The Customer Insights Center of Excellence: Know Your Options!

Cinny Little

“Excellence always sells.”  --Earl Nightingale

The questions below may sound familiar to you.  I hear them from leaders of business insights teams of all kinds, from quant to qual, digital analytics to database marketing, customer analytics to voice of customer, market research to competitive intelligence, campaigns to customer service, behaviorial to predictive, B2C to B2B, CPG to pharma – you name it:

  • "I lead our [name the insights area[s] here] team.  We’re struggling to get our business and operational areas to take action on insights – heck, sometimes we don’t even know what happens to the insights we provide.  How do we change this?"
  • "Our insights teams work in silos that have built up over the years.  The teams are good at what they do.  But how do we pull together and combine our different flavors of insights to get more customer understanding?  How should we organize?"
  • "I've been asked to re-organize [or, I'm new and I've taken over] our insights areas.  I need to give a presentation to the C-team about what I'll propose.  Any ideas on a framework I should use?"
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The Importance of Creating a Marketing and Technology Lingua Franca

Melissa Parrish

As the IT agenda gives way to the Business Technology agenda, marketers and technologists are working together more closely and more often than ever before, but many of them don’t feel like those collaborations are going smoothly yet. In fact, lack of communication is the No. 1 reason cited for a very poor relationship between developers and other parts of the company, according to our data.  

One of the reasons for this miscommunication is that marketers and technologists often use very common words differently. We experienced this ourselves a few months ago at a large gathering of analysts at Forrester HQ, with both marketing and business technology analysts represented. First, there was plenty of acronym and abbreviation confusion: Did DR mean direct response or disaster recovery?  Was CRM customer relationship management or change request management?

But there was also confusion around very common terms that both marketers and technologists use, but which mean slightly different things for each. This is the kind of misunderstanding that you might not even know in happening because you have no reason to think you mean different things until some brave soul raises her hand and admits she doesn’t understand something. (Think the meaning of “database” is obvious? Think again!)

A few weeks ago, we published a report that looks into this further and our research revealed that these conversational mishaps are having huge repercussions on projects and business results. For example, one brand we spoke with had a half-million dollar project go nearly totally off the rails over a misunderstanding of the word “strategy.”

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The Data Digest: Upping The Emotional Ante Down Under

Anjali Lai

Emotions are at the basis of how customers perceive experiences – and why they choose to stay loyal to certain brands. But, not all emotions are equal: Different emotions lead to unique behavioral outcomes depending on context, emotional intensity, and even industry.

For example, in our latest study, my colleague Tom McCann and I measured the emotional impact of CX among banks and retailers in Australia. We discovered that feeling valued is one of the most powerful emotions driving loyalty toward a bank: Australian customers who feel that their bank puts them first are willing to pay a premium for the bank’s experience and are more forgiving when something goes wrong. However, among retail customers, valued is good – but happy is better. Australian retailers that leave customers in a cheery mood are more likely to retain their shoppers and turn their customers into advocates.

And what makes Australian shoppers happy? Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data shows that details in the experience go a long way. For instance, customers are pleased with perceptibly low prices or special deals, stocked inventory, and pleasant customer service reps.

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Catch The Enterprise Marketing Technology Wave

Rusty Warner

I am pleased to announce TWO new Forrester Wave™ reports for B2C marketers. Today we published the Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q2 2016 and the Forrester Wave™: Enterprise Marketing Software Suites, Q2 2016. The former will help you compare the 15 leading campaign management vendors, while the latter will help you evaluate 9 vendors that have assembled broader enterprise marketing technology portfolios.

Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM)

Three of the four leading vendors – Adobe, Salesforce, and Oracle – base their CCCM solutions on email service provider acquisitions. All have expanded their cross-channel coverage, and their customer data management and analytics functionality continues to evolve. Conversely, SAS is the only leader among traditional CCCM vendors, because of its customer data management and analytics prowess, as well as evolving digital marketing capabilities.

IBM is a strong performer because of its enterprise CCCM and digital marketing capabilities, but it has yet to fully integrate its acquired assets. Similarly, Selligent is currently integrating its CCCM and digital marketing capabilities for the mid-market. Pitney Bowes and Pegasystems offer solid analytics and RTIM capabilities, though they lag the leaders when it comes to outbound digital marketing. SmartFocus, Emarsys, and Experian are challenging established CCCM and digital marketing vendors with their interaction-focused solutions. RedPoint Global offers customer data management and marketing automation to support CCCM execution.

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Splitwise Is A Fintech Disruptor That Shows The Potential Of Shared Finances

Peter Wannemacher

Note: If you’re a Forrester client, you can jump straight to the full report here.

Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to spend 10 days in Italy on a vacation with my wife and some friends. As we walked the Path of the Gods, made our own Neapolitan pizze, and enjoyed the gorgeous views of the Amalfi coast, different people in our group would pay for a limoncello here or a glass of aglianico there. As such, our financial activity was a mix of different individuals spending various amounts for a range of stuff. But our group was often too busy having fun to carefully track who paid how much for what and when.

Enter Splitwise* a non-bank mobile app that lets groups of people easily track their spending and settle their short-term debts to each other (see screenshots below). We used it throughout our trip, and it was a breeze.

But why didn’t a bank build this kind of convenient digital offering first? Or why don't more financial providers integrate with Splitwise and other disruptors to build ecosystems of values for their customers? Many bank executives and digital banking teams say their goal is to help customers better manage their finances (and increase retention and engagement by doing so). But too few financial institutions have focused on what Forrester calls the shared finances opportunity. Forrester defines shared finances as:

Any situation in which a person acts as an observer of, partner in, or proxy for another person's finances.

