Consumers don’t trust your ads. In fact, fewer than one out of four US online consumers trust offline ads, and the numbers are even worse for digital. It’s time for a new approach to marketing, based on deep customer insights derived from a contextual, self-perpetuating, interaction cycle. Each interaction with your brand teaches you what a customer is trying to accomplish at that moment. You must build a mechanism that allows you to act on that insight, deliver utility in the moment of need, and propel the customer to the next best interaction. We call this mechanism a contextual marketing engine, and our latest research – The Power Of Customer Context – shows you how to build it, and why you need to start now.
We unveiled this new research last week at Forrester’s Forum for Marketing Leaders to an on-site audience of more than 900, and we'll do it again in a few weeks across the pond at our London Forum. What are the key takeaways?
Augmented reality has represented the potential for the magical enhancement of our physical world through digital content. (See report) Too many of the use cases today - especially in marketing - have been gimmicks leaving a user to scratch his head and think, "I don't get it." Some have offered entertainment. Some have delivered games and rewards (e.g., Zappar). A few have offered true utility in a consumer's mobile moment - Amazon, Yelp, or the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (see case study) by simplifying the discovery and consumption of simple, 2D information.
Finally, we are beginning to see more examples of how augmented reality can offer true utility to consumers in those mobile moments when they are struggling to complete a task. In this example, Mitek uses AR to help correct or guide a consumer's use of the camera to send or input information to a bank or service. This offers one example of why companies need to continue to revisit emerging technologies. They can very quickly move from gimmicky to reality. Mobile shifts consumer expectations very quickly.
Today at Forrester's Forum for Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of announcing the winners of the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards. This is the eighth edition of our awards and the first time we've had a chance to present them at our flagship marketing event — and I'm thrilled I had a chance to share these great stories of social success with the more than 700 people in attendance. Once again, this year our awards were based on Forrester’s Marketing RaDaR model and the way social programs can support the Marketing RaDaR. That means we presented awards in three categories:
Social reach marketing. This category recognizes social programs that effectively delivered marketing messages to new audiences — whether by word of mouth or by using paid social ads.
Social depth marketing. This category recognizes social programs that helped prospects explore products in detail and make a purchase decision — such as corporate blogs and communities and marketers’ on-site ratings and reviews.
Social relationship marketing. This category recognizes social programs that engaged existing fans and customers in order to increase their loyalty and lifetime value — something that most commonly happens through branded profiles on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
IBM has announced its intent to acquire marketing automation company Silverpop for an undisclosed sum. This acquisition is — on the surface — just another tactical play by a large marketing technology vendor to bring on additional capabilities to support a strategic platform narrative. While Forrester clients can look for our analysis of this announcement in a forthcoming Quick Take — which I will be publishing in collaboration with my colleague Lori Wizdo — Forrester’s initial thought on the news is that we’re not surprised. Given that the various competitors in this space have been adding capabilities left and right through acquisitions, IBM is simply doing the same — checking the box to build out an expansive product line portfolio. The marketing automation vendor landscape (both business-to-business [B2B] and business-to-consumer) shrinks further, and we continue to wait for examples and proof that these mega vendors can deliver the integration they promise.
In the age of the customer, firms that assume that what made them successful in the past will continue to drive competitive advantage in the future are doomed to failure. But as a counterpoint, those firms that embrace the opportunity digital technologies bring to get closer to their customers by creating contextually relevant, personalized customer experiences will thrive. That’s the theory, but what does it look like in practice?
This week, two major UK grocery firms paint opposite ends of the digital spectrum.
Consumers are embracing an increasing number of devices and touchpoints to shop – this we know and at Forrester we call this the mobile mind shift. But eBusiness professionals still need to figure out the relative influence each touchpoint has on their customers’ shopping behavior in order to determine where to focus their efforts. Should you follow the likes of House of Fraser with a mobile first web presence? How do your customers use your digital presence for research pre-purchase?
Forrester’s new retail segmentation helps eBusiness executives answer these questions by providing a framework to map out the complex ecosystem of touchpoints and devices their customers use to shop. The segmentation identifies increasingly sophisticated multi-touchpoint shopping behaviors and helps eBusiness executives to identify critical touchpoints to create the most relevant shopping experiences for customers across markets.
It was just a matter of time. They started with taking people from point A to point B. They gave us some glimpses of what might come by dropping off ice cream and litters of kittens. Uber became (and continues to become) incredibly efficient by matching supply and demand, all from the mobile device. How successful? A valuation of $3.4B back in August 2013.
Some may argue (and I got this question yesterday from a journalist) "they could have done this without mobile services." I disagree. Mobile has added a level of convenience and improved the customer experience dramatically. Convenience. Convenience. Convenience. Uber has embraced what we call the mobile mind shift and is expertly serving customers in their mobile moments - a concept explored in depth in our upcoming book.
Uber (and similar services) have grown the overall business for private car transportation. What are they cannibalizing? I haven't done this analysis, but for me - I drive less and spend a lot less on parking. Do I spend more on Uber than I would have on parking? Probably, but they are so enjoyable to do business with. (See our customer experience framework).
- Mobile phones (subsidized) are relatively cheap - or at least affordable as a cost of doing business for your typical driver. Dedicated hardware isn't.
- A mobile app for the drivers (and now cyclists) pinpoints exact pick-up locations PLUS shows the hotspots for demand based on time of day, location, weather, holidays, local events, and probably a hundred other factors. There is no other way to communicate easily to drivers where they should wait to pick up rides.
Amazon is testing a new device to facilitate making a grocery list and ordering groceries through their AmazonFresh service in markets such as San Francisco and Seattle. (See TechCrunch article.) Consumers can add items to the list through voice or by barcode scan. Two things (for me) make this an interesting experiment to watch.
1) Amazon looks to profit from what we call "a mobile moment," a concept introduced in our forthcoming book, The Mobile Mind Shift. Or more specifically in this case, an impulse sales moment. As a consumer, I add an item to my grocery list before I forget. I may or may not order that day - it may be tomorrow, but I will buy it. The Dash adds convenenience - it removes friction from my shopping process. The Dash takes advantage of the immediacy of mobile. (See our report on how to create mobile moments).
How mature is your company's voice of the customer (VoC) program? Compare yourself against the state of the art and find out:
How VoC programs affect customer experience and business results.
How companies integrate and analyze data from different sources.
How VoC program owners share customer insight.
How they drive action based on their insights.
Which vendors they use to support their VoC program.
We'd like to hear from practitioners that can speak about their company's VoC program. As a thank you for completing our 10-minute survey, you will receive the report resulting from this research, "State Of Voice Of Customer Programs, 2014." As additional thanks, you will receive the high-level results after the survey data has been processed.
If you don’t understand what social depth is, just go to your favorite retail brand website. Most likely, you will find either ratings and reviews and/or colorful photo galleries on the site, providing you with customers’ written and visual perspectives of the brand’s products. And if you are a business decision-maker, chances are that you have stumbled on an interesting blog or two on a B2B brand site. Social depth is not a new concept, but brands are increasingly coming up with creative ways to use social content to inspire and influence buyers who are on their website(s). This is because social content helps move buyers from exploration to a purchase.
At Forrester’s Marketing Forum next week (and in a soon-to-be published report), I will talk about three brands that have launched brilliant and successful social depth strategies. These brands really set the stage for innovative approaches and should provide you with inspiration as you think about your social depth marketing plans this year: