Fix Your Marketing Measurement Mess: Key Takeaways And What You Can Do

Tina Moffett

A few weeks ago, my colleague Jim Nail and I conducted a “Fix Your Measurement Mess” workshop at the 2017 Consumer Marketing Forum in New York. Our workshop became a great conversation starter for participants to understand and take inventory of their challenges and to recognize priority metrics for their own businesses.

The 4-hour measurement workshop was a hands-on session to deconstruct marketers’ current measurement approach, prioritize and classify metrics, unearth what makes a valuable metric, and identify the triggers marketers need to start, stop, or continue monitoring as they become more measurement savvy. We discussed current measurement maturity across channels, metrics adoption, and baseline capabilities for measurement success. Here are a few things we learned:

  • Marketers are more confident in their metrics. Our workshop participants know the metrics that help them determine campaign success, customer intention, and customer preference. For example, participants thoughtfully conducted deep analysis of understanding how awareness metrics drove customers to the consideration phases. They also discussed the importance of mapping the distance between a metric and a sale to quantify the real value of their metrics.
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Alphabet's Earnings Emphasize A Skewed Value On Monopolies

Shar VanBoskirk

I was speaking with my colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo about the strong Q1 2017 earnings that Alphabet just announced this week (I mean Alphabet the parent company of Google here, not the soup or anything to do with Letter People).  Alphabet revenues are up 29%, due largely to growth in mobile search and video ad sales. And she made a profound observation: that today the success mindset isn't about thriving in a market with a set of worthy competitors.  It is about domination so extreme that you and you alone dictate market trends and there simply is no platform for innovative upstarts.

James Wang of ARK Funding Administration agrees.  He says, Alphabet's Q1 earnings underscore "a macro theme we are seeing in the internet space, which is that the bigger players are getting bigger and the smaller players are treading water or shrinking."

I don't like this.  I don't like this one bit because I'm always a fan of the underdog.  But also because it seems way too risky to tie so much market health to a small number of firms.  And because it creates a socialogical mis-perception of how much is enough.  I'll let you economists out there weigh in here; I'm interested.

And I will simply say that I don't expect Alphabet's advertising growth to continue in a similar habit because:

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Is Email Marketing As Good As It Is Ever Going To Get?

Shar VanBoskirk

Many of you may know that at the beginning of March my colleague Rebecca McAdams who had been leading Forrester's email marketing research for the previous 18 months moved into an Advisor position with Forrester's customer experience leadership board.  With this change, I'm proud to reclaim email marketing as my very own.  Some of you may be thinking, "This feels a little back to the future..."  You are right!  I've been studying email since 1999 (yikes!).  And am looking forward to continuing our great research agenda on the workhorse of the digital marketer's toolkit. 

Rebecca launched some "future of email" research before her move.  As I go through the notes from the smart conversations she had trying to find the answer to: What is next for email marketing?  This question pops into my mind instead: Has email marketing already come as far as it can?  What I learned from the research is that:

Marketers already know what best practices will make email marketing better, they just don't apply them.

Because doing so:

  • Costs more.  Making email better, through analytics, improved segmentation, dynamic content or offer optimization drives up email CPMs (from basically free to not quite free).
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Insights Services Fuel Digital Transformation In Utilities

Jennifer Belissent

Today I answered an inquiry about digital strategy and transformation programs in in the utilities sector and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts more widely.  While I don't have any formal reports specific to utilities, the sector often comes up in discussions about smart cities and is one we track in our research on data and analytics.  For example, utilities have one of the highest rates of engagement with insights service providers which illustrates their drive to better leverage data and insights to inform their digital transformation. 

Several of the customer references we interviewed for our recent insights services wave were from the utilities sector. For example, an Australian power company described itself as a "poles and wires business” with significant investment in the network, and need to optimize investments. Their first priority was to improve digital operational excellence (as opposed to digital customer experience). However, the biggest challenge they had was the implication to the organization and the change management required to implement the insights into their operations. A water company in the UK engaged an insights service provider for similar operational and process optimization. 

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The Digital Insurance Imperative: Go Digital Or Go Bust

Ellen Carney

The bedrock of the insurance industry is quaking. For decades, large North American insurers got bigger by dominating distribution and methodically mastering information technology.  But the confluence of changing customer demands, hundreds of insuretech startups and non-traditional competitors sniffing around the business of insurance is messing up the long-standing insurance equilibrium.  Insurance carriers--and their agents and brokers--must go digital or go bust.  

During the second half of 2016, my fellow Forrester analyst, Oliwia Berdak and I interviewed digital business strategy executives with traditional insurers and hot startups around the globe to get their take on the role that digital will play in the business of insurance over the coming decade.  What were the big takeaways from our conversations?  Consider that:

  • Digital technologies have enabled new insurance models, threatening incumbents. Digital disruption threatens to reduce many insurance companies to low-margin utilities, with limited engagement with or relevance to customers.
  • Legacy insurers are struggling to respond.  Even though nearly one in three insurers told us in a separate survey that they were in the midst of massive disruption, insurers are being thwarted by their business silos, legacy tech, disconnected business partners, their scramble for skills, legal and compliance, AND the fact that except for auto, other business lines are profitable.
  • Vertical integration will break apart. The vertical integration that served insurers so well in the past has become an obstacle to the rapid change unleashed by digitally empowered customers. The insurance value chain will fragment as companies build new partnerships, pursue new revenue streams, and seek new ways to create value for customers.
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Alexa Will See You Now: Why Echo Has A Camera

James McQuivey

Today Amazon announced the latest addition to its Amazon Echo line of Alexa-enabled devices. The Echo Look is the first Echo device to include a camera. It will not be the last. Adding a camera is the smartest next move for Amazon even though it will trigger an "ick" response by people nervous about Amazon looking into their homes. First, the details.

