Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Survey Reveals 75% Marketers Expect Spending on New Media, Online Initiatives to Increase in 2009

It is clear that digital marketing is becoming more and more prevalent and popular in the marketing industry, but is it also possible that the discipline is recession proof? A recent survey conducted on behalf of PRWeek and Manning Selvage & Lee (MS&L) by Millward Brown indicates that just may be the case: Despite weakened economic conditions, over 75 percent of senior marketers say they expect spending for new media and online initiatives to increase in the next year.

The survey, which polled 252 U.S. chief marketing officers, VPs of marketing and marketing directors and managers, focused on digital and consumer generated media, marketing ethics and the role of public relations in the marketing mix.

When asked, by discipline, if they expected spending to increase, decrease, or remain the same in the coming year, 75 percent of marketers say they expect spending for digital programs to increase, 21 percent say budgets will remain the same, and only 4 percent expect digital spending to decrease.

But marketers appear less bullish about other major marketing disciplines: far fewer (33 percent) expect advertising budgets to increase, while 48 percent say they will remain the same, and 20 percent expect a decrease. Public relations spending may be slightly more stable, with 37 percent anticipating spending more, a majority (52 percent) expecting to spend the same, and just 11 percent expecting a decrease.

Marketers also overwhelmingly agree that they would be “most likely” to cut from many other disciplines before turning to digital if forced to scale back budgets as a result of poor economic conditions. Advertising is cited as the most likely to be cut (35 percent), followed by point-of-sale marketing (29 percent), public relations (16 percent) and direct marketing (16 percent).

Digital, on the other hand, is at the bottom of the list, with only 4 percent of respondents indicating they would be most likely to cut from this area.

According to the survey, consumer generated media (CGM) continues to make inroads among marketers. When asked which marketing discipline they anticipate being their top priority over the next 6-12 months, nearly three in ten (28 percent) mention CGM despite its relative newness as an application.

And marketers view CGM as a tool for supporting brand and reputation: More than six in 10 say CGM is important for creating brand awareness (68 percent), building brands (64 percent), and being perceived as an innovator (60 percent). A sizeable proportion of marketers even tie CGM directly to ROI, with 43 percent saying it is important to sales.

Just last year, most marketers were unwilling to invest in consumer generated media. Only 12 percent of respondents from the 2007 Marketing Management Survey said that CGM was very important to their marketing platforms, and just 22 percent said they were “very willing” to let consumers play a significant role in shaping their marketing programs. This year, if marketers stated they are unwilling to invest in this area it is mostly because the efforts are arduous to measure. Of those who would cut digital from a marketing budget, 46 percent of those respondents said there is a lack of ROI with digital/WOM and CGM, they are not as effective as other disciplines or they are difficult to measure.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at http://www.crmindustry.com/

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Survey Finds 15% of Fortune 500s are Blogging

Nearly 15% of Fortune 500 companies communicate with consumers via blogs, according to a study conducted by Burson-Marsteller.

The survey, conducted in February and March this year, found that 74 Fortune 500 companies actively maintain blogs, many of them technology-related corporations. The top four industries with blogs were: Computers, Office Equipment (IBM, Dell, etc.); Network and Other Communications Equipment (Motorola, Lucent Technologies, etc.); Semiconductors and Other Electrical Components (Intel, AMD, etc.); and Internet Services and Retailing (Amazon, Google, etc.).

The agency said the figure represents about a 270% increase compared to when Wired magazine and Socialtext began tracking Fortune 500 blogs in December 2005. The Wired wiki of Fortune 500 blogs counted 58 of them as of May 2008.

Larger companies tend to control blogs in greater numbers than their smaller counterparts, according to the Burson study. Nearly one-third (32%) of the Fortune 50 maintain blogs, while 16% of the Fortune 201 through 250 have blogs. Only 2% of the Fortune 451 to 500 maintain blogs.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Enterprise Value of Online Communities Yet to be Realized

A Deloitte survey of companies sponsoring online communities indicates that enterprises have begun to effectively use social media tools and online communities to engage with customers and employees for brand discussions, idea generation and product discovery. However, the survey also indicates that while these online initiatives are having a positive impact, enterprises have not yet harnessed the true potential of these communities.

