Brace Yourself For The 2016 Digital Re-Org.

Martin Gill

Our annual organizational and staffing survey of digital professionals heralds change in 2016. The meteoric growth in digital team sizes has plateaued, and as line-of-business teams take on responsibility for digital execution and technology management teams step up to manage digital development, the nature, makeup and role of the digital team is shifting. The demand for skills like analytics, customer experience and product management is growing as digital teams take on end-to-end ownership of their firm’s digital experience. Our latest report, Trends 2016: Staffing And Hiring For Digital Business, outlines the key organizational trends and benchmarks for digital teams in the coming year.

Our key findings from the survey are:

  • Headcount Growth Plateaus As Operating Model Shifts. Digital headcount growth has plateaued, with teams averaging 94 people, down from 95 in 2014 and 103 in 2013. As technology and line-of-business teams step up to the digital plate, digital teams focus their resources on strategy and governance, channeling execution headcount into operational teams.
  • Technology Skills Aren’t The Biggest Headache Anymore. Technology skills are still hard to find, but roles like analytics and product management are increasingly vital, and much harder to source. As the role of digital teams shift from being operators and executors to strategists and coaches guiding line of business teams as they embrace digital, so to does the nature of the skills in digital teams. This way of operating demands more strategic and consultative skills than operational or technical specialists.
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Data Digest: Social Apps Buzz During Super Bowl 50 Game Day

Nicole Dvorak

By: Nicole Dvorak and Kristopher Arcand

On February 7, 2016 112 million viewers tuned in to watch the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers, the 3rd largest in TV history according to Nielsen data.

To help companies understands consumers’ mobile behaviors on the big day Forrester used its Technographics 360 approach, which combines multiple data sources*.

Our behavioral data indicates that people don’t drastically change their mobile behaviors for the game. However, Twitter’s app attracted a 23% larger audience than the Sunday before. But increased usage isn’t everything: Even though it’s audience size grew by just 1% from the previous weekend, Facebook’s broad reach accounted for 1 in four smartphone owners using the Facebook app during Super Bowl 50 game time hours. Instagram - also popular during Super Bowl game time despite seeing a smaller audience from the previous week - reached 5% of smartphone owners (most of whom were 18 and 24 years old).

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Why A Tax Law Change In Australia Could Impact Online Revenues For US Online Retailers

Lily Varon

In August 2015, the Australian government announced an impending change to their tax structure that will impact online retailers serving the market via international shipping. Today, Australian consumers can import up to A$1,000 duty-free when they buy from a foreign retailer. The A$1,000 duty-free exemption is known as the low value threshold (LVT) and it has driven a large cross-border shopping habit among online shoppers in Australia. But change is afoot and retailers should know that:

  • Goods and services tax (GST) will be added to cross-border transactions previously exempt. As of July 2017, the Australian government will be expanding its GST collection to purchases previously exempt under the A$1,000 threshold. Additionally, the government stipulates the onus is on retailers to collect and remit the tax: According to the Australian Treasury Department, "For goods with a value of A$1,000 or less, GST is applied at point of sale. Overseas vendors with an Australian turnover of $75,000 or more will be required to register, collect and remit GST on low value goods."* 
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Measure Emotions In Customer Experiences To Improve Loyalty

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

Do you know how your customers feel about their experiences with your firm? Customers’ emotions can damage — or improve — customers’ perception of the overall experience and your firm’s ability to grow. Customers’ emotions affect whether you’ll lose or keep them, whether they will buy more or less from you, and whether they will spread good or bad word of mouth about your company.

In a recent episode of CX Cast, I spoke about how to measure emotions in customer experience. Listen to the podcast below.

For detailed insights, check out my report, "How To Measure Emotion In Customer Experience" (subscription required). 

Early on in my research, I found that most current CX measurement programs don’t quantify customers’ emotions. Instead, they focus almost exclusively on metrics that reflect a rational or cognitive evaluation of experiences. Measuring emotions — and making sense of all of the tools and methods that claim to do just that — is hard. What’s more, a deep-seated skepticism about the trustworthiness of emotion measurement prevails in organizations — making it harder to get buy-in for emotion metrics.

But you can learn a lot from organizations that measure emotions in customer experience. 

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Channel Partner Business Models In The Age Of The Customer

Tim Harmon

I’ve been invited to present at several partner conferences this year on the topic of how channel partners should transform their businesses, specifically in light of declining discount margins and digital transformation.  Yes, you heard me right – declining discount margins.  It’s not happening across the board, but the general trend in the tech industry for the past couple of years is that vendors are reducing the discounts they are offering to partners (but some are rolling out programs that can boost partners’ profitability in other ways). 

To more than compensate for shrinking discount margins, I posted last year that there is a new wide world of value-added services opportunities for channel partners – particularly “away from the box” value-added services (as opposed to “close to the box” services involving installation and configuration), driven largely by the upsurge of line-of-business buyers: planning, adoption services, change management, risk management, multi-vendor management, and benchmarking, to name a few.  For example, we just interviewed a Google partner who is seeing significant growth with its customer success program.

