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April 17, 2014

Facebook shatters into apps -- and it's the only way forward

Fixed diptych

Farhad Manjoo says "The Future of Facebook May Not Say ‘Facebook’ " in the New York Times. Read the article, because it clearly points the direction for the future of Facebook (and of nearly everything else). From the article:

“What we’re doing with Creative Labs is basically unbundling the big blue app,” Mr. Zuckerberg said in a recent interview at the firm’s headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif.
In the past, he said, Facebook was one big thing, a website or mobile app that let you indulge all of your online social needs. Now, on mobile phones especially, Facebook will begin to splinter into many smaller, more narrowly focused services, some of which won’t even carry Facebook’s branding, and may not require a Facebook account to use.


In retrospect, this was inevitable. Here are two reasons why.

  1. Facebook the desktop application has tried to swallow everything: social, photo sharing, commenting, check-ins, messaging, email, the list goes on and on. But most of us don't want all of our interactions to take place in a single spot filled with ads. There is innovation happening outside of Facebook, and there is this thing called the Internet that supports that innovation. Inevitably, Facebook's hope to become the one location everyone goes to for everything will fail, and eventually even its hope to be the one location you go to for social will fail. It has a lock on your identity and good knowledge of your friend graph. That's its core asset.
  2. The focus of interaction is shifting to mobile moments . . . especially those moments that occur between other tasks, like waiting for an elevator or on your lunch hour. Single-purpose apps win in those mobile moments. One massive Facebook mega-app doesn't.

Julie Ask says that Facebook bought WhatsApp ($19 billion) for its user base. I agree. But in the world of The Mobile Mind Shift, Facebook retains relevance only if it becomes relevant in mobile interactions, and that requires a "collection of apps" future.

If you're worried about the future of Facebook, you should be. It's failing marketers, as our Facebook expert, Nate Elliot, has pointed out. Its pivot to a collection of mobile apps will be extraordinarily difficult. But it's the only way forward. If you disagree, ask yourself -- do you really think a single monolithic facebook app will still be relevant five years from now?

Photo by Holmistic Walker via Flickr

April 04, 2014

Who owns David Ortiz' selfie?

David Ortiz selfieDavid Ortiz took this selfie when the Red Sox visited the White House to celebrate their win in the 2013 World Series. First there was a huge hue and cry because of the question of whether Samsung put him up to it (David says it was spontaneous, but he does have a contract with Samsung.)

Now the Obama White House is objecting to the commercialization of the image, because it's not "appropriate" for the president to be part of an ad campaign.

OK, let's look at what happened -- who did wrong?

Was Big Papi wrong to take mney from Samsung? No, any athlete can sign an endorsement deal.

Was Ortiz wrong to ask for a selfie with the president? Look at that smile on Obama's face. He was having a good time. If he didn't want a selfie, he should have said no. This is a hell of a mobile moment. If it were me up there with the president, I hope I would have the courage to ask, too!

Was Samsung wrong to promote it? You could argue this, but frankly, Samsung has to be delighted.

Is the White House within its rights to object? I imagine so, and I understand their position.

But the bottom line is . . . if you're famous and someone takes your picture, it's going viral. You can try to object when the picture is taken. If you fail to object then, you've lost your opportunity. There's no way to undo this picture -- mobile moments have a way of spreading.

It's the Streisand Effect all over again. Mobile just makes it faster. Who owns that picture? At this point, the groundswell owns it, regardless of what the White House, Samsung, or David Ortiz might think.

July 15, 2013

The Forrester Groundswell Awards for 2013: A New Set Of Objectives

by Josh Bernoff

Forrester-lifecycle-2As Nate Elliott announced, we're kicking off the seventh annual Forrester Groundswell Awards. Submit your entry here. The entry deadline is August 30.

Nate and his team have revamped the categories completely this year, focusing around the three objectives in his "RaDaR" framework -- Reach, Depth, and Relationship. (There's also a mobile category and a set of categories for employee social applications -- collaboration, mobility, and consumerization.)

As you can see, RaDaR is very practical, looking at the things from the marketers point of view. Reach, Depth, and Relationship are goals marketers seek now. These are very different from the categories of social goals we used in the book Groundswell -- Listening, Talking, Energizing, and so on. 

Has something changed? It sure has. Social used to be something exceptional and different and hard for marketers to understand. But six years after Groundswell was published -- six years after the huge surge in interest in social -- it's become a practical part of what marketers do. They pursue reach -- social can help. The pursue deeper connections -- social can help. They pursue relationships with customers. Social can help with that, too.

If you've got practical successes that come from using social media to pursue reach, depth, and relationships, post them on our awards site. We'd love to recognize your best work.

