Join Forrester's 2015 China Social Marketing Online Survey

Xiaofeng Wang

Forrester’s 2015 online survey for social marketing in China is now open. If you’re a marketing leader who is involved in social marketing in China, please take this opportunity to provide your perspective.

Based on the survey results, we will update the Benchmarking Social Marketing Efforts In China report published in November 2013. The updated report will help marketers check if their social marketing efforts are keeping pace with those of their peers.

Why is your input important? This survey will help us:

  • Understand your key focuses in social marketing. Marketing leaders in China put a lot of faith in social marketing and adopt various social platforms and tactics. This data will help you benchmark your key focus for social marketing.
  • Outline your pain points in achieving your social marketing goals. Marketing leaders in China are increasingly investing in social media and expect positive returns, but face internal and external challenges to achieving their business goals.

We will use the results to help marketing leaders in China:

  • Understand key trends to prioritize social marketing efforts. We will highlight the most important social platforms and tactics that you need to focus on and help you prioritize your social marketing efforts effectively.
  • Overcome key social marketing challenges. We will analyze the main challenges that social marketers face in China and help you plan and evaluate your social marketing strategies better.
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Joining The B2C Research Team Ranks

Rebecca McAdams

Hey Everyone!

I’ve been at Forrester over a year and a half now, originally coming from an analyst support role, to more recently, working with Shar VanBoskirk to drive our research around email marketing. I’m excited to announce that, going forward, I will be leading our coverage of the technologies, services, and analytics that support email marketing.

My first report in this new role was an update to our email marketing playbook assessment chapter. This report allows marketers to assess their email marketing campaigns around specific benchmarks defined by Forrester that assess both their business processes, as well as the user experience of their campaigns. Building off of this assessment, I will be publishing an update to our “Best And Worst Of Email Marketing” playbook report, with an assessment of 70 email campaigns, benchmarked against the criteria from the report mentioned above.

I am looking forward to getting to know many of you better and following the evolution of this exciting space. Whether you have insights to share, questions to ask, or email technology and services that you want to tell me about, I want to hear from you! Please engage with me via our inquiry and/or briefing teams, or track me down at Forrester’s upcoming Marketing 2016 Event (April 26, 2016).

Most Marketers Don't Use Social Relationship Platforms

Nate Elliott

Social Relationship Platforms (SRPs) like Sprinklr, Sprefast, and Hootsuite save marketers time and help them more effectively manage their branded Facebook pages and Twitter accounts -- but most marketers still don't use these valuable tools.

We recently analyzed the Facebook posts made by 5,000 large brand pages and found that two-thirds post exclusively through Facebook's native tools. That's right: 67% of the biggest brands we could find didn't make a single Facebook post through a third-party vendor during the six week window we studied.

Most social marketers post exclusively through Facebook native tools

Twitter marketers are more likely than Facebook marketers to use SRPs -- but not by much. We looked at almost 3,000 large Twitter accounts and found that about half post natively 50% of the time or more.

Even when marketers do hire social relationship platforms, they often do most of their posting natively. This was true on both the social networks we studied, but it's especially pronounced on Twitter. In fact, most SRPs find the majority of their clients do at least 50% of their Twitter posting natively.

Most Twitter Marketers That Use Social Relationship Platforms Use Them Less Than Half The Time

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A Successful Case Of Positive Social Marketing ROI

Xiaofeng Wang

Marketing leaders face the challenge of achieving a positive ROI —in fact, it is the top challenge for the digital marketers we surveyed in China earlier this year. Fortunately, a few marketers have managed to achieve this, and Spring Airlines is one of them. My recently published report, Case Study: Spring Airlines' Digital Business Takes Off With Social Marketing, tells its success story. From it, B2C marketers can learn how to achieve positive returns on their investments in social marketing initiatives and support their transition to a digital business.

As a private airline and the first budget carrier in China, Spring Airlines is performing well despite fierce competition from much larger state-owned competitors with more resources. Since the airline’s launch a decade ago, Spring’s B2C marketing professionals have focused on making the airline's business operations as digital as possible in order to:

  • Keep operating costs low.Unlike its main competitors, Spring receives no financial support from the government. To keep operating costs low, Spring bypasses travel agents, selling tickets exclusively via its official website and some designated ticket offices.
  • Support its challenger status and catalyze customer obsession. To compensate for its smaller scale and resources, Spring successfully differentiated its brand as an early adopter of digital, mobile, and social and built an extremely close relationship with its customers.
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Verifone Puts New Stake in The Ground With Developer Platform

Brendan Miller
Yesterday Verifone announced a next generation family of payment devices, called Verifone Engage.  Verifone promises to wrap more value around the merchant-consumer interaction at the point-of-purchase with new personalized marketing features, pay-with-points and rewards.  In addition, they introduced an expanded Verifone Commerce Platform giving developers the tools to publish POS apps to a new App Marketplace for merchants.  They Linux based devices will provide an accessible and well-known framework for developers to innovate upon.  Software based solutions are transforming the industry and Verifone risked getting commoditized as a hardware vendor if it didn’t act by building a platform and marketplace for developers.   
What does this mean for the rest of the Payments Industry? Two stakeholders in particular will be impacted.  
POS Developers (ISVs) – Engage is a good development for the POS developer community and merchants.  The whole mission of a POS is to improve the customer experience at the point of purchase and streamline back-office processes for the merchant.  ISVs could integrate with Engage hardware and offer merchants more services through the Verifone App Marketplace, publish apps of their own, and potentially earn new residual revenue sources from merchants paying to use those applications.
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2016: CIOs And CMOs Must Rally To Lead Customer-Obsessed Change Now

Cliff Condon

In the coming weeks Forrester will publish its annual set of predictions for our major roles, industries, and research themes — more than 35 in total. These predictions for 2016 will feature our calls on how firms will execute in the Age of the Customer, a 20-year business cycle in which the most successful enterprises will reinvent themselves to systematically understand and serve increasingly powerful customers.

