Thursday, October 30, 2008

Forrester Day 2 Summary

Day 2 wrapped up the 2008 Consumer Forum. Here's the summary (typos included free of charge!):

  • Consumer 2018: Separating fact from fad (here)
  • Using digital channels to fuesl the world's largest airline (here)
  • Embracing the multichannel customer (here)
  • Why we buy: the science of shopping (here)
  • CRM 2.0: Managing relationships with customers of the future (here)

And in case you missed it, here's was Day 1

Day 1 included:
  • Four ways to identify and satisfy consumer needs for the future (here)
  • The view of change from NBC television's position (here)
  • A poorly defined customer 200.0 from Acxiom (here if you dare)
  • Enthusiastic description of Blockbuster as multi channel distribution network (here)
  • Keeping consumers happy in a cross channel world (here)
  • Using social media to evolve consumer insight (here)
  • Qualitative, Quantitative and Ethnographic maket research approaches (here)
And the highlight of highlights was Patsy winning the Amazon Kindleby texting a promo code during the Acxiom session!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CRM 2.0: Managing relationships with future customers

Bill Band, Vice President, Forrester

  • Groundswell is about people collaborating with one another to obtain things from each other rather than organizations, such as corporations [e.g., self organizing tech support conversations online]
  • Relationships with customers will be simultaneous and collaborative in nature
  • Different level of participation in online activities
  • Claim: 50% of online are active creators; 15% are  critics; 19% are collectors; 33% are spectators [lurkers]; the balance are inactives [I think people probably occupy different personas depending on their social may be more likely to lurk in a context where you are a novice for instance]
New requirements for success in the world of the social customer
  • Create customer-to-customer interaction
  • Enrich customer based differentiation...boost customer experience discipline
  • Build dynamic solutions to support collaboration...put right data into the hands of the right people.
  • Web 2.0 Communities and Usability merge with CRM 1.0 data to enable CRM 2.0
Changing role of customer facing functions, from old role -->new objective 

  • Research--> Listening (monitoring buzz, developing sounding board community)
  • Marketing-->Talking (encouraging loyal customers to spread word, social networks)
  • Sales--> Energizing (USe customer opinions, designate lead customers/LinkedIn)
  • Service-->Supporting
  • Product Development-->Embracing
Early adopters and how they are approaching it
  • Starwood: automated capture of unstructured data on a consumer forum (FlyerTalk) and created an index of sentiment. Included competitive monitoring and isolation of key issues. Support from Anderson Analytics and SPSS.
  • InterContinental Hotels Group: To improve customer experience (in addition to tangible things like towels and such) they leveraged their loyalty program (PRiority Club) as outbound to create a community for discussing and testing new ideas. Find this cost effective alternative to traditional market research methods. Support from Communispace.
  • LucidEra: Online analytics company. Accelerate the process from lead to sale.. Used InsideView to pull together a social media sales profile on the prospect that can be shared with the sales force.
  • Electronic Arts: Incorporated customer support inside the large multiplayer games on line. Partnered with RightNow Tehnologies
  • Dell: IDeastorm as a customer-generated idea platform. Customers directly contribute to ideas and community then votes on ideas as a way to identify the most promising ideas for product development. Partnered with

Social dispticks: Shopping as change indicator

Paco Underhill, Author of "Why We Buy: The science of shopping"
Founder and CEO of Research and Consulting firm Envirosell

  • Claim: Visual language is evolving faster than spoken language. 
  • Claim: Most of the people designing the new visual language are younger...
  • The majority of the developed world's discretionary income is in the hands of the over-50s.
  • Claim: We live in a world owned, designed, and managed by men...and yet a world that expects women to participate. What makes this female friendly?
  • [gender stereotypes are shooting forth from the stage...]
  • Claim: 60% of all university attendees are female.
  • Time: our approach to retail and online is about saving time...but this requires that we distinguish between novice thru expert.
  • Global vs. Local
  • Maslow's hierarchy of needs is being reordered...claim: around the world people are paying their mobile phone bills before housing or clothing. The need to stay connected.
  • Convergence between online, mobile and bricks and mortar are colliding.
  • [Video of how Envirosell does research...instore video and interviews...ethnographic approach...a usability-like approach to understanding consumer behavior at retail]
  • [would be an interesting approach to support consumer brands associated with insect control!]
  • IN 2008 collecting data is easy. The challenge is not collecting data its deciding what to do with it.
Audience Questions
  • How do we integrate data with understanding? Look at inventing tools that can be used in an ongoing basis. Going out and taking a look in place is still important to informing the data that can be collected thru automated means.
  • What do you think about customer centric models? We either have to specialize or supersize...who do we want to serve? Be good at it.Being all things to all people is becoming less and less viable [what does this say about the integrated agency model?]
  • How does your research method work? Always with permission of the merchant. Sometimes put a sign in the store that market research is being conducted. Observational researcher...not particularly concerned with waht the individual does, but rather patterns...does not feel particularly concerned with privacy of those being observed in public. The obligation is to act responsibly with the data.
  • What major changes have you seen in shopping patterns? Their are certain things that are biologically based and true (e.g., right handedness). Some things vary by geography and culture. Other changes are occuring in people as a species...such as evaluating our lives with a different view (such as approaching an age of austerity due to economic conditions and the acute awareness in the disparity between rich and poor)...he beleives suburbia and cars are evil and explain the rise in the need for connection online. [though in this age of self evidence, we will expect no more than this uninformed opinion to support itself ;-) ] 

