The “Quantent” Quandary

Brandon Purcell

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a teleconference highlighting IBM Watson’s success stories over the past year.  Most of them are under NDA, so I can’t go into the details, but I will say they covered an incredibly broad range of use cases.  One use case that I was hoping they would cover and didn’t was content analytics for marketing, aka “quantent.”

In the customer analytics arena, we often talk about “getting the right message to the right customer at the right time.”  This is only partly true.  Well-built and rigorously tested propensity models will deliver you the right customer and the right time.  Behavioral segmentation models may even specify the best channel to use to deliver the message.  But that still leaves the message itself.  Whatis the right message?

Content analytics begins with entirely different data than customer analytics, and the two analytical streams merge just prior to the point of action.  Whereas customer data contains information about customer profiles, transactions, and behaviors, data about content characterizes tone, length, wording, dates, products mentioned, type of offer (if applicable), and other key themes within the content itself.  Most importantly, content that has been subject to A/B testing also creates data about the success of the message on an individual customer basis.

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Musings on Mobile World Congress 2016: IoT Generates Insights From Cows To Customers

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

More than 100,000 people descended on Barcelona, Spain last week to be part of Mobile World Congress (MWC), one of the world’s largest annual technology events. My new report, IoT And Insights Are Two Sides Of The Same Coin, recaps some of  the MWC 2016, including expectations for new 5G networks, the Internet of Things (IoT), and applications that will deliver value from the multitude of connected things — and people. A few of those highlights include:

5G Networks Promise Speed But Require Patience. 

Telecom operators and network equipment providers eagerly discussed the faster speeds and lower latency of new 5G networks.  And, fast it will be. While reports vary, network tests show download speeds peaking at more than 20 Gbps; average 5G speed is expected to be 100 times faster than current 4G networks. With that kind of speed, true video streaming becomes a reality for consumer and business uses. And, that reality can be with virtual or augmented: AR and VR were all over the exhibit hall. I successfully fought with a dragon but had to bail out of the helicopter I was flying as the experience got a little too real.

But alas, these good things only come to those who wait. The 5G standards will not be finalized before 2018; and commercial availability not before 2020 at the earliest. Large-scale network rollouts will likely take much longer. For now, we’ll all have to live with 4G reality as it is.

Interest In The Internet Of Things Is Exploding – Well Beyond Things.

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Hot Off The Press – The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q1 2016

Brandon Purcell

We have all this valuable data about our customers, but we need to make better use of it.

This is the most common theme I hear on inquiry calls, at conferences, and in advisory sessions.  At this point, companies are fully aware that their data contains enormous value.  In fact, I like to think that data has a potential value much like the concept of potential energy in physics.  In physics, the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy requires force.  In business, customer analytics is the Force that unlocks the hidden value in your customer data.

Because customer analytics often relies on advanced machine learning algorithms, it used to be the domain of statisticians who could write code in R or Python.  Today, thanks to the 11 customer analytics solution providers in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q1 2016, customer insights professionals are applying these techniques to their data to address key business objectives.  This report, which is only available to Forrester clients, evaluates the customer analytics solutions of Adobe, AgilOne, Angoss, Alteryx, FICO, IBM, Manthan, Pitney Bowes, SAP, SAS, and Teradata.

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Apple Does The Right Thing To Defend Customer Privacy

Fatemeh Khatibloo

By now, most of you have read about Apple's powerful public statement of refusal to comply with a court order compelling the firm to help the FBI gain access to the data stored in the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5. Specifically, the FBI requires Apple’s help disabling the device’s data auto-erase function after 10 incorrect password attempts, and Apple is refusing to modify the software to enable this.

Over the past three years, Apple has hitched its brand wagon to privacy, because the firm believes that a) customers care enough about privacy to vote with their dollars and b) as the steward of people’s most personal, sensitive data, Apple has an obligation to serve their best interests. While this isn’t the first time that Apple has found itself targeted by regulators over privacy, this is the firm’s staunchest defense yet against government intrusion. Forrester believes that, with this move:

  • Apple is putting its money where its mouth is. Until recently, there has been plenty of debate about whether Apple has simply been paying lip service to privacy. But this move — along with its recent shuttering of the iAds business — proves that Apple is making serious product and business model changes in support of user privacy. Tim Cook is holding fast on the line he drew in the sand last year at the EPIC’s (Electronic Privacy Information Center’s) Champions of Freedom event in Washington, DC, where he said:
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Expectations For Mobile World Congress 2016: Is Mobile Everything?

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

We’re now only a week away from the Mobile World Congress 2016 to be held again in Barcelona.  As the excitement builds and we plan our schedules, it serves us to reflect back on last year’s event and to explore what we expect this year.

Mobile World Congress remains the pre-eminent event of the mobile industry and now one of the largest global events across all industries – a fact which illustrates an ambiguity in the meaning itself of “mobile industry.” Last year, over 94,000 people attended the event – a 10% increase from the 2014 event but a 30% increase over the 2013 event. Interest in “mobile” continues to grow – for now.  But the most interesting stat about past attendees is diversification. Yes, the event continues to draw representatives from mobile operators, device manufacturers, network equipment providers, software vendors, and other usual suspects.  But representation from other industries is growing.  Last year almost ¼ of attendees came from industries other than telecom and technology, including 4% from finance, 3% from government and others from automotive, pharmaceutical, retail, education, and entertainment.  I expect even more diversity this year.

