Welcome to my customer analytics blog!

Brandon Purcell

Greetings!  My name is Brandon Purcell and I am the new Senior Analyst serving Customer Insights professionals at Forrester.  I will cover customer analytics which uses advanced analytics to analyze customer data to optimize customer-focused programs and initiatives to drive acquisition, retention, cross-sell/upsell, loyalty, personalization, and contextual marketing. I am a recovering customer analytics practitioner and come to Forrester from a boutique consulting firm where I led a team of data scientists that helped our clients solve their urgent business challenges by harnessing the latent value in their customer data.  A few highlights from my former life:

  • I helped develop a best in class Voice of the Customer program at one of the country’s largest banks
  • I created and led many trainings in business applications of predictive analytics
  • I built a patented algorithm that uses geospatial data to predict a person’s future location
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Data Digest: Business Technology-Focused Companies Win In The Age Of The Customer

Christopher Kelley

Forrester has written extensively about the Business Technology imperative in the Age of the Customer. While the transformation from IT to BT is challenging, Forrester’s Business Technographics data highlights how business leaders have increased – and plan to continue increasing – their technology spending. This means that the train has left the station and CIOs can either embrace this shift or fight against the BT transformation tide.

In addition to highlighting the importance of the BT agenda, these data also show the difference between BT-Leaders -- companies that embrace a BT agenda -- compared to BT-Laggards – companies that are entrenched in the traditional IT mentality vis-a-vis Business Technology needs.

Specifically, we found that businesses with IT departments that help accelerate business success are more likely to:

  • Have had double-digit growth in 2014. The bottom line is important. We found that 30% of companies that BT-Leaders grew at 10% or more in 2014 compared to 2013, compared to 26% of BT-Laggards.
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Digital Marketers Are Increasingly Taking Responsibility For eCommerce Initiatives In China

Xiaofeng Wang

In my previous report, Overcome Top Digital Challenges In 2015, we found that digital marketers’ top challenge is meeting increased pressure to deliver business outcomes. In fact, they’re gradually taking on more responsibilities directly related to business outcomes, such as eCommerce. My latest brief, Digital Marketers Are Embracing eCommerce, And China Is Leading The Way, helps B2C marketers understand this emerging trend and embrace the opportunity to deliver consistent digital experiences to customers.

One-third of the digital marketers in China who responded to our survey indicated that eCommerce is one of their job responsibilities (see the figure). Forrester sees this trend developing in China as well as in Western markets. For example, in the US, Gap redesigned its global CMO role by merging eCommerce and digital marketing in a single executive position earlier this year.

However, the fusion of digital marketing and eCommerce teams is happening more extensively in China because:

  • Social and commerce are more closely intertwined in China than anywhere else. The bond between social media and eCommerce is extremely close in China, exemplified by the strategic partnerships between WeChat and JD.com and between Alibaba and Weibo.
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Australian And New Zealand Firms Say CX Is A Top Priority — But Do They Really Mean It?

Tom McCann

Lots of things are critical to delivering a great customer experience (CX). For instance, do you really understand your customers or simply do a great job of segmenting them? Do you actively encourage employees to provide feedback and recommendations on CX issues? And do you consistently get back to them on actions taken as a result of their feedback?

The truth is, you need to excel at all these practices to deliver exceptional customer experience. But even if you do, it may still not be enough. Ultimately, you’ll only excel at CX if you’ve properly aligned your CX strategy with your overall company strategy.

Forrester recently surveyed 52 Australian and New Zealand businesses, and of those surveyed, 98% believe that their companies are committed to improving CX. But only one-third have a CX strategy that’s actually aligned with the overall company strategy. Forrester's clients can access the full report here. That gap, the one between the priorities of the company strategy and the priorities of the CX strategy, is the business equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle; not all ships that enter will find their way out.

Whether you call them consumers, businesses, patients, citizens, or something else entirely, winning, serving, and retaining those customers must be a primary goal. And how can you achieve that goal? Ensure your CX strategy is actually aligned with the organization’s strategy. If you are one of the almost 70% of companies that have not aligned their corporate and CX strategies, you are like that ship trying to navigate the Bermuda Triangle on a very dark night, without a compass or charts.

Don’t be that company.

Leverage The Power Of WeChat’s Mobile Ecosystem

Xiaofeng Wang

With a whopping 549 million monthly active users, WeChat has become the largest mobile social app in Asia Pacific. Smart marketers not only borrow mobile momentsfrom WeChat, but leverage its power across the customer life cycle. My recently published report, Reinvent Customer Relationships With WeChat Mobile, helps B2C marketers understand the dynamics of the WeChat mobile ecosystem and learn how to best ride the wave of the WeChat-dominated mobile revolution in China. The report:

  • Shows how dominant WeChat is in Chinese consumers’ mobile lives.WeChat has become the default social networking tool in China and has disrupted consumers’ mobile behaviors. Metro Chinese consumers already spend more than half of their mobile Internet time on it. In the past year, WeChat users consumed US$15.3 billion worth of mobile data— more than Weibo, shopping, video, music, mapping, and email services combined.
  • Identifies the core features and services of the WeChat mobile ecosystem.WeChat is far more than a messaging app; it’s a rich mobile ecosystem filled with powerful features and services. The key ones that marketers can leverage include branded public accounts, advertising, WeChat Payment, eCommerce, smart services, and linking online to offline.
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What Should Washington Do About The Public's Lukewarm Attitude Toward Digital Government?

