Will 2012 Be The Year Financial eBusiness Teams Fully Embrace Video?

I love video as a communication media. The combination of sound and moving pictures so much more engaging and more memorable than text.

We wrote in our research last year about how we're starting to see video being used more and more by eBusiness teams as an efficient and effective way to educate customers about products, encourage sales and deliver customer service.

With the Academy Awards coming up, we thought it would be both fun and helpful to highlight some of the best examples we've seen of online video in retail financial services in the past year.  With the help of the rest of team, I've drawn up a list of our favourites in five categories:

Product marketing video
DNB's S for Savings Plan video (Norway).
PayPal’s future of shopping video.

Service marketing video
Commonwealth Bank of Australia's Welcome to NetBank video.
E*Trade's Take Control In 3 Easy Steps video (US).
Mint.com's 90-second overview (US).
Lloyds TSB's money manager video (UK).

Educational (‘how to’) video

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Brands Are Increasingly Selling Direct Online . . . In New Global Markets

Back in 2010, we wrote a report that looked at how and where US online retailers were expanding internationally. Today we published a related report that focuses on brands that have extended their international offerings by launching transactional websites. Establishing A Global Direct Online Sales Footprint looks at the countries where brands are choosing to focus on with their eCommerce offerings, and some of the tactics they’ve used to keep costs in check.

A handful of findings from the report:

Brands rarely enter a market by selling direct on their websites. Most brands enabling eCommerce on their global websites today already sell in these markets through traditional retail channels — the online sales channel simply becomes a new way to reach consumers.

Country selection is not always dictated by market size. Brands expanding their online offerings in Europe, for example, often focus first on the UK, France, and Germany. After the big three, however, the ease and convenience of serving other markets often trumps market size.  

Online sales strategies differ by market. Rare is the brand that has an identical offering in every international market. Most brands that offer eCommerce-enabled sites also provide informational sites in other markets, with little consistency in how the informational sites direct online shoppers to the brands’ retail partners.

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Google Data Integration: Could It Drive PIDM Adoption?

Yesterday, Google announced that, effective March 1, it would be creating a single view of users across the majority of its products and services and creating a single, simplified, global privacy policy to cover the new approach.

Now, as a customer intelligence analyst, I preach a “consolidated view of the customer” to clients nearly every day. I advise retailers, CPGs, and others that creating an optimal experience for customers is nearly impossible without having a clear understanding of their needs and preferences, across all channels and lines of business. But what Google’s doing extends well past traditional “single view” and into “personal data locker” territory.

On the face of it, Google claims that it’s making these changes for the same reason: to improve the user experience. But to remain profitable and keep providing free services to several hundred million users, Google will also use its vastly increased insight about users to sell better targeted (read: more expensive) ads to advertisers. 

Is Google’s new policy PIDM-friendly?

I wanted to look at how these changes map to the principles that companies must follow to be successful as personal identity management emerges. Here’s my take:

  • Privacy: Google’s new privacy policy is a good one. It’s simply written, well constructed, and fairly concise. It’s almost global, excluding only a handful (Chrome, Wallet, Books, DoubleClick) of its businesses. However, while the policy allows broad-brush opt-outs, its failure to provide its granular controls over what’s shared between properties and devices is a major miss.
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Raining On Ron Johnson's Parade

Ron Johnson, the new CEO of JCPenney, had a dog-and-pony show in New York this morning to discuss the company’s go-forward strategy. The major change: fewer sales and a move toward an everyday low price (EDLP) program. He also mentioned some store redesigns that would create boutiques to make JCPenney more akin to European department stores. There was also an allusion to services (similar to Genius Bar). While that should help to weed out cherry-picking shoppers and improve JCP’s assortment and experience (which already has significantly improved before Mr. Johnson thanks to partnerships with Mango and Sephora), it is unlikely to reverse JCPenney’s downward revenue slide or to grow the challenged mid-tier department store sector. This is because the biggest problem with JCP is something that is very difficult to fix (the same challenge that Sears has, by the way) which is that it has over 1,000 stores mostly located in bad malls with declining foot traffic. The question I have isn’t so much, can JCP reinvent its stores or the store experience, but how will it drive traffic back to those stores? Only the small fraction of its stores located in prime locations will even have the opportunity to re-engage shoppers; in fact, by our count, only 84 of JCPenney’s 1,100 stores are co-tenants of Ron Johnson’s old employer and the premier retailer today, the Apple Stores. 

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Calling All Sales Enablement Leaders, Wherever You Are: SE Forum 2012

I have the privilege of talking with many of our clients and, surprising as it may sound, many don't have titles that match their real jobs!  Who does these days? Maybe the CFO. So, as we gear up for our second annual Sales Enablement Forum, I want to make sure we don't miss inviting any of our Tech Marketing friends who do a little enablement on the side, or a lot of it as their full-time focus, title or not...

We chose the lead image for this year's Sales Enablement event to grab your attention because we believe you can truly be a HERO to your CEO. But it won't be an everyday task – it will take new skills and strong powers!

Vendor CEOs today want deeper relationships with customers to become their trusted suppliers. And that puts pressure on sales teams – and those who enable them – to cross-sell at higher levels. Is that working?

Our Buyer Insight study found that 13% of executive buyers believe that a salesperson can clearly show they understand their business issues and articulate a way to solve them. When we ask vendor CEOs, "Are you satisfied that your sales force is getting your company to its strategic objectives?" the answer is a resounding "No."

This is the strategy to execution gap that takes up a lot of sales and marketing energy today. It is also filled with well-intentioned but often uncoordinated activity intended to help sales sell.

