The Vanishing Dichotomy Between B2B and B2C Branding

Dipanjan Chatterjee

 How My Experience As A Decision Maker Formed My B2B Branding World View

Before I threw caution to the wind and launched myself with wild abandon into the world of branding, I had a normal life.  For a few years, I ran a retail business for a Berkshire Hathaway company (and since everyone asks, yes, I did meet and have dinner with Warren, although I suspect his recollection may not be as crisp as mine.) We manufactured and sold uniforms to government agencies: Police, fire, EMS, postal service, and others. As you'd expect, our customers were quite insistent that the fabric for the uniforms be made in the U.S. That is until budgets got slashed, and belts got tightened. Then the only thing that mattered was cost. So we were sent scampering to find the lowest-cost fabric and our global fabric sourcing program had to go from zero to sixty in a matter of months. 

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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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North American Life Insurers Are In Digital Denial

Ellen Carney

Are you feeling wistful about what online insurance experiences used to be?  Can’t remember how to get back to the Wayback Machine?  You can indulge that nostalgia by simply shopping online for life insurance.

 Beginning in Q3, we looked at 13 websites—nine carriers, two online agencies, and one aggregator—in the US and Canada to get a sense of how easy it was for someone who was interested in buying a basic term life policy to use digital channels learn about coverage options, get an estimate, find and connect with an agent or advisor, and apply (up to the binding process).[i]

What prompted us to explore the digital buying experience for American and Canadian life insurance shoppers?  Our data showed that when considering life insurance, shoppers:

  • Turn to personal connections. The financial dynamics of the family and social networks play an important role in the insurance research process, especially for younger buyers. Nearly 4 in 10 Americans said that they had used friends and family to research life insurance, while 13% of Canadians said that they had spoken with family or friends about the coverage.  These personal connections are manifest through comments like, “I bought my life insurance from Company X (or Agent Y). You should check them out”, whereupon the dutiful relation goes to the life insurer’ or agent’s website.
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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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How To Get Resources For Digital Intelligence

Cinny Little

Congrats.  You, like digital customer insights pros in many firms, continue to advance your ability to provide insights about your customers’ digital behavior.  However, you’re leaving money on the table. Too many digital analytics teams still operate in separate silos aligned with the firm’s channels and org chart, which means that you're not keeping up with today's device-hopping customers. You need to invest in changes that measure customers wherever they actually are, which is across all of your digital touchpoints. And to do that, you need an effective business case. 

A business case is not a blah, blah, blah checklist item.  No matter what your firm’s processes may be for budget requests, headcount requisition, or procurement, you need a management tool that tells the story of the business value you’ll deliver with the investment you’re requesting.   And that tool is a business case.  We’ve done the work to help you pull together an effective one. See the bottom of this post for a summary of the key elements you'll need.

Here’s where you’re heading with your business case.  Your analytics must mature to become what Forrester calls “digital intelligence” - a holistic view of your customers that drives continuous optimization of the digital customer experiences that matter most to business outcomes.   This integrated approach to your data and analytics technologies and practices reaps value such as growing sales by connecting customer data that lets you see across formerly siloed product lines or channels.  Visibility across channels enables insights that can drive improvement in holistic business metrics that matter, such as churn, lifetime value, customer satisfaction, efficiency.  Your business case will outline that holistic story.

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L2RM Automation Is Powering A B2B Marketing Transformation

Lori Wizdo

Forrester just published The Forrester Wave™: Lead-To-Revenue Management Platform Vendors, Q4 2016.  Our research uncovered a robust market in which Act-On, Adobe, IBM, Marketo, and Oracle lead the pack; bpm'online, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Salesfusion offer competitive options; and CallidusCloud and Right On Interactive are Contenders.  Forrester’s Wave ™ process is comprehensive (we evaluated the products across 36 different criteria); rigorous (the process comprises executive briefings, detailed product review and demo, all validated with customer references); and completely transparent (each criteria is graded on a 0-5 scale with the scale explanation openly published).  There’s no hiding in the Forrester Wave ™ process – for the vendor, or for the analyst.  As the lead analyst on this research I want to thank the marketing and product marketing teams of the vendors who participated in the Wave research process.  

Our last Forrester Wave ™ analysis on L2RM platforms was published in 2014 and we found significant differences in:

  • Practitioner motivation: 
    B2B marketers are moving beyond revenue performance to life-cycle customer engagement
  • Platform maturity:
    Support for advanced B2B marketing practice is the differentiator with marketing practitioners looking for their marketing operating system.
  • Marketplace adoption: 
    There’s a lot of runway in the L2RM Platform Market.
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Three Ways That Retailers Can Step Their Game Up In 2017

This year has been no picnic for retailers. With Thanksgiving weekend upon us, many retailers are in the throes of the holidays and are doing all they can to achieve a strong finish to a bumpy, even bewildering, year. Retailers now must deliver rich, personalized customer experiences to win the customer loyalty battle for two key reasons:

  • Consumers are still cautious…:Almost 10 years after the last financial crisis, the national unemployment rate is low, gas prices are down, and real income is up – but continued tempered spending shows that consumers aren’t taking anything for granted. Economic and political turmoil globally isn’t helping, nor is uncertainty about the implications of Brexit and the U.S. elections.
  • …But they’re also empowered:Owning multiple connected devices is increasingly the norm in the U.S., so it’s not surprising that 42% of U.S. online adults are researching products via online customer reviews weekly if not daily– double the activity just two years earlier. In an era of “anywhere, anytime” commerce, consumers are actively using their smartphones not just on the go, but even in the store itself. And while they may be fiscally skittish, we’ve found that consumers today are willing to try new things faster than in the past.  
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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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