One evening in early January, I was stuck at home, suffering through the second in what would become the string of bad winter storms that we’ve all been experiencing. I hadn’t been to the grocery store for the week, and dinnertime was sneaking up on me. I was contemplating the soup that had been in the cabinet for at least 18 months when I received this email from a local restaurant delivery service:

They were delivering! Dinner (plus leftovers) and avoiding the risk of botulism? I was sold.

Clearly this made an impression on me — I mean seriously, I saved a screenshot of an email — and thinking about it now, I know why. It’s because it spoke to me as both a customer and a marketer. This wasn’t part of a planned campaign. The company anticipated and fulfilled an immediate need I was experiencing with the kind of contextual responsiveness we’ve come to expect almost exclusively from social media programs. Delivery Now used the tools and insights already at their disposal to solve a customer problem. Opportunistic? Sure. But it got me what I needed in that moment, so why should I be bothered that they benefit, too?

Applying customer insights and context to provide useful experiences to your audience is just what the Age of the Customer is all about—and it’s what we’ll be discussing at Forrester's Forums for Marketing Leaders this year. We won’t tell you it’s going to be easy to evolve beyond traditional campaign thinking, but the content we'll be presenting will help you get started on the path to post-campaign marketing experiences.

You’ll hear from Forrester thought leaders like:

  • David Cooperstein, VP and Research Director, who’ll be talking about the imperatives that drive marketing in customer-obsessed companies.
  • Carl Doty, VP and Group Director, who’ll share case studies the demonstrate how to keep customers engaged in the ongoing cycle of interactions and insights that make up contextual marketing.
  • Luca Paderni, VP and Research Director, who’ll give you the strategic tools you need to provide customer usefulness in all of your programs, no matter how simple or complex.

And you’ll hear from marketers like you who are living this transition today:

  • Simon Fleming-Wood, CMO of Pandora, will talk about how the application of deep customer insights is at the heart of its product, its business, and ultimately, its customers' loyalty.
  • Jennifer Geddy, Director of CRM at Sony Electronics, will discuss how a refreshed customer journey helps move customers around the life cycle, connecting them with what they want and turning an individual purchase into a long-term relationship.
  • Jeannine Rossignol, Vice President of Marketing Services at Xerox, will show you how B2B marketers will benefit from creating customer-centric, rather than product-centric, strategies.
  • Kimberley Gardiner, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at Toyota, will talk about how focusing on helping customers move from one step to the next however they want has given rise to innovative cross-channel marketing experiences that take the stress out of a high-consideration purchase.

I hope to see you in April at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, where you’ll also be treated to the presentation of the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards. For those of you in Europe, I look forward to welcoming you in May to etc.venues St. Paul’s in London