In our research on eBusiness and channel strategy, we often come across clusters of innovation where innovation by one company in a sector causes its competitors not only to match it, but to try to leapfrog it -- resulting in a rapid cycles of innovation. Among the examples of these clusters are insurance companies in the US (Progressive, Geico and a growing number of others) and banks in Spain (Bankinter, La Caixa, BBVA and Banco Sabadell).
Another of those clusters is the retail banking market in Turkey. Last week I was in Istanbul and was able to see some of the innovations in person and meet a number of heads of eBusiness at Turkey's big banks. Turkey's banks have been quick to adopt digital technologies and achieved some world firsts for the banking industry. Here are a few examples you might like:
Ziraat Bank has deployed a network of unstaffed video kiosks (see picture, right), which it calls video teller machines, that use video-conferencing to connect customers with agents in the bank’s contact centre. Customers can use the kiosks to deposit and withdraw money, buy and sell foreign exchange, pay bills, transfer money and buy bonds. The kiosks let the bank expand its network much more quickly than building conventional branches would do.
The 2012 Shop.org Annual Summit, the prestigious eCommerce confab, was held this past week in Denver. I got the chance to emcee the event and meet the keynote speakers. And the lineup was particularly compelling this year, with Jerry Storch, the CEO of Toys R Us and Jamie Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom Direct kicking off each of the respective days of the conference. It was an interesting dichotomy—Jerry Storch is a notorious internet skeptic (he was the guy who reportedly was behind Target’s, uh, questionable decision to execute eCommerce on Amazon’s platform) while Jamie Nordstrom may be the industry's biggest web evangelist. Nordstrom is heavily focused on web growth and is investing a lot of money to the channel. Despite their differences, there were consistent themes that surfaced nonetheless:
Those of you who know my research won’t be surprised to learn that I’m currently working on a collection of mobile marketing reports that will eventually make up our mobile marketing playbook. (For more information about Forrester’s new playbooks, check this out.) But what you probably don’t know is that the report I’m working on right now isn’t about mobile marketing — it’s about mobile marketers.
My hypothesis is that as a company decides to commit to mobile marketing, experts either emerge or are hired to shepherd programs specifically designed to engage the mobile audience. It sounds easy enough, but there are a couple of things that complicate this seemingly straightforward evolution. First, mobile isn’t really just “a” channel. There's more than a dozen mobile tactics that a mobile channel manager could be responsible for, including mobile display, mobile search, and mobile messaging, in addition to mobile sites and apps. Second, for a lot of those mobile tactics, there are already embedded non-mobile counterparts, like digital media buyers, email marketers, and search specialists with whom the mobile marketer may need to collaborate.
So, for this report, I’m hoping to speak with several of you mobile marketers out there to understand things like:
· How you got into your current role and what it entails.
· Where you sit in relation to other marketers at your company.
Henry Ford purportedly quipped that if he had asked customers what they wanted, they would have said, “a faster horse.” It’s a well-trod line, one that’s guaranteed to receive nods and chuckles in any business meeting. We can all relate. After all, nothing’s really changed since Ford’s time. Customers today still can’t tell us exactly what they want or imagine products and services that don’t currently exist. No one in 2009, for example, was screaming for a computer that was smaller than a laptop and bigger than a phone — and yet the iPad has become one of the most successful consumer devices on the planet, spawning dozens of copycats.
But here’s the problem: Ford’s quote is a cop out. It bolsters our self-serving belief that we know what’s best for our customers. We hide behind Ford’s lesson, using it to justify our decision to not ask customers what they really want or need. Perhaps this approach worked in the early 1900s. But today, in the age of the customer, the balance of power has shifted from companies to consumers — and companies can no longer afford to make business decisions based on what they think they know about their customers.
One of the most effective ways to make sure you’re delivering products, services, and experiences that meet your customers’ needs is to actually bring them into your design process. I know this can sound like a shocking suggestion, so let me say it again. You should ask your customers to work with you on developing potential solutions to their biggest pain points. Designers call this co-creation.
Whenever I talk about the business impact of customer experience, there’s one thing that always grabs people’s attention. It’s an analysis done by Jon Picoult of Watermark Consulting, who took five years of data from Forrester’s Customer Experience Index and constructed two model portfolios. One is a portfolio of the top 10 publicly traded companies in the index (customer experience leaders), and one is a portfolio of the bottom 10 publicly traded companies in the index (customer experience laggards).
You can read details of how Jon conducted his analysis in our new book, Outside In, and in this post on Jon’s blog. The results are striking. Over the course of the five-year period, the customer experience leaders spanked the laggards in stock performance. The leader portfolio had a cumulative total return of +22.5%, compared with a -1.3% decline for the S&P 500 market index and a -46.3% decline for the laggard portfolio.