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Marketing With Virtual Reality

JP Gownder

Moonlighting as a contributor to our CMO role's research, I've just published a major new report about how virtual reality will affect marketers, collaborating with Forrester's lead on digital disruption, James McQuivey, PhD.

CMOs and other marketers have four choices when it comes to virtual reality (VR). Most of you should wait and see, because there's no business imperative to invest scarce time and resources in VR this year. But there are three other choices available to digital predators – that is, CMOs at companies that want to shape trends, not follow them:

  1. Crawl – The Coachella music festival went a step beyond providing an event app: they handed out thousands of cardboard VR headsets to attendees. Since festival-goers can't be everywhere at once, they can catch shows that happened on other stages, extending and rounding out the benefits of attendance. They recognized that consumers don't yet own their own VR devices, so they gave them out as part of the experience to deepen engagement.
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Doubting Thomas Or Devil's Advocate? CX Does Matter To Government

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

During a recent discussion of the Age of the Customer and how it applies to government, one of the participants from a government agency essentially asked why they should care.  The argument was “If I’m providing passport services why does customer experience matter to me? My “customers” can’t walk out that door and find another passport services provider.”  

Needless to say I was taken aback – not shocked really, this is the government after all and not traditionally known for accessible or user friendly services. But personally my experiences have never been as bad as the stereotype of government.  In fact, I just received a new passport in 2 weeks, having been told that it might take 3 – 6 weeks.  And, at least the rhetoric of late has certainly embraced, in principle, more customer centricity in government.  But here it was, the government monopoly argument rearing its ugly head.  At least to play devil’s advocate, suggesting that the sentiment did exist somewhere in the organization.

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Open The Door To Sales Enablement Success

Steven Wright

Open The Door To Sales Enablement Success

After seven months as a Forrester research analyst, with scores of vendor briefings and customer inquiries under my belt, I've seen certain patterns to unlocking sales enablement success emerge. Five Keys To Sales Enablement Automation Success brings together lessons learned from vendors and practitioners to show where B2B marketers should focus their attention. Some considerations to keep in mind – especially when it comes to content: 

  • Design content for conversation. B2B marketers naturally focus on outwardly focused content (PDFs, white papers, videos, third-party, etc.) and use sales enablement automation to make that content visible and easy for sellers to use to engage with buyers. But sellers need more – they need information on how to use content to best engage not with emails and links but in conversation. That’s where the real connection is made.
  • Keep it concise and consistent. Shorter is better. Fewer is better. Whether that’s the amount of content or the places to discover it, less is more. Using analytics, marketers can see what content is used, how often, and by whom. That unlocks insight into how to improve quality, not quantity.
  • Build in collaboration to improve customizing. Sellers will always need to personalize and customize content, whether it's an email, a presentation, or – most frequently – any sort of proposal. Analysis can show what is most frequently changed, and marketers can use that to better understand how to improve content.
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Google I/O Recap: Google Rises To The Virtual Agent Challenge

Julie Ask

Google took a few big steps forward at Google I/O 2016 to fill in its portfolio to win, serve and retain customers in their mobile moments. Three new product announcements should propel Google forward. They include:

  1. Google Home. Google Home looks like an incredibly promising (and necessary) entry into the home virtual assistant or agent hardware market. Like Amazon, Google led with a story of entertainment and media followed by that of virtual assistance. Google claims the combination of natural language processing, artificial intelligence and years of experience with consumer inquiry patterns via Search will push it beyond the competition. Google’s entry validates the space and its vision to sit between the consumers and their favorite brands. However, Google also failed to offer answers to questions such as a firm date on availability, price or access to the service – how open will access be for brands who want to engage their consumers on Google Home?
  2. Allo. Allo is late to the instant messaging game, but on time for the bot frenzy. Brands are exploring bots that offer customer service or support and help them sell products and services. Google will launch Allo this summer with a host of well-known brands such as OpenTable, Uber and GrubHub. Like Facebook -- and despite a dependence on advertising revenue -- Google did not announce any opportunities specific to marketers for advertising or broad consumer engagement. Google will still facilitate consumers getting reservations or finding concert tickets – sitting between the brand and the consumer. The strategy is both expected and smart.
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European Marketers Are More Likely To Model And Measure Customer-Obsessed Leadership

James McQuivey

It's the age of the customer, and only the leaders who know how to lead their organizations to increased customer obsession will be able to keep up with hyperadoptive consumers. Those consumers already expect to get what they want, when, where, and how they want it. The only question will be who will give it to them? Will it be you?

It's a question I asked today on stage at Forrester's Marketing Europe 2016 forum in London. I shared with them an overview of my recent report, "Leadership In The Age Of The Customer," a months-long project that revealed the five things that customer-obsessed leaders must do. I then asked the attendees to answer five questions. Just more than 40 executives took my short five-question survey, allowing me to compare the marketers in the UK and from across Europe with their counterparts in the US, where I asked the same questions just a few weeks ago. See the chart below to see how they compared.

As you can tell, our UK colleagues are more confident in how effectively they measure customer obsession. That's a tremendous thing. In a few key areas, however, they fall slightly behind, such as in recognizing and rewarding customer obsession in others and especially in providing the resources that are needed to achieve customer obsession. 

What to do next? You can measure yourself in more detail than these five questions — in a survey that still takes fewer than 10 minutes to complete. Just go to http://bit.ly/AoCLeadershipStudy to participate in and learn more about the full study.

Also, sign up for our upcoming webinar, "Adapting Leadership To The Customer-Led Market." See the link below, and click to register. See you there.

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