The Trust Crisis in Advertising

Jim Nail

Facebook's admission that their video viewing numbers have been inflated for two years is one more shoe dropping in an ongoing breakdown of the relationships between advertisers, agencies and media companies in the advertising ecosystem. Coming after the ANA's work on transparency, and the unresolved issue of fraud in the programmatic ecosystem, this points to a larger, more fundamental problem in the advertising industry.

I won't try to diagnose them all (my colleague Sarah Sikowitz did a good job on the agency transparency issue on her blog). And I won't even go into the fact that the agencies didn't challenge these bogus counts. 

But I have a word of advice for the digital industry: stop obsessing over bits and pixels and clicks (Oh My!). I've been in digital for 20 years and by now the industry should have learned that no matter how readily available this data is, it is meaningless relative to what advertisers really want to know: is my message getting through and having an impact? I may sound old fashioned, but in contrast to these irrelevant, spurious, and potentially inflated data, I'll take a good-old exposed/unexposed ad communication/awareness/attribute association/purchase intent lift survey any day.

True, I give up the individual-level data the digital prides itself on. But if the data is this weak and subject to manipulation, it is at best an inaccurate view of ad performance and likely to be downright misleading.

Read more

A Closer Look at the Monetary Value of Emotion

Victor Milligan

Human beings are emotional. The chemical reactions that trigger emotions determine our feelings toward a brand and our likelihood to spend. This fundamental, primal relationship is baked into how humans operate; however, it is not yet baked into how most companies operate.

Initial CX efforts gave us better insights into customer journeys across digital, physical, and human touchpoints. That opened a window into what causes emotional responses and provided an early warning system for emotions that provoke actions. But we’ve only begun to uncover the profound relationship between emotion and revenue. For example:

  • In the hotel industry, among customers who felt valued, 90% will advocate for the brand, 67% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and 87% plan to stay with the brand, per Forrester’s Customer Experience (CX) Index.
  • According to CX Index data, the TV service provider industry had the largest percentage of customers who felt annoyed compared with any other industry in our study. The result is that just 8% will advocate for the brand, only 13% plan to increase their spending with the brand, and barely 15% plan to stay with the brand.
  • Users can abandon digital sites and purchase paths within 50 milliseconds if the experience does not meet their (ever-increasing) expectations.
Read more

Asking The Right Questions: A Socratic Approach To Sales Enablement Automation

Steven Wright

 “The answers you get depend on the questions you ask.” 
― Thomas S. Kuhn

The Socratic method proposes that you can learn much by asking questions to test the logic of various facts and beliefs to stimulate critical thinking. Forrester's 30-minute inquiries often become a miniature version of the Socratic approach, usually with the client having an initial set of questions and the analyst then having a few questions in return to clarify the topic.

“To be able to ask a question clearly is two-thirds of the way to getting it answered.” 
― John Ruskin

After 11 months, I have engaged in dozens of inquiries with customers from many industries — all of them asking about sales enablement automation (SEA). Questions range from what technology to use to how to organize and support it, among other areas. As you'd expect, certain questions come up more than others. My latest report, “Brief: Six Sales Enablement FAQs — And Three More That Should Be On Your List,” presents the most common questions (and answers), which — I hope — stimulate some critical thinking about how B2B marketers can use SEA to sell better and more.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” 
― Attributed to Voltaire

It’s worth looking at the first six questions and determining how you would answer them for your own organization:

  1. What should SEA include?
  2. What are the benefits of SEA?
  3. Who should be responsible?
  4. Who else should be involved in SEA projects?
  5. What are other companies doing successfully?
Read more

Account-Based Marketing (ABM): Let’s Move From Cacophony To Euphony

Peter O'Neill

In the spring of 2015, we began to hear a curious cacophony around ABM. ABM stands for “account-based marketing,” a marketing concept that’s been around for decades. All of a sudden, it was being used in reams of promotional copy distributed by marketing consultancies, data service providers, and software automation vendors alike.

