Facebook Graph Search: Important But Boring

Nate Elliott

I followed along as Facebook made its 'big announcement' today, and found myself torn. I think that Facebook Graph Search is:

  1. Really important. It's important because it makes Facebook a more usable and useful site. Facebook's current on-site search tool is pretty terrible -- it's almost impossible to find the people you're looking for, or any content that was posted more than a few days ago. If Facebook can help you find stuff on its site more easily then that's good both for users and for Facebook. I suspect Facebook will spend an increasing amount of its time simply upgrading existing features; now the growth in total Facebook users has slowed significantly, this type of basic upkeep will be crucial in making the site as useful as possible for the users who are already there. This type of work is boring, but it's vital -- like paying the phone bill, or fixing the leak in your roof.
  2. But not really a big deal. I've no doubt that parsing a trillion connections between a billion users is an immense challenge. And based on today's demonstration it looks like Facebook's engineers have solved that challenge pretty elegantly. But it's still just site search. The big news isn't that Facebook has fixed its search tool; the big news is that it didn't do this long ago. In fact, Facebook should be more embarrassed that its current search engine was so bad for so long than proud that its next search engine looks pretty good. For it to trumpet Graph Search as big news just looks silly. This is the kind of stuff basic, grown-up online businesses get right every day, without any fanfare. Again, like paying the phone bill, or fixing the leak in your roof.
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How To Make The Most Of Your Investments Across The Marketing Mix

Luca Paderni

Over the past few years, the rise of the always addressable customer combined with a challenging economic environment and stagnant markets has created a perfect storm — challenging marketers' ingrained assumptions about how to best invest their budgets. And with that comes one major recurring question that senior marketers must face. While simple, it still proves daunting for marketers: How can I make sure that I have best allocated my marketing and communication investments to support my brand in the marketplace and clearly drive positive outcomes? We at Forrester have created a brand-new research framework — called playbooks — designed to effectively answer this crucial question, not only helping marketers figure out where to start but also providing a practical step-by-step guide to help achieve mastery in a given area.

Today I'm pleased to introduce you to the marketing mix optimization playbook to help you master the art of multichannel planning and the science of marketing mix modeling. With this playbook, we will help you to:

  1. Discover: Chart a new course for marketing planning to drive effectiveness. Marketers will learn to better orchestrate their programs across platforms by mixing art and science and adopting the RaDaR framework. 
  2. Plan: Build a link between marketing investments and business outcomes. Marketers will learn how to assess their maturity and competencies for a modern marketing mix modeling initiative. 
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Perpetual Connectivity Will Change How We Experience The World

Melissa Parrish

Devices are proliferating, and we’ve all seen the data to prove it: More than half of US consumers now own smartphones, and nearly 20% own a tablet. And it’s not just device ownership that’s increasing. As we’ve been talking about for the past year, people are now connected to each other, to places, to things, and to brands more often and from more locations than ever before. If you're at CES this week, you're going to see even more devices, gadgets, and digital appropriations of formerly analogue tasks that will all help push this evolution along even faster. Whether it's thanks to the FitBit Flex, one of Samsung's new smart TVs, or simply reliable mobile apps, people are becoming perpetually connected. And that evolution is changing more than just the frequency with which we turn to devices: It’s changing how we perceive the concept of connectivity.

Increasingly, going online isn’t something we do. It's something we are. Instant access to information and services isn’t just convenient — it’s how we live our lives. And it’s changing our desires, our needs, our demands, and our expectations. It’s changing how we experience the world.

As more and more of us become perpetually connected and the level of our connectedness deepens, these changes will come more rapidly and be more transformational so that soon people will:

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Top Twelve B2B Tech Social Marketing Highlights Of 2012

Kim Celestre

Last January, I kicked off 2012 with a report titled “The New Year Of Social Marketing”. The theme of that report was that B2B marketers would begin to emphasize the “social” of “social media” by focusing more on engagement and  interactions and less on broadcast marketing. I explained how marketers would continue to adopt social media listening and community platforms, that social media tactics would be used across various marketing functions within the organization and that marketers will start taking a community perspective to their social marketing strategies.

I humbly admit that my 2012 predictions were very conservative.  2012 was a remarkable year for B2B social marketing as seen by the acceleration of B2B social media adoption, rapid consolidation of  the social media platform market and the evolution of digital and social marketing. Savvy B2B tech marketers are quickly adapting to these changes in order to effectively (and efficiently) engage with prospects and customers.

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Another Year In Review — Revisiting 2012 Mobile Trends

Thomas Husson

Every year for the past few years, I've been revisiting our mobile trends predictions. So let’s do it again for the 2012 Mobile Trends post I put together a year ago with my colleague Julie Ask.

So many things happened in 2012 that it's difficult to sum up the year. We’ve passed three key milestones in 2012: more than 1 million apps available, more than 100 million tablets and more than 1 billion smartphones in consumers’ pockets!

