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.
· How you collaborate (or not) with your non-mobile counterparts and whether you're involved in helping to train them on how mobile affects their areas of expertise.
· How your role impacts other stakeholders outside of the marketing department.Read more
Just a reminder that you've got less than 24 hours to enter your submission for the 2012 Forrester Groundswell Awards - we'll be accepting entries until 11:59pm Eastern Time (EDT) tonight.
More details on the awards, and how to enter, can be found here. Good luck, everyone!Read more
A few years ago, a barrister told me a story about an open-and-shut court case involving a burglar caught red-handed by police as he was carrying a television through the window of a house he'd just broken into. After the evidence had been presented, the jury made a request - would the prosecution present the forensic evidence they'd taken from the scene tying the burglar to the crime? "It's the CSI effect," the barrister lamented. You see, the general populace has watched a lot of crime shows on TV and now think they're experts in how and when legal evidence should be gathered and presented.
When it comes to health and well-being, there's something even bigger than a top-rated TV show influencing consumers - the Google effect. We all turn to the Web at the first sign of a cough and are happily diagnosing or researching our ailments daily. There's even a word for people who diagnose themselves mistakenly from the Web: "cyberchondriacs."
As the classic connected "Gen Xer," I'm constantly Googling symptoms and cures when I'm unwell. So despite my previously limited knowledge of marketing healthcare, I sought to answer these questions: Just how big is the digital opportunity for healthcare brands, and what are brands doing to take advantage?
The research showed what you'd expect. Opportunity = huge, execution = limited. Healthcare brands across pharma, medical devices, over-the-counter (OTC), and consumer health are spending conservatively (compared to both offline marketing and other industry sectors, such as financial services). We also picked up that there was a frustration in the lack of innovation taking place.Read more
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.Read more
I had breakfast a week ago with Taleen Ghazarian, the VP of Strategy and Planning and Bob Zurek the new SVP of Products from Epsilon. The meeting was to re-introduce me to Zurek (full disclosure, he is a former Forrester analyst; worked on a lot of our CRM research several years ago) and brief me on his plans for Epsilon's new platform. I think Epsilon's focus on product innovation is overdue (no argument from Zurek or Ghazarian there). But I agreed with Zurek's vision for where to take things. Specifically, his plans are:
Aggressive: Customers told us as part of our most recent email vendor Wave evaluation that they felt disappointed by Epsilon's unfulfilled promise of a technology update. Well, Zurek's charter is create a technology that not only updates any places where current Epsilon tools fall short, but to actually create a brand new platform that out performs any competitors. We'll see of course, how it delivers. But I admired Zurek's passion and commitment, and his recognition that Epsilon had to over perform here in order to stay competitive in the digital space.
Agile: I'm big lately on the notion of agile innovation - a framework for innovating in an iterative way -- which is based off of the principles of agile development. Zurek's development approach deliberately embraces agile processes. He is testing iterations with alpha customers and then redeveloping based on their use and feedback.Read more
Is Facebook finally getting over itself?
Or, rather, is Facebook actually starting to realize that its place in the advertising ecosystem is just that - a place - not the whole answer, but rather a part of the answer?
If the recent news that Adometry will be allowed to place attribution tags inside the Facebook ecosystem is any indication, Facebook is starting to get the message.
I personally think this is a HUGE deal. Probably because I've been shouting about the absolutely critical need for multitouch attribution for years and years (yep, well before joining Forrester, I promise), and continue my shouting from both the page and stage.
I suppose the cynical view is that Facebook is making these moves because, as a public company, shareholders demand results and today, given that 84% of Facebook's revenue comes from advertising, they'd better learn to play nice with advertisers or risk lost revenue and angry shareholders. But I'd rather believe, optimistically (naively, many of you will say) that Facebook is finally starting to listen to the brands that spend millions of dollars with them every year: In a world increasingly populated by "always addressable customers" (so named by Forrester, these are folks with three or more connected devices who access the Internet multiple times a day from multiple physical locations - a whopping 38% of the US online adult population in 2011) who clearly do NOT think in channels or devices, there's NO WAY for a marketer to deliver the right experience to those consumers if she's dealing with a bunch of walled garden environments that don't talk to each other.Read more
At Forrester, we've always strived to help our clients address their challenges from a number of different angles, and now we're formalizing this approach with an idea called playbooks. Each playbook we write is focused on one specific business challenge and is designed to give you every detail you'll need to be successful.
Our interactive marketing research team is hard at work writing playbooks that cover mobile marketing, email marketing, digital media buying, and more -- and I couldn't be more pleased that our first interactive marketing playbook is the Social Marketing Playbook. We've worked to create a playbook that'll help you:Read more
On its first quarterly earnings call, Facebook left it to Sheryl Sandberg to talk about how the company makes most of its money: marketing. And I was encouraged by how much she discussed the topic and how Sheryl stressed over and over the importance of proving ROI to advertisers. But I remain deeply unconvinced that Facebook can give marketers what they need, for two reasons:Read more
Yahoo! announced tonight that Google's Marissa Mayer would take over tomorrow as Yahoo!'s CEO and President. Obviously Mayer has long experience in the space and brings good competitive knowledge, particularly related to search marketing. But I'm disappointed by this choice, here's why.