Credit to the Customer: Citi

Embracing the Multichannel Customer

Debra Coughlin, Executive Vice President, CMO
Citi Brands

  • Dynamic brand engagement
  • Shift from talking at the customer to listening 
  • Four types of consumer: New customer, Loyalist, Researcher, unaware
  • Category clutter: consumers typically have four credit cards
  • Claim: 31% of customer commitment is determined by brand [but what does that mean?]
  • Used innovative research techniques to identify the Citi brand "If you were a credit card company what kind of party would you throw? Who would you invite?" [wow.]
  • Credit card statements are at the heart of 'What's your story" campaign.
  • [fun brand ads...but how does this make me choose citi?]
  • Television: used for...awareness [hmm..]
  • [Engagement here is all on the terms of Citi...I suppose that explains why Citi thought it was ok to sweep customer overpays into an interest bearing account that paid citi...not the customer  see here for more...but enough about Citi, what do you think of us?].
  • [Ok, I'm being critical...not to be confused with unfair, but certainly critical]
  • "We did a program that was so integrated that the results were phenomenal"
  • "The results delivered were stupendous brand stories"
  • "The TV and print were 3x as effective as our other campaigns"
  • [Ok, this explains why some CMOs have no credibility with people who do math].
  • [they did win an award though]
  • [Wachovia should be happy for Wells Fargo]
  • The future is now [true dat]
  • A true dialogue [true dat...but not at Citi]

Fly me courageous: adopting digital channels for American Airlines

Using Digital Channels to Fuel the World's Largest Airline

Daniel P. Garton, Executive Vice President, Marketing
AMR Corp., and American Airlines

Using digital media to attract and interact
  • Claim: 75% of people research travel online; 50% of business travelers book online, though 40% of leisure do
  • Claim: is the 11th most visited site in the travel category.
  • Strategy is: be innovative, but watch what others do...sometimes being number two is better (just ask the second mouse to get to the trap)
  • Claim: 1.6 million visitors a day...70% of hte ir customers visited the site in the last 12 months...90% of the gold/platinum customers.
  • Providing options in booking to enable cusotmer needs to be balanced against price, schedule and extra services (such as baggage charges, mileage bonus)
  • For AAdvantage customers, making award booking more convenient and transparent.
  • Downloadable desktop widget (Dealfinder) for searching and presenting user-defined travel options via RSS...automating the search against user what customers are interested in to the revenue management group.
  • Future of mobility, profile based notification, electronic boarding passes, bundlin
  • 25% of advertising is spent, mobile, microsites, messageboards, Facebook, travel aggregators...among others.
Using technology to serve customers during travel
  • Customer technologies: Onboard power ports, entertainment and connectivity, and self service machines...all aligned with the idea of maximizing the customer's time (esp frequent flier)
  • Employee tools: Automating the airport experience using enhanced gate displays, gate advisors, bag finder and Helix...a program that looks at individual customers and aligns high value who have had a bad experience and treat them differently.
Using digital to maintain contact post travel
  • Half of Advantage miles earned are from non-flight partners.
  • New members get 4 emails initially to encourage engagement...monthly memeber statements after opt-in.
  • USe of digital promotions and customized offers to encourage activity.
  • Milefinder Map:  locating ways to earn and burn miles with partners in local context (i.e., your neighborhood...and see comment about the partner).

2018: The not so distant future

Lisa Bradner, Senior Analyst, Forrester Research

Consumer 2018: Separating Fact from Fad

  • People change...what's a truth and what's a phase?
The convenience conundrum
  • Meeting the four needs (connection, uniqueness, confort and variety) with convenience is what drives adoption. 
  • In marketing, the convenience has sometimes been prioritized around our needs...which is thet masss approach. Marketers attempt to provide comfort and convenience to the top of the bell curve, ignoring the uniqueness at either end of the curve.
  • Claim: 72% of consumers say prior experience drives brand loyalty [I trust me, not your ads]
  • Claim: 58% of online adults say they trust online reviews more than any other medium except email from friends [in other words, it's the people!]
  • It's not about the channels [i.e., it's not the vehicles]
  • It's not about messages [interest ebbs and flows based o n macro factors]
  • It's not a one size fits all approach to needs [somtimes I need variety...other times not so much]
The new P's
  • Company focused P's: Product, price, place, promotion are replaced by consumer focussed P's: Permission, Proximity, Perception and Participation
  • Permission: people derive confort by having control over who and when they connect. 68% of US adults subscribe to DO NOt Control list; 59% use popup blocking; 69% have opted out of an email list they opted into. What do you have to do to get their permission? Give them product samples (34%) or enter a sweepstakes (22%). Only 18% would do it for relevant informaiton.
  • Proximity: people tap into the networks and affilitaions based on comfort. 75% online have read customer ratings and 76% say it influences thier purchase decision. 87% say they friend are people they know well. only 8% friend companies or brands. [It's people!]
  • Perception: people inhabit multiple personas. 49% of online youth have more than one online identity. 73% have more than one email address they only share with certain people. [youngest people already are managing their online personas].
  • Participation: 51% online willing to participate in online communcaty organized by a company. 56% willing to give back to a community by writing online reviews.
  • Marketers cannot drive the consumer P's...respect them and try to meet them..letting hteconsumers drive it.
Getting ready for the next decade
  • Brands matter...they are how you sort out the cesspool of the internet (Eric Schmidt, Google CEO)
  • 59% say they were influenced to feel favorable about a brand based on branded content
  • 53% of youth are willingt to receive email from brands. [but what youth use email?]
  • 43% willing to receive texts [which means 57% are not]
  • Permission is paramount...if you don;t have it you have nothing. Use exclusivity to gain only get access with an invite from a friend [Augusta National??]
  • Engage the persona that the consumer shows you.
  • Connect where the consumer wants you to.
  • Embrace participation.

