Tencent’s News Portal Is Differentiating Itself By Using IBM Social Analytics During The World Cup

Gene Cao

Contributed by James McCormick and Allison Smith

Tencent’s news portal is one of the largest online news portals in China, with more than 25 channels covering all types of news. Tencent faces fierce competition, which it intends to combat by building its analytics competency. With the eyes of millions of Chinese soccer fans on the World Cup, Tencent has a chance to better target its news and reports by using social analytics — which the news portal did by launching a mini-site of World Cup 2014 coverage. More than 50 advertisers showed interest in the World Cup site, thinking that it would differentiate Tencent’s news offerings and draw more traffic. And they were right: The site got more than 3 million hits in the first week of the Cup.

Tencent now has the first social analytics website for sports in China. Supported by IBM’s Social Analytics engine and hosted in its SoftLayer data center in Hong Kong, the site aggregates data from most leading Chinese social platforms including Qzone, Renren, Sina Weibo, and Tencent Weibo. Full coverage of these social platforms can help Chinese businesses get a fuller picture of customers to better personalize and target offers. Tencent’s news editors also have a separate social analytics tool to find buzzwords or popular terms on social platforms and highlight these attention-getting phrases in their titles and articles.

This investment is delivering two major benefits to Tencent:

Read more

Facebook's Mood Manipulation Study: What Does It Mean To Brands?

Fatemeh Khatibloo

By now, most of you will have read or seen multiple media stories about Facebook's recently published mood manipulation study. There's a lot of debate about the ethical implications of the research, and several European data protection agencies have already announced investigations into whether Facebook violated local privacy laws with the study.

But we think the questions for marketers go deeper: how will this research, and user response to it, affect how brands are able to engage with their customers on Facebook? My colleague Nate Elliott and I have just published a Quick Take on the subject. Our high-level assertions: 

  • While Facebook’s study crosses ethical lines, the data use is likely legitimate. Consumers are understandably outraged by why they perceive as an abuse of their postings. But Facebook’s Data Use Policy explicitly allows the firm to use data for internal research purposes. Still, the potential for users to abandon Facebook is real.
  • Facebook has novel data to analyze, and long term, that could change marketing practices significantly. The kinds of data that Facebook is starting to exploit are highly unique. It could actually combine evergreen affinities with contextually specific emotional states to change how brands buy media and measure performance.
  • But the short term implications may cut its opportunities off at the knees. If Facebook, with all of its research and experimentation, causes users to feel like lab rats, it’s possible that they will leave the site in droves. That outcome could severely limit brand reach — and that could signal the end of Facebook’s marketing customers, especially given today’s already reduced reach.
Read more

Do you have what it takes to be a loyalty legend?

Emily Collins

There are more than a few loyalty-esque proverbs that float around marketing departments and boardrooms everywhere: "repeat customers spend more," "it costs five times more to acquire a customer than to retain a customer,"  "80% of your revenue is driven by 20% of your customer base." If you are reading this blog post, chances are that you have uttered at least one of these phrases at some point in your career. But, if you've ever tried to put your money where your mouth is, you also know that achieving true customer loyalty requires strategic alignment, deliberate planning, and financial and cultural commitments. Loyalty is both behavioral and emotional, and companies that really want to compete for their customers’ loyalty need an evolved approach that extends beyond the program.

To help you understand where your loyalty strategy stacks up, Forrester has developed new self-assessments that examine loyalty from two points of view: the business' and the member's:

Read more

The Enterprise Marketing Software Landscape, 2014 Edition

Corinne Munchbach

Forrester has written about enterprise marketing software (EMS) for almost a decade and in the course of that 10 years, there are a meager two things that have stayed the same: 1) the name and 2) the fact that we're talking about technology marketers use. Beyond that, the EMS space has undergone enough major change to be almost unrecognizable from earlier renditions. To that end, I just published a new/old report called "Let's Revisit The Enterprise Marketing Software Landscape (Again)" that builds on our existing years of research but offers a significant makeover to the categories and how we think about the components of the marketing software technology stack. Where used to put capabilities into four pretty traditional buckets — marketing management, brand management, relationship marketing, and online marketing — now we offer four new buckets, based on our contextual marketing research. The four new categories are interactions, analytics, insights, and automation.

In the report, I lay out what today's contextual marketer needs to do her much more complex job and therefore what she seeks in her technology. I also offer a lay of the land for a space that continues to change radically and rapidly. The report also highlights the core capabilities the vendors in each of the four categories provide today — and some of the areas on which they need to focus to really stand out for marketers. 

