More than 850 marketing professionals gathered in Los Angeles this week for the Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) Marketing Forum. The two-day sold-out event focused on new ways to use technology to engage customers — from digital innovations that encourage user interaction to social media that turns customers into influencers. Forrester analysts and senior marketers at leading companies advised attendees that engagement requires a fundamentally different relationship with their customers, and they must be aware of the level of involvement, interaction, intimacy, and influence a person has with their brand to appropriately connect with them.

“A company’s most valuable customer isn’t necessarily someone who buys a lot but rather someone who influences others to buy,” said Forrester Research Vice President and Research Director Harley Manning. “Marketers have to learn how to identify and engage that power influencer in order to successfully reach their target audience.”

The Forum’s keynotes and panel discussions offered insights about increasing customer engagement for several key roles. For example:

  • Customer Experience professionals learned how to craft personas and use techniques from the product design world to evaluate people’s emotional reaction to digital experiences.
  • Direct Marketing and Market Research professionals discussed organization and development of customer-focused programs that can improve engagement.
  • eBusiness, Channel & Product Management professionals explored innovative technologies and strategies — like video and viral marketing — that engage and excite customers.
  • Interactive Marketing professionals shared ideas for gaining internal support for interactive efforts, staffing and organizing for growth, and innovating to stay ahead of the competition.
  • Marketing Leadership professionals explored tools and practices that can help them build and test multichannel strategies focused around the needs of the customer.

Industry leaders who spoke at the Consumer Forum included:

  • Emmanuel Brown, Director of Digital Marketing and Content Development, Nike’s Jordan Brand
  • Mark Colombo, Senior Vice President, Digital Access Marketing, FedEx Services
  • Cathy Halligan, Chief Marketing Officer,
  • Casey C. Jones, Vice President, Global Marketing, Dell
  • Patrick W. Jordan, Author, How To Make Brilliant Stuff People Love
  • Nancy MacIntyre, Executive Vice President, Product, Innovation, and Marketing, LeapFrog Enterprises
  • Gary Skidmore, Corporate Officer and President, Harte-Hanks

In addition, participants gained information on how to increase customer engagement through more than 230 one-on-one sessions with Forrester analysts, workshops, peer networking, and a technology showcase where 30 sponsors — including platinum sponsor Hart-Hanks and gold sponsors x+1, Aprimo, Organic, and Responsys — shared their solutions.

One hundred and thirty members of Forrester Leadership Boards’ marketing groups also met at the Marketing Forum. They attended exclusive sessions hosted by the CMO Group, the Interactive Marketing Council, the Direct Marketing Council, the eBusiness Council, the Market Research Council, and the Technology Marketing Executive Council. The CMO Group members examined best practices for building and executing effective green marketing strategies. The Interactive Marketing Council discussed emerging digital marketing trends and how to integrate them into online marketing strategies. The Direct Marketing Council focused on integration strategies for online and offline data. The eBusiness Council examined methods for developing a Web strategy and exchanged perspectives on the operational challenges of executing the strategy. The Market Research Council considered the future of market research techniques, processes, and data collection strategies, as well as how to best structure their team for influence and visibility across the organization. The Technology Marketing Executive Council addressed integrated approaches for successful customer and prospect marketing. More information on Forrester Leadership Boards is available at:

For more information about future Forrester Events, visit: