Change The Interface, Change The World: Microsoft HoloLens Takes Computing’s Next Giant Leap

James McQuivey

Windows 10 comes with holographic computing built into it. And to prove that it’s serious about holography, the company announced Microsoft HoloLens, a headset that lets people interact with holograms in the real world.

Wait, what?

I know what you’re thinking. Microsoft has a credibility problem when it comes to launches of future tech. Remember that this is the company that tried to launch touch-based tablet computing in 2000. Microsoft launched a smartwatch years before anybody else that also came to naught. I’ll spare you a longer list of Microsoft’s mislaunches. It all adds up to a fair bit of earned skepticism. Surely Microsoft can’t be expected to create the computing interface that will do to graphical user interfaces what the mouse did to the text-based user interface.

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Why I Believe That "Listening Technologies Won't Become A Major Marketing Technology In 2015"

Allison Smith

Social listening is really cool. I think about it, talk about it, and care about it full-time. But I'm hyperaware that at most organizations, the impact of social data is...blah. Social  data analyts have the data and the skill to answer some of the toughest questions that the business asks: "What do consumers want?" "How can we aquire more customers?" "Where can we cut costs?"

BUT, because their tools and strategic initatives relegate social to a function of customer service or PR, social analytics limps along, year after year, triaging crises, and pleading for money and influence in the organization, with limited success.

IN TRUTH, 2015 could be the year for listening technologies to become major marketing technologies. IF vendors can truly make legitimate integrations work, and can come up with real business metrics (read: not fan and follower, or even "engagement" counts). AND IF marketers can put serious strategy behind unpacking the insights that come out of social networks. But, nothing I've heard from either side of the aisle makes me think that we're going to see breakthrough in 2015. 

Read "Listening Technologies Won't Become A Major Marketing Technology In 2015" report, tell me what you think in the comments or on Twitter. I'm @allsnsmth. 

My Favorite Forrester Groundswell Award Winner: Analog Devices

Erna Alfred Liousas
We’re now accepting entries for the 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards. This is our chance to recognize the very best social marketing programs from the past year — and we’d love to give an award to you for your best work. You can enter here
 
To get your creative juices flowing, I wanted to highlight one of my all-time favorite Forrester Groundswell Award winners: Analog Devices, our 2013 B2B Social Relationship Marketing award winner. Analog manufactures integrated circuits, and its EngineerZone community allows members to resolve challenges and questions by tapping into the collective “wisdom of the crowds.” The company’s technical community has a global membership that empowers each member to help or be helped from any part of the globe, making it an invaluable resource.
 
When they submitted their entry, Analog Devices shared the following results from a member feedback survey:
Over 90% of respondents said the information was helpful to their design. 
76% were more likely to purchase ADI products knowing EngineerZone was available as a resource.  
 
A true social relationship marketing strategy ensures that customers continue to have their needs met and receive tangible benefits even after the point of purchase. In doing so, customers are primed and ready to accept new information about products and services which can provide even more value.
 
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Use WeChat Now, But Use It Wisely

Xiaofeng Wang

Over the past two years, WeChat has been a very important part of my research. And it should be on your radar as well. I’ve been particularly focused on gauging its innovations and exploring potential monetization possibilities. Most importantly, I’ve been evaluating how marketers can leverage WeChat from the time when it wasn’t ready to be a scalable marketing tool through to today, when all marketers need to understand how to use WeChat wisely.

With a whopping 468 million monthly active users, WeChat has been the focus of marketers for a while; as of July 2014, WeChat had 5.8 million public accounts. However, marketing leaders face challenges in using WeChat for marketing:

  • WeChat is a private social platform. The tactics that work on open social platforms like Weibo do not necessarily work on private social platforms like WeChat. Many marketers still wrongly attempt to use WeChat as a platform for news announcements.
  • WeChat provides limited ad formats and APIs. Although we do see Tencent considering the possibilities of introducing display ads in Moments (WeChat’s timeline) and laying the groundwork for search advertising by partnering with the local search engine Sogou, so far the only available advertising opportunity for marketers is purchasing display ads in public account articles. Many marketers also complain about the limited APIs that WeChat provides to them.
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Apply Social Listening To The Entire Organization

Gene Cao

Chinese organizations started monitoring social media for purposes of PR crisis management. As I noted in an earlier report, Spring Airlines decided to build social listening functions to identify crises and perform basic brand tracking after struggling with a public relations crisis — the backlash from airline staff blacklisting a passenger for complaining about flight delays — on Sina Weibo in 2012. Like Spring Airlines, most Chinese organizations now hire social media monitoring specialists and leverage insights drawn from social data to support marketing functions like optimizing marketing campaigns in real time, measuring the results of social campaigns, and collecting ratings and reviews from customers.

