A CMP Wave And The Vision Of True Brand Orchestration

Ryan Skinner

Ted Schadler first said “content is the soul of digital.”
To that, I add: “…and content marketing platforms are its church.”

CMPs. This tech is like the ace up the sleeve for savvy marketing leaders. A marketing leader at Airbnb told us that this is the crucial tech that allows the company to move faster than competitors.

Despite excitement and 3x growth over the past two years, CMPs can still be described as emerging. Many don’t get what they do.

Do they replace content management systems? No, not really.

Do they promote your content for you? No, not really that either.

Do they automate content production somehow? Not exactly.

What they do is this:

  • Provide a common environment for everyone across the brand to plan out their campaigns and communications.
  • Manage production by dozens and even hundreds of teams simultaneously.
  • Provide systematic structure to make in-channel execution and reporting far more intelligent.
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Don't Alienate Loyal Customers: How To Step Up Your Email Game

Emily Collins

In the realm of multichannel customer communications, email is still king. It’s the easiest to send, it’s inexpensive and it’s the channel on which most marketers rely to connect with all kinds of customers. Email marketing is ingrained and inexpensive, but as a result, many marketers abuse it, defaulting to a routine batch-and-blast approach. In 2015 alone, U.S. online users received 3.7 trillion emails. Today’s email practices fail loyal customers because they treat everyone the same way and struggle to deliver basic relevance.

Over-emailing is a persistent problem, and marketers face cultural inertia trying to get over the notion that if they email enough, the customer will eventually take action. One incremental email for a thousand customers may only cost you a single dollar, but the emotional value given up from an annoyed customer will cost you in future purchases and in investment needed to rebuild a loyal customer relationship from scratch. In essence, the long-term investment in building a relationship with loyal customers is compromised because of a short-sighted push for conversion.

Marketers can’t afford to alienate loyal customers. After all, those customers are the ones who want to engage with you in the first place. According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics data, 58% of loyalty program members subscribe to a brand’s email list, compared with just 28% of consumers overall. It’s time for a reboot.

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Brands On Social Crisis: "The Sky Is Falling!"

Jessica Liu
Much ink has been spilled over United Airlines' latest public incident and social media's role in rapidly spreading video of a passenger being dragged off an airplane. Today's consumers are more polarized than ever and increasingly expressing their opinions and showing their own values in the way they spend their money. Brands worry about making missteps on social media and falling out of favor, prompting them to ask: "How can my brand respond to a social crisis?" In reality, the question they should be asking is: "How can my brand plan for any social crisis so that when it hits, our response is clear and automatic?"
 
Navigating today's social environment requires returning to crisis management basics. Brands with established and rehearsed crisis management plans — no matter the channel — will rise above the fray. In our latest Forrester report, "Social Crisis Management: Get Back To Basics," we discuss social crisis management 101:  
 
  • Let your brand pillars be your guide. Your brand's values should be the foundation for how your brand behaves in all situations, including on social media. Sure, brand values can be malleable but they should be strong enough to prepare you for worst-case scenarios. 
  • Document your tolerance for brand risk. Companies must also have a stated and widely-known policy for brand risk, such as a willingness to take chances with brand reputation or a threshold for negative publicity. 
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Engage Customers With Mobile Wallet Marketing

Xiaofeng Wang

Forrester predicts that the future of mobile wallets will go far beyond mobile payments. In the West, this vision is still a work in progress. However, Chinese digital juggernauts Alipay and WeChat have morphed their mobile wallets into rich customer engagement platforms. My latest report, “Engage Customers With Mobile Wallet Marketing,” tells what global players can learn from Asia’s digital leaders.

Alipay and WeChat show marketers the future of mobile wallets. While mainstream Western mobile wallets primarily focus on payments, pioneer mobile wallets in China have taken aggressive steps and become powerful customer engagement tools with innovative features — such as WeChat’s social gifting and Alipay’s augmented reality (AR) coupons and red packets. Their mobile wallet innovations span the customer life cycle (see figure).

