When Forrester first introduced the customer experience (CX) ecosystem concept three years ago, we found that companies’ attempts to innovate their CX were limited by tunnel vision. They couldn’t see beyond the surface layer of individual touchpoints to understand the intricate web of behind-the-scenes dynamics that really create the customer experience.
To update our research on the CX ecosystem, I’ve spent the past few months conducting dozens of interviews with senior executives from a range of industries. I’ll reveal my complete findings at our Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East next month, but I’d like to start the conversation here by sharing one piece of good news: Companies are starting to get it — at least theoretically. Most companies now understand that interactions deep within their own organizations and outside their borders determine the quality of all customer interactions.
In the early 1900s, author Kin Hubbard said, “A bee is never as busy as it seems; it’s just that it can’t buzz any slower.” A century later, things haven’t changed much — except that today, those bees are us and that buzzing comes from our mobile phones.
Survey data tells us that consumers regard their mobile phones as catalysts for productivity. Considering the amount of time consumers spend using the device and how essential they characterize the technology to be, it’s easy to take their word for it. But not so fast: Mobile tracking metrics show that consumers rarely ever conduct productivity-related tasks on their devices. In fact, the official US productivity rate has dropped to its lowest point in the past two decades.
In this case, the conflicting data points are not wrong, they are complementary — and the resulting insight is even more valuable than the sum of its parts. A combination of Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, mobile tracking numbers, and ConsumerVoices output reveals that consumers engage far less frequently in productive behaviors than expected — and suggests a new understanding of what “mobile productivity” really means.
At Forrester we have talked about the fact that digital intelligence has replaced web analytics. Digital intelligence tackles emerging channels, sophisticated consumers, technical challenges, and the enterprise democratization of digital analytics. Achieving this requires a technology toolkit which far outstrips the data, analytics and action remit of even the top web analytics tools. Does that mean we throw away web analytics? Absolutely not! Forrester’s most recent research shows that web analytics remains relevant even as digital intelligence strategies mature because top vendors are:
Extending the capabilities of their web analytics tools to collect and ingest multiple on and offline data sources and democratizing insights and discovery by improving usability and support of sophisticated data and analytics techniques.
Supporting other processes, systems and tools within the digital intelligence toolkit which provides actionably (e.g testing, behavioral targeting, etc.) by making web analytics data and insights available to these systems – in real time.
Don’t throw away web analytics; use it as a starting point and cornerstone for your firm’s digital intelligence journey.
If there was one overall theme, it would be persuasiveness. In fact, this was presented as self-evident — an almost inherent quality of any great infographic — so the interview primarily focused on what makes an infographic persuasive.
“First, I’d say, they all have a clear focus. The designer has gone in and removed all the extraneous details so you see just what you need to understand the message behind it.”
I couldn’t agree more. In my own graphics, I am constantly trying to simplify and boil them down to the essential elements — from the text and layout to the colors and icons — that help make the point of the graphic clear.
But in the process of simplifying my graphics, I have sometimes found myself approaching a line — and it’s one that you do not want to cross — after which the graphic is too simple, lacks sufficient context, and loses all its weight. For example, I’ve simplified the pie chart below and used color to help emphasize the point of the graphic.
Stop thinking in terms of what you do, or how your technology works now. Start thinking in terms of the mobile moments of your customers.
A mobile moment is a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.
Thinking in terms of mobile moments is the lesson of our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. It's a new way of thinking for many companies, but it's essential to getting mobile strategy right. Without it, you end up spending a lot of effort on features your customers won't use. Meanwhile, some entreprenuer like Lose It! or Roambi swoops in and steals your mobile moments.
How pervasive are mobile moments? We started a hashtag campaign on #MyMobileMoment to encourage people to share the mobile moments. Go ahead, check out the hundreds of posts so far. Or post your own.
If I had a dime for every time I heard the question “Isn’t eCommerce taking over retail?”, it wouldn’t make me wealthy, but I’d certainly have a few hundred dollars more than I do now. Nonetheless, it’s a question that is unfortunately misguided and has permeated our zeitgeist. The truth is that yes, eCommerce is growing - but physical retail is far from doomed. Let me take the two parts of that last sentence and address them each separately.
First, the fact that eCommerce is growing. Forrester just released the latest five-year online retail forecast and to no one’s surprise, the numbers are big. We’re projecting $294B in eCommerce sales across 30 retail categories in 2014, expected to grow to $414B by 2018. The web keeps doing what it has always done well: it provides huge assortments of products, at comparable, often lower, prices than physical stores, with 24/7 access and often free shipping. For many categories like media products or electronics, we’ve already observed a heavy shift to the web channel away from physical stores. Add to that the ubiquity of mobile devices and that drives even more shopping in more instances and places. In fact, we’re projecting that $87B of that $294B will happen on phones and tablets in 2014, and that doesn’t even include another $28B in additional mobile transactions on sites and apps like Uber and Domino’s Pizza that aren’t even in that aforementioned mobile commerce number.
But all this growth certainly doesn’t mean that stores are dying. Here’s why:
By now, you've surely heard of the second-largest acquisition in tech history, with Facebook acquiring WhatsApp for $19 billion.
However, you may be less familiar with other messaging apps like LINE, KakaoTalk, KIK, Nimbuzz, SnapChat, Vibes, Whisper, and many others.
If you think messaging apps are just a free way to communicate, you’re missing their potential: They are Mobile’s Trojan horse, as explained by my colleague Julie Ask here.
Messaging apps are mushrooming.They illustrate perfectly the age of the customer, which Forrester defines as a new business era where your customers are now empowered through social, mobile, and other technologies giving them the power to disrupt your business. Why? Because they are mastering the four key market imperatives Forrester has identified as critical to differentiate in the age of the customer:
■ Transforming the customer experience over SMS and other messaging tools. Messaging apps offer differentiated and seamless experiences over SMS and other mobile communication tools. For example, they offer advanced group messaging functionalities, multimedia features, constant innovation, and ability to opt-in or follow brands at consumers’ convenience. They are now morphing into marketing platforms redefining social media.
If you haven’t kept up with the activity in the marketing technology space – acquisitions, product enhancements, "cloud" wars, et al., then I don’t blame you. The marketing technology landscape is complex, crowded, and confusing. To compete in the age of the customer, enterprises are quickly deploying technology to manage big data, execute contextual marketing, and orchestrate real-time customer interactions.
Whether you are a marketing technology vendor, buyer, or end user, this is an exciting time, and I am thrilled to join Forrester as a principal analyst on the Customer Insights team. I am based in London, and I will cover marketing technology along with my colleague Cory Munchbach. Together we will help Customer Insights (CI) Professionals as they navigate the digital marketing landscape and make marketing technology investment decisions. With a background that includes more than 25 years’ experience in marketing, customer analytics, product management, and product marketing, with both large and small vendors in the marketing technology sector, I am excited about my new role at Forrester and on the CI team.
On the morning of May 6, 2014, Google announced its intent to acquire Adometry, a leader in the attribution technology space. Later on the same day, AOL announced its intent to acquire Convertro, another top-performing attribution technology vendor. The Adometry acquisition is not surprising, as Google needed to make major investments in its existing attribution offering with some enhanced analytics and insights services, which Adometry can provide. AOL’s acquisition of Convertro was a move to further build out its ad technology stack, hoping to obtain strong attribution algorithm and stellar engineering staff through this acquisition.
Both companies stand to benefit from the acquisition of these small but extremely knowledgeable experts in marketing and media measurement. Two of the biggest benefits for each include:
A strong services staff with deep knowledge of all media and marketing data and, more importantly, the expertise in driving actionable insights in a complicated media-buying world.
An innovative ability to stitch data sources together — online, offline, and mobile — across the buyer’s journey.
Last month, we had one of our best Forrester Forums For Marketing Leaders that I've been to, and I've been to all of them. With an on-site audience of nearly 1,000 marketing professionals, I really enjoyed hearing from many of you -- our valued clients -- about your thoughts on the need for new approaches to marketing. Next week, I hope our European clients will find our latest thinking on customer context and utility marketing as valuable as your peers in North America did. Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in Europe is finally here, and I look forward to seeing you in London this Tuesday, May 13. Make sure you check out our latest research reports that go in-depth on the event theme, "Beyond The Campaign":