Google Search Gets Social- What it Could Mean for Marketers

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning from all of the articles and editorials about Google’s incorporation of Google+ content and other personalized search results.  While there’s lots of conversation about whether the changes are good or bad for Google and the future of search, whether Google is opening themselves up to more anti-trust investigation, and whether Google was simply too late to the social media game to make a difference,  I’m going to leave those arguments to others.   I’m more interested in the potential opportunities and challenges for marketers that this integration of search and social presents.


  • It may give marketers an additional metric to track for social media.  Google will be surfacing your brand’s Google+ social content directly into personalized results, for consumers who’ve added you to their circles.  These search results may also include content that a consumer’s friends posted about you.  That means qualified clicks on your social content—and that means possibly tracking how much search traffic you generate to your own sites through social marketing. 
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Goodbye Siloed Digital Messaging, Hello Customer-Focused Integrated Messaging

Digital messaging convergence is here – at least for consumers.  Consumers receive messages through multiple channels like email, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and mobile app push notifications.  And thanks to the smartphones and tablets they carry during their waking hours, they increasingly access these channels through a single device.  To consumers, the lines between distinct messaging channels are blurring.

Too bad marketers have been so slow to catch up.  Most marketers still manage messaging in channel-specific silos and don’t meet consumers’ expectations for integrated, synchronized messaging.  For example, many email marketing managers blast away at customers’ inboxes in an attempt to goose returns for their own channel instead of collaborating to execute a better mix of multi-channel messaging that will maximize overall customer value.

We just posted new research that explores what’s keeping marketers stuck in the siloed messaging rut and how they can better serve their customers (and themselves) by shifting to a new approach: Customer-Focused Integrated Messaging (CFIM).  Unlike siloed messaging, CFIM organizes data, resources, and processes to revolve around customers instead of channels.  In the report, we discuss why this desired state is more realistic and achievable now than ever before.  We also detail how marketers can make their digital messaging more integrated across channels and responsive to customers’ needs and behaviors.  These recommendations concentrate on changes marketers must make in three areas:

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CES 2012 Preview: Tablets, Ultrabooks, And Wearables

It's that time of year again! Next week I'm headed to Las Vegas for CES 2012, along with 140,000 other people (bring your hand sanitizer!). Here's what I'll be looking for among the masses of gadgets:

  • Tablets: Ice Cream Sandwich, Windows 8, and all the rest. Last year, there were more than 80 tablets that debuted at CES. This year, I expect the field to be whittled down some, but there will be plenty of CE manufacturers strutting their stuff. Look for new Android 4.0 tablets from Motorola, Toshiba, Acer, and others. Will they sell better than last year? I don't expect to see any barn-burners, but there's reason to be optimistic: The percentage of US tablet shoppers who say they prefer Android as the operating system on that tablet doubled from 9% to 18% between January and September 2011. Meanwhile, the percentage of tablet shoppers who say they prefer Windows decreased from 46% to 25% — still more than those who prefer Android. We'll be looking for the dazzling Windows 8 demos at the Microsoft booth and elsewhere. In addition, we'll be looking at how smaller companies are using Android as an enabling platform but building their own curated experience on top. For example, I'm meeting with Jean-Yves Hepp to check out the Qooq, an Android-based tablet optimized for cooking and kitchen use that's selling well in France.
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Potential Nook Spinoff: Unlocking Value But At What Cost?

In a press release today, Barnes & Noble announced its intention to explore a potential separation of its successful Nook business in order to "unlock that value" and build upon its rapid growth (the Nook business will have an estimated $1.5 billion in revenue this year, according to the company). As notes, international expansion could be a key motivation for the move.

I have been impressed with how Barnes & Noble has managed its Nook business thus far and I imagine that they have good reasons for exploring this separation. Nook has grown rapidly, but continued growth and international expansion will take sustained investment that B&N shareholders may not have the patience for. However, the Nook business has benefitted from synergy with Barnes & Noble in two key areas: 1) Barnes & Noble's channel (retail stores) and 2) Barnes & Noble's publisher relationships. It's not clear how a separate Nook business would function without the benefit of Barnes & Noble's retail stores and publisher relationships.

Nook has fueled Barnes & Noble's growth: What will be the value of Barnes & Noble without the Nook business? Where will the growth come from?

A key model for Barnes & Noble to consider is that of News Corp. and The Daily. News Corp. owns The Daily but it's managed independently, with its own P&L. The best scenario for B&N may be to pursue a similar structure, giving Nook the independence to grow and attract new investment but maintaining the synergy between Nook and B&N's retail stores.

The Forrester SSP Wave Is Now Live

Forrester clients can see the research here.

It’s been a couple years since SSPs (and their buy-side cousin DSPs) were truly the rage in ad tech investor circles; nonetheless, they remain more relevant for their clients than ever as monetizing indirectly sold inventory continues to challenge digital publishers. The 6 vendors we reviewed – Admeld, AppNexus, Doubleclick ADX, Pubmatic, Right Media, and Rubicon Project – are by no means new to this game. Still, we were astonished at how quickly these vendors and enhancing and expanding their product offerings – even over the course of the Wave process. With that in mind, here a couple of key observations on the SSP landscape that will lend some useful context for the report:

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