You have heard the word disruption; you know what that is. And you have heard the word digital. You know what that is, too. But put them together – digital disruption – and they add up to much more than the mere sum of their parts. Digital disruption, when properly understood, should terrify you.
Three sources of digital power – the prevalence of free tools and services that enable disruptors to rapidly build products and services, the rise of digital platforms that are easily exploited by aspiring competitors from all directions, and the burgeoning class of digital consumers ready to accept new services – have combined to unleash a disruptive force that will completely alter every business on the planet. Digital disruption isn’t disruption squared. It’s the disruption of disruption itself.
Most people I meet think they get digital disruption. And a survey of global executives we conducted shows that 89% of executives believe that digital will disrupt their industry. But they don’t realize just how big a deal disruption will be when it finally hits them.
I have been writing and speaking about digital disruption for years – full time for more than a year now – and it still manages to surprise me. In the month of October, I’ll keynote several Forrester Forums and there confess that digital disruption is even more powerful than I thought it was when I wrote the original Disruptor’s Handbook in 2011. What have I learned?
In the age of the customer, digitally empowered consumers are no longer sitting back waiting for brands to talk to them. They are seizing newfound opportunities on digital platforms to voice their wants, needs, and expectations. And data from our Consumer Technographics® panel shows that, in 2012, consumers expect more from brands. For example, they expect brands to create indispensable value and contribute to society.
But marketers are struggling to keep up with these changing consumer needs and higher expectations. They are disoriented in a world where they are losing influence with their consumers, losing control of their brand messages, and losing trust with consumers. Why? Because they are using old guidebooks and road maps that were designed for a traditional advertising world.
· Discover why, as a marketing leader, you must adapt your brand to consumers’ higher standards across this new brand-building landscape and must learn how to make a business case for investing in brand building.
· Plan for a new brand experience across all consumer touchpoints, from communications to retail experiences to products; a strategic plan to bring your vision to life and a road map to get you there.
As consumers continue to embrace all things digital to enhance their shopping experience, Forrester is conducting a series of research studies on the consumer’s new path to purchase. My colleague Cory Madigan introduces the first report in this series, focused on the buy phase of the customer life cycle. Here’s her take on these new behaviors:
Digital channels and devices have enabled today’s consumers to be more discerning about how they buy, from where, and at what prices. This disrupted “path to purchase” has complicated the marketer’s job as she tries to reach her shopper with more timely and relevant offers, both online and off. Particularly at the start of the buying process, consumers are doing more research online than ever. Which sites do they find most helpful when making a purchase decision? Forrester's recent North American Technographics® Consumer Deep Dive survey showed that about 1 in 5 found Google and Amazon most helpful, while half as many found traditional stores or websites most helpful. What other key trends should shopper marketers be aware of in 2012?
Today’s shopper is fluent in multiple channels and focused on value. Eighty-two percent of consumers researched a product before buying it, and nearly two-thirds of respondents say they pay more attention to prices and value now than they did a year ago. The savings mentality brought on by the Great Recession hasn’t eroded over time; progressive marketers will adapt to this new reality by shifting their focus away from competing on price and toward delivering superior value to shoppers. Emphasize retention and use smarter targeting to get your product in front of the right person at the right time.
The poorly kept secret that is the Google Nexus 7 tablet was just announced amid much developer applause and excitement. The device is everything it was rumored to be and the specs — something that only developers care about, of course — were impressive, including the 12 core GPU that will make the Nexus 7 a gaming haven. True, it's just another in a long line of tablets, albeit a $199 one that competes directly with Amazon's Kindle Fire and undercuts the secondary market for the iPad.
But as a competitor to the iPad, Nexus 7 isn't worth the digital ink I'm consuming right now.
But Google isn't just selling a device. Instead, the company wants to create a content platform strategy that ties together all of its ragtag content and app experiences into a single customer relationship. Because the power of the platform is the only power that will matter (see my recent post for more information on platform power). It's unfortunate that consumers barely know what Google Play is because it was originally called Android Market, but the shift to the Google Play name a few months back and the debut of a device that is, according to its designers, "made for Google Play," show that Google understands what will matter in the future. Not connections, not devices. But experiences. The newly announced Nexus 7, as a device, is from its inception subservient to the experiences — some of them truly awesome — that Google's Play platform can provide through it.
Last week, we released our newest report about the future of TV and argued in it and the accompanying blog post that the battle for the TV is not really about TV. It’s about the future of the platform giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft that want to add the TV to their platform ambitions. Surprising to some was our claim that Microsoft was in the lead in the US TV platform battle with its base of millions of Xbox 360 owners generating more online video views on the TV screen than viewers of any other device. Many have challenged this assertion, putting the data about current use aside and asking a good question:
Won’t Apple easily walk away with the TV business once it releases its next big thing, presumably a TV?
You’re in for a big surprise. Microsoft is winning one of the most important battles in the digital world: The battle for the TV. The TV battle is important for reasons you already know: TV consumes more time than anything else and it generates annual revenues from $140 to $160 billion each year in the US alone.
But the stakes of the battle have risen sharply. The fight over the TV is really a fight over the next massive consumer platform that is coming up for grabs. Of platforms there are few: Google owns search, Amazon owns digital retail, Facebook owns social, and Apple owns consumer devices. Microsoft owns, well, nothing at the moment, despite its handsome revenue stream from Windows and Office.