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Introducing The New Insights Service Provider

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Do you ever feel like you’re facing a moving target?  Whether it’s the latest customer requirements, or how to improve operations, or to retain your best employees, or to price your products, the context in which you are doing business is increasingly dynamic.  And, so are the tools you need to better understand that context?  Everyone is talking about the promise of big data and advanced analytics, but we all know that companies struggle to reach the Holy Grail. 

Data and analytics tools and the skills required to use them are changing faster than ever. Technologies that were university research projects just last year are now part of a wide range of products and services. How can firms keep up with the accelerated pace of innovation? Alas, many cannot. According to Forrester's Q3 2015 Global State Of Strategic Planning, Enterprise Architecture, And PMO Online Survey, 73% of companies understand the business value of data and aspire to be data-driven but just 29% confirm that they are actually turning data into action. Many firms report having mature data management, governance, and analytics practices, but yesterday's skills are not necessarily what they will need tomorrow — or even today.

The same goes for data sources.  We all know that using external data sources enhances the insights from our business intelligence.  But which data and where to get it?

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Real-World Feedback on Real-Time Interaction Management

Rusty Warner

Have you ever felt like this…

Our vendor has some great capabilities that we are not leveraging, but I would place the blame on us.

Well, you’re not alone. That’s actually a direct quote from one of the 74 customer references we surveyed for the Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015. In general, we found that most customers are deploying real-time capabilities across only a few channels today. The most prevalent real-time interaction management (RTIM) use cases? Web personalization and dynamic email content are well ahead of other deployments, in use by 62% and 60% of survey respondents, respectively.  Decision management for contact centers and eCommerce recommendations are next in line, but the former may not be connected to digital channels, and the latter may leverage its own set of tools. Real-time mobile app deployments are surprisingly few – 8th in our list of digital and off-line channels – but by far the highest number of respondents (49%) plan to add mobile capabilities.

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...Where Angels Fear To Tread

Rusty Warner

We all know the opening part of Pope’s often-quoted adage. Certainly some acquisitions in the enterprise marketing technology arena are now looking like foolish decisions. In yesterday’s 2015 trading update, SDL announced it will sell multiple products that are “non-core to its future strategy,” including social intelligence, campaign management, and its Fredhopper eCommerce recommendation engine. SDL paid $110 million for the first two solutions when it completed its acquisition of Alterian in early 2012. The SDL announcement echoes Teradata’s similar announcement in November to sell its marketing application division. Teradata acquired Aprimo in late 2010 for $525 million, and then added smaller acquisitions of eCircle, Argyle Social, Ozone, Apoxxee, and FLXone – the last pick-up coming less than one month before the sell-off announcement.

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The US Holiday Shopping Season 2015 Sets New Online Records And Rebrands Black Friday

Kristopher Arcand

With the winter shopping holidays now behind us, Forrester is wrapping up its annual qualitative exploration of US consumers’ perceptions of the holiday season, both for their own behavior as well as what they observed across retailers. The retail industry has seen an increase in consumer spending compared to last year — possibly due to savings from lower gas prices. Overall, we saw that consumers felt less compelled to go out and buy gifts on Black Friday itself, but they still love a good bargain. Some other insights we gathered:

  • Black Friday sales effectively crossed over from in-store to online. While in-store shopping dropped on Black Friday, online shopping sales rose, resulting in an overall increase in sales. Consumers were quite conscious of the fact that online deals appeared even before the Thanksgiving holiday (and therefore before Black Friday). This year, these sales also carried the “Black Friday” label — traditionally an in-store-specific event. By re-associating Black Friday with deals first and foremost, this could restore positive sentiment and downplay what has otherwise become a stressful shopping event.
  • Targeted outreach drives online sales — but retailers shouldn’t overdo it. A smaller number of targeted deals and offers will help reduce the overall volume of email that consumers receive. This will in turn minimize the chances of consumer recipients being overwhelmed by holiday communications.
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Just published -- The Forrester Wave: Customer Loyalty Solutions For Large And Midsize Organizations, Q1 2016

Emily Collins

I recently wrapped up my third evaluation of customer loyalty vendors, and the market has evolved slightly since 2013. First, the lines between loyalty technology and services are fading: vendors that were traditionally considered service providers continue to productize and improve their technology platforms, and pure-play loyalty technology platform providers are shoring up their professional services offerings. Second, on the user side, I talk to clients who are looking for more holistic solutions and including a combination of service providers, agencies, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology platforms in the same request for proposal (RFP).

Given the hybridization of the market and evolving customer demands, we took a slightly different approach and conducted two evaluations of end-to-end loyalty solutions: one for large organizations including Aimia, Bond Brand Loyalty (formerly Maritz Loyalty Marketing), Brierley+Partners, Comarch, Epsilon, ICF Olson 1to1, Kobie Marketing, and TIBCO Software; and one for midsize organizations including 500friends, a Merkle company; Aimia; Clutch; CrowdTwist; DataCandy; Deluxe Corporation; and Inte Q Global.

What did we learn?

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