Mobile Research Needs Nonmobile Insights

With mobile usage becoming increasingly widespread and companies testing the water with mobile strategies, market insights professionals need to uncover consumers’ mobile behavior today and tomorrow. But with the pace of mobile innovation moving so rapidly, how can you keep up with all of the things that people are doing with their mobile phones?

In the next three years, would you expect people to use their mobile phones as wallets? What about as electronic passports? What about for space exploration? While that seems like a long shot, a New York state resident did just that — attaching an iPhone to a weather balloon, videoing the journey, and using its GPS feature to map its voyage (see link for the footage).

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Tag Management Continues To Accelerate Into The Mainstream

The market for tag management systems is gaining momentum at an impressive rate. On the surface, tag management is a rather pedestrian topic, focusing on the occasionally arcane and frequently ugly mechanics underlying our websites. Indeed, tag management seems to be worlds apart from the current marketing zeitgeist, which often directs our attention to sexy topics such as social media, tablet computers, and gamification. But if we take a deeper view of current marketing trends, it is clear that the two are actually very closely connected. Digital marketing execution and analysis are heavily dependent on website instrumentation, which by extension benefits from enabling technologies such as tag management.

Ultimately, I think the enthusiasm for tag management systems stems from the simple fact that these solutions address very real and tangible pain points felt by nearly all companies doing business on the Web. I believe that the effective use of tag management technology and governance practices can deliver significant efficiency, performance, and financial gains. And I'm not alone. Since publishing How Tag Management Improves Web Intelligence, I've seen steady and growing interest from Forrester clients on the topic.  

For a relatively young technology segment, tag management is evolving quickly. In a matter of a just a few weeks, we've seen the tag management market take several significant steps forward:

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Want To Know How Your 2012 Customer Experience Plans Compare To Others? Take Our Benchmarking Survey To Find Out.

Calling all customer experience professionals! It’s that time of year again . . . time for Forrester to take a snapshot of what’s going on inside customer experience programs around the globe.

Want to see how your company’s 2012 plans stack up? All it takes is 10 minutes. Complete Forrester’s Q4 2011 Customer Experience Survey, which will ask you a few questions about:

  • Your company’s goals and objectives for customer experience in 2012.
  • How your organization manages customer experience on a daily basis.
  • The customer experience categories you plan to funnel budget into for 2012.

Once the survey closes in mid-December, we’ll analyze the data and write a summary report titled “The State Of Customer Experience, 2012.” We’ll send you a copy of that report when it publishes in January — even if you’re not a Forrester client.

Thanks in advance for helping with our research. This data will fuel not only this report but also much of our other research throughout the coming year.

(By the way, this survey is for customer experience professionals who are working to improve customer interactions with their own companies. Agency employees, technology vendors, and consultants should take a pass on this one. There will be surveys for you later in the year.)

The New Normal – Light Spending, Heavy Coupon Usage

A few days ago, online coupon site Retailmenot.com released results from its inaugural holiday edition Shoppers Trend Report. A combination of consumer trend data pulled from activity on Retailmenot.com and a survey by Ipsos regarding near-term consumer sentiments, the report corroborates much of what Forrester recently predicted for this year’s holiday shopping season:

  • Growth in overall retail spend will be positive but small. According to the Shoppers Trend Report, only 11% of consumers surveyed intend to increase their holiday spending.  Similarly, the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Forrester predict the U.S. will see only a marginal increase of 2.8% growth in overall retail spending this holiday season. 
  • Coupon use is on the rise. 58% of US online adults say that they are more price-conscious today than they were a year ago.  Not surprisingly, Experian Hitwise has seen downstream traffic from retailers to couponing sites grow 69% in the last three years. Similarly, Retailmenot.com has seen online coupon usage increase 23% in the months leading up to the holiday season.  Seems if there’s a deal lurking out there on the internet, price conscious consumers are out to find it.
  • Free shipping is preferred by online shoppers. 59%of US online adults say that they shop online more often with retailers that offer free shipping.  In fact, according to the Shoppers Trend Report, free shipping is the coupon promotional offer most favored by consumers – preferred by 26% of all shoppers.
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Top-Performing Tech Marketers and Their Webinars

Hurray! Peter O'Neill here, and it’s great to be back in my home office for a couple of weeks after some hectic weeks of travelling. During the last weeks, we’ve hosted research reviews in several cities; we met over a hundred tech channel professionals to match our 2012 research agenda against their topics of interest; there has been other client business; and we held our latest Marketing & Strategy Forum in London. This is the third year that I have been involved in our EMEA Marketing Forum, always in London. Perhaps we might want to go somewhere else in 2012 — there are already so many marketing events in that city, and I’ve noted that over half of the attendees were from outside the UK. Please let me know if you have any ideas of where to meet.

