FORRward: A Weekly Read For Tech And Marketing Execs
Cisco’s Ex-CEO Has Launched A Startup, Taking Enterprise CX To The Next Level
John Chambers, Cisco’s longtime CEO (1995–2015) founded a startup, Pensando, focused on making edge computing more scalable, agile, and efficient. His firm unveiled its flagship software-defined edge services platform last week, which it claims delivers 5–9 times better technological advantage, productivity, performance, and scale over market leader AWS, with no risk of lock-in. It also announced an investment by and partnership with HPE, which said it will be jointly empowering its edge computing and IoT solutions and devices — of which over a billion are installed by clients already. Edge computing is the next step in everyone’s hybrid cloud architecture, as it enables real-time insights and activation for clients, employees, and operational efficiency. For more on the breadth of edge value scenarios across vertical markets, pace of adoption by your peers, and more, please join analysts James Staten and Brian Hopkins for a webinar on this topic on October 31.
Netflix, Eager To Reassure Investors, Shares Viewership Data For The First Time
The TV business long depended on the currency of Nielsen TV ratings to drive the economics of production, distribution, and advertising. It was thanks to Nielsen that NBC knew that “Seinfeld” was watched by as many as 35 million TV households in its best seasons and that twice as many watched the series finale. As digital video emerged, comparable statistics such as YouTube views helped people know what constitutes success in online video. Since its debut as a streaming entity in 2007, however, Netflix has kept itself free from comparison by refusing requests to share audience data publicly and only giving aggregate viewing data to partners it buys content from. And given that some of Netflix’s shows are produced by the company itself, nobody outside the organization had an accurate sense of how many viewers a movie like “Bird Box” was reaching. Surprisingly, in this week’s earnings call, Netflix shared audience numbers for the top Netflix-produced shows and films. “Bird Box,” if you were wondering, reached 45 million households in the first week and 80 million in the first month. The massive summer hit, “Stranger Things,” reached 64 million households in the first month.
The numbers are impressive, especially compared to the declining ratings for broadcast television — the season finale for “The Big Bang Theory,” the hottest show on TV, reached just 20 million viewers. But the numbers also mean nothing for the economics of the industry because Netflix isn’t selling downstream rights and advertisers can’t use Netflix to reach their target customers. The one value in sharing these numbers comes in Netflix reassuring investors that its strategy of owned content is working, especially in the light of missed subscriber targets, because only by continuing to produce such appealing original shows and movies will Netflix hold on to subscribers in the face of the soon-to-arrive Disney+, which we predict will be the only media-owned video subscription service that will compete successfully with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the No. 1 and No. 2 video streamers. We’ll see what else Netflix is willing to share that it previously withheld as it experiences more pressure from the Mouse.
(Editor’s note: Stay tuned for Forrester’s first-ever Wave evaluation on the streaming media industry, which compares and evaluates the experiences of various streaming solutions. While big-hit shows and movies may draw subscribers, it’s being able to find and access incremental strong content that keeps them. Forrester will share which players offer a great experience and which are lacking.)
Improve The CX Of Marketing Now
Customer experience (CX) is a hot topic for marketers. When we asked B2C marketers about their annual priorities, only “growing revenue” beat “improving CX” as marketers’ top to-do. This focus is encouraging news, because better CX does drive the CMO’s agenda of growth. The problem with this situation is that marketers aren’t assessing the experience customers (or prospects) have with their own marketing. Today’s CX efforts narrowly focus on product and service usage/service and not the experience customers have with marketing. Marketers are pursuing tactics such as personalization, identity resolution, martech, and more in the spirit of creating customer obsession, and these are recommended tactics, but how they are executing these tactics is pushing customers away. Activations come across as clunky at best and creepy at their worst. (It’s why everyone thinks our phones are listening to us.) For example, many brands are moving beyond basic demo targeting, which is smart, but brands in sensitive categories such as healthcare and finance risk their brand when poor data, inferences, and feedback loops create awkward and insensitive experiences. The good news is that you do not have to throw away all the ad- and martech to start over. Instead, leaders can reevaluate their marketing assumptions about how to target and personalize. This is how you can begin to embrace a better CX for marketing. Check out our new eBook, Embrace A New Marketing Era: End Dissonance And Drive Growth, and our new research, “Marketers Versus Customers: Opposing Forces Erupt,” to learn more, plus a blog that introduces the topic.