Well-Established Digital Channels Should Be Top Priority For Shopper Marketers In 2012

Shopper marketing is going digital, providing shopper marketers with a plethora of new high-buzz technologies, devices, and platforms to communicate messaging, promotions, or content to their shoppers along their path to purchase. But with limited budgets, and such a wealth of options, which ones should they choose? To help shopper marketers prioritize their technology investments in 2012 and beyond, my colleague Cory Madigan and I evaluated 17 digital tools for using Forrester’s TechRadar™ methodology. The highlight trends reveal that:

  • Cool isn’t necessarily critical . . . yet. Social networking pages, interactive displays, and QR codes get a lot of attention in the marketing world, but we found that in terms of shopper marketing utility, real shoppers aren’t quite as smitten. The opportunity is there, but lack of scale, measurement, and clear value for the consumer has limited the traction of many of the more talked-about technologies in the digital shopper marketing arsenal.
  • The digital oldies are still the ROI goodies. When it comes to shopper utility, consumers and marketers still rely most on brand websites, content that brands create for specific retailers, and email to deliver the value they seek. Rather than being replaced by new technology, watch for these platforms to become better optimized for mobile. With mobile optimization, shopper marketers will be able to tie shoppers’ online activities at home — on a PC or tablet — to their smartphone activities while on-the-go.
Read more

Boost your content ecosystem with video

Online video content in actionWhen I picked online video content marketing for my inaugral Forrester research report I knew it was a hot topic and an area of growing interest for interactive marketers. But even I was surprised when our data identified that for consumers branded online video content is as engaging as display advertising (read the report for more on this data).

I can guarantee that if I got a group of interactive marketers together in a room and asked for a show of hands comparing how many have a display strategy vs. how many have an online video content strategy, the display hands would vastly out number the video content hands. Seeing the levels of consumer engagement for video outlined in our research (and these days it's all about engagement right?) will hopefully make many brands start to sit up and take the medium seriously.

But how to use online video content?

When you talk to marketers who use video online it can feel a little more art than science. People enthuse that video "can work better than text" but struggle to validate or quantify how that can be. And most successful viral marketers seem to rely on gut instinct to create the next social video hit. No wonder the majority of marketers stay in the pay-to-display area of online video, never exploring content itself.

Read more

From Advertising to Advice - Intelligent Marketing Agents

Alan Turing sculpture at Bletchley ParkBefore the clouds, webs, and distributed networks people had to create their own spaghetti of logic inside a single building using machinery that looked like props from Doctor Who. Spurred by the need to crack the ‘Enigma’ naval communication codes during the Second World War Alan Turing developed an electromechanical device called the Bombe which played a major part in defusing the war. 2012 is the 100 year anniversary of the birth of Turing and he is rightly considered to be the father of computer science and Artificial Intelligence. Turing had both a wonderful and terrible time of it and his life story is well worth a wiki.  

The British genius didn’t just advance computer science using valves and wires. He is almost as famous for his thought experiments concerning how we may build machines and computers that can engage in intelligent discourse with humans. Could machine responses fool us into thinking that they were sourced from a human? To answer this question Turing developed a methodology to test the validity of the machine generated responses, fans of Science Fiction are likely to recognize this as the inspiration behind the ‘Voight-Kampff’ test administered by Deckard in Ridley Scott’s ‘Blade Runner.’

Read more

How Is Social Media Changing Your Brand Strategy?

How many times have you been asked, “What’s your social strategy?” As Facebook’s IPO grabs the headlines, and new social sites like Pinterest and Tumblr grab consumers’ attention, many marketers are wrestling with what brand building looks like in today’s social world. But the real question you should be asking yourself is, “How does social media change your brand strategy?”  

Marketing leaders now view social media as critical for brand building. In our February 2012 Marketing Leadership Online Survey, nine out of 10 marketing leaders told us that social media is fundamentally changing how brands are being built in the 21st century. In fact, they view it as second only to search for brand building. But many are still struggling to determine how to integrate it into their marketing plans. The truth is, while social is a great new tool, it lacks the power to build a brand alone. Marketing leaders such as Coca-Cola and JetBlue recognize this and are integrating social with paid and owned media to build a 21st century brand experience. In my new report, "How Social Media Is Changing Brand Building," I identify three ways social media can help marketers harness the power of social to build their brand by 1) building a relationship to become more trusted; 2) differentiating through an emotional connection to become more remarkable; and 3) nurturing loyal fans to become more essential.   

How is social changing your brand building strategy? What challenges are you facing in the social brand building world? Comment here, or join the conversation in our community of marketing leaders.

Thanks!

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.
 
Read more

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!

