Brand/Marketing Track Sessions at Forrester's Consumer Forum

Forrester's Consumer Forum is coming up in 10 days!  The event has been expanded compared to prior years with many more content choices available to attendees.  The overall theme of the Forum is Humanizing The Digital Experience.  I think this is particularly relevant, given the change that technology has driven in the marketing world over the past 12 months alone.

Lisa Bradner and I have been organizing the Next-Generation Branding And Marketing Sessions.  I'm moderating two discussions and giving two speeches that will be great content for brand marketers in particular:

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Brand Monitoring Wave :: Live

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Forrester's Brand Monitoring Wave for Q3 2006 is now live!

Q:  What is Brand Monitoring?
A:  The ongoing analysis of mainstream media and consumer-generated
content to identify trends relevant to a company's marketing activities
and competitive landscape.

Q:  Why does Brand Monitoring matter?
A:  The power shift from media institutions to consumer communities means
that marketers must track a diverse and growing range of influential
voices.

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Customer Centricity: Strategy vs. Tactics

Eric Kintz has hit on a key point regarding customer-centric marketing, with the phrase "dissociative identity marketing."  Eric calls on marketers to recognize that customers are consumers too, following different personas in different media.  Seems that marketers would be wise to follow some advice from T.S. Eliot as well: "prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet."

For me, the distinction here is strategy vs. tactics.  Customer-centricity is a strategy that requires the use of both short- and long-term tactics. Long term: reinventing your marketing organization, which enables dissociative identity marketing.  Short term:  using social computing tactics to reach the personas as identified.

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Brand Monitoring Wave :: Update

The Forrester Brand Monitoring Wave is well underway and we are entering the final stages of the process.  The hard work from all of the participating vendors is over (i.e. demonstrations and related preparation) - now I get to sit down and put things into the written research format and figure out what it means.

In a related development, yesterday WPP Group announced a partnership with Visible Technologies - a brand monitoring firm focused specifically on the consumer-generated media space.  This is definitely a sign of things to come in the brand monitoring market...

Look for the final evaluation to publish in the middle to end of September.

Reinventing The Marketing Organization

Today was definitely a milestone in my career as a Forrester analyst - a piece of research was published that consumed most of my attention for the past four months.  It's a Big Idea piece called Reinventing The Marketing Organization.

What's a Big Idea?  In the words of Forrester's Head of NA Research Chris Mines, "Forrester Big Ideas bring clarity and shape to future markets, business
practices, and business models that are forged in the cauldron of
technology change."

The executive summary:

Today's marketing organizations are broken. Three out of four marketing
departments have reorganized in the past two years. Almost 80% of
marketers don't influence a critical customer interaction like customer
service, and 85% don't even own the "four Ps" of marketing anymore. To
regain effectiveness, marketers must transition to a Customer-Centric
Marketing Organization. Doing so requires: 1) redesigning P&Ls and
metrics; 2) shifting culture away from marketing communications; 3)
investing in a customer relationship infrastructure; and 4) rethinking
agency relationships.

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MITX Panel: The Future of TV

I participated on a panel discussion today, organized by MITX (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) and sponsored by One To One Interactive.  The location was beautiful and turnout was strong, despite a major accident that totally shut down the morning commute.

It's tough to take good notes and participate actively, so I'll point out that the panel's moderator, David Weinberger (Fellow, Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society) has posted about it already; so has Christopher Herot, who was an active audience participant.

So here are some more concepts raised in audience discussion:

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Process check

If you've been following the conversation here, you know that this blog focuses on marketing - and a lot of different flavors therein.  We've been writing for nine weeks now and with the end of a quarter and beginning of a US holiday weekend, it seems like a good point for a process check.

We had a low-key launch in April and a few key blogs noticed, including BW's Blogspotting, Church of the Customer, and Media Guerrilla.  Thanks for the mentions and to everyone who's subscribed to the feed or email.  We've been meeting on a regular basis to discuss bloggable topics and post a team viewpoint (led by a single analyst).  We've also been posting occasionally when we find something interesting to discuss.

There are a few things we've noticed along the way that aren't publicly transparent:

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Nielsen's A2/M2 - Not ready for prime time

One of the great aspects of working at Forrester is the ability to collaborate with analysts from other teams to bring different coverage areas together.  I've had the chance to work with Josh Bernoff on a few pieces related to TV advertising and we published one this week regarding Nielsen's recently announced A2/M2 initiative.  The executive summary:

Nielsen will expand its measurement of video media with "Anytime
Anywhere Media Measurement" (A2/M2), which will include Internet
streaming and portable devices, and will also measure engagement. It's
a good idea, but Nielsen historically takes awhile to work the kinks
out of new measurement products. Rather than wait for more
comprehensive measures, marketers should focus on measuring how media
efforts drive business results.

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BzzAgent to Pests: BzzOff!

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In two related moves to make its agent network more attractive to advertisers, BzzAgent announced that it would expel up to 10,000 "pests" from its network (roughly 5%) and re-engineer its rewards system to attract and retain valuable agents.

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Management Consultants + Advertising = A Good Thing

A couple of weeks ago, Ad Age highlighted the activities of management consultancies in the ad business.  Considering the engagements that IBM, McKinsey, and Accenture are undertaking, process and left-brain thinking seem to be the focus.  Which means that right-brain thinking, i.e. creative, remains untouched, right?  Wrong.

Today's consulting engagements may focus on operational efficiency, or the expense side of the equation.  Going forward, more measurement projects will happen and their learnings will circle back to customer strategy - driving right-brain decisions focused on demand generation and revenue.  Don't expect your consultants to storyboard the next long-form ad or define next year's colour palette - but these companies are closer to creative than you think.  They just don't publicize their behind-the-scenes work that leads to pencils, lions, and gold stars.

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