Alexa, What Should My Intelligent Agents Strategy Look Like?

Jennifer Wise

As packages continue to arrive from this year’s record-breaking Black Friday weekend, it’s no doubt you’re seeing Amazon packages complete with front-and-center ads for Amazon’s Echo and Dot devices. You may even be one of the reported millions that ordered one that weekend.

These are more than just devices — they are Alexa-enabled and are helping Alexa further integrate into consumers’ lives. And Alexa isn’t alone: from Alexa to Google Now to Microsoft’s Cortana to Apple’s Siri, we have a budding class of intelligent agents (IAs) on the rise. In 2015, 45% of US online adults used at least one.

As consumers, these purchases mean a new product or a holiday gift. As a marketer, these are part of the growing intelligent agent landscape that threatens your direct relationship with customers. How? As consumers fall in love with the customized, proactive utilities IAs provide, IAs will capture customer moments. The good news: If you work with them, you can gain valuable new customer access and insights. If you don’t, you risk losing your direct customer interactions to this powerful intermediary.

How do you land on the positive scenario? The answer isn’t “launch a [skill, card, whatever the agent-specific experience may be].” Don’t repeat the app mishaps we saw from brands launching an app whether it made strategic sense or not. Instead, determine the strength of your brand loyalty, digital commitment, and data insights to decide if launching your own IA strategy is feasible today — or if you should pursue a different type of IA strategy as outlined in this report.

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How Can You Define The Right Social Approach And Tactics In Asia Pacific?

Xiaofeng Wang

Marketers in Asia Pacific are increasingly investing in social marketing — and they expect great returns on their investments. Our latest report tells how to Understand Social Consumers To Achieve Marketing Success In Asia Pacific and uses Forrester’s Social Technographics® model to better define the right social approach and tactics in the region in three steps:

  • First, study whether your audience uses social media to interact with brands. Based on social savvy, we categorize audiences into four groups: Social Stars, Social Savvies, Social Snackers, and Social Skippers.

Highlights: Metro Indian (Social Stars) and metro Chinese consumers (just three points shy of being Social Stars) are the most social-savvy and demand social interactions with brands.

  • Second, find the phase of the customer life cycle in which your audience uses social media. To succeed, focus your social strategies on the life cycle stages where your customers are most likely to use social tools: when discovering, exploring, buying, using, asking, or engaging.

Highlights: China and India are also the two markets where social commerce may have the best chance; each has an extremely high social buy score.

  • Third, see which social behaviors and sites your audience prefers. The Social Technographics Intensity Matrix reveals the social behaviors your customers engage in and the types of sites where they engage in those behaviors to decide your social tactics.
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The Hidden Power Of Mobile

Thomas Husson

Most marketers agree that mobile is a strategic priority. However, they fail to appreciate the true power of mobile: its ability to radically improve their entire marketing plan by linking consumer online and offline behaviors.

While consumers use mobile as a sixth sense to digitize the offline world, marketers still think of mobile as a subdigital channel.

Marketers must reconsider mobile’s role in their entire marketing plan. They should:

  • Link Mobile To Offline To Unlock Its Full Potential

To bridge digital and offline marketing, marketers must rethink the total impact of mobile ads, use mobile to augment traditional marketing campaigns, and apply mobile data to improve overall marketing effectiveness. Mobile data is the new customer gold mine, providing both personal data on individuals and the world they live in as well as contextual data combining offline and online behaviors in real time.

  • Start Measuring Offline Attribution Now

Marketers must put mobile at the heart of their identity resolution plan and work with data partners to make the most of emerging mobile offline attribution solutions. Given the importance of sales in physical stores, it matters to understand not just if mobile drives traffic to store but the extent to which it increases total sales.

Clients willing to know more, “The Hidden Power of Mobile” Report is available here.

According to Forrester’s mobile maturity framework, less than 20% of brands leverage mobile to transform the entire offline experience. If you want to benchmark your own mobile maturity, take about 20 minutes to answer our questionnaire. We will share back with you the aggregated topline results.

AT&T DirectTV Now - The Cord Never-Ever Package

Jim Nail

 I'm in NY today at the launch of DirectTV Now -- AT&T's new video streaming service. The key points are:

  • Live TV plus on-demand streaming
  • Packages starting at 60 channels for $35 per month up to 120 channels for $70 -- with a special deal to get the 100 channel package (normally $60) for $35, for as long as you remain a customer 
  • The channel line up is all the good stuff -- not padded with niche channels nobody ever watches.
  • The catches: No CBS or Showtime yet -- though they are working on it. No NFL Sunday Ticket, but they're working on it.
  • Extensive distribution through all AT&T outlets and resellers, plus deals with Amazon and Apple TV. 
  • A special AT&T exclusive deal with Taylor Swift for original video.
  • Their focus is the 20 million people not already in the pay-TV ecosystem: people who couldn't pass a credit check to get satellite DirectTV and apartment/MDU dwellers.
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SapientRazorfish...a necessary consolidation and harbinger of things to come

Sarah Sikowitz

This post is co-authored by Anjali Yakkundi, senior analyst at Forrester

Two years ago, we published our take on Publicis Groupe’s acquisition of then independent, digital powerhouse, Sapient. In that report, we predicted that it would be difficult to integrate the capabilities and culture of Sapient with existing Publicis agencies Razorfish and DigitasLBi to drive value for clients. 

We were right, it was difficult.  Clients struggled to find clear points of differentiation between the firms, which often competed against one another for new business. Revenue suffered. Meanwhile, consultancies like Accenture Interactive and Deloitte Digital continued to move into digital agency territory.