Deloitte’s ‘2008 Tribalization of Business Survey,’ conducted in conjunction with Beeline Labs and the Society for New Communications Research, points to building community critical mass as a principal barrier. According to the survey, a majority of the communities have fewer than 500 active members, and 50 percent of the respondents replied that the biggest obstacle to making communities work is getting people engaged.

Notwithstanding this challenge, companies reported a significant impact from their communities. Of the companies surveyed, 35 percent have seen an increase in word-of-mouth for their brands, and 28 percent have seen their overall brand awareness increase. Online communities are also helping companies increase customer loyalty and bring outside ideas into the organization faster, according to 24 percent of survey respondents.

The tribalization of business is all about “people helping people,” where those who share a similar passion turn to each other for information, recommendations and community feedback. Sixty percent of the survey respondents indicated that their communities are open for public interaction and feedback.

According to survey respondents, the community features that most contribute to community effectiveness are:
-- Ability for community members to connect with like minded people – 53 percent
-- Ability for members to help others – 43 percent
-- Community focus around a hot topic or issue – 41 percent

Conversely, poorly managed online communities are a critical barrier to their effectiveness. Forty-five percent of respondents recognize that finding enough time to manage the community is one of the biggest obstacles to making communities work. Survey respondents also see facilitation (25 percent) and quality of the community manager (34 percent) as two features that greatly impact the community’s effectiveness, making it critical for companies to devote the necessary resources to this important role.

The respondents recognized that communities can be used as a seedbed for innovation. Indeed, 39 percent of the companies that participated cited “idea generation” as the purpose of their online communities, and 19 percent cited “new product development” as the key goal.
A leading technology company is also using communities as a means of customer support by monitoring communities as an early warning system for product issues that can be expected to hit the help desk and prepares to respond accordingly.

The rich interaction and knowledge sharing typical within communities also allows for talent development and retention within organizations. Social media tools offer unparalleled visibility into employee sentiment and expertise, thereby helping organizations to better leverage and develop their talent.

The survey indicates that the role of the CMO is being revolutionized through communities, with the CMO often becoming the lead transformative agent, empowering the sales, customer service, and product development functions with the community’s intelligence and participation.
According to 42 percent of the survey respondents, the marketing organization is now responsible for driving online communities. With communities becoming a central focus, marketing is now required to participate in non-traditional functions such as customer support, idea generation and employee communications.

While the Internet has produced unprecedented levels of insight into the size and demographic makeup of audiences, the survey reveals significant gaps between community goals and how success is being measured. For instance, while the top business objectives of the communities were “generate more word of mouth” (60 percent) and “increase product/brand awareness” (48 percent), what is most measured to assess success are less helpful metrics like “number of visitors” and “page views.”

Not surprisingly, marketers often remain hard-pressed to identify areas where online communities are achieving their goals. Management also needs to rethink in some cases how business value can be extracted from sponsored communities.

The survey measured the responses of over 140 companies, including Fortune 100 organizations, which have created and maintain online communities today. Participating companies include leading computer manufacturers, software, insurance, online auction, media companies, hotel chains, and start ups. The communities ranged from fewer than 100 members to more than 10,000 members.

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Forrester Releases Largest Technology Survey Of North American Consumers

Forrester Research, Inc. released the results of its 2008 North American Technographics Benchmark survey, its largest annual data set about consumers' technology adoption and attitudes in the US and Canada.

A generational analysis of the survey results is available in the new report, "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2008." By examining the unique technology profile of each generation, Consumer Market Research professionals can gain critical insight into future buying and adoption trends for their target demographic and set their product strategies for the next five years.

According to the report, although Gen Y is a small generation of 18- to 28-year-olds, comprising only 38 million US adults, it sets the pace for technology adoption. Nine in 10 Gen Yers own a PC, and 82 percent own a mobile phone. But it's technology use that sets this generation apart: Gen Y spends more time online -- for leisure or work -- than watching TV. Seventy-two percent of Gen Y mobile phone owners send or receive text messages, and 42 percent of online Gen Yers watch Internet video at least monthly.

