Roll Out The Red Carpet: The 2017 Social Media Management Solutions (SMMS) Forrester Wave™ Is Here!

Erna Alfred Liousas

Does our new 2017 SMMS Forrester Wave reveal one SMMS to rule them all? Unfortunately not. No one SMMS will meet everyone’s needs. But this report does provide a detailed analysis across 32 criteria for 10 vendors that you’ll want to include in your SMMS research: Facelift, Hootsuite, Lithium, Oracle, Percolate, Salesforce, Spredfast, Sprinklr, Sprout Social, and Sysomos. Here are a few questions that our evaluation answers. 

What happened to social relationship platforms (SRPs)?
In 2015, we referred to “solutions that help marketers publish, monitor, and respond to customer posts on social networks” as social relationship platforms. Given the breadth and impact of social marketing initiatives addressing all six phases of our customer lifecycle across the enterprise, we now refer to these technologies as social media management solutions. Our 2017 Forrester Wave evaluation criteria reflect capabilities that cover the latest uses of social across enterprises and the progressive capabilities within social networks today. 
Which SMMS capabilities bring together marketing and other business units?
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Want To Know What Marketing Looks Like For Customer-Obsessed Firms?

Laura Ramos

So do we. And we’re asking for your help to do so.

Forrester has shown that making customers the center of your world makes a difference. As Shar VanBoskirk writes in her "How To Launch Customer Obsession" blog post: ‘Good things come from customer obsession.  Employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, and revenue growth all improve as companies become more customer obsessed.’

While we have some well-informed opinions, we don’t yet have a statistical base that correlates B2B marketing practices in strategy, technology, analytics, etc. to the characteristics that distinguish customer-obsessed companies. We’d like to rectify this by surveying you about your customer-obsession and related marketing attributes.

If you’d like to help, link here. Responding to this survey should only take 15 minutes of your time.  Survey closes June 20, 2017 -- so please take a moment now.

Yes, you’ll get a report immediately after completing the survey.

Yes, you’ll also get the topline results of this study.

Yes, we expect it to be pretty helpful.

Who Are The Mobile Banking Leaders In Australia And New Zealand?

Zhi-Ying Ng

This blog post was co-written with senior research associate Erna Esa.

Over the past few months, we have diligently reviewed the mobile banking services of five retail banks in Australia and three retail banks in New Zealand. We used our mobile banking functionality and digital user experience methodologies to find out who the mobile banking leaders in Australia and New Zealand are. And the results are out: In Australia, CommBank takes the top spot thanks to its impressive usability and strong functionality features, with Westpac coming in a very close second. In our inaugural New Zealand mobile banking benchmark, KiwiBank has edged out BNZ with good usability.

Here are some key takeaways from this year’s benchmarks:

  • Leaders stand out with strong functionality features and great user experience . . . Many Australian banks offer mobile banking services with strong functionality and slightly above average usability. This is a result of digital teams having fostered strong relationships between their customer experience, digital business strategy, and technology management teams. The digital teams have also adopted an iterative test-and-learn process, with cross-functional teams taking an Agile approach of experimentation, measurement, and quick adjustment to drive success.
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Just Published: The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q2 2017

Rusty Warner

I’m pleased to announce that we have just published The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q2 2017. This evaluation includes 12 vendors that address RTIM, which Forrester defines as: enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.

Vendor capabilities have evolved since we published our first RTIM evaluation in 2015, and the new report recognizes 5 leaders – SAS, Pegasystems, Teradata, Adobe, and IBM – all with unique technology approaches to address RTIM requirements. Salesforce, FICO, Pitney Bowes, Infor, and Emarsys are strong performers. And, Rocket Fuel and IgnitionOne are contenders, representing emergent RTIM capabilities for advertising use cases. The continued convergence of martech and adtech will further drive use cases for both anonymous and authenticated customers as the RTIM space evolves.

Not only are we seeing vendors apply RTIM to advertising and customer acquisition strategies, but we are seeing deeper integrations with sales, service, and operational environments to better address up-sell, cross-sell, retention, and loyalty requirements. We are further seeing customer-initiated interaction volumes increase dramatically as brands strive to personalize content and offers across an ever-expanding range of channels and touchpoints. In addition, this year’s evaluation includes criteria for artificial intelligence and emerging IoT capabilities.

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Just What Do You Think You’re Doing, Dave? Marketers Must Get Ready For AI Powered Marketing

Joe Stanhope

As a longstanding staple of science fiction and academic research, AI isn’t new. What’s different today is its shift into practical, consumer facing applications. AI does real things for real people. AI quietly makes many of our daily, if mundane, tasks possible such as shopping on Amazon, listening to music on Spotify, and requesting driving directions from an iPhone. AI is big business, and tech firms, enterprises, investors, and the media all want in on the action.

It’s no surprise that the excitement of AI has leapt into marketing technology. Marketing is an ideal environment for AI to strut its stuff. After all, marketers utilize massive technology stacks to leverage prodigious amounts of data to make billions of decisions daily that drive trillions of dollars in consumer spending. And the timing is perfect, because the demands of modern marketing have exceeded human cognitive capacity. That isn’t a slight on marketers’ skills, motivation, or smarts in any way. The truth is that there’s literally no way for traditional marketing technologies, processes, and organizations to keep pace with volume, velocity, and complexity of cross channel, personalized customer engagement in 2017.

Marketers are bombarded daily with bold statements that AI will make them faster, smarter, better, and more attractive. While it is highly likely that AI is leading us to autonomous marketing, marketers are neither prepared or willing to turn customer engagement over to HAL 9000, or any other AI system. We’re in the very early stages of transforming marketing with AI. Marketers need time to develop trust in the technology. We need to validate the long-term results. And AI represents a very different operating model for marketers that will require revised processes, skills, and organizational design. This takes time.

