What's so interesting about AOL's bid for TradeDoubler?

Shar VanBoskirk

This past Tuesday, AOL put in a 6.3 billion kronor (about $900 million) bid for Swedish ad network TradeDoubler.  Although TradeDoubler's board voted to accept the bid, one of its largest share holders rejected the bid as undervalued.  The take among the investment community is that this is AOL's attempt to expand advertising revenues now that it has moved away from its subscription-based business model.  While I think this is certainly true, I find a few other angles of the potential acquisition more interesting:

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Consumers As Media: How Far Will This Go?

Shar VanBoskirk

AdAge just announced Gino Bona, a sales exec out of Portsmouth, NH as the winner of the NFL's "create your own Super Bowl commercial" contest.  And the NFL is not the only sponsor of viewer-created commercials.  Chevy and Frito-Lay sponsored similar contests for their own Super Bowl spots.

Then last week the news broke about the entrepreneurial "J.P" who was seeking corporate sponsors to pay him to propose to his girlfriend during a Super Bowl commercial.  The notion of using consumers to create ads isn't new and clearly consumers are actively creating their own media.  But these last few stories got me to thinking:  What happens now that not only are consumers creating media, but consumer actually are media?  Reality TV is huge.  And I would bet most of us have some fairly close connection with someone who has been on a reality TV show (my ex-boyfriend was fraternity brothers with the guy who "won" ABC's second season of "The Bachelorette."). 

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Better Late Than Never: Five Things You Didn't Know About Christine Overby

Christine Overby

Thanks for the tag, Pete! The more of these that I read, the longer I put this off. How can my life compete with knife fights in Moracco and killer golf handicaps (just kidding Julie and Laura)?!?!

But in the spirit of good fun, here are 5 facts about me:

1. I have unusually long arms. Did you know that most people have a "wingspan" -- the distance between your middle fingertips with your arms outstretched -- that's roughly equivalent to their height? Well, if I were as tall as my wingspan long, then I would be over 6' (I'm 5'8").  This is an endless source of amusement for friends, especially when I wear sleeveless shirts. One calls me Stretch Armstrong. [Sigh.]

2. I have a nerdy obsession with food writing. Not cookbooks and restaurant reviews, but hard core stuff from Harold McGee, MFK Fisher, and Brillat-Savarin. I also like to make a mess in the kitchen, but don't ask me to replicate dishes since I never measure and always second-guess recipe ingredients (the analyst in me, I guess).

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Blog Tag Continues: Five Things You May Not Know About Laura Ramos

Laura Ramos

So it looks like Peter Kim and Eric Kintz have innocently conspired to whittle away at the precious little time standing between me and a long end-of-the-quarter winter's break. While some corporations may frown on an employee spending a few minutes to join a game of corporate blogging, I suspect the outcome will be both a little surprising and beneficial to the bloggers who decide to play. The Internet has truly made the world a much smaller place, as I believe this blog tag game will show.  Here's my contribution, 5 things about me that some of you may not have suspected:

1) I was born in Japan, but am not a Japanese citizen.  (My dad was in the US Navy for 23 years.)

2) During college summers, I worked onboard Navy ships in San Diego for the Naval Sea Support Center (See a common theme here?)

3) Everyone in my immediate family plays golf.  While my handicap is too embarrassingly high to mention (my 9-year-old daughter occassionally hits the ball farther than I do,) my 14-year-old son's handicap is around 12 and my husband's is a 9. As further proof of our golf insantity: over the summer, we had an artificial putting green installed in our backyard.

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Anti-Social Computing?

Shar VanBoskirk

We’ve been talking a lot in our research about the importance of “Humanizing the Digital Experience” – that is, using ever more and more prevalent digital channels to extend the personal connection marketers have to their customers.  And yet, I feel like most marketers actually need to focus on humanizing the human experience first.  In fact, I would argue that advances in technology are actually limiting the inter-personal interactions we have with human representations of a given brand.  Let me explain what I mean.

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B2B Marketers: Gearing Up For Podcasts?

Laura Ramos

Hey B2B marketers, sorry about the hiatus in blog postings of late. My new year’s resolution is to post more often. The other thing I’m going to try in the New Year is to take a closer look at the impact of emerging technologies on business marketing.