In contrast, Gen X, which is comprised of 29- to 42-year-olds -- 63 million US adults -- uses technology when it intersects with a personal need or fulfills a desire. For example, 32 percent of Gen X households own an HDTV, and 29 percent have a DVR. In the past three months, 69 percent of online Gen Xers shopped online, and 65 percent banked online, higher percentages than any other generation. Gen X is also ramping up its Internet and mobile activities, including reading blogs (21 percent of online Gen Xers do it at least monthly, up from 15 percent in 2007) and texting (61 percent of Gen X mobile subscribers do it today, up from 49 percent in 2007).

More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

Monday, July 21, 2008

Study Finds Increased Collaboration Between Marketing and Finance

In their efforts to increase brand awareness and drive sales, marketers are still struggling to create accountability programs that effectively measure the impact of marketing efforts, according to a new study from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Marketing Management Analytics (MMA).

Although the majority of companies with a marketing accountability process tend to house this function within the marketing department, there is growing collaboration between marketing and finance. Overall, marketing accountability has a presence in nearly every company; however, a growing number of these programs are siloed within marketing departments. Forty-five (45) percent of respondents indicated that their accountability programs were based within the marketing group, a jump of 14 points over the prior year.

Despite accountability programs becoming more entrenched within marketing departments, this year’s survey showed progress in improving the relationship between marketing and finance. Thirty-three percent reported “full cooperation and an open dialogue” in establishing metrics and methodologies for marketing ROI – up from twenty-two percent in 2007 – and nearly half of respondents found “some cooperation.” Increasingly, participants in the survey said they believed that marketing and finance “speak with one voice” or “share common metrics.”

Goals for marketing accountability varied greatly in the survey:

  • Forty percent of respondents said that marketing ROI goals were based on internal benchmarks within the marketing department.
  • Approximately one-third reported that marketing ROI goals were closely aligned with overall corporate goals.

  • However, one-third indicated that there were no written goals for marketing in their companies.

    Where marketers had established accountability metrics:
  • Sixty-one percent measured marketing’s impact on sales, and 73 percent viewed them as useful in establishing marketing budgets.

  • Sixty percent looked at consumer attitude, but only 39 percent considered these metrics to be useful.

  • Overall, twenty-three percent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with accountability metrics.

    Marketers are investing in accountability programs such as brand and customer equity models (53 percent); predictive models for direct response (43 percent); recency and frequency monetary value models (45 percent); and customer lifetime value models (27 percent).

    Importantly, over half (57 percent) use their marketing accountability programs as a factor in increasing or maintaining their marketing budgets.

    Key strategic marketing accountability challenges are:

  • Understanding the impact of changes in consumer attitudes and perceptions on sales (45 percent)

  • Understanding the offline impact of online advertising (26 percent)

  • Understanding the impact of experiential marketing, such as event sponsorships, on sales (23 percent)

  • Measuring long-term ROI for a time period greater than one year (19 percent)
  • More information on the Customer Relationship Management industry can be found at http://www.crmindustry.com/

    Sunday, July 20, 2008

    Enterprises Must Create Separate Marketing Strategies for Generation Virtual

    As community marketing continues to evolve, organizations can target “Generation Virtual” by providing socialization tools to customers and prospects depending on their purpose and the level of customer engagement, according to Gartner, Inc.

    Unlike previous generations, Generation Virtual (also known as Generation V) is not defined by age — or gender, social demographic or geography — but is based on demonstrated achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights. Generation V is the recognition that general behavior, attitudes and interests are starting to blend together in an online environment.

    Gartner has identified four levels of engagement within Generation V, addressing both the extent to which customers will engage with other customers, as well as the level of engagement needed from businesses to enable the community. The four levels of engagement include: creators, contributors, opportunists, and lurkers. By recognizing and accommodating these levels, companies can harness their influence for marketing purposes, and ultimately, for transactions.

    --Up to 3 percent of individuals will be creators, providing original content and can be advocates that promote your product and services.

    --Between 3 percent and 10 percent of individuals will be contributors, essentially followers, who add to the conversation, but don't initiate it. They can recommend products and services as customers move through a buying process, looking for purchasing advice.

    --Between 10 percent and 20 percent of individuals will be opportunists, who can further contributions regarding purchasing decisions. Opportunists can "add value" to a conversation that's taking place, while walking through a considered purchase

    --Approximately 80 percent of individuals will be lurkers (and all users start as such), essentially spectators, who reap the rewards of online community input, but only absorb what is being communicated. However, they can implicitly contribute and validate indirectly reporting the value from the rest of the community.