Moving forward, some early adopters in China have applied social listening to broader business functions in their organizations, including customer service, sales, distribution, and product innovation. In my most recent report, I see that these early birds have achieved benefits including:

  • Optimized customer experience in marketing campaigns. A leading beverage company used a social listening platform to analyze consumer sentiments and shorten response times in China. Its marketing team created an in-house social marketing benchmark system, instantly analyzes customer behavior, and modifies its marketing campaigns based on that analysis.
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Apply Social Listening To The Entire Organization

Gene Cao

Chinese organizations started monitoring social media for purposes of PR crisis management. As I noted in an earlier report, Spring Airlines decided to build social listening functions to identify crises and perform basic brand tracking after struggling with a public relations crisis — the backlash from airline staff blacklisting a passenger for complaining about flight delays — on Sina Weibo in 2012. Like Spring Airlines, most Chinese organizations now hire social media monitoring specialists and leverage insights drawn from social data to support marketing functions like optimizing marketing campaigns in real time, measuring the results of social campaigns, and collecting ratings and reviews from customers.

Moving forward, some early adopters in China have applied social listening to broader business functions in their organizations, including customer service, sales, distribution, and product innovation. In my most recent report, I see that these early birds have achieved benefits including:

  • Optimized customer experience in marketing campaigns. A leading beverage company used a social listening platform to analyze consumer sentiments and shorten response times in China. Its marketing team created an in-house social marketing benchmark system, instantly analyzes customer behavior, and modifies its marketing campaigns based on that analysis.
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Mindtree Has Revamped Its Marketing And Selling For the Age Of The Customer

Peter O'Neill

I spent some time last week with Paul Gottsegen, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Office at Mindtree.   Paul is one of our guest keynote speakers at our Sales Enablement Forum in March and Mindtree is one of the fastest growing business services companies in the industry.  Services marketing, let alone services selling is a particular challenge; and thought leadership and storytelling play an important role in ensuring success.  Like many companies, Mindtree has had to learn to elevate its story to align to the needs of business executives. 

                 

Paul and I discussed his upcoming presentation and here is our dialogue.

Peter: How are you helping your own salespeople to better understand their buyers?

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Why Is Alibaba Investing In Indian Online Payment Platform Paytm?

Alibaba has an ambitious goal: becoming the first company to exceed $1 trillion in gross merchandise value in the next five years. To accomplish this, Alibaba is looking to expand in emerging markets, as developed markets like North America and Europe are mature and have high barriers to entry. Emerging markets with rapidly growing smartphone penetration, relatively poor offline retail experiences, challenging logistics environments, and limited online payment infrastructures are ideal targets for Alibaba’s expansion.

India ticks all four of those boxes, making it an attractive opportunity (as are Southeast Asian countries including Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia). Alibaba’s decision to invest in Indian online payments platform Paytm is its starting point to enter the Indian market:

  • The mobile marketplace is a huge opportunity. Forrester expects mCommerce in India to top $19 billion by 2019— an attractive opportunity for players like Paytm, which currently counts more than 25 million users. Forrester expects that the number of online buyers in India will rise from 36 million in 2014 to 125 million by 2019.
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Announcing Our Annual Benchmark On The State Of US Consumers And Technology In 2014

Gina Fleming

As the importance of technology to consumers continues to grow, pretty much anyone working for a company that wants to improve their customer experience needs to understand consumers’ technology behaviors. Questions companies ask include: “How did US consumers’ technology use change in 2014?” “Who are the early adopters of wearable devices?” “Are older adults using digital media?” “Are Millennials really ready to cut the cord?” These are just a few of the questions we answer in our newly released report on The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2014, US. This data-rich report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for consumers’ level of technology adoption, usage, and attitudes. Our annual benchmark report is based on Forrester's Consumer Technographics® online benchmark surveythat we've been fielding since 1998.

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The Sales Enablement Forum Is ALSO For B2B Marketing Leaders - Check it out!

Peter O'Neill

I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum on March 2-3 in Scottsdale, Arizona,where the overall theme this year is about the different approaches required to optimize your B2B sales channels. Our research shows that more transactional buyers now prefer more automation and self-service (eBusiness); whereas executives who are involved in buying prefer (no, insist on) having conversations and engagement that match their problem-solving needs. So we have designed an agenda that covers direct selling, selling through channel partners, as well as selling through eBusiness interactions. And, as this is a strategic topic, over and perhaps above the discipline of selling itself, most of the presentations will be made by marketing leaders in the B2B companies we have invited.

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