On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Susan Bidel, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.
I just got back from a couple of days at eTail Latin America in Miami — it was my third year at the event and I always come away having learned an enormous amount from the other attendees. This year, some of the takeaways included:
Everyone’s talking about mobile, but the real shift is coming. The online retailers I spoke with had all either rolled out or planned to roll out smartphone offerings, but mobile investments overall are still quite small. Tablet commerce initiatives are few and far between. Retailers’ mobile revenues, while growing, are not typically at the same levels seen by many leading eCommerce players in Asia. This dynamic will shift significantly as both smartphone and tablet penetration increase: Across the region, penetration of both types of devices will shoot up over the next few years.
Payback periods on new eCommerce offerings remain long. A theme we write about frequently is the fact that businesses often assume short payback periods on new global digital offerings. The unfortunate reality, however, is that eCommerce initiatives often take many years before becoming profitable. This challenge is front and center in Latin America. There are some profitable businesses — the founder of Brazil’s Beleza na Web talked about how he got his company into the black — but many large online retailers continue to suffer losses. Businesses jumping into any of the Latin American eCommerce markets must be patient.
When I ask government employees why improving customer experience (CX) is so important, I often hear a version of the same answer: "It's the right thing to do." But I'm not about to take an easy answer like that at face value, so I dig deeper.
I try getting them to admit that they're really motivated by the CX mandates in Executive Order 13571, the digital government strategy, and agency mission statements. Time and again, I'm politely told I have it backward. These documents were inspired by the core moral imperative to improve government CX, and they exist only as practical guidance for agencies in pursuit of this obligation. The maxim is the motive; the documents just articulate it. I next try arguing that government employees are motivated by the political quest for public acclaim — that they pursue customer experience improvement simply because it will make them or their agencies popular, winning them promotion or reelection. Again, they tell me I'm all turned around. Doing the right thing for the customer is the real motive, and luckily the American people reward it.
Maybe their answers aren't surprising, given that many government employees chose public sector careers due to their dedication to public service. But what about customer experience professionals in the private sector? Are they motivated by a moral imperative, too? In recent interviews with companies at the top and bottom of Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CXi), I found some surprising answers.
On May 14, Acxiom announced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Fatemeh Khatibloo, Tina Moffett, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.
The acquisition sets Acxiom up to displace traditional MSPs. LiveRamp has built integration relationships with four of the biggest managed service providers (MSPs): Epsilon, Equifax, Experian, and Merkle. Acxiom is claiming agnosticism, and it has told us that it is "open to many ways of proving neutrality, including contractual commitments, [and] third-party audits." The firm considers the acquisition "an evolution of Acxiom’s Audience Operating System (AOS), which was launched to connect the ecosystem of marketers, technology, and media more tightly together and make every part of that ecosystem work better." But when we project out a few years, we have a hard time seeing how marketers will justify a standalone customer relationship management (CRM) database when they could, for example, port their POS and order management system (OMS) data directly into AOS and use that as their "customer marketing platform-as-a-service."
Why do we use Facebook on our mobile phones? Because when we are out and about doing something fun, we want to tell our friends about it.
If I were posting from home, my posts would be:
“I am working.”
“I am watching TV.”
“The cat just sat on my laptop.”
“My cat just knocked over my water cup.”
Yawn. Boring. It is much more exciting to post updates to our friends about the latest sashimi we’ve eaten or the last run we skied on Val d’Isere. These are the mobile moments we want to share with our friends. This is part of the mobile mind shift, the expectation that we can get what we want, in our immediate context and moment of need.
GoPro takes the capture and sharing of mobile moments to new heights. We (yes my family owns one) not only use our GoPro at cool, exciting outdoor places like Yosemite and Tofino to capture HD images, but also use it when we are in motion – fast motion down hills on skis, snowboards, and bikes, or in the water.
But rather than waiting until the day’s adventure has ended, GoPro enables the consumer to share these moments in context with friends and family, thanks to wifi enabled cameras and the GoPro mobile app. It’s immediate proof and boasting rights for some of the most exciting mobile moments.
Here’s one of my favorite mobile moments GoPro has enabled:
What is it like to free fall from a space capsule?
On May 14, Acxiomannounced its intention to acquire LiveRamp, a "data onboarding service," to the tune of $310 million in cash. Several Forrester analysts (Tina Moffett, Susan Bidel, Sri Sridharan, and I) cover these two firms, and what follows is our collective thinking on the impending acquisition after having been briefed by Acxiom's leadership on the matter.
Chances are, you have recently registered on a brand’s website or community page and were prompted to use your social network credentials. Perhaps you (reluctantly) used your Facebook login because it’s easy to remember — or it made the registration process a little less painful.
Personally, I am finding that I am using my Facebook or LinkedIn social credentials more frequently. Just the other day, I used my Facebook login to access the scheduling tool for my favorite barre studio. I use social login out of laziness (its easier) or because my memory is maxed out on user names and passwords. But the more comfortable I get using my social network credentials, the more information I will allow the brand to access — especially if it’s a brand I trust.
And I am not alone. According to this study, over half of the 90% of consumers who encounter social login use it. And for some websites, that percentage is as high as over 80%.
So if consumers are using their social network credentials, why are marketers lagging behind? Many marketers I speak with do not think about social login as a key component of their social marketing strategy. They understand the obvious benefits like faster and easier registration, but they struggle to see social login’s potential as a complement to their social marketing strategy.
And the adoption percentages reflect this. Social login is the least-adopted social depth tactic by digital marketers:
Worldwide, people use mobile devices pretty much continuously. Mobile access on smartphones and tablets creates a dramatic change in behavior as people use, then expect, and then demand service from every entity they deal with. This is the mobile mind shift:
The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.
Despite this complete transformation in expectations, companies typically have no idea what to do about it. "I guess we should build an app," they tell us. Instead, this transformation demands a complete rethink of the way they do business. Business competition has now focused down to the mobile moment — the point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context. Win in that moment, and you have his or her loyalty. Fail to be there, or screw it up, and an entrepreneur will do a better job and steal your customer.
Getting mobile right will require you to change how you see customers, your relationship with those customers, and (the expensive part) the platforms, people, and processes that power those systems. When mobile engagement fails, it's usually because companies didn't recognize the scope of what they need to get that mobile moment right. They need a mobile mind shift of their own.
Voice of the customer (VoC) programs play a critical role in improving customer experience. They gather data for customer experience (CX) measurement efforts and uncover insights that help improve customer understanding.
To assess the state of VoC programs, we asked companies how long their VoC program has been in place, how valuable the program is to drive CX improvements and deliver financial results, how the program governance works, and if it is supported by VoC consulting and technology vendors. And we asked participants to rate their program’s capabilities on the four key tasks of VoC programs — listen, interpret, react, and monitor.
Here are some highlights of what we found:
Most VoC programs have been around for three or more years, are run or coordinated by a central team, and consist of fewer than five full-time employees. Many also turn to outside vendors for help.
But VoC programs are still not taken as seriously as other programs in an organization: They improve customer experience but struggle to deliver financial results. And they aren’t embedded enough in the organization. The good news is that many have some executive support, but they lack the resources they need and aren’t fully embraced by employees.
For VoC capabilities, we found that VoC programs are still better at listening than at acting on the insights they find.
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.