The Future Of Messaging Apps

Thomas Husson

Two years ago, Forrester made the claim that mobile was the new face of social. With more than 3 billion users worldwide, messaging apps demonstrated one of the fastest-growing online behaviors and passed social networks. The reach of these apps is huge, which presents a strong relationship promise for marketers.

From Line’s IPO to WhatsApp’s new privacy policy via Snapchat’s latest offerings or Facebook Messenger’s bots, messaging apps make the headlines. Together with my colleagues Xiaofeng Wang and James L. McQuivey, we have digged into this consumer phenomenon to better understand the opportunities it will unlock for marketers in the coming years. We expect messaging apps to play a key role throughout the customer life cycle but more specifically to enable brands to deepen conversations with their customers during the retention phases. Why? Because messaging apps combine the three keys to powerful relationships in any digital environment: frequency of use, emotional connection, and convenience.

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Marketers, Let's Talk: Pinterest Is Not A Social Network

Jessica Liu

We’ll let you in on a little secret: Pinterest isn’t what you think it is. When Pinterest emerged, it was immediately labeled as a social network alongside Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and even the ill-fated Google+. Why? Because we as humans like to categorize things and also because Pinterest shares a few key features with social networks, such as user authentication and the ability to create, post, like, and share content. This led marketers to believe that they needed yet another always-on brand presence on Pinterest and dedicated social budget to engage with customers on an ongoing basis. 

The reality is that Pinterest is not a place for customers to engage with brands like they do on other social networks. Rather, Pinterest is better suited for discovery and for helping consumers find information, ideas, products, and services. Marketers know to go to Google to increase their brands' visibility and awareness but don't think about Pinterest in the same way —  and that's a mistake. Don't get us wrong; we're not saying that Pinterest is the next Google. But Pinterest is taking steps that make it more Google-like with its intent-based search and auctioned-based ad pricing, all while maintaining vestiges of a social network.

To learn how marketers can take advantage of Pinterest as a discovery tool, read Collin Collburn's and my full report here.

Forrester’s First B2B Marketing Forum Is Also Our Sixth Sales Enablement Forum

Peter O'Neill

We are getting ever-closer to our first Forrester Forum for B2B marketing professionals. It is great to see so many of you registered for the event, and I look forward to seeing you in Miami. While Forrester does have another Forum for marketers, which is held in New York each spring and in which we cover some B2B topics, Miami is the one where we focus only on your needs. Why? Because B2B marketing is different!

Of course, as the research director for the role that meets your needs, I get asked that question a lot — both within Forrester and by clients (especially the ones who want to sell to you). “How is it different?” Well, here’s some key data to illustrate that difference.

Take a look at the go-to-market spending of consumer companies: They have a rough ratio of 10:1 – 10 times as much is spent on marketing as on their sales force. Let’s compare that to the numbers we collected in a recent survey of B2B marketers (see below).  Statistically, another way of saying this is that, on average, B2B firms spend eight times (7.9 to be exact) as much on sales as on marketing. That is why, for the past five years, this event was called the Sales Enablement Forum.

Sales enablement is a fundamental part of all things that B2B marketers do: collecting customer insights; doing content management; managing leads. Where would account-based marketing be without sales enablement processes? As such, this Forum is full of sales enablement topics:

  • Most of the presentations at the Forum will include sales enablement elements.
  • Day 2’s keynote sessions focus on transforming the B2B sales force.
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Washington Still Fails At CX: Insights From The US Federal CX Index, 2016

Rick Parrish

The White House requires federal agencies to provide customer experiences that match the best of the private sector's. Yet despite another year of intense focus the federal customer experience remains overwhelmingly weak and uneven.

The 15 US federal agencies and programs that we rated in this year’s US Federal Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) earned an average score of 58, which is near the bottom of the poor category and well below the private-sector average of 70 (see Figure 1). Two-thirds of federal scores stayed flat from 2015 to 2016; even several agencies that worked hard on CX failed to improve.

 

 

The situation looks even bleaker when we compare it with the customer experience at the 300-plus companies in 20 private-sector industries in the complete US CX Index. Our results show that Washington has:

  • Scores that are mostly poor or very poor. Three-fourths of federal agencies had scores that fell into the lowest two categories of the CX Index (see Figure 2). That's in sharp contrast to the private sector, where only 19% of brands were rated poor and just 1% of brands were rated very poor.
  • A near monopoly on the worst experiences. Five out of the eight organizations in the very poor category — and six of the worst 10 in the entire US CX Index — were federal agencies. Only internet service providers, TV service providers, and airlines came close to matching this level of underperformance.
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The China Customer Experience Index For 2016: Chinese Firms Have Upped Their CX Game

Riccardo Pasto

The 2016 China Customer Experience Index report, which I co-authored with Asia Pacific CX team principal analyst Ryan Hart, went live last Thursday at Forrester’s CX Marketing Shanghai 2016 forum.

The report is based on Forrester’s CX Index™ methodology, which measures how successfully a company delivers a customer experience (CX) that create and sustain loyalty — as increases in customer loyalty tend to drive business growth. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at large brands operating in the Chinese market. This year, we saw that several brands in the China CX Index have moved from the OK range to the good range.