Marketing-led prophesies can sometimes be self-fulfilling. So now, B2B marketers everywhere are busy researching, launching, and conducting ABM initiatives — ostensibly to engage prospects at target accounts with personalized messaging, content, and offers. And as a growing number of product vendors, service providers, and event organizers enter this gold rush, B2B marketers are in danger of falling for the “fool’s gold” of unrealistic revenue windfalls and investment returns.

It is time to take stock and sieve this topic more effectively. The musicians among us would prefer to hear more harmony than discord. But the truth is that ABM means different things to different people; our recent survey of 120 B2B marketers on their strategies and tactics shows that:

“73% agreed that ABM is a term that lacks specific meaning and is used inconsistently today.”

The same survey showed that four out of five found ABM effectiveness falls short of their expectations.  So much for 18 months of marketing spend by all those vendors! 

Forrester’s research, in comparison, can be somewhat boring: We have long been talking about the age of the customer, the need for customer obsession, and post-digital marketing — and, of course, we tell our B2B marketing clients that customer obsession should be account-based if that aligns with their business strategy.

We do not make markets; we observe and provide insights about them, so we have been quiet on ABM in that respect.  

Read more

Voodoo Branding

Dipanjan Chatterjee

"A Contemporary Version Of Witchcraft"

Wally Ollins, of Wolf Ollins fame and a legend of sorts in the branding world, didn’t look too kindly upon brand measurement. "There are too many people," he said "... who are fed the rubbish that if you can't analyze it - if you can't chew it up into numbers - it doesn't exist." Not one to mince words, he continued, "I deeply reject all that and find it to be a contemporary version of witchcraft." It's hard to argue with Wally; somewhere along the way doctrine and data have dulled the notion that brand is, to quote JetBlue's CEO, "the way we feel." 

The Inevitability Of Measurement

David Aaker is a legend of sorts as well in the branding world, and a lot of his work centers on brand equity. David writes of brand as an asset. And as an asset, it is must withstand financial scrutiny and ROI justification. CMOs may know it in their hearts, but CEOs and CFOs must see it on paper. That leaves us with the unenviable task of calculating the incalculable. Many have rushed forward to meet this challenge. I describe various measurement techniques in detail in my new report for Forrester clients: Branding Never Sleeps; a brief summary appears below.

Four Measurement Streams

  • The nitty gritty of brand performance is relatively easy to measure using survey, operational, and transactional data
  • Near-real time brand sentiment can be captured by social listening, although skewed samples and lack of established frameworks muddy the water
  • Perception can be surveyed, but traditional ask-and-tell tracking of emotions is fraught with problems; neuromarketing offers some emerging and exciting avenues 
Read more

The Future Of Messaging Apps

Thomas Husson

Two years ago, Forrester made the claim that mobile was the new face of social. With more than 3 billion users worldwide, messaging apps demonstrated one of the fastest-growing online behaviors and passed social networks. The reach of these apps is huge, which presents a strong relationship promise for marketers.

From Line’s IPO to WhatsApp’s new privacy policy via Snapchat’s latest offerings or Facebook Messenger’s bots, messaging apps make the headlines. Together with my colleagues Xiaofeng Wang and James L. McQuivey, we have digged into this consumer phenomenon to better understand the opportunities it will unlock for marketers in the coming years. We expect messaging apps to play a key role throughout the customer life cycle but more specifically to enable brands to deepen conversations with their customers during the retention phases. Why? Because messaging apps combine the three keys to powerful relationships in any digital environment: frequency of use, emotional connection, and convenience.

Read more

Marketers, Let's Talk: Pinterest Is Not A Social Network

Jessica Liu

We’ll let you in on a little secret: Pinterest isn’t what you think it is. When Pinterest emerged, it was immediately labeled as a social network alongside Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, and even the ill-fated Google+. Why? Because we as humans like to categorize things and also because Pinterest shares a few key features with social networks, such as user authentication and the ability to create, post, like, and share content. This led marketers to believe that they needed yet another always-on brand presence on Pinterest and dedicated social budget to engage with customers on an ongoing basis. 

