It’s true; the mobile advertising opportunity is huge. With nearly a third of the world’s population toting smartphones, today’s mobile audience is sizable, always addressable, and can be reached with hyper-targeted messages based on mobile data. So it makes perfect sense that marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors are turning their attention to mobile ads.
But when we look past the excitement in this market we face the reality: It has a long way to go — just because the mobile ad market is growing doesn’t mean that it’s working as well as it could be. Why is this? Well, the marketplace is still evolving and in flux, and there is a lot of deferring to familiar desktop thinking from marketers, agencies, and ad tech vendors. This poses one glaring problem: It completely overlooks the uniqueness of the mobile experience.
The time has come to rethink your mobile ad strategy, and here’s our advice: Divorce your mobile strategy from desktop and focus on integrated, personalized experiences. Here are some steps to help as you go:
Accept that mobile advertising is different. Your mobile customers are fundamentally different than your desktop customers — they are task-oriented, using a smaller screen, and demand that their mobile experiences be immediately actionable, simple, and contextually relevant to them. If your mobile customer is fundamentally different, shouldn’t your ad strategy be, too?
Google acquired Nest for billions, and then Facebook spent several more billion on Oculus VR. We’re only a few months into 2014, and already billions have been spent by some of the world’s largest digital players, with each of these companies eager to own the next big thing. Mobile is right here, right now, but everyone knows that very soon, there will be something else. But what else?
In the battle to find and claim the next device that everyone will want, these companies will soon realize that next big thing is not a thing at all: It’s your voice.
Voice control suffers from the same things plaguing augmented reality or virtual reality: It has been around for so long that we think we know what it is. Any fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation knows that voice control involves invoking an invisible computer with a command, “Computer,” followed by a query, “How many Klingons does it take to screw in a light bulb?” Maybe that’s a question you don’t want the answer to, but the computer — as voiced by Majel Barrett in the TV series — would know it.
It’s possibly a long history of popular depictions of voice control that made us collectively show so much enthusiasm for Siri when Apple first debuted it in 2011. It’s also partly to blame for why we quickly turned on Siri, declaring her soothing semi-robotic tones to be merely amusing at best or irrelevant at worst.
When Microsoft recently announced its long-rumored Cortana voice service for Windows Phone 8.1 as a catch-up to both Siri and Google Now’s own voice interface, the interest was modest, perhaps because if Siri hasn’t changed the way millions of Apple users use millions of Apple devices, how can Microsoft initiate a wave of behavior change when it has so few Windows Phone users?
Do you use your customer experience (CX) metrics to incentivize frontline employees in your company? Here is a cautionary tale I came across in my wireless provider’s store.
While I was chatting with the representative who took care of my problem, I overheard another representative ask a customer for a 9 or 10 on the satisfaction survey. Don’t stop reading — we all know this happens; this is not what this is about. Given that I am a CX analyst with a passion for CX measurement, I asked my service rep what this was all about. What he said about the employee perspective on this blew me away: He said that the company basically said, “Southwest [Airlines] gets nearly only 9’s and 10’s on the survey (meaning the NPS question) so we should be able to do that, too.”
Setting targets for CX metrics requires more than that — benchmarking is a part of it, but it also requires a solid baseline and a realistic stretch target, with realistic being the operative word here. It is probably no surprise to you that the experience those two companies provide is hardly comparable. If you look at Forrester’s 2014 Customer Experience Index (CXi), Southwest Airlines is the industry leader among airlines with a CXi score of 81. And its score is way ahead of the average score for wireless providers of 71 (and also way ahead of my wireless provider’s CXi score).
Last week at Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, we bid farewell once and for all to old marketing — the marketing of campaigns, outbound messaging, and funnels. In its place, we unveiled a new and improved customer life cycle: the blue print for customer obsession. Attendees got a sneak preview of the content, but all clients have access as of today to a new report, which elevates the life cycle from its marketing home and into the whole enterprise. As your customers take a very nonlinear approach to getting what they want out of their brand relationships, companies must put the customer at the heart of everything they do to create contextual, useful engagement. The customer life cycle involves the entire brand experience, from messaging to product usage and ongoing interactions, and incorporates the ongoing relationship firms must have with customers, making it the marketing vision that will drive CMOs' success in the age of the customer.
The new version has two new phases — use and ask — that, with the original four phases, more completely captures the entire relationship a customer has with a brand.
Half of US online adults have reached 'always addressable' status: using at least three connected devices and accessing the web multiple times per day from varying locations. It’s perhaps no surprise that this customer base has grown quickly since we first introduced it in 2012, when 38% of US online adults were always addressable. And for marketers, this is seemingly good news — now you have more opportunities to meaningfully engage with these customers than ever before. So what's the bad news? These customers tend not to trust or pay attention to advertising, and worse, largely find brand messages irrelevant.
There is a silver lining, though. Forty-six percent of always addressable customers don't mind getting emails from companies they've opted in to as long as the offer is relevant, and 27 percent are willing to share information about their interests to receive more relevant advertising. This leaves marketers with a great opportunity to engage with these willing customers, just as long as you embrace customer obsession.
But first, you must accept a hard truth: Your customers are done with traditional, campaign-based marketing. More often than not, customers are interacting with a brand outside of typical campaigns, and it's marketing's job to identify the context of those interactions and build upon them to create new forms of useful, continuous engagement. At the center of this contextual marketing is utility — becoming visibly and functionally useful to your customers. You can offer this utility either organically or transformatively, depending on your level of maturity across four key elements: customer addressability, data maturity, partner compatibility, and digital commitment.
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.