Speaker Biography

Shar VanBoskirk

VP, Principal Analyst

Sessions Featuring This Speaker

Forrester's Forum For Marketing Leaders


  • 01:50 PM - 02:20 PM

    How Do People Really Choose?

    Admit it. You fear that your over-reliance on technology is dulling your acuity and maybe even making you less affable. But is technology really changing how we think? Or more importantly to marketers, is it changing how we make purchase decisions? US marketers believe in a highly structured, data-driven, and increasingly measurable future; so much so that they will spend $100 billion on digital marketing methods by 2019. But even in an increasingly automated world, emotion and irrationality influence — and sometimes overpower — logical decision-making. In this session, Shar will address:

    • How technology has tipped the balance between logic and emotion in decision-making.
    • The fundamentals of marketing and competitive positioning that should change in order to accommodate how people think today.
    • How to tune in to — and influence — your customers’ decision-making processes.

Research Focus

Shar helps CMOs lead customer-obsessed strategies at their firms while also transforming their marketing functions to deliver brand experiences that are relevant to empowered customers. Her specific research focuses on marketing strategy, budgets, staffing, organization, and creating an operating model for customer obsession.

Shar has spent many years helping clients create optimal digital marketing teams and programs, leveraging research on email marketing, consumer psychology, storytelling, and digital maturity. During her 18 years with Forrester, Shar has been instrumental in the development of many of the company's marketing program evaluation methodologies, training courses, and marketing planning tools and has also been part of Forrester's sales and consulting organizations.

Previous Work Experience

Shar returned to Forrester in 2004 after several years away working in marketing consulting. Shar served as research director for marketing research boutique, TideWatch, where she led internal strategy efforts and client strategy projects. Shar was also a consultant with Carlson Marketing Group's Business Strategy Consulting team, developing CRM and email programs for clients including British Airways, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, and Home Depot. Shar began her career at Forrester in 1997 during the early days of the internet and has written research on customer loyalty, display media, search marketing, and marketing measurement and planning.

A popular speaker, Shar has been seen on stage at ad:tech, ShopTalk, DMA, Shop.org, and the Email Service Provider Coalition events, among others. She is widely quoted in the press, including such media outlets as BusinessWeek, Fortune, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Shar is a frequent guest on CNBC and National Public Radio.


Shar is a graduate of Harvard University.