...Where Angels Fear To Tread

Rusty Warner

We all know the opening part of Pope’s often-quoted adage. Certainly some acquisitions in the enterprise marketing technology arena are now looking like foolish decisions. In yesterday’s 2015 trading update, SDL announced it will sell multiple products that are “non-core to its future strategy,” including social intelligence, campaign management, and its Fredhopper eCommerce recommendation engine. SDL paid $110 million for the first two solutions when it completed its acquisition of Alterian in early 2012. The SDL announcement echoes Teradata’s similar announcement in November to sell its marketing application division. Teradata acquired Aprimo in late 2010 for $525 million, and then added smaller acquisitions of eCircle, Argyle Social, Ozone, Apoxxee, and FLXone – the last pick-up coming less than one month before the sell-off announcement.

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Smart Banks Tap Into Customers' Mobile Moments

Xiaofeng Wang

Mobile banking continues to gather momentum worldwide and is also developing rapidly in China. Nearly half of metro Chinese consumers pay bills at least monthly on a mobile phone. While consumers are rapidly embracing mobile moments, most banks have yet to follow them. My recent published Brief: Smart Banks Tap Into Customers’ Mobile Moments tells B2C marketing professionals working at banks how to better address customers in their most relevant mobile moments throughout the customer journey.

Forrester sees the following key trends in China:

  • Banks are embracing mobile channels to serve mobile-mind-shifted customers. Top retail banks, including China Construction Bank and China Merchants Bank, have already adopted a mobile-first strategy.
  • Bank customers’ mobile moments occur throughout the customer journey . . . Leading digital banking teams are addressing customer needs in mobile moments throughout the customer life cycle across a range of mobile platforms, including WeChat.
  •   . . . but most banks don’t always serve customers in all moments. Most banks’ mobile presence primarily focuses on the buy, use, and ask stages and less on the discover, explore, and engage stages (see figure).
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Announcing The Forrester Wave: Mobile Commerce And Engagement Platforms, Q1 2016

Brendan Witcher

Robust mobile commerce platforms are no longer a “nice to have” for retail organizations. A recent Shop.org and Forrester Research survey indicates that smartphone sales accounted for 17% of total retail sales in 2015, and that sales from smartphone devices grew 53% year-over-year.

With mobile’s stake now planted so firmly in the ground, it is critical that the technology solutions used to support transactional mobile sites and apps provide the scalability and flexibility required today to stay ahead of the innovation curve tomorrow. With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that the Forrester Wave evaluation of mobile commerce and engagement platforms is now live.

Among mobile commerce and engagement platforms, which Forrester defines as commercial solution partners for the technology, development, and/or ongoing support of their mobile websites and/or mobile apps, we have identified four core competency traits. These include:

  • An obsession for mobile commerce trends and metrics. The best of these vendors do not just build and support mobile technology; they live and breathe mobile commerce — it's in their DNA. This means they are at the forefront of what works and what doesn't when it comes to how mobile experiences support conversion metrics.
  • A continually evolving, common platform on which they support all of their clients. Unlike traditional agencies, these vendors are not building tailored capabilities for each client. Instead they onboard all of their clients onto a common (often software-as-a-service [SaaS] based) platform.
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The Data Digest: What Do You Want?

Anjali Lai

Many times, what we want says more about us than what we do. This is why readers are fascinated with news from the Consumer Electronics Show, which gives us an aspirational glimpse at the technology of tomorrow. This is why Google publishes the most frequently searched “how-to questions,” which reveal what people are striving for. It’s also why emerging customer insights methodologies like social listening, which uncover visceral consumer reactions and desires, are gaining traction.

Two weeks ago, people around the world expressed their wishes for 2016 by sharing their New Year’s resolutions online. What do people want this year? Forrester’s analysis of the social conversation shows that physical and mental wellbeing dominated most of the resolutions posted across the globe. But certain geographical differences shed light on varied cultures and attitudes. For example, while US consumers also discussed social causes and career goals, UK consumers mentioned artistic pursuits and relaxation:

 

 

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Why Your Organization Is Approaching Personalization Wrong

Fiona Adler

A few weeks ago, I learned that my credit card number was part of a large data breach and that I needed to cancel it immediately. My first thought? Panic and trepidation  what if someone already charged on my card? What about the companies that I have recurring payments with  will they reject them and charge me fees? How do I remember all of the companies with which I even have recurring payments?

As all of these questions entered my mind and I started questioning my loyalty to Capital One, I received the following email (pictured) explaining what I needed to do as a customer and the companies that I needed to contact:

Capital One not only provided immediate relief but also demonstrated awareness of my individual profile and what could make or break my specific customer experience. It implemented personalization at a critical "moment of truth."

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Half Of Metropolitan Chinese Online Consumers Are Social Stars, But How Can You Reach Them?

