A New Wave On The Horizon: Customer Engagement Agencies

We've spent a lot of time in the past year looking at how the customer intelligence services landscape is changing. For one thing, it's a heck of a lot more chaotic: everyone from management consultants to systems integrators to KPO vendors is putting a stake in the ground of CI services. We've also seen a dramatic shift in the way some digital & direct agencies and database MSPs are thinking about their most strategic client relationships. This change has been so noticeable that, a few months ago, we actually published research that defines a new business model: The Customer Engagement Agency (CEA). 

It's no surprise that clients and vendors alike are excited about this model. These agencies help elevate customer intelligence within the client organization. They bring attention and focus to the importance of customer knowledge, and they work hard at infusing that knowledge throughout every customer touchpoint. They measure customer value, not just marketing campaigns. And they help clients use CI to answer questions about everything from product development to logistics and resource management. 

But, this is an emerging market — the players are evolving from very different backgrounds; they offer substantially different "value-added" capabilities; and many of them have proprietary methods and models that make it hard to compare apples to apples. 

That's why we've just kicked off a Customer Engagement Agency WaveTM that will publish in the fall. If you're intrigued with the idea of working with a CEA, I encourage you to:

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IBM And Tealeaf: Assembling The Digital Intelligence Puzzle

On Wednesday, May 2, IBM announced its agreement to acquire analytics industry veteran Tealeaf. You can read the official press release here. The financial details of the transaction have not been disclosed, and the deal will conclude in Q3 2012, following a customary closing period. IBM anticipates that all Tealeaf staff will continue with the company. Tealeaf, a private company, was founded in 1999 as a spin-off of tech giant SAP. Tealeaf is best known for its interaction analysis — or session replay — software.

Truth be told, I'm surprised it took this long for a major analytics vendor to acquire an interaction analysis tool. After all, web analytics is great at telling us what happened, but interaction analysis provides an additional layer of contextual insight to evaluate how events unfold. This highly visual, qualitative element of analysis connects the dots between traditional web analytics and VOC programs and has many applications across site analytics, support, marketing, and design. Although interaction analysis has always been a niche market, it's logical to assume that the two capabilities would be paired up in a single platform eventually.
 
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Announcing Forrester's Tag Management User Survey!

Is your firm using a tag management system? If so, we want to hear from you!

Today we're launching Forrester's inaugural Tag Management User Survey. This survey accompanies my upcoming research on the tag management vendor landscape. The survey will provide valuable contextual insights on industry trends and usage patterns to enhance our understanding of tag management technology, best practices, and opportunities. Tag management has gained tremendous momentum over the past year, and we're really excited to do a deep dive on the topic this spring. 

Click here to take the tag management survey now. Our goal is to complete the survey by Friday, May 25th. As a token of our appreciation, we will send you a complimentary copy of the completed research, scheduled for publication in early summer.

And please feel free to share this blog post — or a link to the survey, http://forr.com/KA1SdK  with friends and colleagues who are involved in tag management.

Thanks in advance for your support; we truly appreciate your participation and look forward to sharing the results with you soon!

And Now For Something Completely Different . . .

Market insights professionals tend to work long hours, under a lot of pressure, with a need to produce ever more with ever less. Needless to say, this can make us a bit, well, stressed and serious. Sometimes too serious for our own good.

So, every once in a while, it’s good to connect with our inner child — or connect with our real children (who may be wondering why mommy and daddy are working so much). Last week, Forresterites in Cambridge got to actually do both with our annual Bring Your Kid To Work Day. It brought a whole new meaning to multitasking!

Morning was spent balancing serious emails with serious games. The juxtaposition really helped me understand that we don’t have to be so serious to do great work. In fact, being too serious might actually be an impediment to the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking that market insights professionals so need to bring to the position nowadays!

The height of the day for me was when I brought my nine-year old son to my “office.” OK, it’s a cubicle. Nothing to write home about, but he thought it was the coolest thing in the world! Being still somewhat in a frame of mind to play games, I started to see my office in a whole new light!

So what is the deep analytical insight of this blog? Well, nothing. And sometimes that’s OK. It’s good for market insights professionals to take some time off, do nothing, be like a kid (or with a kid), let your mind wander, and do silly things. This is also, by the way, how creative ideas are formed, how innovations are born, and how, perhaps paradoxically, market insights professionals might find a way to do more with less!

Teradata's eCircle Acquisition: Portfolio Or Platform Play?

Today Teradata announced plans to acquire of Munich-based eCircle, a digital and email marketing provider. With the acquisition, Teradata continues two trends:

  1. Extending core offerings through marketing technology. eCircle joins Teradata’s two prior investments in marketing technology: Aprimo Marketing Studio (AMS) and Aprimo Relationship Manager (ARM), which were separately acquired in previous years. Teradata confirmed that it will position the eCircle product within its standalone Aprimo division.
  2. Complementing data warehousing with big data analytics. Through the acquisition of Aster Data, Teradata moved to beef up its presence in analytics for large-scale data sets, such as log files, clickstream, and sensor data. eCircle’s platform is built on a similar (Hadoop-based) platform, allowing marketers to co-mingle and analyze customer records, campaign data, online behavioral interactions, and more.
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Digital Intelligence: Innovation Is The Name Of The Game

Forrester has just published the second installment in our research series on digital intelligence, titled The Road To Digital Intelligence. This piece is the follow-up to Welcome To The Era Of Digital Intelligence, which introduced Forrester's vision for the next stage in the evolution of digital analytics.

I've been very busy recently speaking about and socializing the concept of digital intelligence. The response from Forrester clients and presentation attendees has been extremely enthusiastic. And while there is general agreement on the concept of digital intelligence, savvy practitioners recognize that it's not a quick fix. Digital intelligence involves tracking complex customer interactions across touchpoints, managing massive volumes of data, and delivering actionable analysis. Ultimately, digital intelligence is an analytics strategy rather than a singular project or technology implementation.

As organizations consider shifting to the digital intelligence paradigm, two very perceptive questions arise time and time again. "The Road To Digital Intelligence" aims to address these questions and provide a launching off point for the digital intelligence journey.

Question 1: How should I think about implementing digital intelligence in my organization? 

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