Day 1 Summary | Day 2 agenda

Day 1 included:

  • Four ways to identify and satisfy consumer needs for the future (here)
  • The view of change from NBC television's position (here)
  • A poorly defined customer 200.0 from Acxiom (here if you dare)
  • Enthusiastic description of Blockbuster as multi channel distribution network (here)
  • Keeping consumers happy in a cross channel world (here)
  • Using social media to evolve consumer insight (here)
  • Qualitative, Quantitative and Ethnographic maket research approaches (here)
And the highlight of highlights was Patsy winning the Amazon Kindle by texting a promo code during the Acxiom session!

Day 2 Promises:
  • Consumer 2018: Fact from Fad
  • Using digital channels to fuel the world's largest airline (AMR)
  • Embracing the multichannel customer
  • Shopping as the dipstick of social change
  • Afternoon breakout sessions

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Rational and Emotional: Methods for understanding consumers

Using Qualititative and Quantitative Methods to Understand Consumers

A Panel discussion featuring JP Gownder of Forrester; Meredith Lind of Momentum Market Intelligence; and Robin Beers of Wells Fargo.

Research Methods:
  • Important to match the type of research to the organization's culture [numbers versus stories].
  • Qualitative [focus groups; interviews] Quantitative [surveys]; and Ethnographic [observation in context].
  • [Market researchers need help in information design...especially in ppt :) ]
  • Ethnography: all about the context of the participant's life [akin to usability testing in situ]
  • Methodologies work best when mixed [focus groups alone are a dangerous way to proceed unless you are looking for confirmation of your biases]
Recommended sequence of study:
  • Ethnography-->Focus Groups--> Survey 
  • [it does beg the question of online ethnography: studying the conversation online may be it's own outcome. Likewise, participating in the conversation as a marketer may not require formal research to generate ideas, especially if the participants are generating the ideas]
  • Broadening the scope of research to include contexts that span household and work.
"Ethnography privledges the native's point of view" [...applied to marketing this would be privledging the customer's point of view...from software it's user-centered design.]

ROI: Return on Insight

Viva La Evolution: A panel discussion with Deborah Shultz (stratgic Advisor on Social Media to P&G) and David Armano (VP of Experience Design for Critical Mass)

Risks of Social Media
  • Social Media and the legal department haven;t evolved at the same rate [rights management/privacy for instance]
  • Grandiose plans...start small [this is risk mitigation strategy...if you can fail without risk, though, you aren't creating revolution. Most companies are not configured to be revolutionaries of course]
  • [The biggest risk is that you challenge the existing way things are done...and that can be as  much a personal risk as an organizational risk]
Best practices for big companies
  • Brands are broadcasters...this model is dead. 
  • Marketers as customer advocates are the important role...marketers as broadcasters are assembly line workers.
  • The call center associate is closest to the customer and yet viewed as lowliest n the organizational totem pole [is the receptionist one of the most important voices in the organization?]
  • Facilitation versus Managers: you don;t manage your suctomer's conversations, but you can have people who faciliate and seed conversations among cusotmers.
  • Comcast and Twitter example: when people are talking about your brand, the best response is 'How can I help?'
  • Ask forgiveness...not permission
Conventional Marketing
  • Big ideas-->big launch-->big budgets
Unconventional Marketing
  • Plan/Design/Launch/Measure-->insights->little strategy->adjust-->Plan/Design/Launch/Measure [same process as software development...beta, release 1, etc.]
Online communities provide an excellent source of research into the customer mindsight. Verus traditiona research, you are not limited by size, controlled discussion and context-free assessment.

Marketers are not in the business of selling advertising, they sell products [Mad Men reference!]...selling products in the future will require more engagement in directly talking wtih customers. 

Return on Insght:
  • Rather than calculating a hard economic return on investement, recognize that much of social media and customer interaction is learning. In that regard, the appropriate metric is return on insight.

Happiness is...happy consumers

How to keep cross channel consumers happy

Adele Sage, Analyst
Forrester Research

  • A story about an intent to purchase a digital camera [you've been get customer service...they can't answer your question...or transfer you to someone who get po'd].
  • [Several key customer experience points ripe with opportunity for epic fail: researching the product purchase; tracking status; obtaining support
Theme: Time to fix cross channel experiences

  • Channels include chat, web, store, phone, email, mobile.
  • Claim: For purchasing, more consumers going across channels (web, phone, instore)...71% of consumers are cross channel shoppers. Only 29% are web only shoppers.
  • Claim: For service/support, 43% used most prevalent is web form at 23%.
  • Claim: Satisfaction with experience is low...61% rate experience across channels as poor or very poor.
How to Fix?
  • Focus on one channel pair at a time: for<-->email...web<-->store
  • Use scenario design for experiences: Who are the users, what are their goals and what path can you help them take to achieve them.
  • Do research...ethnographic research to create a persona based profile. [Sounds alot like observation-based usability research techniques employed in early stages of product/software design]
  • Three components of channel design: CHoice, Consistency, Continuity
  • as a best practice in choice: ability to schedule a time online that a BB associate will call you by phone.
  • Consistency of words and information used [this is a principle of interface design...consistency over elegance in interface design]: Kohls uses same images on line that they use instore on packaging...consistency from a user perspective. 
  • Continuity: Preserving context across channels...providing same 800 number online, in email and during confirmation of order/shipping status communications...providing inventory status instore while researching product online (Circuit City site) agent knows who you are when you've already entered data in voice response system (Macy's).
[An interesting session on looking at cross channel experiences...many of hte points struck me as some of the fundamental principles of designing products and software as promulgated by the likes of Don Norman, Jakob Neilsen and others...suggesting that experience design can learn alot from product design...and that marketing would do well to employ them.]

