Twitter product pages are a mediocre idea, but a fantastic sign of progress

Nate Elliott

Twitter's had a busy few days. Last Thursday, the company opened up about Project Lightning, a new feature that'll make it easier for users to follow live events like the NHL Stanely Cup Finals. And Friday, Twitter announced two more new features: product pages and place pages will collect people's tweets about, well, products and places; and product and place collections will allow people to curate lists of their favorite products and places. 

It's fantastic to see Twitter innovating. These announcements mean the company has now launched more new features in the past nine days than it had in the previous nine years — and that'll be important if they're going to get back on track. And Project Lightning looks like a great idea. Twitter created an event-specific experience for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and credited that experiment with a boost in usage. Offering similar experiences for other events makes a lot of sense, and should bring more people to the site more often. 

But product-focused pages are unlikely to be the company's savior. According to our Forrester Technograhpics survey data, US online adults are more than four times more likely to research products on a search engine than on a product's social media page. And they're more than three times more likely to do research on a brand or manufacturer web site than on a product's social page.

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Join Our 2015 Global Mobile Executive Survey

Thomas Husson

For the past few years, Forrester has fielded a Global Mobile Executive Survey to understand and benchmark mobile initiatives. This year, my colleagues Julie Ask, Jennifer Wise and I are updating the survey again to help business executives and marketers benchmark and mature their mobile strategy and services.

Planning and organizing for the use of mobile technologies is a complex task. Integrating mobile as part of a broader corporate strategy is even more complex. However, some players are leading the way and working on infrastructure, staffing, and competencies that are hard to see unless you look closely. If you want to understand the role that mobile is playing in various organizations, what their objectives are, how they measure the success of their mobile initiatives, and a lot more, you just have to share with us your own perspective and we will aggregate the answers.

For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the survey results.

If you’re in charge of your company's mobile consumer initiative or if you’re familiar with it, then please take this survey.

Click HERE to start the questionnaire.

If you’re not familiar with your company’s mobile consumer approach, please forward this survey to the relevant colleagues who are in charge of defining or implementing your mobile consumer approach.

  • The survey takes less than 20 minutes to complete.
  • The survey will be live until September 7, 2015.
  • Responses will be kept strictly confidential and published only in an aggregated and anonymous manner.
  • Needless to say, we will filter responses and exclude irrelevant answers as well as answers from vendors, agencies, or consulting organizations.

Calling All Word of Mouth Vendors

Nate Elliott

Word of mouth isn’t just one of marketers’ favorite social tactics, it’s one of the most effective as well. But many word of mouth marketers still simply post content online and hope it'll spread — and this "post and pray" method rarely works. Forrester believes the real key to generating word of mouth is identifying people to speak on brands’ behalf and then motivating those advocates and influencers to action.

To help marketers create more successful word of mouth programs, Forrester is planning a Market Overview report that details which vendorsoffer Word of Mouth Platforms and what specific WOM technologies these vendors offer. Forrester defines Word of Mouth Platforms as “technologies that help brands identify customer advocates, employee advocates, and category influencers, and then activate those advocates and influencers to share messages on the brands’ behalf.”

If you’d like to be considered for this report, please email me at nelliott at forrester dot com, and we'll send you a questionnaire.

How To Borrow Mobile Moments To Engage Chinese Consumers

Xiaofeng Wang

When it comes to engaging Chinese mobile consumers, top digital-native apps like WeChat attract more attention than brand-owned ones. Smart marketers are starting to borrow mobile moments rather than create their own. So how can you pursue a similar strategy? My most recent brief, The Power Of Borrowed Mobile Moments, provides marketers with the guidance needed to successfully borrow mobile moments.

Forrester defines a mobile moment as a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what they want in their immediate context. Mobile moments are the key to winning the mobile battle, as they create an opportunity to transform consumers’ perception of a brand. For B2C marketers in China, the opportunity is great — the country is the world's largest smartphone market — but so is the challenge: Chinese consumers have extremely high expectations when it comes to mobile services.

Our research indicates that, of the different types of mobile moments, borrowed moments are the most essential to winning over Chinese consumers. There are a few reasons for this:

  • WeChat and a few mega-apps dominate consumers’ mobile moments. Metro Chinese consumers already spend more than half of their mobile Internet time on WeChat. A few other popular apps, such as Didi Dache and MeituPic, have attracted hundreds of millions of users and enjoy high daily usage.
  • “Owned” mobile moments are less likely to work in China. The country’s relatively slow mobile Internet speeds have shaped consumers’ preference for data-light apps and resistance to downloading and using individual brand apps.
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Build Trust Or Die

Thomas Husson

Trust is the most critical component to develop and maintain a healthy brand. Customers are more likely to trust experts, friends and relatives than marketing campaigns. That’s why it matters to deliver the experience you promise and to build a trusted community around your brand.

As marketers will need to use more personal data to power mobile and contextual experiences, we expect consumer distrust for brands to increase

No matter how quickly wearables and connected objects emerge in the next 10 years, mobility has already introduced a paradigm shift: the ability to collect and use data about individuals in the physical world. Mobility will change the nature of the data marketers can use and act upon. Data collected via mobile will be much more sensitive, more personal and more contextual. Via sensors on wearables or smartphones, marketers will access data on our bodies and our whereabouts in real-time. This represents a huge opportunity for marketers to power better marketing across all channels not just mobile. Mobile and connected objects will not only change the nature of the data marketers can access, it will also bring privacy concerns to the physical space and it risks breaking anonymization.

