What You Missed At The B2B Marketing Forum — If You Weren't There

Peter O'Neill

Wow! It may have taken place seven days ago, but I am still exhausted — and exhilarated — from our inaugural B2B Marketing Forumin Miami last week. Here is a short recap of what we covered during the two days.

Day 1: Obsess On Customers; Orchestrate A Relationship; Conduct An Engagement

The opening main session began with Forrester’s James McQuivey, who inspired us all to understand both how to understand customer obsession and how to drive the necessary organizational, process, and even cultural change. Molly Murphy, from Eaton Industries, presented a best practice example of doing exactly that in her marketing organization. Forrester’s own Laura Ramos then explained how an account-based marketing strategy enables a full commitment to customer obsession in both marketing and sales. Amanda Kahlow, CEO and founder of analytics vendor 6Sense, rounded off this topic by telling her very personal story.

Then we broke out into the first of three repeated track agendas (so that all could attend each session of interest and not make sacrifices because sessions were competing):

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The AT&T Merger With Time Warner Opens A New Chapter For The Telco Industry

Dan Bieler

With Laura Koetzle

On October 22, 2016, AT&T announced its intention to acquire Time Warner for an equity value of $85.4 billion. The deal is essentially about the combination of quality content and content distribution, as it transforms AT&T into a content producer and owner — rather than just a distributor of content. Many telecom regulators restrict revenue growth opportunities for telcos in highly regulated telco markets. As a result, telcos are increasingly looking outside their markets for growth opportunities. This deal is evidence of this trend.

Telco CIOs Must Become More Strategic To Prepare For The Content Opportunity

The AT&T-Time Warner deal deserves special attention by telco CIOs. The deal needs to be seen against a challenging backdrop for the telco industry, where revenue growth from traditional revenue sources is hard to come by. Yes, AT&T already operates the largest US pay-TV business through its ownership of DirecTV. The Time Warner deal — should it materialize — would enable AT&T to offer its own premium entertainment programming to its pay-TV, mobile phone, and internet customers. AT&T’s intention to acquire Time Warner opens a new chapter for telcos, because the combination of quality content and content distribution potentially helps telcos to:

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Speed Dating In Miami — Or What I Learned At The Forrester B2B Marketing Forum

Steven Casey

Now that I’m back from Forrester's B2B Marketing Forum in Miami last week, I thought I’d share a few observations. This was my second Forrester event as an analyst, but my first at a B2B Marketing Forum. 

It’s worth noting that my perspective as an analyst is completely different from that of an attendee, because so much of our time is consumed by one-on-one meetings. This means that I didn’t see much of the mainstage proceedings other than the first-day opening and part of one presentation over a hurried lunch on the second day.

If you’ve never been, a big part of the value of Forrester's events for attendees is these one-on-ones, which provide various opportunities: to sit down across the table from analysts with whom you may speak regularly but have never met face-to-face, to make first-time introductions, or to simply reconnect with old friends. The one-on-ones are set up speed-dating style — 20-minute conversations scheduled on the half-hour, starting at breakfast and stretching throughout both days of the conference. And maybe I’m bad at time management or just get caught up in interesting conversations, but just about all of my meetings ran into each other. So it was a whirlwind experience, exciting and exhausting at the same time.

I did my best to take notes, and here’s a few of the major themes I observed, based on my interactions with dozens of B2B marketers throughout the entire event:

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Media Agencies Must Provide Value Beyond Buying

Sarah Sikowitz

Changes in consumer behavior and technology are driving seismic shifts in media buying. Marketers are feeling this acutely as they reach out to media agency partners for strategic support and solutions. At the same time, media agencies are struggling to carve out ways to differentiate — broadening capabilities and moving into new marketing realms. 

The result: a crowded market where it’s difficult to identify which agency partners can strategically engage customers through paid media.

In our Vendor Landscape: Media Buying Agencies (subscription required), we surveyed marketers and over 40 agencies and found an environment where efficient buying is table stakes.

Marketers want media agencies to provide value beyond planning and buying with:

  • Data-driven strategies
  • Cross-channel measurement
  • Creative ideas
  • Unprecedented, but necessary, transparency

Marketers should read this report to understand how media agencies are evolving and what to prioritize in the agency selection process.

I am currently taking inquiries and offering advisory on this topic.  Please reach out to learn more or share your experience in media agency selection.

Account-Based Marketing Will Elevate, Not Eclipse, Lead-To-Revenue Management

Lori Wizdo

The explosion of interest in account-based marketing has created uncertainty for business-to-business (B2B) marketers who have invested in marketing automation to optimize their lead-to-revenue processes. It’s not surprising because the vendors that market ABM-badged wares – and many pundits -- generate attention with controversial proclamations, like: “ABM is the death of demand generation”; “ABM replaces inbound marketing” and “Lead to Revenue Management (L2RM) is only a suitable strategy for selling products and services to small businesses”.  

