As Social Media Matures, Branded Communities Will Make A Comeback In 2015

Nate Elliott
Are you ready for social media in 2015? Today we published Predictions 2015: Social Media Grows Up. This report details our four key predictions for the coming year in social media — and lists the nine things every marketing leader should do to get the most from social media next year.
 
The reality is, social media isn’t changing at the pace it once did. Sure, social data breaches and increased government regulation will change the landscape next year — but don’t expect 2015 to be a year of social transfiguration. Instead, as the industry matures, you’ll have a chance to catch your breath and focus on a few really important social initiatives. 
 
My favorite prediction from the report? That as social media matures, branded communities will make a comeback. It makes sense: Marketing leaders report they’re significantly less satisfied with Facebook and Twitter marketing than with branded forums. But nearly twice as many marketers run Twitter and Facebook accounts as host their own communities. It’s time for marketers to focus their efforts on the social tactics that actually work. Plus, brand-hosted forums can help you all the way across the customer life cycle:
 
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Marketers Will Use Customer Context To Supercharge Digital Engagement In 2015

Carlton Doty
In 2014, Forrester outlined a new approach to marketing that requires brands to harness customer context to deliver self-perpetuating cycles of real-time, two-way, insight-driven interactions.  In 2015, we’ll see more marketers obsess over customers’ context. As more interaction data floods customer databases and marketing automation systems, customer-obsessed marketing leaders will strive to orchestrate brand experiences that drive unprecedented levels of engagement. For example, we predict that:
 
  • Digital marketing investments will drive brand experiences across the customer life cycle. By the end of 2015, spend on digital marketing will top $67 billion — growing to 27% of all ad spend. In fact, we believe this will surpass TV spend by 2016; there’s more to the story than ad spend. We believe marketers will branch out of expected digital media buys to stimulate more insight-driven interactions with customers throughout the entire customer life cycle. Supported by new streams of situational customer data and powered by the ability to precisely target audiences with programmatic media buying, marketers will deliver highly engaging brand experiences rather than just feed the top of the funnel.
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US Digital Marketing Will Pass TV In Two Years, Topping $100B By 2019

Shar VanBoskirk

I am happy to announce the latest release of Forrester's five-year digital marketing forecast, a data-rich tool for budgeting, benchmarking, and identifying key trends to watch as you set your 2015 strategic plan. What you need to know:

  • US Digital marketing spend will top $100 billion in five years. Just think about how big that is. By 2019 in the United States, digital will be almost twice as large as it is now. It will be about $13 billion more than television advertising, and it will count for 35% of all advertising spend.
  • Growth is healthy but not runaway. We expect a 12% CAGR between now and 2019, which is a healthy slope, especially when considering numbers of this magnitude. But it is worth noting that this growth isn't skyrocketing. Marketers 15 year look-back window allows them the experience and performance data they need to know when to invest in digital, but also when not to overspend.
  • Mobile marketing represents 66% of growth. This year, we included mobile as a deployment option (akin to desktop) for search, display, or social ad impressions. So you won't see it as its own line item in the forecast. But rest assured, increased use of mobile by consumers, growing familiarity with mobile advertising by marketers, improvements to ad formats, metrics and buying practices, and increasing mobile ad costs will make mobile count for $46 billion of our $100 billion bogie by 2019.
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Points And Coupons Are Key To Winning The Loyalty Battle Between Taxi-Hailing Apps

Xiaofeng Wang

Back in June, I published a blog post on the ongoing loyalty battle between taxi-hailing apps in China. Since launching their loyalty campaigns, Didi Dache and Kuaidi DaChe have expanded to more and more cities and are fiercely competing with each other with dueling rounds of promotions. Five months later, we have a winner — at least for now.

On November 5, Kuaidi announced that it had captured 60% of the taxi-hailing app market in China, overtaking former market leader Didi. Kuaidi hasn’t just won market share — it’s won the customer loyalty battle, which is more important. According to EnfoDesk, active Kuaidi users open the app 15.82 times on average, while active Didi users only do so 12.55 times.

How did Kuaidi manage to flip the game in just five months? Simply put, Kuaidi’s customer loyalty program works better. My previous post outlined the different approaches that Didi and Kuaidi took to engender customer loyalty: Kuaidi adopted a loyalty rewards program and provided points and coupons to loyal customers, whereas Didi leveraged the power of social to replicate the success of its Lucky Money campaign.

So why did Kuaidi’s points and coupons beat Didi’s lucky money in the race for customer loyalty?

  • Predictable rewards beat random rewards. Kuaidi users earn a certain number of points for each completed ride and can use these points to purchase coupons — so loyal Kuaidi users get rewards that are predictable and can be accumulated. In contrast, the amount of money that Didi users get from each lucky money reward package is completely random.
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Listen To This Mini-Podcast On Content Co-Marketing

Ryan Skinner

To bring a recent piece of research on content co-marketing to life, I created a mini-podcast (8 minutes) that includes excerpts from my interviews with marketing leaders. Give it a listen (if the Soundcloud player below doesn't show up or doesn't work for you, you can go straight to the Soundcloud page where it lives, here). Below I've included notes to the podcast, and a full transcript.

