“Buyer Personas and The Marketing Funnel – Its a confusing World”

Forrester Research: The New Marketing Funnel

What’s the right way to think about “buyer personas”? I’m discussing that topic in a series of guest-blog posts at Acooze.com, content marketing consultants from Melbourne, Australia.

… if you’ve studied content marketing at all, you’ve seen the sales funnel or the marketing funnel. This is traditionally how marketers are given to think about how customers progress on their journey from someone who doesn’t even know about you to being a customer.

About a year ago, Forrester Research published a new version of the funnel…. As you can see, the funnel has become a bit more complex.

My article this week walks you through the growing number of complexities that are being faced as marketers delve further into the world of marketing automation.

Read more here to see and understand the current state of “the marketing funnel”.

I’m @johnbugay

Link between Marketing and Technology enables greater ROI tracking

Marketers and TechnologyB-to-B Magazine highlighted the growing link between “marketing” and “technology”, and the competitive advantage that the linkage brings, at its kickoff to the Internet Week conference in New York.

Sheryl Pattek, VP-principal analyst at Forrester Research, said that the ability to track marketing ROI through technology is the most important change contributing to the evolution of the marketing profession. Generally speaking:

Marketers and information technology departments are joined at the hip today, with IT leaving behind its singular focus on back-office operations and increasingly enabling customer information and service … “Five years ago we had only a handful of people handling our website,” said Eduardo Conrado, senior VP-marketing and IT at Motorola Solutions. “Today, 18% to 20% of the entire marketing staff is working on technology enablement for marketing, sales and customers.”

That kind of technology includes the means to deal with “a newcomer to the world of IT villains, [as a] Deluge O’Data floods enterprises mercilessly. If directed and channeled for good, however, this surprising life form could transform the enterprise landscape and bring new growth.”

Customer Service Technologies to Watch

As a person in the midst of the job search as well as seeking project work or contract business, I’m interested in finding signs of life in the economy. One area where companies ARE investing right now are Customer Service Technologies.

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports:

Companies are trying harder to please customers amid the recession — and it appears to be working. The American Customer Satisfaction Index, a widely followed survey conducted by the University of Michigan, is at a record high. Other surveys also report gains in customer satisfaction. The results are unexpected, because customer satisfaction typically declines in a recession as companies cut costs, says Bruce Temkin, a vice president for Forrester Research Inc. In this downturn, though, he and other analysts say companies are protecting spending that affects customers.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Sprint Nextel Corp began a service-improvement plan at the end of 2007. Call-center operators now are rewarded for solving problems on a customer’s first call.
  • Cheesecake Factory Inc last year added an online customer survey to its “mystery shopper” program to assess service in its 146 restaurants. “Chief Executive David Overton cited the service initiative Thursday when Cheesecake Factory reported second-quarter earnings that topped expectations, though net income fell.”
  • Comcast last year introduced software to identify network glitches before they affect service and to better inform call-center operators about customer problems. The tools, and more employee training, helped Comcast cut repeat service calls 30% last year.
  • US Airways Group Inc. last year deployed hand-held scanners to better track baggage, part of an effort to improve reliability, convenience and appearance.
  • Southwest Airlines Co. recently introduced a system that allows customers waiting for a call-center operator to hang up and receive a call back, without losing their place in the queue.

Forrester Research suggests that 57% of large North American companies employed an executive in charge of customer satisfaction in 2008, up from 27% in 2006.