That could change soon. Microsoft’s Xbox 360 is already the most-watched net-connected TV device in the US and soon, the world. With more than 70 million consoles in households worldwide – as many as half of them connected to the Internet, depending on the country – Microsoft can rapidly drive new video services into tens of millions of households.
Shopper marketing is going digital, providing shopper marketers with a plethora of new high-buzz technologies, devices, and platforms to communicate messaging, promotions, or content to their shoppers along their path to purchase. But with limited budgets, and such a wealth of options, which ones should they choose? To help shopper marketers prioritize their technology investments in 2012 and beyond, my colleague Cory Madigan and I evaluated 17 digital tools for using Forrester’s TechRadar™ methodology. The highlight trends reveal that:
Cool isn’t necessarily critical . . . yet. Social networking pages, interactive displays, and QR codes get a lot of attention in the marketing world, but we found that in terms of shopper marketing utility, real shoppers aren’t quite as smitten. The opportunity is there, but lack of scale, measurement, and clear value for the consumer has limited the traction of many of the more talked-about technologies in the digital shopper marketing arsenal.
The digital oldies are still the ROI goodies. When it comes to shopper utility, consumers and marketers still rely most on brand websites, content that brands create for specific retailers, and email to deliver the value they seek. Rather than being replaced by new technology, watch for these platforms to become better optimized for mobile. With mobile optimization, shopper marketers will be able to tie shoppers’ online activities at home — on a PC or tablet — to their smartphone activities while on-the-go.
How many times have you been asked, “What’s your social strategy?” As Facebook’s IPO grabs the headlines, and new social sites like Pinterest and Tumblr grab consumers’ attention, many marketers are wrestling with what brand building looks like in today’s social world. But the real question you should be asking yourself is, “How does social media change your brand strategy?”
Marketing leaders now view social media as critical for brand building. In our February 2012 Marketing Leadership Online Survey, nine out of 10 marketing leaders told us that social media is fundamentally changing how brands are being built in the 21st century. In fact, they view it as second only to search for brand building. But many are still struggling to determine how to integrate it into their marketing plans. The truth is, while social is a great new tool, it lacks the power to build a brand alone. Marketing leaders such as Coca-Cola and JetBlue recognize this and are integrating social with paid and owned media to build a 21st century brand experience. In my new report, "How Social Media Is Changing Brand Building," I identify three ways social media can help marketers harness the power of social to build their brand by 1) building a relationship to become more trusted; 2) differentiating through an emotional connection to become more remarkable; and 3) nurturing loyal fans to become more essential.
How is social changing your brand building strategy? What challenges are you facing in the social brand building world? Comment here, or join the conversation in our community of marketing leaders.
As digital infuses every medium, one of the oldest advertising mediums around — out-of-home — is getting a digital makeover. Forrester Researcher Cory Madigan recently attended a MediaPost summit on this topic. Here’s Cory’s take on the event:
On April 11th, MediaPost hosted a Digital Out-Of-Home Summit in New York. The event was primarily attended by digital out-of-home (DOOH) vendors, and the content was geared toward that audience, focusing on what the DOOH industry can do to help media planners and buyers shift spend to that channel. The opportunity is clear: As the medium closest to offline purchase, marketers can use DOOH to complete a marketing loop that involves TV, mobile, social, and out-of-home media. Tricia Nichols, global lead of consumer engagement and media strategy for Gap brands, noted that the interactivity of DOOH screens lends itself to in-store experiences, going beyond offers and into social loyalty. But with what seems like an obvious way to spend ad dollars, young DOOH media is having a hard time selling itself to media buyers and advertisers. How can the industry rise to the challenges it faces?
Media planners: Break out of your silos. Rather than plan with a customer-centric approach, media planners focus only on their channel with little collaboration across other media. Because many advertisers are already unsure how to integrate DOOH into broader campaigns and programs, opportunities to marry place-based media and mobile programs, for example, go by the wayside. Agencies and marketers need to plan media according to the customer life cycle, and DOOH will be more likely to add value and find the relevance it seeks by marrying the targeting and geolocation capabilities this medium offers with content made for its place in the customer life cycle.
As the world’s largest advertiser, any move by Procter & Gamble (P&G) is closely watched. So much attention has been paid to its recent announcement that it will cut $10 billion from its marketing budget over the next five years. In an interview last week with The Wall Street Journal, P&G’s Global Chief Marketing Officer Marc Pritchard elaborated on the company’s intent to lean more heavily on digital media at the expense of higher-ticket TV advertising as part of its cost-savings strategy. The Wall Street Journal interview is part of a PR push from P&G around its digital ambitions, highlighted in a Signal event in Cincinnati last week that focused on brand building in a digital world. The event brought in digital players and experts from Facebook and Google to Buddy Media and Flipboard as well as Forrester’s own eBusiness experts Sucharita Mulpuru and Andy Hoar. So why is P&G making this digital shift, and what does it mean?
The public event and announcements are, as the event name suggests, a signal — a welcome signal to Wall Street that P&G will be faster and more efficient (the company’s stock rose 3% with the budget-cutting news). It's a return shot across the bow to competitors such as Unilever and L’Oreal, which are both making high-profile advances in their digital ambitions, and a signal to P&G employees around the world that their leaders are serious about digital and that they need to accelerate change in the slow-moving P&G ship.