Will Dentsu Seize The Opportunity With Merkle?

Sarah Sikowitz

This post is co-authored by Shar VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester

On Monday, holding company Dentsu Aegis announced that it acquired a majority stake in Merkle, which is known for its CRM, data, and digital marketing capabilities. Logistically, this acquisition allows Merkle to increase its international presence, while beefing up Dentsu’s US coverage and allowing it to diversify outside of Japan. This acquisition is also important because Merkle was one of the last large independent agencies, which leaves slim pickings for marketers hoping to work with an agency not subject to holding-company rule (read: less autonomy, less entrepreneurial). 

Dentsu Aegis is not unique in its acquisition of a data/CRM agency. All of the other holding companies have them too (WPP has Wunderman, Publicis has Rosetta [now Razorfish Global], IPG has The Hacker Agency, Omnicom has Rapp and Targetbase). This is because “customer relationship management” has broadened beyond direct mail and email marketing to include loyalty initiatives, ownership experiences, data strategy/modeling and technology integration — critical data and insights solutions for holding companies to provide to their clients. 

With reported 2015 revenue at $436 million, Merkle will be Dentsu’s fourth-largest agency, behind Dentsu (the agency), Carat, and Isobar. With this move, we think that Dentsu’s should make CRM and data-driven marketing the centerpiece of its agency strategy — not just an additional services offering. 

This is a smart move, given that:

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Passing the Lead And Dropping The Ball: B2B Marketers And Sales Operations Need To Play Well Together

Steven Wright

It’s tempting to think that with all the power of automation for marketing, sales enablement and a multitude of sales processes that marketing and sales work together smoothly.  The vision is one of a well-oiled machine generating leads, qualifying opportunities, and winning deals.

The reality is somewhat different. While marketing and sales have moved closer together, there are still significant gaps in understanding between the two. For B2B marketers, the challenge is to better understand how Sales Operations, as a set of processes more than technology, drives sellers behavior.

In my newest brief, “Mind The Gap: What Marketers Need To Know About Sale Operations,” I take a closer look at what unites and divides marketing and sales. Starting with Forrester’s Q2 2016 International B2B Marketing Strategies and Tactics Online Survey and incorporating input from dozens of inquiries and interviews, it’s clear that marketers need to make an effort to better understand what happens after the lead has been passed:

  • Process and organization trump technology – Once a lead is accepted by sales, a whole new set of qualification actions take place, often based on concerns of territory and account planning not visible to marketing.
  • Compensation, configuration and contracts correlate to closing: Sellers, and Sales Operations, use a different lens to determine the quality of an opportunity, driven by considerations of how the seller gets paid, what product configurations help drive compensation, and how contracts are negotiated.
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Start Making Sense: The 17 Most Important Technologies For B2B Marketers

Steven Casey

We've all seen the ubiquitous martech slides: Thousands of company logos crammed into a single graphic that is both useless and illuminating. Useless as any sort of planning or evaluation tool — but also illuminating because it shows what we all know to be true from first-hand experience: The B2B marketing tech landscape is confusing and getting worse every day.

To help B2B marketers make smart technology choices in the midst of such chaos, Forrester has just published the TechRadar™: B2B Marketing Technologies, Q3 2016. In this report, we evaluate the current state and future potential of the business value provided by 17 distinct technology categories, after surveying dozens of vendors and end users and consulting with the entire roster of analysts on the Forrester B2B marketing team.

In surveying the B2B marketing technology landscape, we uncovered a few noteworthy trends:

  • The technologies that drive customer acquisition and retention are thriving.
  • Social has become a tactic for all functions, but ROI is proving elusive.
  • Early adopters see long-term potential in sales optimization.
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Justify Social Spend With A Business Case For Marketing And Beyond

Samantha Ngo

It was social’s time, and the living was easy. For years, B2C marketers told us that they didn’t need to make a business case for their social investments because budgets were easy to come by; social was rapidly growing and brands clamored to be present on social networks. But a decade later, executive teams are demanding proof of social ROI. In fact, Forrester received 132 inquiries on the topic of measuring social’s success in the past year alone. Have your answers at the ready. Use a business case to proactively address management’s concerns by mapping how social technologies will usher value into your enterprise. To succeed:

  • Follow the POST process. You can’t build a business case without first understanding what social tactics will benefit the business. Complete the POST (people, objectives, strategy, and technology) process to determine your strategy and what it will add to your marketing goals. 
  • Outline the costs for the investment. Clients often assume their current organization can absorb social marketing’s investment but are then surprised by costs associated with time from internal teams (like legal and customer service) and agencies who need to contribute strategic thinking, process alignment, and content creation, as well as costs for the technologies that support social efforts.
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Get Ready For The B2B Marketing Forum In October

Peter O'Neill

"At my mid-year marketing summit, when I was pontificating on our transformation to customer obsession, I looked out at the sea of nodding heads and spotted my direct reports each mentally stepping up to the challenge of getting customer-obsessed in their product, industry, channel, and geographic silos. And I realized the problem was not vision, but strategy."

