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.
About ten years ago, when Forrester was writing some of our early research on effective Web design, we noticed a pattern among leading companies. They told us they were finding it very helpful to use design personas - models of customers based on qualitative research into real customers, but presented as vivid stories about individuals (not segment descriptions). These tools enabled them to stay focused on the needs of their most important customers when designing online experiences.
Since then, design personas have become fairly mainstream design tools in North American companies, and increasingly common in Europe and Japan - not only for Web design, but across all channels. However, the quality of personas varies enormously from company to company. For example, I'm evaluating personas from UK interactive agencies at the moment and although some are clearly well researched, engaging, helpful to designers and believable, others seem to be mere stereotypes.
Some recent events make me hopeful that major moves are afoot with enhancing panel quality.
Since the beginning of online surveys, there have been questions about how clean the online panels that enable them are. Questions abounded about representativeness, fraud, professional survey takers, inattentive survey takers and the like. The response from panel vendors has been that they have strong measures in place, and that the problems were overstated. Naysayers have claimed bad sample numbers that range from 20-30%. Buyer's of sample were largely in a "trust me" position, since most of the quality measures were in the hands of the panel vendor. Associations (such as ESOMAR and ARF), have come up with protocols that all good panels should follow, and many have.
You may have seen the news about Marvell Technology Group, a chip-maker, integrating its chips into E Ink's display modules. This sounds very tech-y, but it has real consequences for the consumer experience of eReaders. Namely:
It speeds up the refresh rate of the E Ink screen...One of the first things consumers notice when trying out an E Ink-based eReader is the noticeably long delay when flipping a page or taking another action like changing the text size. This is especially annoying on touch devices like the Sony Touch Edition. Consumers are used to the iPhone touch experience, and the experience they have on the Web clicking on links--if they don't get immediate feedback, they assume it's not working. Currently, the microprocessing chip operates outside the display module, which is one reason why it's so slow. Integrating the chip into the E Ink display module will speed up the refresh rate of the screen by as much as half, according to Marvell, in addition to driving down manufacturing costs.
...Which creates a better user experience, and enables animation and other cool stuff. In addition to being generally less annoying for consumers, integrating the chip into the display will enable animated content--not full-on video, but black-and-white animation that will be useful especially for ads. Marvell has announced that they're working with FirstPaper (the secretive company backed by Hearst) as one of their partners, and having seen their device I can attest that they put the technology to good use. Marvell has said they'll announce more partners at CES in January, including companies working on dual-screen devices that need the faster processing capability for video and Web browsing
Marketers don't think they're very good at measuring social media.
When my colleague Emily Riley asked marketers to
rate their ability to measure the impact of their social media
initiatives, the average grade they gave themselves was 4.5 out of 10.
Not a great score -- especially given that accountability is one of the
key selling points of interactive marketing. So I've spent a lot of
time this year trying to understand why marketers aren't good at
measuring social media -- and how they can do better.
Last week I co-hosted a session at Forrester's Consumer Forum on innovative research. John Kearon, CEO of Brainjuicer, lead a discussion with panel members Sion Agami from Procter and Gamble, Jan Angel from Altria and Bob Pankauskas from Allstate.
These three market researchers shared how introducing innovations to the research mix lead to additional insights and increased commitment from senior management. But it's not always easy. Some best practices they've shared with the audience:
Social networking, watching user-created video, and listening to user-created audio online are at the top of social media activities that youth engage in at least monthly. Data from our Technographics online US Youth survey shows that boys and girls use social media in different ways.
Girls favor communication activities, such as posting comments on other people’s profiles, commenting on blogs, and contributing to online discussion groups and they are also more active at maintaining their own blogs and Web pages.
Something interesting's afoot in the digital reading space. Quietly, companies are testing digital reading applications for portable gaming devices in select markets. Two developments of note:
EA "Flips" for Nintendo DS: A reader app for Nintendo's portable gaming system, offered for now only in the UK. Aimed at 8- to 11-year-olds (a good fit for the install base of the DS). Content partnerships announced with UK book publishers Penguin and Egmont. Revenue model will be bundled downloads of multiple (6-8) titles for an a la carte price of £24.99. Interactive elements include quizzes, operated with the DS's touch screen and stylus.
Marvel Comics and others on the Sony PSP: In August, Sony announced a digital reader app for the PSP that will launch in December in select countries (UK, US, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). It announced a content partnership with Marvel Comics and said there would be more content partners with comics, graphic novels, and manga publishers to come. Marvel digital comics are already available online via subscription ($10/month or $60/year). Details on the app don't say how much comics will be on the PSP.
During what I call the “black and white” days of the internet in 1995, when email was a green screen “app”, I presented a direct mail CEO with a business plan for direct marketing online. When he voiced his disbelief in the power of digital marketing, I walked him back to his office, installed the Mosaic browser, and stood behind him while he used the mouse to navigate a few sites I suggested. In about 10 minutes, he went into a trance of amazement at the data, the content and the interactivity. He went on to refocus the company on interactive media.