Stay informed by reading current blog entries from our Quaero experts. Learn more about industry trends, gain insight into recent client successes, get up to date on company happenings and get to know us — and our opinions — even better.
Showing Blogs: 76–100 of 432
Posted on: 5/22/12
Ping! That was Outlook notifying me that yet another industry newsletter hit my inbox. But this time, the title caught my eye, so I opened the email. This particular newsletter offered an e-book from a sponsoring vendor, and although I wasn't familiar with the author, I felt compelled to take a look. I downloaded and added the e-book to my "Saved Reading" list, something I reserve for evenings and flights, and then started preparing for my next meeting. At this point, I knew little about the e-book's content, but I’d find out at some point. At some point...when I'd had a chance to read or even glance through it, which is something I hadn't the time nor the inclination to do right after downloading it.
Posted on: 5/18/12
This week we are hearing all about Facebook’s IPO. While this is driving financial types into a complete frenzy - Data, Analytics and Marketing folks are viewing the event as validation of the future of targeted marketing. But we may be coming to the wrong conclusions.
We all know Facebook’s value is in the data they collect on their users. Most people see Facebook’s advantage as knowing customer’s actual profile instead of approximation of key demographics. We can target 28 year olds instead of customers that we predict are 25-34 years old. While this is valuable most people are missing the value of Social Network Analysis. Social Network Analysis (SNA) is a set of tools that investigate the connections of customers and their relationships to one another. Using these tools companies will be able to better understand the connection between customers and how they truly influence one another.
Posted on: 5/15/12
Facebook is going public this week with an initial valuation approaching $100 Billion. That’s a lot of money - is it a fair valuation? I’m not an IPO expert so I will not debate the valuation but I do know that a site approaching a billion users per month, where the users are very engaged and interconnected with others on the site, is valuable. Furthermore, the data generated by the users is a goldmine if ‘data mined’ correctly in order to increase user relevance and continue to bring communities together. And web sites such as Facebook & LinkedIn are doing a very good job tapping into their user data through techniques such as social network analysis.
Traditional customer analytic environments can benefit from those Social Network Analysis (SNA) techniques as well but what is SNA and how can it be used within traditional customer analytic environments? SNA, specifically SNA applied to people networks, is a type of analysis which determines interrelations between individuals and groups. These analyses may be used to:
Posted on: 5/14/12
Digiday published an article recently that focused on the care that ESPN takes to publish in a fashion befitting the medium. How fans consume the magazine is drastically different than their television viewing behavior, than their online consumption patterns, than their mobile and tablet usage. This is fundamentally understood in the industry but few have the data to drive a publishing strategy that supports it. Even more powerful is ESPN’s understanding of behavior across platforms. Collective consumption patterns, drivers, preferences. Simultaneous usage patterns in particular are critical to driving their 2nd or even multi-screen fan experience on big event days. This all adds up to their ability to champion a game-changing industry metric… total time. First and foremost, it delivers on their promise to their fans – to serve them anytime, anywhere (and I’ll add, with critical context). But it also delivers significant competitive advantage – to serve the ad community an engaged and valuable audience across platforms, “appropriate for the time, space, and screen they're accessing.” Which translates to performance and a win for both users and advertisers.
Posted on: 5/11/12
Forrester released a case study on our efforts with client ESPN to maximize their audience data to drive marketing revenue. That prompted a post outlining what we believe to be the four fundamental drivers of value in the media industry, categorically (1) data volume, quality and value (2) targeted ad packages that are easy to sell (3) value models that prioritize your CRM efforts, and of course (4) the right supporting infrastructure.
The most critical advice we can give is, do not be overwhelmed by the amount or distributed nature of your data. You have to build on what's in place first, and in some instances you can have an actionable segmentation within 12-16 weeks. The consolidation and analysis of existing data alone can produce immediate insight while you lay the foundation for more scalable programs and packages. For instance, if you have minimal self-reported audience data to work with, there is still valuable information about behavior, affinity, and level of engagement in your anonymous data that can be used to deliver distinct segments of value. But how?
Posted on: 5/9/12
We at Quaero are in the business of building state of the art customer marketing solutions. Like any solution builder that puts us in the position of needing our clients' direction on what they want us to build. How we get that direction is the subject of continuous internal discussion and refinement, just as it is across the entire IT landscape. Over the years we have taken different approaches to getting that critical requirements information - everything from a pure "waterfall" approach, where we make the assumption that the client can articulate exactly what they need (at a level of detail), to "Agile" where we start with an ever-evolving "backlog" of needs which change and can be re-prioritized over time. The right answer seems to be a combination of both, and here's why ...
