This month, we’ve put together a list of articles that grabbed our attention from Gartner, The New York Times, Constellation Research, Forrester, The Harvard Business Review and more. These articles focus on the challenges experienced in and around technology, as well as the business rivalry between Facebook and Snap.
Let’s dive in.
HBR Senior Associate Editor, Walter Frick, compares two vastly different perspectives of the tech industry and asks that middle ground be found to reconcile these differences. “The tech world cannot sequester itself—inside corporate campuses and coworking spaces today; who knows where tomorrow—and refuse to grapple with inequality, diversity, and other social issues. By the same token, the rest of society must resist its tendency to defend jobs and neighborhoods as they once were and to favor preservation over renewal. We need to find a middle ground.”
Facebook’s new features resemble those of its competitor, Snapchat. But even if Snapchat did it first, Facebook’s leading network of engaged users usher in big wins for the giant’s lifted ideas. Whether it is right or wrong for Facebook to leverage its massive user base to cut out the competition remains a question. What is clear is, according to New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo, Mr. Zuckerberg seems to have neutralized yet another rival.
Cindy Zhou, VP and Principal Analyst at Constellation Research, shares her notes from the experience-focused Adobe Summit. Zhou made note of cross-channel marketing efforts citing “60% of US adult mobile device users own more than one device, of which 28 percent own three devices or more. In turn, the ability for marketers to deliver a cross-channel customer experience has increased in urgency.”
Louis Columbus, VP of Worldwide Marketing at iBASEt writes that the typical use cases for machine learning, cost reduction and faster data analysis, are not on the top of the list for organizations. Instead, it’s really about gaining a better understanding of customers and prospects.
Forrester Principal Analyst, Ellen Carney, describes challenges facing the insurance industry as fundamental market changes continue to reduce margins. Carney reports, “Digital disruption threatens to reduce many insurance companies to low-margin utilities, with limited engagement with or relevance to customers.”
Gartner Michael Maoz, VP Distinguished Analyst, writes about the importance of empathy-at-scale for businesses – and just how hard that is to achieve. He comments on why we aren’t perfect at empathy-at-scale saying “Most often it is because the customer-facing employee does not have the right business rule in front of them, nor have they received the right training, the right compensation for the job, the proper measurements, nor the authority to make the right decision even if they wanted to.
Gartner research director, Noah Elkin, is an expert in digital marketing strategy and technology. In a recent blog post, he points out “It’s a GAFA (Google-Apple-Facebook-Amazon) world, we just market in it”. Digital marketing spend is growing and concentrated in just a few big players. The consequence of this phenomenon is the increasing competition for advertisers to actually grab and hold their target’s attention.
Even with all the cookies and pixels and analytics to track your customer’s online journey, it remains a challenge to connect that information to the real and in-person interactions customers have with your brand. TechCrunch’s Ron Miller points out that at some point that customer is going to walk into your store or onto your airplane, and you need to be ready to carry that customer focus to the in-person relationship. You need to take that knowledge explains Miller, put it in the hands of your employees and empower them to make reasonable decisions when dealing with your precious customers.
Michael Schrage suggests that companies are missing large indicators of customer lifetime value in their calculations. Where a common CLV is calculated with factors such as how much the customer buys and how long they stay loyal to the company, a CLV should also include investments in innovation and the value customers give back to the company such as feedback and time saved on self-service. One such breakthrough in CLV came from a global financial services giant in London saying, “As the responses grew longer, richer, and more detailed, one of the participants called attention to an interesting fact. Some of the answers, he observed, began with ‘we,’ as in, ‘Our customers become much more valuable when we do something.’ The others, however, began with ‘they,’ as in, ‘Our customers become much more valuable when they do something.’”
WalkMe cofounder and President, Raphael Sweary, discusses the future of enterprise learning suggesting that contextual training will be a prominent component of eLearning in the near future. Why? “The important part here is to see the possibility of being able to train employees in the moment they need training and align the training objectives with the objectives of the organizations.”