Data Digest: Internet of Things Success Requires a Close Partnership Between IT and Business

Marc Jacobson

Survey data from Forrester Research indicates that Internet of Things (IoT) solutions may finally be ready for ‘prime time.’ Business Decision Makers (BDMs) report that IoT has become a top business priority and they are assessing solution feasibility and, in some cases, already investing. IoT will be driven by the business side of the house, but a close collaboration between business and technology management stakeholders is a prerequisite for success. Forrester believes that IoT will ultimately serve as a driving force for the Business Tehcnology (BT) Agenda by changing processes, skills, and the mindset of technology management organizations. 

Forrester Business Technographics® runs a series of annual surveys with business and technology decision-makers measuring technology adoption plans, drivers, barriers and buyer behaviors. Let’s take a closer look at how adoption plans for IoT have evolved over the past year.

Compared with 2014, BDMs surveyed in 2015 were more than twice as likely to report they would begin IoT investment within the next 12 months, 50% more likely to report they were currently implementing or piloting IoT and dramatically less likely to be unfamiliar with IoT adoption plans or report they were not familiar with the technology. In 2015, 49% of BDMs reported that the expansion of IoT initiatives was a “high” or “critical” organizational priority over the coming 12 months.

 

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China Unicom Monetizes Customer Behavior Data

Gene Cao

China Unicom demonstrated its big data analytics platform, including customer analytics, during the Shanghai World Mobile Congress last week. Huawei is helping China Unicom’s Shanghai affiliate build a big data analytics platform that can collect and analyze customer demographics and operational and behavioral data. For instance, it can estimate a consumer’s monthly income based on annual mobile fees, know whether she is walking or driving, and what routes she regularly takes. Such data is unique and even more comprehensive than that generated by Internet service giants like Baidu, Alibaba, or Tencent. China Unicom will begin to leverage this data analytics platform to monetize data in several ways:

 

  • Retain customers. China Unicom can predict which high-value customers may be thinking of dropping its services and target marketing based on the customers’ context to retain them. For instance, the system can automatically send a targeted offering when a customer passes by a China Unicom office. In 2014, the telco performed A/B testing among 200,000 Unicom subscribers in Shanghai who were thinking of changing telecom service providers. This helped China Unicom retain RMB 10 million in revenue from those users receiving targeted marketing offerings from the system.
  • Enhance public security. China Unicom uses the platform to help the Shanghai city government to monitor people’s location in the city in real time. The system provides a real-time heat map and automatically sends an alert when it discovers that too many people are crowded into one area. This can help the government avoid accidents such as the one that occurred in the Waitan district of Shanghai last year.
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Empowered Customers Are Now In Control. Is Your Marketing Team Ready To Play By The New Rules?

Sheryl Pattek

In 1860, the year Abraham Lincoln was elected President, Milton Bradley invented his first board game, the Checkered Game of Life. The game simulates a person's travels through his or her life, from infancy to retirement, with jobs, marriage, and possible children along the way. Some squares on the board help you along, with little lithographed hands pointing the way, but almost any spin from nearly every square involves a decision, a choice among as many as eight possible moves. The Checkered Game of Life requires you to make decisions — lots and lots of them — and each of those decisions leads you down a different path, requiring more decisions as you go.

Over 150 years later, the premise of the Game of Life holds as true for the decisions our customers make as it did for the personal decisions outlined in 1860.

In the post-digital world of today, empowered customers have taken control of the relationship they have with the companies they interact with. Your customers now face a maze of media, devices, conversations, and interactions as they make decisions along their path to purchase. As marketers, you must engage customers in the right way across the entirety of what Forrester calls the customer life cycle, from customers initially identifying a need to researching their options, making a purchase, and using the product.

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Marketers want more content strategy from their content marketing

Ryan Skinner

We recently asked marketing leaders who use content marketing platforms (CMPs) a simple "this or that" question, namely:

What business outcomes did your content marketing initiatives generate last year: top-line benefits (new customers, revenue, sales) or bottom-line benefits (loyalty, reduced marketing or media expenses)?

The responses came down decidedly in the second category. In other words, those marketing leaders who are currently practicing content marketing in a way big enough to necessitate software specific to it believe the value they're generating is less growth than efficiency.

This is in line with the input I've received from both marketing leaders and CMP vendors. Both describe a scenario where all kinds of marketing teams - search-focused, website-focused, customer engagement-focused, social-focused, recruitment-focused, PR-focused - have internalized the value of content, and are commissioning lots of it. To the point of chronic overindulgence.

Content Strategy

Their current needs are these:

  • Producing content once and repurposing it and reusing it in a way that maximizes media efficiency
  • Managing multichannel fragmentation in a way that doesn't fragment the organization
  • Maintaining brand consistency when brand is as much about culture and narrative as it is about colors, logos and lock-outs
  • Learning how to prioritize customer needs and value in all customer engagement situations
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When Sourcing Enterprise Marketing Capabilities, Start by Understanding Customer Expectations

Michael Barnes

 

To successfully grow in Asia Pacific (AP), you must excel at understanding customers’ needs, wants, and behaviors and have the capabilities necessary to transform this insight into improved customer engagement. But that’s true everywhere. What sets the AP region apart are the continued vast differences between markets. Appreciating these market differences, and the impact they have on customers’ expectations, is critical when sourcing enterprise marketing capabilities.    