Brother can you spare a dime?: Blockbuster makes change

James W. Keyes, Chairman and Chief Executive

Creating Value by Making Change

  • Former CEO of 7-11
  • The demise of Blockbuster has been greatly exaggerated
  • A demonstration of change...the 45 rpm record adapter. [Record stores, huh?]
  • People think Blockbuster is going the way of record stores...the stores are a strength, not a millstone.
  • How are 7Eleven and Blockbuster the same? New competitors have emerged to fulfill the changing needs of customers. 
  • But technology enabled 7-11 to customize the items offered in each store in a way that enabled more efficient retailing by looking at store data. 
  • Blockbuster started with the idea as a convenience store for entertainment. 
  • Originally, Blockbuster didn''t even sell DVDs...because the model was rental. [and it's tough for a mature company to think different].
  • Change required adapting to consumer Blockbuster will sell OR rent.
  • Why Blockbuster? The opportunity to change. [Another Apple example...some forget that Apple needed to change in the late was the introduction of the iPod that built the change momentum]
  • The New Blockbuster: Reinventing the idea of convenient entertainment. 
  • Step 1: Name's Blockbuster Media. Not Blockbuster Video.
  • Step 2: Offering Rental, Purchase, Trade-in
Convenience and the Blockbuster Business Model
  • DVDs are convenient because they are portable [yes, but so is a wireless broadband network]
  • People won;t want to be tethered to a single TV such as set top boxes [again, wireless broadband or satellite aren;t tethered].
  • Subscriptions: will be older stuff...not the newest. [I think this is wishful thinking...if you have hot content, you want it on as many networks as possible...what's a cable subscription afterall?]
  • Blockbuster is pursuing a subscription model too, however.
  • Canbe the only company that can go across all channels--store, online, set top-- [does this make them a distribution network? it would seem the reasonable definition of Blockbuster now... the difficulty is getting the physical presence weighting right since brick and mortar cost more than electrons].
  • The instore challenge: fixing the supply chain to have adequate supply of the films people want in store...for rent or buy. 
  • Bringing in gaming: Rock The Block campaign to highlight video games and promotion of games like Rockband and Guitar Hero.
  • Putting Coca Cola cafes in stores to combat low volume days.
  • Stocking hardware...offering Blue Ray hardware for purchase in store...devices for online download...gaming systems.
  • Licensing products: Merchandise associated with films (posters, toys, apparel).
  • Vending and Digital Kiosks: a kiosk that can link to and in an airport load content onto a Flash Memory card (competing with Redbox).
  • Blockbuster is trying to out-convenience Netflix by mail and Redbox in vending and own the instore experience.
  • And unlike Apple and others who are tethering you to one device, Blockbuster is pursuing aggregated digital rights management for multiple devices...independent of platform [A huge opportunity precisely because it is so daunting in a world of open standards and competition].
[The new ad...gotta say its a classic example of brand advertising and it leaves me cold. Tell me why I should care but don;t tell me its cause you're telling me.]

Audience questions:
  • Are you getting ahead of your consumers with some of your new things (e.g., kiosks)? I don;t worry about getting ahead because they are have to worry about getting ahead of the investors. Which is why they havent built a settop box yet.
  • What was the logic behind the Circuit City acquisition (and others)? Generally prefers partnering. Acquiring a subscriber to movie service happens at the retail purchase. The thought is to be there at the purchase of the hardware...not as a separate and later attempt. Try to create a technology-agnostic store for media, hardware, software and service (like Apple Store but without the limit of one brand).
  • Best practices for buy online/pick up instore? Key comes down to not physical versus digital but viewing the cusotmer relationship as central...when you access, wherever you choose to do it, you are identified and have one relationship independent of the platform.

Pleased to meet you...hope you guessed my name

With all due respect to those moss-covered icons of rock and roll, we present...Web 2.0...Meet Consumer 200.0 [I'll guess that the order of magnitude is significant, but...we'll see.]

Tim Suther, Senior Vice President

  • [Register to win a Kindle...just text message the Acxiom number 39763 with the word CONNECT...I suppose you should be here, but hey. Information wants to be free.]
  • [oh, my. What Acxiom this considered product placement?]
  • And now, the content...
  • More choice, more innovation, connection, accountability, execution risk...complexity...blahblah.
  • [Nice background pitures of Deer or Bryce Canyon in hte slide background however.]
  • Claim: $112 Billion in advertising wasted.
  • Claim: only 45% of people (according to Edelman survey) beleive media...same survey says only 22% beleive advertising.
  • Web 2.0 [a taxonomy..better off looking it up on Wikipedia].
  • Consumer 200.0...collaboration is in the DNA of consumers...which are defined by 9 lifestage characteristics. [huh?]
  • Claim: 42% of consumer's time is spent online, but only 11% of advertising dollars are.
Now what?
  • Confluence [the single word that answers it all]?
  • [Let's look it up..."a flowing together"]
  • Confluence 1: Channels...not just coordination.
  • Confluence 2: Browsing and buying. [Nothing predicts in store behavior like shopping online, right? Apparently you beleive Widescreen tv purchase is explained by having viewed online military sites? Me neither] 
  • Confluence 3: Data. Looking at who visits your site and what other sites they visit...and tailoring to that knowledge [great support for understanding the data, but where's the action steps?]
  • Confluence 4: between publishers and advertisers [hmm. Is the publisher a content network or a distribution network? The difference is important in the networked world since its not likely that you can be both]. Bringing a direct marketing sensibility to marketing [ok, that works]
And with that, we'll forego further typing and leave you with a link to some real sympathy for the devil instead.

