When I talk to marketing executives about the Smart Body, Smart World paradigm — how sensor-laden devices like wearables give us access to new domains of information and what we can do with that information — they always bring up the movie Minority Report.
The 2002 sci-fi crime thriller has become the reference point people imagine when they think about the future of advertising: specifically, the scene in which Jon Anderton (Tom Cruise) walks through the mall and billboards show him ads based on his mental state (stressed out) and context (on a journey).
This depiction of the future makes sense if you take the status quo of advertising in 2002 — delivering messages via screens to acquire new customers and persuade them to try your product — and bolt on new technology like biometric scanning. There are multiple examples of marketers today doing simplified versions of this, using billboards that adapt content based on gender and age.
A Dumb Vision Of The Smart Future
But this is a pretty dumb vision of the “smart” future. Smarter marketing goes far beyond advertising.
This week I had a chance to catch up with Peter Horst, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing at Capital One, in advance of his keynote later this month at Forrester’s Marketing Forum in LA. Peter will be speaking about how Capital One approached the integration and brand conversion of ING Direct, after the 2011 acquisition of the retail bank. Check out a preview of Peter’s session in the below Q&A, or join me in Los Angeles, April 18-19, to hear Capital One’s full story.
Q. What was the biggest challenge around the ING Direct integration strategy?
The biggest overall challenge was what we called “protecting the butterfly.” It became obvious to us that the magic of ING Direct did not lie in something as simple as a piece of technology, or a specific body of expertise, or some financial asset. What made ING Direct such a unique franchise was a complete ecosystem whose parts all worked together to create an exceptional customer experience. These parts included a powerful sense of mission, a culture of simplicity, a passion for serving customers, products that were offered straightforward value, a brand voice that was friendly and humorous, and much more. We realized that we had to be very careful not to disturb this ecosystem as we integrated the business, and remained on high alert to any risk that we might be undermining the interaction of the parts. One area in particular that we were very focused on was ensuring that the associates remained engaged and excited for this next leg of their journey.
Q. How did you approach this integration differently from past brand conversions?
To borrow from McCann Truth Central, most of us have owned mobile devices (not to mention smartphones) for, on average, 12 years — and we’re still figuring out mobile phone behaviors and the impact of mobile on our relationships. We have distinct mobile personalities.
This means we’re all mobile teens, trying to envision our futures and figuring out our relationships with others and with brands. If mobile marketing is entering the teenage years, then needless to say, tablet marketing is in its infancy.
To draw the analogy a step further, let’s consider marketers as parents. What does this mean? It implies that marketing leaders should help their kids grow and develop, play to their strengths, accept their differences, and reinforce their identities without forcing them to become what they are not. It means that the future will be full of surprises, with unknown territories and new use cases to come for not only smartphones and tablets but also reinvented laptops and personal computers. A lot of the attention will be paid to the new baby (the tablet), certainly creating some conflicts with the older sibling (the smartphone), which is particularly keen to become independent despite its relative immaturity.
The rapid development of customer touchpoints and rising customer expectations turn up the pressure on eBusiness professionals at retail banks to continue investing in digital channels. Even with the rising pressure, few eBusiness executives report having the resources needed to execute a strategy that supports customers who use multiple channels. Forrester partnered with the Consumer Bankers Association for the second year to survey digital banking executives for the “The State Of North American Digital And Multichannel Banking 2013” report. The goal of the research was to better understand how digital banking teams are focusing their strategic energy, investing in digital channels, building multichannel capabilities, and measuring the digital business. We found that:
Consumers are increasingly using multiple channels. Almost one-third of eBusiness executives we surveyed believe that more than half of their customers regularly use more than one channel. Yet few banks have connected their multiple channels to create an integrated multichannel experience -- allowing customers to seamlessly move between channels.
While most banks have a multichannel strategy, few have the resources to execute. Most eBusiness executives indicate they have a digital strategy, yet only a few report having the budget or dedicated multichannel teams to support executing a strategy. Without dedicated resources, multichannel will remain a pipe dream.
I recently was invited to attend a meeting of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD), a group of board-of-director members from the country’s most prestigious companies. The topic of the meeting was how to keep corporate boards relevant in the 21st century.
What promised to be a dry conversation about financials and governance turned out to be anything but that. The discussion that morning focused on the need to respond to and keep pace with the rapid change in customer behavior to stay competitive. It also addressed how current board members could keep up with the evolution of customer touchpoints to understand the new digitally-based strategies that are increasingly being shared with them.
What I found striking about the discussion after some reflection was that the realization of the critical importance of customer behavior on the future success of top companies has made it all the way to the boardroom. The age of the customer that Forrester first identified in 2011 has really arrived and goes well beyond marketing.
Why now? Corporate boards are starting to realize that to provide the strategic guidance and governance that their role requires, they need to better understand customers and how the relationship between them and the companies they direct are changing. And they need to understand it fast. The market is moving and changing too rapidly to be left behind.
2013 will be a pivotal year in consumer payments. It will be marked by an increase in digital disruption by nimble, tech savvy competitors. Payments incumbents will leverage their market power to battle disruptors. We see early evidence of this with MasterCard's new fee structure for “staged” digital wallet providers such as Google Wallet, PayPal and Square, which mask the merchant of record and other transaction details from others downstream in transaction flow. Finally, merchants and consumers will wield their tremendous influence in picking winners and losers as the array of alternative payment options become more abundant, more accessible and begin to deliver greater value to the commerce experience. In my new report out today, titled “Three Disruptive Payment Trends in 2013,” I explore three trends, driven by digital disruption, that will shape the future of consumer payments. I provide an analysis of what each trend means for competitors across the payments ecosystem and provide recommendations for responding to the impending disruption. Here are the key takeaways:
I'm still riding a high from Forrester's first ever event in China two weeks ago on March 20th entitled "Winning The Dynamic Digital Consumer In China" (#ForrForum). Approximately 200 marketing, eCommerce, and strategy executives, along with a fantastic cadre of leading agencies and marketing technology vendors, participated in the event. Via myriad content, networking, and business development conversations, it's clear that both the challenges and opportunities to engage, market to, sell to, and serve the Chinese consumer are considerable.
I've spent the last few days reflecting on my key takeaways from the event, and wanted to summarize them for you below.