Want To Launch Mobile App? Ask Yourself The Tough Questions

Mobile website or mobile app? It's not only a common question from marketers -- it’s also the wrong question to ask. So let’s get this out of the way first, interactive marketers: You need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check your organic web traffic. Odds are, you’ll see anywhere from 10%-25% of your web traffic coming from mobile devices, whether you’re intending to capture that mobile traffic or not. That percentage has been growing steadily and will continue to, so yes, you need to have a mobile web home. I’m glad that’s settled.

Whether or not you need a mobile app for marketing is a little less clear-cut. To decide, once and for all, if you should really build that mobile app, ask yourself these three most important questions:

1.       Is my audience using apps?

Yes, about half of US adults have a smartphone, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re using it in sophisticated ways. You can likely find users of all ages among those who have apps, but demographics affect the size of your app audience. For example, about one-third of smartphone app users are Gen Y (ages 23-31), and another third are Gen X (ages 32-45). Make sure you understand the app habits of your own audience before you decide what to build.

2.       Am I ready to build and manage an app?

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Mobile Marketers: I'm Looking For You!

Those of you who know my research won’t be surprised to learn that I’m currently working on a collection of mobile marketing reports that will eventually make up our mobile marketing playbook. (For more information about Forrester’s new playbooks, check this out.) But what you probably don’t know is that the report I’m working on right now isn’t about mobile marketing — it’s about mobile marketers.

My hypothesis is that as a company decides to commit to mobile marketing, experts either emerge or are hired to shepherd programs specifically designed to engage the mobile audience. It sounds easy enough, but there are a couple of things that complicate this seemingly straightforward evolution. First, mobile isn’t really just “a” channel. There's more than a dozen mobile tactics that a mobile channel manager could be responsible for, including mobile display, mobile search, and mobile messaging, in addition to mobile sites and apps. Second, for a lot of those mobile tactics, there are already embedded non-mobile counterparts, like digital media buyers, email marketers, and search specialists with whom the mobile marketer may need to collaborate.

So, for this report, I’m hoping to speak with several of you mobile marketers out there to understand things like:

·         How you got into your current role and what it entails.

·         Where you sit in relation to other marketers at your company.

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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.

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Salesforce Buys Buddy Media: Not A Shocker

As an analyst, I make a lot of predictions about various technology offerings. Over the last year those predictions have increasingly focused on the Social Media Management Platform (SMMP) space, specifically about how I expected consolidation as demand increased from marketers, and big tech players realized the necessity and potential of these platforms. It seemed pretty obvious to me that this space would continue to heat up, especially as I fielded more and more phone calls every week from marketers vetting the players in this space. So in answer to the most common question I’ve been getting since last week: no, I’m not at all surprised that a company like Salesforce would buy Buddy Media.

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Facebooks Needs to Take Marketing Seriously

My colleague Nate Elliott and I have been thinking about the Facebook IPO. Our thoughts:

The world’s biggest social network will complete its initial public offering in a few days, with a valuation based largely on its strong history of innovation. But we have to wonder: Will Facebook ever focus any of that innovation on helping marketers?

After all, Facebook is fantastic at introducing great new features and services for its end users. The moment another social tool gains the interest of enough users – whether it’s Twitter’s rapid public chatter or Foursquare’s location-based check-ins – Facebook updates its own site to offer similar features to its legions of users. We’ve rarely seen a company borrow from its competition as quickly or as well as Facebook. And that focus on better serving end users has seen Facebook grow quickly over the years, even in the face of consistent privacy concerns.

But as good as Facebook has been at evolving to serve consumers, that’s how bad it’s been at serving marketers. In the past five years Facebook has lurched from one advertising model to another. Remember when the site charged marketers to host branded pages? Or when every page featured banners from MSN’s ad network? (You may choose to forget Facebook Beacon; Mark Zuckerberg would certainly prefer you did.)

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Engaging Your Ultra-Connected Customers

Back in March, I hinted at my discomfort with the way SoLoMo has come to mean technology-focused, reductive marketing campaigns usually solely focused on the “check-in.”   But the reason people want to talk about SoLoMo is because of real trends in consumer adoption of technology and advanced technology behaviors. Those of you who were at Forrester’s Marketing Leadership Forum last month know that this thinking evolved into what we’ve been calling the Always Addressable Customer — a topic that I haven’t stopped talking about since we debuted it. For those of you who haven’t yet heard the term, the Always Addressable Customer is someone who:

·         Owns and uses at least 3 data connected devices

·         Accesses the Internet multiple times per day

·         Goes online from multiple physical locations (for example: home, work, in the car, and at the mall)

These customers require marketers to think differently about their programs if they want to be effective. Always Addressable Customers don’t stop to think about their devices or “technology solutions.” Rather, technology is simply how they live their lives and get stuff done. It means that you can now reach this ultra-connected audience wherever they are, but more importantly, wherever and whenever they need you. That “need” is key here: I’m not talking about your ability to bombard your customer with irrelevant messages. I’m talking about how you can now provide true service and value to your customers whenever and wherever they need it. 