 

 

We see notable improvement across the board:

  • All five industries rose. The overall CX Index scores for all five of the industries surveyed this year improved over last year, with 21 brands receiving significantly higher CX Index scores. No brand in China has yet made it into the excellent CX category — but there were no laggards bringing up the rear in the poor category, either. Overall, 5% of companies with poor CX Index scores in 2015 improved to OK; more importantly, 16% of historically mediocre companies improved their CX from just OK to good.
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Email Vendor Acquisitions Signal The End Of Standalone Email Service Providers

Rebecca McAdams

*This blog post was written in collaboration with Shar VanBoskirk

Over the last year, we’ve seen a number of new acquisitions in the email marketing space.  Specifically:

  • European cross-channel campaign management vendor Selligent and Silicon Valley email service provider Strongview were acquired and combined by Private Equity Firm HGGC
  • Marlin Equity Partners acquired Teradata’s Digital Marketing Center -- the part of Teradata which includes former eCircle, Ozone Online for agency services, and Argyle Social --  and mid-market ESP BlueHornet, which was previously part of Digital River
  • Vista Equity Partners picked up B2B marketing automation vendor Marketo
  •  And most recently Zeta Interactive added Acxiom Impact to the eBay Enterprise assets (the old eDialog, for those of you keeping track) it acquired last year
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Why firms are interested in insights centers of excellence now – and what matters more

Cinny Little

Over the past few months, following publication of my "Customer Insights Center of Excellence" report , there’s been a significant uptick in questions by insights and analytics teams who want to talk to us about CoEs. That’s a positive sign that firms are feeling the crunch to get more value from their insights functions. What’s the evidence for that conclusion?  What can we learn from who’s asking about insights CoEs?  And most importantly, what really matters in how you organize?

Before we dig in to answers, let’s set the bar on what “great” looks like in truly customer obsessed organizations: they use data for insights to improve customer experience that matters most to business outcomes.  As my colleagues James McCormick, Brian Hopkins, and Ted Schadler write in their recent report, "The Insights-Driven Business," customer obsessed businesses act on insights in closed loops, at speed, and at scale in all parts of the firm. They embed analytics and testing directly into operating teams. And, firms who implement these approaches run faster and fleeter than you.  The pressure is on from insights-driven organizations.

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The Data Digest: Forrester’s Empowered Customer Segmentation Reveals Country-Level Differences In Europe

Anjali Lai

Charles Dickens once wrote that: “Change begets change. Nothing propagates so fast.” In today’s evolving marketplace, where innovators are setting new customer expectations and companies are racing to meet rising demands, Dickens’ words ring true. The first step on a company’s path to thriving in this environment is understanding customers accurately – specifically, identifying how consumer expectations are changing and how fast.

Our Empowered Customer Segmentation measures critical shifts in customer behaviors and attitudes to gauge how consumers are both responding to innovation and demanding it. While the segments are globally consistent, we see insightful differences when applying the framework to unique markets. For example, Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows how the segments differ between Spain and France: 

These country differences reveal unique opportunities and challenges for companies aiming to win or retain customers in Europe. For example, forward-looking brands such as Banco Sabadell and BBVA can engage Progressive Pioneers in Spain to test innovative concepts before planning a broader rollout. On the other hand, brands with large proportions of French Settled Survivors or Reserved Resisters can retain customers by convincing them of the effectiveness of an experience.

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The Weather Company VP Global Marketing: ".. help everyone in the company tell stories that compel action & serve our customers"

Peter O'Neill

I was talking last week with Michelle Boockoff-Bajdek, VP, Global Marketing at The Weather Company as we continue to prepare for the B2B Marketing Forum in October where Michelle is one of the industry guest speakers. The business solutions (B2B) division of The Weather Company, an IBM Business, provides weather and related data-driven products and services to more than 5,000 clients in industries including media, aviation, energy and utilities, retail, insurance, and government.  

Peter: What two or three B2B marketing improvements over the past year are you most proud of? Why?

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Programmatic TV and Data-Driven TV Planning: Untangling Facts From Fiction

Samantha Merlivat
The explosion of TV channels, on-demand content and OTT services continues to erode audiences. On the whole, Forrester’s Technographic data shows that consumers in EU5 countries (UK, FR, DE, IT, SP) watch on average as much TV in 2016 as they did in 2014. But the split is shifting in favor of online TV, in particular among millennials which will become increasingly difficult to reach through conventional linear TV media plans.
 
The fragmentation of TV content across sources shrinks audience sizes, and makes TV planning inefficient. Programmatic TV could be the answer to cross-screen, audience based planning, but the road is long and paved with obstacles. Programmatic buying is penetrating pockets of broadcaster inventory, but the level of implementation varies across countries, across broadcaster and across inventory type. The big question, of course, is whether programmatic ever makes it to linear TV advertising and becomes a viable tool to plan TV campaigns.
 
What is often missing from this discussion is the journey TV broadcasters have embarked on to collect and activate audience insights across their properties, and the wealth of data that is already available to test or experiment with audience-based buying within their inventory.
 
In the “European Marketers Get Ready For Data-Driven TV Planning" report, I break down how various TV / video inventory types will transition to different forms of programmatic over time, and explain why marketers will not have to wait for programmatic to infuse data intelligence into their TV media plans. Read the report to find out commonly missed opportunities in terms of audience optimization in TV planning.