Audience questions:

  • Role of economy in affecting growth of online ad spend? Forsees online growing due ot the accountable nature of online ads...sees some flattening of growth, especially in branded advertising online (see prior positng on IAB stats here)
  • Privacy...will new administration legislate online privacy concerns? Sees other issues as dominanting attention but anticipates some form of behavior based targetting legislation [see prior posting on Network Advertising Initiative here]

NBC Universal: A television network's point of view

Cameron Death (like 'teeth')
VP Digital Content 

Fundamental Shifts
  • DVRs...34% of people who watch The Office watch it when they want [Death, rhymes with breath, of appointment television]
  • Broadband...>half of homes have it...consumers able and willing to watch video online...have to find new  ways to give consumers content when and where they want it [hmm...really?]
  • Adoption rates of technology increasing [or time to reach critical mass of adoption is decreasing]
  • Changing attitudes toward television...attention shifting while multiple screens are competing for attention...engaging and active experience rather than passive, network controlled experience
So what are they doing giving all this?
  • Accomodating the wired [wireless??] consumer. They've invested in building as a destination site...28.8 million short form video streams in September. Average visitor spending 80+ minutes each per month [which is one third of the daily TV average according to the Ball State Media Consumption study]
  • Interestingly, Heroes had 24.5 Million viewers for TV...8.1 Million viewed it online.
  • Online reach is extending reach, not cannibalizing it [for now].
  • Example of interactivity: Enabling people to create their own virtual office with content they wouldn;t get simply watching the show.
  • Hulu...a syndication platform where users can ingest content where they are [ingest...consume...traditional terms for media imo].
  • NBC Universall Digital Studio: Create original digital-only content produced with brands, marketers and writers working together.
[gotta take a break and find a power outlet]

Satisfy consumers for the next decade

James L. McQuivey, PhD
VicePresident, Principal Analyst

  • The adoption curve (the hockey stick!)...70% of people are connected by...wait for it...household electrification rates from the 1930s. So all the technology adoption curves behave according to an adoption curve that looks like a hockey stick.
  • How can we use this to forecast consumer behavior? 
  • Why do some people adopt technology sooner than others? [Enough question, we want answers!]
  • The answer: eventually, obtaining technology becomes convenient enough. 
  • Put another way, when the technology becomes convenient enough, it is rapidly adopted. 
  • Point: people share a set of universal needs...satisfy these needs with convenience and you will win. [the challenge is idenitfying the need, not the device]
  • What do people really need? How can you give it to them? What should you do to be ready? That's the agenda for this.
  • What are universal human needs? [Well, Maslow is a start]...but he thinks Maslow was wrong in a particular way: they are not ordered...they are messy [and this is where we get to the individual, right? your order is not my order]

Here's the Forrester view of 4 universal needs:
  • Connection--being connected to something bigger than ourselves [why politics and religion work for so many]
  • Uniqueness--we are special [the individual!]
  • Comfort--[hope?]
  • Variety--[play and learning?]
  • So what?: Everybody has all four...they just vary by individual. [of course the variety embedded in the term variety is, well, quite variable].
  • Our needs shift over time, and we'll tradeoff our needs against themselves [ourselves?]...we'll trade comfort for variety for example.
  • [haha...fictional tradeoff in choosing between a PC and a Mac..against the four types of needs].

How do you give people what they need [against these needs]?
  • You win with convenience. It is a means of access to their is not a need unto itself.
  • Convenience = All the benefits of you product/service minus all the barriers of it
  • Digital camera example: $1669 sony 1Megapixel camera in print service online in 2003...17 models with 5 megapixels for under $100 at Walmart in 2008...Digital Camera penetration at >70% in 2008. [Convenience driven by the cheap revolution]
What do you need to do to succeed?
  • Know your customer's target need profile [there's an average, but you have to leave room for variation or this is little more than another attempt to define prism-like clusters!]
  • Know and increase your convenience quotient [and of course Forrester offers reearch to define the quotient for you]...the quotient is a single score between -1 and expresses the benefits - the barriers. [obviously useful for establishing directional baselines versus competitiors and alternative approaches from the same organization...can R+K establish a convenience quotient for our service offerings? Perhaps a meaningful approach to evaluating innovation at the agency?]
  • Examples in customer service application of the cQ like evaluating FAQs, sending an email and calling an 800 number.
Summary, Audience Questions and Random Thoughts
  • People share a set of universal needs--satisfy them with convenience and you will win.
  • [Diane and I think it would be an interesting exercise to apply a Convenience Quotient exercise against some of our clients brands]
  • Forrester shooting for a 12 question approach to identifying the four needs.
  • A fair amount of qualitative/subjective data applied to the profile.
  • Do you think needs analysis will carry across cultures? We have confidence these needs are universal. 
  • [the challenge is of course that defining these needs with specificity is where we are different].
  • [Convenience is not the same as simplistic...if you enjoy complexity, convenience is not about simplifying things that are part of the complicated need...hiding the data associated with training for a marathon is not the same as providing convenient access to it and the tools to manipulate it...spreadsheet software, web applications are examples?].