The mobile wallet of the future is closer than you think. Market-entry obstacles like different business cultures, consumer behaviors, and regulations make it unlikely that Alipay and WeChat will operate directly in other markets beyond targeting Chinese travelers. However, the successful marketing use cases developed on Alipay and WeChat Wallet will inspire third-party players like Apple and PayPal to morph their mobile wallets into more powerful customer engagement platforms. In the next few years, we expect to see that:

  • Emerging mobile wallets will develop features like Alipay and WeChat. We expect mobile wallet innovations to happen more quickly in emerging markets with less legacy and competition. Paytm in India is a good example.
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Uber....Pepsi....The Ringling Brothers Circus.....

Jim Nail

Three very different brands with an unfortunate commonality: Each has recently incurred the wrath of a growing segment that Forrester calls the values-based consumer.

Last week at Forrester’s Consumer Marketing Forum, my colleague Henry Peyret and I launched a new line of research. It helps marketers manage the trend of consumers looking beyond the direct, personal benefits they receive from a brand to also value the brand’s impact on society and the world. Paired with Anjali Lai’s powerful companion data report on how empowered consumers’ decision making is changing, this set of research represents a new dimension of Forrester’s overarching thesis on the age of the customer.

To be “customer obsessed,” brands need to do more than study their customers’ technology habits and the digital data they have about them, and even go beyond delivering extraordinary experiences. These are things all companies are trying to do today and will differentiate brands just until their competitors catch up. Increasingly, brands will be evaluated beyond the sum of their features, benefits, personality, and positioning. Tapping the increased transparency created by social technologies, consumers are able to choose brands that reflect their own beliefs on issues related to their personal interpretation of societal impact.

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Google's biggest threat? Amazon.

Collin Colburn

If you've been following Forrester's search marketing research over the past few years, you'd know that we talk a lot about search marketing evolving to a broader discovery marketing strategy. As a refresher: a discovery marketer creates programs that help users find your brand in their preferred medium and during their moment of need. Some marketers, especially retailers, have begun to take on this new and challenging charter and are looking to new channels and websites to increase their discoverability.

Enter: Amazon, Google's newest, and biggest, rival in the search marketing space. We set out to determine two things about Amazon search marketing: what factors do they take into consideration when ranking products and what type of ads are available for brands on Amazon? The research report just went live today and you can read our findings here.

To summarize what we found in the research:

Amazon search moves customers along the customer life cycle. Google has long dominated the discover stage of the the customer life cycle. But Amazon is playing an increasingly large role in how customers find products. In fact, according to Forrester's Consumer Technographics data, 31% of US online adults who made a purchase in the past three months started their shopping research on Amazon. And it doesn't end there. Amazon is also a place for customers to research product choices and even transact.

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Fix Your Mobile Foundations To Make The Most Of Bots, Agents, VR and Other Emerging Tech

Thomas Husson

Emerging consumer technologies such as bots, intelligent agents, extended reality, connected objects, and IoT will not replace mobile — instead, mobile will be the key to unlocking these new touchpoints.

Facing limited budgets, marketers feel pressure to prioritize much-hyped new consumer-facing technologies over their foundational mobile work. Jumping directly to the latest shiny objects of VR, IoT, etc., without first implementing a proper mobile foundation is a costly mistake, as marketers will not be able to effectively scale innovative technologies beyond a small testing audience. With over 5 billion smartphones forecasted to be in use worldwide by 2020, mobile will play a key role in activating adjacent connected experiences.

That’s one of the key messages of my new “2017 Mobile And Technology Priorities For Marketers” report written with my colleague Jennifer Wise.

