Want To Launch Mobile App? Ask Yourself The Tough Questions

Melissa Parrish

Mobile website or mobile app? It's not only a common question from marketers -- it’s also the wrong question to ask. So let’s get this out of the way first, interactive marketers: You need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check your organic web traffic. Odds are, you’ll see anywhere from 10%-25% of your web traffic coming from mobile devices, whether you’re intending to capture that mobile traffic or not. That percentage has been growing steadily and will continue to, so yes, you need to have a mobile web home. I’m glad that’s settled.

Whether or not you need a mobile app for marketing is a little less clear-cut. To decide, once and for all, if you should really build that mobile app, ask yourself these three most important questions:

1.       Is my audience using apps?

Yes, about half of US adults have a smartphone, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re using it in sophisticated ways. You can likely find users of all ages among those who have apps, but demographics affect the size of your app audience. For example, about one-third of smartphone app users are Gen Y (ages 23-31), and another third are Gen X (ages 32-45). Make sure you understand the app habits of your own audience before you decide what to build.

2.       Am I ready to build and manage an app?

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Mobile Marketers: I'm Looking For You!

Melissa Parrish

Those of you who know my research won’t be surprised to learn that I’m currently working on a collection of mobile marketing reports that will eventually make up our mobile marketing playbook. (For more information about Forrester’s new playbooks, check this out.) But what you probably don’t know is that the report I’m working on right now isn’t about mobile marketing — it’s about mobile marketers.

My hypothesis is that as a company decides to commit to mobile marketing, experts either emerge or are hired to shepherd programs specifically designed to engage the mobile audience. It sounds easy enough, but there are a couple of things that complicate this seemingly straightforward evolution. First, mobile isn’t really just “a” channel. There's more than a dozen mobile tactics that a mobile channel manager could be responsible for, including mobile display, mobile search, and mobile messaging, in addition to mobile sites and apps. Second, for a lot of those mobile tactics, there are already embedded non-mobile counterparts, like digital media buyers, email marketers, and search specialists with whom the mobile marketer may need to collaborate.

So, for this report, I’m hoping to speak with several of you mobile marketers out there to understand things like:

·         How you got into your current role and what it entails.

·         Where you sit in relation to other marketers at your company.

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iPhone 5: High Expectations, NFC, And Consumer Experiences

Thomas Husson

A year ago, we stated that despite being only an incremental improvement to the iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S would maintain Apple’s leadership in the high-end smartphone battle.

A lot has changed in a year. Samsung sold 20 million Galaxy S III devices this summer, while Google recently announced that more than 1.3 million Android devices are activated each day — and that it would soon reach the milestone of 0.5 billion Android users. The San José court’s recent decision to fine Samsung $1 billion for copying Apple raised a number of complex questions regarding what exactly innovation means in the smartphone era. While it badly affected Samsung’s brand image, Samsung has a larger portfolio of mobile devices and has also proved it was able to innovate with the Note.

Even more so than a year ago, Apple’s product strategists face an ongoing paradox: maintaining premium leadership with an annual product renewal while tapping the rapidly “mainstreaming” global smartphone market. Consequently, expectations were extremely high — often irrationally so — that Apple would once again truly innovate with hardware design and features.

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Officially Introducing The Always Addressable Customer

Melissa Parrish

Today, at long last, we published our report officially introducing the always addressable customer, though I (and others) have been talking about it for a while now. Just to refresh your memory, always addressable customers are people who own and use at least three web-connected devices, go online multiple times per day, and go online from multiple physical locations — and it's already 38% of US online adults.

This report was a true collaboration among many people on the Interactive Marketing research team, including Lizzie Komar, who was a pretty new Research Associate at the start of our journey, and who shares her thoughts about the report and its findings in the following guest post:

The Always Addressable Customer report is finally available to Forrester clients, and we‘re really excited about it.

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NFC: What Lies Beyond Contactless Payments

Thomas Husson

Forrester estimates that close to 100 million Near Field Communication (NFC) devices will ship in 2012. As it finally moves past the chicken-or-egg stalemate of the past five years, contactless technology is once again causing buzz in the mobile world. The 2012 London Olympics will be a showcase and marketing catalyst for NFC services. Will NFC join the cemetery of overhyped telecom acronyms, like DVB-H, or will it scale to enable new product experiences? We expect NFC usage to remain niche in 2012 and even 2013. However, moving forward, NFC will be embedded in most smartphones — and in a greater range of connected devices — enabling many more use cases than just contactless payments.

NFC Is Emerging As The Global Mobile Contactless Standard

With 100 million NFC mobile devices expected to ship globally by the end of 2012 and a growing NFC infrastructure, NFC is emerging as the standard for contactless solutions across the world. Pioneering countries include South Korea, Poland, Turkey, the UK, the US and to a lesser extent France.

Expectations For The Uptake Of Mobile Contactless Payments Are Too High

Turning adoption into mass-market usage among consumers will require not only a lot of market education but also, more importantly, the construction of a value proposition for consumers and merchants that goes well beyond convenience and speed to adding value to the entire commerce process. My colleague Denée Carrington has just published a report on this topic: “Why The Digital Wallet Wars Matter.”