    Gartner recommends marketing organizations should:

    -- Plan to segment and support all four engagement levels in the community. Each has significant business value, and each approach will dictate the technology you'll use to support them.

    --Establish goals and have a plan for determining return on investment (ROI). Many companies are initiating or connecting to communities without clear goals as to the value they provide to the customer or the company. What may have begun as a way to connect with customers can damage the company's brand.

    More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

    Thursday, July 17, 2008

    Governments increasing spend on Customer Relationship Management solutions

    Driven by the need to improve its management of constituent relationships, a new report from Datamonitor, “CRM and the Move to Constituent-Centric Government”, predicts that government spending on customer relationship management (CRM) technology solutions in the US, UK, Germany and France will grow from $2.9 billion in 2008 to $4.4 billion in 2013. In today’s commercially-oriented world, it has become a trend among public sector agencies to treat constituents as customers who expect top levels of service.

    CRM allows governments to inform constituents of relevant services and upcoming events or deadlines which might affect them. For example, sending out a reminder email about tax filing information in advance of the deadline can decrease the number of late filers. Not only does this bode well for revenue collection, it also reduces the costs of chasing after the late-filers. In some cases, innovative governments have taken this a step further, and are experimenting with Web 2.0 in CRM, through constituent surveys and interactive websites. CRM solutions also allow governments to increase efficiencies and reduce costs by tailoring message content for constituents.

    In addition to the benefits it provides citizen-facing functions, CRM has a positive impact on improving operations and management decisions. By adopting a CRM strategy, government agencies can achieve a host of benefits when it comes to streamlining its business processes and analytical capabilities. With the increased emphasis on performance management in government agencies, CRM steps up to the plate by allowing government to track the nature of constituents inquiries- ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘why’, ‘where’, ‘when’, and even ‘how’; CRM solutions increasingly support multi-channel communications, including phone, email and in some cases, even text messages.

    Despite the many obvious benefits to adopting CRM, implementation faces inevitable challenges which must be addressed in order for government to realize the full value of these solutions. The report notes that a key aspect of CRM as a solution is only as good as the agency that implements it. A successful CRM implementation involves buy-in from management and staff, as well as the adoption of constituent-centric business process, with the technology serving as the grand enabler in the equation.

    More information on the Customer Relationship Management market can be found at http://www.crmindustry.com/

    Monday, July 14, 2008

    Lifetime Customer Value Identified as a Key Motivator for Customer Loyalty in Retail

    Aberdeen recently surveyed 231 retail enterprises to determine the current state of loyalty technology and process integration in retail. Aberdeen data reveals that the top business pressure impacting loyalty-related decisions of 58% of Best-in-Class companies in retail is the need to develop lifetime customer value, which is defined as the present value of future cash flows through long-term customer relationships.

    Aberdeen data reveals that 93% of retailers execute loyalty programs as a standard offering for their web, store, or catalog channel customers. Such campaigns include, but are not limited to, point perks, rewards, coalition marketing, frequent buyer offers, or private label credit cards. The reports also indicated that lifetime customer value in retail is being overshadowed by the tactical nature of loyalty campaigns that target short-term demand.

    The measurement of ROI on customer loyalty programs is a continuous action at retail headquarters. Moreover, determining such an ROI is a much simpler process compared to other retail solutions such as POS, merchandising or pricing. There are substantial and recurring cost factors associated with loyalty in retail. Survey results show that cost-benefit issues surrounding loyalty scenarios are top-of-mind for retail marketers. Repeat visit (61%), incremental sales (58%), and overall satisfaction (57%) have emerged as the three most significant factors used by retailers for justifying spend on loyalty elements, operational costs, and upgrade / deployment of loyalty software applications. All three ROI criteria can lead to sales uplift, retention improvement, and reduced attrition for retailers.

    More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Service Providers Lack Companywide Definition of Superior Customer Experience

    A new global study of service providers in the wireless, wireline cable and satellite markets found that although service providers are transforming their business and operations support systems (BSS/OSS) to address the obstacles they believe are preventing them from delivering a differentiated customer experience, nearly 50 percent do not have a clear definition of what the customer experience should be. In addition, the study identified the top obstacles for delivering a more personalized customer experience: the lack of an integrated view of the customer; business process inconsistency and disconnects across multiple business lines, and internal information silos.