I am also waiting here at my desk with bated breath for the preliminary results of our latest Marketing Organization and Investment (MOI) survey — I cannot wait to see how things have changed since our last marketing-spend benchmarking exercise last year. Our team wrote several reports off the Q1 2011 survey (e.g., I discussed how European tech marketing is different and why) showing how tech marketing executives were spreading their resources among eight different categories. In the next quarter, in addition to updating those reports, we also hope to be able to be able to map and understand the marketing differences between small, medium, and large tech vendors.

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Selecting The Right Virtual Agent Vendor For Your eBusiness

What do Aetna, the US Army, L’Oreal, and the London 2012 Olympic Games have in common? Each of these diverse organizations has deployed a virtual agent.

Virtual agents are software services that provide automated assistance by simulating a two-way conversation with customers. And they have come a long way from Clippy the dancing paper clip. The technology has demonstrated its ability to achieve business benefits, including improving efficiencies by deflecting calls to the contact center, managing initial customer contact by collecting information to populate a service ticket, and heightening the efficiency of contact reps when a case is escalated to live help

Selecting the right virtual agent vendor can be a complex undertaking because it can have an impact on multiple functional areas, including eBusiness, business processes, IT, customer experience, and, potentially, legal and governance.

To help navigate this process, we have published a new report, Five Essential eBusiness Criteria For A Successful Virtual Agent Vendor Selection.

Unlike traditional keyword search, which focuses on words or word patterns, virtual agents use some form of natural language processing (NLP) that derives intent by utilizing complex algorithms. 

One of the questions that I am most commonly asked by eBusiness professionals is how to assess how well a virtual agent understands conversation. 

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Mobile Banking: Just Another Channel Or Fundamental Strategic Shift?

In the past week I’ve have the privilege of talking to (or listening to) executives responsible for mobile banking at some of Europe’s biggest banks, including Bankinter, Barclays Bank, La Caixa, Lloyds TSB, Nordea and RBS, at Forrester’s Marketing & Strategy Forum and at a conference on Next Generation Mobile Banking hosted by The Banker. I’ve also spoken privately to many other executives over the past few months, including at Forrester’s eBusiness Council meeting this week.

Without naming names, I’m struck by the sharply different perspectives these executives have. Simplistically, their view of mobile banking falls into two camps:

                Mobile is just another channel. These executives see mobile banking as a way of letting customers do old things, like checking their account balance, in new ways.

                Mobile will revolutionize retail banking. These executives believe that mobility could turn the retail banking industry upside down, by enabling customers to do entirely new things like scanning bills to make payments, responding to location-based offers, and receiving rewards at the point of sale.

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Scan This Post: What Marketers Need To Know About 2D Bar Codes

2D bar codes are one of the latest “shiny objects” in mobile marketing. And it’s no surprise — with mobile marketing spend increasing and smartphone adoption on the rise, you want to know if it’s time to invest in this mobile marketing tactic. The result?  More and more clients have come to me and said, "I'm working on my QR Code strategy, and . . ."

But in order to answer the questions that come after that statement, I wanted to explore and explain the actual benefits of this tactic (potentially huge), and the actual adoption today (still pretty low).  Here are some of the high-level findings from my research to help you de-code bar codes:

·         2D bar codes have a lot of marketing potential. They can be placed anywhere — allowing you to reach your audience at all stages of the consumer life cycle with targeted information. And they do it efficiently: they connect people with additional content immediately through a scan, require little consumer effort, and can leverage  context to provide more targeted and useful information in the moment.

·         But, consumers aren’t scanning away today. While marketers and companies are starting to dive-in, most consumers aren’t — yet. Adoption increased from 1% last year to 5% this year, and among smartphone owners, penetration is at about 15%. Why isn’t it higher? Because of basic unfamiliarity of what these codes even do, the required step of downloading a 2D bar code reader, and most importantly for marketers to note: disappointing experiences and content.

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Growing Momentum Around eCommerce In Brazil

Back in September, I wrote up a few of my findings from meetings with companies in the eCommerce space in Rio and São Paulo. We’re fielding an increasing number of questions about Brazil, and indeed, while eCommerce in Brazil today is still heavily dominated by local companies, the landscape is starting to include more international players:

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What The Demise Of Flex Means For CI Pros

Earlier today, November 12, Deepa Subramaniam posted on the Flex Team Blog:

Does Adobe recommend we use Flex or HTML5 for our enterprise application development?

In the long-term, we believe HTML5 will be the best technology for enterprise application development.

In the short term, vendors and marketing technologists using Flex for application development can continue without ripping and replacing their user interfaces. Adobe will donate the Flex SDK to an (as yet unnamed) foundation for future development, while still providing support for Flex and the Flash Builder development tool.

Photo by mugley - http://flic.kr/p/4XfysrHowever, Adobe’s clear emphasis on HTML5 – and lack of a recipient for the Flex SDK – create long-term problems for CI pros:

  1. Slowed marketing technology release cycles. Adobe’s announcement throws a wrench into the development cycles for vendors of enterprise marketing technologies that use Flex, such as IBM Coremetrics, SAP, SAS. At some point, vendors that use Flex will need to incorporate a migration from Flex into their development road maps, pulling resources from other product features.
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