(CMO, global technology vendor)


We know you B2B marketing execs are not in denial. You get that 74% of business buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase — and that 59% of those same business buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep as their primary source of information. You need to transform from an inside-out (company, product service) perspective to an outside-in (customer, outcome, context) view. Like all transformations, this is brilliant in theory but daunting in practice.

Well, come to the Forrester B2B Marketing Forum on October 18 and 19 in Miami, Florida to learn how to do this.

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A Path Forward For Enterprise Marketing Technology

Joe Stanhope

I’m incredibly excited about this blog post!

First, this is my inaugural post since rejoining Forrester Research in May. I’m a boomerang in Forrester parlance — a former employee returning to the company — and it’s been wonderful to immerse myself in the marketing world and reconnect with so many clients, vendors, and colleagues. In the time since my first tour at Forrester, I’ve held several executive roles, spanning global marketing technology, adtech, and SaaS technology. One of the interesting aspects of being a boomerang is bringing my range of experiences back to Forrester, which I believe will make me a better analyst and resource for clients. I am partnering with my colleague Rusty Warner to cover enterprise marketing technology. It’s a big topic! By teaming up, Rusty and I are in a great position to maintain the Enterprise Marketing Technology playbook, extend coverage of marketing technology into new and expanded topics, and work closely with Forrester clients on a global basis. In particular, I’ll be focusing on the future state of marketing and advertising technologies.

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The US Customer Experience Index For 2016, Part 3: Emotion Holds The Key To CX-Fueled Loyalty

Roxana Strohmenger

Over the past two weeks, my colleagues Harley Manning and Rick Parrish have discussed the rising tide of CX quality, stagnation among top brands, and CX-fueled digital disruption in the results of our US 2016 Customer Experience Index™.

In this post, I’ll explore another big finding from our research: The way an experience makes customers feel has a bigger influence on their loyalty to a brand than the effectiveness or ease of the experience.

CX professionals often think that getting emotion right is simple: Make your customers happy, not angry. However, we find that anger and happiness do not have a very strong influence on customer loyalty. What does?

  • Making customers feel valued, appreciated, and confident drives loyalty. Consider the hotel industry, which had the largest percentage of customers that reported feeling “valued.” We found that 88% of these “valued” individuals will advocate for the hotel brand, and over three-quarters of them will keep their existing business with the company as well as enrich their relationship.
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Forrester Wave™ evaluation of the Customer Feedback Management market

Maxie Schmidt-Subramanian

I am pleased to announce that Forrester Research is commencing a Forrester Wave™ evaluation of the Customer Feedback Management market and collecting data for a separate VoC vendor landscape overview. I will lead the project and the expected publication date is March 2017. For more information about the Forrester Wave process, please read here.

CFM / VoC vendors support companies' enterprise-wide voice of the customer programs by helping a company with all or some of the following: solicit feedback from key customers across channels, centrally collect solicited and unsolicited feedback, analyze structured and unstructured feedback, distribute insights from customer feedback across the organization, close the loop with customers who have given feedback, act on the insights from the feedback, and monitor CX progress continuously. 

If you want to be considered for this research, we ask you to fill out a questionnaire. We will use it to determine which vendors to include in the full Forrester Customer Feedback Management WaveTM study and to gather data for a separate "Market Overview Voice Of Customer Vendors" report. 

We must receive your responses to our questionnaire by: August 19, 2016, 12 pm (noon) EST.   Please send completed surveys to sross@forrester.com. After evaluating the completed inclusion surveys, we will select several vendors to invite to participate in the in-depth Wave research. Note that not all vendors receiving this survey will be included in the Wave. We will notify you of your status after we have completed the vendor selection process.

Thank you and looking forward to hearing from you.

The Data Digest: Forrester's Social Technographics 2016

Gina Fleming

To build a successful social media program you need to understand your audience’s social media behaviors and preferences. We just released our 2016 results for Forrester's Social Technographics model, and it does just that. It shows how important social should be in your marketing plans based on how important social tools are in your customers’ life cycle. We group consumers into four groups: Social Skippers, Snackers, Savvies and Stars—the Skippers spurn commercial social interactions and the Stars demand it.

What did we find this year? In 2016, the average US online adult receives an overall score of 40 and fits into our Social Savvies category. Social Savvies consider social tools a part of their everyday lives. On average, US online adults score highly for explore and discover— they use social tools to discover new products and also to explore them when they’re considering their purchases. Compared to last year, US consumers are slightly more social media savvy in 2016: The Social Technographics Score for the average US online adult has increased from 37 in 2015 to 40 in 2016. 

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Who Am I Really Talking To On Social Media (And Do They Even Care)?

Jessica Liu

Don’t worry; you’re not the only one wondering.

Forrester’s POST methodology for social marketing success dictates four steps: 
1. People
2. Objective
3. Strategy
4. Technology

Often, marketers lead with T, but they need to start with P. The $64,000 question about People is not whether customers use social media, but rather if they want to engage with brands on social media at all, and if so, how. That’s right, the first and most important question is not whether your competitors are on social media or if the latest social network has the coolest ad format; it’s what your customers want from your brand. Marketers need to know this to guide how (or if) they add social to their overall marketing strategy.

As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Landscape chapter explains how Forrester’s latest Social Technographics® model helps marketers answer:

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