I thought my television remote was broken the other day. I'd gotten to the part of the TV show where there was a pause in the programming. Loud and colourful 30-sec adverts started dancing across my screen, pushing everything from shampoo for women with blonde hair (note my picture, I'm a brunette) to car insurance (I don't own a car). I was hitting the fast-forward button, but nothing happened. I got as far as taking the back off of the remote to jiggle the batteries when I realised I was watching live programmed TV and I COULDN'T SKIP THE ADS.
Watching live telly, this is just something I have to put up with for now, but online is a different story. From the films we stream online to the playlists we create and share with our friends within digital music services -- consumers are now willing to pay for ad-free content in a way that we couldn't have conceived of five years ago. Forrester's Online Paid Content Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (EU-7) shows that with successful paid services for music, video, games, and news now available in Europe, the number of online content buyers in Western Europe is set to grow between 8% and 12% over the next five years, and revenue from paid content is set to grow 65% -- from €6,2 billion in 2012 to €10,2 billion by 2017.
What does this mean for marketers?
You will have fewer chances to reach consumers with traditional advertising
The very services driving growth in digital content consumption are limiting pure advertising opportunity for brands, by adopting payment models that don't require brand advertising for revenue and even driving consumer appetite for more ad-free content.
Brands must develop content capabilities to avoid losing ground
Yodel is the UK courier company everybody loves to hate and official delivery partner of many of our top online retailers including Amazon.com. Just back in August, Mothercare and Matalan joined John Lewis in ditching the supplier due to overwhelming customer pressure. UPDATE: Yodel got in touch to point out that the reasons these retailers no longer work with Yodel are unknown and that Yodel does not believe it to be due to customer pressure] — pressure that miserable customers are consistently applying across social media and Amazon’s own online sites begging Amazon to stop using the courier. So widespread is Yodel despair — and trust me, one bad interaction with Yodel can leave one feeling despair — that an Amazon shareholder wrote to the company’s investor relations department in the US to raise the issue, reported The Guardian.
Companies are grappling to maintain their traditional sources of competitive advantage in the age of the customer — a world where empowered consumers, commoditized products, and intense competition stretch organizational capabilities to their limits. Enter the customer-obsessed CMO who can transcend the operational status quo and lead a companywide journey to establish new sources of competitive advantage. In my presentation at Forrester’s Outside In: A Forum For Customer Experience Professionals EMEA in London next week (November 6th to 7th), I will be explaining how CMOs can positively change the corporate culture around customer obsession. I will also be leading the track “Why We Need To Build A Customer-Obsessed Corporate Culture,” which takes a closer look at the challenges involved.
In preparation for the event, I caught up with one of our industry speakers from this track, Veronique Tordoff, UK market customer experience leader, Philips Electronics, to talk about how Philips Electronics is dealing with these challenges. Check out a preview of Veronique’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in London to hear the full story.
Major events — political, natural, or economic — create a lot of eyeballs on a select set of media and stories. But as friends chimed in on Facebook, Twitter, and texts, they shared stories of who stood by them during the crisis. My colleague David Cooperstein and I were discussing what marketers did and should do during a crisis. Do your customers need to hear from you during Hurricane Sandy? We’ve seen a few best practices from companies that are handling communications in a helpful and dignified way. We hope they are useful to our readers in charge of customer communications, both this week and in general.
USAA's mobile app reduces angst. The USAA Mobile App allows customers to report a property or auto claim, submit photos, and view claims status. Storm-related tweets featured a link to the app so that customers knew how to find it and submit a claim. One friend of mine was able to submit a claim, including photos, in about 2 minutes, allowing him to focus on cleaning up the debris. Its relative ubiquity — available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, and BlackBerry — means that any USAA customer with a smartphone can take advantage of these game-changing and life-managing services.
Today, at the Forrester eBusiness Forum in Chicago, Nate Elliott announced our 2012 B2C and B2B Groundswell Awards winners and finalists! One of my most enjoyable tasks as a Forrester analyst is reviewing all of the Groundswell awards submissions. And I know many of you also look forward to seeing the innovative approaches that other B2B companies use to listen to and engage with customers. This year, we received 45 entries and we judged submissions across seven categories: Listening, Talking, Energizing, Spreading, Supporting, Embracing and Mobile.
