Dreaming of Contextual Marketing

Rusty Warner

At Dreamforce in San Francisco earlier this week, Salesforce Marketing Cloud CEO Scott McCorkle highlighted retailer Eddie Bauer’s strategy to make marketing so good that it feels like customer service and customer service so good that it feels like marketing. He may well have added that when marketing and service are well executed, they both begin to feel like sales – or at least the extension of sales environments that they are meant to support.

This thinking underscores the blurring lines between marketing and customer experience. Where does one end and the other begin? And does it really matter? Certainly to the customer it doesn’t; all he or she wants is a great experience that delivers value appropriate to the current context. So then, why do brands continue to let organizational or functional silos get in the way? It’s easy to say that legacy systems and processes still dictate what brands are able to achieve, but surely with today’s business technology capabilities, it’s possible to do better.

Brands highlighted at Dreamforce not only do better: they blend marketing, services and sales for a seamless customer experience. Take Fitbit, for example. Of course the Fitbit business model is based on interaction and context, but Fitbit has taken things to another level by ensuring that marketing content is fully incorporated into app functionality instead of pushing messages at customers. Up-sell, cross-sell and promotional content appear when contextually relevant and blend smoothly with customer services information and sales/transactional opportunities.

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When a Dilemma Becomes a Polylemma

Rusty Warner

In the age of the customer, customer insights (CI) professionals must invest in software solutions that will help them orchestrate contextual marketing.  However, as outlined in Cory Munchbach’s report Let’s Revisit the Enterprise Marketing Technology Landscape (Again), the market is in a state of flux.  Not only are we seeing tremendous M&A activity, but a constant stream of new vendors is flooding an already crowded space with innovative solutions. 

How does the CI pro responsible for marketing technology buying make an informed decision when faced with so many options?  Well, to quote Ron Davies (feel free to summon the voices of Three Dog Night, David Bowie or Shelby Lynne, if you prefer), “It Ain’t Easy!”  To help CI pros with their decision-making, my latest brief The Marketing Technology Buyer’s Dilemma provides advice on how to maintain customer focus while navigating market changes.

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The Enterprise Marketing Software Landscape, 2014 Edition

Corinne Munchbach

Forrester has written about enterprise marketing software (EMS) for almost a decade and in the course of that 10 years, there are a meager two things that have stayed the same: 1) the name and 2) the fact that we're talking about technology marketers use. Beyond that, the EMS space has undergone enough major change to be almost unrecognizable from earlier renditions. To that end, I just published a new/old report called "Let's Revisit The Enterprise Marketing Software Landscape (Again)" that builds on our existing years of research but offers a significant makeover to the categories and how we think about the components of the marketing software technology stack. Where used to put capabilities into four pretty traditional buckets — marketing management, brand management, relationship marketing, and online marketing — now we offer four new buckets, based on our contextual marketing research. The four new categories are interactions, analytics, insights, and automation.

In the report, I lay out what today's contextual marketer needs to do her much more complex job and therefore what she seeks in her technology. I also offer a lay of the land for a space that continues to change radically and rapidly. The report also highlights the core capabilities the vendors in each of the four categories provide today — and some of the areas on which they need to focus to really stand out for marketers. 

Give it a read and then let me know what you think of our categories and how you're sourcing all of these capabilities in your marketing org today. Enjoy!