Expecting a client to be able to specify detailed solution needs at the beginning of a project almost never pans out. Even where effort has gone into creating a detailed Request for Proposal ("RFP") document which contains lots of what look like client requirements, we typically find they have been created by a small group of people, often in IT or Procurement, that have not had much, if any, opportunity to engage with their business colleagues and ultimate end-users. That puts us in a tough position. We need requirements so we can build a solution on time and on budget ... but our end-users are not in a position to give them to us. What they mostly have is a sense of what doesn't work today, either in the current solution (if one exists) or in the processes it enables, or both. This gives them a sense of what they want to fix in the status quo but does not lend itself to future-oriented thinking about where their business will be in three years' time and what kind of solution will be needed to support it. What we therefore get as "requirements" with traditional waterfall approaches reminds me of the famous Henry Ford quote ... "if I had asked customers what they wanted they would have told me a faster horse (and not a car!)."
Posted on: 5/7/12
If you didn’t attend the Forrester Customer Intelligence Forum held in Los Angeles on April 18th and 19th, you missed a great chance to hear William Band define the marketing technology roadmap. The good news is you can get an overview from Band’s blog on the Forrester website. I’ll summarize a few points here that aren’t covered directly in his blog.
At the conference, Band discussed leveraging swim lanes for planning. He recommends four parallel tracks along your planning continuum:
Posted on: 5/4/12
Recently I posted a blog about the need for mobile operators to adapt their marketing as their customers’ data consumption and usage changes dramatically with the continued increase in the penetration of smart phones as well as the introduction of super-fast 4G networks which make downloading of HD movies and other large data files much quicker.
In a recent Sunday edition, the New York Times ran an interesting article making much the same point – with a slight twist. The point of the NYT article was that most people understand what they are buying when they buy minutes of talk time per month or so many text messages per month as part of a plan, but they do not know what exactly a gigabyte is, nor is it always clear to them when they exceed their monthly plan allocations. This is a prescription for sticker shock and customer outrage and complaints down the road. The carriers quoted in the article mostly responded by saying that customers can figure out where they are on their plans by logging on to their website. Seriously? Do they know how many of their customers actually do this? I am sure it would be easy for them to find out. My guess would be – not too many.
Posted on: 5/3/12
Ever since Facebook filed for its IPO back in February, there has been a steady stream of media reports and articles complaining that Facebook is cashing in on their users and intends to “sell their data." I’ve personally gotten messages from friends and even my own cousin that they are leaving Facebook because they don’t want their information used as profit for the company.
Newsflash – this is nothing new. Facebook has been leveraging user's information for years selling targeted media to advertisers at a premium. In fact, 85 percent of Facebook’s $3.7 billion in revenue for 2011 came from advertising. Yes – you read that right – $3.7 billion from those pesky right hand margin ads that always seem to know that I’m on the hunt for that perfect pair of heels from Zappos and lets me know that Nordstrom is having a Spring dress sale. Working in advertising and marketing for many years I know the ins and outs of how it all works but I was bewildered by all those who were offended by Facebook's “sneaky and greedy plans” – how did those folks think a free-to-the-users service made money?
Posted on: 5/2/12
...or, what I learned at Forrester's Customer Intelligence Forum this year.
I'm sure by now you've seen the New York Times piece on Target and the power of analytics; you know, the one that describes how the mega retailer knew a 16-year-old girl was pregnant - and sent her targeted offers related to all things baby - before her father even knew? Or perhaps you saw Stephen Colbert's take on the subject?
Finished with the piece? Then stay for a moment and let's focus on the warning for marketers offered by this entertaining, but still alarming article: customer analytics can be a slippery slope. Sure, customer data can be mined sixteen ways to Sunday to deliver rich insights that predict what people will buy and when, thus helping marketers deliver relevant, timely offers that grow customer value. That's what Target did quite well. But does it start to border on Big Brother? Consumers believe it does.
Posted on: 4/25/12
I loved the theme of the Forrester Marketing Leadership & Customer Intelligence Forums last week in LA and believe the Forrester team delivered. With a packed agenda of case studies to help marketers put all the parts together to deliver a single, personal brand experience to each customer, the sessions were tailored to a variety of marketing perspectives.
