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February 06, 2015

My Next Chapter

WhyConsumersBuyI spent the last 20 years working at Forrester Research. My work here is my legacy. Now it’s time to move on. I’ll be leaving the company on March 2.

Let me get into two things: what we did together, and what I’ll be doing next.

I joined Forrester in 1995, when the Web was new and there were only 65 people here. Forrester offered me the opportunity to think big about the changes that technology would bring to the world of business.

I was inspired by the vision of CEO George Colony and his band of analysts. The spirit of Forrester’s current tagline -- “Challenge thinking. Lead change.” -- pervaded the place. Change was coming, we could see it, and I got to research it and write about it. We spoke with and influenced the brightest minds in business, in big companies and in startups. It was a heady thing to be a part of.

Forrester is now and always has been a crucible for ideas. Whatever technology or industry expert you need, she’s three desks away, or you can reach him with a video call. Forrester’s people now number over 1300, with offices around the world.

I got to do some amazing things. My first report predicted that advertising would generate the money for content online -- a daring idea at the time, but one that proved prescient. I worked with the formidable research director (and later Forrester president) Bill Bluestein to develop a consumer segmentation called Technographics, which grew into Forrester’s data business. I analyzed the television industry for a decade.

Forrester made it possible for me to be an author. George embraced and endorsed my desire to write books. I wrote Groundswell with Charlene Li, Empowered with Ted Schadler, and The Mobile Mind Shift with Ted and Julie Ask --- and I edited books by Harley Manning, Kerry Bodine, and James McQuivey. Those collaborations were the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever done. For the last two years I’ve also worked to fan the spark of some of our analysts big ideas.

None of this would have been possible without the great company George Colony created, and the countless great research, marketing, and sales folks and clients who helped shape my ideas and put up with my idiosyncrasies in the last 20 years. For everything I’ve been a part of -- and there’s a lot of valuable stuff in there -- much of the credit goes to their leadership and their faith in me.

After 20 years, it’s time to take a break. I’m done with business strategy and analyzing technology. I’m a freelance writer and author now -- look for my byline, and for more unusual and challenging ideas. If you’d like to be part of the next stage in my journey, follow me on Twitter.


June 10, 2014

A simple video that explains the mobile mind shift

Are you in need of a quick and simple way to explain what mobile moments are and how they apply in the mobile mind shift?

Short of having Ted, Julie, or me come to your office and raise everyone's awareness (and yes, I would do that), you could use the new video we just created.

I've embedded it below. Here's the embed code if you want to put it on your own site:

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/2B3sgPATIWo?list=PLb2GHiJomz-zLF0uYiNzliolFqPJDQnDb" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Thanks to BREVEOmedia for helping to produce this video.

May 21, 2014

Why You Should Read "The Mobile Mind Shift"

131217_MMS_BookCoverWorldwide, people use mobile devices pretty much continuously. Mobile access on smartphones and tablets creates a dramatic change in behavior as people use, then expect, and then demand service from every entity they deal with. This is the mobile mind shift:

The mobile mind shift is the expectation that I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need.
Despite this complete transformation in expectations, companies typically have no idea what to do about it. "I guess we should build an app," they tell us. Instead, this transformation demands a complete rethink of the way they do business. Business competition has now focused down to the mobile moment — the point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context. Win in that moment, and you have his or her loyalty. Fail to be there, or screw it up, and an entrepreneur will do a better job and steal your customer. 
Getting mobile right will require you to change how you see customers, your relationship with those customers, and (the expensive part) the platforms, people, and processes that power those systems. When mobile engagement fails, it's usually because companies didn't recognize the scope of what they need to get that mobile moment right. They need a mobile mind shift of their own.
This need is so great — and so counterintuitive to get right — that we had to write a book to help. That book, The Mobile Mind Shift, is available right now on Kindle, Nook, and Google Play. (It's less than $5 for now — go ahead, take advantage of us.)
Author photoWe have a lot to say in this book, but here are a few things that may make a difference to you as you plan your mobile strategy.
  1. Three of us wrote this book. Ted Schadler is our expert on the mobile strategy and the business technology that powers mobile engagement — the real challenge of mobile. Julie Ask is our expert on strategy for mobile customer interactions and has worked with hundreds of clients on it. I contributed expertise on consumers and data and helped pull the thing together into a coherent whole. Behind us are dozens of Forrester mobile experts on everything from Asian consumers to application development to mobile marketing to customer experience. There's a lot of Forrester's intelligence behind this one.
  2. It's crammed with case studies. There are over 30 case studies and hundreds of detailed examples from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa, in industries ranging from apparel and restaurants to business services and travel. Want to hear from companies like Starbucks, Dish Network, American Airlines, USAA, ING Bank, and Nordstrom? We interviewed over 200 people, and many of their stories are in here. Writing this book was like being in a room filled with the most interesting people who've ever worked on and triumphed over mobile challenges. Reading it will make you feel the same way.
  3. It tells the whole mobile story. We've revealed the strategic framework that was common to nearly every company we talked to. We've got stats on mobile intensity and expectation worldwide. We have chapters on sales, marketing, mobile-enhanced products, and business models. The whole back half of the book is dedicated to the implications for workforce, platforms, processes, and development methods. It's comprehensive.
The print book won't be available until June 24, but you can read this now as an eBook. I am more excited about this content than I have been since Groundswell six years ago. This is the biggest challenge most companies face right now, and we put in the work to give you what you need to really understand it and succeed with mobile engagement. All yours for five bucks. Let me know what you think.  

May 12, 2014

Mobile moments change everything -- check out #MyMobileMoment and add your own

Stop thinking in terms of what you do, or how your technology works now. Start thinking in terms of the mobile moments of your customers.

A mobile moment is a point in time and space when someone pulls out a mobile device to get what he or she wants immediately, in context.

Thinking in terms of mobile moments is the lesson of our new book, The Mobile Mind Shift. It's a new way of thinking for many companies, but it's essential to getting mobile strategy right. Without it, you end up spending a lot of effort on features your customers won't use. Meanwhile, some entreprenuer like LoseIt! or Roambi swoops in and steals your mobile moments.

How pervasive are mobile moments? We started a hashtag campaign on #MyMobileMoment to encourage people to share the mobile moments. Go ahead, check out the hundreds of posts so far. Or post your own.

Here are few revealing posts we've seen:

Mobile is there in a moment of crisis.

And in the second-grade spelling homework.

There really is an app for just about everything.

This woman has changed the way she runs her workday.

So has Forrester's CEO.

Some people get a little too into Twitter:

There's even this guy shaving:

We heard from people doing mobile every moment from when they got up to when they went to sleep, at work, connecting with their mom's on Mother's Day, and in every other possible moment, using apps and the features of their smartphones in every possible creative way.

If you're not connecting with your customers on mobile, your missing out on something huge.

On the other hand, if you're doing something fun with your mobile device, show us on Twitter or Instagram with #MyMobileMoment.

May 07, 2014

The irony of the "Look Up" video

 Does anyone else find it ironic that a video telling you to stop using social and mobile sites got 28 million views on YOUTUBE? Go ahead, watch it on your phone, tweet it, share it on Facebook. Why not immerse yourself in the irony a bit further?

It reminds me of Paddy Chayevsky's movie Network, in which a man generates huge ratings by telling people to turn off their TVs.

The most shocking moment in this video is when the hero leaves his house and walks out without his phone. We've truly made the mobile mind shift, because this is unthinkable.

It's good advice, to leave your devices behind once in a while. I recommend it. But this video exists and is popular because every popular technology creates backlash, and that backlash has a romantic appeal. The chances of this making an impact on attitudes about mobile and social is close to zero, even if it's comforting to some to think it might.

If you think mobile and social technologies are about screens, you've missed the point. They're about generating and enriching interactions in the real world. That's the romantic appeal of "Look Up," and it's a lesson worth learning.

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.