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A New Age Calls For A New Way To Brand – Introducing Forrester’s Intelligent Branding

Dipanjan Chatterjee

The traditional paradigm of brand management has been upended by intelligent branding — a customer-centric, emotions-driven approach anchored in the neuroscience of how people form brand impressions. The full report is available for Forrester clients: The Rise Of Intelligent Branding    

Why now?

Because the idea of traditional brand management is well past its prime and reflects neither the customer-obsession that characterizes today’s best brands nor the significant advances in our understanding of decision making:

  • Brand is not a monolith to be managed like a product or service; it is an idea, a perception. And there are as many perceptions of a brand as there are minds that have interacted with it. Branding is about consumer and customer obsession, not about products, services, and communications. 
  • Brand is not rational. Traditional marketing has always assumed a rational consumer (homo economicus). However, a considerable body of work (including Forrester’s own ongoing research), has shown the primacy of emotions and the subconscious in decision making. Traditional brand management has not caught up.
  • Brand is hard to measure. Traditional qualitative and quantitative brand measurement can be unpredictable because recall is fraught with error and highly prone to suggestion. Respondents struggle with “why” questions since they can’t access their subconscious which drives decision making.
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B2B Marketing Budgets Put New Emphasis On Talent And Technology

Laura Ramos

Question: What do a B2B marketing leader with plenty of money and resources and the Jersey Devil have in common?

Answer: Neither exists.

And in 2016, neither do big B2B marketing budget increases.

Forrester’s recent report “Conflicting B2B Marketing Priorities Threaten To Derail Program Progress” (subscription required) takes a closer look at some of the difficult choices B2B marketing execs must make to apportion limited budgets wisely. When 62% of B2B marketing leaders tell us that improving marketing returns on investment is a critical priority, these static budgets are forcing them to rethink personnel and technology spending in a effort to recalibrate programs against business objectives.

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The Data Digest: Mobile Phone -- Compass, Guide, And Connector

Anjali Lai

I’ve spent the past few weeks traveling around Europe, and during my trip, I became keenly aware of how much I rely on my phone to connect me with the physical world – especially when navigating unfamiliar streets. But as I strolled through major cities and charming countryside towns, I passed groups of locals and tourists – some with physical maps, others following directions dictated by their personal devices. I began to wonder: Do consumers around the world rely on digital navigation differently?

According to Forrester Data’s Consumer Technographics® data, mobile geo-location behaviors do, in fact, vary by country. For example, more than six in 10 metropolitan Argentinian travelers frequently use their mobile phones to look up directions and maps, compared with only a third of German travelers:  

But like many globetrotters, while I count on my mobile phone’s navigation abilities, I also enjoy using travel to “unplug.” I make sure I don’t map out every piece of my itinerary but allow for spontaneous discoveries. Mobile apps like Here We Go and TripIt have developed loyal users because they provide specific, contextual real-time data to solve quick pain points without distracting from the adventure overall.

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In the Age of the Customer, Data Is King

Susan Bidel

Successful companies have always been customer obsessed. How to get them, how to keep them, how to make them advocates are all questions that have kept CEOs awake at night since commerce began. Today’s sophisticated data management platforms offer marketers the digital tools to aggregate and mine their data to answer those questions.

The core capability that every DMP offers is the identification of the characteristics of a company’s customers and prospects, addressing the “how to get them” question. Armed with that information, marketers allocate advertising resources and buy media based on those audience characteristics. It’s the very essence of programmatic buying.

But there’s more to marketing than media buying. The most effective marketing operations exercise control over every customer interaction, including email, website, social, call centers… every customer touchpoint, making sure they are relevant and delivering value because that’s how you keep customers. DMP leaders know that and are building, buying, and integrating to collect data from and deliver insights to every digital channel the CMO cares to include.

Evolving a customer into an advocate requires that a product engender a commitment, and even the most sophisticated marketing can only go so far. Creating great products and continuously improving them in step with consumer expectations requires that marketers share their DMP-derived knowledge with their product teams. While that kind of corporate cooperation remains rare, it is the way of the future. And it all starts with data.

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Who Are The Mobile Banking Leaders To Follow In Europe?

Aurelie L'Hostis

We’ve spent the past few months diligently reviewing the mobile banking services of 11 retail banks in Europe and six retail banks in the UK, and the results are out. BBVA in Spain and Lloyds Bank in the UK earned the top spot in our 2017 European and UK mobile banking benchmark reviews, respectively. These two banks achieved impressive scores, even as we raised the bar in terms of our expected performance of mobile banking services. Not only do BBVA and Lloyds Bank offer best-in-class transactional functionality, a wide range of next-generation features, and outstanding marketing and sales functionality, they also lead by delivering good user experiences.

What were the key takeaways this year?

  • Banks in Spain, Poland, and Turkey continue to lead the way in Europe. Not a huge surprise. These mobile banking leaders — BBVA and CaixaBank in Spain, mBank and Bank Zachodni WBK in Poland, Garanti in Turkey, as well as Lloyds Bank in the UK — stay ahead of the curve by prioritizing mobile initiatives on their agenda. These banks have brought together cross-functional teams, building strong relationships among their customer experience, digital business strategy, and technology management teams. They have also adopted an iterative, rapid development process, fostering an agile approach of experimenting, measuring, and quickly adjusting. As a result, the gap between the leaders and the other banks is gradually widening. To learn about how Lloyds Bank Group established a new operating model to rapidly adapt and respond to future customer needs and deliver better digital services faster, I invite you to read our recent case study.
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