Xiaofeng Wang

Marketers in China are increasingly investing in social marketing: Three-quarters of the marketers we surveyed in 2015 plan to increase their social marketing budget in 2016. However, they struggle to determine the best social marketing strategies and tactics to engage with their target audience. My report, Take Three Steps Toward Social Success, introduces Forrester’s Social Technographics® model to help them.

  • Step 1: Use the Social Technographics Score to evaluate how important social media is to your marketing plan. Based on how much social media matters to consumers’ interactions with companies (from high to low), your audience falls into one of four groups: Social Stars, Social Savvies, Social Snackers, and Social Skippers. As the majority of metro Chinese consumers are Social Stars or Social Savvies, social marketing is an urgent priority for marketers in China.
  • Step 2: Use the Social Technographics Life-Cycle Rankings to craft the right social strategy. These reveal the stages of the customer life cycle — discover, explore, buy, use, ask, or engage — in which your customers are most likely to use social media. Metro Chinese consumers use social media the most when they’re considering products. So to succeed, marketers in China should leverage social marketing more in the explore stage of the customer life cycle.
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How to embrace new digital business models

Martin Gill

The mass adoption of consumer broadband in the late nineties and early 2000’s helped firms like Amazon, Expedia and Intuit establish new business models and new ways of scaling to millions of customers. Selling products online and empowering customers to find the best deals on travel or financial services products changed market dynamics in a range of industries. But things aren’t slowing down. Quite the opposite, in fact.

 

Digital continues to change how your firm makes money. Perhaps not fundamentally yet for your firm, but don’t kid yourself, there are changes afoot. There’s obvious examples:

 

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Betwixt And Between: Finding Space For Sellers Squeezed By Marketing And Sales Enablement Automation

Steven Wright

A new analyst at Forrester quickly learns about some rites of passage: the first report (insert link to Brief: Sales Enablement Needs A Platform), the first research agenda, and the first blog post.

Of the three, the first report is the toughest — reviewed and edited by your Research Director (the inestimable Peter O’Neill) and other analysts, and sliced, diced, and improved upon by Forrester’s editing process before going live. And that report is now available -- Brief: Sales Enablement Automation Needs A Platform

That first report is a stake in the ground, or a line in the sand for future research. Since I focus on sales enablement, it’s more of a stake in the sand since technology and demands are shifting rapidly in the world of B2B marketing and selling.

The solutions that help enable sellers borrow from marketing automation, various forms of analytics, with a strong addition of CRM integration. Vendors in this space are many, the overlaps are great, and the competition is fierce. It’s difficult to easily understand what is needed to find the bridge between marketing and sales so both can be more effective and efficient; once a lead becomes a real opportunity, it needs the human touch that only a good sales person can bring.

In a perfect world, a single technology platform would provide all the necessary capabilities, including the ones you haven’t thought of, together in a single solution. Alas, Candide aside, we are not in that world. But if you are involved in selecting tools, whether from a marketing or sales enablement point of view, there are some key points that can help:

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Should Financial Services Firms Engage With Fintech Startups?

Oliwia Berdak

At least two dozen accelerators and incubators have been launched by financial services firms in the last two years. I believe that in five years’ time, most of these corporate accelerators will have disappeared. Why? A fully-fledged, multi-startup accelerator is expensive to run. The cost of searching, selecting, and providing seed investment and support for startups could easily reach $1 million a year.  Many accelerators aren’t focused enough on customer problems or business objectives to deliver return on that investment.

So why are so many banks, insurance, and wealth management firms eager to loosen their purse-strings? Some want to identify and co-opt future disruptors, others are looking to startups for innovation. There’s been a palpable change of tone in discussions of digital disruptors in retail financial services. The ubiquitous stories about voracious startups that want to eat incumbents’ lunch have been replaced by tales of successful collaboration. Financial technology startups deliver innovation, established firms bring customers, and together they live happily ever after.

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The US Holiday Shopping Season 2015 Sets New Online Records And Rebrands Black Friday

Kristopher Arcand

With the winter shopping holidays now behind us, Forrester is wrapping up its annual qualitative exploration of US consumers’ perceptions of the holiday season, both for their own behavior as well as what they observed across retailers. The retail industry has seen an increase in consumer spending compared to last year — possibly due to savings from lower gas prices. Overall, we saw that consumers felt less compelled to go out and buy gifts on Black Friday itself, but they still love a good bargain. Some other insights we gathered:

  • Black Friday sales effectively crossed over from in-store to online. While in-store shopping dropped on Black Friday, online shopping sales rose, resulting in an overall increase in sales. Consumers were quite conscious of the fact that online deals appeared even before the Thanksgiving holiday (and therefore before Black Friday). This year, these sales also carried the “Black Friday” label — traditionally an in-store-specific event. By re-associating Black Friday with deals first and foremost, this could restore positive sentiment and downplay what has otherwise become a stressful shopping event.
  • Targeted outreach drives online sales — but retailers shouldn’t overdo it. A smaller number of targeted deals and offers will help reduce the overall volume of email that consumers receive. This will in turn minimize the chances of consumer recipients being overwhelmed by holiday communications.
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