Google Takes Aim At A Content Platform Strategy With Not One But Two New Gadgets

James McQuivey

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. 

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Apple's Coming Plan To Take Over The TV Business

James McQuivey

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?

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The Fight Over TV Is A Fight For Platform Power

James McQuivey

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.

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Well-Established Digital Channels Should Be Top Priority For Shopper Marketers In 2012

Tracy Stokes

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.
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How Is Social Media Changing Your Brand Strategy?

Tracy Stokes

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.

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How Can Digital Out-Of-Home Fulfill Its Potential? (Insights From The MediaPost Digital Out-Of-Home Summit)

Tracy Stokes

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.
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P&G Brand Building Goes Digital, But This Is Not The End Of TV Advertising

Tracy Stokes

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.   

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Book Business Outlook For 2012: Hard Work Ahead

James McQuivey

This week hundreds of us in and around the book industry will converge on Digital Book World 2012 (#DBW12). It's a conference that has risen in significance because this industry has rapidly come to understand that it is uniquely susceptible to digitization -- and poised to benefit from it -- in a way that other media are not.

This awareness has translated into relative optimism among publishers. As I'll share with the DBW12 audience on Tuesday morning, we recently conducted a survey with Digital Book World of publishing executives whose companies together earn 74% of all US trade publishing revenues. As we closed out 2011, 82% of publishing executives we surveyed were optimistic about the digital transition. That's a large number, even if it's smaller than the 89% it was a year ago. But when we take into account all the measures of optimism we threw at them -- about the industry in general, about the fortunes of readers, and the importance of their own roles -- most of them decreased somewhat and some decreased significantly. 

Most tellingly, only 28% of these executives thought their own company would be stronger in the future because of digital compared to 51% who agreed with this sentiment the prior year. This suggests that publishers have started to do the hard work of making the digital transition and they're finding that it is, indeed, hard work. It's worth putting ourselves in the shoes of these publishing industry product strategists for a moment to consider just why they aren't positive that their companies are going to come out better off. I see three reasons:

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2012 Super Bowl Heralds Change In Video And TV Marketing Strategy

Tracy Stokes

NBC recently announced that it would be streaming its coverage of the 2012 NFL Super Bowl online. NBC has streamed big events before (2010 Olympics, Sunday Night Football), but the big difference here is that it is selling video ads that will run exclusively on the online stream independently of the TV broadcast. This is a huge step for NBC as an ad seller since it is recognizing its untapped online audience and attempting to monetize it. Although the Super Bowl streams (restricted to the US only) are expected to greatly pale in comparison to linear TV viewership, Forrester expects the streaming audience of the Super Bowl to grow dramatically in years to come.

2011 has seen some major change in advertising. Although TV is still king, there’s no denying that online video, across a wide variety of devices, is experiencing strong growth. TV advertisers must now contend with smartphones, computers, and tablets as alternative sources of premium video content for engaging viewers with targeted ads. 

As media fragmentation increases, marketers will need to rethink their strategies and start to look at online video and TV as two sides of the same coin. In our latest report, “Why Marketers Must Integrate TV And Video Strategies” (subscription required), we make the case that marketers will merge their online video and TV advertising teams to more efficiently reach their audience across whatever screen they happen to be watching. Next month, our VP Practice Leader, David Cooperstein, will be speaking at the ANA TV & Everything Video Forum in New York about how marketers’ attitudes and strategies are shifting in the face of this new media convergence.

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Jay-Z Decodes The Future Of Digital Out-Of-Home

Tracy Stokes

For the 2010 launch of his autobiography Decoded, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z ran a teaser campaign with Bing that released one page of the book per day on out-of-home signage; people across the US tried to decode the pages from buildings, pools, and clothing racks. Jay-Z is one of many marketers giving the once-stagnant out-of-home channel an infusion of digital and creative innovation. Place-based networks, digital signage, digital billboards, and hybrid installations offer an array of options for marketing leaders to consider as they try to reach on-the-go consumers. This reinvigorated medium offers marketers greater relevance, engagement, and interaction. It grabs consumers with content at the right time in the right place — when they are about to make a purchase decision — and offers the immediacy of instant gratification or information through smartphone-enabled technology.  

To get a picture of this new media landscape and to find out more about how leading marketers have begun to use digital out-of-home, check out my new report, “Digital Remakes Out-Of-Home Advertising."

What do you see in the future for digital out-of-home? Are you ready to get outside?    

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