Five-Year Stock Performance Of Customer Experience Index (CXi) Leaders Versus Laggards Versus S&P 500 (2007 to 2011)
What follows is an interview I recently conducted with Jon to get his thoughts on why making a compelling business case for customer experience is so challenging — and so important.
Consumer usage of alternative payment methods like contactless cards or mobile payments is still very limited in Europe, and the majority of European consumers aren’t interested in using these services (yet). But attitudes vary across Europe. In the UK, where consumers are more familiar with the concept thanks to public transport schemes like London’s Oyster card, about 4% of the population use contactless payment cards, and a further 22% are interested in using one. In Spain and Italy, a third of consumers show interest in such a payment system.
But security concerns and a lack of need are holding consumers back. While early adopters will more likely overcome them, these concerns represent a serious barrier to mainstream adoption.
Consumers have little motivation to adopt a new payment solution if it is purely a one-for-one replacement. Digital wallets must instead increase the value of the transaction for both consumers and merchants. Winning solutions will bring this to life through greater convenience, contextual relevance, and a compelling purchase experience.
By now, you’ve probably heard about Forrester’s Playbooks. These amazing how-to guides are showing a variety of professionals how to go from vision to best practice to optimization of key Forrester big ideas. And the good news is . . . we’re working on a playbook for market insights professionals!
We’ve been listening to you and have heard your challenges with gaining influence, linking insights to strategic decisions that drive business value, and being able to show how much value market insights add. We know that market insights are a crucial value-add for the business and can help drive smart business decisions — and we’re in the process of creating a playbook to show you just how to do that.
The Insights to Business Value Playbook will walk you through Forrester’s vision for the next-generation market insights organization and then show you, step by step, how to get there. As this is a major evolution of our role, the details will be laid out in 12 separate reports which will allow you to:
Discover what a cutting-edge market insights organization is. The first three reports will walk you through the Vision for the next-generation market insights organization, show the Landscape of how far organizations have evolved toward this goal, and help you make the Business case to gain the funding you need to move your organization forward.
Apple's new iPhone 5 is a case study in incremental improvement. Nearly every aspect of the product -- the CPU, display, cameras, radio modem, size, weight, etc. -- are all improved over the iPhone 4S and at the same $199 price point. No doubt, the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 will sell millions of units, preserve Apple's momentum, and hold off the competition, but significant threats are mounting that Apple cannot afford to ignore:
Nokia is delivering Apple-quality innovation. As Nokia demonstrated last week at its Lumia 920 event, Nokia's innovation engine is firing on all cylinders. When the Lumia 920 launches (rumored for November 2), it will outclass the iPhone 5 in key areas such as imaging (PureView imaging, Cinemagraph) and location (Maps, City Lens, Transit) as well as bring wireless charging and NFC into the mainstream. While the breadth of accessories will be nowhere near what the iPhone offers, Nokia gets strong marks for showing Apple how NFC can enhance the accessory experience.
A lot has changed in a year. Samsung sold 20 million Galaxy S III devices this summer, while Google recently announced that more than 1.3 million Android devices are activated each day — and that it would soon reach the milestone of 0.5 billion Android users. The San José court’s recent decision to fine Samsung $1 billion for copying Apple raised a number of complex questions regarding what exactly innovation means in the smartphone era. While it badly affected Samsung’s brand image, Samsung has a larger portfolio of mobile devices and has also proved it was able to innovate with the Note.
Even more so than a year ago, Apple’s product strategists face an ongoing paradox: maintaining premium leadership with an annual product renewal while tapping the rapidly “mainstreaming” global smartphone market. Consequently, expectations were extremely high — often irrationally so — that Apple would once again truly innovate with hardware design and features.
If Apple had a motto for its product strategy, it would be, "Don't take anything for granted." The new iPhone and iPods are re-formed from the guts to the skin: Faster processors, faster connection speeds, better cameras, more microphones, new connectors, taller displays, and they're thinner and lighter to boot. iTunes and the App Store are redesigned to feel more modern and help with content discovery. These product improvements are aimed at convincing consumers that there's enough value to upgrade from their current Apple products, as well as growing market share by convincing non-iPhone users that it's finally time to trade in their BlackBerrys, Droids, and flip phones and join the iOS fold. Apple will be successful on both fronts -- not just because its products are well designed, but also because Apple's product marketing is on point. It will be the fastest iPhone rollout ever, available in 100 countries on 240 carriers by the end of the year. Older models of the iPhone will be cheap (4S for $99 with contract) or free (4 with contract)--including on Verizon and Sprint in the US, not just AT&T, which will positively impact market share.
But I think there's a more interesting story to be told than just market share. These products tell us a lot about Apple's vision for the post-PC future. Apple has sold more than 400 million iOS devices through June 2012, and it has more than 435 million iTunes accounts with one-click purchasing, so it will certainly have great influence over the post-PC experience of many millions of consumers. And here's what that experience is likely to be: