Forrester’s 2016 Predictions: All That Data Will Finally Drive Business Action

Do you consider yourself “data-driven”? If you’re like most business and technology leaders, you do. But the reality is that most businesses have only scratched the surface when it comes to transforming all of that data into insight that drives real business action. In our 2016 predictions report, my colleagues Brian Hopkins, Jennifer Belissent, PhD., and I predict what will happen in the hottest areas of big data, analytics, business intelligence, and systems of insight — and tell you what to do about it. Here’s a sneak at just a few highlights:

  • Chief data officers (CDOs) will gain power, prestige, and presence . . . for now. The trend toward appointing a CDO accelerated in 2015, and will continue in 2016.  CI pros should take advantage of this. How? Extend customer insights beyond marketing to drive a culture of insights-to-execution across the organization.
  • Firms will try to come to terms with data science scarcity. Two-thirds of firms will have built predictive systems capability by mid-2016, but will struggle to find data science talent. Customer insights teams must increase analytic yield without waiting for hard-to-find data scientists. How? Some analytics platforms from vendors like AgilOne, Custora, and Origami Logic can empower business users without a rigorous statistical background.
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Q&A With Walter Levitt, CMO, Comedy Central

HBO Now. Sling TV. CBS All Access. It seems almost every day we learn about a new deal or a new service that will continue to fragment the way consumers watch the content they love.

It’s also just one of the reasons I’m excited to hear from Comedy Central at this year’s Forum for Marketing Leaders - a brand that is actively traversing the fast-paced changes in the TV industry.

Walter Levitt is CMO at Comedy Central, and will join us on stage on Tuesday to discuss the evolution of the ‘multi-channel, multi-platform brand.’ In advance of his session, he sat down with me to talk about the effect of these changes on the Comedy Central brand.

Q. Comedy Central is rooted in a traditional linear cable channel, but (like many of your peers) is actively pursuing a multi-screen, multi-platform strategy. Do you think of Comedy Central as a TV brand, an entertainment brand, a content brand, or something else?

A. Comedy Central is a comedy brand. For our fans, we are their favorite “go to” whenever they are looking for a laugh. We have a strong 24-year history as a TV network, but over the last few years we've evolved our brand to ensure we are meeting the needs of our fans everywhere – and that obviously extends far beyond the linear TV screen.

Q. In building engagement, loyalty and audience, how do you balance the place of the Comedy Central brand vs. the brands of your individual programs, like the Daily Show or Broad City? How do you allocate investment, for example?

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Q&A with Lori Tieszen, SVP & CMO, Stoli Group USA

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since we introduced contextual marketing at our 2014 Forum for Marketing Leaders. At that event, we focused on new approaches to marketing that harness the power of customer context to deliver real-time value in customers’ moments of need. This year’s forum for marketing leaders is right around the corner, and we think it’s going to be our best yet.

The 2015 Forum will dive deep into the next-generation marketing organization, addressing the critical challenges today’s marketers face on the road to customer-obsession. And as this year’s conference host, I couldn’t be more excited about the roster of industry CMOs, marketing leaders, and Forrester analysts we’ll hear from next week.

One such speaker: Lori Tieszen, SVP & CMO at Stoli Group USA. I had a chance to catch up with Lori to hear about Stoli’s brand reboot. Here’s a sneak peak at this journey, which we’ll hear Lori talk about in detail next week.

Q. What was behind the decision to create a standalone company to focus on the Stoli brand in the US?

A. With the last importer, William Grant & Sons, Stoli lost share in the vodka category. When the contract was up, our owner, Mr. Yury Shefler, thought it was more important to market and sell his vodka directly versus through a third party. Third party brands, not owned by the importer, are never as important as their own brands.

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Q&A with Jim Berra, SVP & CMO, Carnival Cruise Lines

In the wake of a series of negative and well-publicized events in early 2013, Carnival Cruise Lines has since engineered a strong recovery and ranks as the No. 1 improved US brand in terms of consumer perception over the past year.

At Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders next week, we’ll hear from Jim Berra, SVP & CMO at Carnival Cruise Lines, on how the well-known hospitality brand made this journey. In advance of his session, I sat down with Jim to talk about the evolution of his role at the company, and how he’s traversed the tricky path toward customer-obsession. Here’s a look at our conversation.

Q. How will your role change in the coming 3 to 5 year time period and what is driving this change?

A. It’s always fun to try to crystal ball where marketing will go and I’m 100 percent confident that I won’t get this right, but I’ll give it a shot. I think what will separate marketers has less to do with the role we’ve traditionally played and more to do with the role we are now being asked to play. This centers around how the product and customer experience should evolve, and how the organization will use data and consumer insight to unlock opportunities to innovate.

To do this well, it will require CMOs to collaborate effectively across a wider range of stakeholders, and in some cases, take a few steps outside of our comfort zones. It also requires taking a larger view of the business, and effectively balancing different internal and external perspectives.  

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Marketers Will Use Customer Context To Supercharge Digital Engagement In 2015

In 2014, Forrester outlined a new approach to marketing that requires brands to harness customer context to deliver self-perpetuating cycles of real-time, two-way, insight-driven interactions.  In 2015, we’ll see more marketers obsess over customers’ context. As more interaction data floods customer databases and marketing automation systems, customer-obsessed marketing leaders will strive to orchestrate brand experiences that drive unprecedented levels of engagement. For example, we predict that:
  • Digital marketing investments will drive brand experiences across the customer life cycle. By the end of 2015, spend on digital marketing will top $67 billion — growing to 27% of all ad spend. In fact, we believe this will surpass TV spend by 2016; there’s more to the story than ad spend. We believe marketers will branch out of expected digital media buys to stimulate more insight-driven interactions with customers throughout the entire customer life cycle. Supported by new streams of situational customer data and powered by the ability to precisely target audiences with programmatic media buying, marketers will deliver highly engaging brand experiences rather than just feed the top of the funnel.
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Blinded By The Dream Of Having A Single Marketing Services Partner?

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said "the only thing that is constant is change." Well, the CI services landscape seems to live and breath this saying. Today’s market demands are leading traditional database marketing service providers (MSPs) to deliver broader digital marketing capabilities, either through partnerships, acquisitions, or organic growth. While this trend has been unfolding for the last couple years, it shows no signs of slowing down. One of the latest examples of this activity is Alliance Data’s acquisition of Conversant for their Epsilon division. This is the latest in a series of moves by MSPs to build a bridge between the data business, digital marketing, and overall customer strategy - all key capabilities in the evolution toward Customer Engagement Agencies (CEA).  

Customer Insights (CI) professionals and marketers have managed relationships with their MSPs for decades to execute conventional direct marketing campaigns. While the classic database marketing business won’t dry up any time soon, the CI pros and marketers who manage these vendor relationships are grappling with:

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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 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.