RIM Is Dead: Long Live BlackBerry?

To avoid brand dilution, RIM’s corporate brand name is disappearing today and is being replaced by BlackBerry for shareholders and employees in an attempt to instill brand values internally.

While the (too) long-awaited new Blackberry OS is innovative and will help reduce churn among BlackBerry’s 79 million existing subscribers to competing devices from Apple and Android in 2013, the longer-term challenge for the BlackBerry brand is still huge.

Don’t get me wrong: The great strides that BlackBerry’s made in the device and OS deserve credit.

The two new devices announced today — in a price range above $500 — also look great and on par with, if not better than, the best high-end smartphones on the market today; they have eventually put an end to the poor browsing, app, and multimedia experiences delivered on BlackBerry devices until now. The new OS brings some very interesting and innovative features. The smart contextual prediction keyboard, the BlackBerry Hub, the BlackBerry Balance, as well as the new video chat and screen-sharing functionalities available to BBM users will also offer a seamless and innovative experience to the “business execs,” “working moms,” and “hyperactive teens” that BlackBerry is targeting. Telecom carriers will also significantly support the new devices, with about 200 operators worldwide launching them by June 2013. Why? BlackBerry devices have always delivered more profitable customers to carriers because of their network efficiency. Due to the limited uptake (for now) of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, telecom operators will no doubt give the new products a chance to succeed in order to avoid being dependent on Apple or Google.

However, there is little rationale today for most product strategists and marketers to invest in customized BlackBerry experiences.

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Wearables Deserve Attention, But Fitness Wearables Are Overhyped

Sensor-laden wearable devices, with their unique ability to capture data generated by the body, are important components of a larger phenomenon we call “smart body, smart world.” Use cases for wearables could extend to anything from navigation to shopping to social networking to productivity. One scenario in particular – health and fitness – has inspired a
number of wearable devices that launched in 2012 like the Nike+ FuelBand, the Basis smartwatch, and the (relaunched) Jawbone UP. These new products spur the questions: Can the market support this many wearable fitness products, and who should these products target?

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Telecom Trends: Life For European Carriers Will Not Get Any Easier In 2013

At the beginning of this year, I took the time to sit down with my colleague Dan Bieler, principal analyst on Forrester's Business Technology Futures team and a specialist in the telecom space, to discuss the top trends that will affect the European telco landscape this year.

Although we believe that the business/consumer split is increasingly vanishing, we decided to split the top 10 carrier themes that will matter in the European telco market in 2013 by enterprise and consumer perspectives.

In the enterprise segment, we see five main themes:

  • Over the top (OTT) and app-based communication services will become part of the IT landscape. OTT voice, social media, and messaging will spread in the enterprise space at the expense of traditional services. Our research shows that professional workers who travel are the most likely to embrace application-based communication services, often irrespective of what their company’s official IT policy is. Still, 2013 will not be the year (yet) that sees RCSe becoming a B2B2C communications platform.
  • Cloud-based enterprise services by carriers will see increasing interest from businesses. Communication-as-a-service will receive increased attention by CIOs as they plan UCC projects. However, as our research shows, carriers will not be perceived as the top choice of providers for cloud-based services. Mobile device management firms like AirWatch and MobileIron will offer reselling opportunities for carriers but limit the carriers’ ability to add value around device and app store management. Business models for cloud-based data analytics of end user demand will grow in importance in 2013, but will begin to materialize on a larger scale only in 2014.
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Introducing the Marketing RaDaR

In our new report "Mix Art And Science For Marketing Success," we introduce a new model: The Marketing RaDaR. This model (which serves as an update to our previous 'interactive brand ecosystem' model) is designed to help you build marketing programs and strategies that support your customers all the way through the customer life cycle — and is based on data we've collected about which channels they use at each step of the customer journey.

I published a piece in Ad Age this week that explains the idea in more detail:

Poor Elias St Elmo Lewis. When he first described the sales funnel more than a hundred years ago, he was trying to map the path a single customer took to a single purchase. Little did he know how badly we’d one day abuse his model. In recent years some marketers have tried to weld ‘loyalty’ or ‘advocacy’ onto the bottom of the funnel, others have tried to ‘flip’ the funnel, and many have longed to bury the funnel entirely — all in an effort to find a model that better reflects the ongoing relationships between companies and their customers.

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Resolving Beyond The Acronyms

I stink at New Year’s resolutions. My track record is so bad I’ve all but given up making them in my non-work life. But as a professional exercise, it struck me that writing down some New Year’s resolutions could actually be a really great thing, something I could refer back to throughout the year to remind me of important unanswered questions I had at the start of 2013.

For me, this year must be about continuing to evolve my thinking on what it means - and what it takes - to be a successful 21st century marketer. This means thinking beyond my favorite acronyms, the display media LumaScape, and RTB growth numbers, and aiming bigger and broader. So, this year, I resolve to:

  • Prove the value of programmatic buying, data management and advanced attribution. I want to know, and show, once and for all that there are real, tangible, bottom line benefits to adopting these tools and practices - to the industry, to marketers, to the agencies who support them, and to the publishers who serve them. I genuinely believe that if buyers embrace the concepts outlined in our report, The Future of Digital Media Buying, it’s a money-making decision in the long run. But the best way to convince others is to prove it! So I’m fielding a survey to marketers and agency folks right now to try and get some answers. In fact, if you’re a marketer or agency person (no vendors please), I’d LOVE for you to take the survey. It’s here.
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Testing Facebook Graph Search: First Thoughts

My Facebook account is now part of the beta group for Facebook Graph Search, and I’ve spent some time taking it for a spin.