Together with my colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo, co-author of the report, we digged into our Technographics data to better understand consumers’ perceptions on mobile privacy. We also conducted many interviews to discuss with marketers, vendors, and regulators how they approach mobile data and privacy. Here below are a couple of facts we learnt:

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The Digital Command Center: The New Must-Have For CMOs

Clement Teo

CMOs today are increasingly asked to help their firms adapt to increasingly powerful customers. Those who fail to do this risk affecting their company’s long-term viability. To cope, CMOs must lead the transformation of their firm’s strategic planning process to an outside-in perspective focused on the customer. High-performing companies have learned that as customer behavior adapts, so must their business strategy — and have moved from a yearly strategy exercise to a continuous process with a focus on customer value and loyalty. To succeed, CMOs must effectively harness outside-in intelligence and simultaneously collaborate with key C-suite peers to build unified strategies and a shared business technology agenda to win, serve, and retain customers.

In our view, CMOs have a new weapon in their marketing arsenal to achieve this goal: the digital command center. Digital command centers are intelligent nerve centers that let brands quickly track digital moments and respond appropriately to manage their reputation, retarget display ads, drive new sales opportunities, and provide customer support. Beyond listening to social chatter on digital channels such as online forums and analyzing brand relevance, product discussions, and customer viewpoints, it also pulls in unstructured information that is rapidly shared with other departments in the company. For an increasing number of CMOs, such a center delivers actionable insights to improve market research, better support customers, and drive sales.

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Introducing The China Version Of Forrester's New Mobile Mind Shift Index

Xiaofeng Wang

Mobile expectations are high in the world’s largest smartphone market. However, marketers lag behind consumer mobile adoption in China and need to do a better job understanding trends in mobile behavior in order to develop effective mobile strategies. My most recent report, The New Mobile Mind Shift Index: China, introduces Forrester’s new Mobile Mind Shift Index (MMSI) to China.

MMSI is a tool to enable marketing leaders to determine how urgently they should provide mobile services and which features to include. It measures how far an individual has shifted in their approach to mobile across three components:

  • The Mobile Intensity Score determines if it is appropriate to connect with customers. This score, on a scale from zero to 100, indicates how intensely people use interactive mobile devices.
  • The Mobile Expectation Score determines the urgency to create mobile applications. This score, also on a scale from zero to 100, indicates what people expect from companies on their mobile devices.
  • Three Mobile Behavior Scores determine which types of features people are ready for. We calculate three behavioral scores, each on its own scale of zero to 100. The Communicate Score indicates participation in mobile communications behaviors like reading email and texting. The Consume Score measures behaviors like reading news and watching video. The Transact Score tracks behaviors like online buying and service.
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Q&A With Nigel Vaz, Senior Vice President & European Managing Director, SapientNitro

Luca Paderni

In less than one week, Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders (April 29-30) kicks off in London. In addition to industry thought leaders from the likes of adidas, BBC, Eurostar, and Royal Bank of Scotland, we will be hearing from Nigel Vaz, Senior Vice President & European Managing Director at SapientNitro. During the panel session, "The Future Of Agency and Brand Relationship," Nigel and fellow experts will be discussing the role of agencies in helping brands succeed in the age of the customer.

In the run-up to the forum, I caught up with Nigel to get his perspective on the key challenges and trends in the agency-brand relationship. Here's what he shared with me, and do join Nigel at the forum to get the full story.

Q: How do you see the age of the customer impacting your clients' businesses?

A: The emergence of a whole new consumer group with different behaviours, expectations, and requirements has been fascinating to watch. This group of digitally empowered consumers own multiple devices and are online frequently throughout the day from multiple physical locations. Essentially, the adoption and usage of technology is more advanced among these leading consumers than is the case at many companies which seek to serve them. They expect brands to meet them in those places and spaces at a time of their choosing and for the experience to be consistent, wherever the touchpoint may be.

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Our Forrester Wave On Social Relationship Platforms, And The Case For Social Automation

Nate Elliott

Today we released an update to our Forrester Wave™ on social relationship platforms. Forrester defines social relationship platforms as technologies that help marketers publish organic posts to social networks as well as monitor and respond to customer posts on social networks.

We identified the 11 most significant vendors in the category — Adobe, Expion, Falcon Social, Hootsuite, Oracle, Percolate, Salesforce, Shoutlet, Spredfast, Sprinklr, and Sprout Social— and researched them, analyzed them, and scored them on 41 criteria. Clients can find the full report, including some very detailed product reviews and scores, here.

One of the things we looked for in our evaluation was vendors’ ability to automate key SRP functions. We know — automation remains a dirty word in social media. No brand wants to repeat the automation-driven mistakes of Coca-Cola or Bank of America. But marketers say one of their top social challenges is hiring and training enough qualified staff. In this environment, the greatest value that social relationship platforms can offer their clients is lightening their workload.

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European Marketers Hone Their Programmatic Buying Skills To Prepare For Growth

Luca Paderni

 

This is a guest post by Samantha Merlivat, a researcher serving B2C Marketing Professionals.

Programmatic advertising is revolutionizing the way online display is traded. It is set for high growth in 2015 across all of Europe and is a top item on marketers’ list of tech to investigate this year. After an initial take-up limited to direct-response, brand marketers are showing growing interest in programmatic buying and dedicating larger budgets to programmatic display campaigns. They embrace the ability to leverage first-party data to reach customers online and understand that therein lays their competitive advantage in the world of online display.

At the same time, European publishers – eager to meet brand marketers’ demand for more targeted, automated deals – are increasing the amount of premium inventory available through exchanges, primarily through private marketplaces. “In Europe, we see inventory and programmatic deals that are becoming more premium – even more so than in the US at moment,” notes Jerome Underhill, vice president of services and operations EMEA at AppNexus. These trends will fuel the growth of online media advertising spend, which will continue to expand at an annual rate of 12% in Western Europe until 2019.

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