It’s not an easy job for Forrester, and more importantly not an easy job for a marketer given the competing demands within an organization, the lack of unlimited funds, and the ever changing landscape of channels and technology.
Posted on: 4/24/12
Alexis Madrigal published an article “My Digital Shadow” in The Week last Friday describing in great detail the subterranean data collection and exchange that occurs where with every visit over a dozen companies are logging your activity, dynamically placing ads tailored just for you, and adding all of your consumption information to what she described as an “ever-growing online file about you.” We work with digital data every day and I can assure you there is no lengthy historical, Hoover-like file on even your anonymous online behavior. First, the average online cookie only lasts 45 days. Second, most companies don’t hang on to click data for longer than the life of a campaign unless they require seasonal or annual performance comparison. These two basic factors alone should put your mind at ease when contemplating the extensive digital tracks you may or may not be leaving behind.
Posted on: 4/16/12
What keeps a marketer up at night? We’ll certainly find out this week at Forrester’s Marketing Leadership and Customer Intelligence Forums. Scanning the agenda, there are some common themes: big data, the impact of digital, and the new age of customer control.
What’s interesting though is that these topic areas are not new, but continue to be pain points for marketers. Is this because the landscape continues to evolve too rapidly? Because organizations don’t have the right processes or infrastructure in place to take advantage of what is available? Or, is there just too much to juggle in the course of a day and you’re simply doing what you can do? I believe the answer is d: all of the above.
Posted on: 4/12/12
As I prepare for the Forrester Forum in Los Angles next week – deciding on what sessions I’ll attend; what customers and prospects I hope to connect with; how to drive curiosity and engagement at our booth, and a host of other details, I can’t help but think about what shoes I’ll pack since I’ll be on my feet for two full days at the JW Marriott. As you know, it’s hard to be engaging and enthusiastic when your feet hurt. Some believe the origin of the term “benchmark” was from cobblers marking a customer’s foot size on a bench. They would place someone's foot on a "bench" and mark it out to make the pattern for the shoes. Benchmarking is used to measure performance using a specific indicator resulting in a metric of performance that is then compared to others. So in the spirit of the Forrester conference theme, how do you know how you compare to other marketers to create engagement in the age of the customer?
Posted on: 4/10/12
Skim through any current collection of marketing best practices and marketing integration is sure to be a central theme. So while the concept of a cohesive multi-channel marketing strategy is hardly new, many if not most organizations have yet to fully adopt this best practice. Newer companies have the advantage of building their internal processes to fit the post-digital landscape, but for most firms, integration is a massive undertaking requiring complex transformation across multiple layers. The deepest challenges include siloed organizational structures both inside and outside marketing; conflicting objectives across business units; and the absence of the right tools and data to effectively integrate campaigns.
Posted on: 4/5/12
For some time now, the received wisdom in the wireless world has been that as smartphones and other mobile devices proliferate, data consumption will increase exponentially. Carriers have been trying to fight this battle on two fronts.
On the supply side, they have been investing heavily in new technologies such as 4G/LTE that facilitate increased consumption through faster downloads. On the demand side they have tried to slow the growth through tiered pricing as well as other means to throttle consumption, such as identifying the real data hogs and slowing their downloads, offloading consumption to Wi-Fi networks wherever possible and exploring ways around net neutrality.
Posted on: 4/3/12
Data Management Platforms (DMPs) provide a valuable service to online firms, especially online media organizations that generate most of their revenue through online advertising. What is a DMP? DMPs integrate online data sources, into one environment, in order to better empower online publishers and marketers’ media buying and online customer targeting decisions.
- DMPs seamlessly consolidate online data sources: Online behaviors, ads, registration, personalization and eCommerce
- They merge that data with offline data sources to help their clients gain greater insight into their online customers, through the use of segmentations, campaign tracking reports and audience insight dashboards
- They use that insight to better target advertising and internal offers to both anonymous and known users online thus generating increased advertising revenue and/or increased user engagement.
Posted on: 3/29/12
A month ago, I had the pleasure of participating in a Webinar with Fatemeh Khatibloo, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. Rather than an old, staid presentation-style Web event, we approached this one as more of a coffee klatch - a bit of back and forth, more of a discussion. You're more than welcome to view the replay.
