Relaunched Jawbone UP Now Faces Competition. And That's A Good Thing.

Jawbone, a privately-held company based in San Francisco with a $1.5 billion valuation, today announced the relaunch of its UP wristband, which it discontinued one year ago due to manufacturing problems. (An excellent article in Fortune from October details the "beautiful failure" of the product and CEO Hosain Rahman's decision to cease manufacturing and refund customers' money.) There's a lot to like about this company and its products. Jawbone is one of few companies that has successfully innovated the adjacent possible, as my colleague James McQuivey has written, pivoting from Bluetooth headsets to Jambox speakers to the UP. The UP is a wearable device that lives (on the wrist) at the intersection of fashion and the consumerization of health. The UP is part of an emerging phenomenon that we call Smart Body, Smart World, which we think will power the next wave of growth and innovation in personal computing. 

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It's Time To Exercise Your Customer Experience Muscles

I was talking to a client the other day who was very frustrated. She told me that her executives talk about customer experience all the time; they seem “bought in” to the idea that it matters. But when push comes to shove, none of them have done anything to drive real improvement.

She asked me . . . how can that be? If they get it, why don’t they do something?

I struggled with this question for a long time but finally came up with an analogy that made everything clear. It’s this: Customer experience is the “eat healthy and exercise” of the business world.

Think about it. We could say the following about both topics:

  • Everyone knows it’s important, and why.
  • When talking to others, we probably pretend we do it better than we actually do.
  • Deep down, we aren’t quite sure what we should do — it’s complicated and confusing.
  • The things we know we should do just aren’t that fun or exciting, so we often avoid them.
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Forrester’s 2013 Global Customer Experience Benchmarking Survey

Calling all customer experience professionals:

  • Do you know about your company’s customer experience priorities and initiatives (or lack thereof)?
  • Do you know what your company’s customer experience plans are for 2013?
  • Do you know how your company’s customer experience resources are structured?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, please help us out by completing Forrester’s 2013 global customer experience benchmarking survey. The info you provide will help shape reports to be written in the new year by Megan Burns and yours truly. And to thank you for your time, we’ll send you a copy of any reports that we publish with this data.

Thanks so much!

(Agency folks and consultants, sorry — this survey isn't for you.)

Innovation Lessons From BBVA

BBVAI spent Tuesday and Wednesday at Forrester’s European Customer Experience Forum in London, which was based on the theme of Outside In, Forrester’s new book. One of the most interesting sessions I attended was ‘The Customer Centric Bank’ from Gustavo Vinacua, Innovation Center Director at BBVA’s Centro de Innovación in Madrid.

Over the past decade, BBVA has worked hard to become more customer centric and match its offerings to its customers’ needs. Given the pace of technology change, customers’ rising expectations and the digital disruption those forces cause, innovation is a critical part of the role of eBusiness and channel strategy executives. I thought I would share a few of Gustavo’s insights here for those of you who couldn’t attend. BBVA has become systematically innovative, launching a continuous succession of innovations many of which were a first in Spain, in Europe or in the world, such as:

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Data Elected Our 44th President . . . B2B CMOs Must Make The Right Data Work For Them

No matter what your politics, from coast to coast, the country is breathing a sigh of relief that the 2012 election season is finally behind us. Already, quite a bit has been written about what marketers can learn from the election. So, in this post, I won’t be talking about the huge dollars spent on advertising, how social, digital, and mobile communication continued to be important touchpoints, the impact of grassroots marketing, or how important effectively communicating the candidate’s message or brand affected the outcome. No need for another political pundit in the mix!

While all of these areas have something to teach B2B marketers, what I found the most fascinating is how the use of data, the right data, served as the foundation for Obama’s successful re-election. Starting on election night, the analysts on the best-known news shows were already talking about how calm and confident the Obama team members were. And, why were they confident? According to Obama’s team, it had the data to back up its march to a second term. The team members believed that data and how they used it was one of the biggest advantages they had over the Romney campaign. Think about that for a minute. Obama, traditionally seen as the image and message guy, ran his re-election campaign based on using the right data effectively. And, it worked. 

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Join Our Global Mobile Maturity Survey

A year ago, Forrester fielded a Global Mobile Maturity Online Survey. We interviewed more than 250 executives in charge of their companies’ mobile strategies around the globe.

To help executives and product strategists benchmark and mature their mobile consumer approach, we’re updating this survey.

Planning and organizing for the use of mobile technologies is a complex task. Integrating mobile as part of a broader corporate strategy is even more complex. However some players are leading the way and working on infrastructure, staffing, and competencies that are hard to see unless you look closely. If you want to understand the role that mobile is playing in various organizations, what their objectives are, how they measure the success of their mobile initiatives, and a lot more, you just have to share with us your own perspective and we will aggregate answers. For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the survey results.

If you’re in charge of your company's mobile consumer initiative or if you’re familiar with it, then please take this survey.

Click here to start the questionnaire. 

If you’re not familiar with your company’s mobile consumer approach, please forward this survey to the relevant colleagues who are in charge of defining or implementing your mobile consumer approach. 

