Sophisticated, demanding mobile customers: Ready or not, here they come!

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were talking about the policy on airplanes to turn off all devices from the time the door closes until the plane has reached 10,000 feet. 

My point: I don’t have a problem powering down for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s when we get delayed on the tarmac for an hour or two that I get antsy, though lately the pilots seem to let you reconnect while you wait for take-off. 

His point: “I don’t see why people feel the need to be connected all the time anyway.”  

A predictable response based on generational differences? Perhaps. But what made it a particularly interesting comment is that he said it while using his iPhone to find the least traffic-ridden route home to CT from NJ. 

This, then, is the mobile mind shift: The expectation that the info you need is available whenever you need it on any appropriate device — without having to make a conscious effort to stop what you’re doing, decide which device to use, turn it on, scroll, click, etc., and eventually find what you’re looking for. You want to know what the traffic’s like? Here’s the map. You want a table for dinner? Reserved. You want to know the weather? Done. 

The result is a customer with extremely high expectations that you must be ready to meet, or risk irrelevance. The key to serving these customers will be to shorten the distance between what they want and what they get; to refocus your marketing efforts to deliver utility at speed; to make your customers’ lives better rather than just making your messaging better.

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How to Become a Mature Mobile Marketer

Sixty-seven percent of interactive marketers are currently using mobile or are planning to start using it in the next year, according to our Q2 global executive survey. That’s great news! But before we celebrate mobile finally coming into its own, we have to acknowledge that mobile is still a new channel with a learning curve that needs to be traversed before it becomes a fully integrated part of brands’ marketing programs.

Here’s some more good news: you know those playbooks you’ve been hearing so much about? We’ve just released one for mobile marketing to help you develop your mobile marketing skills and practices, step-by-step, from the ground up. In this playbook, we’ll help you:

  1. Discover just how important the rise of the always addressable customer is to the development of mobile in our vision module. You’ll learn how to pick the best partners to help you achieve your goals out of a vast landscape of agencies and service providers. And in the coming month, you’ll find out how successful mobile marketers built a business case to secure budget and resources for their programs.
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Perpetual Connectivity Will Change How We Experience The World

Devices are proliferating, and we’ve all seen the data to prove it: More than half of US consumers now own smartphones, and nearly 20% own a tablet. And it’s not just device ownership that’s increasing. As we’ve been talking about for the past year, people are now connected to each other, to places, to things, and to brands more often and from more locations than ever before. If you're at CES this week, you're going to see even more devices, gadgets, and digital appropriations of formerly analogue tasks that will all help push this evolution along even faster. Whether it's thanks to the FitBit Flex, one of Samsung's new smart TVs, or simply reliable mobile apps, people are becoming perpetually connected. And that evolution is changing more than just the frequency with which we turn to devices: It’s changing how we perceive the concept of connectivity.

Increasingly, going online isn’t something we do. It's something we are. Instant access to information and services isn’t just convenient — it’s how we live our lives. And it’s changing our desires, our needs, our demands, and our expectations. It’s changing how we experience the world.

As more and more of us become perpetually connected and the level of our connectedness deepens, these changes will come more rapidly and be more transformational so that soon people will:

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Spice Up Your Next Meeting: Play The Customer Journey Game

The following is a guest post by Kara Hoisington, a member of the terrific advisor team for Forrester's Interactive Marketing Council.

 

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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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