Identifying Your Online Marketing Suite Requirements

The online marketing suite has been a major focus of my writing and speaking engagements in 2011. I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to dive into this exciting and important topic from a variety of angles. Since my first blog post on this topic in February, we have published The Road To The Online Marketing Suite to define a development road map and maturity model for the online marketing suite and How The Online Marketing Suite Affects the Marketing Technology Playbook to look at the long-term implications of the online marketing suite on the marketing ecosystem.

In the wake of these reports, we found that the online marketing suite resonates strongly with Forrester's clients. Organizations definitely have an appetite for a framework to coordinate the content, execution, and analytics that comprise interactive marketing. But time and time again in client meetings, inquiry calls, and at events I've heard the same set of questions: What technologies, skills, and processes does my company need? Which approach should my company take to the online marketing suite? Where should my company start on its online marketing suite journey? 

These are topics we will continue to explore, and to get started we published How To Identify Online Marketing Suite Requirements this week. This research provides a needs assessment framework designed to help organizations craft their strategy for implementing the online marketing suite.

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A Love Gone Bad: What Can DVRs Teach Us About Customer Intelligence?

Do you remember your first digital video recorder? Most of us probably started with Tivo, or perhaps a box provided by our cable company. The DVR forever altered how we watch television and introduced the concept of "time shifting" to the media world, much to the consternation of TV networks and advertisers.  

The DVR arrived in my home in 2003, and things haven't been the same since. I'm a busy guy - I have a young family, I travel a lot, all the normal stuff - so the freedom afforded by the DVR from the tyranny of network schedules immediately transformed my TV viewing experience. At first it was enough to record my favorite shows and then watch them at my convenience. But it became so much more: I could easily search for and discover new shows and films, I could record and store my favorite shows and films for a rainy day, and I no longer had to watch commercials! I learned to curate video content, much as I manage my music in iTunes; it's just another stream of media to consume.

(Side note: anyone out there have younger kids who have grown up with a DVR? It's fascinating to take note of their conditioning; my children have never known a world without DVRs and are completely used to watching whatever they want when they want it, and are utterly mystified by the concept of commercials during a program.)

Perhaps the biggest impact for me was the change in how I watch sports. I enjoy sports, particularly NCAA basketball and football (go Illini!), NFL (go Bears!), Formula 1, tennis, golf, and I'm occasionally drawn to obscure sports in the middle of the night such as the Scottish Caber Toss or Australian Rules Football. With the DVR I could watch NCAA basketball games in . . . just 40 minutes, not two hours! I was now immune to insufferably long NFL games, chock full of TV time-outs, halftime show pageantry, and constant holding penalties. 

Life was good.

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Got Mobile Measurement?

Last week we published a new report titled Mobile Measurement Is A Customer Intelligence Imperative. I’ve been getting more questions recently from Forrester clients about measuring mobile browsing and applications, so it was definitely time to look seriously into the topic. As an added bonus, this report also gave me the opportunity to work with two of Forrester’s mobile consumer strategy rock stars: Julie Ask and Thomas Husson; if you are interested in mobile, I strongly recommend that you follow their work.

The topic of mobile measurement has become increasingly frequent in digital analytics circles, and it’s not hard to see why:

  • Consumer adoption of mobile is on the rise globally.
  • Smartphones and other devices such as tablets are improving user experiences with advances in usability and functionality to become hubs for productivity, communications, and entertainment.
  • Improved infrastructure — carrier networks and widespread WiFi availability — supports data-intensive mobile browsing and application interactions.
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No Matter How Long The Winter, Spring Is Sure To Follow

This is an apt proverb for my current mood. Chicago's winter has been interminably long, but I'm optimistic that spring is just around the corner. After nearly four straight months of cold and record breaking amounts snow, certainly the weather must warm up and the sun must shine eventually, right?

Nevertheless, as winter winds down, March was a great (and busy) month. I attended three straight weeks of vendor user conferences: Webtrends, Adobe Omniture, and Coremetrics. These were well run, valuable, and diverse events; it was great to catch up with friends in the industry and clients around the country. Perhaps the most interesting part of the 2011 round of vendor events was the barrage of product releases, an exciting combination of new products, and ongoing development to core products. I will be updating the Forrester Wave on web analytics later this year, and we're looking forward to doing a deep dive on the updated platforms.

Spring and early summer promise to be equally interesting (and busy). Here's my event schedule for the next six months:

  • Data 2.0 Conference - April 4 - San Francisco - This event is about the rise of data accessibility and new innovations to harness the growing abundance of social, geo, government, and advertising data.
  • Forrester Marketing Forum 2011 - April 5-6 - San Francisco - This is extremely exciting, my first Marketing Forum as a Forrester analyst! You may remember that I missed the 2010 event because I was stranded in the UK due to the volcano in Iceland. This is a great event about innovating marketing for the next digital decade; check out the phenomenal roster of keynote speakers!
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The Online Marketing Suite Redux

I am pleased to announce that my newest report, Revisiting the Online Marketing Suite, was published this week.

