Customer Intelligence Teams Need Analytics "Translators"

Srividya Sridharan

Any big data or analytics conversation would be remiss without the mention of "data scientists." Much has been written about data scientists– who they are, who they should be, and where to find them. My colleague James Kobielus wrote an interesting series of blog posts about the skills required to become a data scientist.

From a customer intelligence (CI) perspective, we outlined four segments of CI professionals — marketing practitioners, marketing technologists, marketing scientists, and customer strategists. Of these, marketing scientists typically orchestrate the customer and marketing analytics function. They manage the reporting, analysis, and predictive modeling processes using marketing and customer data.

In a CI context, we find that the role of the marketing scientist has evolved from being a pure data analyst drowning in data analysis to that of an analytics translator — someone who is equally comfortable with building advanced predictive models and also adept at embedding the output of the models into customer-facing processes. What type of marketing scientist does your analytics team have?

We recently published a report on why "Customer Intelligence Needs A New Breed Of Marketing Scientist" (accessible to Forrester clients). In the report, we highlight ways to develop analytics translators across the staffing cycle — starting from attracting the right talent, nurturing the relevant skills, training with new skills, and incenting them based on business impact.

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Dear Marketer: The Oval Office Called. It Wants Its Privacy Back.

Fatemeh Khatibloo

 Yesterday, the White House released a long-awaited set of recommendations that are focused on helping individuals take greater control of how their data is collected and used for online marketing purposes. It includes what's being referred to as a "Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights."

The language is vague. The timeline to completion is long. The guidelines, for now, are "opt-in" for organizations. All true.

But folks? The glory days of scraping and selling and repurposing customer data are over. The Oval Office has spoken on the issue of privacy and personal data, and its bill of rights is crystal clear: Tell me what you’re collecting, how you’re using it, protect it well, give me a copy, and give me a chance to correct it, delete it, or opt out entirely.

Sound familiar? It should.  

We've written about personal identity management because we recognize that:

  1. Individuals want relevant offers and content, along with all the other great stuff that comes with sharing personal data.
  2. But, they are worried about privacy, security, and identity on the Web — and these concerns are only increasing.
  3. So, Do Not Track, the Privacy Bill of Rights, and similar guidelines will gain widespread approval and adoption . . .
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Participate In Our 2012 Customer Analytics Adoption Survey

Srividya Sridharan

Does your firm use customer analytics to optimize relationship marketing efforts? Does your firm use analytical techniques to understand and predict customer behavior? If so, we want to hear from you.

We are launching our first Customer Analytics Adoption Survey for customer analytics users. With this survey, we want to understand how you use and apply customer analytics in your organization. In particular, we’re fielding questions to understand the goals and challenges with using customer analytics, the descriptive and predictive analytics techniques and models you use, the business impact of customer analytics, the customer metrics you track, and how you prioritize customer analytics initiatives across the customer life cycle. We encourage you to participate in this survey, as this information will help you benchmark your customer analytics adoption against peers and assess future opportunities.

Click here to take the 2012 Customer Analytics Adoption Survey now. We will send you a complimentary copy of the completed research with aggregate results, scheduled for publication in Q2 2012. Please feel free to share this link — http://forr.com/Cust_analytics — with clients and analytics colleagues involved in customer analytics.

Thank you in advance for your time; we look forward to sharing the results with you.

Calling All Product Strategy Professionals!

Carlton Doty

We're looking for a new analyst to join Forrester's Consumer Product Strategy practice. Are you experienced in the field of product planning, development, and innovation? Do you have an insatiable curiosity for where the digital economy is headed and how digitally disruptive products are changing the world in which we live? If this sounds like you, keep reading . . .

Digital disruption is transforming consumer products, inverting industry economics, and redefining customer relationships for companies in all industries. Forrester is helping our clients adapt their businesses and innovate their products in response to the unprecedented pace of technology change that characterizes this revolution. We need a Senior/Principal Analyst with cross-industry experience to join the team and help serve Forrester’s clients with forward-looking research and advice on how product strategists can capitalize on digital disruption. 

If you’re interested, apply online. We look forward to hearing from you!

The Cross-Channel Attribution Landscape

Tina Moffett

As a new analyst at Forrester, I’m taking over coverage of cross-channel attribution, metrics, and measurement for customer intelligence professionals. It is a wide-spanning topic to cover, but I’m up for the challenge!

One of the major topics that I’ll cover is cross-channel attribution. Cross-channel attribution is essentially an advanced measurement approach to measure channel performance and customer performance metrics more accurately by calculating the true credit given to a specific marketing effort that leads to a desired customer action. It’s a daunting task for marketers because it requires organizational support and a deep understanding of attribution modeling.

For support, marketers often turn to external vendors — the subject of my latest research: Understanding the Cross-Channel Attribution Landscape. As I was researching this report, it was clear that cross-channel attribution is top of mind for marketers and CI folks alike. Why? It’s a more advanced, precise way to measure channel and customer performance. In an age of austerity that requires responsible and efficient marketing investment, it’s no wonder that it’s a priority.

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CI FAIL: The Valentine's Day Edition

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Despite being something of a romantic, I don't really go in much for the so-called "Hallmark Holidays." In fact, this XKCD comic sums up my feelings rather perfectly:

Still, I'm very aware that lots of other people enjoy Valentine's Day, and that it's a holiday that's just begging for CI pros to get more strategic about. Leveraging shared wish lists is one use case I really like, as is intelligent (read: permission-based) householding. Imagine, for example, a travel company that enables a couple to "gift" each other a special dinner or spa treatment during a shared vacation. 

