Unilever Buys Dollar Shave Club: The End Of The Mass Marketing Era?

Jim Nail
When I read the news of Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club I couldn't help but think of an advisory session I did for a big CPG firm with colleagues Melissa Parrish and Brigitte Majewski a few months ago. One big topic of conversation was how to build a brand today in a media and marketing world that is so fragmented. We had used Dollar Shave Club as an example of how the rules have changed in the post-digital era
 
And then I came across this post on the Stratechery blog that analyzes DSC and its disruptive strategy extraordinarily well.
 
I can't help but read from this the end of the mass marketing era whose rules P&G is rightly famous for codifying and rigorously training its brand managers in. My conclusions from this example include:
 
The end of product innovation. Really interesting story about how Gillette's 5-blade razor bombed. Basically, products reach a point of development that no further improvement is needed. Or at least the added cost of the innovative product didn't bring commensurate increase in performance to justify it. The model of continuous product innovation hit the wall -- certainly a product strategy driven out of a lab and corporate goal to merely increase price and profits hits the wall. DCS listened to customers and innovated not the product, but the pricing and distribution model to solve a different problem than delivering a "better" shave.
 
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Join me in Sydney for a Dose of Product & Service Design Thinking in Financial Services, August 4th

Ryan Hart

I started my corporate career in financial services – working for several large, global high street banks in Asia. During my time “in the trenches” of wholesale and mass affluent consumer banking, I watched a number of ambitious and well-intended new product and service ideas rise through the ranks of budget approvals and stakeholder support only to make it to market and then die a slow death on the vine when customer adoption or planned value failed to meet expectations.

Notwithstanding, the ideas were good – many smart people worked on these projects. However, equipped with the clarity of time, I reflect back on some of those projects today and see a common thread between them. Fundamentally, those shipwrecks all shared one thing in common – they were never properly vetted with the customer before they were commercialized.

Today, while financial institutions are getting smarter at collecting quantitative data around channel experiences; the qualitative validation piece, the ethnographic research piece, the co-creation with customers piece is still missing in most organizations. In some cases, it’s only happening at the bleeding edge. While agile methodologies and minimum viable product-quick-to-market thinking has closed the gap on aligning with customer needs and expectations, the industry as a whole would benefit from an injection of human centered product and service design thinking to move the industry’s CX from good to great.

Join us for our inaugural invitation-only Next-Generation Financial Services summit in Sydney on Thursday, August 4 where I will delve into the topic of design thinking for financial services with my presentation, Fix your Products and Services with a Dose of Design Thinking.

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Amazon Has Surpassed Flipkart As Indian Consumers’ Preferred Online Retail Destination

Satish Meena

According to data from Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® Asia Pacific Online Benchmark Survey, 2016, in the past three months Amazon has, for the first time since 2014, surpassed Flipkart as the preferred online retail destination for consumers in India’s metropolitan areas. Amazon’s takeover has been rapid: 30% of respondents in our 2014 survey reported buying from Amazon; this year, 76% said they did. Compare this with Flipkart’s essentially flat growth: from 63% in 2014 to 68% in 2016. Snapdeal remains far behind both Amazon and Flipkart.

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Benchmark Your Customer Analytics Maturity

Brandon Purcell

Customer insights professionals consistently ask me what other companies are doing to turn their customer data into actionable insights.  To answer this question, Forrester partnered with Burtch Works, an analytics executive recruitment agency, to survey customer analytics and measurement professionals about their current efforts.  I’m quite thrilled to share the results in my State of Customer Analytics 2016 report.

This goal of this report is to give CI pros, marketers, and anyone tasked with gleaning insights from massive amounts of customer data a concrete snapshot of what others are doing in the space.  Here are a few of the key questions we set out to answer:

  • What are the top data sources companies are using for analytics and measurement?
  • What types of analyses are they doing?
  • How and where are they applying insights?
  • What challenges do they face?

In analyzing responses, we segmented companies based on their customer analytics sophistication so readers can see what separates leaders from laggards.  My hope is that as you read through this report, you will be inspired to evolve your own customer analytics maturity.  Please feel free to reach out to me via inquiry if you’d like to discuss how to do so.

Welcome To The Dawn Of Anticipatory CX

Ryan Hart

Forrester’s CX Index shows that, across the board, companies are getting better at delivering quality customer experiences (CX). But in as much time as it takes to open a celebratory bottle of champagne, the tide of rising customer expectations threatens to push the product or service CX pros have been working on for so long toward obsolescence. Essentially, customer expectations are rising faster than companies can conceptualize, design, and deliver improved experiences.

Now, imagine if you could better manage your customer’s expectations before the delivered experience — first by elevating your customer’s positive emotions as early in the interaction as possible and then initiating a positive emotional momentum that will carry throughout their journey with your brand. It’s called anticipatory CX and it is the most powerful element of CX that you’re not currently paying attention to. Consider the following:

  • Evolution gave us anticipation as a motivating force. People are wired to anticipate future happy experiences as opposed to negative events. When you think about the BBQ this weekend or your friend’s wedding next month or a vacation later in the year, you’re anticipating a positive experience. Your brain’s intrinsic anticipatory-reward system has kicked in.
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M&A in the Predictive Marketing Space: eBay Acquires SalesPredict in an Unexpected-But-Perfectly-Logical-Move

Allison Snow

It’s not infrequent that a merger or acquisition takes place in a particular coverage area and, as an analyst, I’d typically expect to be ready to discuss the event at a moment’s notice.  

Not so when it came to last Monday’s news about eBay acquiring predictive analytics startup SalesPredict.