Podcast notes:

The full Target & Volkswagen branded video: http://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/vw-teams-funny-die-target-shopping-trip/295082/

The full Forrester report on branded content partnerships, or content co-marketing: https://www.forrester.com/Lift+Content+Marketing+Spending+Power+Through+Brand+Partnerships/quickscan/-/E-RES117539

Interviewees:
Nick Edouard - http://ca.linkedin.com/in/nickedouard
Claudia Hoeffner - http://www.linkedin.com/in/claudiahoeffner
Amanda Sibley - http://www.linkedin.com/in/asibley
Amanda Batista - http://www.linkedin.com/in/amandafbatista

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Mobile’s Untapped Value Is In Contextual Data

Thomas Husson

As the hub of our offline and online experiences, mobile interactions are a powerful catalyst for contextual marketing. The untapped opportunity in mobile for marketers will be to get an extremely granular understanding of their customers, then anticipate their expectations, and develop unique insights to power better marketing across all channels, not just mobile.

Few Marketers Make The Most Of The New Customer Data Gold Mine

Because smartphones are the hub of our offline and online experiences, they generate valuable insights for contextual data-driven marketing. However, the majority of marketers are not yet ready to exploit the convergence between mobile and big data.

Short Term: Engage Your Customers In Real Time In Their Mobile Moments

Harnessing and extracting actionable insights from this unprecedented wealth of customer data will enable marketers to serve customers in their mobile moments on a channel where they will increasingly spend the majority of their digital time.

Long Term: Power Better Marketing Initiatives Beyond The Mobile Channel

Mobile is more than simply another digital channel. Marketing leaders should combine mobile data with other sources of customer intelligence to get a deeper understanding of customers, anticipate their expectations, and act on these insights to improve all marketing initiatives.

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The State Of Mobile Technology For Marketers

Thomas Husson

Marketers are in love with the latest mobile “shiny object” – and with technology acronyms – NFC, AR, LTE, BLE, RWD, QR. What’s more, hype questions abound: Will beacons replace NFC? Do you believe in HTML5 or should we develop a native app? Should we build an app for Apple Watch? But most of the time, these questions are irrelevant.

The reality is, marketers are increasingly using a variety of mobile tactics and technologies – but this use is rarely sophisticated and more often than not, does not match customer behaviors.

Sophistication of consumers’ use of smartphones is climbing — without consumers even noticing it. Mobile is simply part of our daily lives and, therefore, fundamentally changes customer expectations. With mobile traffic exploding, marketers are not only underserving their best customers by delivering a poor mobile experience, but risk losing their business altogether.

It’s time for marketers to start asking questions like how their core audience is using mobile, the value that mobile is adding throughout the customer lifecycle, the experience they want to transform, and the marketing objectives they have, to name a few. And only then, begin to align the right technologies.

If you want to know more about the gap between consumers’ and marketers’ use of mobile technologies, you can download our updated State Of Mobile Technology For Marketers report.

Australian Financial Services Get Going To Improve Digital Customer Experience

Clement Teo

I had the pleasure of conducting a Digital Maturity Assessment workshop with a colleague from Forrester Consulting for about 20 companies in Sydney recently. The majority of participants were from the Australian financial sector, with heavier representation from marketing departments than technology management. While the session was an abridged one intended to discuss, understand, and determine where the participants were on their digital business journey, it was productive and revealed that:

  • Participants knew what to do with digital business transformation, but struggled with howParticipants had started on the digital transformation journey, but needed to address cultural and organizational gaps to fully drive transformation. These issues include who owns the digital transformation agenda (does it sit with the CIO or CMO?), how to bridge the communication chasm between the CIO’s department and the lines of business, and how to measure results to drive transformation in a positive direction.
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The Bundle Begins To Crumble

Jim Nail

The past week has been big for the TV business, and the once indivisible bundle of networks that come in pay-TV subscriptions has begun to unravel:

  • ESPN and the NBA hinted that they would launch a streaming service that viewers could subscribe to without a cable, satellite, or telco pay-TV subscription. 
  • HBO wasn't so subtle -- They flat out announced they will launch a standalone HBO Go subscription in 2015.
  • CBS announced a new All Access product, offering current season series not available on other streaming services, plus a library of past episodes and shows.
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New Streaming Service From ESPN And The NBA Rumored: No Cable Subscription Required

Jim Nail

This morning, the NBA and ESPN are announcing terms of the renewal of their licensing contract. The numbers are huge, but that's not what caught my eye.

Early reports say that ESPN will launch a streaming service for live games — and viewers won't need a cable or satellite subscription to view them.

This is the first crack in the structure of the television business that has been in place for decades, in which the programmers and MVPDs (multichannel video programming distributors, aka cable, satellite, and telco companies) have a strong co-dependence and why today viewers must authenticate their cable/satellite/telco subscription in order to stream programming from the TV-everywhere app or network app.

Will other networks and programmers follow suit? Will more consumers cut the cord if they can now get their live sports content online?

Stay tuned for more details . . .

Update 11:45 eastern time. 

I just watched the video of the press conference. Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, and John Skipper, president of ESPN, both mentioned the new OTT service, but there are scant details and a promise for more later. Mr. Skipper down played the potential impact on pay TV, stating that "the preponderance of the deal is to invest in new products that go on pay TV . . . "and saying ". . . there is no contradiction in continuing to enhance and buttress the current system while building new businesses and new ways to reach fans. We think they are complementary."

Turner President David Levy emphasized that they retained TV-everywhere rights as well as NBA's digital properties, including NBATV, NBA.com, and League Pass, a service that streams games not broadcast.  

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