My colleague and Customer Intelligence Practice Leader at Forrester, Suresh Vittal, was the first to define the online marketing suite in 2007. At the time, the online marketing was highly aspirational; Suresh's work was a call to action for marketers and vendors. If we look back at the original report, the online marketing suite descriptive graphic (figure 2 in the report) is particularly prescient because it included a section for "future network partners" to build upon existing capabilities.  We have the benefit of hindsight, but this consideration would be critical as nascent channels such as social and mobile exploded in the ensuing years.

We are excited to reinstate this line of resarch. Unfortunately, in the time since the original report the online marketing suite has been slow to hit the tipping point. Many factors are responsible -- such as the economy, technical challenges, and marketers' struggles to cope with the constantly moving targets of channels and customer demands. Nevertheless, during this period we've seen unprecedented innovation in marketing, technology, and consumer sophistication. It felt like the timing is right to take a new look at the online marketing suite to factor in the marketing ecosystem as of 2011. If anything, these changes -- and challenges -- drive the need for the online marketing suite more than ever. It has never been more important to coordinate content, execution, and analytics to support customer interactions. 

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Recent Fundraising Activity Validates The Potential Of Online Testing

In the past month we’ve seen not one but two online testing vendors secure new rounds of financing:

  • Optimizely raised $1.2m in November from a group of angel investors; more info here.
  • Monetate raised $5.1 million this month from First Round Capital, Floodgate Fund, and other institutional investors; more info here.
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The State Of Online Testing 2010

After keeping busy all summer and early fall with client meetings, events, and absorbing repeated acquisition announcements, it's great to be home again and conducting research!

Most notably, my latest round of research on the topic of online testing, titled "The State of Online Testing 2010," published this week.  This document is the output of a survey conducted with online testing users alongside the "The Forrester Wave™: Online Testing, Q3 2010" research process.

As you may be aware I'm a huge proponent of online testing.  I think it is an underutilized and highly effective site optimization tool, with a wide array of applications.  I frequently find myself uttering the rallying cry "Test, Test, and Test some more!" and I often refer to online testing as the wind tunnel of site optimization, a contained and structured environment for evaluating the content, promotions, and customer experience components of the online marketing mix.

Windtunnel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Image source: www.carbodydesign.com)

What did we learn about the state of online testing? The report showcases the data in it's full glory, but here are some highlights:

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comScore And Nedstat: An Exciting End To A Hot Summer

Here we are again.  As we approach Labor Day, less than three weeks after IBM announced its agreement to acquire Unica (see my blog post with Suresh Vittal here), comScore announced yesterday that it has acquired the venerable European Web analytics vendor Nedstat.

Total cash and stock consideration for the purchase is valued at approximately $36.7 million USD.  Additionally, nearly the entire Nedstat staff, numbering about 120, will stay on at comScore.

Official information is available through comScore, the comScore corporate blog, and the regulatory filing for those of you who are financially minded.  I also had the opportunity to speak with comScore CEO and co-founder Magid Abraham, who generously took time out of a very hectic day for a call.

The acquisition is predicated on the following benefits:

  • Geographic expansion. Nedstat provides an established European presence from which to serve current and prospective comScore clients in the region.
  • Product enhancement. comScore will enhance its Unified Digital Measurement (UDM) platform with Nedstat technology.
  • Deeper client relationships. The opportunity to upsell comScore’s existing client base with new and expanded product offerings.
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Suresh Vittal And Joe Stanhope Consider The News Of IBM Acquiring Unica

I’m pleased to join forces this afternoon with my colleague and Customer Intelligence Practice Leader Suresh Vittal for a joint blog post on the very interesting IBM announcement this morning that it will buy Unica for US$480 million (greater than 100% premium on its previous day close). Suresh has covered Unica for many years in the enterprise marketing space, and I cover them from the Web analytics and online marketing suite perspectives. So besides a striking outcome for Unica’s shareholders, this deal impacts many marketers and customer intelligence professionals. After all, Unica is the preeminent provider of campaign management software and a leading provider of marketing operations, Web analytics, and interaction management solutions.

So let’s walk through some of the implications of this deal:

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The Forrester Wave: Online Testing, Q3 2010

Online testing has consistently been top of mind with Forrester clients since my earliest days with the company at the beginning of the year.  Clients are a major driver in composing my research agenda, and online testing shot to the top of the list. Clearly, the market had many unanswered questions about online testing and it was time to do a deep dive.

To anchor a new stream of research covering online testing, we’ve just published The Forrester Wave: Online Testing, Q3 2010. If you’re new to Forrester’s research, the Wave methodology is Forrester’s time tested, exhaustive, and transparent approach to vendor evaluations. This research is based on data gathered through extensive vendor briefings, product demonstrations, customer reference calls, and online user surveys.  We evaluated eight leading vendors against 82 criteria and interviewed nearly 90 user companies.

This is Forrester’s inaugural evaluation of online testing vendors. This Wave focused on established vendors who offer products that support both A/B and Multivariate testing techniques.  We evaluated the following companies: Adobe, Amadesa, Autonomy, Google, Maxymiser, SiteSpect, Vertster, and Webtrends.

Forrester clients can read the full report to see how the vendors ranked, including underlying scorecard details and the ability to customize the Wave model with personalized weightings. 

We found a diverse market of vendors that are differentiated by several key markers that serve as crucial considerations for online testing programs:

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