1. Conferences and Events

Shar VanBoskirk Keynote at Forrester Marketing Forum

Shar VanBoskirk, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Shar VanBoskirk, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research, Forrester Marketing Forum 2009

She took the stage full of energy (and Mickey Mouse songs). Her theme: “Transform Marketing through Interactive Channels.”

She noted that her trip over was a death defying experience:

  • Airplane ride: risk of death 1 in 3,333,000. By Car 1 in 76,923.
  • Risk of death of fighting with vending machine: 1 in 40,000
  • Risk of death from eating ice cream every day: 1 in 5,300

“Oftentimes our perceptions of risk don’t match with what is actually risky… We perceive that it is a very risky time to be in business because we are constantly reminded how bad things are.”

“Marketers should innovate now despite the perceived risk.”

– Why innovate now

Spend on search, display, email, social media, mobile growing by 17% through 2014. Social media up the most, 34% in that span to $3.1 billion, topping mobile and email handily.

Interactive Marketing Spend 2008 - 2014 - Forrester Research

Discussed her findings with bloggers (ahem, me). Discussion was about

Quoted me here: “He suggested what if emerging channels can actually help marketers make safe bets?” She tested this out with Twitter searches for P&G brand Swiffer. Found product ideas, like on a baby who likes to Swiffer. And a concern that the smell of the cleaning fluid burns her nose.

Notes another approach: Tropicana. Tropicana juice sales are down 20% since beginning of the year because of the product packaging debacle. A Tropicana exec said the passion for the old brand didn’t come out in the research. And Shar says this passion from a small group of loyal consumers would have come up if they just checked social networks.

Innovations can pay off in a big way.

“Taking a risk can make marketing the hero of your organization.”

– How can you reduce the risk of marketing innovation?

We take risks when they’re familiar, in our control, or feel thrilling. How can we do this for marketing innovation?

Accessible innovation: A marketing program development that you can pursue from within your own role in order to solve problems or improve business results.

4 fundamentals:

Enhance: build on existing idea to create new value, to create margin on existing programs

Include: incorporate many disparate perspectives, gain community input on campaign devleopment – eg Adidas including users in New School of Thought campaign

Empathize: relate to community and bring value, to build personal relationship between brand and customers – eg Zappos as human face of Twitter brand, company had $1B in sales in 2008, 75% growth

Iterate: segment different messages to different audiences – Shockwave used different websites, got 150% increase in annual subscriptions

Another example:

Best Buy Remix: anyone can build applications or websites off BestBuy’s product data. One such site: Camebluy. Another one: GPS Discovery tool.

Remix: Enhances Best Buy’s affiliate marketing program. Includes other plays outside Best Buy to represent brand. Empathize – engages customers in new relationship. Iterates – lots of variation of it.


– What should you do to get started?

1. Determine if potential innovation is an accessible one.

2. Assess its actual risk




  • Marketers should innovate now despite perceived risk.
  • Accessible innovations are those you can pursue from your current role.


shar vanboskirk

Update: read more coverage of the session on 360i’s blog

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Comments to: Shar VanBoskirk Keynote at Forrester Marketing Forum
  • Avatar
    April 23, 2009

    David, this is a great post. Thank you for sharing it. I am the social media manager for Best Buy Remix and we are really glad to have been chosen as one of the examples here. Unfortunatly, I was unable to attend today, so I am really glad you shared this. Thanks so much.

  • Avatar
    October 23, 2010

    This is very comprehensive and I am glad I have stumbled on this blog. This is very inspiring as well.


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