Who Am I Really Talking To On Social Media (And Do They Even Care)?

Jessica Liu

Don’t worry; you’re not the only one wondering.

Forrester’s POST methodology for social marketing success dictates four steps: 
1. People
2. Objective
3. Strategy
4. Technology

Often, marketers lead with T, but they need to start with P. The $64,000 question about People is not whether customers use social media, but rather if they want to engage with brands on social media at all, and if so, how. That’s right, the first and most important question is not whether your competitors are on social media or if the latest social network has the coolest ad format; it’s what your customers want from your brand. Marketers need to know this to guide how (or if) they add social to their overall marketing strategy.

As part of our new Social Marketing Playbook launch, the Landscape chapter explains how Forrester’s latest Social Technographics® model helps marketers answer:

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"Social Marketing" Strategies Are Holding You Back

Melissa Parrish

Social marketing is at a crossroads.

The explosive popularity of social media over the last decade led many B2C marketers to launch social programs, often without any strategy or even an understanding of what they hoped to accomplish. Since then, nearly all marketers have jumped on the social media bandwagon launching Instagram accounts and influencer programs, putting UGC on their websites, buying listening platforms and ads, and, yes, maintaining a Facebook page -- but many are struggling to articulate the value of all this “social.” What’s going wrong and where do marketers go from here?

In order for marketers to take back the reins on their social practices, they must realize two fundamental things:

First, that “social media” is not one single channel. It is a collection of technologies -- from social networks to blogs; ratings and reviews to full-blown communities; and everything in between -- that allow people to connect with each other, whether that’s friends connecting with friends, consumers connecting with brands, or employees connecting with each other.

And second, since it’s not a single channel that you can turn on and off with the flick of a switch, it’s not something for which you need a single dedicated strategy. Instead, you need a marketing strategy in which social tactics and technologies are employed and deployed where they’ll help you make the most progress toward your goals.

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Mobile Search: It's Different

Jennifer Wise

This post is co-authored by Julie A. Ask, VP and principal analyst at Forrester

Mobile search is essential. In fact, according to Forrester’s Mobile Audience Data, Q4 2015, 87% of US smartphone owners rely on browser-based search on mobile devices. And the data reveals that Google’s search engine is the most common path to a mobile site even for well-known brands such as Amazon, Walmart and Kmart.

As a top discovery resource, companies can’t afford to wait any longer to implement a mobile-first search strategies. The biggest seen mistake today? Either lacking a strategy completely, or treating mobile search the same way as desktop search. As Forrester Research’s Dr. James McQuivey says, “When businesses first adopt a technology, they do old things in new ways. When they internalize a technology, they begin to do new things.” Consumers use mobile phones very differently than they use desktop computers. So must Marketers.

Forrester conducted an in-depth analysis of how consumers use Google search on mobile versus desktop devices to parse-out how consumers use the two devices differently. Today, Forrester finds that consumers purchase a range of categories on their smartphones: insurance, travel, financial services products, and even pet food. For this research we focused on the travel category because consumers are so likely to research and book travel on mobile devices – Forrester’s Mobile Audience Online Survey, Q4 2015 reveals that 29% of mobile users have purchased hotel rooms and 22% an airline ticket on their smartphone.

To build on our Forrester insights, we looked at Google’s data and discovered that when it comes to mobile searching:

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Unilever Buys Dollar Shave Club: The End Of The Mass Marketing Era?

Jim Nail

When I read the news of Unilever buying Dollar Shave Club I couldn't help but think of an advisory session I did for a big CPG firm with colleagues Melissa Parrish and Brigitte Majewski a few months ago. One big topic of conversation was how to build a brand today in a media and marketing world that is so fragmented. We had used Dollar Shave Club as an example of how the rules have changed in the post-digital era.

And then I came across this post on the Stratechery blog that analyzes DSC and its disruptive strategy extraordinarily well.

I can't help but read from this the end of the mass marketing era whose rules P&G is rightly famous for codifying and rigorously training its brand managers in. My conclusions from this example include:

The end of product innovation. Really interesting story about how Gillette's 5-blade razor bombed. Basically, products reach a point of development that no further improvement is needed. Or at least the added cost of the innovative product didn't bring commensurate increase in performance to justify it. The model of continuous product innovation hit the wall -- certainly a product strategy driven out of a lab and corporate goal to merely increase price and profits hits the wall. DCS listened to customers and innovated not the product, but the pricing and distribution model to solve a different problem than delivering a "better" shave.

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A Verizon/Yahoo! Deal Could Usher In Customer-Obsessed Omnichannel Experiences

Shar VanBoskirk

Yahoo!'s assets are on the sales block. And of the several potentials in the final stages of the bidding process, Verizon is getting a lot of speculation, perhaps because many consider it unlikely that Verizon will/should take Yahoo! too after picking up that other Web fossil, AOL, one year ago.  

Here are my thoughts:

 

  • Verizon wants Yahoo to fill out its omni channel content and advertising play.  The more access to customer data it has (online through Yahoo and AOL, in home via cable boxes, on mobile via smart devices) the more targeted it can be with advertising and sponsored content or product placements across those same devices.  This allows Verizon to create better ad products which is competitive against primarily online giants (Google) and creates a better user experience which is competitive against other cable and telecom providers.
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After Brexit, Will Paris Become The New Startup Hub In Europe?

