Understanding The Global Digital Marketing Landscape

Brandon Verblow

Welcome to my blog!

I joined Forrester earlier this year as an associate forecast analyst on the ForecastView team, focusing on digital marketing (DM) topics. The ForecastView team’s goal is to answer the questions “How much?” and “When?” To this end, we publish five-year forecasts that provide forward-looking, quantitative guidance around the key issues that our research analysts are discussing as well as the important trends that Forrester’s Technographics® survey data reveals. To learn how our forecasts can help you with your investment decisions, see our ForecastView overview.

On the DM forecast team, we evaluate various facets of the digital marketing space, including online display, online video, social media, paid search, email marketing, mobile advertising, and ad tech.

Our latest report, the Forrester Readiness Index: Digital Marketing, 2016, touches on many of these areas. In it, we quantify the digital marketing readiness of 55 countries across six continents based on data collected for 23 variables — ranging from display, search, and social ad spending to per-capita online traffic and video consumption to penetration rates for PC, smartphone, internet, and broadband usage to GDP growth, number of businesses, and the percentage of businesses selling online. It provides one of the most comprehensive and digestible evaluations of the global digital marketing landscape available in one place.

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Don’t Let That Social Post Pass You By

Jessica Liu

Social marketing often feels like running a race against an unlikely competitor: your own customers. In the social media world, consumer behaviors and technical functionality evolve so quickly that the minute you feel good about your social presence and perhaps have even pulled neck-and-neck with your customers’ social media behaviors, they surge ahead and leave you in the dust. What’s your technique to keep up with this superior runner in this course-shifting race? Do you have a methodical training approach before the big race or do you improvise after you push off from the starting block? Most runners will tell you that it’s preferable to be in the former camp and not the latter.

The pace of social technology change and the volume of short shelf-life content make social networks a real-time media channel. Yet, marketers have trouble managing social content at the speed that it demands. Unlike traditional media channels (TV, print, and even digital banner ads), “social media” and “we’ve got months to do this” are rarely uttered in the same breath. As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Processes chapter gives marketers a structure for managing social content in real-time and striking a balance between inbound inquiries and outbound messaging. Marketers ultimately need:

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Bringing Order To Chaos: Unraveling the Social Technology Web

Erna Alfred Liousas

Marketers have more choices then they really need when it comes to social marketing tools. Market fragmentation and consolidation, along with the internal organizational struggles we all face, make it a challenging time to be a marketer.

But don’t worry — we’re here to help! After analyzing the marketplace and interviewing 35 companies ranging from brands to agencies to vendors, my “Unraveling The Social Technology Web” report discusses:

  • The evolution of the social marketing technology landscape
  • Principles for determining if you truly need a particular technology
  • An overview of technologies that support specific social tactics across the customer life cycle

Our team will continue writing reports analyzing this space, so feel free to share the topics that interest you along with the challenges you face with social technologies.

Why Agency Culture Should Matter To Marketers

Sarah Sikowitz

Marketers often voice their frustration to me about the rate of turnover at their agencies.  It is hard to lose a great team member, but it’s more difficult to be left holding the bag for bringing someone new up to speed on the business. 

And this happens frequently. Agencies compete with each other, tech companies, startups and brands to attract and retain the best employees. Many use culture as a differentiator in the talent wars.  In fact, 77% of agencies we surveyed listed culture as a way to engage and retain employees.  Even with these efforts, agencies suffer from low employee morale and rising employee turnover. 

For this reason, it’s critical for marketers to pay attention to an agency’s efforts towards building and nurturing its culture.  Marketers that build this evaluation into the agency vetting process and look for a cultural fit will experience less turnover on accounts, higher quality work and a better relationship with their agency.

And agencies that connect leadership behavior, hiring efforts, employee engagement and new business efforts to culture will build working environments that attract and retain talent, while delivering superior client experience.

Read Ignore Your Agency's Culture At Your Own Risk to learn more and reach out to me if you’d like to learn more about how to integrate a culture assessment into your agency search or relationship.


Make Your Social Efforts Count With The POST Process

Erna Alfred Liousas

Marketers face continuous uphill battles when it comes to social media. Whether it’s an emerging social network, an algorithm change within an existing social network, or the technology that enables social across an enterprise, change is constant. And these changes don’t even account for behavioral changes among our prospects and customers. The situation will only become more challenging, so we urge marketers to embrace the POST process when developing marketing initiatives and to figure out where social can bolster your initiatives.   

POST — which stands for people, objectives, strategy, and technology — is a tried-and-true process to create relevant marketing initiatives. Don’t get lost in the chaos of constant changes in social media. Samantha Ngo and I have written a new report to reinforce the benefits of POST; it highlights how to think through the process and shares details and examples to help you develop social tactics that further your marketing efforts.  This report will help you:
  • Understand your customer’s view of social media before developing your marketing initiative
  • Define your marketing objective and its impact
  • Determine the best tactics to tie your audience and objective together
  • Find the right social technology to help you implement your cohesive strategy
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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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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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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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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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"Social Marketing" Strategies Are Holding You Back

Melissa Parrish

Social marketing is at a crossroads.

The explosive popularity of social media over the last decade led many B2C marketers to launch social programs, often without any strategy or even an understanding of what they hoped to accomplish. Since then, nearly all marketers have jumped on the social media bandwagon launching Instagram accounts and influencer programs, putting UGC on their websites, buying listening platforms and ads, and, yes, maintaining a Facebook page -- but many are struggling to articulate the value of all this “social.” What’s going wrong and where do marketers go from here?

In order for marketers to take back the reins on their social practices, they must realize two fundamental things:

First, that “social media” is not one single channel. It is a collection of technologies -- from social networks to blogs; ratings and reviews to full-blown communities; and everything in between -- that allow people to connect with each other, whether that’s friends connecting with friends, consumers connecting with brands, or employees connecting with each other.

And second, since it’s not a single channel that you can turn on and off with the flick of a switch, it’s not something for which you need a single dedicated strategy. Instead, you need a marketing strategy in which social tactics and technologies are employed and deployed where they’ll help you make the most progress toward your goals.

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