Echo Look is being positioned as an Alexa device that can also take your picture or capture video hands free. By playing on a double meaning of the word "look" the company baits a nice marketing hook because it then goes on to emphasize that by looking at you, the device can help you "love your look." How? By fulfilling a portion of the long-hoped-for magic mirror concept I first wrote about in 2011. The magic mirror would look at you and help you make yourself over. While many companies like L'Oreal and Rimmel have adapted this concept for use in a mobile phone makeup app, nobody has yet gone for the full-body closet assistant we described in 2011. (Actually, there are several of these available in upscale dressing rooms, but none available for in-home use.)

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Advocating For Bespoke Content For Sellers

Steven Wright

If you’re a B2B marketer and take responsibility for building content for sellers, here's one of those déjà vu moments that you’ve come to dread. During a presentation, a slide comes up. You’ve seen this slide before. In fact, you built that slide — a few years ago. What is it doing in this presentation? How out of date is it?

Oh, you know the story. The seller had some version of the original presentation and mixed this and other slides with newer content. Or the original presentation with additional slides is still findable somewhere on a shared drive. But someone changed — customized — it without regard to current positioning, messaging, or branding. From the seller’s point of view, nothing is more natural than to fit content to the needs of the buyer, which progresses the sale. But from the marketer’s point of view, carefully crafted messages are garbled or — worse — just plain wrong.

What do we do? For B2B marketers, the answer is not to just clamp down on customizing. Sellers will always have ways to download or screen-capture content and alter it. The answer is to think about how and why the content sellers use should be customized.

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Are You Using A Content Marketing Platform?

Peter O'Neill

At last October’s B2B Marketing Forum,Ryan Skinner, senior analyst at Forrester, delivered one of the more resounding messages — and gave us a serious wake-up call on our content marketing work to date. He told us, “Too much, not enough quality.” And our greatest quality issue is in our content distribution strategies.

This is indeed a serious challenge for B2B marketing organizations, which spend an average of 12% of their budgets on content marketing. We dedicate three times as much headcount to this as our cousins in consumer marketing. But Forrester’s recent survey of technology buyers revealed that 60% of these buyers believe that content that vendors provide is “useless.”

That’s a wastage of$4.3 million for a business with, say, $1 billion in revenues!

Now when they say “useless,” they don’t mean badly written. The content’s useless because it is usually the wrong information that gets delivered at the wrong time and probably to the wrong person.

What do you do if you have so many resources and so much waste? Well, consider a process improvement program such as outsourcing or even automation. No, not automatically generated content (though we do talk about the emergence of content intelligence and intelligent agent tools in the recent Forrester report “The Top Emerging Technologies For B2B Marketers”), I am thinking here of how to improve your content management and dissemination.

Enter the concept of content marketing platforms.

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A CMP Wave And The Vision Of True Brand Orchestration

Ryan Skinner

Ted Schadler first said “content is the soul of digital.”
To that, I add: “…and content marketing platforms are its church.”

CMPs. This tech is like the ace up the sleeve for savvy marketing leaders. A marketing leader at Airbnb told us that this is the crucial tech that allows the company to move faster than competitors.

Despite excitement and 3x growth over the past two years, CMPs can still be described as emerging. Many don’t get what they do.

Do they replace content management systems? No, not really.

Do they promote your content for you? No, not really that either.

Do they automate content production somehow? Not exactly.

What they do is this:

  • Provide a common environment for everyone across the brand to plan out their campaigns and communications.
  • Manage production by dozens and even hundreds of teams simultaneously.
  • Provide systematic structure to make in-channel execution and reporting far more intelligent.
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The Data Digest: Chatbots Can’t Fully Replace Humans Just Yet

Kristopher Arcand
Customer service departments in all industries are increasing their use of chatbots, and we will see usage rise even higher in the next year as companies continue to pilot or launch their own versions of the rule-based digital assistant. What are chatbots? Forrester defines them as autonomous applications that help users complete tasks through conversation.
 
While Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data reveals that 60% of US online adults already use online messaging, voice, or video chat services, there are challenges to widespread adoption. We reached out to our ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community members to better understand consumer impressions of chatbots and found that our respondents had a difficult time identifying clear benefits to interacting with them. Many prefer to communicate with a representative who can show real empathy, address more complex needs, and offer them assurance.
 
Earlier this month, I attended the Qual360 2017 conference in Washington, D.C., where chatbots were a hot topic in both qualitative research and customer experience. Speakers highlighted the opportunity of chatbots while warning about their shortcomings. For example:
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