Yesterday, Acxiom, one of the world's largest data brokers and a key player in the marketing services ecosystem, launched an important new consumer service (still in Beta) called "About The Data." It's an initiative to show consumers some of the data that Acxiom has compiled about them, to provide education around how certain types of data are sourced and used, and to let users correct and/or suppress the use of these datapoints for marketing purposes.
This is a big deal. Why? Because it's pushing Acxiom (and, frankly, the entire third-party data industry) way out of its comfort zone on a few levels.
First, this is not a company that is used to dealing with consumers on a mass scale. Acxiom's DNA is fundamentally B2B; learning how to communicate to, and design tools for, individual consumers is a massive undertaking, and it shows in the UI. For example, when I attempted to register my address with a "#" preceding my apartment number, the format was rejected without any indication that symbols were disallowed in that field. As a tech-savant, it only took me one more attempt to figure that out, but not all consumers are so savvy. Similarly, clicking the "Home" button on the navigation bar logs users out without any notice or warning.
More news from Mountain View on Tuesday, where Internet powerhouse Google released the much-anticipated Data Driven Attribution (DDA) feature for its Premium users. The release of Google’s DDA approach comes as no surprise to the analytics and measurement community. The world of attribution measurement is constantly evolving and new attribution approaches, new players, and new tools regularly enter the market, enabling marketers to select the right attribution tool for their business needs. It was only a matter of time before Google released a persuasive, more advanced measurement offering.
First, the Data Driven Attribution feature is only available for Google Analytics Premium users. It has several notable features worth highlighting:
Google DDA’s approach is statistically driven methodology. Google’s DDA approach is a huge improvement over its rules-based Attribution Modeling tool (which is available for FREE for Google Analytics users). The DDA approach uses probability modeling to best estimate the values of each interaction. The approach itself is transparent, understandable, and Google is extremely open about how it calculates the value parameters.
Buy analytics software, hire marketing scientists, and engage analytics consultants. Now wait for the magic of customer analytics to happen. Right?
Wrong. Building a successful customer analytics capability involves careful orchestration of several capabilities and requires customer insights (CI) professionals to answer some key questions about their current state of customer analytics:
What is the level of importance given to customer analytics in your organization?
Have you clearly defined where you will use the output of customer analytics?
How is your analytics team structured and supported?
How do you manage and process your customer data?
Do you have clear line of sight between analytics efforts and business outcomes?
What is the process of sharing insights from analytics projects?
What type of technology do you need to produce, consume and activate analytics?
Adobe's announcement that the company will acquire Neolane comes nearly on the heels of Salesforce's acquisition of ExactTarget. Even at $600 million, the deal size won't draw attention like Benioff's blockbuster, but it shouldn't be downplayed. Adobe's reach across the marketing technology landscape — and campaign management's central position within it — means it will have an outsized effect on marketers. On it's face, the acquisition:
Addresses a market that Adobe previously ignored. Neolane closes Adobe's strategic and longstanding gap in campaign management. Whether you call it a marketing platform, suite, or cloud, Adobe now offers a broad spectrum of products to marketing departments, and now extends into offline. It is now also a much more serious competitor to the large, enterprise marketing providers: IBM, Oracle, SAS, and Teradata.
Offers a moderate extension of Adobe's marketing cloud. Neolane offers its products through a mix on-premises, hosted, and multi-tenant cloud delivery, though most clients opt for on-premises. While Neolane doesn't immediately transform the marketing cloud, Adobe's success with CQ5 shows that it's comfortable with hybrid delivery. Over time, however, Neolane's unified architecture and Adobe's SaaS-bonafides will allow it to shift more and more clients into campaign management as a subscription.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in London and met some members of the Forrester Leadership Board (FLB) for Customer Insights (CI) professionals. I was eager to share my research on attribution measurement and (selfishly) get their point of view on measurement successes and challenges in Europe. Here are a few key takeaways from our CI colleagues across the pond:
Attribution measurement is a growing topic among European firms. When I met with the FLB members, I was delighted to learn that attribution is being widely adapted in most organizations, with the same challenges that we face in America. In fact, it seems that the firms I spoke with adapted attribution for quite a while, and they’re really looking to advance their attribution approach in the near future. Overall, they are making significant investments in the right data, resources, and tools to have a more sophisticated measurement approach.