A few minutes ago I had the pleasure of announcing the winners of the 2012 Business-to-Consumer Forrester Groundswell Awards at the Forrester eBusiness Forum in Chicago. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read through, not just the highlights below, but the full entries for all the finalists and all the winners — because once again this year we received many outstanding entries. It’s clear that social media has reached a tipping point, where savvy companies are using social tools to pursue real business objectives rather than simply chasing fans and followers. The 2012 winners put social programs to use in their organizations — successfully marketing their wares, supporting their customers, and generating insights.
Here, then, are our B2C finalists and winners for 2012.
ABC News and the United Nations Foundation partnered with BlogFrog to raise awareness and funds around issues affecting moms and babies around the world. This program identified more than 800 social influencers and activated them to create trusted content about motherhood. In total, the bloggers reached more than 15 million readers and garnered over 31 million total social media impressions. This in turn led tens of thousands of people to get actively involved: More than 15,000 people signed up for the Million Moms Challenge Community in the first two weeks.
Today, Apple unveiled a new lineup of devices: new iMacs, Mac Mini, a 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro (which, weighing in at only a half-pound more than the Air, is sure to be a best-seller, as its predecessor was), a fourth-generation 9.7-inch iPad (with 4x faster A6X processor, expanded LTE, faster Wi-Fi, Lightning connector, improved cameras, and other refinements), and…ta da!...the long-awaited iPad Mini. As early as October 2011, credible reports from Taiwan surfaced about a 7.85-inch iPad, so it’s no surprise to see this product. And yet, Apple’s execution dazzles. You pick up this device—which weighs only 0.68 pounds—and it feels feather-light, perfectly weight-balanced—and decidedly not made out of plastic, as its competitor devices are.
I want to pause for a moment to comment further about the weight, because my very first impression of the first-generation was “It’s heavy!,” much to the chagrin of Michael Tchao, VP of Product Marketing for iPad. The iPad Mini has a larger screen than competing devices from Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Google, but it’s somehow lighter than its competitors. Here’s how the weights compare, courtesy of each vendor’s product specs page:
Customer experience horror stories are not quite as inevitable as death and taxes but they are close cousins and we all have a large back catalogue of screw-ups to rant about operatically. That crappy cheese sandwich, the misleading advice about product features or being ushered into an avoidable gargantuan queue by a staff drone. Some of my own frustration exotica include annoyances like harmoniums couriered from India and only good for firewood (or modern art) on arrival in Edinburgh*. Yes, the world is a stage but some brands can look like The Three Stooges on it.
Over my last two-plus years at Forrester, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about how the people, processes, and tools that touch digital media buying must transform. In this age of always addressable customers, where hyper-connected, on-the-go consumers’ expectations of brands are higher than ever, we all know in our gut that our media planning, buying, optimization, measurement, and messaging must get smarter, faster, and more audience-obsessed.
But where and how to start?
We at Forrester have created a brand new research framework — called playbooks — designed to not only help you figure out where to start but also to give you a practical step-by-step guide to the how to help you achieve mastery in a given area.
Discover what the future of digital media buying will look like in our vision module; get a handle on the latest trends in key paid digital media channels including display and video in our landscape module; and learn how to make the business case to invest in upgrading your digital media buying in our business case module (to be released in the coming months).
Here’s one of the biggest trends for off-domain social initiatives that I’m tracking as I kick off a new overview of social tools for B2B marketers: Marketers like you no longer want just the perfect point solution for each new social marketing campaign; instead, they want integrated solutions and are starting to use larger software packages aimed at providing complete digital marketing solutions.
This is welcome news because successful social programs should be part of your comprehensive marketing plans; they can’t exist as their own island. Several years ago, B2B marketing organizations could run their social marketing initiatives in a silo, but today they must coordinate them with their lead origination and lead nurturing programs as well as with other awareness campaigns.
The three leaders in the most recent Forrester Wave™ evaluation of email marketing vendors reflect this change in their products; they all promote their social offerings front and center on their home pages, often with the same prominence as their traditional email offerings. Screenshots of each of those home pages are below.
ExactTarget expanded into social marketing beginning with its acquisition of CoTweet some time ago in March 2010.It now has a “Social Marketing Hub” as a part of its “Interactive Marketing Hub” — email marketing is just one of three product categories on its website, getting equal billing with both social and mobile marketing.