*Yahoo! needs a strategic visionary, not a product engineer. Yahoo!'s fundamental problem is that it has too many disparate products with no clear unifying thread that ties them all together. And Mayer's background is in product development...not corporate strategy, not marketing, not brand definition...the areas where Yahoo! has the most critical need.Read more
It's that time of year again! That is, it's time to look back at the very best social programs your company has run in the past twelve months, and to prepare your entry to the Forrester Groundswell Awards. This year's entries are due on September 5, 2012 - and you can enter using our online form. We'll be presenting the awards at Forrester Forums in October.
We've been lucky enough to recognize some fantastic social applications since we started these awards back in 2007 - and we'd like for you to have a great chance of winning, too. To improve your odds, we recommend you focus on two key points:
1. Enter in the right category.This year we've got 17 categories spread across three divisions: Business to Consumer, Business to Business, and Business to Employee. (If you've entered in previous years, you'll notice that our two B2C divisions - North America and International - have been combined into a single global division; and that our Management division has been renamed Business to Employee.) Choose the division that best describes your program's audience (B2C, B2B or B2E), and then choose the award category that best describes the objectives of your program (for instance, Listening, Talking or Supporting). If you're not sure which category fits best, you can review the descriptions of each category on our FAQ page.Read more
Our clients are asking us more questions than ever about marketing in China. So we're responding - by increasing our presence in the market, by launching our first marketing & strategy event in China, and by publishing more research on the country. In fact, today my researcher Jenny Wise and I published two new reports on marketing in China: The Key To Interactive Marketing In China and Social Media Marketing In China. Below are Jenny's thoughts on social media in China:
If you're marketing in China, social media offers an enormous opportunity: Chinese online adults are the most socially active among any of the countries we survey worldwide, and a whopping 97% of metropolitan Chinese online adults use social tools. And this isn't only driven by the younger generations -- we find that on average Chinese Internet users ages 55 to 64 are more active in most social behaviors than US Internet users ages 25 to 34.
But a Chinese social media strategy is not that simple to implement, especially for Westerners accustomed to marketing on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube - none of which operate in this market. So before you take the leap into social media in China, be sure that you:Read more
Twitter content visibility ages quickly -- yesterday's news is todays chip shop wrapping paper. However, not all Twitter content of value ages badly. Yes, Google, Bing, and the like use Twitter for social signals but current content is mostly favored over older tweets. Outside of time-bound announcements there is wealth of content from brands that tips over the Twitter waterfall into oblivion -- top tips, cool videos, white papers, quotes, free music tracks, and other media goodness that has a much longer shelf life than the perpetually scrolling Twitter feed can keep up with.
There are many services that offer an attractive magazine-style landing page that aggregates all activity on your tweet stream, such as paper.li, but the problem from the brand perspective is that it is all content on your tweet stream -- not just your own posts. That approach is fine for broad curation of ideas and topics but not for promoting a brand or individual. Other services like news.me provide magazine-style presentation of your Twitter content, but the problem from the marketer's point of view is that the content is locked up inside a smartphone app that doesn't garner search engine attention -- it's a private reader not a public profile.Read more
Cannes this year is hosting more and more evidence of the disappearance of lines between "digital" and "advertising": A mobile category was launched; the new Branded Content and Entertainment category includes subcategories such as "best use or integration of user generated content"; Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was named Media Person of the Year and . . .
. . . WPP used the international advertising festival to announce it is acquiring digital agency AKQA and incorporating it as a separate network within WPP.
AKQA is a great pickup for WPP. It's not only one of the biggest indies left but one of the best at blending creative and technology skills in one organization -- a mix that doesn't always live together easily.
It also fills a hole for WPP. AKQA aspires to a category of agencies I call "brand transformers" that are about more than communications and look to leverage digital capabilities to help clients enter new adjacent product and service areas.
Very interesting that it will be a standalone brand and not folded into one of WPP's existing networks. Digital agencies VML and Blast Radius bring similar capabilities but are locked in the Y&R network; WPP gains flexibility by having AKQA "at large" in its holdings. In addition, AKQA is a little too big to fold into another network easily, but will need to build heft quickly if it wants to remain separate. Otherwise, in a couple of years, WPP will merge it with other assets.
I think it's likely Interpublic and Omnicom will react. WPP clearly sees digital as essential to its future. This acquisition definitely puts some distance between WPP and Omnicom, which had been pretty close, and Interpublic, which has a couple of strong assets but doesn't have the strategic focus that WPP and Publicis do.Read more
Many in the industry have watched with interest (and perhaps a bit of schadenfreude) as Facebook shares have plunged to under $27. Obviously, multiple factors have contributed to some of the luster coming off this once glistening object, but a significant factor has to be concerns over Facebook's ability to monetize its growing mobile user base through advertising. But here's the thing, digital publishers: mobile monetization isn't just Facebook's problem; it's your problem too.
