Why I Believe That "Listening Technologies Won't Become A Major Marketing Technology In 2015"

Allison Smith

Social listening is really cool. I think about it, talk about it, and care about it full-time. But I'm hyperaware that at most organizations, the impact of social data is...blah. Social  data analyts have the data and the skill to answer some of the toughest questions that the business asks: "What do consumers want?" "How can we aquire more customers?" "Where can we cut costs?"

BUT, because their tools and strategic initatives relegate social to a function of customer service or PR, social analytics limps along, year after year, triaging crises, and pleading for money and influence in the organization, with limited success.

IN TRUTH, 2015 could be the year for listening technologies to become major marketing technologies. IF vendors can truly make legitimate integrations work, and can come up with real business metrics (read: not fan and follower, or even "engagement" counts). AND IF marketers can put serious strategy behind unpacking the insights that come out of social networks. But, nothing I've heard from either side of the aisle makes me think that we're going to see breakthrough in 2015. 

Read "Listening Technologies Won't Become A Major Marketing Technology In 2015" report, tell me what you think in the comments or on Twitter. I'm @allsnsmth. 

Apply Social Listening To The Entire Organization

Gene Cao

Chinese organizations started monitoring social media for purposes of PR crisis management. As I noted in an earlier report, Spring Airlines decided to build social listening functions to identify crises and perform basic brand tracking after struggling with a public relations crisis — the backlash from airline staff blacklisting a passenger for complaining about flight delays — on Sina Weibo in 2012. Like Spring Airlines, most Chinese organizations now hire social media monitoring specialists and leverage insights drawn from social data to support marketing functions like optimizing marketing campaigns in real time, measuring the results of social campaigns, and collecting ratings and reviews from customers.

Moving forward, some early adopters in China have applied social listening to broader business functions in their organizations, including customer service, sales, distribution, and product innovation. In my most recent report, I see that these early birds have achieved benefits including:

  • Optimized customer experience in marketing campaigns. A leading beverage company used a social listening platform to analyze consumer sentiments and shorten response times in China. Its marketing team created an in-house social marketing benchmark system, instantly analyzes customer behavior, and modifies its marketing campaigns based on that analysis.
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Apply Social Listening To The Entire Organization

Gene Cao

Chinese organizations started monitoring social media for purposes of PR crisis management. As I noted in an earlier report, Spring Airlines decided to build social listening functions to identify crises and perform basic brand tracking after struggling with a public relations crisis — the backlash from airline staff blacklisting a passenger for complaining about flight delays — on Sina Weibo in 2012. Like Spring Airlines, most Chinese organizations now hire social media monitoring specialists and leverage insights drawn from social data to support marketing functions like optimizing marketing campaigns in real time, measuring the results of social campaigns, and collecting ratings and reviews from customers.

Moving forward, some early adopters in China have applied social listening to broader business functions in their organizations, including customer service, sales, distribution, and product innovation. In my most recent report, I see that these early birds have achieved benefits including:

  • Optimized customer experience in marketing campaigns. A leading beverage company used a social listening platform to analyze consumer sentiments and shorten response times in China. Its marketing team created an in-house social marketing benchmark system, instantly analyzes customer behavior, and modifies its marketing campaigns based on that analysis.
Read more

Enterprise Marketing Technology Embraces The Mobile Mind Shift

Rusty Warner

This week Teradata became the latest Enterprise Marketing Software Suite vendor to extend its commitment to mobile, announcing the acquisition of Appoxee, an Israeli-based mobile marketing SaaS provider. Appoxee complements Teradata’s Digital Messaging Center (based on the 2012 acquisition of eCircle) with technology capabilities for messaging personalization, contextual targeting, in-app notifications and mobile analytics.

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Customer Obsession Differentiated Uber's Hailing Services In China

Gene Cao

Uber faces fierce competition in China from local taxi hailing service providers Didi and Kuaidi Taxi, which both launched Uber-style e-hailing services in 2014. Both providers use a costly subsidy model to entice taxi users to switch to e-hailing services. Kuaidi Taxi, which recently received $700 million in Series D funding to buy more self-owned e-hailing vehicles, has hired more drivers and continues to provide subsidies. Uber has a smaller user base than either Didi or Kuaidi and limited funds that it can leverage — so to win customers in China, Uber must engage customers differently. Uber can leverage its global organization’s existing customer analytics strategy and tools to better understand their (potential) customers and engage with them throughout the customer life cycle.

On New Year’s Eve 2014/2015, it was predicted that taxi service would be unobtainable as people concentrated on the New Year countdown. Uber analyzed historical customer data and was able to provide more appealing e-hailing options than Didi’s and Kuaidi’s cash coupons. Uber contacts customers in advance and asks them to confirm any rate increases due to its dynamic pricing model; this helps to set the correct expectations with customers about fares:

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Maturity Requires A Perfect Six Pack

Rusty Warner

Don’t worry: I’m not here to support your New Year’s resolution with work-out advice. But if you want to review the six requirements for planning a mature enterprise marketing strategy, then keep reading.

Real-time, contextually relevant customer experiences require a significant investment in enterprise marketing technologies. However, customer insights (CI) professionals often struggle with defining marketing technology requirements to match business objectives. It’s difficult because you must balance multiple stakeholders, accommodate channel-specific processes, and integrate products from different vendors to align with your firm’s enterprise-wide business technology (BT) agenda.