June 05, 2013

Customer Experience explained in a short sharable video

Forrester has spent years analyzing customer experience and what it means to business. My colleagues Harley Manning and Kerry Bodine wrote a book about it -- Outside In. But with so much to say, how can we (or you) communicate it simply?

Our friends at The Business Source, a book summarizing company, have solved this problem for us. Here's their five-minute video explaining what Outside In is about. 

Want to share it? Use this YouTube Link. Or embed it in your blog or Web page (use the embed link in the video below).

And if this topic interests you, come to our Customer Experience Forum in New York. Or visit our minisite on customer experience to get more detailed content.


May 21, 2013

How the Mobile Mind Shift is different in Europe

As we published last month, people are in the midst of making a Mobile Mind Shift:

The expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at your moment of need.

Our research on the Mobile Mind Shift and our global surveys allow us to examine in detail how attitudes and behaviors are shifting around the world. While the shift is undeniable and is rapidly accelerating, the regional variations are fascinating.

In a speech today at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum EMEA, I revealed that Europeans are in general behind Americans on the Mobile Mind Shift. Here's a slide from that speech, showing the spread between Europe and the US:

US Europe spread

As you can see, Europeans differ from Americans on all three components of the Mobile Mind Shift: the number of connected devices, the frequency of access, and the diversity of locations in which connections occur. While Europeans actually have more connected devices, they connect significantly less frequently and in fewer locations. This appears to be a result of the data plans on European mobile devices, plans that interfere with users' natural desire to access mobile everywhere as a matter of habit.

In data released at the event, we also showed variation by country. Germany actually has the lowest Mobile Mind Shift Index, at 22.5. At the other end, Sweden has an MMSI of 29.0, a higher average than the US.

Europeans have just as much desire for mobile utility as people in other geographies. The data suggests that this desire will lead to more expansive data plans, reducing the friction that's interfering with European's Mobile Mind Shift. Within six months, we expect European attitudes to catch up to where Americans are right now.

April 25, 2013

Introducing the Mobile Mind Shift Index (Webinar next week)

by Josh Bernoff

We are in the midst of a mobile mind shift. This is not just about "mobile first" or apps. This is a complete change in the psychology of consumers.

In a change in behavior that can only be called Pavlovian, people with smart mobile devices request information and receive service. What's the weather? That's the weather. Where's the nearest Gelato shop? There it is. Does this laptop have good ratings? Sure it does. What are my friends up to on Facebook? Each request cements the idea that smartphone has everything you need. As a result, consumer start by requesting, then expecting, and then demanding that companies give them instant service. This is the mobile mind shift:

The expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at your moment of need.

But how far along are people on this shift? Have your customers made the shift? How many of them are demanding mobile utility?

To assess this, we created the mobile mind shift index, a way to measure how far along any individual is. It's a 100-point scale. US online adults score an average of 27.9. If your customers score more than 35, then it's urgent that you provide mobile utility -- they will judge you based on the level of utility you provide. We also look at what proportion of your customers score above 40 - -the group we call the "shifted segments." If more than 35% of your customer base are in shifted segments, again, this means they are urgently demanding mobile utility from you.

We can score any group. Here's the scoring for E*TRADE and Fidelity customers for example. Now you can see why E*TRADE moved so rapidly to create great mobile and tablet apps. Their customers demanded it.

MMSI etrade
We're pretty excited about this tool, which let's any company analyze its customers on the mobile mind shift. If you want to learn more, join the webinar with Melissa Parrish and me on Wednesday May 1 at 1:00 PM eastern time. Register here. If you're a Forrester client, you can read the report here.

March 28, 2013

The Mobile Mind Shift

by Josh Bernoff

I've been working behind the scenes for the last 18 months or so. We have other analysts like Nate Elliott working on social technology strategy, and I've been editing Forrester's books Outside In and Digital Disruption. But the time has come for me to get out in front of clients and all of you with research again.

Right now I'm working on the mobile mind shift -- a complete change in the way consumers think about the companies that serve them. The mobile mind shift is:

A set of behaviors and mindsets in which people go forward with confidence that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at their moment of need.

I'll be revealing our research about the Mobile Mind Shift at the Forrester Forum for Marketing Leaders in Los Angeles on April 18. This includes a new way of looking at consumer data that can measure just how far along the mobile mind shift your customers are. 

Here's a video about the new research. I hope to see you in Los Angeles.

February 26, 2013

Digital disruption will do to you what the Chinese did to manufacturers

Digital Disruption is on everyone's mind. Netflix is replacing people's cable subscriptions. Simple apps like OpenTable and LoseIt! are displacing businesses like Zagat's and Weight Watchers. But if you want to understand why, you need to look back at the 80's and 90's and imagine you are an American manufacturer.