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New Analyst With The Interactive Marketing Team: Darika Ahrens

After more than seven years in marketing, media, and tech — four of which were running my own marketing and social media consultancy — I’ve landed at Forrester as an analyst serving Interactive Marketing Professionals (EMEA) based in London.

My role at Forrester will start to focus on content as content creation becomes more and more vital to the interactive marketer. Content will also apply in a multitude of ways to mobile, online video, search, and across interactive brand ecosystems.

My first report is underway and will look at online video content in your marketing. If you have anything to contribute please get in touch dahrens@forrester.co.uk. Also if you have suggestions for anything else related to the area of content drop me a line.

Three things I’d love you to do:

  1. If you’d like to speak with me, have information on a product or service, or have an idea relevant to my research areas you can Request a Briefing (simply write my name in the ‘Preferred Analyst’ box on the form) — PR contacts, this includes you!
  2. If you’re a Forrester member and would like to connect I’m now available to take Inquiries. Topics I can discuss are social media marketing, online video, community management, content strategy.
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I'm Back In NYC

I'm really pleased to announce that I've moved back to New York City. I actually started my interactive marketing career in New York almost 15 years ago, and I started my analyst career in New York nine years ago. But for the past seven years I've been plying my trade elsewhere: in London, Berlin, Vancouver, and then back in London again. Now, after half a career spent abroad, it's great to be back home.

What does this mean for my research coverage? Not much, really. I've still got the same job on the same team, and I'll still be focused on the same topics I've covered for years:

  1. Social media marketing. I've been writing about social media since 2004, and I've got no plans to stop now. Last year I published Five Ways Interactive Marketers Should Use Social Data, Social Media Marketing Metrics That Matter, and It's Time To Make Facebook Marketing Work. In 2012 I'll continue to lead our coverage of social media marketing with research on the staff and resources you need to succeed with social media, how marketers can take their social programs to the next level, and even how Facebook might justify its valuation. I'll also keep actively researching how social media can best fit into the marketing mix, most notably through an idea we call The Interactive Brand Ecosystem
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Customer Service Satisfaction Challenges Stereotypes

Data tells a story and sometimes it’s a story with an unexpected plot twist. Such is the case with online customer service data we have just published in my report called “Understanding Customer Service Satisfaction To Inform Your 2012 eBusiness Strategy.”

Online customer service channel usage has shifted dramatically from two years ago. There are also significant differences in satisfaction between channels, particularly among different generations.

“Understanding Customer Service Satisfaction To Inform Your 2012 eBusiness Strategy” challenges some long-held assumptions about online customer service and customer behavior including:

  • Not everyone prefers the telephone. I have been writing for some time that call deflection is win-win when it gives other options to consumers who prefer support channels other than the telephone. This is echoed in our data that shows Generations Z and X have higher satisfaction chatting with a live agent rather than speaking on the telephone with a live agent.
  •  Social support is not just for younger consumers. While community support and Twitter are most widely adopted among younger consumers, don't assume social support is the domain of younger consumers: online community support is also used by 30% of consumers between the ages of 32 to 45 and 20% of online consumers between the ages of 46 to 55. 
  • Don’t underestimate the high demand of the senior segment.While we may stereotypically associate impatience with youthful generations, there is a higher likelihood of impatience among Older Boomers and Seniors when it comes to wanting quick answers online and the likelihood to abandon if a website fails to deliver.  
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Sales Enablement Forum 2012: HEROs In The Making!

We chose the lead image for this year's Sales Enablement event to grab your attention because we believe you can truly be a HERO to your CEO. But it won't be an everyday task – it will take new skills and strong powers!

Vendor CEOs today are communicating strategies that depend on winning deeper relationships with customers. And that is putting pressure on sales teams to cross-sell at higher levels. So how is that working?

Our Buyer Insight study found that on 13% of executive buyers believe that a salesperson can clearly show they understand their business issues and articulate a way to solve them. And when we ask vendor CEOs, "Are you satisfied that your sales force is getting your company to its strategic objectives?" the answer is a resounding "No."

This is the strategy to execution gap that today is filled with well-intentioned but uncoordinated activity all intended to help sales sell.

From within that chaos, an emerging discipline is taking hold. Leaders assigned to "fix the broken things" and their teams are beginning to approach the gap with a new vision and some practical ideas. Making the move from random acts to purpose built plans, and shifting their focus from products and services to customer problems, they are making customer focus a new discipline, not just a catchphrase.

What we are seeing and saying is that it's not about how you go to market, it's about how you go to customer. And if you can get that right, you will be a HERO to your CEO.

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Forrester’s Fifth Annual Customer Experience Index Shows Excellence Is Exceedingly Rare

Today we published Forrester’s 2012 Customer Experience Index (CXi). It’s our fifth annual benchmark of customer experience quality as judged by the only people whose opinion matters — customers. The CXi is based on research conducted at the end of 2011 and reflects how consumers perceived their experiences with 160 brands across 13 industries to be.

For those new to the index, let me explain how it works. The process has three steps:

  1. We ask more than 7,600 consumers to identify companies they do business with in 13 different industries.
  2. We ask them to tell us how well each firm met their needs, how easy the firm was to work with, and how enjoyable it was to work with. We ask these questions at the brand level to get a sense of their overall experience with the company regardless of channel.
  3. For all three questions, we calculate each firm’s CXi score by subtracting the percentage of its customers who reported a bad experience from the percentage who reported a good experience. The overall CXi is an average of those three results.
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