Empathy Is Key To Engaging B2B Buyers

Laura Ramos

It’s no secret, company websites are a key implement in the B2B marketer’s toolbox.  B2B marketers rate websites as the second most effective demand management tactic for building awareness (behind events) in our 2016 Business Technographics marketing survey. B2B companies also expect more than half of their customers to buy online within three years.[i] These trends show just how important it is for marketers to get the website experience right – and to produce Web content that builds empathy to engage buyers.

So, is anyone doing this well today?  And, if so, what are they doing to make their content more engaging? In “Empathetic Content: The Key To Engaging B2B Buyers” we looked at 60 corporate websites across 12 different industries to figure this out. Sadly, we found most fail to deliver engaging, customer-focused content. Sadder still, not much has improved since we first undertook this exercise in 2014.

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Is Facebook Listening? (And So What If They Are.)

Fatemeh Khatibloo

From time to time, an anecdote comes across our desks that, as researchers, we find hard to leave alone. A few months ago, one of these opportunities appeared, and we thought it might be interesting to lift the hood, and show you how we dig into tough research hypotheses and decide if and when to write about them. Here's what happened.

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Over a period of a few days this winter, we heard from one colleague, then another – 20 in all -- that conversations they'd had IRL ("in real life") seemingly resulted in ads and sponsored posts in Facebook. Given the state of "surveillance marketing," we weren't that surprised, until we read Facebook's T&Cs. There, the company explicitly stated that it wouldn't use data collected from a user's microphone for ad targeting. That's when we got curious.

First, we looked to the obvious: had our colleagues searched for the advertised item after having had the conversation? Had they checked into the same place as their friend, at the same time? Were they on the same network -- and thus sharing an IP address -- as someone who'd searched for the product or service? We rounded up the answers to these questions, and determined that "interest-by-proxy" was an unlikely cause.

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Have You Ever Really Loved A Brand?

James McQuivey

I want to know who you love. I'm asking because love for a brand is actually a very hard thing to measure. At Forrester we've spent nearly a year trying to understand the emotional components of branding. Our colleagues in the customer experience (CX) team have years worth of data showing that emotion is the single most powerful driver of satisfaction with an experience. Designing to emotion, then, is a crucial method for success and my colleagues are all over it. 

On the brand side, marketers certainly agree that emotion matters. They have always believed that emotion matters. They just don't agree on how it matters. Or better said they don't have clarity on what emotion really is and so it becomes more difficult to pin down how that emotion applies to their brands -- is brand emotion different from CX-derived emotion? Do they relate to each other, act as influences on each other? It's hard to say for sure when your mental model of how emotion works is inadequate to the task of addressing the fast-moving emotions of today's empowered consumer. 

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Beware the Word "Alignment"

James McQuivey

Another Friday lesson on corporate-speak. Last week I shared how wrong it is to be "right?" and I hope you are secretly forwarding that note to every offender in your organization. Today, I'm here to save you from the equally egregious word "alignment." A seemingly simple word, one that baas like a gentle lamb on a hilly, green pasture. Except this lamb is sheep in the most despicable of wolves' clothing. To be aligned with something literally means to be arranged in a straight line. When someone invites you to be aligned with them, they think they are saying, "let's be on the same side," "let's have a shared perspective," or "let's not seem like we're in disagreement here." All of those meanings sound good -- we are teammates, we collaborate, we know how to work across silos! But none of them are what people really mean when, in an interdepartmental meeting someone says, "We need to make sure that we're in alignment on this."

What they truly mean is, "I've listened to you blather on long enough. You are wrong and I am right and you need to start pretending that you agree with me or we're going to have real problems here."

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Why You Need To Attend Consumer Marketing Forum 2017

Carlton Doty

To be blunt, if you miss this event, you’ll be sorry. Sure there are loads of marketing conferences out there, but Forrester’s Forums clear the clutter and help you focus on the issues that matter most to your success. Last year, we told you that we're in a post-digital world now, and that marketing must adapt to new rules. This year, on April 5-7, we'll show you exactly how to do that and more. Whether you’re developing and refining your marketing strategy to engage today’s empowered consumer, or your planning the next investment in your Martech application portfolio, Forrester’s Consumer Marketing Forum will be the smartest investment of time that you’ll make this year. Here’s a just few highlights:

  • Learn exactly how consumers’ behaviors are changing. Analyst Anjali Lai will share Forrester's Empowered Customer segmentation.
  • Discover how to avoid the illusion of insights. VP and Research Director Sri Sridharan will show you how to avoid potential pitalls in your question to become and insights-driven business.
  • Reveal what really matters in Martech and Adtech. VP and Principal Analyst Joe Stanhope will bring clarity to the chaos of an unhealthy technology ecosystem. 
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Practice Makes Perfect: Lessons From Practitioners About Sales Enablement Automation

Steven Wright

Register now for the March 21, 2017, Forrester Webinar: "Sales Enablement In Action: Learning From B2B Practitioners."

