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Channel: Martech: Marketing

Forrester decides to buy SiriusDecisions

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One version of the Sirius Demand Waterfall

Research firm Forrester announced today that it will buy B2B research and advisory firm SiriusDecisions.

The deal, which is expected to close in January, will cost the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Forrester $245 million in cash.

‘Demand Waterfall.’ Forrester’s reports on various business, technology and marketing topics are designed for business and tech leaders, centered these days around what it calls “customer-obsessed strategies.”

Headquartered in Wilton, Connecticut, SiriusDecisions is focused on providing a “Sirius Way” methodology that is based on best practices and intended to help optimize marketing, sales and product operations.

One of SiriusDecisions’ calling cards is its “Demand Waterfall” model, used by B2B firms’ sales and marketing teams to help coordinate their assessment and management of new business leads and the sales process.

‘Deeper operational understanding.’ In a statement, the companies said the deal will allow them to cross-sell services, expand the SiriusDecisions platform into IT and customer experience, move it into financial services, healthcare and other vertical markets that Forrester covers, and accelerate international growth plans, especially through Forrester’s global sales force and channels.

Victor Milligan, Forrester CMO, emailed me that this new combined entity allows his company’s clients to “understand and embrace large sweeping changes [in the market] as well as execute and drive performance every day.” SiriusDecisions provides “a deeper operational understanding” that will help to tune Forrester’s strategic advice, he added.

Forrester CFO Michael Doyle said he expects the addition of SiriusDecisions will add about $100 million to Forrester’s 2019 revenue. Milligan told me the SiriusDecisions brand will be maintained, as well as “The Sirius Way.”

Why this matters to marketers. This acquisition is the latest expansive move by Forrester, in this case bringing an additional operational methodology into its portfolio. In July, the research firm picked up customer feedback player FeedbackNow and the analytics company GlimpzIt, planning to use them as the engines to evolve its CX (customer experience) Index into a real-time CX Cloud.

Given the wide availability of various kinds of business research, Forrester and competitors like Gartner are taking their own advice by keeping ahead of the rapidly changing market. The arc of their evolution, such as Forrester’s major move into customer-focused strategy, traces the latest direction of marketing and business intelligence.

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

The post Forrester decides to buy SiriusDecisions appeared first on Marketing Land.

Foldable screens: No big deal for marketers or potential game changer?

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Recently, Google announced that its Android OS will natively support foldable screens on smartphones. Coupled with Samsung’s promise of a Galaxy foldable smartphone, it appears that this form factor — promised by consumer tech companies since the end of the last century — may soon emerge.

What kind of opportunities — and challenges– would this technology represent for marketing?

A big deal. Foldables could potentially come in a variety of form factors, ranging from a single screen that covers either the two outside or the two inside surfaces of a flip phone, to a small screen that fits into a pocket and unfolds like a map into a larger display. Eventually, almost any kind of malleable screen may be possible.

While some observers speculate that truly thin and flexible screens — as bendable as paper — are years off, the fact is that marketers don’t yet know how fast the technology will take hold or evolve.

In any case, several experts that I contacted say a foldable screen– in its various possible incarnations — is a big deal.

‘A complete reimagining.’ Mobile device buyers “are eager to see something dramatically different,” customer experience platform Sitecore CTO Ryan Donovan told me via email. Foldable screens, he said, “open the door to a complete reimagining” of how information is sent and consumed, “more radical” that the smartwatch.

That means, of course, that marketers and their information, interaction and visual designers have a lot of new choices to make.

For instance, Donovan said, marketers will need to decide if there is a different set of content and a different kind of responsiveness every time a screen is folded open or close.

Should it be the same image writ larger when the screen is unfolded, or should it become two images? The device will likely know about an “unfolding” action, so should that trigger some difference in content or interactivity?

Potentially, the unfolding could turn a phone into the equivalent of a tablet. How does that transformation from one device type to another change the content and the interactivity?

Completing complex actions. One approach for marketers to deal with a multi-device universe has been to create content that is independent from the presentation layer and from the screen size, so the same material can be rendered for a mobile device, a tablet or a refrigerator screen. Some marketers might choose that route, and the foldable screen — with all its permutations — could become just another set of destinations.

But a foldable screen also offers several unique attributes, including folding and unfolding actions, and the ability for one device to become a much larger or smaller one.

Derek Davis, a web developer for Sozoe Creative, emailed me that customers on foldable mobile screens will “be able to more easily complete complex actions like purchases or feedback forms on a larger form factor.” This could mean that the lower rate of sale conversions on smaller mobile screens, compared to desktops, could become a thing of the past.

Intent indicators. Sal Visca, CTO of e-commerce platform Elastic Path, pointed out that “the fact of unfolding [a screen] is an extremely strong indication of the user’s level of interest and engagement with the content,” meaning that unfolding or folding could become key events for interactivity and analysis, possibly on the level of a click. Unfolding certainly means the users want to read more content or in a larger format, but Visca notes that it could also mean the user is ready to fill out forms, make a purchase or otherwise engage with the content.

He also predicted that content flow charts will need to be redefined, so they can accommodate the progression of additional or higher resolution content when a screen is unfolded or its shape otherwise changed. And unfolding the screen may represent some real-world analogous action, like opening a wallet.

Convex, concave shapes. Changeable screens may also offer radical new form factors for marketers. Litha Ramirez, Director of Experience Strategy and Design Group at digital transformation agency SPR, told me “bendability introduces new shapes” that can incorporate a level of depth, such as convex or concave shapes, or even a cylinder. Foldable screens are “on the way to bendable screens,” she said, an evolution that might even lead to screens molded to a specific shape, like a character’s face.

A bending action on the screen could also “flip pages in a [virtual] book,” she envisioned, possibly combined with haptic feedback so users “feel” the page turns or other on-screen activity. A cylindrical screen might allow a marketer to turn a display into, say, a Coke can.

The potential impact, Ramirez said, is “huge,” since bendable/foldable screens could make any surface into any kind of changeable shape.

Hoping it’s not the Segway. In fact, if even a portion of the above predictions come true, malleable screens could turn the entire category of mobile into something different.

Currently, mobile marketing to pocket devices must account for their transportability, wirelessness and their small screen size.

If the latter factor is removed, then the category changes. In addition to possibly leading to more sales, such devices could be used more frequently for productivity tasks like word processing or sales presentations.

But, Ramirez said, let’s hope that malleable screens “don’t go the way of the Segway.”

As ingenious as that single-person motorized scooter is, she noted, its biggest issue has been that it is a solution without a clear problem, and the benefit hasn’t been enough for most people to warrant the adoption and the cost.

While bendable/foldable screens represent terrific opportunities for marketers, the pending question is: Are the benefits worth enough — for most people — to warrant the adoption, learning curve and cost?

This story first appeared on MarTech Today. For more on marketing technology, click here.

The post Foldable screens: No big deal for marketers or potential game changer? appeared first on Marketing Land.

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