And now, two years later, Publicis Groupe is merging SapientNitro and Razorfish to form SapientRazorfish. The new entity will sit under Publicis Groupe’s digital arm, Publicis.Sapient and will begin fully operating in the new model on January 2, 2017.

This merger is smart because it:

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Call For Marketers In China – Join Forrester’s 2016 Global Mobile Executive Survey

Xiaofeng Wang

Forrester’s 2016 Global Mobile Executive Survey is open, and we are calling for marketers in China. If you’re a marketer who is involved in mobile consumer initiative in China, please take this opportunity to provide your perspective.

My colleagues Julie AskThomas Husson and Jeniffer Wise are collecting responses from marketers in the US and Europe. If you want to understand the role that mobile is playing in various organizations in different regions, what their objectives are, how they measure the success of their mobile initiatives, and a lot more, you just have to share with us your own perspective and we will aggregate the answers.

For your efforts, we will share a free copy of the survey results.

Click HERE to start the questionnaire.

If you’re not familiar with your company’s mobile consumer approach, please forward this survey to the relevant colleagues who are in charge of defining or implementing your mobile consumer approach.

The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.

The survey will be live until November 29, 2016.

Responses will be kept strictly confidential and published only in an aggregated and anonymous manner.

Needless to say, we will filter responses and exclude irrelevant answers as well as answers from vendors or consulting organizations.

Marketers, You’re Also Culpable In Facebook's Metrics Mess

Jessica Liu

Yesterday Facebook blogged "An Update on Metrics and Reporting" to inform marketers that several of their organic metrics were misreported including organic reach, time spent on Instant Articles, and follower count. This follows Facebook's revelatory September announcement that their video metrics contained a discrepancy and were over-reported.

The industry was outraged. But who’s really at fault here? Tina Moffett and I break it down like Judge Judy.

For The Defense: Facebook

How long did it take TV to standardize measurement? The social media industry is young and a fast-changing work in progress. Lest we forget, Facebook is only 12 years old and started as a platform for people; metrics was the furthest thing from their minds. But, it’s now the biggest social network serving people, brands, and publishers and is constantly having to prove value to all three. We would be surprised if Facebook was not screwing up along the way. To build their platform, Facebook will continue to mess up and correct, mess up and correct. Instead, let's focus on how Facebook's metrics woes will impact their relationship with marketers (and agencies):

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What’s New For 2016 Singles’ Day: Live Streaming, VR, And AR

Xiaofeng Wang

November 11 is Singles’ Day in China — the biggest eCommerce event in the world. This year, Singles’ Day generated almost $18 billion in one day for Alibaba alone. For more results and analysis, see the Quick Take: AR, VR, And Global Brands Help Singles’ Day Surpass $18 Billion In Online Sales report that my colleague Lily Varon and I put together.

Singles’ Day is now a global phenomenon, blending shopping and entertainment both online and offline; it’s a far cry from its origin as a one-day, one-country, online-only shopping event. This year, newer trends like live streaming and virtual reality (VR) commerce show how eCommerce is evolving. Some of the highlights were:

  • Elevating online-to-offline promotions with augmented reality (AR). Alibaba created a Pokémon-Go-like augmented reality mobile game — “Catch The Tmall Cat” — to drive traffic to the offline stores of partner retailers like Starbucks and Suning and increase sales; players could “capture” discount codes to use in stores. 
  • Developing live streaming as an online shopping staple. This year, Alibaba held a shoppable, live-streamed fashion show during its kickoff gala and live-streamed more than 300 shows during its 24-day promotion period. JD.com and Suning also latched on to the trend: Both teamed up with live-video platform Huajiao to provide live streaming during Singles’ Day.
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The Marketers' Responsibility In Measurement

Tina Moffett

B2C marketers have taken ownership of data-driven decisioning from their customer insight colleagues. With the most holistic view of investment, execution, and results, marketers themselves are the ones best equipped to move marketing from gut-feel to results-driven. Thirty-nine percent of marketing measurement professionals in our recent Forrester Wave evaluation revealed that corporate marketing sponsors marketing measurement and optimization initiatives while only 14% indicated business intelligence or corporate analytics groups sponsor. (Source: Forrester's Q3 2016 Global Marketing Measurement And Optimization Solutions Forrester Wave™ Customer Reference Phone/Online Survey).

 
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Announcing Forrester’s Latest Wave Evaluation Of Digital Agencies In China

Xiaofeng Wang

The Forrester Wave™: Digital Agencies In China — Strategy And Execution, Q4 2016 is now live. It’s the second time we have evaluated digital agencies’ capabilities in the Chinese market; we published our first report on the topic in Q1 2015.

To reach and engage with more than 700 million online consumers, B2C marketing professionals have put digital atop their agendas. However, marketers in China are far from ready to go digital-first on their own, and need agency support particularly in the following three areas:

  • Customer understanding and segmentation. Digital consumers’ behaviors are changing fast, and marketers must better understand, reach, and engage with them. Marketers expect to get more data services from agencies, especially industry-relevant customer insights, to help them better understand their customers.
  • Multichannel strategy. Marketers increasingly realize that siloed thinking fails to tap the full potential of digital business, and their efforts are often disconnected when supporting digital marketing initiatives across platforms and channels. As a result, marketers’ demand for multichannel solutions is increasing.
  • Creative strategy. Marketers need creative strategies to improve the return on their digital marketing investments. Content marketing, creating relevant ideas, defining customer segments, and customer journey mapping are critical to developing an effective creative strategy where the ultimate goal is to deliver business outcomes.
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