Opening: 10/28

Carrie Johnson, Forrester Vice President of Research, introduces the session. 

Keeping Ahead of Tomorrow's Customer

  • Starting off with reference to 'elephant in the room' (no John McCain isnt here!)...the downer jones industrial average and its impacto on all of us.
  • I hope they didn;t have to revise their presentation much...
  • Are people fundamentally different? No, she says, when it comes to certain things...obviously referring to 'people' generally as opposed to people individually.
  • What's changed? Active media consumption vs. passive...hmm.
  • Nice  chart of internet penetration and broadband...the broadband curve is rapidly apporaching the internet penetration curve.
  • We can;t predict the market, but we can forecast customer behavioral trends.
  • Customer data is the key to these, I mean forecasts.
  • The case is made that behavioral trends are happening independent of economic cycles (but have we really had a realistic economic cycle in the last 15 years?).
  • The peril of short term thinking..not staying ahead of your customers.

Event Schedule: 10/28 morning

If you have a particular interest, you can check it out as follows this morning (of course it will always be here in perpetuity!):

9:00 AM: Satisfying consumers for the next decade
9:35--Tuninng into Online Consumers
11:00--Web 2.0 meet consumer 200.0
1145: Creating value by making change

Monday, October 27, 2008

Semi-live blog: Forrester Consumer Forum

I'll be sharing perspectives from the Forrester Research Consumer Forum Tuesday and Wednesday, 10/28-29.

In addition to group sessions on the 20 year view of technology, change management, social media 3.0 (argh!) and their impact on--or from--the consumer, I've scheduled small group sessions on research methods, customer data and relationship management and segmentation among others.

I'll also share the perspectives of Diane, Robert and Patsy as they navigate their own forum sessions. 

If you have specific questions or areas of interest, leave a comment and we'll try to tailor the commentary. 

YouTube Video gets to the point

One of the challenges of video snacking on YouTube is that sometimes the best part of a video is buried inside a longer cut. When forwarding to friends and colleagues, YouTube now allows you to send a link to the specific part of the video by adding the timestamp to the end of the link.

Like this: 

Getting to the point...or the lack of one.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Broadcast news: a million monkeys

One of the struggles of being a TV broadcaster these days is how to make money. You have expensive content...expensive infrastructure...and lots of people. 

Well, here comes the technology-enabled, always-on, hyper networked world to the rescue in the form of Syndicaster. Syndicaster does what good technology always drives out the inefficiencies of some task. In this case, the inefficiencies of TV stations being able to post their news clips online.

Syndicaster removes the need for:
  • TV stations to have separate, expensive video conversion equipment (it handles it online)
  • Separate video editors at each station to run the expensive conversion equipment
  • Keyword indexing and posting to online video networks such as YouTube or AOL videos
...among others.

Most intriguing is the impending release of a consumer version. And in this case, Syndicaster may be the tough love broadcast news needs to survive: if blogs turned everyone into a potential editorialist, Syndicaster could conceivably turn everyone into a syndicated a smartphone video camera and Syndicaster? On the scene of the story? Your news footage (with commentary) could get worldwide distribution across all the (online) networks of importance in a matter of minutes.  Think of it as RSS feeds for video news.

In that world, broadcast news may have to focus on being broadcast or news. Aggregating the best locally produced, amateur-shot news and sending it out over the airwaves is one possible role reversal of fortune. The other might be enlisting an army of amateur videographers and aggregating the content under a branded news organization (can you say AP?)...sort of like America's Funniest Videos...only timelier and more newsworthy than videos of people being hit in the crotch with baseballs.

With a million monkeys typing at keyboards and shooting video for syndication with their point of view, sooner or later you'll get a few thousand Walter Conkrites in their own virtual news rooms...the dumb networks (e.g., YouTube, AOL) will be there to distribute whatever it is they create...which will be one more step in the democratization of news.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Apple advertises the value of...advertising

Apple's quick comeback in the escalating advertising war with Microsoft seems to question the value of advertising in attempting to define the brand experience... 

An interesting attempt by Apple to define Vista as 'broken'...a much narrower definition of the battle than when it was then entire PC vs. Mac hardware/OS combo...if you are Apple, that pile of advertising money probably looks like a lot.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Online advertising: No immunity?

Price Waterhouse Coopers released it's 2008 first quarter online advertising report (here) for the IAB a couple of weeks ago.  It contains some interesting data on the state of the online advertising business:

1. Online advertising continues to grow in double digits (newsflash, I know)
2. Performance-based pricing models (i.e., clicks vs. impressions) now represent a majority of revenues (52%)
3. Display advertising, rich media and other traditional ad formats moved online are flat or on the remains the growth story.

chart via PWC 

So what?

As we've harped on previously regarding banner blindness, CPM deflation and more, the notion of passive, intrusive ad models online makes little sense in a lean-in, user controlled experience. The data from the report would indicate that search, which melds the user's defintion of relevance with pay for performance pricing, is looking like the most sustainable model of online advertising. Relevance remains a challenge for search marketers though lesser than CPM/Intrusive models.

The economy affects everyone of course. The economic downturn can be expected to exert even more pressure on CPM pricing. If and when search revenue tracks flat or turns down, expect display and rich media to have paved the way by many months.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mail Goggles: Protecting users from themselves

Google's corporate missions is to 'Do No Evil' And so here they come with tools to help you adopt their mission in your own email life: Mail Goggles.

