Ironic Discontinuity — Today’s Typical B2B Events Experience

Caroline Robertson

Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.

I was reminded of this trip after editing Laura Ramos’ newest report “Increase The Payoff For B2B Events With Digital Immersion” because the digital best practices that she writes about surprisingly parallel the most memorable attributes of my Longlines visit:

  • I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
  • It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
  • My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)
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Uber's Movement In The Right Direction

Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D.

Uber’s new initiative, Movement, is a step in the right direction. Facing criticism, the company decided to open its treasure trove of data to the cities in which it operates. Hidden in the anonymized ridership data are potential insights about the impact of major events, rush hour, lane closures or other factors on traffic flow and congestion.While the details remain to be seen, the website shows dashboards and data visualizations. Uber plans to build out the Movement platform, and will roll it out across cities and eventually to the public.

 

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There Are No "Right" Social KPIs

Jessica Liu

44% of marketers say they haven't been able to show the impact of social at all and another 36% say they have a good sense of the qualitative, but not quantitative, impact of social initiatives. Marketers feel stuck with engagement metrics that don't tell them anything about the business impact of their social programs. And, some fall victim to thinking there is an industry standard set of KPIs that will reveal their social impact in relation to other brands.  
 
The Forrester Social Marketing Playbook's Performance Management chapter guides marketers on how to measure social programs. To get a decent picture of your social programs' performance, measure three types:
 
  1. Business impact: Show social programs' deepest value. The hardest type of social measurement is also the most important. This is the quantitative view of your social efforts that matter most to executives. Start by measuring attribution to assign a proportion of revenue to social programs or measuring social's impact on brand health.   
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It's Time For B2B Brand Equity To Step Out Of The Shadows

Dipanjan Chatterjee

B2B brand management has come a long way from its roots in consumer packaged goods and has gradually branched out to play an equally central role in B2B markets. B2B CMOs are just as invested in bettering their brands as B2C. No longer relegated to industry rags and trade shows, B2B marketing is entering a new age, with firms like CA Technologies, General Electric, and IBM in the vanguard. At a Forrester event, General Electric CMO Linda Boff remarked that GE is often the first brand —not just the first B2B brand —on platforms like Pinterest, Snapchat, and Vine.

But are most B2B brands successful in following in the footsteps of these trail blazers? Forrester research with over 1,000 B2B and B2C decision-makers reveals mixed results. Here's the good news: B2B CMOs include Brand in their top three priorities and consider Brand Management to be the strongest skill set in the department. But here's where it gets ugly: 25% of B2B CMOs consider Brand Awareness an important marketing metric; only 15% believe Brand Equity is important.     

This chasm between awareness and equity, which also exists for B2C brands, can prove particularly vexing and stubborn for B2B because of some commonly held misconceptions:

  1. Brand matters more for B2C (a lingering notion despite being soundly dispelled)
  2. The role of brand (in a traditional sales-driven culture) is to drive awareness and fill the mouth of the funnel (the reality points to a vital role in securing choice and loyalty)
  3. Brand Equity is amorphous, eludes specification, and hence best avoided (there exist many robust quantitatively-specified equity models
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Missed Some Of Our Business Insights Research In 2016?

B2B Buyers Make The Case For Better Marketing And Sales Alignment

Mary Shea

 

Are your marketing and sales teams caught in that endless loop of finger pointing? B2B sellers who complain about lead quality/quantity and marketers who criticize sellers for poor follow up? After years of acknowledging their issues with each other, many B2B marketing and sales teams continue to be at odds. Just “google” marketing and sales relationships and see what you find. I did and I surfaced 98 million results! Titles such as: “The Rocky Road Between Sales and Marketing” and “How to Survive a Soured Sales and Marketing Relationship” show the dissonance and drama still very much in play.