We opened the Webinar on the topic of new and emerging opportunities for CI professionals, in light of the increased complexities associated with their role. Most interesting (or perhaps unsettling) were the stats we shared about the amount of data people create and consume every day. I wrote a post late last year entitled, Numbers That Make Marketers Tremble, but Fatemeh shared an unbelievable stat from David Siegel, Futurist: "Human beings generate 200 exabytes of information each year." Exabytes...as in 18 zeros. Now imagine having to store, sift through and make sense of that data.
Posted on: 3/27/12
A keen attention to detail is the hallmark of great service companies. It takes a great deal of effort - having the processes in place, hiring the people with the right attitude and training them as well as equipping them with the appropriate customer intelligence at the right time - in order to execute well and provide great customer experiences. We are all familiar with stories of great service upscale brands such as Nordstrom and Ritz Carlton. I would like to share an unexpectedly positive experience within an industry (airline) and a carrier (US Airways) that do not normally come to mind when talking about good customer experiences. I am on the top tier of US Airways' frequent flier program. Usually this means I board early and get upgraded to first class. On those occasions when I have to fly coach, I am reconciled to the airline treating me like everyone else, which is with the level of indifference that has, unfortunately, become the norm for most US airlines on domestic and many international routes.
Posted on: 3/22/12
I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a package of 10,000 bees on April 2nd to start my first hive in Massachusetts. I’ve attended beekeeping classes, purchased and painted my hive, and donned my veil and gloves to observe a working hive, in hopes of becoming a competent beekeeper. However, my real job is to help marketing organizations realize the full potential of customer value. To that end, I can’t help but draw parallels to a working and productive (honey producing) hive, or apiary.
In this age of multi-channel, multi-wave and even multi-brand campaigning, marketing organizations need to focus on aligning the enterprise (not just the marketing department) to achieve integrated customer marketing. Roles and responsibilities need to be defined, communicated and enforced. Without this alignment, the business enterprise, just like a hive, will fail to produce customer value (or honey).
Posted on: 3/13/12
I like to think that every company that is trying to build solid customer relationships these days understands the importance of uniquely identifying and understanding their customers’ status and behavior. Then again every week I come across an example of a brand that, even though they are manifestly trying to maintain good relationships, makes this assumption on my part look naïve.
Posted on: 3/12/12
We have partnered with ESPN for over four years to build a Fan Relationship Marketing (FRM) capability and culture within the organization. What does this mean to them? It means maximizing audience data to drive revenue growth for the benefit of marketing, ad sales, and editorial. That's a tidy little sentence with a tremendous amount of team effort behind it. But it is achievable, with the right plan, focus and discipline.
Let's start with key drivers of value and Forrester's recent case study on our joint efforts. Then, in a series to follow I will cover the "what" and "how" of getting started.
Posted on: 3/8/12
In a business world that has finally come to recognize the significance of the customer-focused model, the proliferation of interactive media has been a timely cultural shift. With one-to-one, real-time customer interaction, digital channels incubate customer data at an unprecedented level of granularity—knowledge that can navigate a company’s toughest strategic decisions. But harnessing online and offline data and synthesizing it into actual customer intelligence is an extensive, intricate process. It requires much more than a technology upgrade or a few new hires. In fact, a firm should be prepared to undergo a widespread cultural shift across the organization—not just a particular department.
Posted on: 3/6/12
“Bacon makes everything better,” is a sign I have in my kitchen. I thought of it recently while working with two clients that are implementing new technologies into their organizations. The technology in and of itself will neither improve customer centricity nor ultimately business performance. The new technology is the enabler to measure and improve client engagement. Measurement is the Bacon.
Posted on: 3/1/12
I have been participating in an interesting dialogue on LinkedIn lately about what happens when, as the new head of marketing, your CEO asks you to assess and “fix” marketing within a notional 30-day period. The range of posts and reactions has been very interesting and, in some cases, worrying. What concerns me the most are the folks - they look mostly like very traditional brand marketers - who argue that the CEO should somehow be “fired” or that you, as head of marketing, should quit in response to a patently “impossible” request that shows how little the CEO understands and appreciates the art of marketing. I characterize that kind of thinking as “head in the sand” and say in response “wake up people!” because, whether they realize it or not, most senior marketers (and marketing itself) are being continuously assessed in terms of their contribution to the bottom line. The difficulty in measuring the return on many marketing investments only exacerbates this problem. So while a notional 30-day deadline is tough, I do feel that making an impact quickly by optimizing your marketing investments is expected of all new heads of marketing, especially because they will also be saddled with the many unrealized expectations the CEO had of their predecessors.