If you activate Mail Goggles on your gmail account, then you'll have to answer a series of simple questions to send email late at night...that's right, if you are up late tapping away that impassioned missive to the boss, or that reminiscence of the past good times with the ex, Google's Mail Goggles intends to help you avoid embarassment or a lawsuit.

It works by asking you to solve a few simple problems within a time limit before it will send your email...the premise being that if you and Jack Daniels have gotten a little too cozy, then a failure to send might prevent an Epic Fail of poor form communications when you wake up the next morning muttering to yourself about how it seemed so much better when you wrote it.

See for yourself here at the GMail Blog  

Friday, October 17, 2008

Under pressure: Tribune vs. AP

The Tribune company gave notice to the Associated Press that it would drop the APs service in 2010.

Interesting that the AP could get a contract that required two year's notice in the first place, but the Tribune company may be firing the shot in an attempt to hedge their bets against a possible sale...or just to have negotiating leverage. 

Full story available at Editor and Publisher, here

So what?

Newspaper readership continue to slide nearly as quickly as the stock market (see prior post on reaership here)...with so much of the AP's content available online via news aggregators--and essentially free--one might see an analogy to manufacturing:

"a manufacturer (AP) sells through distribution (the papers)" 

The trouble, if you will, comes from AP going direct to consumers (via aggregators)...while trying to maintain pricing power as if the distributors had exclusivity!

As the newspapers struggle to find their voice in the community they serve, I'd expect more of them to question the ROI of AP-provided stories.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mastering Word of Mouth: Liveblog

Several of us are attending a word of mouth audio conference that includes: Andy Sernovitz of GasPedal; Mike Manuel of Voce, and the Dell Computer Vice President of Communities and Conversations, Bob Pearson. Here's what I hear as I hear it:

Bob Pearson:

Dell community starting do we solve customer problems online?

Theme: providing venues and tools for customers themselves and other customers in tech support....morphed to customer idea generation via Ideatorm site...everyone get smarter together...including Dell.

Importance of real conversations versus content dumping on customers.

Andy Sernovitz:

What is word of mouth marketing? Giving people a reason to talk about your stuff and making it easier for them to do it.

Sometimes we get obsessed with the 'how to make it easier' before thinking through the reason to talk.

A simple question to ask: Would anybody tell a friend about this? 

If the answer is no, then the idea is not good enough for a word of mouth approach...'no' means you have to do something unpleasant and boring: advertising or...PR.

Bob Pearson:

Avoid conference room think...if you are monitoring blogs and other customer-in ideas, then better batting average than when coming up wiht an idea and throwing it out there.

Mike Manuel:

Two most important things to do are: put yourself in a position to identify conversations...especially the conversations of influencers. Also, finding ways to implement new platforms for entering in the conversations (e.g., press release platform is failing).  [such as??]

Bob Pearson on issues management applications of WOM:

Radian 6 Blog monitoring software enables them to identify trends/issues that may be brewing...enables rapid response.

Andy Sernovitz:

Steps of a word of mouth campaign:

id talkers: whose going to talk
topics: what's the message
tools: how do you make it easy for talkers to spread the conversation
tracking: how do you monitor the conversation


Creating word of mouth that matters is a doesn;t happen without earning it.


Word of mouth includes both good and bad..there is now a permanent record in Google of bot good and bad that can become word of mouth fodder.

[...and now we get the two cents on twitter and other tools...argh and blahblah!!]

Q: How does reputation management fit in with--or differ from--word of mouth mktg?


Do you want to be part of shaping the brand via the conversations taking place or let your customers manage it for you?

Q: How does PR work in the word of mouth space (i.e., should you identify yourself?)?


Anyone talking about Dell business should identify themselves as Dell. Scripting isn;t real [authenticity!]. 


Blog Council [ ]has published a document on how to do disclosure the right way...bottom line is that you always disclose all the time...if you don;t consumers will ifnd out [transparency!]

Q: role of search in WOM?


Search becomes the archive of these conversations online...and so many start there, that they become the entry way to conversations that may or may not be update.

Q: Role of video in word of mouth?

Bob: is an example of aggrergating company, customer, and 3rd party reviews and perspectives on Dell products.


Video is difficult to get to work well if you haven;t defined the audience well and what they are willing to tolerate/engage [useful, usable, desirable!]

The Role of Infuencers in WOM


Talkers and owners are not necessarily the same people. Ferrari owners are not the folks who are going to be the talkers...its the people who wish they had one.

Creating opportunities for talkers to volunteer is a simple first step in identifying the influencers.


Dell forums have scales...some become MVPs or platinum levels. For various reasons these infuencers have chosen to be way to guess who they are, rather provide the atmosphere for them and then support those who step forward.

Q: How is word of mouth different for large and small companies?


I can't see alot of difference. We don;t look at our peers in understanding this...we look at Zappos and others. 


The biggest difference for big and small is that big companies are a little more complicated. For small companies is that you can try it...and see what works without spending alot of money. Try a word of mouth something every week.

Q: How to measure ROI of WOM?


Micromeasures...what does success look like in the Twitter site we created, the Facebook account, the blog?

Macromeasures...what are we trying to accomplish overall with all the elements [campaign measures].

[At this point the hour long audio conference was turned over to real live questions from more insightful than what's already been covered].

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And the winner is...

The winning team in the R+KU dialogue challenge is...drum roll.......