Let’s take a look at some of the key trends we highlighted last year. We expected product strategists to work with other roles to:

·         Develop a scalable approach to delivering mobile services. Most advanced organizations took a more strategic approach to building and spreading institutional knowledge as well as governance for the development of mobile services. However, the majority still do not coordinate their approach between marketing, IT, agencies, and vendors.

·         Craft a mobile strategy that expands beyond phones. Only the most advanced players differentiated their tablet strategies. I know of a leading online retailer that is now generating 10% of its overall online sales via tablets because of the launch of an iPad app only eight months ago! However, most players still lump smartphones and tablets into the same “mobile” bucket without understanding the differences in the context of use.

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Spice Up Your Next Meeting: Play The Customer Journey Game

Melissa Parrish

The following is a guest post by Kara Hoisington, a member of the terrific advisor team for Forrester's Interactive Marketing Council.

 

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LeWeb 2012 Preview: The Internet Of Things, The Always Addressable Consumer, And Privacy Concerns

Thomas Husson

It's that time of year again: Tomorrow, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs looking to raise funds, journalists, bloggers, geeks, and digital executives from all over the world will be gathering at LeWeb in Paris. For a couple of days, Paris will turn into the digital Mecca.

A lot of the media and investor attention will focus on the now-traditional startup competition, looking for the new Evernote, Instagram, Nest, or Withings. Here’s the list of the 16 semi-finalists. Emblematic of the entrepreneurial spirit of the conference, David Marcus, founder of startups like Punchd (acquired by Google) and Zong (acquired by eBay) and now CEO of PayPal, will be speaking at the event and will cross paths with a long list of digital visionaries and key executives, such as Pascal Cagni, former general manager and VP of Apple EMEA.

Here are some of my observations on this year's theme — The Internet of Things — as well as a summary of some of Forrester’s latest research on this quickly evolving space.

 

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Jump Start Your Online Community

Kim Celestre

 

Over 40% of business technology decision-makers indicate that support forums, discussion forums, and professional social networks influence them throughout their online journey. Yet many marketers overlook the impact of the conversations that occur within these networks.

Chances are your company has an online community that requires your attention. Whether you have a support forum on your corporate website, a company page on LinkedIn, or a brand page on Facebook, somewhere there is a community of customers, partners, and influencers that is talking about your brand.

It is up to you to take advantage of this opportunity to interact with your community members, but it requires a new marketing mindset. It requires a shift from traditional media creation to social capital creation. It requires an ability to engage and motivate influencers. It also requires time, energy, and commitment from you and the stakeholders within your organization.

It is difficult to ignore the impact that community interactions have on decision-makers. But why do online communities often fail? We speak to many clients who struggle with establishing their communities and found five common mistakes:

1.       Choosing the wrong approach. Communities are not a “one size fits all” strategy for customer engagement. Companies must understand how and where their customers and prospects prefer to engage online and the types of activities that will drive member participation.

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The Mobile Revolution Will Extend Your Business Model More Quickly Than The Web Did

Thomas Husson

That’s kind of a bold statement to make when many companies — be they media players or the likes of Facebook — face a mobile monetization gap and when most successful companies generate only dozens of millions of dollars of direct mobile transactions. Despite the hype around “freemium” models, the reality is that few companies can now rely on a standalone mobile business model and that most mobile business models remain unproven.

The Web extended most business models and created only a small number of truly successful new ones. Mobile will follow the same path: Extension, rather than disruption, will be the norm for most businesses, with a few disruptive mobile pure-plays as the exception but not the rule. That doesn’t mean, however, that mobile-first businesses won’t disrupt existing players. Mobile is an enabler of new direct-to-consumer products already, in industries such as car services, food delivery, and home health products. And mobile is disrupting born-on-the-Web companies such as Facebook.

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Nokia Launches “HERE” To Build Brand Equity Beyond Mobile Phones

Thomas Husson

 

“HERE” is the name of Nokia’s new brand.

Unlike Ovi a couple of years ago, this brand will speak for itself. This is all about interaction with places around you, about context. Thanks to a best-of-breed product experience, Nokia is well positioned to deliver the most differentiated location experience.

During “Mapplegate” at the launch of iOS 6, my colleague Ted Schadler explained why it was a strategic imperative for Apple to do its own maps. However, at that time, most consumers and observers were comparing only Apple and Google Maps. The harsh reality was that Nokia couldn’t leverage its strength in the location-based space without an umbrella brand like “here.”

Make no mistake: This is not “HERE by Nokia” or any other form of sub-brand. This is an independent brand. Why? Because the opportunity is bigger than just Nokia.

This is about addressing different types of connected devices — not just mobile phones but also tablets, connected cars, and wearables. As such, “HERE” could play a pivotal role in helping Nokia leverage tomorrow’s new mobile form factors.

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