In the past few weeks, I had the opportunity to sit down with many of our clients across different industries. A marketer at one of the largest CPG brands told me they currently had 18 chatbot pilots across the world! The Chief digital and customer experience officer at a global insurance company told me conversational interfaces is his top priority for the next 3 years. The SVP e-commerce and marketing at a global travel brand think extended reality will become a key differentiator. Beyond, these anecdotes, our quantitative survey among marketers, shows that:

  • 6% use intelligent agents regularly and 18% are piloting or planning to use them in the next year
  • 5% use bots regularly and 40% are piloting or planning to use them in the next year
  • 3% use augmented reality regularly and 30% are piloting or planning to use AR in the next year
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Marketers Aren't Getting What They're Paying For

Susan Bidel

Marketers have always carefully calibrated their messages and the audiences they wanted to reach, and, for most of advertising’s history, the process was pretty straightforward. Marketers used content as a proxy for audience, and worked with known and trusted entities to carry out their plans. They bought space, delivered materials to publishers, and ads appeared. That was the process for the first banner ad, too, for AT&T on Wired Magazine’s website on October 27, 1994.

While the intent of marketers has remained consistent as they have embraced digital channels, the process of executing advertising is a lot more complicated. In the intervening 23 years since that first banner ad, hundreds of companies have arisen intermediating tried and true relationships between marketers and media. These companies claim to improve the process for marketers by identifying and reaching audiences without the context of content, using modeling practices honed in financial markets.  

But, there are some fundamental differences in the two markets. Financial market regulators would not tolerate, for example, the sort of haphazard standards that are applied to digital media. Any financial institution caught selling fake stock, for example, would suffer severe consequences.

The same doesn’t appear to be true in digital advertising. The result is that the ecosystem is rife with fraud and unviable inventory that essentially robs marketers of their ability to know what they are buying, who they are really reaching, and how to measure their progress. Without that knowledge, they cannot build a sustainable digital advertising practice that performs for them, and that more broadly drives the economy.

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YouTube Concerns Will Boost The Long-Run Outlook For Online Video Ad Spend

Brandon Verblow

Poor quality inventory and lack of transparency are problems for the digital ad industry. My colleague Susan Bidel and I have recently published reports that show how the related problems of fraud and lack of viewability result in wasted spending by marketers and a lost revenue opportunity for quality publishers. For further detail, clients can read Forrester Data Report: Ad Fraud And Viewability Forecast, 2016 To 2021 (US) and Poor Quality Ads Cost US Marketers $7.4 Billion In 2016.

While not an issue of ad fraud or viewability per se, recent concern over YouTube ads represents another facet of the ad quality problem. In the past couple of weeks, large marketers like AT&T, Verizon, and The Guardian have pulled their ads from YouTube after discovering that these had been displayed alongside video content promoting terrorism and hate.

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Plate Tectonics and the TV Advertising Business

Jim Nail

 One of the key concepts I learned as a geology major at Williams College comes in very handy when analyzing the changes in the TV advertising business over the past few years. Plate tectonics describes giant slabs of the earth's crust that contain the continents and are propelled by the upwelling of molten layers deep in the earth's core. As plate boundaries grind against each other or are pulled apart by these forces, the mega-structures of the earth are formed: mountain ranges, undersea trenches and ocean basins. The San Andreas Fault is probably the best known example of a plate boundary. For decades, or even centuries, there is no apparent movement but once the massive forces can no longer be contained, the plates can move a dramatic distance within seconds, such as the 1989 Loma Prieta quake which exhibited a 7 foot shift in the position of two plates.

What the heck does this have to do with TV advertising? Just as this plate movement builds up tremendous pressures, so have the forces of technology, advertiser demands for better targeting, and the drift of dollars away from TV to digital put pressure on the TV networks. But just as the plates initially resist moving, there has been little movement in TV advertising: The upfronts last year recovered from the down years of 2014 to 2016, there has been little progress in addressable TV, and Nielsen still reigns as the currency of the market. We've seen the TV business resist these technology-driven pressures for at least a decade, so the question is whether the business will gradually change over the next five to 10 years, or will a San Andreas style quake transform the industry in a matter of months?

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