Does Your Company Use Social Media To Influence Product Strategy?

As promised, our newest Consumer Product Strategy panel survey launches today.  We invite all readers to take this 3-minute survey to tell us about how your company uses social media, what kinds of policies and procedures are in place for sharing information from social media with product development teams, and how that information is used to affect product strategy.  In return for your time, all respondents will recieve a copy of the research report containing the results of the survey. 

Thank you in advance for your contribution!

Using Social Media To Influence Product Strategy -- New Poll Coming April 27!

Just a quick announcement: a new consumer product strategy survey will be launching tomorrow! The survey addresses how companies are using social media to influence product strategy:  whether companies do so, what kind of processes they have in place, and the general attitude about using social media in this way.  Participants will receive a copy of the research report sharing the results of the survey. 

I'll post again once the link is live; in the meantime, if you'd like to receive a direct invitation or set up a time to chat with me about how your company uses social tools in this way (or why your company doesn't!), please shoot me a note at dwilliams at forrester dot com.

Create ‘Just Right’ Devices Using Convenience Analysis

Let's start with a poll.  To do so, first click on the title above to get to the full version of the blog.  Ok? Now, the poll is over there on the right, under the picture of yours truly.  Please vote, then continue....

Now that you've indicated how you feel about convenience, I'll tell you how we at Forrester feel about it.  Regular readers of the CPS Role Blog in the past will recall that Forrester strongly believes that convenience is the key determinant of a product, service or channel's success.  In fact, we've made convenience a cornerstone of our research for consumer product strategy professionals. 

As part of our ongoing efforts to evangelize the importance of convenience in consumer product strategy, my colleague Ian Fogg and I have just published another report in our Convenience Quotient series.  Code named "The Goldilocks Report," it offers an overview of how consumers are using their mobile phones and why early renditions of feature-laden phones failed.  The report also applies the Convenience Quotient methodology to mobile handsets by defining a comprehensive set of benefits and barriers that exist for mobile handsets, in an effort to help consumer product strategists build "just right" mobile devices.  One of the key takeaways from this report is that product strategy professionals can apply CQ across the product lifecycle: from product planning, to competitive analysis, to product positioning, to post-launch refinements, to product retirement. In each phase, convenience analysis can be used to make smart decisions about product strategy.

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How Customer Input Shaped Office 2010 -- Lessons For Consumer Product Strategists

My first report addressing Product Creation is now Web-live.  It's a case study about how Microsoft's Office team used customer inputs to shape the development of Office 2010.  Here's why Microsoft's approach is interesting to fellow product strategy professionals:

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New Research Coverage For Consumer Product Strategy Professionals

So this is the new Forrester blog platform, eh?  Pretty nice.  Hope all of you appreciate the change, and that it makes it easier for you to find and read those posts that interest you the most.

Speaking of change, I've got a big one to announce: My coverage area at Forrester has shifted away from consumer broadband and communication toward more horizontal research for Consumer Product Strategists.  There are three key areas where I'll be focusing my attention:

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Check out the new Convenience Quotient web page!

I'm pleased to announce the launch of a new web page on that is devoted to a key theme for the Consumer Product Strategy role:  the Convenience Quotient (CQ). Regular readers of this blog and of Forrester's CPS research will be familiar with CQ.  Now there is a single web resource for everything related to CQ: the methodology, why it's important, how it can be useful, what the standard deliverables are for a CQ project, and some of the possible add-ons to a CQ project.  It's also the most convenient (!) place to access all of our CQ reports, which provide a transparent look at the development of CQ scorecards for various services, products, channels and markets.

For the uninitiated, I invite you to click on the link above and explore the CQ consulting offering and our published reports.

Intrigued by what you've read?  Contact your AM or and set up an Inquiry to talk it through.

New US Internet Access Forecast Released

Greetings and salutations!

(Quick pop trivia quiz: What 1988 movie is that line from, and which current TV actor said it?  Answer below.)

Our new US Internet Access Forecast is complete, and I've just published a short report highlighting some of the key findings.  In particular:

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Why Some Channels Are More Convenient Than Others: A Convenience Quotient Analysis

That was the title of colleague James McQuivey’s track session here are Forrester’s Consumer Forum in Chicago.  For those unable to attend, here’s a quick synopsis of what James covered:


While attendees may think they have had enough of the term – and the concept of – “multi-channel,” the truth is that multi-channel has only just begun.  It’s not just in-person vs. phone vs. online.  The mobile channel is prominent today, and we’ve got new options coming, like connected TVs, that won’t emerge for another year or more.


James’s theme is this:  Your product or service is never more convenient than the channels through which people access it.  And convenience is bigger than you think.  It’s not a need or feature – it’s a measure of how well your features provide consumer benefits.  Regular readers of this blog will know that we at Forrester have captured the notion of convenience in the following equation


Convenience Quotient = Benefits – Barriers


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The death of Verizon's Hub: A wake-up call to CPS professionals

Yesterday, Verizon told the world that its Hub VoIP phone was being discontinued, effective immediately.  And I use the phrase "told the world" loosely, because I don't think too many people were really listening.  I offered up my thoughts on the this very blog when the Hub debuted.  My take at that time was despite the features and functions the Hub offered, all that mattered was price:

Sure, there is added value with all the interesting things the Hub can do. And the Hub arguably improves the overall end-user experience of fixed voice by improving the convenience of managing communications in the home. But the adoption curve of the Hub will remain particularly shallow in the current economy until such time as the up-front cash outlay for the device and handsets is reduced. Dropping the monthly recurring fee to bring it in line with other over-the-top VoIP services and below the going rate for cable voice service wouldn’t hurt, either.

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Verizon Offers New Customer Self-Service for FiOS Subscribers

Today Verizon announced a new customer service channel for its FiOS subscribers.  Dubbed "Verizon In-Home Agent," it's a desktop application that gives customers access to the type of back-office functions that typically require a call to a customer service agent.  Customers can use the tool to set up email accounts, configure a PC to work on a home network, upgrade TV channel packages, or modify phone or voice mail features, among other things.

When it comes to customer service, Verizon has just upped the ante on convenience.  As noted in my recent Convenience Quotient report on customer service, Web self-service is a popular method for consumers to resolve customer service issues, but FAQs/search, email and online chat have their own drawbacks.  Here, Verizon gives consumers the control and the content to resolve their own service issues without involving the company at all, if they wish. That's a huge benefit to some consumers -- not to mention Verizon -- although less tech-savvy consumers may be hesitant to use the In-Home Agent no matter how simple Verizon claims it to be.


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