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Why You Should Attend Forrester’s MARKETING 2016 Forum

Carlton Doty

I’ll be brief, because I know you’re busy. If you’re a customer-obsessed marketer, you should plan to attend Forrester’s annual Forum designed just for you – MARKETING 2016. Join us and 600+ marketing leaders in New York City on April 26-27 as we dive deep into the issues that matter most to you. Our agenda this year is comprised of five sections:

1.     Thriving In The Post-Digital Age: Led by our own VP/Principal Analyst Shar VanBoskirk, hear our latest research on what it takes to succeed as a marketing leader in a world where digital embeds in everything.

2.     Customer Understanding: Sick of all the noise about big data? Join VP and Research Director Srividya Sridharan as she uncovers how to move from data, to insights, to business action.

3.     Contextual Engagement: Principal Analyst Rusty Warner will be joined onstage by eBay and J&J as they discuss best practices in using situational context to drive deeper customer engagement.

4.     The Leadership Question: Forrester’s Michelle Moorehead will moderate a superstar panel on the changing leadership role for CMOs.

5.     The Power Of Trust: Principal Analyst Fatemeh Khatibloo will discuss how your ability to manage consumer privacy will be a key differentiator in building trust.

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Don’t Let Volatile Markets Scare You Away From Customer Experience Investments

Harley Manning

If you like horror shows, forget The Walking Dead and check out global markets: In 2016, US stocks got off to their worst start ever. Oil prices are in the toilet — taking oil company stocks with them — and neither looks to fully recover any time soon. Of course, both of these Nightmares on Wall Street might pale in comparison to what a Brexit could do to volatility in foreign exchange rates (and therefore your profit and loss).

In the past, you might have expected China to ride to the rescue. But that won’t happen: The Chinese economy just grew at its slowest rate in 25 years

Companies that obsess over these developments might be tempted to panic and cut spending on customer experience improvement programs, despite the fact that many firms are sitting on piles of cash. But cutting CX budgets is a terrible idea because CX is the greatest potential source of competitive advantage — especially in times of high market volatility. For example:

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Planning Your Digital Reboot For A Go-To-Customer Strategy - Upcoming Webinar

Peter O'Neill

There has been quite a response to my comment in the last blog on planning a technology-focused track at our October B2B Marketing Forum. Thanks for your inputs. I am glad you are looking forward to it. I have the luxury of being able to invite many different experts to the Forum, not just the B2B Marketing analysts; so that track in Miami will focus on how to deal with the current marketing-technology offerings as an enterprise: how to architect, compare and procure, and manage the business case – through the full life cycle.

I’ve recently enjoyed Ajay Agarwal’s article in TechCrunch “Marketing Tech’s Bumpy Road”. Ajay talks about the trends from the investor point of view of course; but his comparison of B2C being weighted 10:1 in marketing and sales resources compared to B2B being the other way around is succinct -- that is why sales enablement is so important in our B2B Marketing research portfolio. But that ratio of 1:10 will swing more and more across to marketing each year of the Age of the Customer, as empowered buyers engage with suppliers digitally and redefine their expectations of face to face meetings.  Andy Hoar is just starting his new survey of business buyers, a project he does with eRetailer each year, so expect to see us updating our sales archetypes forecast, as reported here by Mary Shea, later this year.

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Hot Off The Press – The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q1 2016

Brandon Purcell

We have all this valuable data about our customers, but we need to make better use of it.

This is the most common theme I hear on inquiry calls, at conferences, and in advisory sessions.  At this point, companies are fully aware that their data contains enormous value.  In fact, I like to think that data has a potential value much like the concept of potential energy in physics.  In physics, the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy requires force.  In business, customer analytics is the Force that unlocks the hidden value in your customer data.

Because customer analytics often relies on advanced machine learning algorithms, it used to be the domain of statisticians who could write code in R or Python.  Today, thanks to the 11 customer analytics solution providers in The Forrester Wave™: Customer Analytics Solutions, Q1 2016, customer insights professionals are applying these techniques to their data to address key business objectives.  This report, which is only available to Forrester clients, evaluates the customer analytics solutions of Adobe, AgilOne, Angoss, Alteryx, FICO, IBM, Manthan, Pitney Bowes, SAP, SAS, and Teradata.

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Change Is Afoot For The Modern B2B Seller

Mary Shea

Everybody is telling us this: Today's modern B2B buyer is soooo empowered! Well, that’s because they can use digital and mobile channels to get access to competitive, pricing, reference and other information they need. Not only that, they even prefer to transact anywhere, anytime, and anyhow they want. So, the pressure is on for sales people to raise their game. Those who can only communicate in terms of product and service capabilities will see their messages fall flat.

Go-to-market leaders that fail to empower their sellers will see their selling organizations commoditized by those that do and their businesses surpassed by disrupters. While change is clearly afoot - I can’t think of a more exciting time to be in Sales! B2B sellers who embrace change, who are adroit at leveraging new technologies to support more contextual engagements, and who seek out less cluttered channels such as social - will not only remain relevant but will be wildly successful!

To hear and see more, watch the below Animated Interview And Podcast with Chad Quinn, President and Founder of Ecosystems.