While these arguments might help hawk new technology, they create confusion about both ABM and L2RM. It’s not surprising that 73% of B2B survey respondents agree that, as an industry term, ABM lacks specificity and gets applied to many different approaches inconsistently.  In my most recent report, Account-Based Marketing Will Elevate, Not Eclipse, Lead-To-Revenue Management (subscription required), I set out to rationalize the concepts of ABM and L2RM.  

Key takeaways:

  • B2B marketers should use ABM to accelerate the pivot to customer obsession.
  • B2B marketers need to decompose ABM into its component parts: strategy, tactics and technology.
  • Forrester's Go-To-Customer Strategy Matrix helps B2B marketers fine-tune their ABM strategy.
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What Product Development Orgs Can Learn From The Samsung Crisis

Nate Fleming

As details regarding the termination of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone continue to unfold, there are several important lessons, both technological and organizational, that manufacturers and product organizations should take away from their peer’s costly product crisis:

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The Data Digest: Metropolitan Chinese And Metropolitan Indian Customers Lead The Demand For Business Transformation

Anjali Lai

Consumers in Asia Pacific are in the midst of a digital transformation. Within the past decade, online penetration in China grew from 8% to 54%, while mobile internet access grew more than sevenfold. Today, the rate of customer evolution is gaining speed, as consumers are increasingly willing to experiment with new products, rely on devices, demand seamless digital experiences, consume large volumes of information, and are committed to seeking out the best experiences for themselves.

Forrester’s Empowered Customer Segmentation measures these key shifts in customer behaviors and attitudes and anticipates how consumers both respond to digital innovation and demand it. An analysis of our Consumer Technographics® data for Asia Pacific shows that the most rapidly evolving customers dominate in metropolitan China and metropolitan India:

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September of Sapphire: How The New Chase Credit Card Became An Overnight Sensation

Dipanjan Chatterjee

Ben Schlappig doesn’t have a home. He lives on planes and in hotel rooms. And he’s a big reason why Chase’s new credit card has generated unprecedented hysteria.

The credit card business is not where you go to get a brand fix. Most of the brands in this category tread water in the sea of sameness, inspiring little passion and much aggravation by inundating mailboxes with junk mail. And then there's the new Chase Sapphire Reserve:

  • The card was so wildly popular that, upon launch, Chase ran through 12 months of metal stock in three weeks.
  • Unboxing videos popped up all over YouTube, clocking tens of thousands of views (yes you read that right, the nail-biting action of a credit card reveal).  
  • Chase reported an unexpectedly large number of applications from millennials, a group that so far has been generally indifferent about card brands.
  • Bloomberg Business Week put the new Chase Sapphire Reserve on its cover.

Here’s why this should have never happened:

  • As an extension of the existing Sapphire franchise, there was a fairly docile product extension
  • At a $450 annual fee, it severely limited relevance in a category awash with no-fee cards
  • The card sweetened, but did not fundamentally alter the basic formula of perks and points. Nothing earth-shatteringly innovative here.
  • Advertising and promotion leading up to the launch? Zero.
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Loose Lips Sink M&A Ships

Cheryl McKinnon

Companies look for merger & acquisitions opportunities to boost their growth.  But when confidential information gets exposed, it throws a monkeywrench into their confidential assessments, strategies and negotiations.  Recent news proves this once again.  Whether Twitter would be a good fit for SalesForce is a question - but that the news that Salesforce was considering it leaked into the public domain made their decisions harder.


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Brexit Makes Customer-Focused Innovation Imperative

Dan Bieler

Photo: Cover of Panorama magazine Italia

While uncertainty continues, focusing on innovation is your best chance of success. British Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly said, "Brexit means Brexit." This statement ensures that every business operating in the UK will experience an uncertain and volatile market environment for some time. In our conversations with CIOs and chief technology officers (CTOs) since the Brexit vote, Forrester has retained its view that only if companies retain a focus on customers will they ensure growth and innovation, especially in times of uncertainty. All CIOs and CTOs at businesses operating in the UK should:

  • Make the business case that innovation can help their firms deal with uncertainty. Top management will be distracted by many short- term tactical considerations relating to Brexit. Make the case that innovation will move you closer to your customers and help to deal with underlying uncertainty.
  • Partner with their risk managers. Developing innovations that rely on customer and machine data will expose businesses to regulatory and compliance risks. Plan your business technology and innovation strategies with the risk manager on your side.

The report Brexit Makes Customer-Focused Innovation Imperative summarizes Forrester’s recent discussions and outlines how companies can best drive their innovation in the wake of Brexit.