But sometimes, CI goes horribly awry, as I recently experienced with Proflowers.com. I offer Exhibit A:

This email was sent to my email address, but addressed to my ex-husband. It's not hard to understand how this could happen: householding snafus might sometimes create a false connection between an email address and a first name, for example. In the grand scheme of things, if I was going to put CI Fails on a TSA-scale rating, I'd give this one a very bright yellow.

But embarrassingly (for all involved) it got worse. Just a few days later, another of Proflowers' brands, Shari's Berries, sent me this email:

In case it wasn't obvious? I'm not Kimberly.  

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Categories:

Facebook Or Google: Who Will Win the Customer Engagement Battle?

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Plenty’s been written already about Facebook’s IPO filing yesterday. I won’t rehash the many excellent analyses that you’ve surely already seen.

Instead, I want to take this blog post into thought-experiment territory. I want to think about a world in which Google and Facebook are primary competitors in a mano-a-mano battle—not just for our eyeballs, but for our data, too. For the right, as it were, to be our “digital identity.”

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Over the holidays, my mother—67 year old tech-accepter, Kindle-owner, smartphone-avoider—called me into the office to show me her Facebook newsfeed. “How,” she asked, “do they know that I’m interested in Persian classical music and that I live in Los Angeles?” As I was explaining behavioral targeting and computational advertising, I glanced over at the computer, only to see her click through and order tickets from that Facebook ad.

So I asked, “Do you trust Facebook?” To which she replied, “Of course not!” as she entered her credit card number, home address, and email address for a very spendy concert ticket.

“Do you trust Google?” I asked. “More than Facebook, I suppose,” she answered. “But Facebook shows me stuff I like more often than Google does.” 

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That experience, plus a brainstorm with my colleagues on the Customer Intelligence team here at Forrester got me thinking: What if, as a consumer, you had to choose between Facebook and Google? Which service is more valuable to you? Which will BE more valuable in the future? I decided to compare the competitors (and let there be no mistake—Facebook’s S-1 filing very clearly identifies Google as Enemy No. 1) across the dimensions of Forrester’s customer engagement cycle:

 

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Just Published: The Forrester Wave: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q1 2012

Rob Brosnan

Cross-channel campaign management (CCCM) tools face mounting pressure to evolve in the face of continuous, interactive, customer-led dialogue. CCCM capabilities have matured dramatically, but marketers often ask, “Are the applications resilient enough to meet the massive challenges marketing organizations face today?”

Forrester clients can see how much progress vendors have made in “The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q1 2012”. We identified, researched, and scored 12 products from 11 providers: Alterian, Aprimo, ExactTarget, IBM, Infor, Neolane, Oracle, Pitney Bowes, Responsys, SAP, and SAS. Our approach consisted of an 81-criteria evaluation; reference calls and online surveys of 156 companies; executive briefings; and product demonstrations.

We found that marketers need CCCM applications to:

  • Manage a complex array of marketing processes. The campaign design process alone is elaborate – and happily vendors provide strong, yet simple, design tools. Yet CCCM tools also aid marketers in planning (budgeting, spend management, and calendaring), analysis, tactical execution, and reporting.
  • Develop more strengths in digital and emerging media. Although most vendors have extended their applications, many client references told us that vendors need to clarify their approaches to social, local, and mobile applications, and how real-time decisioning can be applied beyond offer management.
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CI Fail: Contextual Relevance Gone Bad

Srividya Sridharan

Rarely do moments like this occur. Last week, while watching the evening news (yes, I still watch news), I was horrified by the continued coverage of the cruise ship disaster in Italy. But, while watching the coverage, I was wading through my mail and opened a direct mail piece (also a rare event) that I had just received. To my horror, I found an offer from American Express to sign up for the Costa Concordia cruise. Worse still, it offered to “immerse” me in a truly European experience. To make things even worse, notice the typo in the headline?

While marketers strive to achieve messaging relevance that would make you stop what you’re doing and take notice, this execution in particular was a case of bad timing and lack of foresight into the implications of marketing campaigns already in flight.

What lessons does this highlight for customer intelligence (CI)?

  • Agility. In our research, we find that direct mail is one of the top channels that CI professionals favor over other channels. Despite CI’s heavy use of direct mail, this faux pas no doubt occurred because of the cycle time between the cruise ship disaster and the direct mail drop.
    • CI Pros: Speed up CI processes to provide greater organizational value. Apply principles of agile development to CI, especially to channels that are not inherently real-time, such as direct mail in this case.
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Google Data Integration: Could It Drive PIDM Adoption?

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Yesterday, Google announced that, effective March 1, it would be creating a single view of users across the majority of its products and services and creating a single, simplified, global privacy policy to cover the new approach.

Now, as a customer intelligence analyst, I preach a “consolidated view of the customer” to clients nearly every day. I advise retailers, CPGs, and others that creating an optimal experience for customers is nearly impossible without having a clear understanding of their needs and preferences, across all channels and lines of business. But what Google’s doing extends well past traditional “single view” and into “personal data locker” territory.

On the face of it, Google claims that it’s making these changes for the same reason: to improve the user experience. But to remain profitable and keep providing free services to several hundred million users, Google will also use its vastly increased insight about users to sell better targeted (read: more expensive) ads to advertisers. 

Is Google’s new policy PIDM-friendly?

I wanted to look at how these changes map to the principles that companies must follow to be successful as personal identity management emerges. Here’s my take:

  • Privacy: Google’s new privacy policy is a good one. It’s simply written, well constructed, and fairly concise. It’s almost global, excluding only a handful (Chrome, Wallet, Books, DoubleClick) of its businesses. However, while the policy allows broad-brush opt-outs, its failure to provide its granular controls over what’s shared between properties and devices is a major miss.
     
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