The Forrester Wave™ process involves more than vendors. It also requires interviews with two to three reference customers for each solution. The new report, which Jacob Milender and I wrote, "Applying Sales Enablement Best Practices: Reference Customers For The Sales Enablement Automation Wave™ Reveal Lessons That They’ve Learned," looks at how these practitioners have achieved the benefits of sales enablement automation (SEA).

We spoke to 20 sales enablement practitioners from a variety of industries who were evenly divided between reporting to marketing and sales. That is a lesson on how the role of sales enablement still straddles the organizational divide. And as with any technology, it takes a lot more than flipping a switch for SEA systems to get up and running. All practitioners agreed that getting their house in order (that is, finding, categorizing, reviewing, and restructuring content) was a necessary first step no matter what solution they chose.

The most immediate measure of a successful launch and implementation was adoption by sellers. “They love it! Content is much easier to locate,” was a frequent comment. But beyond immediate adoption, there are still challenges for many sales and marketing leaders in getting the most out of SEA, including going beyond using basic content usage reporting to correlating successful content with moving opportunities through sales stages.

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Insights Services Drive Data Commercialization

Jennifer Belissent

The new data economy isn’t about data; it is about insights. How can I increase the availability of my locomotive fleet? How can I extend the longevity of my new tires? How can I improve my on-time-in-full rate? Which subscribers are most likely to churn in the near future? Where is the best location to build a new restaurant franchise or open a new retail outlet? Business decision-makers want answers to these kinds of questions, and new insights services providers are eager to help them.

A growing number of companies recognize the opportunity their data provides, and they take that data to market: 1/3 of firms report commercializing data or sharing it for revenue with partners or customers.  The recently published Forrester Report Top Performers Commercialize Data Through Insights Services discusses the new trends in data commercialization: who is buying, who is selling, and what offerings are available, from direct data sales to the delivery of data-derived insight services.

While some commercializers avail themselves of data markets such as Dawex or DataStreamX, many are creating more sophisticated data-derived products and services. They are becoming insights services providers, often as an incremental offering to their existing customers.  Some offer insights based on smart products and IoT analytics. Siemens Mobility, Boeing, and GM offer predictive maintenance for their planes, trains, and automobiles. In the agricultural products industry, companies such as Monsanto and DuPont offer services that prescribe when and what farmers should plant, when certain interventions, such as water or pesticide applications, are advisable, or when to harvest.

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Headcount Grows Again As The Hard Work Of Digital Transformation Kicks In

Martin Gill

Every year we run a staffing and hiring survey of what used to be “eBusiness” professionals. I say “used to” because increasingly we find that eBusiness teams have morphed into “Digital Business” teams. Why? Well teams are under an increasing set of pressures, including:

 

  • A mandate to drive strategic change throughout the organization. Seventy two percent of firms surveyed are executing on digital transformation, and that tables the topic of digital with the C-Suite. Digital business leaders now have more strategic responsibility and must wield stronger influence with their executive peers and leaders.
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CONSUMER MARKETING 2017 Guest Q&A with Danielle Lee of Spotify

Melissa Parrish

In 2016, we learned a lot about how complicated it is to gather and interpret data that will help brands uncover people's motivations, interests and behaviors. At Consumer Marketing in NYC next month, we'll be taking these topics head-on, trying to understand how far data can go to helping us understand and target the right people at the right time.

 

One of our guests who I'm most excited to hear from on this topic is Danielle Lee, Global VP, Partner Solutions at Spotify. I had a chance to chat with her about some of her thoughts around deterministic targeting and music-based insights. Here's what she had to say:

 

How do you define "people-based marketing" and why do you think it will become the gold-standard?

People-based marketing represents an industry shift from targeting devices to connecting with the right people at the right time, with the right message.  Rather than targeting ads to devices based on cookies, which is fraught with inadequacies, marketers can now reach people across the many devices they use, thanks to persistent identity.

The reason we’re so excited about it at Spotify, and the reason we think it will become the gold standard for marketing, is because it works. With people-based marketing, you have greater assurance that your message is reaching your known customer and driving measurable results.

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The Dawn Of The Multi-Billion Dollar Smartpet Market

James McQuivey

This is the post in which I make the seemingly crazy claim that the "next big thing" for Apple -- and for consumer tech -- will be smart pets. Don't say I didn't warn you. :)

Trying to predict what Apple will do next or what Apple should do next (these are two different things) has fueled some of my best work and most enjoyable after-work conversations. I'm not alone in this endeavor, of course. For the past few years -- ever since the Apple Watch came out -- clients, the press, and just people in my neighborhood ask me: "What's the next big thing for Apple?" There are several key candidates that often get proposed – many have suggested an Apple car though late developments make that less and less likely, others think a virtual reality headset is around the corner while I myself have suggested a voice-based personal assistant (Siri in your ear, as I have been known to call it). In none of those cases would Apple be introducing a market-changing product that leaps years beyond competitors, like the jump from Blackberry to iPhone was. Even Siri in your ear is already happening, the latest version that has captured my attention is the Vinci, currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo, a headphone and intelligent agent device which exactly fulfills my prediction of what Apple should have done with Beats but for some reason chose not so, at least so far. 

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