Meet Your New Customer . . . Wow, Is He Demanding

Look over there. See the guy in the queue flicking his mobile screen . . . tapping his phone on the reader, then walking out with his sandwich?

He's your new customer. Wow, is he demanding.

In 2011, Forrester first started to track this type of customer -- that is, someone with three or more connected devices who goes online multiple times a day from multiple locations. We found that 38% of US adults fit the description. That's an impressive debut, but the growth of this type of customer is even more staggering. We expect that by the end of 2013, nearly half of global online adults will be perpetually connected.

These people have new expectations. They don't want intrusive ads buzzing in their pockets. They want valuable content or service. They appreciate the soft sell. The needs and behaviors of these customers are so radical, so game-changing, that they subvert every rule of classic marketing. 

At our upcoming Forrester Marketing Leadership Forums -- April 18-19 in Los Angeles and May 21-22 in London -- we'll help marketers embrace this change so you can continue to create relevance and market share with your perpetually connected customers. As the host and research champion of both events, I'm deep in content development with both our external speakers and Forrester analysts. Here are a few of my favorite nuggets from our content meetings so far:

  • With its mobile wallet and services, Citi can market to its customers every 15 minutes. Do the math: If a customer has her mobile on for 12 hours a day, that's 48 times in a single day that Citi could reach her. Doing this would be madness! Instead, Richard Char, the Global Head of Information Services and Enterprise Payments, focuses on using customer data -- not only static profiles, but also, increasingly, contextual data like location -- to pick the exact right moment while rejecting the other 47.
  • Krispy Kreme is riding high on a revenue and profit surge and has raised its outlook for its 2013 fiscal year. The company achieves this growth without spending a penny (or pence) on paid advertising. Instead, Krispy Kreme's CMO Dwayne Chambers shared with me that they've used digital channels to amplify their offline word-of-mouth. I love how their Krispy Kreme Hot Light app alerts their customers to stores in the vicinity serving piping hot donuts. So much more useful -- and appetizing -- than seeing an untargeted ad for donuts.
  • On Thursday of last week, we welcomed to our line-up Raj Rao, Vice President of Global eTransformation at 3M. Raj talked to me about the importance of 24x7 responsiveness across all 3M geographies and its diversified product lines (from Post-it Notes to library security systems to touchscreen technology). Raj recognizes that this approach requires a wholesale change in the company's organization and staffing models, and he's rewriting the marketing competency models to document and then reward these new behaviors.

These are just a sample of the many stories and key takeaways offered by our line-up. Watch our blog in the coming weeks for more analyst perspectives on our theme ("Building Brand Advantage With Perpetually Connected Customers"). I look forward to welcoming you in either Los Angeles or London!


The game has changed

Christine, thank you for a good read. The game has certainly changed from where we were even two to three years ago. Since then we've begun to understand the role data has in a new science that blends customer relationship management (in the funnel) with marketing (above the funnel).

While the definitions have been blurring between marketing and CRM, the role of each has been expanding into ever more data. Companies are struggling with who owns this changing landscape and how to best capitalize with new processes and technologies. It is a real struggle.

An example would be that rather than arbitrating and prioritizing offers, a seller may want to wait and do nothing until a better situation arises based on environmental factors that until recently weren't tracked, like location, weather, inventory, and a host of things.

Real-time interaction management is in its early days and there is no consensus on how to solve these problems.

Real-time interaction hit the nail on the head!

Chris, You're welcome! I completely agree with your comments on real-time interaction management. Moving to that will open a total Pandora's box! Let's take your example of the seller waiting for a better environment. Think of the data involved - not only a hook up of above-the-line (marketing) and below-the-line data (CRM), but also the contextual information likely coming from some 3rd party - be it mobile operator or even! My colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo - who will be speaking at both LA and London - is kicking off some research on how companies can monetize their data if they have something to offer in these dynamic situations. We're on a decade-long journey here, the seeds of which we can only begin to sow in 2013.