On May 14, Acxiomannounced 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.
At Forrester we have talked about the fact that digital intelligence has replaced web analytics. Digital intelligence tackles emerging channels, sophisticated consumers, technical challenges, and the enterprise democratization of digital analytics. Achieving this requires a technology toolkit which far outstrips the data, analytics and action remit of even the top web analytics tools. Does that mean we throw away web analytics? Absolutely not! Forrester’s most recent research shows that web analytics remains relevant even as digital intelligence strategies mature because top vendors are:
Extending the capabilities of their web analytics tools to collect and ingest multiple on and offline data sources and democratizing insights and discovery by improving usability and support of sophisticated data and analytics techniques.
Supporting other processes, systems and tools within the digital intelligence toolkit which provides actionably (e.g testing, behavioral targeting, etc.) by making web analytics data and insights available to these systems – in real time.
Don’t throw away web analytics; use it as a starting point and cornerstone for your firm’s digital intelligence journey.
If you haven’t kept up with the activity in the marketing technology space – acquisitions, product enhancements, "cloud" wars, et al., then I don’t blame you. The marketing technology landscape is complex, crowded, and confusing. To compete in the age of the customer, enterprises are quickly deploying technology to manage big data, execute contextual marketing, and orchestrate real-time customer interactions.
Whether you are a marketing technology vendor, buyer, or end user, this is an exciting time, and I am thrilled to join Forrester as a principal analyst on the Customer Insights team. I am based in London, and I will cover marketing technology along with my colleague Cory Munchbach. Together we will help Customer Insights (CI) Professionals as they navigate the digital marketing landscape and make marketing technology investment decisions. With a background that includes more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, customer analytics, product management, and product marketing, with both large and small vendors in the marketing technology sector, I am excited about my new role at Forrester and on the CI team.
On the morning of May 6, 2014, Google announced its intent to acquire Adometry, a leader in the attribution technology space. Later on the same day, AOL announced its intent to acquire Convertro, another top-performing attribution technology vendor. The Adometry acquisition is not surprising, as Google needed to make major investments in its existing attribution offering with some enhanced analytics and insights services, which Adometry can provide. AOL’s acquisition of Convertro was a move to further build out its ad technology stack, hoping to obtain strong attribution algorithm and stellar engineering staff through this acquisition.
Both companies stand to benefit from the acquisition of these small but extremely knowledgeable experts in marketing and media measurement. Two of the biggest benefits for each include:
A strong services staff with deep knowledge of all media and marketing data and, more importantly, the expertise in driving actionable insights in a complicated media-buying world.
An innovative ability to stitch data sources together — online, offline, and mobile — across the buyer’s journey.
Last month, we had one of our best Forrester Forums For Marketing Leaders that I've been to, and I've been to all of them. With an on-site audience of nearly 1,000 marketing professionals, I really enjoyed hearing from many of you -- our valued clients -- about your thoughts on the need for new approaches to marketing. Next week, I hope our European clients will find our latest thinking on customer context and utility marketing as valuable as your peers in North America did. Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in Europe is finally here, and I look forward to seeing you in London this Tuesday, May 13. Make sure you check out our latest research reports that go in-depth on the event theme, "Beyond The Campaign":
We've been talking about Adaptive Intelligence (AI) for a while now. As a refresher, AI is is the real-time, multidirectional sharing of data to derive contextually appropriate, authoritative knowledge that helps maximize business value.
Increasingly in inquiries, workshops, FLB sessions, and advisories, we hear from our customer insights (CI) clients that developing the capabilities required for adaptive intelligence would actually help them solve a lot of other problems, too. For example:
A systematic data innovation approach encourages knowledge sharing throughout the organization, reduces data acquisition redundancies, and brings energy and creativity to the CI practice.
A good handle on data origin kickstarts your marketing organization's big data process by providing a well-audited foundation to build upon.
Better data governance and data controls improve your privacy and security practices by ensuring cross-functional adoption of the same set of standards and processes.