In 2016, the gap between customer-obsessed leaders and laggards will widen. Leaders will tackle the hard work of shifting to a customer-obsessed operating model; laggards will aimlessly push forward with flawed digital priorities and disjointed operations. It will require strong leadership to win, and we believe that in 2016 CMOs will step up to lead customer experience efforts. They face a massive challenge: Years of uncoordinated technology adoption across call centers, marketing teams, and product lines make a single view of the customer an expensive and near-impossible endeavor. As a result, in 2016 companies will be limited to fixing their customer journeys.

CMOs will have good partners, though. As they continue to break free of IT gravity and invest in business technology, CIOs will be at their sides. 2016 is the year that a new breed of customer-obsessed CIOs will become the norm. Fast-cycle strategy and governance will be more common throughout technology management and CIOs will push hard on departmental leaders to let go of their confined systems to make room for a simpler, unified, agile portfolio.

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Communication Is Key For Any Relationship

Tom McCann

This is a guest post by Erna Esa, a Research Associate on the Customer Experience team based in Sydney.

In the movie Love Actually, the chemistry between an Englishman (played by the very dashing Colin Firth) and a Portuguese housekeeper (Lúcia Moniz) was evident — but not having the tools to communicate in each other’s language left the pair feeling frustrated and annoyed.

Employees experience a similar type of frustration when they are not offered the opportunity to contribute to the conversations companies have about their customers. How do we know this? Well, we have found that 70% of information workers say that their job requires them to engage with or understand their customers but fewer than 40% of organizations in Australia and New Zealand systematically capture input from their employees about those interactions. That leaves a lot of employees who interact with customers and have knowledge of their company’s customer experience ecosystem without a structured, systematic way of telling their organization what they are seeing and hearing — and that’s frustrating.

Successful voice of the employee (VoE) programs have the potential to transform your organization into one in which talented, dedicated individuals strive to build a career. In many cases, these programs are inexpensive to set up and maintain, yet deliver considerable benefits when implemented across the entire organization. Forrester clients can read about these benefits in our latest report, Engage Employees To Nail The Customer Experience.

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Can Content Really Drive Commerce?

Sucharita  Mulpuru

In a recent study, we found that 70% of online retailers are investing in “content” in the coming year. What sort of content you may ask. Usually when they say “content” retailers mean videos, blog posts and magazine-like content that is best for consumers at the top of the shopping funnel. This type of content though is notoriously difficult to monetize though.  A number of companies like Babycenter in the late 1990s were the first wave of content-driving-commerce digital players to try this.  They quickly realized it was not only difficult to do but that top-of-the-funnel content was easier monetized through advertising.

But we’re in a different era now and that’s kicked up the possibility of new success from content.  We now have ubiquitous mobile devices with web connectivity, social networks like Pinterest and Instagram that thrive on content, and the disruption of the entire content industry (RIP, Lucky Magazine which was one of the hottest media properties in 1999).

But are things really that different now?  For all its attempts to drive commerce, even fashion darling Refinery29 could never make shopping happen.  One of the more recent torchbearers of content-commerce synergies, Thrillist-JackThreads, decided the businesses are better split apart than together.  

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Netflix Claims Earnings Are Down As Many Subscribers Cards on File Do Not Get Updated

Brendan Miller

On Thursday Netflix blamed card processing issues for disappointing subscriber growth. Netflix said the move by U.S. banks to replace hundreds of millions of credit and debit cards with new EMV chip-enabled cards this year has led to involuntary service cancellations as subscibers cards did not automatically renew when the new cards were issued.   It is estimated that 575 million new EMV chip cards are being issued to consumers in 2015*. Many of these new cards require updated account information to be collected by subscription or recurring businesses servicing the affected cardholders.  Although the cardholder’s account number may not change with the new card, the CVV and expiration date of the card most likely will change.

Do subscription type businesses that use Card-On-File need to be concerned they will also see increased declines?

Recurring and subscription billing merchants should be using Account Updater Services (as Netflix does) for updating new payment credentials. Over the past decade, the major card brands have introduced Account Updater services that allow merchants, via their processors, to submit card data on file to the networks for updating and correcting stale information. By utilizing these services merchants retain more customers and their customers enjoy uninterrupted service. Many payment platforms are now supporting this feature as a managed service to reduce the burden on the merchant of transmitting Card on file information to the processor.

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Find Out And Remember Who Your Buyers Are At Each Stage

Peter O'Neill

Last month, I enjoyed working with my colleague TJ Keitt as he prepared his report “B2B CX Professionals: Find The Full Range Of B2B Customers”, now published for customer experience professionals who are Forrester clients. As he writes, “Despite the clear benefits of improving B2B customer experience, there's a hitch: Before B2B CX professionals can help their customers, they have to identify them. But at most of the B2B firms we spoke to, it’s hard for CX professionals to locate and engage customers other than the complex groups of decision-makers with whom sales personnel interact in client organizations.”

An interesting point. It is definitely difficult to identify all the CX touchpoints between businesses when striving to optimize the customer experience, because the B2B interaction is long and complex:

  1. Successful B2B marketing causes (or overlaps with) sales interactions . . .
  2.  . . . initiating contacts with order processing, legal, shipping, and receiving . . .
  3. . . . leading to exchanges with accounts payable, service, and support . . .
  4. . . . and so on (hopefully to advocacy and retention).
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