Give it a read and then let me know what you think of our categories and how you're sourcing all of these capabilities in your marketing org today. Enjoy!

Ideation and the Art of Conversation

Rusty Warner

This past Friday I had one of the most enjoyable meetings of my professional life.  I had initially been worried about this particular meeting.  After spending 3 nights in Switzerland, I travelled back to the UK, spent 2.5 hours at Heathrow and then caught a flight to Finland, arriving well after midnight.  Knowing that I would only have a few hours’ sleep in Helsinki before heading 100 km north to Lahti for the meeting, I was concerned that travel and tiredness might take their toll.

I needn’t have worried.  Several participants had enjoyed a late night at Lahti’s famous summer retreat, and they were pleased I had made the extra effort to join them.  As we drove up to the log cabin in the woods, I was reminded of my 4-H camping days back in West Virginia.  Though I had spent childhood summers barefoot, I was surprised when asked to remove my shoes for a business meeting.  But, when in Finland… So we added our shoes to the 9 or 10 pairs already by the front door and joined the others in a family-style sitting room.

Read more

Plan, Don't Hope, For Lead-to-Revenue Benefits

Lori Wizdo

Marketing execs forecast a great number of top and bottom line results in order to get the budget to automate the lead-to-revenue process, fuel content marketing, and drive the marketing flywheel for lead production. Unfortunately, benefits don’t always happen according to plan.  In fact, they don’t always happen.   This leaves marketing leaders in a risky situation — no safety net, no assurances, and no soft landing — when it comes to accounting for the return on all that investment. 

That’s the problem I set out to address in the most recent document in Forrester’s Playbook on Lead to Revenue Management.  The report "Plan, Don't Hope, For Lead-To-Revenue Benefits"  (subscription required) gives marketers a framework -- and offers three actionable tools — that can be used together to jumpstart and sustain a benefits realization discipline in your marketing organization:

  1. The L2RM benefits results chain identifies the relationship between benefits. The L2RM results chain make it easy to see the causal relationship between benefits at the tactical execution level (e.g. improve campaign performance) the strategic level (e.g. increase marketing contribution to pipeline) and the business level (e.g. increase profitable revenue). Using a results chain to model your L2RM benefits can take some time, but the end result is an artifact that makes the link between new L2RM initiatives and benefits incandescently clear.
     
Read more

Make the Case for Cross-Channel Attribution

Tina Moffett

By now, we know that attribution is essentially the answer to many marketers’ prayers: more accurate performance metrics, better cross channel insights, and a more informed marketing spend.  While the benefits to attribution are clear,  many CI pros and marketers still need to make the case for attribution.  They need funding, and support from their executives.  In light of this aversion to investing in attribution, the recent business case report, Measure the Impact of Cross-Channel Attribution, will help CI pros build the business case you need to convince executives that implementing cross-channel attribution is definitely worth the time, effort, and money.  As you follow our guide to building the business case, you will cover all necessary bases by laying out the costs and benefits of attribution, while also planning for any possible risks you may run into along the way.

Read more

Perking Up Your Loyalty Program Benefits Is As Easy As A-B-C

Emily Collins

Consumers and marketers don't always see eye to eye when it comes to customer loyalty programs. Consumers tell us they enroll in programs for the points, discounts, and savings, while companies tell us boosting customer engagement is a top goal for their loyalty programs. Sixty-seven percent of consumers consider themselves active in programs they join, yet the marketers who run loyalty programs report that only 16% of customers are active program participants. Regardless of which camp you fall into, one thing is clear: a program is only as strong as the members who participate in it. And, the value exchange a program creates is central to attracting members today and getting them to come back tomorrow, next month, and next year.

But, choosing program benefits can create some anxiety. Marketers need a mix of rewards that satisfies consumers' desire for savings while encouraging deeper engagement, and acknowledging/recognizing customer value. Forrester clients often ask me questions like "What can we offer besides points?," and "How do we make customers feel valued?." The short answer is that there are a lot of options that have varying objectives for the customer:

Table of benefits and customer impact

Read more

What Does Acxiom's $310M LiveRamp Bid Mean For Marketers?

Tina Moffett

On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Susan BidelSri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.

Read more

What Does Acxiom's $310M LiveRamp Bid Mean For Marketers?

Fatemeh Khatibloo

On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Tina Moffett, Susan Bidel, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.

Read more