CEOs: your changing customer

May in NH with Mother_0020 Is there anything more boring than raw data? Yes, a blog that spews forth raw data. So I'll keep this short and sweet.

When CEOs doubt the importance of technology in the economy, I pull out a home grown aphorism: Technology is changing your customer, and your customer will change your company. In other words, whether you like it or not, demand will ultimately morph supply. And it's the job of the CEO to have a firm grasp of that dynamic.

So in the spirit of keeping CEOs up-to-date on the changing customer (like my 92 year old mother, shown above reading from a Kindle), here's a super-condensed summary of Forrester's recent survey of U.S. consumers. And I've also included short, pithy "What it means" comments. You can go here for a very short summary of the survey, or you can go to the New York Times story about the report.

1) The 2009 customer is unrecognizable from the 1999 customer. What it means (WIM) to you: If your business looks the same now as it did in 1999, you are risking irrelevancy.

2) Consumers in every age group are quickly moving from offline channels to online. WIM: If your marketing department is filled with people that still over-emphasize TV or magazine advertising rather than a more balanced approach to the customer, you're wasting your money. 

3) Americans spend 8 hours per week with old media (TV, newspapers) and 8 hours per week with new media (Internet). WIM: spending on your Web site and new media advertising should be comparable to your old media spend.

4) 25% of households have digital video recorders -- devices like Tivo that let TV watchers record shows and fast forward over ads. WIM: you're probably over-paying for TV ads.

5) 88% of people under the age of 40 are regular Internet users -- at home and at work. WIM: while all of your customers are changing, your future customers (young people) are changing even faster. Moving slowly now will inhibit market share and new customer acquisition over the next ten years.

6) Half of all Americans research products online before buying. WIM: your customers are ever smarter about what they purchase. All the more reason to treat them like partners and enlist them to help you design your next product.

7) Half of all U.S. adults play computer games. WIM: begin to use this medium, as IBM has done, as a training medium for your workforce.

Over the next ten years the move to digital will not abate -- it will intensify. As CEO, you must stay current with those outside revolutions and translate them into meaningful change within your company.

What do you think will be the most amazing change in the way that people use technology over the next 10 years? I'd love to get your thoughts.

[Cross-posted at BusinessWeek's Technology At Work blog.]


re: CEOs: your changing customer

George, this post reads like one of my presentations that change brought about by technology should not being surprising. I will quote you if I may.The main problem for enterprises today is their inability to adapt to these changes because there is no one left who can change the hardcoded processes to match changing customer needs. Process reeingineering and enforcement was and is the silly idea everyone is chasing. The Internet is empowering the customer who now wants to be serviced either by a great internet app or by people who are empowered to service them accordingly. Customer service staff is less trained, less experienced and can do less than ever before. I have yet to see the CEO who really understands that and is changing his business and IT strategy accordingly.The most amazing change we will see is EMPOWERMENT that is manifested in social networks and the immediate access to knowledge. Businesses, media and government loose control over what citizens can know and the fight to control that process is yet to come. I have stopped to watch TV a few years ago and it has been truly good for me. I suddenly have time to think and thus I CHOSE what information is relevant for me. I will not be the only one.

re: CEOs: your changing customer

George,Thank you for your insights on the latest report.First off - I'm one of Forresters' greatest fans and users and have had the pleasure of being interviewed for a few reports in the past when I worked at IBM. Thank you.I see a number of changes in technology usage - perhaps closer than your 10 year question.1. I see the rush for big business enterprise 2.0 spending as per earlier Forrester forecasts. I also see IT departments struggle as they are charged with both implementation and then the adoption of those tools. And yet, trial & adoption are not traditional IT skills sets and so marketers will need to help employ b2c marketing strategies and focus them inward.2. I still believe personal adoption of social media will [and must] lead corporate adoption and so I expect we will see a wedge in corporate environments between those who can and those who will not adapt.3. I think recruitment will be entirely by referral in the future. Perhaps bonus structures, internal movement will change based on ability to navigate the network and create corporate value in new ways.4. I wonder if life events have taken a bit of a back seat in the wide eyed wonderment of social media - and yet, companies will start to revisit life events identifying which moments consumers are most likely to shake up their entire networks or grow their personal networks substantially at different periods of their life.5. God help us - I hope facebook, linkedin and twitter (and social networks) can keep up their agile development to fit our needs. Maybe you notice like me that features and functions are constantly changing and so users must be open to exploring and learning constantly with these tools. Perhaps we will see more mixing the 'out of the box' offerings with MORE consumer level customizable pieces - not just applications, but the ability to add data and fields to the applications to suit consumer needs. (e.g. my adding info to linkedin profiles beyond tagging) As far as these platforms are, there is ample room for more functionality (and then usage).6. Greater integration/compatibility between software apps - be that aggregators of social networks or portability of full networks.7. Okay - sometimes people look at me funny when I say this one. I'm waiting for reverse segmentation - for the lack of a better term. Me as a consumer have the power to better segment my network, services, etc. Thinking of CRM turned towards the consumer. Imagine me chosing any profile field that I want acting as filters for what I want. Instead of getting information a company thinks I want based on my input, allowing me to manipulate the data pull.8. Finally - better access to metrics. People will be able to quote their new qualifications -social network size, level of influence, etc all arriving when we get the so desparately needed better metrics for social media.Cheers,Laurie Dillon-SchalkSocialwisdom.caor @ldillonschalk

re: CEOs: your changing customer

Thanks for this great post.If I may add something: Technology is also changing market research companies like Forrester.In 1999, no analyst could have built a personal brand that's as big as his employer's one (whether looking at the # of follower in twitter or at Jeremy's influence in ths social media community: is to me a critical phenomena that you're one of the first to experience: the power shift between corporations and knowledge workers.In one of your tweet, you asked what was best: team or individuals blogs. I'm curious on what the responses of CEO's were and whether it was any different from the overall responses.We (my company) believe that the answer is for company to build information infrastructures to capitalize on their employee activity in communities and measure their overall footprint (as a company) in their target market.Beside reducing the company risk when people leave , this also enable higher productivity in team engagement and consistency and alignment to company's objective.Best

re: CEOs: your changing customer

Dominiq:Thanks for the comment. As it turns out, Forrester analysts have always been able to build their personal brands -- but in the old days they did it via quotations in the media. And Forrester wanted/s that to happen -- the higher the personal brand, the higher the value to our clients.On the Twitter question,the vote was split evenly between team blogs and personal blogs. They are different animals, with different goals. Forrester will do both.George

re: CEOs: your changing customer

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