The Sales Enablement Forum Talks About The Future Of B2B Selling

Peter O'Neill

Now it is high time that I remind you of our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum on March 2 and 3 in Scottsdale, Arizona,where the overall theme this year is about the different approaches required to optimize your sales channels. Our research shows that more transactional buyers now prefer more automation and self-service (eBusiness); whereas executives who are involved in buying prefer (no, insist on) having conversations and engagement that match their problem-solving needs. So we have designed an agenda that covers direct selling, selling through channel partners, as well as selling through eBusiness interactions. More importantly, we will address the challenge of aligning each of these channels so that your buyers think you are one company regardless of the channel they choose to leverage at any point in time.

Read more

T-Mobile's Transparent Communications Connect With Customers

Tracy Stokes

For the 67% of US online adults who use smartphones, everyday life is made up of a web of mobile moments. The gaps in our days are absorbed with checking email while waiting for a grande skinny soy latte, frenetically refreshing a delayed flight status as another winter storm blasts through, or catching up with real, virtual, and long-lost friends on our social network of choice. Wireless carriers such as AT&T and Verizon power many of those mobile moments. Their business and their brands should be booming on the back of consumers’ need for constant connectivity, but our research shows that these brands are falling short.  

In our TRUE brand compass survey of US wireless carriers, consumers found brand leadership wanting. Verizon Wireless achieved the highest ranking of the 10 brands surveyed, propelled by second quintile scores for being trusted and essential. But none of the brands achieved the top-ranking tiers of trailblazer or leader. The prescription? Wireless brands must seek to win hearts, not just contracts. 

Read more

Is Google Buying CoverHound? The Curious Case Of The California Insurance License

Ellen Carney

It’s one of the worst-kept—and surely most disruptive—secrets in the US insurance market.  Soon, Google could be piloting its Google Compare auto insurance comparison shopping site in the US, following the lead of  its 2012 Google Compare UK site roll out. 

But the launch of Google Compare in the US apparently hasn’t been easy.  Even though insurers have been mentioning Google overtures to participate on the comparison site to me for more than two years now, the Google Compare US site launch keeps getting pushed back.  As late as last month the site was expected to launch in California, to be followed in Q1 2015 with likely launches in  Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Texas. Last I heard was that California pilot wouldn't begin until sometime in Q1.

And one thing’s for sure:  Google Compare is going to have big implications for US insurers.  While doing the research for a report on what Google Compare is going to mean for insurer strategies in 2015, I took a look at a bunch of state insurance commission filings to see just what was up with the entity now officially doing business as Google Compare Auto Insurance Services Inc.  What did I learn?

  • They’re licensed to business in more than half the states.  Along with California, the entity is licensed to do business in at least Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, New Jersey, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. There may be more in process.
Read more

Five Social Data Resolutions That Will Make You A Better Marketer

Kim Celestre

"If there is no struggle there is no progress" — Frederick Douglass

Despite spending years optimizing their social marketing efforts, advanced marketers share a common hurdle: How do they make sense of all the data that their social marketing programs generate? It seems that this isn’t an easy endeavor — all 12 marketers I recently interviewed agree that their data capabilities leave much to be desired. They cited numerous reasons: They don’t have the skilled resources to properly analyze the data, their listening platforms are ill equipped to inform their marketing strategies, and their attempts to bridge data across siloed sources (e.g. social networks, agencies, and technolgy vendors) fail. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social data challenges.

 If you feel inadequate when it comes to your data prowess, don’t despair — consider this an opportunity to strengthen your team’s capabilities. Many marketers struggle with data, but only the optimal combination of art and science will allow you to unlock social’s full potential.  Brands that leverage social intelligence to shape both their social and non-social business strategies are well positioned to reach best-in-class status.

In our report “Use Social Data To Improve Your Social Marketing Maturity,” Allison Smith, Nate Elliott, and I provide the following five social data resolutions you can tackle now as you kick off your 2015 social marketing programs:

Read more

Social Analytics Can Help You Better Address Customers If You’re Willing To Experiment

TJ Keitt

*This post was originally posted on the Destination CRM Blog

Thanks to digitization and inexpensive storage, businesses can now collect incredible amounts of information on their customers, competitors, and other market factors. But you only profit from this bounty if an employee can find the right data nugget when they need it. And here lies our problem: The average information worker lacks tools to cull disparate data repositories for useful information.