Rick Parrish

Digital government is big in Washington. Next year, the White House plans to spend $35 million more on the US Digital Service, $105 million for digital services teams at 25 agencies, and tens of millions more for digital channels throughout the federal government. And that’s just the latest tranche, piled atop hundreds of millions in digital government spending in recent years.

Unfortunately, it looks like federal agencies are more excited about digital government than the public is. As I detail in my recent report, “Washington Must Work Harder To Spur The Public’s Interest In Digital Government,” public interest in digital government is tepid at best. In fact, a Forrester survey shows that only two-fifths of the public agrees that the federal government should focus on offering more digital services. And the news isn’t any better for specific big digital initiatives that are getting many agencies excited. For instance, only two-fifths of the public is interested in a single sign-on credential for federal websites, and fewer than a third of people want federal mobile apps that tailor safety alerts and other government information to the user’s location.

Why is public interest in digital government so weak? I go into greater detail in my report, but the bottom line is that people:

  • Don’t have good experiences with digital government as it exists. For instance, our surveys shows that fewer than half of Americans consider federal websites to be easy to use or well organized, and only about half of the public considers their content to be relevant or professional-looking.
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Through-Channel Marketing: The Channel Is More Than A Sales Channel

Tim Harmon

For the past 30 years, most B2B channel professionals have thought of their channel as a sales channel. Indeed, in the “good old days,” the standard operating procedure equated to the B2B manufacturer/vendor doing the marketing, the channel partner the selling.

But times have changed.  The 5-person “box-pusher” channel partner model of the past has, for the most part, gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Today’s successful channel companies are diverse, vibrant business engines, firing on many cylinders, including innovative value-added services, managed services, business consulting, eCommerce, billing aggregation, and marketing.  Today’s channel is much more than a sales channel; it’s a marketing, sales, delivery, and support channel.

The majority of channel partners now employ their own professional marketers and marketing programs – which can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Left unchecked, channel partners’ marketing efforts can ignore, dilute, confuse, or (worse!) damage a tech vendor’s brand.  Leveraged, channel partners’ relatively newfound marketing prowess represents a powerful amplifier for tech vendors to extend their marketing reach.  At Cisco’s Marketing Velocity event this spring, many Cisco channel partners evidenced a marketing aptitude for digital customer engagement that rivals that of many tech vendors.

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The Data Digest: Health Insurers Must Ensure Satisfaction

Anjali Lai

The US health insurance industry is in the midst of a tectonic shift. Since federal legislation mandated health coverage for all US citizens, health insurers have been pivoting away from pure B2B models to reinvent themselves as B2C services – and they’ve been responding to the demands of a new target group: consumers who purchase their own health insurance.

Earlier this year, we published a blog post detailing the channels customers use when purchasing health insurance. But mapping customers’ physical interactions with a company is only part of the story – understanding their emotional evolution is just as important. According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, a mere 50% of consumers who purchase their own health insurance feel that the brand puts them first; others believe health insurers do what’s best for their own bottom line at the expense of customers. The former are not only emotionally satisfied, they are also loyal to their current health insurer and willing to spend on additional products and services: 

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Let’s Get Real – Introducing The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015

Rusty Warner

When I published the Market Overview: Real-Time Interaction Management back in May, I highlighted more than 100 vendors that provide real-time interaction management (RTIM) solutions or solution components.  I outlined in that report how enterprise marketing technology vendors address – to varying degrees – all five RTIM requirements: customer recognition, contextual understanding, decision arbitration, offer orchestration, and measurement and optimization. My Brief: Demystifying Real-Time Interaction Management provides further details and defines RTIM as enterprise marketing technology that delivers contextually relevant experiences, value, and utility at the appropriate moment in the customer life cycle via preferred customer touchpoints.

I’m now pleased to announce the publication of The Forrester Wave™: Real-Time Interaction Management, Q3 2015, which provides a detailed evaluation of eleven enterprise marketing technology vendors in terms of their RTIM solution capabilities. This 35-criteria evaluation includes a diverse group of vendors that address a broad range of RTIM capabilities: Adobe, Experian, IBM, Infor, Oracle, Pegasystems, Pitney Bowes, Salesforce, SAS Institute, SmartFocus, and Teradata.

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Is Your Privacy Organization Future-Proof?

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Unless you're in a regulated industry, or headquartered in the European Union, chances are that your privacy organization has been limited to one or two lawyers, and maybe a data security expert. This small group has probably been tasked with making sure the firm is in compliance with local laws, and with writing and managing onerous and impenetrable consumer-facing privacy policies. In other words, these teams have worked to keep the company out of legal trouble.

But data privacy, collection, and use practices are becoming more visible, to regulators, to media and ultimately to individuals. And as a result, firms need a different kind of privacy organization to meet the need for transparency head-on. 

So tell us, has your privacy organization changed in the past few years? Are you staffing it with new skillsets? Creating more dotted lines to teams like marketing, product development, etc? Changing from a compliance-focused organization to one poised to capitalize on privacy as a market differentiator?

If so, my colleagues, Heidi Shey, Enza Iannopollo and I would love to hear from you for current research we're working on. Reply here, or email fkhatibloo@forrester.com, and THANKS!