An Interview With VP And Principal Analyst Of Forrester Research, James McQuivey

Serving CMOs, James McQuivey’s strategy models identify digital disruptions on companies and prepare them to better serve their customers. We are thrilled to have James share his thoughts on four of our questions ahead of our upcoming webinar featuring Forrester Research, Why Conversational Marketing is Shaping the Future of Online Shopping, where James will be our guest speaker.

What are the signs that mass advertising is becoming less and less efficient for brands?

The famous line that “half of my ad spend is wasted; I just don’t know which half,” is quoted so often precisely because it feels correct to marketers. The problem with digital is that we can actually measure the effectiveness of so many of our tools — or their ineffectiveness, to be more precise. When P&G pulls $100 million — that’s million! — from its digital ad spend and measures no discernible impact on effectiveness, it shows you that mass advertising is accountable today in a way it has never been before.

Why is conversational marketing a new competitive advantage for brands?

Modern humans have had speech and conversation for at least 75,000 years. In that time, they have become experts at using conversation to get things done — to understand the world, agree on the best course of action, and then coordinate how to take that action. Outside of a door-to-door salesman in the 1950s, few brands have had the ability to join that conversation in any natural way. They could use images, music, and authority appeals, all of which advertising has worked hard to do, but none of those things are as universal as the simple act of just talking with a customer about their needs, hopes, and next steps. Brands that take advantage of new conversational technologies will be speaking with humans in a most human way.

Read more: [Market Report] Customer Experience Trends 2018

In five years from now, how would you perceive the next revolution of conversational marketing?

. We’re adding conversational platforms and technologies to key points in the customer’s journey, places where we can reasonably assume a conversation and help them move forward in their goals and accomplish their tasks. But in five years, expect that conversations will be much more continually present and much more anticipatory. Today, most marketing conversations are ask and respond — the customer has to articulate a need, and the conversation helps them meet the need. But what happens when customers give permission for the most trusted platforms or partners to more continually monitor their actions — in order to anticipate their needs and initiate conversations to fulfill those needs — even before these customers have the chance to ask?

Read more: Your new business approach for 2018: conversational marketing

One of my favorite quotes of yours in “The End of Advertising, The Beginning of Relationships” report is, “It’s less about the mechanics of advertising and more about a shift in consumers are about to go through.” Can you please elaborate on this?

It is tempting to see all of this change in advertising, marketing, and customer conversations as the result of technological changes. Technology enables us to disrupt marketing, so disruption is happening. There is something more interesting and ultimately more powerful at work: Consumers are coming to expect that they can be fully human, even in their interaction with technology; marketers are just using technology to keep up with them. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to buy something online, you had to configure your mind and behaviors to fit the design of the website and the bandwidth of your dial-up connection. That’s like taking the power of the human brain and forcing it to express itself through smoke signals. That’s not how people think; that’s not how they act. People are endowed with rich communication faculties and incredible perceptive awareness, and they know how to interact and converse to learn and act. Today’s conversational technologies are simply freeing people to be people.

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