Harness The Power Of Customer Context To Deliver Utility

Last month, we had one of our best Forrester Forums For Marketing Leaders that I've been to, and I've been to all of them. With an on-site audience of nearly 1,000 marketing professionals, I really enjoyed hearing from many of you -- our valued clients -- about your thoughts on the need for new approaches to marketing. Next week, I hope our European clients will find our latest thinking on customer context and utility marketing as valuable as your peers in North America did. Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in Europe is finally here, and I look forward to seeing you in London this Tuesday, May 13. Make sure you check out our latest research reports that go in-depth on the event theme, "Beyond The Campaign":

You'll see much more research on these topics out of our Marketing Leadership and Customer Insights practices this year, so be sure to set your research alerts now.

It's Time For A New Approach To Marketing

Consumers don’t trust your ads. In fact, fewer than one out of four US online consumers trust offline ads, and the numbers are even worse for digital. It’s time for a new approach to marketing, based on deep customer insights derived from a contextual, self-perpetuating, interaction cycle. Each interaction with your brand teaches you what a customer is trying to accomplish at that moment. You must build a mechanism that allows you to act on that insight, deliver utility in the moment of need, and propel the customer to the next best interaction.  We call this mechanism a contextual marketing engine, and our latest research – The Power Of Customer Context – shows you how to build it, and why you need to start now.

We unveiled this new research last week at Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders to an on-site audience of more than 900, and we'll do it again in a few weeks across the pond at our London Forum. What are the key takeaways?

If you weren’t able to make it, here are a couple of short video highlights from the main stage. For all the gritty details, make sure to check out this must read research. 

Where To Find Our Consumer Product Strategy Analysts

First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to thank our loyal readers of Forrester’s Consumer Product Strategy (CPS) blog. This will be the final post for the CPS blog, but never fear, future posts from your favorite analysts will still appear on both their individual analyst blogs, and the new role blogs to which they have moved. For more detail on this change and where specific analysts will be, keep reading.

Effective April 29, Forrester streamlined how we create and deliver value from 9 roles to 6. The goal of this change is simple — be more clear and distinct in how we define the roles we serve so you can get more value from the role research that fits you best. For the purpose of this post, I want to ensure that you can: 1) ascertain which of the roles is in fact the best fit for your needs; and 2) find your favorite analysts from the old CPS team.

As of April 29 we now have these 6 Marketing & Strategy roles from which you can pick:

1.    Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) – this is where you can find James McQuivey, PhD.

2.    Customer Experience – this is where you can find Tony Costa.

3.    Marketing Leadership – this is where you can find Sarah Rotman Epps and Thomas Husson.

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How Do YOU Organize For Open Innovation?

Quickly: Open Innovation is about engaging external parties (e.g., customers, partners, employees, etc.) to source new ideas for products and services. We've developed a Forrester playbook for open innovation, complete with a self-assessment, a strategic road map, and even a view into the landscape of tools and vendors that can help you along the way.

However, one of the questions that we haven't answered yet is how product strategists get their firms to organize for open innovation. Our hypothesis is that this is more of a cultural shift than a straightforward change in organizational structure. We are kicking off some research on this important topic now, and in the spirit of being "open," I'm asking you to either post your comments in reply to this blog post or reach out to directly to my colleague srose@forrester.com to schedule an interview so we can discuss how you are organizing for open innovation at your firm.

In return for your participation, we'll send you a copy of the report (if you're not already a client), and perhaps even feature your organization as an example — depending on your willingness to be included, of course. So please chime in and tell us about your best (or worst) experiences in trying to make your product innovation more open. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. 

Thanks,
Carl

Revolutionize Your Products & Services: Forrester’s Playbook For Open Innovation

As a product strategist, do you struggle with a sluggish innovation “process” in your firm? Do you think it takes too long to identify great ideas and turn those ideas into compelling new products and services for your customers? If you’re like most of your peers, the answer to both questions is probably a resounding "yes." That is exactly why Forrester’s Consumer Product Strategy practice developed The Open Innovation (OI) Playbook

Forrester defines open innovation as:

The act of innovating, whereby new ideas or methods are requested from three broad participant groups: employees, partners, and customers.

This approach to innovation is in stark contrast to the typically closed and often secretive product innovation practices that most firms still use today. Our OI playbook provides you with an end-to-end framework, organized in twelve easy-to-find modules, and designed to give you the insight, tools, and best practices that you need to successfully adopt an open innovation approach within your organization.

