The Surprising Challenge Of CI

Rob Brosnan

Hello, everyone. As a new analyst on Forrester's Customer Intelligence team, I'm taking over coverage of enterprise marketing platforms. I'll range everywhere from cross-channel campaign management to interaction management to analytics and optimization tools. 

I'm thrilled to join Forrester. We live in a time of extraordinary change in the way we conduct marketing. Businesses succeed and fail on how they bring the Customer Intelligence role to bear. I have the enviable task of following Suresh Vittal — who's since taken over the leadership of the CI role — as well as Dave Frankland, Zach Hofer-Shall, Fatemeh Khatibloo, Srividya Sridharan, and Joe Stanhope. As an aside, if we meet up, be sure to ask me the story of how Joe lured me to Forrester.
 
Extraordinary times imply that extraordinary challenges lurk underneath. CI professionals face the test of integrating data into a holistic view of customers. Recently in my report "CI Teams: Blocking and Tackling Is Not Enough," I dug into why data integration is such an omnipresent issue. As you might expect, a number of factors -- the explosion of touch points, the staggering amounts of data generated, budget, and skills -- contribute to the problem.
 
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Are We Headed Toward A Cashless Society?

Carlton Doty

These are exciting—and challenging—times for anyone who is responsible for developing, managing, and innovating consumer products.  Why?  Because digital technology is disrupting everything—the way we communicate with each other; the way we access, store, and share information; the way we purchase and interact with the products and services we use every day; and yes—even the way in which we actually pay for those products and services.  Whether you like it or not, digital disruption is happening everywhere, it’s happening fast, and it’s accelerating.

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Revisiting Customer Lifetime Value

Srividya Sridharan

Relationship marketers love customer lifetime value (CLV) as a concept because it puts the customer at the core of the marketing investment decision and sneaks a peek into the future worth of the customer. But in reality, arriving at customer lifetime value is often a herculean task and the assortment of CLV approaches available doesn’t make the process any easier.

My latest research, titled “Navigating The Customer Lifetime Value Conundrum,” highlights key considerations for firms who plan to embark on the CLV journey. As a continuation of this research stream, I asked our Customer Intelligence community members what their experience with CLV was and a few interesting points emerged:

  • Inclusion of intangible value. At what point is it important to account for the intangible, non-transactional value that customers are generating especially through all the emerging channel interactions such as referrals, recommendations, likes, user-generated content, etc.? 
  • Blurry definitions of "best" customers. Traditionally, resources are channeled toward your best customers with positive net present value (NPV). But often there is conflicting choice between investing in high-value, low-usage customers and low-value, high-usage customers. As a result, defining your "best" or "worst" customer/segment is not as obvious as a positive or negative NPV.
  • Diversity of CLV users. CLV is not just the domain of marketing or customer-focused teams, but it touches other stakeholders in the organizations. How do non-marketing stakeholders such as finance teams in your organization view this metric? Is CLV as important to non-marketing stakeholders as it is to marketing?
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Unlikely Data Partnerships: A New Reality?

Srividya Sridharan

I was intrigued by the recent announcement that MasterCard and Brighter Planet were teaming up to mine carbon emission data based on corporate cardholder data. This announcement got me thinking about unlikely data partnerships across verticals to productize data and form mutually beneficial partnerships using data as the currency. 

But what’s really interesting is that it elevates the conversation of customer intelligence beyond better campaigns and ROI to the use of customer data for sustainability efforts — a relatively uncommon use case for customer intelligence. 

The concept of data sharing or data partnerships is not new — entire business models exist on making these services available to organizations for smarter targeting and remarketing. Retail data co-ops, online media audience aggregators, and data coalitions are just a few examples of these models. And MasterCard even sells its MasterCard Advisors solution to provide merchants with enhanced data and targeting capabilities.

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A New Pair Of Eyes On CI Services

Fatemeh Khatibloo

 

Dave Frankland is an analyst’s analyst: a critical and perceptive forward-thinker with an encyclopedic knowledge of customer intelligence services and strategy. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has taken over as our Research Director, with the mandate to oversee all research and ensure that we are as relevant and consistent as possible across the team.

Of course, that left some pretty sizable shoes to fill in our team’s research agenda. Now, maybe I’m a little TOO fond of a challenge, but I raised my hand and asked to be considered for the position.

I’m tremendously honored to announce that, effective immediately, I’ll be taking over Dave’s coverage of CI services (agencies, MSPs, data providers and consultants).