    The study, sponsored by Amdocs and conducted by the Yankee Group, an independent technology research and consulting firm, also revealed that while 70 percent of service providers believe that business processes have a direct impact on the customer experience, nearly one third (28 percent) do not have dedicated resources to manage their internal business processes or customer-focused key performance indicators to measure the customer experience.

    Other findings include:

    -- Digital content management is a top priority for new revenue engines: Management of "on-portal" digital content, or content sold on the service provider's branded-portal, is the top investment area for service providers looking to capitalize on new revenue streams.

    -- Service providers are investing to create an integrated view of the customer: Master data management (for example, the ability to consolidate customer, product and network data), unifying BSS/OSS systems and the adoption of service oriented architectures are among the top transformation investment priorities for service providers in the next three to five years.

    -- Measurement expected to shift to the customer perspective: Although key performance indicators (KPIs) used for measuring the customer experience are operations-oriented today (for example, the average time it takes to service a customer on the phone), 47 percent of respondents expect their companies to adopt more customer-focused KPIs in the future (such as, the call center agent is aware of a customer's past complaints during an interaction).

    More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    Worldwide Customer Relationship Management Market Grew 23 Percent in 2007

    Worldwide customer relationship management (CRM) software revenue totaled $8.1 billion in 2007, a 23.1 percent increase from 2006 revenue of $6.6 billion, according to Gartner, Inc.

    SAP was the No. 1 vendor in worldwide CRM software revenue in 2007, accounting for 25.4 percent of the market. Oracle maintained the No.2 spot with 16.3 percent of the market. SalesForce.com and Microsoft registered the highest growth rates of the top vendors with 49.8 percent and 88.6 percent growth, respectively.

    SaaS continued to drive the market forward, representing more than 15 percent of total CRM software market revenue in 2007. Growth in SaaS resulted from gains by SaaS pure plays, traditional on-premises vendors offering on-demand solutions and vendors transitioning their installed base from on-premise to on-demand. Though the sales segment still represents the largest contributor to SaaS revenue, demand is increasing for marketing automation and customer service and support solutions. Vendors that offer both on-demand and on-premise solutions are acquiring new customers and shifting their customer bases and revenue models to a greater proportion of SaaS in response to market demand.

    The CRM market remains highly concentrated in Western economies, with emerging markets accounting for only about 15 percent of the market. In 2007, over 53 percent of the CRM market was concentrated in North America, and Western Europe garnered 32 percent of the market. However, growth rates in emerging markets surged in 2007 with the Middle East and Africa region and Eastern Europe both exceeding 40 percent growth. Growth in Latin America is beginning to accelerate, and Asia/Pacific is providing growth prospects for an increasing number of vendors as the CRM market expands into Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Vietnam and South Korea. Australia continues to be the largest market in Asia/Pacific, but China and India represent significant longer-term market opportunities.

    More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com

    Wednesday, July 2, 2008

    Cloud Computing Will Be As Influential As E-business

    Cloud computing heralds an evolution of business that is no less influential than e-business, according to Gartner Inc. Gartner maintains that the very confusion and contradiction that surrounds the term "cloud computing" signifies its potential to change the status quo in the IT market. Gartner defines cloud computing as a style of computing where massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided “as a service” using Internet technologies to multiple external customers.

    The types of IT services that can be provided through a cloud are wide-reaching. Compute facilities provide computational services so that users can use central processing unit (CPU) cycles without buying computers. Storage services provide a way to store data and documents without having to continually grow farms of storage networks and servers. SaaS companies offer CRM services through their multitenant shared facilities so clients can manage their customers without buying software. These represent only the beginning of options for delivering all kinds of complex capabilities to both businesses and individuals.

    Gartner predicts that the impact of cloud computing on IT vendors will be huge. Established vendors have a great presence in traditional software markets, and as new Web 2.0 and cloud business models evolve and expand outside of consumer markets, a great deal could change.

    Gartner maintains that cloud computing is very much an evolving concept that will take many years to fully mature. It also underlined the fact that the cloud-computing model is not simply the next generation of the Internet.

    More information on Customer Relationship Management can be found at www.CRMindustry.com