Something Like Democratic Marketing

Ryan Skinner

Set against marketing messages, I would rather listen to my neighbor’s opinion of a product. A critic’s opinion. An expert’s. Any idiot with an Internet connection, in fact (according to our research, review content from complete strangers is more trustworthy than messages from brands).

The payload of this realization – that marketers’ messages are overinvested in by a million percent and underdeliver by an equal value – strikes our marketing foundations, oh so softly. Thud. Pop. Distant thunder.

Simultaneously it’s never been easier for other people to write about our brands, to create breathtaking personal tributes to our products, to call out our worst policies, and even to slander us. The crowds have snatched the megaphone and they won’t give it back.

These are two factors in a big equation that we’re still only beginning to calculate.

So far, we’ve dealt with these changes pragmatically and conservatively.

Community management is a perfect example of the pragmatic response. Community management is just a series of tribal agreements about playing rules. The brand will not allow threads that include the word “shit”. The brand will retweet only tweets from registered users. The brand answers requests within one hour between 9 AM and 9 PM EST. The brand will blog politely about its topic.

The marketing fortress has collapsed, the mobs are baying for blood, and the sop you throw this change is to play nice? This is what I’d call the Marie Antoinette response.

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Five Global Marketplaces All Brands Must Know

Zia Daniell Wigder

Global online expansion is not the same game it was just a few years ago. Today companies are taking a multi-pronged approach to international expansion and looking at a variety of different ways to tap into online shoppers in different markets. One approach that has been gaining momentum is the use of global marketplaces.

Traditionally dominated by small- and medium-sized businesses, online marketplaces have been extending their offerings for global brand owners. Brands today have a growing number of options to build out enhanced official storefronts on these global marketplaces, reaching hundreds of millions of online shoppers in the process.

Our report published this morning on Five Global Marketplaces All Brands Must Know (client access required) focuses on the opportunities and challenges of selling through global marketplaces. In the report, we profile:

Amazon. The giant of US online retail offers brands more than just a point of entry into the US market – brand store options are available in all 10 markets in North America, Europe and Asia in which the company operates marketplaces.

eBay. eBay's global offerings are growing rapidly: Current marketplace options for brands in countries such as the US, the UK and Australia being supplemented with new offerings in emerging eCommerce markets. The company has taken innovative steps to tap into the cross-border online shopper. 

MercadoLibre. This long-time leader in Latin American eCommerce has rolled out enhanced brand store options over the past year, opening up opportunities for brands looking to tap into the millions of new consumers starting to shop online in the region every year.

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Ideation and the Art of Conversation

This past Friday I had one of the most enjoyable meetings of my professional life.  I had initially been worried about this particular meeting.  After spending 3 nights in Switzerland, I travelled back to the UK, spent 2.5 hours at Heathrow and then caught a flight to Finland, arriving well after midnight.  Knowing that I would only have a few hours’ sleep in Helsinki before heading 100 km north to Lahti for the meeting, I was concerned that travel and tiredness might take their toll.

I needn’t have worried.  Several participants had enjoyed a late night at Lahti’s famous summer retreat, and they were pleased I had made the extra effort to join them.  As we drove up to the log cabin in the woods, I was reminded of my 4-H camping days back in West Virginia.  Though I had spent childhood summers barefoot, I was surprised when asked to remove my shoes for a business meeting.  But, when in Finland… So we added our shoes to the 9 or 10 pairs already by the front door and joined the others in a family-style sitting room.

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Plan, Don't Hope, For Lead-to-Revenue Benefits

Lori Wizdo

Marketing execs forecast a great number of top and bottom line results in order to get the budget to automate the lead-to-revenue process, fuel content marketing, and drive the marketing flywheel for lead production. Unfortunately, benefits don’t always happen according to plan.  In fact, they don’t always happen.   This leaves marketing leaders in a risky situation — no safety net, no assurances, and no soft landing — when it comes to accounting for the return on all that investment. 

That’s the problem I set out to address in the most recent document in Forrester’s Playbook on Lead to Revenue Management.  The report "Plan, Don't Hope, For Lead-To-Revenue Benefits"  (subscription required) gives marketers a framework -- and offers three actionable tools — that can be used together to jumpstart and sustain a benefits realization discipline in your marketing organization:

  1. The L2RM benefits results chain identifies the relationship between benefits. The L2RM results chain make it easy to see the causal relationship between benefits at the tactical execution level (e.g. improve campaign performance) the strategic level (e.g. increase marketing contribution to pipeline) and the business level (e.g. increase profitable revenue). Using a results chain to model your L2RM benefits can take some time, but the end result is an artifact that makes the link between new L2RM initiatives and benefits incandescently clear.
     
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Customer Experience Q&A With John Maeda, Design Demigod

Harley Manning

Okay, maybe “demigod” is a little over the top. But maybe not.

John Maeda is both design partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and chair of the eBay Design Advisory Board, where he collaborates with design leaders across eBay to disseminate design thinking. But that’s just what he’s doing now. He previously served as the president of Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and before that, he was a professor and head of research at the MIT Media Lab.

Now where I come from (Cambridge, Massachusetts, these days), RISD and the Media Lab are synonymous with innovative thinking. But eBay already changed the way about 145 million people shop — most people would say that’s already pretty innovative. So how do you improve innovation by disseminating design thinking at eBay?

We wanted to hear John’s thoughts on that topic — and others — so we invited him to speak at Forrester’s Forum For Customer Experience Professionals East, 2014. Attendees can hear him talk on Wednesday, June 25th, at the Hilton New York.

In advance of John’s talk, he was kind enough to answer some of our questions about what he’s been doing and why. I hope you enjoy John’s responses, and I look forward to seeing many of you in New York on June 24th and 25th!

Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?

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Make the Case for Cross-Channel Attribution

Tina Moffett

By now, we know that attribution is essentially the answer to many marketers’ prayers: more accurate performance metrics, better cross channel insights, and a more informed marketing spend.  While the benefits to attribution are clear,  many CI pros and marketers still need to make the case for attribution.  They need funding, and support from their executives.  In light of this aversion to investing in attribution, the recent business case report, Measure the Impact of Cross-Channel Attribution, will help CI pros build the business case you need to convince executives that implementing cross-channel attribution is definitely worth the time, effort, and money.  As you follow our guide to building the business case, you will cover all necessary bases by laying out the costs and benefits of attribution, while also planning for any possible risks you may run into along the way.

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The Ongoing Loyalty Battle Between Taxi-Hailing Apps In China

Xiaofeng Wang

Taxi-hailing apps like US-based Uber and UK-based Hailo are gaining momentum globally. As with other segments of the Internet industry, the taxi-hailing app market in China is also mainly about local players. After rounds of fierce price battles earlier this year, two players — Didi Dache and Kuaidi Dache — continue to dominate the market and leave no room for smaller competitors and newcomers. This battle wasn’t just between two niche apps; it was also a struggle between two Internet giants’ mobile payment services: Tencent’s WeChat Payment (for Didi) and Alibaba’s Alipay (for Kuaidi).

Price wars may be an effective way to acquire new customers. For example, Didi went from 22 million to 100 million users in just 77 days by spending RMB 1.4 billion (about US$225 million). That’s less than $3 per new customer. However, it’s a poor strategy to gain customer loyalty. For months, users have switched back and forth between apps simply because of slim (and temporary) price differences. Only recently have Didi and Kuaidi begun to take different approaches to engendering customer loyalty:

  • Kuaidi adopted a loyalty rewards program in cooperation with marketers and eCommerce platforms. Based on the number of rides they complete in a given quarter, Kuaidi divides customers into five loyalty categories: Normal, Silver, Gold, Diamond, and Ultimate. Customers earn different numbers of points for each completed transaction, depending on their level. They can use these points to purchase coupons — either Kuaidi Coupons, good for a discount on their next taxi fare, or other coupons provided by marketers and eCommerce platforms such as benlai.com.
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Do You Have The Right Roles On Your Marketing Team To Prosper In The Age Of The Customer?

Sheryl Pattek

It’s NBA finals time, and for the fourth year in a row, my Miami Heat are playing for the championship. While the big three (James, Wade, and Bosh) are extremely talented, it takes more than just the talent of these superstars to deliver the third championship in a row. To cement the Heat’s legacy and put the team in the position to claim another title as the best ever, the Heat has surrounded the big three with the right roles, staffed with the right role players. These role players on the Miami Heat know what’s expected of them and recognize the vital part they play in the Heat’s success. It’s Ray Allen hitting a 3 when he’s called upon or Birdman blocking a critical shot to keep Miami’s lead. Each member of the Miami Heat understands that while the big-three superstars may ultimately make the difference, it’s really the way the entire system works together that propels the team to victory time and time again.

And while this may surprise you, for your marketing team, it’s no different. Without a doubt, you have your superstars that go the extra mile to rev up your marketing engine. But do you have the right role players to help your marketing operating system work well as a unit? Do they know what’s expected of them? Do you know what role players you need and what to look for when you hire them?

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With iOS 8, Apple Increases The Value Of Its Ecosystem But Only Marginally Improves App Marketing

Thomas Husson

My colleague Ted Schadler explained here how Apple's iOS 8 focuses on developers building new mobile moments.

Once again, Apple increases the value of its ecosystem and will create more stickiness and loyalty by enabling developers and marketers to build new app experiences. The first building block to tap into the new opportunities that wearables and connected objects are opening up is to create a service ecosystem. That’s the reason we haven't heard any product announcements yesterday.    

From a marketing standpoint, Apple introduced some new App Store features for developers, like app previews and app bundles. Marketers will be able to let users buy multiple games or apps at once and for a discounted price. App listings can now include feature video demonstrations to showcase the value of your app. The new “Explore” tab - including the trending topics and the vertical scrolling - will also facilitate app discovery.

However, in comparison with the great iOS differentiated innovations announced to create new app experiences (e.g., HealthKit, HomeKit, Swift, TouchID, and open APIs), Apple mostly implemented incremental changes to its App Store marketing. Most marketers sill complain about Apple’s black box and the lack of transparency about Apple App Store’s ranking algorithm and ratings and review systems.

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You Assumed Wrong: Data Remakes Customer Experiences

Tony Costa

As Marshall McLuhan once said, “Most of our assumptions have outlived their uselessness.” This has never been truer than now, and we have customer data to thank for it.

While data has always played a role in experience design, the digitization of customer experiences — both online and in physical environments — has greatly expanded the depth and breadth of customer data available. As a result, the way CX pros use data is undergoing a significant change. Rather than be passive recipients of data reports, CX pros are becoming active data miners and explorers.

The effect of this exploration is that CX pros, empowered with data that they now have direct access to, are challenging long-held orthodoxy, assumptions, and conventions. Consider the following:

  • CNN tunes its coverage to consumers' tastes . . . to the displeasure of critics. While critics may heap scorn on CNN for its extended coverage of Malaysia Airline Flight 370, the numbers tell a different story. After crunching the data, CNN concluded that viewers were not tiring of MH370 coverage. In fact, the analysis indicated that viewers wanted more of it. This led CNN to extend the coverage well beyond what CNN producers (and other network producers) intuitively assign to such an event. The call paid off as consumers continued to tune in, helping CNN boost its viewership.
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