To get started, I suggest reading the Executive Overview: “Revolutionize Products And Services Through Open Innovation”.  This report will set the stage at a high level for you. Then, depending on where you are in your open innovation journey, you can “pick your spots” by navigating directly to the most applicable chapter for your needs. In general, the OI playbook is divided in to four phases as follows:

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Calling All Product Strategy Professionals!

We're looking for a new analyst to join Forrester's Consumer Product Strategy practice. Are you experienced in the field of product planning, development, and innovation? Do you have an insatiable curiosity for where the digital economy is headed and how digitally disruptive products are changing the world in which we live? If this sounds like you, keep reading . . .

Digital disruption is transforming consumer products, inverting industry economics, and redefining customer relationships for companies in all industries. Forrester is helping our clients adapt their businesses and innovate their products in response to the unprecedented pace of technology change that characterizes this revolution. We need a Senior/Principal Analyst with cross-industry experience to join the team and help serve Forrester’s clients with forward-looking research and advice on how product strategists can capitalize on digital disruption. 

If you’re interested, apply online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Forrester's CPS Practice Welcomes Our Newest Analyst - Denée Carrington!

Over the summer, I asked you all whether we are finally headed toward a cashless society. Since then the battle for the digital wallet has certainly heated up. Well today, I am thrilled to announce the newest addition to Forrester's Consumer Product Strategy practice. Her name is Denée Carrington, and she will be joining us as a Senior Analyst, covering consumer payments, starting January 3, 2012. 

To provide more specifics, here's a sneak peek at some of the coverage areas where Denée will be able to help Forrester clients with consumer payment strategy in the new year:

  • Defining the future of consumer payments
  • Managing a portfolio of payment products (e.g. credit, debit, prepaid, contactless, mobile, person-to-person (P2P), etc.)
  • The business models and profitability of these payment systems
  • Understanding the dynamics of customer (consumer and merchant) payment behavior
  • Understanding the payments needs of different markets
  • Sizing the different payments market opportunities
  • Driving customer (consumer and merchant) adoption of payments systems
  • Building and developing new payment systems
  • Optimizing existing payment products to improve security and increase convenience
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What Signal Does The Google-Motorola Marriage Send To Product Strategists?

It’s a couple of days after Google announced its intentions to jump headfirst into the hardware business. By now everyone — including my colleagues Charles Golvin and John McCarthy — have expressed their thoughts about what this means for Apple, Microsoft, RIM, and all of the Android-based smartphone manufacturers. This is not another one of those blog posts.

What I really want to highlight is something more profound, and more relevant to all of you out there who might classify your day job as “product strategy.” To you, the Google/Moto deal is just one signal — however faint — coming through the static noise of today’s M&As, IPOs, and new product launches. But if you tune in and listen carefully, two things become crystal clear:

  • The lines between entire industries are blurring. Google — and some of the other firms I mentioned above — are just high profile examples of companies that are diversifying their product portfolio, and the very industries in which they play. There are several instances of this over the past "digital decade." What's different now is the increased frequency of the occurrences.
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Are We Headed Toward A Cashless Society?

These are exciting—and challenging—times for anyone who is responsible for developing, managing, and innovating consumer products.  Why?  Because digital technology is disrupting everything—the way we communicate with each other; the way we access, store, and share information; the way we purchase and interact with the products and services we use every day; and yes—even the way in which we actually pay for those products and services.  Whether you like it or not, digital disruption is happening everywhere, it’s happening fast, and it’s accelerating.

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Customer Intelligence Can Drive Irrefutable Marketing Accountability

Would you classify your marketing organization as "highly accountable"? What I mean is, are you always able to accurately measure the true business value of your marketing efforts, and do your senior leaders trust the results? If you're like most marketers, the honest answer to that question is a resounding "no". Proving the business value of multichannel marketing is getting progressively harder—and more important—because:

  • Traditional marketing measurement practices are rooted in stable but inflexible tactics that leave marketers ill-equipped to keep pace with the real time nature of channel digitization.
  • CFOs wield ever-more influence over marketing budgets, which is driving your CMO to lean harder on you to measure business results with scientific rigor.
  • Your customers are in control; uncertainty and unpredictability are the norm; and marketers that can't adapt appropriately are doomed to fail.

This is where you come in. I believe that Customer Intelligence professionals are remarkably well positioned to address these challenges head on, and improve marketing accountability across the enterprise. Why? Because you sit at the cross-section of unfettered access to mountains of customer data from a dizzying array of online and offline sources. "Big data" as the recent article data, data, everywhere in The Economist puts it, is big business. CI professionals are right in the middle of it all helping firms capture customer data, analyze it, measure business results, and act upon the findings.

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