Better data structure puts more data in the hands of analysts and decision-makers, in the moment and within the systems of need (eg, campaign management tools, content management systems, customer service portals, and more).
More data interoperability enables channel-agnostic customer recognition, and the ability to ingest novel forms of data -- like preference, wearables data, and many more -- that can vastly improve your ability to deliver great customer experiences.
As digital marketers, we know the importance of tracking, measuring, understanding, and meeting customers’ expectations at their preferred interaction points. We have convinced our budget masters of digital intelligence’s importance to the business as a whole and our spend on digital measurement and marketing technologies continues to increase—exciting vendors and enticing new ones to continually improve products.
But despite this increased investment in technologies, the same stubborn problem remains: different teams are working with siloed data sets while failing to understand and delight the customer across a variety of digital touch points. Why? Because while technology has provided the pieces for digital marketing, these pieces have not come together to deliver completed suites. Achieving this suite goal requires more than just an investment in technology; it requires a considerable effort and a strategy supported by executives that:
Recognizes the multi-channel digital customer experiences firms wish to project using customer insights
Realigns teams and processes to for better cross functional cooperation
Builds skills set and focuses more investment in staff and partnership
Consumers don’t trust your ads. In fact, fewer than one out of four US online consumers trust offline ads, and the numbers are even worse for digital. It’s time for a new approach to marketing, based on deep customer insights derived from a contextual, self-perpetuating, interaction cycle. Each interaction with your brand teaches you what a customer is trying to accomplish at that moment. You must build a mechanism that allows you to act on that insight, deliver utility in the moment of need, and propel the customer to the next best interaction. We call this mechanism a contextual marketing engine, and our latest research – The Power Of Customer Context – shows you how to build it, and why you need to start now.
We unveiled this new research last week at Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders to an on-site audience of more than 900, and we'll do it again in a few weeks across the pond at our London Forum. What are the key takeaways?
Consumers interact with brands across various mediums — their smartphones, computers, call center, in-store — just to name a few. Their interactions with brands — from viewing a TV ad to re-tweeting a promotion — are creating such a rich trove of data that marketers are left wondering: How do I glean relevant insights to optimize my marketing and media? Which channels should I optimize? How can I meet my growth goals while expanding into new, unfamiliar markets and channels? These questions keep marketers up at night; they are looking for best-in-class examples of measurement and analytics success. Well, look no further.
Our latest report, “Extract Business Value From Your Mix Model,” co-authored by Jim Nail, showcases USAA’s successful approach in leveraging marketing mix modeling to measure channel performance with greater precision and to identify and optimize future strategic investments, including marketing investments, product development, pricing structures, and organizational support. The report highlights USAA’s measurement and optimization challenges, how it used marketing mix to help refine metrics and identify the right levers to optimize business strategy and investments, and how it used the results to guide significant customer-driven changes at USAA. The case study is a good blueprint for firms that want to create a marketing mix model — and how to do it successfully!
We are thoroughly impressed by the analytics and marketing team at USAA; every decision made at the organization is driven by data and insights. Further, USAA is committed to using insights — including insights from its marketing mix model — to improve the overall customer experience.
In 2014, customer loyalty is a bit of an anomaly. Customers are empowered, informed, and have myriad options to choose from. They don’t really need to be loyal. But for companies doing business in the Age of the Customer, earning customer loyalty is more important than ever before. Satisfied loyal customers are the only reliable source of growth.
So, what do loyalty strategies look like today? For most companies I talk to their loyalty program is their strategy. While narrow, this approach doesn’t completely miss the mark. After all, the premise of a loyalty program is to create a mutually beneficial exchange for rewarding customers and collecting customer insight. And, for many marketers I talk to in retail, hospitality, and other industries, their most valuable customers are active participants in their loyalty program. The issue is that programs today are better positioned to “lock-in” customers rather than leverage member insights to drive personalization and improve the way they serve their customers. The traditional means of “driving” loyalty with points and discounts are no longer sufficient. It’s time for companies to evolve their approach to loyalty programs and strategies with a focus on relationships, advocacy, and engagement.