In my recent report, entitled “Consider Regional Factors When Evaluating Enterprise Marketing Software Suites”, I highlight key regional trends affecting marketing priorities and the likely impact on organizations’ marketing technology requirements, including:

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The Data Digest: Consumers’ Device-Switching Behaviors

Anjali Lai

According to our fellow consumers, we’re more productive. Ask any mother, and she’ll tell you we’re addicted. Listen to a doctor, and you’ll think we’re creating clinical problems. The consequences are up for debate, but the fact of the matter is clear: US online adults get things done by switching from one screen to another.

Today, the majority of the US population uses three or more connected devices; we don’t only live among screens – we live by them. We complete tasks by gliding from one screen to another without a second thought. In fact, over half of US online consumers often carry out a single activity across multiple devices, and one-fifth admits they always do this.

While consumers commonly start certain tasks on their smartphone and complete them on a desktop, they also move from desktops to portable devices. The devices consumers use and the frequency with which they move between screens vary by activity. A blend of Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data and passive behavioral tracking shows that retail behaviors are most fragmented across devices, followed by media consumption activities:

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Part 2: What Do I Do With My Data?

Kara Hoisington

Kara Hoisington in an Associate Consultant in Forrester's Customer Experience Consulting practice

Organizational Alignment Is Key To Data Sanity

During the first part of this series, I talked about how clients are constantly asking us what to do with their data and how they usually go right to “what technology do I need to solve this?” We learned in that post that technology is most likely not the issue (or solution). In this post, I will go to the core of the issue: your organization.

Many companies are their own worst enemy. They have set up systems and priorities that don’t align, leaving everyone in a lurch when it comes to sharing insights and making data more actionable. IT doesn’t talk to marketing. Marketing only gives requests to data analysts. Analysts don’t ask questions. This chain leaves everyone with just a sliver of the story.

In order to break down silos and open up a dialogue across business units, you have to start by asking, “What do we want from the data?” This question will start a path that first leads to where the data needs to end up and which audience is digesting it. From there, dig into where it lives (possibly in a top drawer, behind the socks . . . ) and see if what you need is there. In order to have that conversation, marketing, technology management, and analysts need to get in a room together to discuss possibilities and limitation.

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Better Customer Experience Correlates With Higher Revenue Growth In Most Industries

Harley Manning

Does customer experience really matter to business success — or is CX just the latest flavor of hype? Recently, Forrester completed a six-month research effort aimed at answering that question by examining the relationship between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth. 

Why did we pick revenue growth as the measure of business success? Because it’s the No. 1 priority of global business leaders recently surveyed by Forrester.

So with that in mind, here’s what we did: Aided by some long-suffering research associates, some of our top industry experts and I picked pairs of competitors where one of each pair had significantly higher customer experience quality than the other (as rated by their own customers). We did this for five very different industries: cable, airlines, investments, retail, and health insurance. Then we built models that compared the compound annual growth rate in revenue of the CX leaders to the CX laggards between 2010 and 2014.

The results were intriguing. There was a clear correlation between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth for cable companies, airlines, full-service investment firms, direct investment firms, and retailers. However, the magnitude of the difference varied widely by industry, with cable coming out on top: 35.4% for the CX leader versus 5.7% for the CX laggard. Even more interesting, the results were a virtual draw for health insurers — superior CX didn’t seem to matter much when it came to revenue growth.

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Book Mini-Review: "Customer Experience: What, How, And Why Now"

Harley Manning

Over the weekend, I read the manuscript for Don Peppers' upcoming book, Customer Experience: What, How, and Why Now.

Because Don is a talented writer, and because I love customer experience, it wasn’t hard for me to start reading it. It was, however, hard to stop reading it. If you’re also into customer experience, you’ll no doubt have a similar reaction when it comes out.

What I like most about the book is that Peppers consistently grounds customer experience in business fundamentals. For example, he points out that the decision to focus on customer experience should never be binary: You don’t have to be customer-centric or product-centric, nor does spending to deliver a better CX mean wasting money. The reality is that focusing on customer experience can lead to new and better products and help create an even more profitable business — provided that you understand it.

Of course, learning to understand the practical aspects of customer experience can be hard work — much like attending a particularly tough business class. But that’s not the case here. Peppers makes the nuts and bolts of customer experience engaging and even visceral. To see what I mean, check out two of my favorite quotes from the book:

  • "If you think about it, a customer is really just a bundle of future cash flows, with a memory. And these future cash flows will increase or decrease based on how the customer remembers being treated, today."
  • “Customers don’t necessarily stay because they’re satisfied, but they often leave because they’re not.”
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Does Facebook still like the "like"?

Erna Alfred Liousas
Change is constant, especially with Facebook. Not too long ago it changed its algorithm to allow users to see their favorite content within their New Feeds first. Then it introduced Instant Articles to help publishers create interactive articles on Facebook. This week, Facebook updated its logo and its algorithm again. This update helps users prioritize stories and posts by allowing them to select the friends and pages they'd like to see at the top of their News Feed. And now for the grand reveal...
 
Facebook will no longer use likes in its cost per click measurement definition.
 
 
Yes, you read correctly, Facebook is discounting the value of its likes to the point where it doesn't factor into their click metric.  
 
Why is this happening now? 
At the end of the day, ads cost money. If Facebook wants to keep that ad revenue flowing, they've got to connect those ads to the things that drive the bottom line -- items that tie back to business goals, to justify the expense to marketers. Going forward, these clicks will factor into CPC:
  • Clicks to visit another website
  • Call-to-action clicks (Shop Now)
  • Clicks to install an app
  • Clicks to Facebook canvas apps, and
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