Highlights From Google Marketing Next 2017

Collin Colburn

I, along with Susan Bidel and Richard Joyce, got to attend Google Marketing Next 2017 this week. It was a great opportunity to see firsthand the new advances Google is making for this year, and to speak with Google product managers directly. While there were no announcements that were earth shattering, there were a few important announcements that I thought I’d share with those of you that were unable to attend:

 

  • AMP ads for search and display. Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) over a year ago to speed up mobile web pages to aid the customer experience. Now these pages can be used by search advertisers in AdWords to speed up the time it takes for their landing pages from paid search ads to download. And the same is being done for Google Display Network ads.
  • Store sales measurement. Google has already been using anonymized location data to estimate in store visits from digital ads. But now, Google will be applying machine learning to better account for brick and mortar visits. And marketers will now be able to integrate POS data into AdWords to understand in store conversions better.
  • In-market audiences for search ads. Search advertisers will be able to better target searchers who are further along in the customer life cycle to making a purchase for their products or services. In AdWords, marketers can choose audiences based on categories like event tickets, apparel, or beauty products to target customers that Google has deemed as in-market. Google uses intent signals like searching behavior and website visits to determine if a customer is in market for a product.

What did you think was the biggest announcement from GMN? I’d love to hear any thoughts or questions.

Collaborate With Finance To Prove Marketing's Business Value

Landscapes, Portfolios, And Point Solutions (Oh, My!)

Rusty Warner

If you’re a marketer struggling to decipher the complicated marketing technology landscape of more than 5,000 vendors – and show me a marketer who isn’t – then I have some good news for you. It won’t be as easy as following the yellow brick road, but you can begin to make sense of today’s seemingly infinite array of enterprise marketing technology (EMT) offerings.

Two of my research areas at Forrester are Cross-Channel Campaign Management (CCCM) and Real-Time Interaction Management (RTIM). I field myriad inquiries on both, as they are critical, confusing, and conflated in terms of technology and vendor overlap. While CCCM primarily focuses on automating marketing-driven campaign strategies for outbound channels, and RTIM primarily focuses on next-best-action strategies for customer-initiated interactions via inbound channels, both rely heavily on systems of insight (customer data and analytics) and systems of engagement (automated content and interactions). And both cover multiple inbound, outbound, digital, and offline channels.

CCCM is evolving as marketers strive to align highly personalized marketing campaigns with customer-initiated interactions to drive deeper levels of engagement throughout the customer life cycle. I addressed this evolution in The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, Q2 2016, which featured 15 leading vendors. Since the CCCM space is much broader, earlier this year I also published the Vendor Landscape: Cross-Channel Campaign Management, and it adds a further 32 vendors to the mix, categorizing them as enterprise, small, or regional players, and reviewing capabilities such as vertical expertise or content management.

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The State Of Mobile Marketer Tactics 2017

Thomas Husson

I just published a new report to help marketers benchmark the mobile tactics and technologies their B2C marketer peers use and are planning to use in the next 12 months. The key findings are as below:

  • Marketers Misuse Mobile Marketing Tactics

B2C marketers often focus too much on piloting the latest mobile shiny object (see graphic below); unfortunately, they fail to adequately invest in the core mobile touchpoints — like email or search — that most consumers use to engage with brands.

  • Use Mobile To Transform Brand Experiences

Too few marketers think of mobile as an opportunity to transform the brand experience. To truly differentiate themselves, marketers should develop mobile-unique interactions delivering visible value with apps, messaging, and online-to offline tactics.

  • Insights And Constant Optimization Are Key To Unlocking Mobile’s Full Potential

To rethink how mobile could transform the customer journey, marketers should use ethnographic research and journey maps to develop a more holistic vision of their customer behaviors that leverage contextual data. Testing and learning will not be enough — the use of optimization techniques must be systematic.

Clients willing to know more can access the full report here.

Fix Your Marketing Measurement Mess: Key Takeaways And What You Can Do

Tina Moffett

A few weeks ago, my colleague Jim Nail and I conducted a “Fix Your Measurement Mess” workshop at the 2017 Consumer Marketing Forum in New York. Our workshop became a great conversation starter for participants to understand and take inventory of their challenges and to recognize priority metrics for their own businesses.

The 4-hour measurement workshop was a hands-on session to deconstruct marketers’ current measurement approach, prioritize and classify metrics, unearth what makes a valuable metric, and identify the triggers marketers need to start, stop, or continue monitoring as they become more measurement savvy. We discussed current measurement maturity across channels, metrics adoption, and baseline capabilities for measurement success. Here are a few things we learned:

  • Marketers are more confident in their metrics. Our workshop participants know the metrics that help them determine campaign success, customer intention, and customer preference. For example, participants thoughtfully conducted deep analysis of understanding how awareness metrics drove customers to the consideration phases. They also discussed the importance of mapping the distance between a metric and a sale to quantify the real value of their metrics.
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Is Email Marketing As Good As It Is Ever Going To Get?

Shar VanBoskirk

Many of you may know that at the beginning of March my colleague Rebecca McAdams who had been leading Forrester's email marketing research for the previous 18 months moved into an Advisor position with Forrester's customer experience leadership board.  With this change, I'm proud to reclaim email marketing as my very own.  Some of you may be thinking, "This feels a little back to the future..."  You are right!  I've been studying email since 1999 (yikes!).  And am looking forward to continuing our great research agenda on the workhorse of the digital marketer's toolkit. 

Rebecca launched some "future of email" research before her move.  As I go through the notes from the smart conversations she had trying to find the answer to: What is next for email marketing?  This question pops into my mind instead: Has email marketing already come as far as it can?  What I learned from the research is that:

Marketers already know what best practices will make email marketing better, they just don't apply them.

Because doing so:

  • Costs more.  Making email better, through analytics, improved segmentation, dynamic content or offer optimization drives up email CPMs (from basically free to not quite free).
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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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