To support CI pros with requirements planning, Forrester offers a self-service assessment tool to help you determine how your firm stacks up using our enterprise marketing maturity model. We believe that customer-focused enterprise marketing initiatives rely on improved capabilities across six core competencies. The first three – strategy, resources, and processes – focus on organizational readiness. The remaining three – data, analytics and measurement, and technology – underscore the importance of the right tools to enable successful execution. 

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Chinese Banks Benefit From Customer Analytics

Gene Cao

China has experienced a fast expansion of credit card usage in the past 10 years, accumulating more than 390 million credit cards by the end of 2013, around 16 times more than 2003. But Chinese banks suffered from low activation rates of credit cards. In my recent report, I found China CITIC Bank (CNCB) faced a similar challenge; their 21 million credit cards had less than 20% activation before 2012.

In 2012, to increase the number of active credit card users, CNCB decided to revamp its customer analytics capabilities to better understand customer profiles and manage customer relationships. As a first step, the bank used SAS Enterprise Miner to deeply analyze both active and inactive cardholders and their usage scenarios and to measure the effectiveness of its credit card campaigns and programs through cardholder analysis for customer segmentation and marketing program effectiveness analysis including:

  • Cardholder analysis for customer segmentation.CNCB first collected and classified basic information about its cardholders from past marketing campaigns and transactional data. It defined four basic types of cardholders: inactive users, moderate users, convenience users, and heavy users. The bank spent two months to build data marts from the summarized data. It decided to focus on two groups of inactive cardholders: those who could be swayed by marketing campaigns and those who were heavy users of other banks’ cards but not CNCB’s through the analytics engine.
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Oracle Gifts Itself Another Data Platform

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Industry analysts know that major M&A deals, product announcement, and organizational changes can come at any time. But it still surprises us a little when a major player like Oracle announces a significant acquisition just days before Christmas. At any rate, Santa has come early for both Mr. Ellison and the Datalogix team this year.

We've just published a Quick Take on our perceptions of the deal, which holds a lot of promise. Our biggest concern? Realizing that promise requires some serious integration work, and so far, Oracle hasn't proven that it's especially capable of integrating the stack it's acquired for the Marketing Cloud offering. We also worry that Oracle's Data Cloud -- where Datalogix will sit -- is heading directly for a major privacy warzone. Whether Oracle is ready for that battle remains to be seen.

But the bigger picture is this: the Datalogix and Bluekai acquisitions, along with many others of the past year -- including Conversant by Epsilon, LiveRamp by Acxiom, and Adometry by Google -- are evidence of a fast-consolidating marketing and advertising technology landscape. 2015 will doubtless bring more M&A activity in this space, with a likely run on smaller technology and data vendors that have mostly been flying under the radar. What this race for the ultimate "marketing cloud" will mean to CI pros remains to be seen, but you should certainly anticipate plenty of shakeups in your vendor relationships over the next 18 months. 

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Can Visual Analytics Stimulate Social Commerce In China?

Gene Cao

with Allison Smith, Xiaofeng Wang and Vanessa Zeng

Chinese social platforms have started to engage in commerce via partnerships with eCommerce marketplaces, but online sales conversion rates from social traffic have been disappointing. For example, in May, 360buy (JD.com) — the second-largest B2C eCommerce marketplace — received a level-one access point on WeChat, the hottest social platform in China, but this didn’t deliver the large quantity of fulfilled mobile orders that the company expected. Haoyu Shen, CEO of JD.com, confirmed during the company’s Q3 financial earnings call that the majority of fulfilled mobile orders still originate from JD.com’s own mobile app. Forrester sees two major inhibitors of social commerce in China:

  • People don’t expect to see commercial promotions of products they don’t want on social media. Consumers normally blacklist friends or public accounts that push these ads, making it difficult to implement traditional B2C or C2C eCommerce models on social platforms. However, if social marketplaces can provide people a tool in those moments in which they actually want to buy a certain product, it may enable social commerce.
  • Customers have poor discovery and buying experiences on social commerce platforms. Social platforms in China that sell products and services online have limited search functionality, which does not make for a user-friendly customer discovery stage.  Chinese consumers have gotten used to being able to compare many products and prices when making online purchases — but current social commerce platforms can’t support that.
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Brands In China Start Considering Digital Analytics To Avoid Disruption

Gene Cao

Chinese businesses have been in a state of digital transformation for the past two decades. Since the early 1990s, many enterprises owned by national or local governments have been privatized, and many of those realized that they could make information technology their key competency. However, traditional retail and manufacturing brands in China are very fragmented. The country lacks a local version of Wal-Mart or Macy’s — large organizations that dominate specific sectors.

The rise of Internet companies and their new business models is digitally disrupting already struggling traditional brands. Internet companies in China are using their strong capital resources to take center stage in many markets, creating new service delivery models, bringing online experiences offline, and making transactions through online marketplaces instead of in physical stores.

Most of the traditional brands that I spoke with in the course of the research for my most recent report were unable to react properly, as they were using immature digital intelligence to understand online users. But traditional brands have now realized the value of doing business online and intend to apply advanced digital analytics to understand customer behavior across the multitude of digital channels — web, social, and mobile. For instance, Chinese banks are starting to employ digital analytics to understand how people use Internet financing.One of the four largest Chinese banksis accustomed to analyzing transactional data but has limited experience in online user behavior analysis; to offset this, the bank recently announced a plan to implement web analytics tools to understand how customers interact with its website, search engine, and social platforms.

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