Thomas Husson

Paris will be the capital of technology innovation and startups for the next three days with more than 5,000 startups, 400 speakers, 30,000 attendees, and 100 top VCs attending Viva Technology Paris.

CEOs and CMOs of the largest French companies will attend and speak as well as Eric Schmidt from Alphabet/Google, John Chambers from Cisco, David Marcus and Sheryl Sandberg from Facebook, Tim Armstrong from AOL, Robin Li from Baidu, Yuanqing Yang from Lenovo, and many others.

Vendors will demonstrate lots of innovation, including Sony Playstation’s Virtual Reality, Tilt Brush and Jacquard by Google, and Facebook’s pop-up, not to mention numerous talks and roundtables on AR, VR, drones, robots, 3D printing, wearable tech, machine learning, and connected cities and homes.

Let’s face it: Until now, London was the primary digital hub attracting lots of startups, investor money, and digital talent. Following Brexit, Forrester expects digital and customer-facing talent to migrate out of the UK. Beyond company headquarters, there is a new competition between Paris, Berlin, Dublin, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, and many other cities to attract startups and R&D centers.

The timing is perfect for Viva Technology Paris to offer a unique opportunity to showcase France’s assets:

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How Are Airlines Embracing Mobile Moments?

Xiaofeng Wang

Mobile is changing travelers’ behaviors and expectations worldwide, making mobile moments the next battleground for airlines. My Brief: Airlines Must Embrace Mobile Moments To Differentiate tells B2C marketing professionals managing airline brands how to better address airline travelers in their most relevant mobile moments.

Nobody is more mobile than an airline traveler — from buying a ticket to managing the in-transit and on-board experience to sharing that experience, mobile is an active touchpoint throughout the entire customer life cycle. Have airlines mastered all of these mobile moments? The answer is often “No” — there are still mobile moments that key airlines seldom cover (see figure).

Specifically:

  • Most airlines focus on mastering mobile moments at the buy and use stages. Smart airlines strive to provide convenient, time-saving measures that are better than those of online travel agencies (OTAs) and other airlines, such as “upgrade at the boarding gate” feature in its mobile app.
  • Some airlines serve mobile customers well at the discover and ask stages. Smart airlines help prospects and customers discover promotions beyond air tickets and travel packages, such as cross-border shopping, through multiple mobile channels.
  • Few airlines master mobile moments at the explore and engage stages. Compared with OTAs, airlines put forth far less effort creating mobile moments at the explore stage, whereas product comparisons and customer reviews are common features for OTAs.
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Snaps for Snapchat

Jessica Liu

Bloomberg recently reported that Snapchat surpassed Twitter in daily active users. Kudos to Snapchat, which is only half as old as Twitter, but why do we keep comparing Snapchat to Twitter? Or to Instagram? The industry is desperate to neatly categorize Snapchat under social media, but I would argue that Snapchat is equal parts messaging app and social network, putting it in a class of its own.

Let's break it down:

  • Messaging apps are built on the premise of private conversation: 1 to 1 (yes, group chat exists, but it's contained). You send specific messages tailored to the individual recipient. See: WhatsApp, WeChat, Skype, Viber, LINE, Telegram, Kik. With the exception of Asia's sophisticated app hybrids, today's messaging apps are not intended for blanket broadcast messaging.
  • Traditional social networks are built on the premise of broadcasting: 1 to many. You build up a network of friends (and, in some cases, the general public) and you blanket spam them with your post. See: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest. While they accommodate private conversation (Facebook Messenger is its own rightful messaging app, Instagram's and Twitter's Direct Message, LinkedIn InMail), it is not their primary foundation.
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Facebook Offline Conversion and Site Metrics: Use With Caution

Tina Moffett

In collaboration with Jim Nail.

 

On Tuesday, Facebook announced new solutions for businesses to drive people to their stores and measure the amount of store visits and in-store sales following their Facebook mobile ad campaigns.  Before breaking out the bubbly, let’s break down Facebook’s new measurement capabilities, and evaluate what it means for marketers.

 

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Will Microsoft’s Big Bet On B2B Social Pay Off?

Carlton Doty

Okay, you’ve read countless opinion pieces on the blockbuster deal where Microsoft paid a notable (nearly 9x) premium for LinkedIn.  One could argue that it’s about time someone snatched up LinkedIn…that was my initial reaction, and perhaps yours too.  But why Microsoft, and why now?  Well, it should be obvious that this is a B2B play.  In fact, our own Melissa Parrish eloquently outlined the minimal relevance to B2C firms in her blog post yesterday.

However, this morning, Melissa and several other colleagues here at Forrester published our quick take on what this deal really means. It breaks down to 3 fundamental things:

  • Data. As today's marketing tech goes, Microsoft lags significantly in two areas: customer identity management and proprietary data assets. LinkedIn solves that problem by integrating 433 million LinkedIn profiles. Microsoft will get its hands on data about how those individuals use products like Office 365, email, and Skype.
     
  • CRM. Microsoft is clearly firing a shot across the bow of Salesforce. In the CRM space, Dynamics has some traction in the enterprise, but it has traditionally been an alternative for small and medium-size businesses requiring more accessible price points than Salesforce commands.
     
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