Compelling digital experiences need to be grounded in a simple question: Is the human benefit more visible than the cutting-edge technology? Humanizing the digital experience will provide strategic differentiation and proven financial returns, according to industry leaders and analysts at the Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) Consumer Forum.

More than 800 executives, including CMOs and vice presidents of eCommerce, as well as senior marketing professionals, such as creative directors, brand planners, and database marketing managers, attended the two-day sold-out event in Chicago this week.

At the Forum, Forrester unveiled the idea of experienced-based differentiation as an analytical framework that allows companies to differentiate their products, services, and channels through compelling customer experiences. One method is ultrasimplification: radically reducing offerings and only delivering a critically important subset of features. Another approach, online infusion, redefines an offering by incorporating interactive features into the core product. A third tactic is immersive repositioning, which reorients the way that a target customer interacts with and thinks about a company.

“When it comes to customer experience, companies either slap on a thin veneer or they benchmark themselves against competitors on a road to mediocrity,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Principal Analyst Bruce D. Temkin. “There’s a real opportunity for companies to break out from the pack and systematically build customer loyalty.”

“We’ve seen a proven ROI for experienced-based differentiation projects,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Research Director Harley Manning. “We are typically seeing human-centric design projects paying off in under a year, whether they are focused on Web site, interactive voice response, or kiosk channels.”

Attendees at the Consumer Forum also gained information on the critical technologies and business practices for humanizing digital experiences through more than 200 one-on-one sessions with Forrester analysts, peer networking, and a technology showcase where 23 sponsors shared their solutions. Members of Forrester Leadership Boards’ marketing groups also met at the Consumer Forum. They attended exclusive sessions hosted by the CMO Group, the Interactive Marketing Council, and the Database Marketing Council. More information on Forrester Leadership Boards is available at:

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