selling on metrics like customer retention hinder success.

The Elements Of Effective Cross-Selling

So what makes for successful cross-selling? A well-defined strategy is an important but relatively easy part of the question. An analysis of the problem shows that execution is what separates success from also-rans. Effective cross-sell execution requires four key elements:

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Now The Holidays Are Upon Us, Are You Sleeping At Night?

With the holidays rapidly approaching, eBusiness executives face many a sleepless night as their eCommerce infrastructure comes under attack from hordes of festive online shoppers. These customers are buying online to avoid the crowds, queues and stress of the mall and they demand nothing short of an exemplary online experience. Slow pages, site outages, and checkout problems will at best cause frustration as loyal customers switch channel to the call center or brick and mortar stores, however most customers will simply take their business elsewhere. These customers will end up buying online from your competitors, but before they do, you can bet they will express their dismay on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and even through your own online reviews. The damage will extend beyond the online channel and the impact on brand reputation will be widespread and long lasting. 

No more aware of this than anyone are eBusiness executives. Q4 sales will either make or break entire annual revenue goals and the c-suite have zero tolerance whatsoever for site outages or transactional problems online during the holidays. Jobs are on the line.
Only last week Targets head of online retailing, Steve Eastman left the company after a high profile site outage back in September left shoppers staring at this screen all day long as they frantically tried to get their hands on an exclusive and limited range of luggage, clothes and house wares from Italian designer Missoni.  

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Join Our Global Mobile Survey And Get Free Aggregated Results

A year ago, Forrester fielded our Q3 2010 Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey. We interviewed more than 200 executives in charge of their companies’ mobile strategies around the globe (40% in the US, 40% in Europe, and 20% in the rest of the world). You can see the results from last year’s survey here.

To help consumer product strategists and executives benchmark and mature their mobile consumer strategies, we’re updating this survey.

Planning and organizing for the use of mobile technologies is a complex task. Some players are laggards and think they still need to get the basics of their online presence right, while others are clearly ahead of the curve. Yet two questions we consistently hear are: “Where is my organization compared with others in the use of mobile?” and “How can we mature our mobile consumer approach?”

Here’s how you can help:

If you’re in charge of your company's mobile consumer initiative or if you’re familiar with it, then please take this survey.

Click here to start the questionnaire. 

If you’re not familiar with your company’s mobile consumer approach, please forward this survey to the relevant colleagues who are in charge of defining or implementing your mobile consumer approach. 

  • The survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete.
  • The survey will be live until December 7.
  • Responses will be kept strictly confidential and published only in an aggregated and anonymous manner.
  • For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the survey results.
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Sourcing & Vendor Management: A Key Driver In The Customer Experience Ecosystem

Many customer experience initiatives don't meet their full potential — or worse, fail completely — because companies don’t have a complete picture of the dynamics that go into creating it. In order to break from their tunnel vision, companies need to understand their customer experience ecosystem: the complex set of relationships among a company’s employees, partners, and customers that determines the quality of all customer interactions.

In their quest to seek out the root causes of customer experience issues, companies often overlook the impact of sourcing and vendor management (SVM) professionals — often referred to as “procurement” by the rest of the organization. That’s too bad, because these decision-makers influence the customer experience in two key ways.

They influence which technologies and tools will be purchased. Some of these technologies are used internally. One example is: customer relationship management software, which enables employees across the organization to better understand customers and their ongoing relationships with the company. Other tools — like content management systems — directly affect the information that customers can access through digital touchpoints like the Web and mobile devices.

They shape the nature of service-based partner relationships. Some partners — like interactive agencies — help from behind the scenes to design and develop customer interactions. In contrast, partners like outsourced call centers and service technicians have direct contact with customers every single day.

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The Tech Marketer's Guide To The Social Media Platform Universe

A few months ago, our research team embarked on an important quest: to help B2B tech marketers make sense out of the confusing ecosystem of social media platforms and tools. This ecosystem is fraught with vendor consolidation, technology integration, platform expansion and a multitude of amusing buzzwords. Tech marketers have enough to worry about these days without spending time (time that they do not have) trying to navigate around the chaotic landscape.

Three months later, I am happy to announce that tech marketers now have a simple guide to help them identify the categories of social media platforms that are currently available to meet their needs. One word of caution: This Market Overview report is merely a snapshot of the social media platform landscape. Since this report was published, some of the vendors we briefed have notified us of recent acquisitions and major updates to their platform offerings. This is a very dynamic landscape that our team will continue to monitor throughout the upcoming months. Stay tuned for additional research on this topic. And perhaps we will have some new buzzwords to decipher as well.
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Wells Fargo's Statement Snafu, Or Why PIDM Isn't Just About Digital

This week, some Wells Fargo customers in South Carolina and Florida got a nasty surprise. Turns out, a "malfunctioning printer" printed multiple customers' account information (including transactions and, in some cases, Social Security numbers) on the pages of other customers' statements. 

The number of customers affected hasn't been made public -- a real misstep in my opinion, and one which renders Wells Fargo's public apology rather hollow sounding. Remember: Transparency is a key factor in gaining consumer trust in the era of personal identity management.

Aside from the bank's public handling of the matter, though, there's another important issue. Too often, when organizations talk to us about security and privacy, they're focused on digital data. But the truth is, there is plenty of analog data that follows individuals around, from in-store transactions and personal trainer visits to, yup, mailed bank statements. It's not enough for firms to spend millions of dollars protecting consumers' digital footprints if they're not also thinking about both inbound and outbound uses of offline data. 

Does your organization have discipline and governance around the way offline data is captured, managed, and disseminated?


Four glaring opportunities in Australian eBusiness

eBusiness in Australia is in a period of extraordinary development. On a near-daily basis, we see the launch of determined new retailers — from fashion eyewear vendor Sneaking Duck to subscription pet food provider Paws For Life — as well as new services to support the sector, like Want It Now's same-day delivery system. Yet ample "blue sky" remains for entrepreneurs who are willing to take a crack at this sector. Of these countless opportunities, four come to mind immediately:

  • A personal finance-management system. Mint still hasn't come to Australia. The Australian Taxation Office's e-Tax is still a painful way to submit tax returns. You still never meet someone who says "I use ANZ Money Manager".  Saasu and Xero still support businesses but not individuals. If anyone stepped up to offer in Australia what Mint offers in the US and Canada today, thousands of customers — incuding me — would rush to get onboard, and Australian's finance-sector eBusiness professionals would have a collective heart-attack.
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