My first report in this new role will provide an assessment of alternate vendors to the recent Database MSP Wave. Then, keep an eye out for a forward-looking analysis of what we’re calling the “Personal Data Cloud.” Future reports will look at outsourcing versus insourcing, vendor selection processes, and the changing role of customer intelligence in traditionally non-CI-driven agencies.

I’m looking very forward to getting to know many of you better and to exploring the changing face of the services landscape. I invite you to engage with me via our Inquiry and/or Briefing teams and to track me down at some upcoming events:

  • Privacy Innovation Invention: May 19th – 20th (Santa Clara, CA)
  • Merkle CRM 2.0 Summit: June 6th – 8th (San Diego, CA)
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The State of Cross-Channel Attribution

Fatemeh Khatibloo

As you may have read, I've just published a report entitled "Untangling the Attribution Web" (subscription required). In the course of researching that report, it became clear that, despite the many years of discussion surrounding what's commonly called "fractional attribution," there's still a dearth of organizations who have successfully implemented a measurement approach beyond legacy last-touch allocation methods. Financial services firms get close, especially those who are using marketing mix modeling. And a handful of retailers are executing a cross-channel attribution strategy, but many of them are still battling inconsistent metrics and channel conflict. So we found ourselves wondering why adoption of such a critical business initiative has stagnated.

As a result, we've created a very brief survey for attribution vendors and multichannel marketers to help us assess the current state of attribution. The survey will give us some visibility into the key challenges and opportunities surround attribution, and why its adoption is lagging. And, it will help guide our next report, wherein we'll provide an organization readiness assessment for attribution, and lay the framework for its successful implementation.

Please take five minutes to complete the survey; all responses are anonymous and only reported in aggregate. The next report will go live late this month or early in January, and participants will receive a copy of the published report.

Vendors, please go here.

Marketers, please go here.

Customer Intelligence Can Drive Irrefutable Marketing Accountability

Carlton Doty

Would you classify your marketing organization as "highly accountable"? What I mean is, are you always able to accurately measure the true business value of your marketing efforts, and do your senior leaders trust the results? If you're like most marketers, the honest answer to that question is a resounding "no". Proving the business value of multichannel marketing is getting progressively harder—and more important—because:

  • Traditional marketing measurement practices are rooted in stable but inflexible tactics that leave marketers ill-equipped to keep pace with the real time nature of channel digitization.
  • CFOs wield ever-more influence over marketing budgets, which is driving your CMO to lean harder on you to measure business results with scientific rigor.
  • Your customers are in control; uncertainty and unpredictability are the norm; and marketers that can't adapt appropriately are doomed to fail.

This is where you come in. I believe that Customer Intelligence professionals are remarkably well positioned to address these challenges head on, and improve marketing accountability across the enterprise. Why? Because you sit at the cross-section of unfettered access to mountains of customer data from a dizzying array of online and offline sources. "Big data" as the recent article data, data, everywhere in The Economist puts it, is big business. CI professionals are right in the middle of it all helping firms capture customer data, analyze it, measure business results, and act upon the findings.

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Welcome To The New Customer Intelligence Blog

Carlton Doty

Hello Customer Intelligence Pros:

In case you haven’t heard by now, Forrester just launched its new blog platform yesterday. Why bother you ask? Well, most importantly, we want to more easily allow you to follow individual analysts and streams of research that are most relevant to you. Here is what Cliff Condon, our guru of Forrester communities and blogs, has to say about the new platform. I urge you to please take a look around, and let me know what you think. Also, let me know what type of content and discussion you would like to see from the Customer Intelligence team in the near future.

Thanks,

Carl

Welcome Joe Stanhope to the Customer Intelligence team!

Carlton Doty

Happy New Year!  Okay, a bit late on that. However, I have some exciting news. I’m thrilled to announce the newest addition to Forrester’s Customer Intelligence (CI) team—Senior Analyst, Joe Stanhope. Joe starts on January 25, and he will be our go-to analyst for site optimization strategy, which includes coverage of Web analytics as well as online testing and targeting platforms.

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What to do with Social Media and Market Research?

Brad Bortner

Social media is the interesting guest at the market research party that the hosts don't quite know what to do with. (My past blogs on this topic include: Social Media, Even Home Home on the Range, and Will Private Online Communities Transform Qualitative Research

Vast numbers of people are congregating online to discuss a vast variety of issues, ranging from their social lives to what is the best server to buy for their business. It is so vast, that it is troublesome getting a handle on it. Surely, any specific online community has lots of systematic biases, so it can't be treated as projectable to anything but that community, right? Of course, the same can be said of any qualitative research. Some of the approaches and techniques that are of interest to market researchers include:

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