As an analyst on Forrester's Customer Insight's team, I spend a lot of time counseling clients on best-practice customer data usage strategies. And if there's one thing I've learned, it's that there is no such thing as a 360-degree view of the customer.
Here's the cold, hard truth: you can't possibly expect to know your customer, no matter how much data you have, if all of that data 1) is about her transactions with YOU and you 2) is hoarded away from your partners. And this isn't just about customer data either -- it's about product data, operational data, and even cultural-environmental data. As our customers become more sophisticated and collaborative with each other ("perpetually connected"), so organizations must do the same. That means sharing data, creating collaborative insight, and becoming willing participants in open data marketplaces.
Now, why should you care? Isn't it kind of risky to share your hard-won data? And isn't the data you have enough to delight your customers today? Sure, it might be. But I'd put money on the fact that it won't be for long, because digital disruptors are out there shaking up the foundations of insight and analytics, customer experience, and process improvement in big ways. Let me give you a couple of examples:
First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to thank our loyal readers of Forrester’s Consumer Product Strategy (CPS) blog. This will be the final post for the CPS blog, but never fear, future posts from your favorite analysts will still appear on both their individual analyst blogs, and the new role blogs to which they have moved. For more detail on this change and where specific analysts will be, keep reading.
Effective April 29, Forrester streamlined how we create and deliver value from 9 roles to 6. The goal of this change is simple — be more clear and distinct in how we define the roles we serve so you can get more value from the role research that fits you best. For the purpose of this post, I want to ensure that you can: 1) ascertain which of the roles is in fact the best fit for your needs; and 2) find your favorite analysts from the old CPS team.
As of April 29 we now have these 6 Marketing & Strategy roles from which you can pick:
Cross-channel attribution. For customer insights and marketing practitioners, attribution is a white hot measurement topic. It’s viewed as the best way to measure effectiveness of marketing and media campaigns; a way for firms to assess…truly assess… the value of the customer journey. For the past 18 months, I have been living and breathing this topic and today I am happy….no, I’m elated…to announce the official publication of the Cross-Channel Attribution Playbook.
What’s a playbook, you ask? Well, a playbook is a framework to help organizations develop expertise around a specific business topic. The Cross-Channel Attribution Playbook helps marketers and customer insights professionals to take strategic steps in building an attribution strategy within their organization. It includes 12 chapters, including an executive overview, which covers different aspects of developing and managing a cross-channel attribution measurement framework. The four “chapters” specifically help organizations:
"Logan: That's the way things are. The way things have always been."
In Redwood City this week, the answer I heard from Oracle was an emphatic yes. At Oracle's Industry Analyst World, the company stressed its cloud bonafides against Salesforce, IBM, and SAP with its new Customer Experience (CX) Suite. The CX Suite is a horizontal offering, assembled primarily from acquisitions, newly rechristened as Oracle Marketing (Eloqua), Oracle Commerce (ATG, Endeca), Oracle Sales (Oracle CRM On Demand), Oracle Service (RightNow), Oracle Social (Collective Intellect, Vitrue, Involver), and Oracle Content (Fatwire).
The Software as a Service (SaaS) suite promises to deliver a lower total cost of ownership, easier integration, and faster time to value for a business looking to streamline its enterprise software providers. While Oracle's approach is to lead with SaaS, it also promotes an Enhance, Augment, Migrate strategy, enabling existing customers to extend an on-premises deployment --- think Siebel Loyalty --- with one or more CX products, say Eloqua's email delivery capabilities.
You Can Outrun Your Past
So what does it mean for Eloqua? Marketers using or considering Eloqua should recognize that Oracle:
The deluge of customer data shows no signs of abating. The perpetually-connected customer leaves data footprints in every interaction with a brand. This presents tremendous opportunities for customer insights professionals and analytics practitioners tasked with analyzing this data, to not only get smarter about customers but ensure that the insights get appropriately used at the point of customer interaction.
When we asked customer analytics users about the challenges and drivers of customer analytics adoption, we found that data integration and data quality continue to inhibit better adoption of customer analytics while users still want to use analytics to improve the data-driven focus of the organization and drive satisfaction and customer retention.
Forrester’s Customer Analytics Playbook guides customer insights professionals, marketing scientists and customer analytics practitioners into this new reality of customer data and helps discover analytics opportunities, plan for greater sophistication, take steps towards building a customer analytics capability and continually monitor progress of analytics initiatives. It will include 12 chapters (and an executive overview) that cover different aspects of customer analytics.