NFC Will Open Up Many Other New Product And Service Experiences

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Epsilon Emphasizes Email Product (At Last!)

Shar VanBoskirk

 

I had breakfast a week ago with Taleen Ghazarian, the VP of Strategy and Planning and Bob Zurek the new SVP of Products from Epsilon.  The meeting was to re-introduce me to Zurek (full disclosure, he is a former Forrester analyst; worked on a lot of our CRM research several years ago) and brief me on his plans for Epsilon’s new platform.  I think Epsilon’s focus on product innovation is overdue (no argument from Zurek or Ghazarian there).  But I agreed with Zurek’s vision for where to take things.  Specifically, his plans are:

Aggressive: Customers told us as part of our most recent email vendor Wave evaluation that they felt disappointed by Epsilon’s unfulfilled promise of a technology update.  Well, Zurek’s charter is create a technology that not only updates any places where current Epsilon tools fall short, but to actually create a brand new platform that out performs any competitors.  We’ll see of course, how it delivers.  But I admired Zurek’s passion and commitment, and his recognition that Epsilon had to over perform here in order to stay competitive in the digital space.

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Best Practices: How To Implement A Mobile Product And Service Road Map

Thomas Husson

Too many firms are investing in mobile technologies without a road map. Most companies are investing in a wide range of mobile technologies, but only 40% of companies that Forrester interviewed have defined a mobile road map for the next 12 months. In fact, few firms have a detailed plan on how to create mobile products and services.

Implementing a mobile road map requires an iterative approach. To add new mobile services, product strategists must evaluate consumers’ mobile behaviors and attitudes, adapt their companies’ mobile business plans, refine their overall digital road maps, and assess the maturity levels of mobile technologies.

Successful mobile road maps require investment in supporting activities. Making specific investments in mobile education and skills development, maintaining organizational flexibility to increase speed to market, and adapting to local markets are key to the success of a mobile road map.

For example, the most advanced firms have a mobile steering committee in place — usually part of a broader digital governance team — with representatives from different business units, different roles, and different geographies. The role of such a governance body is not just to set the vision but also to prioritize and select mobile projects based on a clear list of criteria. One global brand’s mobile governance body, for example, identified up to 100 planned mobile initiatives. To select the best ones and rationalize investment, it put a framework in place with four simple questions for candidates to justify the funding of their projects: What benefits will it bring to consumers; what corporate objectives will it serve; what’s the business case; and what new features will be required in the second year?

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Marissa Mayer Doesn't Fit Yahoo!'s Needs

Shar VanBoskirk

Yahoo! announced tonight that Google's Marissa Mayer would take over tomorrow as Yahoo!'s CEO and President.  Obviously Mayer has long experience in the space and brings good competitive knowledge, particularly related to search marketing.  But I'm disappointed by this choice, here's why.

*Yahoo! needs a strategic visionary, not a product engineer.  Yahoo!'s fundamental problem is that it has too many disparate products with no clear unifying thread that ties them all together. And Mayer's background is in product development...not corporate strategy, not marketing, not brand definition...the areas where Yahoo! has the most critical need.

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Cannes Provides Backdrop For Latest WPP Digital Agency Acquisition

Jim Nail

Cannes this year is hosting more and more evidence of the disappearance of lines between “digital” and “advertising”: A mobile category was launched; the new Branded Content and Entertainment category includes subcategories such as “best use or integration of user generated content”; Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was named Media Person of the Year and . . .

. . . WPP used the international advertising festival to announce it is acquiring digital agency AKQA and incorporating it as a separate network within WPP.

AKQA is a great pickup for WPP. It's not only one of the biggest indies left but one of the best at blending creative and technology skills in one organization — a mix that doesn’t always live together easily.

It also fills a hole for WPP. AKQA aspires to a category of agencies I call “brand transformers” that are about more than communications and look to leverage digital capabilities to help clients enter new adjacent product and service areas.

Very interesting that it will be a standalone brand and not folded into one of WPP’s existing networks. Digital agencies VML and Blast Radius bring similar capabilities but are locked in the Y&R network; WPP gains flexibility by having AKQA “at large” in its holdings. In addition, AKQA is a little too big to fold into another network easily, but will need to build heft quickly if it wants to remain separate. Otherwise, in a couple of years, WPP will merge it with other assets.

I think it’s likely Interpublic and Omnicom will react. WPP clearly sees digital as essential to its future. This acquisition definitely puts some distance between WPP and Omnicom, which had been pretty close, and Interpublic, which has a couple of strong assets but doesn’t have the strategic focus that WPP and Publicis do.

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Apple's iOS 6 Will Open Up New Product Experiences

Thomas Husson

My colleague Ted Schadler, who attended Apple's worldwide developer conference 2012 this morning in San Francisco, has nicely summarized Apple's Tour De Force and What It Means For CIOs 

Here are my thoughts on what Apple's announcements mean for product strategists and brands willing to interact with consumers:

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