There are a little over 20 vendors vying to provide predictive modeling solutions to B2B marketers and sales professionals. It’s a “new-ish” technology, and one might reasonably expect consolidation or merger activity. But for most folks, this particular collaboration was an eyebrow raiser and I needed to talk to some people first.  

Founded in 2012, SalesPredict builds predictive algorithms that help B2B firms identify correlative relationships between the presence of various attributes and/or buyer behaviors to positive or negative outcomes. I had met with Yaron Zakai-Or, CEO and co-founder, and Sahil Mansuri, VP of Marketing, several times in my role as analyst. I imagine Sahil’s background in marketing helped them to grow their base within 6 months to 60 customers. But it didn't hurt that at SalesPredict, it was always about powerful technology without bounds. Co-founder Kira Radinsky, a self-proclaimed “data scientist at heart,” says that that founding SalesPredict was part of her vision “to bring about a major change in how business is conducted by unifying micro- and macro-economic predictions.”

This didn’t go unnoticed by eBay, with its own goal of increased sophistication in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data science to support its structured data plan. In fact, that is exactly how eBay described the acquisition - frankly reminding me of how broad the use cases of predictive technology really are.

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Yes, Federal CX Professionals, They Are Out To Get You

Rick Parrish

This post is part of a series dedicated to the challenges, opportunities, and realities of federal customer experience. Interested in learning more? Register for our complimentary government CX webinar next week, and be sure to join me as I host Forrester’s first-ever CXDC Forum on Sept. 12th in Washington, DC. 

It’s been 23 years since the White House first told federal agencies to improve the experiences they provide to customers. Yet three presidents, two executive orders, and a bevy of memos and committees later, federal customer experience (CX) is still in crisis. In fact, federal agencies have:

  • The lowest average score on Forrester’s CX Index. The federal average of “poor” was worse than all 17 private sector industries we rated and far below the overall average of “OK.” In fact, even the weakest performers in most industries still outscored the government average. The National Park Service and US Postal Service, the highest-rated federal agencies, scored only as high as the average for banks.
  • A near-monopoly on the worst experiences. Seven out of the 10 worst organizations in the CX Index – and five out of six in the “very poor” category – were US federal agencies. Only internet service providers and TV service providers came close to matching this level of underperformance.
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48% Of Retail Sales In Asia Pacific By 2020 Will Be Impacted By Web

Satish Meena

Only 13% of total retail sales in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, India, Japan, and South Korea) were made online in 2015, but the impact of the web on offline retail sales is much bigger. Our recently published Forrester Data Web-Influenced Retail Sales Forecast, 2015 To 2020 (Asia Pacific) shows the influence of the web on offline retail sales and how its impact varies by country and category. Some of the key findings of the forecast are as follows:

  • The web impacted more than a third of total retail sales in 2015 and will impact 48% by 2020. Smartphones are becoming consumers’ most widely used mobile device, and consumers are using them to find information about a product irrespective of their location. They use them to research products, even when they are shopping in physical stores; to compare prices with online retailers; to check specifications; and to read user reviews. This behavior is making the web a more powerful medium — one that retailers can no longer ignore. We expect web-influenced retail sales in Asia Pacific to reach $2.1 trillion in 2020, up from $1.2 trillion in 2015.
  • South Korea leads in web-impacted sales . . . High penetration rates for the internet, smartphones, online retail, social media, online payment options, and messaging platforms are powering the web’s impact on retail sales in South Korea. Similar factors mean that Japan, China, and Australia closely follow South Korea in terms of web-impacted sales.
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We Have A New Mobile Banking Leader: Westpac Tops Forrester’s Global Benchmark In 2016

Aurelie L'Hostis

Mobile banking adoption has reached critical mass. Rapid progress in mobile technologies and consumers’ ever-increasing expectations and changing behavior have left many banks around the world playing catch-up. In the meantime, a cluster of banks is racing forward by putting customers at the center of their strategy, striving to anticipate customers’ emerging needs, and by embracing an agile and iterative approach to speed up the development of new mobile capabilities that differentiate them from their peers. Today, these banks are delivering outstanding services to their customers in mobile, and in 2016, Westpac in Australia is leading the pack.

To help digital business strategy leaders better understand the landscape of mobile banking, identify best practices, and benchmark their own capabilities in this area, Forrester conducts an annual functionality benchmark applying 40 criteria. This year, we evaluated 46 leading retail banks from more than a dozen countries across four continents, and have just published the findings in our “2016 Global Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark” report.

Here are some of the highlights from the global benchmark report:

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The US Customer Experience Index for 2016, Part 1: The Bar for CX Quality Inched Up

Harley Manning

It’s time for one of Forrester’s big annual events: The publication of this year’s Customer Experience Index report for US brands.

The report is based on Forrester's CX Index™ methodology, which measures how well a brand's customer experience strengthens the loyalty of its customers. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at large US brands. Between our Q3 2015 report and our 2016 report we saw modest but clear progress among many of those brands, as 58 out of 319 had a significant improvement in their experiences.

  • Twenty-eight brands gained 5 points or more. The 28 brands were scattered across 12 industries plus the US federal government, where three agencies made big increases.
  • Five industry averages rose. Every year we show the range of scores by industry together with industry means. In 2016 the bar went up significantly for five industries:  wireless service providers, traditional retailers, hotels, internet service providers (ISPs), and US federal government agencies (which is more of a sector than an industry but you get the idea).
  • The percentage of Good and Okay scores rose slightly. The percentage of Good and Okay brands each increased by two percentage points. Those gains came equally from declines in the Poor and Very Poor scores, which each shrank by two percentage points.   
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