Five years into the age of the customer and the modern B2B buyer has high expectations. They’re more knowledgeable, independent and self-directed than ever. They no longer rely on your sales people for product, pricing and other information. And they don’t want to be told what they already know. As I explore in our recently published report, B2B Buyers Mandate A New Charter For Marketing And Sales, the empowered B2B buyer is neither concerned with how your organization is structured and who’s responsible for the content on your website, nor are they interested in talking to a sales rep simply because they downloaded a white paper. Your buyers want contextual interactions with both human and digital assets across a holistic but non-linear journey. And, by in large, they want their experiences with sales people to be high value or frictionless. Think of a 2 or 5-star hotel experience – each has its merits - but 3 and 4-star hotels often disappoint.

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European consumers may be active on social networks – but does that mean they use social in their path to purchase?

Samantha Merlivat
To understand how open customers are to receiving messages from brands in social media, the question has to shift from “How social are our customers?” to “How social are our customers in their path to purchase?” 
 
Given the amount of time consumers spend on social networks, marketers intuitively know they need to be present on social media but many still struggle to pin point exactly:
 
  • Why they need a social presence - or rather, how they can be relevant on social media,
  • How much resources to invest in social media,
  • And where to invest these resources.
 
Forrester has developed the Social Technographics Framework to help marketers address exactly these questions. Using Forrester data to analyze the social behavior of various consumer groups and their inclination to use social touchpoints in their interactions with brands, the framework helps marketers determine:
 
  1. How important social media should be to their marketing plan
  2. When their audiences rely on social touchpoints in their customer journey 
  3. What social touchpoints their audiences use, and to what ends 
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The Data Digest: A Year Of Goodbyes (And Hellos)

Reineke Reitsma

As a music lover, this has been a year of goodbyes for me, with many of my teenage heroes like David Bowie, Prince, and earlier this week, George Michael, passing away. It makes you realize how fast time moves on, and nothing lasts forever. As I’ve shared before, I love this time of year: Thinking about what has been, and having a world of opportunities in front of us. And I can’t wait to see what next year will bring.

This year, there were a number of surprises and new developments that nobody predicted. And 2016 was the year of Pokémon. As my colleague Anjali Lai shared in an earlier blog post about this phenomenon: “The Pokémon Go phenomenon is not only about adopting technology or using new, cutting-edge features; it is also about designing a sticky experience that is enabled by the ways customers are changing.”

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Physical Spaces Find A New Purpose In A Digital World

Riccardo Pasto

China is set overtake the US as the largest retail market by the end of 2016, with retail sales approaching $4.9 trillion. In the Customer Experience Takes Center Stage In The Future Of Retail report, we outline the forces that are reshaping China's retail landscape and driving this massive growth. A handful of Chinese internet giants — Alibaba, JD.com, Baidu, and Tencent — are battling to gain dominance in online-to-offline (O2O) commerce and local services, logistics infrastructure and last-mile delivery, fresh food eCommerce, and cross-border eCommerce. Consumers in metro China have quickly grown more sophisticated, demanding consistent, high-quality interactions with brands. To further improve customer experiences and grow sustainably in China's retail market, successful retailers:

  • Fuse the online and offline worlds. O2O strategies draw customers from online channels to physical ones and vice versa. The ultimate goal is to blur channels and create seamless omnichannel CX. Customers don't think in terms of channels, and you shouldn't either. CX pros must work closely with enterprise architecture pros to break down data silos and build agility across systems, processes, and organizations in their company.
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Digital Insurance Success Demands New Metrics

Zhi-Ying Ng

Digital technologies are transforming the entire value chain of insurance, not only opening up new distribution opportunities, but also altering how insurers can assess, price, and manage risks, and creating new distribution and business models. At Forrester, we have done extensive research over the past year that involved speaking to incumbent insurers and insurance technology providers, as well as leveraging our consumer technographics data for our digital insurance strategy playbook. The playbook provides guidance that digital business strategy professionals need to formulate and hone their digital insurance strategy in the age of the customer.

We have recently published the executive overview, landscape, processes, assessment, and benchmark chapters.

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