If anything, the publicity around Facebook's mobile challenges brings to light what has become a very open secret among digital publishers - mobile isn't a great advertising business. And it won't be any time soon, either.
Rapidly changing consumer behavior has turned mobile into a massive media platform, with over 1/3 of US online adults owning 3 or more connected devices (typically a PC, smartphone, and tablet), going online multiple times a day, and from multiple locations - a segment Forrester calls the Always Addressable Customer. This is a tremendous opportunity from a content perspective - publishers can now engage audiences essentially whenever and wherever they are by building mobile apps galore and optimizing their websites for easy, on-the-go mobile and tablet consumption. But monetizing those content assets is another story altogether.
Sure, US mobile display ad spending will eclipse a billion dollars this year, and network players like Millennial and Google will continue to reap the rewards. Meanwhile, traditional content creators will struggle to find and deliver scale - a complaint we often hear from media buyers eager to engage mobile audiences. If this sounds like a repeat of the history of digital advertising, it's because fragmentation and lack of scale is true for almost every media innovation.Read more
I'm doing it. Waving three vendor categories at the same time. And I can't wait (seriously, no satire intended.)
For those of you less familiar, Forrester's Waves are detailed analyses of technology vendor and service providers done in order to help our user clients select the best partners for them. (Please note: the keyword in the preceding sentence is detailed. A Wave typically takes 12 weeks to conduct and includes multiple inputs like product demos, client reference interviews, and written responses to an RFP-like questionnaire).
Well, over the course of the next three months, I will be waving search marketing agencies, bid management platforms, and SEO automation tools. In the past, I have evaluated only search marketing agencies as many of them provided proprietary technologies, and stand-alone technologies were still quite immature. But since Q4 2011, I've gotten more and more inquiries about search marketing technology players as well. And search technologies have really made some strides in the last 12 months.Read more
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.Read more
Forrester's Western European Search Engine Marketing Forecast 2011 to 2016 is now out and one thing's clear, paid search spend will grow at a slower rate than historical averages as mobile and social become increasingly important to aid multi-channel "discovery."
It's not so much a case of paid search being less relevant, but that search and the process of "getting found" across channels has become more diverse with the advent of social media, growth in mobile search, and shifting budgets to SEO in response to rising cost-per-click (CPC) rates in mature European markets.
The last frontier for paid search? Interestingly, despite huge marketing cutbacks the troubled euro zone markets -- Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain -- maintain growth only just below Western European averages as brands in these markets shift budgets to search and focus on acquisition and return on investment.
Overall, interesting times are ahead for the search agency that can develop multi-channel marketing strategies or the more traditional digital agency which shores up it's search and discovery offering.
If you're looking for the how to do mobile and social in this space you can't go wrong with my colleague Shar VanBoskirk's reports "Mobile Search FAQs For Beginners" and "How To Integrate Search With Social Media."
[Image credit: Robert Scoble]Read more
I read some deceptively warm and fuzzy advertising riding on the subway this morning courtesy of our nation's top soft drink manufacturers. Together they have reduced calories of drinks in US schools by 88% by offering more low- and no-calorie options. "Gee," I thought, "I'd like to learn more." So as I exited the subway, I took out my phone and searched "no calorie soft drinks." The top link broke the spell; an article on msn exposing the same risks that no calorie drinks have of their sugary cousins. My first thought was, "Well that isn't any better for our nation's children." My second was, "What the #$&?! Do these companies take me for a complete fool? Don't they know that I have the world's knowledge at my fingertips??" Apparently not.Read more
I have a tailor named James.
Well, I say I have a tailor, but in truth I've only commissioned one item - a jacket - and it's not done yet. I had an initial fitting about 10 days ago, and I'll collect the finished article next week.
I decided to find a tailor because I was tired of off-the-rack suits that never fit quite right. So James took more than a dozen measurements. We talked in detail about sleeve lengths, and lapel widths, and how I liked my jackets cut. And once he'd made a sample, I tried it on so James could get the details just right. I expect it'll be a perfect fit.
When you look at your company's marketing efforts from one country to another, how well would you say those programs fit? In the past year I've worked with a bank, a consumer goods manufacturer, and a pharmaceutical company that are all struggling with how to globalize their interactive marketing programs. And while most of them had a couple different issues holding them back, there was one common theme: The global programs rarely fit the local markets.
Local interactive marketing managers tell us they're also tired of shopping off-the-rack -- in their case, being handed one-size-fits-all sites and strategies that aren't tailored to their markets -- and that they usually don't have enough resources to make the proper alterations. The result is a choice between using ill-fitting global programs that don't meet local needs or creating cheap one-off local efforts that don't meet global guidelines or standards.Read more
My colleague Melissa Parrish 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.)Read more