Forrester Blogs For Marketing & Strategy Professionals
This is a roll-up of all Forrester blogs written for Marketing & Strategy Professionals. Role-specific blogs are listed below. Visit Forrester.com to learn how we make Marketing & Strategy Professionals successful every day.
There's a growing group of people who are always online and use their devices to support nearly every activity, including making decisions about your products and services. We call them your perpetually connected customers. They will shake your marketing to the core, because they value service and utility – not ads buzzing in their pockets. To thrive, you need new tactics and a culture of innovation. In the run-up to our Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders EMEA, I've been speaking about marketing innovation with one of our keynotes, Greg Williams, Executive Editor at WIRED. As an editor, speaker, and writer, Greg scouts the best glimpses of the future that exist in the here-and-now. Here are some of his thoughts.
Q: What's your favourite example of an application that merges the digital and physical?
If you read my blog regularly, it should come as no surprise that I am an ardent fan of using mobile devices — whether mobile phones or tablets — for market research purposes. I have discussed how consumers are already forcing our hand into the world of mobile and that market insights professionals are not conducting mobile market research but instead are conducting market research in a mobile world.
Given this, I was both delighted and dismayed when attending this year’s ARF Re:think 2013 conference. Why was I delighted? There was a marked increase in the number of talks that focused on the role mobile plays — whether as a research technique or how it plays a significant role in consumers’ lives. Of just the talks I attended, which were a lot, almost 60% of them discussed the role of mobile. And a lot of these “mobile” talks were in the main track session. Talking with colleagues who attended last year, it’s clear that mobile has definitely moved front of mind compared with ARF Re:think 2012.
But I was dismayed that it was still just talk, talk, talk. At the conference, I was surrounded by tablets and smartphones, and people were using them all the time. And while we’re living this mobile life, we’re listening to speeches telling us how we need to start thinking about the role of mobile. Dare I say that we need to do a bit more than just thinking at this point in the game? We clearly have to get our act together soon.
. . . Ok, maybe not so "live" because it is now late in the evening on the day of the conference, but I'd like to share a few insights I gathered about the state of business-to-business (B2B) digital marketing today.
BtoB magazine's one-day event features frank conversational discussion from top B2B brands (mostly tech ones like Cisco Systems, Intel, SAP, VMware, Tellabs, and IBM) in moderated panel format. Digital lead generation/pipeline augmentation, social selling, agency trends, building B2B community, developing engaging content, and mobile marketing filled out the agenda.
This was my second year at the event, and the highlight again was the social media awards. Featuring 10 categories ranging from integrated campaign, to Twitter, mobile, and Pinterest, BtoB singles out top performers in social marketing. It also unveils tech and nontech people's-choice awards as voted on by subscribers.
You can find the full list here, and I hope BtoB will publish the scripted descriptions in a future edition because all honorees were interesting and unique and offer B2B marketers a look into how to use social to advance business. Heartfelt congratulations to all award winners — well deserved!
Looking over the list, here are a few observations you can take away about the state of social marketing in B2B:
Between events and trade shows, nearly a quarter of the average B2B marketer’s budget is spent on events, dwarfing all other marketing mix categories, including website and advertising spending. Your customers agree that in-person events are highly influential. For example, in our Q3 2012 survey of business hardware buyers, 68% of respondents state that in-person events are important for researching and evaluating what to purchase.
As an analyst, I both attend and participate in a number of different trade shows, customer events, and industry or role events each year — including our own Forrester Forum For Marketing Leaders April 18-19 this year in Los Angeles.
No matter what the event, vendors have event giveaways — or swag — for their customers and prospects. Marketing swag — when done right — can help you get the most value out of the events you are already running or attending. How? People will remember you favorably, and that's a good start to a follow-on sales conversation or marketing touch. Unfortunately, many giveaways fail to reach that objective, and waste both time and money.
I’ve created an interactive tool for clients, with three major categories of factors used to evaluate your event giveaways or swag. Consider:
If the swag connects back to your brand message enough to be worth offering it all: The $2 bill test; Company branding; Value alignment.
How valuable and useful the swag is for your intended audience: Usability; Interactivity; Durability; Portability.
How practical the item is logistically: Unit cost; Reusability; Portability.