The reality is that Pinterest is not a place for customers to engage with brands like they do on other social networks. Rather, Pinterest is better suited for discovery and for helping consumers find information, ideas, products, and services. Marketers know to go to Google to increase their brands' visibility and awareness but don't think about Pinterest in the same way —  and that's a mistake. Don't get us wrong; we're not saying that Pinterest is the next Google. But Pinterest is taking steps that make it more Google-like with its intent-based search and auctioned-based ad pricing, all while maintaining vestiges of a social network.

To learn how marketers can take advantage of Pinterest as a discovery tool, read Collin Collburn's and my full report here.

Forrester’s First B2B Marketing Forum Is Also Our Sixth Sales Enablement Forum

Peter O'Neill

We are getting ever-closer to our first Forrester Forum for B2B marketing professionals. It is great to see so many of you registered for the event, and I look forward to seeing you in Miami. While Forrester does have another Forum for marketers, which is held in New York each spring and in which we cover some B2B topics, Miami is the one where we focus only on your needs. Why? Because B2B marketing is different!

Of course, as the research director for the role that meets your needs, I get asked that question a lot — both within Forrester and by clients (especially the ones who want to sell to you). “How is it different?” Well, here’s some key data to illustrate that difference.

Take a look at the go-to-market spending of consumer companies: They have a rough ratio of 10:1 – 10 times as much is spent on marketing as on their sales force. Let’s compare that to the numbers we collected in a recent survey of B2B marketers (see below).  Statistically, another way of saying this is that, on average, B2B firms spend eight times (7.9 to be exact) as much on sales as on marketing. That is why, for the past five years, this event was called the Sales Enablement Forum.

Sales enablement is a fundamental part of all things that B2B marketers do: collecting customer insights; doing content management; managing leads. Where would account-based marketing be without sales enablement processes? As such, this Forum is full of sales enablement topics:

  • Most of the presentations at the Forum will include sales enablement elements.
  • Day 2’s keynote sessions focus on transforming the B2B sales force.
Read more

Washington Still Fails At CX: Insights From The US Federal CX Index, 2016

Rick Parrish

The White House requires federal agencies to provide customer experiences that match the best of the private sector's. Yet despite another year of intense focus the federal customer experience remains overwhelmingly weak and uneven.

The 15 US federal agencies and programs that we rated in this year’s US Federal Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) earned an average score of 58, which is near the bottom of the poor category and well below the private-sector average of 70 (see Figure 1). Two-thirds of federal scores stayed flat from 2015 to 2016; even several agencies that worked hard on CX failed to improve.

 

 

The situation looks even bleaker when we compare it with the customer experience at the 300-plus companies in 20 private-sector industries in the complete US CX Index. Our results show that Washington has:

  • Scores that are mostly poor or very poor. Three-fourths of federal agencies had scores that fell into the lowest two categories of the CX Index (see Figure 2). That's in sharp contrast to the private sector, where only 19% of brands were rated poor and just 1% of brands were rated very poor.
  • A near monopoly on the worst experiences. Five out of the eight organizations in the very poor category — and six of the worst 10 in the entire US CX Index — were federal agencies. Only internet service providers, TV service providers, and airlines came close to matching this level of underperformance.
Read more

The China Customer Experience Index For 2016: Chinese Firms Have Upped Their CX Game

Riccardo Pasto

The 2016 China Customer Experience Index report, which I co-authored with Asia Pacific CX team principal analyst Ryan Hart, went live last Thursday at Forrester’s CX Marketing Shanghai 2016 forum.

The report is based on Forrester’s CX Index™ methodology, which measures how successfully a company delivers a customer experience (CX) that create and sustain loyalty — as increases in customer loyalty tend to drive business growth. We use this methodology to create an annual benchmark of CX quality at large brands operating in the Chinese market. This year, we saw that several brands in the China CX Index have moved from the OK range to the good range.

 

 

We see notable improvement across the board:

  • All five industries rose. The overall CX Index scores for all five of the industries surveyed this year improved over last year, with 21 brands receiving significantly higher CX Index scores. No brand in China has yet made it into the excellent CX category — but there were no laggards bringing up the rear in the poor category, either. Overall, 5% of companies with poor CX Index scores in 2015 improved to OK; more importantly, 16% of historically mediocre companies improved their CX from just OK to good.
Read more