Team A with a 7.3 times increase in visits! 
Congratulations to Ashley Seaton, Donna Giancarlo, Kelly Smith, Rosie Ralston, Kathy Sedlacek

(click to enlarge: visits by blog article)

Click to enlarge (visits resulting from Google AdWord ads)

For a complete look at the work check out:

Team A: Ashley Seaton, Donna Giancarlo, Kelly Smith, Rosie Ralston, Kathy Sedlacek

Team B: Bridget Quinn, Emily Schachter, Shanetta MacDonald, Tina Baker, Rick Davis

The following ads for each area appeared on Google and the Google content networks:

(click to enlarge)

Team C: R+K Blog (Kristen Ewing, Laura Fitzgerald, Yvette Owen, Debra Graf, Kim Bergmooser)

Team D: R+K Blog (Christina Harp, Claudia Zellman, Robyn Keyster, Valerie Holland, Cindy Sanders)

Thanks to everyone for the excellent effort.

The experiment: R+KU

Last week we used the blog as a tool for our R+K University* attendees. 

The challenge was fairly simple: each of four teams was to generate content for this blog or create a Google AdWord campaign. The team that generated the biggest bump in site activity (i.e., visits) over the established baseline wins. No rules, no guidance, just good old figure it out yourself learning.

We'll announce the winners in today's session on Measurement...and post the results here in realtime.

The purposes of the exercise included:

  1. Awareness of the blog and search tools
  2. Experience in colloboratively developing online campaigns
  3. Preparation for measurement against objectives
Stay tuned!

*R+KU is our agency's internal training program for new employees. Over the course of 10 weeks, 20 or so new employees get exposed to the various philosophies, processes and people that make the agency what it is.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Research Methods: Confabulating Useful, Usable and Desirable

Confabulation is a term that describes the space between one's imagined truth and the actual facts. In describing behavior or attitudes, people abhor a vacuum.  So when we don't remember what we did--or why--we'll create a narrative to fill the void. Mostly, we do this unconsciously or with very little recognition of what we are doing. That's confabulation. 

Put another way, confabulation is the difference between our peronsal truths and the actual facts. 

Confabulation presents a particular challenge to marketing researchers in that research subject's explanations of behavior may not be what they seem. Attitudinal research is no better able to address the issue given it's general requirement to ask the person with the attitude just what 'it' is and where they got 'it'...and of course, researchers being human, they may create their own confabulations for defining and explaining attitudes in others.

Without digressing into a philosphical discussion of the limits of our perceptual abilities, Jakob Neilsen has posted a matrix of research methods and when to use them. Though crafted in the context of usability research, they are applicable in any marketing context from product design, to customer service, to the ever mysterious practice of 'branding'. 

In the end, these methods provide a breadth of support for the discovery and creation of experiences that are useful, usable and desirable...even with the attendant uncertainty of confabulated results.

(click to enlarge)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Guest blogging: Wisdom of the crowd

Next week (10/6) the postings here will be done by a group of guest bloggers. 

As part of our agency's professional development program, we run "R+K University" for new members of our agency team. Next week, we'll have groups from the latest session of R+KU taking over the reins of this blog. 

The topics should be insightful, diverse and well worth the read...unlike what's normally here :-) 

I hope you'll plan on checking them out. It all starts next Tuesday. 

Thursday, October 02, 2008

State of the blog: Useful, usable, desirable

We advocate a view of design online that incorporates three elements: useful, usable, desirable. If a design is deemed by an individual to be these things, then it is good. If not, it's not. So though this lens, let's look at blogs, bloggin and the blogosphere.

Actually, let's look at what Technorati says first. Technorati has released it's fourth annual report on the state of blogging and the interconnected community referred to as the 'blogosphere'.

You can read the whole thing here.

A few thoughts:

Advertising: Only 53% of blogs globally sell advertising space. Given that advertising is the predominant means of monetizing content on blogs, we are confronted with the reality of most blogs: they are created primarily with non-financial motivators in mind. Among those blogs that do offer advertising, the median revenue is less than $100/year.

Trendiness: While it's easy to start a blog, anyone whose doe it will tell you that the heavy lifting comes in continuing to publish. Estimates by McCann, Technorati and other place the number of US bloggers between 22 and 26 million. Technorati reports that 1.5 million of these have had postings in the last 7 days (see graphic below). In addition these blogs have more than 66 million readers according to eMarketer and comscore.

Demographics: While US blogger would seem to be more evenly divided by gender, the average tenure of a blogger in the US is 35 months. These folks mostly (74%) also have college degree; a slim majority make more than $75,000 annually; and, a majority are over the age of 35.

So what?

Blogs, blogging, and the blogosphere are just terms to describe personal web publishing. Much has been made of high profile, journalistic approaches to the use of these tools. In the end, though, blogs are created and maintained because they support individuals in their need for useful, usable, and desirable content publishing tools.

When blogs are read, its for the same reasons. 

(Click to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The wayback machines: the internet's rear view mirror

Many think of the innertubes as a domain of ever-changing, what's-next content. 

But yesterday is today with two backward-looking applications:

The internet wayback machine is an archive of web pages that goes back (for some sites) as far as 1996. It's a fascinating anthropological look in the rear view mirror at the state of the web just a decade ago. For some sites, it surely shows how far things have come ( 2000 and 2008)

Though the display isn't always complete (broken links and missing images being the biggest holes), it can be a fascinating look at what was important--or at least prominent--on various sites. 

Here's a look at what R+K's site looked like in:

It can be a bit like revisiting those high school year book photos...embarrassing, and, if you are prone to it, nostalgic.
Here's one of our client sites, (2000) and now

Another tool, available (for one month only!), is Google's index 2001. In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Google released the search index as it existed in 2001. Try a few searches on terms that, today, seem like decades ago