Technology In Market Research: Highlights From The Market Research Technology Event

I just returned from the IIR Market Research Technology Event (TMRTE). These were three action-packed days of industry leaders delivering great insights on what’s important for the market research industry, as well as the challenges and opportunities that technology presents. It was a pleasure to meet and connect with so many thought leaders in market research. Here are three main themes I gathered from the event and what I think market researchers need to pay attention to:

  • Big data is here. Many of the presenters highlighted how intimidating the flood of digital data can be for market researchers. Christopher Frank from American Express and Paul Magnone from Openet say it’s like “Drinking from the Fire Hose.” But Stan Sthanunathan from Coca-Cola reminded us that big data is a reality — so we’d better embrace it or get left behind. As a result, market researchers will need to move from viewing technology as an enabler to viewing technology as a driver.
Read more

Is Your Brand Living Up To Your Customers’ Higher Standards?

I like to think of brand building as the quest for market share and mindshare. But that journey has become a steeper hill to climb. How much steeper? On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d say it’s an 11.

Here’s why. Empowered 21st century customers have higher standards for your company and the products and services you produce. That’s what we learned in our 2012 North American Brand Performance Study. I recently talked about it in the CMO Strategy section of Advertising Age. But I’d like to provide some deeper insight into “Brand Building In The 21st Century” in this post.

To put the learning from our study in context, consider the graphic below. The strength of a brand’s position and perception in the marketplace is built on four pillars of equity: 1) credibility; 2) leadership; 3) uniqueness; and 4) relevance. As you build stronger equity across those pillars, it supports higher performance over the long haul through superior: 1) referral; 2) pricing power; and 3) preference.

 

 

This foundation of brand building still applies in the 21st century, but our analysis revealed that the pillars of brand equity have started to crack under the weight of consumers’ higher standards.

Read more

With The Galaxy S3, The Samsung/Apple Fight Will Enable Smarter Product Experiences

After months of rumors and a good marketing orchestration, Samsung has just unveiled its new flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S3. Samsung will first launch the HSPA+ device in Europe at the end of May to benefit from the current weaknesses of its competitors — in particular, Nokia. It will release in the US in an LTE version later this summer. The aim is clear: to take the lead from Apple’s iPhone in the high-end smartphone segment and do even better than the Galaxy S2, which sold more than 20 million units.

Samsung is positioning a wide range of products in all segments and in multiple consumer electronic categories, leveraging its scale and scope and its vertically integrated approach (screens, processors, storage components, etc.). Despite the growing dependence on the Android OS, Samsung does not have all its eggs in the same OS basket. However, it clearly needs to catch up in the software and services space. That’s the reason I continue to believe that, in the premium segment, Apple is still in the best position to offer a seamlessly integrated experience across devices. Samsung’s cloud component is still missing, and it will need to continue its efforts to close the gap with Apple.

On the contrary, Apple — still one of Samsung’s largest clients (chipsets and screens) — has few models and higher margins and is in a position to leverage a different ecosystem around its OS, apps, and iCloud models. Thanks to the phenomenal success of the iPad, the Apple brand is reinventing itself and expanding into hardware categories that represent new growth drivers from which Samsung is not yet able to benefit.

Beyond the Samsung/Apple high-end leadership war, the great news is that these new smartphones will increasingly enable consumer-facing brands to launch innovative new product experiences. Some of the new services introduced by the Galaxy S III highlight this phenomenon:

Read more

Q&A With Jermaine Dupri, Grammy-Award Winning Producer, Hip-Hop Artist, And CEO Of So So Def Recordings And Global 14

Celebrity and marketing go way back. That said, yesterday's celebrity endorsements are giving way to something more complex, sometimes complementary, and sometimes competitive -- witness classic alcohol brands fighting for shelf with Barrymore Pinot Grigio (Drew Barrymore), Mansinthe (Marilyn Manson), and 901 Tequila (Justin Timberlake). Celebrities are in familiar water with social networking, having long created content and acquired fans. Yet that relationship is changing too, as for some, setting up Facebook pages gives way to building their own communities in the same way they've built brands. The best example of this today is Jermaine Dupri and his new social networking community Global 14. Later this month to explore this initiative, I'll be sharing the stage with JD (never thought I'd type those words!). Here's a sample of what we'll discuss at the Forrester Interactive Marketing Summit in London: 

CO: What made you decide to set up your own social network, as opposed to using public tools like Facebook?
 
JD: I wanted and needed to speak to the millions of people who have been listening to my music for the past 20 years. As I studied the power of the “celebrity follow,” I decided that Facebook didn’t sound like what I was looking for. I wanted my own community where I could tap into the power of the celebrity follow. The difference between creating your own community and finding friends on someone else’s network is like night and day. My own network is a place where being a member really matters – a place that is just as much yours as it is mine. 
 
Read more