It’s clear this will be a powerful feature, but as Nate Elliott has already blogged, it feels like something Facebook should have built some time ago. What I predict to be the most common searches, such as “which of my friends live in London” or “people my friends are friends with who work at Ford Motors,” are powerful, but basic, features that users have been requesting for a long time. The first rollout will also be missing obvious road map features, including the ability to search for links and status updates that you or your graph have posted. 

Facebook Graph Search: Photos of Bacon by my friends

The success of any individual Graph Search reflects what data (and activities) users directly provide Facebook, and today, many of the online activities that Graph Search encompasses take place on other social properties. Facebook often facilitates the social graphs of the other social properties with Facebook Connect, but Graph Search cannot “see” into that data. The average Facebook “like” is also less meaningful than Facebook's development team hopes, as others have also blogged

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How to Become a Mature Mobile Marketer

Sixty-seven percent of interactive marketers are currently using mobile or are planning to start using it in the next year, according to our Q2 global executive survey. That’s great news! But before we celebrate mobile finally coming into its own, we have to acknowledge that mobile is still a new channel with a learning curve that needs to be traversed before it becomes a fully integrated part of brands’ marketing programs.

Here’s some more good news: you know those playbooks you’ve been hearing so much about? We’ve just released one for mobile marketing to help you develop your mobile marketing skills and practices, step-by-step, from the ground up. In this playbook, we’ll help you:

  1. Discover just how important the rise of the always addressable customer is to the development of mobile in our vision module. You’ll learn how to pick the best partners to help you achieve your goals out of a vast landscape of agencies and service providers. And in the coming month, you’ll find out how successful mobile marketers built a business case to secure budget and resources for their programs.
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Facebook Graph Search: Important But Boring

I followed along as Facebook made its 'big announcement' today, and found myself torn. I think that Facebook Graph Search is:

  1. Really important. It's important because it makes Facebook a more usable and useful site. Facebook's current on-site search tool is pretty terrible -- it's almost impossible to find the people you're looking for, or any content that was posted more than a few days ago. If Facebook can help you find stuff on its site more easily then that's good both for users and for Facebook. I suspect Facebook will spend an increasing amount of its time simply upgrading existing features; now the growth in total Facebook users has slowed significantly, this type of basic upkeep will be crucial in making the site as useful as possible for the users who are already there. This type of work is boring, but it's vital -- like paying the phone bill, or fixing the leak in your roof.
  2. But not really a big deal. I've no doubt that parsing a trillion connections between a billion users is an immense challenge. And based on today's demonstration it looks like Facebook's engineers have solved that challenge pretty elegantly. But it's still just site search. The big news isn't that Facebook has fixed its search tool; the big news is that it didn't do this long ago. In fact, Facebook should be more embarrassed that its current search engine was so bad for so long than proud that its next search engine looks pretty good. For it to trumpet Graph Search as big news just looks silly. This is the kind of stuff basic, grown-up online businesses get right every day, without any fanfare. Again, like paying the phone bill, or fixing the leak in your roof.
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How To Make The Most Of Your Investments Across The Marketing Mix

Over the past few years, the rise of the always addressable customer combined with a challenging economic environment and stagnant markets has created a perfect storm — challenging marketers' ingrained assumptions about how to best invest their budgets. And with that comes one major recurring question that senior marketers must face. While simple, it still proves daunting for marketers: How can I make sure that I have best allocated my marketing and communication investments to support my brand in the marketplace and clearly drive positive outcomes? We at Forrester have created a brand-new research framework — called playbooks — designed to effectively answer this crucial question, not only helping marketers figure out where to start but also providing a practical step-by-step guide to help achieve mastery in a given area.

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to the marketing mix optimization playbook to help you master the art of multichannel planning and the science of marketing mix modeling. With this playbook, we will help you to:

  1. Discover: Chart a new course for marketing planning to drive effectiveness. Marketers will learn to better orchestrate their programs across platforms by mixing art and science and adopting the RaDaR framework. 
  2. Plan: Build a link between marketing investments and business outcomes. Marketers will learn how to assess their maturity and competencies for a modern marketing mix modeling initiative. 
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Perpetual Connectivity Will Change How We Experience The World

Devices are proliferating, and we’ve all seen the data to prove it: More than half of US consumers now own smartphones, and nearly 20% own a tablet. And it’s not just device ownership that’s increasing. As we’ve been talking about for the past year, people are now connected to each other, to places, to things, and to brands more often and from more locations than ever before. If you're at CES this week, you're going to see even more devices, gadgets, and digital appropriations of formerly analogue tasks that will all help push this evolution along even faster. Whether it's thanks to the FitBit Flex, one of Samsung's new smart TVs, or simply reliable mobile apps, people are becoming perpetually connected. And that evolution is changing more than just the frequency with which we turn to devices: It’s changing how we perceive the concept of connectivity.

Increasingly, going online isn’t something we do. It's something we are. Instant access to information and services isn’t just convenient — it’s how we live our lives. And it’s changing our desires, our needs, our demands, and our expectations. It’s changing how we experience the world.

As more and more of us become perpetually connected and the level of our connectedness deepens, these changes will come more rapidly and be more transformational so that soon people will:

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