Between February 27 and March 2, 2017, Mobile World Congress (MWC) will once again take place in Barcelona. Last year, over 100,000 attendees visited the event in search of new insights about “everything mobile.” This year’s MWC theme is "The Next Element" and aims to underline how elemental mobile has become in our everyday lives. I would go further, as I believe that mobility is increasingly treated as a key enabler of the wider digital transformation process. From an enterprise perspective, I expect that during MWC 2017:
Process-mobilization debates will gradually replace technology discussions. I expect a little less hype around the features and functions of shiny mobile devices and network components this year. I hope that there will be more of a debate about how mobility can enhance business processes and change business models. Events like Web Summit host more advanced debates about the impact of smart devices on accelerating the business platform economy. MWC 2017 visitors should look for relevant case studies from the likes of GE Digital that underline how these business platforms can support positive business outcomes.
Brand equity is a precious thing. It takes years to build and can be damaged in a heartbeat by unforeseen events, like product breakdown, and ill-considered marketing strategy. Smart marketers exercise control over how, where, and when their product or service is seen in order to safeguard their brand investment.
The tools and partnerships that marketers must rely on to buy media and execute programmatically preclude the kind of control that marketers expect and exercise in other channels. The result is that they cannot get a comprehensive list of sites where their ads appear. While they can require white- and black lists, without the final recap they have no way to determine whether or not their requirements were met.
What’s more, marketers can no longer assume that their ad placements within walled gardens won’t be compromised. The challenge of determining what is and isn’t valid content continues.
In the past few months, several major brands have conceded that, unbeknownst to them, their ads have appeared on inappropriate sites. They learned of these placements not from their programmatic partners, but from discontented customers, which is a marketer’s worst nightmare.
This is not a situation that can be changed overnight. It’s a challenge that marketers must lay down to themselves and their programmatic partners in order to protect the brand equity they have so thoughtfully built over time.
I've always dismissed efforts to size the 'content marketing market'. The definition of content marketing's very squirrelly, meaning:
a) if you size it including A, B, and C, then people will invariably say it should also include D, E, and F (but not B, or C), and
b) if you ask marketers to give you a number, then you're at the mercy of however each marketer defines it (combining apples and oranges).
Last year, when setting up our big annual survey of marketing leaders, we sidestepped the definition mine-fields by asking marketers to tell us how much of their budgets would go to content creation. Taking that data and applying some approximations (% of revenue going to marketing budget and total domestic industrial revenues) gets you to my headline figure: $10 billion spent on content (all of it, not just 'pull content', 'media content', or whatever content ghetto you want to define) in the US in 2016. Considering US GDP is about one-quarter of global GDP, that brings us to a ballpark figure of $40 billion annually in global marketing content spend in 2016.
The figure's admittedly a ballpark estimate, but at least it describes clearly what it contains (marketing content), and it's pleasingly well lower than other, more hyperbolic estimates for content marketing that I've seen bandied about.
In the lead-up to Mount Vesuvius’ catastrophic eruption — as foreshocks became more frequent and the air grew tainted — the citizens of Pompeii gossiped about a celestial force set to punish them for their sins. Around 2,000 years later, and there’s the same apocalyptic mood around Amazon’s looming impact on retail in Australia.
But while Amazon’s eventual launch will certainly disrupt incumbents, don’t overlook the impact of another silent assassin: Kmart.
This is no coincidence. Forrester has confirmed the link between customer experience improvement and revenue growth. It leads to customers who spend more, recommend you to others more, and stick with you. But what is really surprising is the hypnotic way Kmart achieved this.
My colleagues Melissa Parrish, Richard Joyce, Susan Bidel and I spent a lot of time since the US Presidential election researching the effect of the so-called “fake news” epidemic. Why is this so prominent, and why now? The truth is this 2016 election cycle shed an enormous spotlight on a nagging problem for advertisers that existed long before the era of WikiLeaks, PizzaGate, and Breitbart News Network.
Today we revealed a new report that assesses the challenge ahead for advertisers, outlines the risks to brands, and provides a prescription for how to protect the ever-increasing budgets that continue to funnel into programmatic advertising. For the details, read the full report (client access only): Fake News: More Proof That Advertisers Must Choose Quality Over Quantity.
Here’s a quick summary:
Don’t confuse satire or opinion with fabrication. Understand the difference between what is blatantly fabricated with ill intent vs. satirical (e.g. The Onion) or opinion-based publications. The risk to your brand differs across this spectrum, and so must your mitigation tactics.
In a previous blog, I outlined how context matters, and specifically how the industry context in which you are doing business matters to the strategic decisions you make. But there are also commonalities across industries. Some business challenges plague multiple industries such as how to improve customer experience, retain loyal customers, and improve sales whether in the retail or hospitality sector, or how to get the inputs you need to make your products and to get your products to market in a timely manner in the manufacturing or pharmaceutical sectors. And, everyone these days is increasingly concerned about fraud, risk and security.
Back in my early days as an industry analyst, one of my first client events was, in essence, a field trip to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to take a tour of C.S. Longlines (which AT&T’s analyst relations [AR] team arranged). It was the ship from which tens of thousands of fiber optic cable was laid. I was barely over the US legal drinking age and just learning what bandwidth even meant. So as you can imagine at first, I had some serious doubts about how interesting this would be. It was actually fascinating. And that’s something I can say about only a few of the hundreds of events that I’ve attended since.
I was engaged before I even started. I knew enough about what we were going to see, and it piqued my interest.
It was immersive. We were on a big ship in a harbor — enough said.
My experience was customized. There was no predefined path throughout the ship. We toured what we wanted to see versus what AT&T’s AR team wanted to show us (though I am sure that the team eventually showed us all of it)
Uber’s new initiative, Movement, is a step in the right direction. Facing criticism, the company decided to open its treasure trove of data to the cities in which it operates. Hidden in the anonymized ridership data are potential insights about the impact of major events, rush hour, lane closures or other factors on traffic flow and congestion.While the details remain to be seen, the website shows dashboards and data visualizations. Uber plans to build out the Movement platform, and will roll it out across cities and eventually to the public.
Now that I've taken on Forrester's digital business and transformation playbook, I've been thinking a lot about the benefits of journey mapping, which I believe is the front end to any transformation initiative. I don't have a wealth of evidence yet to justify your investments in journey mapping (though my CX colleagues have a lot more to share for Forrester clients). But I have been developing a framework to measure the impact of better customer experiences. These metrics range from hard to squishy:
Higher satisfaction drives repeat business, hence higher customer lifetime value. This is a hard metric, particularly if you are using journey mapping to improve an existing touchpoint. A major online retailer told us that they prioritize digital investments (in, for example, a better mobile web experience) based on two metrics: revenue and satisfaction. Their business model succeeds or fails based on repeat business, so they build, measure, and continuously optimize the best digital engagement possible. Repeat business is something you can measure. Next, bracket the business improvement through better customer understanding with a best-case and worst-case analysis. Start by correlating customer satisfaction studies with touchpoint use and experience quality.