In keeping with the theme of the previous post, I plan to team up with my Forrester colleague, Brian Haven, and look at when podcasting may be better suited for B2B marketing. For a preview, watch for Brian’s soon-to-be-published research called “Making Podcasts Work For Your Brand” where he highlights 9 techniques for creating successful podcasts.


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Listen Up! Announcing Forrester Podcasts

Shar VanBoskirk

In the name of “humanizing the digital experience” – the theme from Forrester’s 2006 Consumer Forum -- we’ve decided to try a new way to deliver you relevant research content to make you more successful in your job: Forrester Podcasts! 

Our first installment of podcasts focuses on interactive marketing including: mobile marketing, social computing, consumer generated content, word of mouth marketing.  And it includes a conversation with Pete Kim about his big idea for re-inventing the marketing organization, and the work I have in progress about the interactive marketing organization.  Our podcasts also sample some great Forrester and industry presentations from our Consumer Forum featuring Jim Skinner the CEO of McDonalds, Michelle Peluso, President and CEO of Travelocity, and Jeff Hicks the CEO and Partner of agency giant Crispin Porter & Bogusky among others.

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So You Know Your Net Promoter Score . . . Now What?

Christine Overby

Hi – It’s Christine Overby here, and I’m currently working on research about Net Promoter. I got the idea after participating in a Forrester leadership board session where everyone in the room seemed to be using Net Promoter. One client asked a great question: “Is Net Promoter the only real metric that matters?”

My first reaction was: No!

Don’t get me wrong. Net Promoter is a great tool. It’s straightforward, easy-to-implement, and Fred Reichheld and team have oodles of data showing the correlation between a firm’s Net Promoter Score (NPS) and its growth. But I wonder: If we focus on NPS exclusively, do we miss the nuances and other indicators of growth and profitability?

For example, what if Best Buy’s “demon” customers were the lionshare of its promoters? If this were true, then a singular focus on Net Promoter might drive growth, but profits would go down the tube.

Also, isn’t a promoter with great influence (a “connector” in Malcolm Gladwell’s world) more valuable than one who, for whatever reason, isn’t always taken so seriously?

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How should marketing service providers evolve?

Shar VanBoskirk

We're all finally settling down from our blockbuster of a consumer forum in Chicago last week (check out http://blogs.forrester.com/consumerforum for summaries, thoughts, and highlights from the event) and processing some of the learnings that came out of our client conversations. I didn't end up listening in on very many of the main tent speakers as I was pretty booked with one-on-one sessions. These are 30 minute, in person meetings that forum attendees can book with the analysts of their choice to discuss business issues. I was definitely tired after my few days of back to back one-on-ones, but to be honest, I came back to the office pretty recharged. I've been so heads down on research of late, that it was really nice to engage with clients face to face. I really enjoyed sharing ideas and meeting the real people who are out there reading my research!

One topic that came up several times in one-on-ones with different clients is: the role of the service provider in the next era of marketing. We've all been talking about integrated marketing for years. And this year's forum theme pushed integrated marketing even further by looking at how to "Humanize the Digital Experience." This means the entire integrated customer experience.

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Update on Interactive Marketing Organization Survey

Shar VanBoskirk

On September 14, I posted a notice about a research study we had in the works on The Interactive Marketing Organization.  Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey! 

We've gotten about 150 responses and have actually closed the survey (just in case you have tried to take the survey recently and found the link inactive).  I'm currently at work on the report this data will feed.  But since that is still several weeks away, I wanted to provide you with a few previews of what we learned:

*Companies actually have a surprising tenure with interactive marketing:   79% have been using interactive marketing for more than 3 years; 52% for more than 5
*Interactive marketing teams are generally small (39% have IM teams with 1 to 5 people).  However 18% report teams that are quite large (31 or more people)
*Interactive marketers outsource less than I had expected with 59% outsourcing less than 25% of their work.
*Younger IM organizations (those using IM for less than 5 years) are generally less strategic than more senior organizations.  They have less staff, less budget, but better executive support than IM organizations who have been using interactive marketing for more than 5 years.

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