American manufacturers were successful at making quality products at a good profit, and paying good wages to their workers. But we all know now what happened next. The Chinese swept in and took over, leaving much the American industry unable to compete.

The Chinese manufacturers had two things going for them.

First, they had cheap labor. China was full of workers highly motivated to work for far lower wages than Americans. But while this factor got all the attention, it was not sufficient in itself.

Chinese manufacturers also needed access to distribution. They needed infrastructure -- container ships, supply chains and supply chain software, distribution partners, favorable regulations. Note that the Chinese didn't need to invent any of these things. They just exploited the capabilities that had become available.

So their formula was: cheap workers + infrastructure = disruption. The high labor costs and rigid structures of American companies couldn't adjust, and most of them were toast.

Let's fast foward to today. Imagine an innovator attempting to compete with your business. Let's call her Sarah. Sarah is bright and motivated and has identified a customer need that you're unable to satisfy as well.

This innovator has access to lots and lots of free or cheap tools. She can download an Apple SDK for next to nothing and post her app on the app store. Sarah can join 1.3 million sellers on eBay or become a merchant on Amazon. She can buy a URL for ten bucks on godaddy.com, leverage Facebook for marketing, and shift her search ads on Google to take advantage of the trends of the day. Sarah risks very little, except for her time.

Sarah is likely to fail. But Sarah is not your problem. Lots and lots of Sarahs are your problem.They're not all going fail -- some of them are going to succeed, and they will disrupt your business.

Digital Disruption Figure 1-1 color
Compared to before, there are at least ten times as many innovators gunning for your business. The costs of entry are less than one-tenth what they were. So you have to expect to be competing with 100 times the innovation power.

Digital Disruption_Cover 950 x 600It's just like Chinese manufacturing. These innovators are willing to work for cheap or free. And the infrastructure of the Internet and mobile devices gives them an instant portal to compete your business. Cheap digital labor plus digital infrastructure equals disruption. Lots of it.

This is the same dynamic Clayton Christensen highlighted in his book The Innovator's Dilemma -- but it requires so little capital that it happens much, much faster.

Barriers to entry are now obsolete. Deal with it.

If you want to know more about this, have a look at James McQuivey's book Digital Disruption, published today. It analyzes  this trend, how fast its getting here, and what you can do about. Spoiler alert -- you're going to have to be a digital disruptor yourself to compete with Sarah and her thousands of friends. James' book is a manual on how to do that.

Want to know more? Sign up for James' free Webinar or the topic.

Digital disruption is terrifying. But we'll help you deal with it. 


July 13, 2012

Forrester Groundswell Awards open for 2012

Once again, we are launching the Forrester Groundswell Awards to recognize excellence in business use of social technologies. This is our sixth year.

Key facts:

  • Due date for entries: September 5. Don't be late, there are no exceptions.
  • Winners prove that they've delivered value to the business, not just activity.

The entry form is here. Nate Elliott is running the awards this year. His post announcing them is here.

Good luck. I've enjoyed being involved with judging and giving out the awards in past years -- there were some incredible applications. I'm looking forward to seeing what people come up with this year.

May 22, 2012

Customer Experience and Outside In thinking (and our book about it)

Outside in book 3d

by Josh Bernoff

About a year ago I devoted myself to finding the biggest, coolest, most important book we at Forrester could write. We reviewed all the potential choices and then decided we should do a book about customer experience.

Forrester's Customer Experience team has been working for 14 years now on the idea that improving the experience your customers have is the most important thing you can do for the growth and profitability of your business. That turns out to be easy to say, but very hard to implement. Book-worthy, you might say.

Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business is the result of a year's work from Harley Manning, the research director of our Customer Experience team, and Kerry Bodine, a highly creative analyst on that team. I will go out on a limb here and predict it will be one of the most important business books you'll ever read.

We made the unconventional decision to choose Amazon Publishing, the publishing arm of Amazon, as our publisher. In all other respects this is a traditional book -- it went through the same rigorous publishing process and will be available in print and ebook formats, just like any other book. But working with Amazon has worked out well for us.

Even though the book is not officially published until August 28, there are ways you can get on board now. You could:

  • Read Harley and Kerry's posts about it.
  • Sign up to get one sent to you soon -- it's available now for preorder at your favorite online bookstore.
  • Go the Forrester Customer Experience Forum. Not only will you hear Harley and Kerry and some of the world's customer experience leaders, you'll be able to get a free full pre-release copy of the ebook.