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SoLoMo Or So Not Yet?

Are you thinking about SoLoMo yet?  My clients definitely are, and I haven’t been surprised by the number of questions I’m getting about it considering that 86% of US online adults engage in social media and 2/3 of online Generation Y fall into the SuperConnected category of Mobile Technographics®. But what does SoLoMo really mean?

It’s a concept that brings together social, local, and mobile media — and it’s intriguing to marketers because incorporating social engagement, local targeting, and the mobile customer into a single program seems like it should lead to especially creative and effective engagement. But I’ve been researching this topic over the past couple of months and I have a couple of concerns:  

  • First, the way we talk about SoLoMo puts too much focus on the technology and easily lets marketers slip back into technology-first strategies driven by trends rather than audience insights.   
  • Second,  SoLoMo programs often take the form of a check-in offer today. This can certainly be an effective marketing tactic for retailers and brands with brick-and-mortar presences. But isn't there something SoLoMo can offer other brands?
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Principles For Mobile Marketing Success

Most marketers know that there are opportunities for them to engage consumers on mobile devices: consumers are increasingly buying smartphones, using them more frequently, and using them as a supplemental resource for content and communication. So it’s great to see that marketer spend in mobile is increasing. However, we find that most efforts still treat mobile as a translation of PC-based campaigns, or are otherwise experimental. And while it’s smart to start with those kinds of programs, we think it’s important that marketers begin to evolve their mobile marketing strategies so their programs can be as sophisticated as their customers.  

In our latest report, we’ve identified a few steps you can take to move your mobile marketing strategy forward:

1)    Know what phase of mobile marketing evolution you are in.To get where you’re going, you first have to know where you are. We’ve has outlined five phases of mobile marketing evolution and the accompanying approach, resources, goals, and tactics for each so that you can see which phase you are in today: Foundation, Experimentation, Device Strategy, Channel Strategy, and Comprehensive Strategy.

2)    Use the three pillars of mobile strategy to guide your marketing programs in each phase:

a.     Immediacy: Provide content that is timely and actionable in the moment.

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Just Published: A Forrester Wave™ For Mobile Marketing Strategy

We’ve all seen the headlines:  2010 2011 2012 is the year of mobile!  Mobile marketing spend will outpace email search display!  Jump on the bandwagon now or else!  

. . . And while I’m bullish about mobile marketing — I better be, since it’s my primary coverage area these days — the importance of having a sound strategy and the right partners to execute often gets lost in all that hype. That’s why I’m extremely proud to have just published The Forrester Wave™: US Digital Agencies — Mobile Marketing Strategy And Execution, to help marketers identify the right agency partners to develop and build smart mobile marketing strategies that deliver real business results.

You’ll notice from the (rather long) title that I focused specifically on US-based digital agencies. Admittedly, this is a narrow view of a very wide array of service providers that help marketers create mobile programs.  However, to deliver the kind of value people expect from Forrester’s trusted Wave methodology, it was necessary to zero in on just one part of the market to ensure a level field for all players.  

Even with this focus, we screened scores of agencies for this study and ultimately ended up with nine agencies to evaluate:  AKQA, iCrossing, Ogilvy, Possible Worldwide, Razorfish, Rosetta, SapientNitro, TribalDDB, and VML. These top performing agencies were included in our evaluation because they all:

• Offer comprehensive mobile marketing services.
• Met – and mostly exceeded — a minimum revenue requirement from mobile marketing offerings.

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Google Search Gets Social- What it Could Mean for Marketers

I don’t know about you, but my head is spinning from all of the articles and editorials about Google’s incorporation of Google+ content and other personalized search results.  While there’s lots of conversation about whether the changes are good or bad for Google and the future of search, whether Google is opening themselves up to more anti-trust investigation, and whether Google was simply too late to the social media game to make a difference,  I’m going to leave those arguments to others.   I’m more interested in the potential opportunities and challenges for marketers that this integration of search and social presents.

Opportunities

  • It may give marketers an additional metric to track for social media.  Google will be surfacing your brand’s Google+ social content directly into personalized results, for consumers who’ve added you to their circles.  These search results may also include content that a consumer’s friends posted about you.  That means qualified clicks on your social content—and that means possibly tracking how much search traffic you generate to your own sites through social marketing. 
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