·         The survey takes less than 15 minutes to complete.

·         The survey will be live until February 10, 2013.

·         Responses will be kept strictly confidential and published only in an aggregated and anonymous manner.

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A Cure For Customers' Survey Fatigue

You just bought something at your favorite store. You walk out with a skip in your step thinking about when you might wear this new purchase. You give into your compulsion to check your email on your smartphone, and there, waiting for you, is a survey from that very company asking about your experience. You groan, but you click on the link. The survey isn't formatted for your phone, so you have to pinch to zoom in and out. You don't understand the first question. Or the second one. Frankly, you don't really care. You close your browser window, curse the company and every other company that has ever asked you to complete a survey, and vow never to shop anywhere ever again.

I'm no doctor, but I'm confident in my diagnosis: You are suffering from survey fatigue.

You're not alone. Survey fatigue has even made it into pop-culture as a known malady, thanks to articles like this one in USA Today. It's no surprise that consumers are irked; most companies' customer experience measurement programs and voice of the customer programs rely on surveys for the necessary data. As a result, consumers are getting barraged with requests for feedback, and, really, it's just because companies have good intentions. They want to know how they're doing and how they can improve the experience.

If you're one of these survey-reliant companies, what can you do? I'm working on some research right now on that very topic with our new analyst, Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian. We're exploring indicators of survey fatigue to help you spot the problem as well as best practices for reducing any fatigue that does exist.

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The Data Digest: Profiling Chinese Luxury Shoppers

One of my responsibilities at Forrester is editing our Technographics® research deliverables globally. In recent years, we have regularly published reports on consumer behaviors in emerging markets, including the BRIC countries. One aspect of this global data really intrigues me: the success of luxury brands and the profile of luxury goods buyers in these markets.

China has emerged as one of the world's largest luxury goods markets: According to the World Luxury Association, shoppers from Japan represent 29% of the world market share of luxury goods sales; China, 27%; Europe, 18%; and the US, just 14%.

How are Chinese luxury goods buyers different from their non-luxury goods buyer counterparts? Forrester's Technographics® data shows that Chinese luxury goods buyers are similar in terms of age and gender to non-luxury buyers, but they tend to have higher incomes. However, they differ significantly with regards to lifestyle and social attitudes.

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US Online Holiday Sales Continue To Grow At A Double-Digit Pace

Forrester’s “US Online Holiday Retail Sales Forecast, 2012” launches today; in it, we predict that this November and December alone are expected to pull in $68.4 billion in online revenue, a 15% increase over 2011. We believe web retailers are well-positioned to benefit from this shopper spend if they realize that consumers are:

  • On the hunt for deals. More than half of US online adults are more price conscious than they were a year ago. As the Web channel has become synonymous with value, retailers should expect consumers to be searching for deals through a variety of touchpoints, at home and in-store on mobile devices.  Retailers need to prepare for aggressive holiday showrooming and the possibility of being undersold or being asked for a price match. 
  • Looking for free shipping. Fifty-seven percent of US online adults shop more with retailers that offer free shipping, and 27% add unplanned items to their cart in order to meet free shipping thresholds. Last year, 76% of the top 50 online retailers highlighted holiday deals on their home pages and 50% called out holiday shipping promotions. As price continues to be a top consideration for consumers, retailers must offer and prominently display holiday shipping promotions or risk losing customers to competitors that will.
  • Shopping on key dates. During the 2011 holiday season, the top 500 retail websites saw holiday traffic peak during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, each of which drove more than 170 million unique US shoppers to the Web, and they together accounted for more than $2.5 billion in total online sales. Forrester expects that this trend will continue through 2012.
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At The Starting Line . . .

Following a 25-year business-to-business (B2B) executive marketing career, I joined Forrester’s CMO & Marketing Leadership Team as VP, Principal Analyst, less than a month ago. And, what a month it’s been! A whirlwind of meeting other Forrester analysts, attending the Seizing Opportunity From Digital Disruption: A Forum For eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals in Chicago, leading a session on rebuilding brands at the CMO Club Summit in San Francisco, and meeting with as many CMOs and marketing leaders as I can.

I’m not sure exactly what I expected my first month to be like, but I will tell you that I’ve quickly learned that as CMOs, we all share strikingly common concerns that will form the basis of my research at Forrester. When asking what keeps you up at night, the CMOs I’ve met with so far from a variety of industries confirm my practitioner experience. We are all trying to effectively understand and respond to the significant marketplace and customer changes happening as we enter the always-connected and empowered age of the customer.  

With this in mind, over the next year, I will be exploring the following areas that have consistently emerged from my discussions with you:

  • Aligning marketing strategy to the newly empowered customers with an emphasis on understanding the buyer's journey.
  • Helping CMOs understand how to think about technology, make sense of the ever-expanding technology options, and then partner with their CIO to create a robust and flexible technology infrastructure for marketing.
  • Understanding the evolving role of the CMO and defining marketing organizational design and associated skill sets required for the future.
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