The foundation for addressing this issue is emerging in cloud-based collaboration services. Vendors like Huddle and Microsoft are embedding social analytical tools in their collaboration portfolios to observe when, where, and how employees interact with people and content. As these collaboration services begin to understand these relationships, they promise to make these information workers:

  • Aware. Fundamentally, social analytics surface information and people an information worker had not considered before. Giving employees a broader perspective will help them do things like staff a fast-moving consulting project.
Read more

Marketing And Site Features In Brazil’s eCommerce Market

Zia Daniell Wigder

We just published our third and final report in the Retail eCommerce in Brazil series. We tackled key performance indicators in our first report and team headcount and priorities in our second—our third report looks at the marketing tactics employed by online retailers in Brazil and the site features they’re embracing.  All three reports summarize the findings of a survey we fielded of 300+ online retailers in Brazil together with partner e-Commerce Brasil.  

In the report, we find that:

Online retailers continue to rely heavily on core marketing tactics. Despite the bevvy of new and emerging marketing options at their disposal, eCommerce leaders continue to prioritize search and email marketing as the most effective tactics for acquiring customers. Not surprisingly, store-based online retailers find offline advertising more effective than other types of online retailers do, and web-only retailers find social networks to be a particularly good source of customer acquisition.

Read more

The Customer Experience Curriculum

Sam Stern

Companies with customer-obsessed cultures  think USAA or Southwest Airlines  differentiate themselves in their industries and earn major financial benefits as a result. But customer-obsessed cultures don't just happen: To help transform a culture, customer experience professionals must develop a training and coaching curriculum that touches all employees.

In my recent report, "The Customer Experience Curriculum," I write about how companies must identify the key constituencies in the organization, determine how they can best contribute to delivering the intended experience, and then design training and coaching that reinforce those contributions. CX professionals — in partnership with their learning and development colleagues — should:

  • Create training for CX professionals that provides breadth plus selective depth. To drive customer experience initiatives across the organization, all CX team members need a working knowledge of customer experience concepts plus core skills like customer journey mapping. Saskatchewan Government Insurance (SGI) worked with an external partner to train its client experience team in customer journey mapping and customer ecosystem mapping. Team members now apply these skills to diagnose CX problems and improve common customer journeys. They even train other parts of the organization, like claims and customer service, to map customer journeys.
Read more

If Santa Left You A Mobile Insurance App/Site Budget, Do You Know Where And How To Spend It?

Ellen Carney

With the holidays—and a whole lot of 2015 strategic planning activities—behind us, you’re probably have a few gifts you’d like to return and hopefully, a few gift cards you’d like to make use of. If you were really good last year,Santa left you the budget needed to develop or enhance that mobile insurance app or site you’ve wanted.  

But how do you spend that budget so that the app or site that results doesn’t disappoint like those sea monkeys or x-ray glasses that you also once wanted?

It’s not hard to uncover this kind of disappointment in the mobile insurance marketplace:  Mobile services that are little more than insurer bill boards, require too much data entry from users, and lack features that users have come to expect from banks, retailers, and airlines.  To play catch- up with competitors and quell internal political concerns, many insurance eBusiness and technology management teams were put on the spot, rolling out mobile functionality without considering if it solved a problem for customers. While this approach addressed the business urgency, these hastily -built mobile insurance apps often fell short.

Read more

Maturity Requires A Perfect Six Pack

Rusty Warner

Don’t worry: I’m not here to support your New Year’s resolution with work-out advice. But if you want to review the six requirements for planning a mature enterprise marketing strategy, then keep reading.

Real-time, contextually relevant customer experiences require a significant investment in enterprise marketing technologies. However, customer insights (CI) professionals often struggle with defining marketing technology requirements to match business objectives. It’s difficult because you must balance multiple stakeholders, accommodate channel-specific processes, and integrate products from different vendors to align with your firm’s enterprise-wide business technology (BT) agenda.

To support CI pros with requirements planning, Forrester offers a self-service assessment tool to help you determine how your firm stacks up using our enterprise marketing maturity model. We believe that customer-focused enterprise marketing initiatives rely on improved capabilities across six core competencies. The first three – strategy, resources, and processes – focus on organizational readiness. The remaining three – data, analytics and measurement, and technology – underscore the importance of the right tools to enable successful execution. 

Read more

Now Accepting Entries: The 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards

Nate Elliott

Every year since 2007, Forrester has recognized the very best social marketing programs from around the world — and I’m thrilled to announce we’re now accepting entries for the ninth annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.

The rules are simple: Entries should represent the effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational goal. The more data you can offer to prove this, the better your chances of winning. You can enter using our online form. If you win, you get a nice shiny trophy,a winner's badge for your website, and lots of recognition from Forrester. (For much more information on rules, guidelines, and award categories, click here.)

Read more