Our Forum for Marketing Leadership Professionals in Los Angeles is just a few weeks away, and in preparation I’ve been talking with our industry keynoters about their sessions. Last week I had a chance to catch up with Richard Char, Global Head of Information Services, Global Enterprise Payments at Citi, in advance of his keynote at the event. We talked about how Citi is using customer data to market to customers at the right time, with the right messaging for connecting in the moment. Here are some of Richard’s thoughts.
Q: How is Citi using data to build a view of customers in a specific context?
A: In our soon-to-be-released digital wallet application, offers will be selected for each customer (who has opted in) depending on the customer’s indicated preferences and based on predicted relevancy of the offer. We use past transaction data and the customer’s prior interaction with offers in the digital wallet, as well as the customer’s current location and context (time of day, day of week, current weather, etc.), to select the next offer which will have the greatest predicted relevancy for the customer.
Q: Why should brands and merchants work with an intermediary like Citi for targeted promotions?
A: With respect to our soon-to-be-released digital wallet application, there are three reasons local merchants are working with Citi:
Think about the past 24 hours: What have you done with your mobile phone? Did you send a text message? Check your email? Read any articles? Challenge someone in Words With Friends? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these, chances are that you may be one of the rapidly growing segment of perpetually connected customers that Forrester has been talking about. Welcome to the club!
Being one of these super-connected, mobile-savvy people is exciting. You can sit on your couch browsing a store’s catalog on your tablet while simultaneously messaging with friends on your smartphone. You can get a notification from your favorite store’s app about a flash sale happening that moment. You can search for the best dinner spot nearby and check reviews while walking down the street. You can find out more information about the TVs you are deciding between while in-store through the mobile Web or scanning a barcode. The options are endless!
Now put on your marketer hat. It’s an exciting time from this perspective too because the opportunities available to reach this consumer anytime, anywhere also seem endless! So yes, it’s exciting, but — let’s be honest – there is a lot of pressure to successfully meet these consumers’ demands, and it’s a little daunting to wade through the endless options to discover what tactics are right for your brand and how to get the programs launched.
The inimitable Ice Cube once sang that you should "check yourself before you wreck yourself." To be honest, I don't know what else was in that song, but that one line is a good one for today's CMOs to heed if you're looking for success in the age of the customer — an era where your only source of competitive advantage comes from relationships with customers. Over the past few months, I've been writing and talking at length about the importance of moving to a customer-obsessed marketing organization: a well-oiled machine that is organized for and around customers' needs. We use the customer life cycle to illustrate how marketers should approach marketing to differentiate the brand or company in a highly complex landscape of products, media, data, and conversation. There's no one-size-fits-all approach for it either. But there are five key areas on which CMOs should focus to facilitate the transition to a customer life-cycle-driven marketing effort:
There’s no question that executive support can make or break a voice of the customer (VoC) program. With an executive (or several) onboard, VoC teams can get the funding and tools that they need to succeed. And VoC leaders from Forrester’s 2012 Voice Of The Customer Awards almost unanimously gave others the advice to build executive support.
If you’re struggling to get your program off the ground, heed their wise advice. Appeal to executives with evidence (metrics, business results) and with compelling stories about what might be going wrong for customers and how they’ve been delighted by the experience. Ask for execs to support you in collecting feedback from customers, analyzing that feedback, taking on projects to improve the experience, and monitoring to make sure that those projects are working.
But executives aren’t the only key to a successful program. Top-down support is important, but it has to be balanced with bottom-up support, too. What happens when execs mandate that everyone cares about customer feedback? People don’t really care. It feels like a fad. Employees have to feel some ownership and control — or they just won’t buy in.
This week, Google announced that it will shut down Google Reader on July 1, 2013. In its announcement, Google states that it’s doing this because the usage of Google Reader has declined and it wants to concentrate on fewer products. There was a lot of buzz online about this decision, and some fanatical Google Reader fans put together a petition to keep the RSS reader alive. They garnered more than 50,000 signatures in just a few hours.
This whole debate sparked my interest, and I analyzed Forrester’s Technographics® data to get a better understanding of the usage of RSS feeds over time. I found that Google is right about the decline. Our data shows that it was always only a dedicated group who used RSS feeds at least weekly — about 7% of US online adults in 2008; this had declined to just over 4% last year, with about one in 10 US online adults using RSS feeds about monthly.
In our new report, Extend Your Marketing Into Games, we take a closer look at how marketers can take advantage of opportunities within games. From dedicated consoles to mobile devices and in browsers, games are a multi-platform stage for brands to get in front of consumers.