Officially Introducing The Always Addressable Customer

Today, at long last, we published our report officially introducing the always addressable customer, though I (and others) have been talking about it for a while now. Just to refresh your memory, always addressable customers are people who own and use at least three web-connected devices, go online multiple times per day, and go online from multiple physical locations — and it's already 38% of US online adults.

This report was a true collaboration among many people on the Interactive Marketing research team, including Lizzie Komar, who was a pretty new Research Associate at the start of our journey, and who shares her thoughts about the report and its findings in the following guest post:

The Always Addressable Customer report is finally available to Forrester clients, and we‘re really excited about it.

Melissa and the research team supporting her kicked this project off in January. We began by looking at consumer behavior trends from 2009 to 2012 in North America and across Europe. The data we were most interested in evaluated consumers’ social behaviors, relationship to connected devices, time spent accessing the Internet, and number of places from which the Internet is accessed over these three years. After hours of copying and pasting, poring over years of (incredibly interesting) digital consumer behavior frequency tables, Melissa discovered a pervasive interactivity trend that emerged in 2010 and reached a tipping point with monumental implications: By the end of 2011, more than one-third of US online adults accessed the Internet from multiple physical locations, multiple times per day. The customers of the marketers we serve had become "always addressable," and the trend was growing.

Now, mind you, I was a new Research Associate with a mere six months of experience on the Interactive Marketing team when Melissa discovered the emergence of this “Always Addressable Customer” and socialized the concept with the rest of the team. As a proud member of generation Y with more digital profiles than years on this earth, this concept seemed so obvious to me. “Of course we’re always addressable,” I thought, “all of my friends and I log onto Facebook twenty-plus times a day and would rather go hungry than have our smartphones out of arm’s reach.” Though the idea was uber-intuitive to me, I carried on, and supported Melissa in all of the primary research she undertook with an open mind.

Eight months later, so much has changed. I am starting to think more and more like a marketer and less like a twenty-something smartphone-tethered consumer to understand what this trend means for the world we on the Interactive Marketing team serve. Marketers aren’t yet developing their overarching strategies with their mobile and social natives in mind, because they don’t feel that those natives (and, more importantly, their online behaviors) comprise enough of their target audiences. Big mistake, because this research shows that not only is your consumer already tipping towards “always addressable”—46% of Gen X is already in this category — but as the younger mobile and social natives attain purchasing power, their numbers and importance to you will grow. So get ready for us!

In the marketing organization, this trend is bigger than the strategists determining the five-year brand strategy. This affects the digital media buyers thinking of what ad to serve, to what person, on what device. It speaks to B2B marketers who need to mature their marketing suites to meet this always addressable customer’s demands, and it’s something that will support the trend of CMOs siphoning more and more of the traditional marketing budget into digital. It’s a big deal, and it’s here.

The report presents the framework of addressability to help you determine how to meet your always addressable customers’ needs. I’m so excited to see how you’ll use this framework to discover how the relationship between you and your customers grows as a result of working outside-in to deliver service and value rather than pushing messages from the inside out!

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