Forrester’s Jim Nail Shares Strategies for Adopting a Modern Marketing Approach

January 9, 2020 Anushka Panday

Since the dawn of the Internet, consumers have become more empowered with data to make buying decisions. And as technology advances, consumers are expecting to get what they want, when they want it. In the fast-changing media landscape, it’s important for brands to find new ways to reach and engage their audiences. That means putting customers at the center of their business. 

In a recent Nielsen-sponsored webinar, Forrester Research Principal Analyst Jim Nail shared what it takes to win, serve, and retain today’s customers. In the age of the empowered and entitled consumer, he stressed the importance of considering the customer in all facets of the business, from technology and metrics to culture, operations, and more. This includes marketing strategy—marketers need to adopt a more consumer-centric model to achieve success amidst industry changes.

The Changing Face of Marketing

The traditional marketing model involves understanding the customer from a demographic perspective and then creating a brand strategy based on the findings. 

With a more modern approach, companies are encouraged to invest more in understanding the customer: their motivations, challenges, goals, etc. Equipped with a better understanding, marketers can define a more impactful brand strategy. And beyond image and messaging, companies need to be mindful of the ways that the consumer can access and interact with the brand, as the brand experience is becoming more meaningful in purchase decisions.

Four Critical Modern Marketing Functions

During the webinar, Jim explored the four interrelated functions that define modern marketing and how these will define successful advertising strategies that balance brand and consumer needs. Here are some of the key takeaways from his presentation. To learn more, you can view the entire session on-demand here.


Companies must be open to moving away from old habits and instead pursue new ways of working. Marketers need to be more critical with their messaging and ensure that it is human, helpful and handy as opposed to pushing many messages out to as many people as they can.

  • Human - messages should convey the excitement and benefits of a brand as one would in a conversation with friends or family
  • Helpful - companies should develop experiences that show consumers that a brand can solve a consumer problem
  • Handy - marketers should be agile and responsive to customer signals

Through this mindset shift, companies can adjust their marketing messages to better resonate with consumers.


Consumers still watch multiple hours of TV per day, and for marketers, reaching those consumers is still the main goal. Now, however, consumers are watching on various devices from a myriad of services. Instead of planning around one screen and device, marketers will need to think about how to reach different consumers through different devices and/or services.

In order to achieve this, marketers should use insights from data to understand where viewers are watching and what kind of content they are consuming. This type of insight will ultimately help guide marketers on where to place ads and how to tackle fragmentation.


The series of actions required to achieve a wide audience reach changes in the world of fragmentation. Marketers must be open to moving away from current processes and norms.

For example, addressable TV and advanced TV are both gaining traction. Yet research shows that while marketers are actively testing these new techniques, many are not ready to include them in their normal workflow. 

As technology advances, adoption will accelerate. Companies need to be ready to define and adopt new processes that account for these new mediums in order to be successful.


When the ways of working change, companies need new skill sets to be successful. Hiring agile talent is crucial to success. The talent needed and the way they do their jobs should reflect the new mindset and processes.

For example, there are many concerns around the overlap between TV teams and digital video teams, and which will prevail as the industry changes. Both have different perspectives, but neither team has complete knowledge nor the skillsets required to maximize impact. Digital buyers need to understand the importance of reach and frequency versus impressions. TV buyers, on the other hand, need to incorporate granular, non-demographic data in the buying process. Going forward, companies need to hybridize these sets of buying skills in order to keep up with the changing trends and technology.

A changing media landscape impacts the way brands interact with consumers. To make their marketing and messages more effective, brands will need to put consumers at the center of business. By leveraging an open mindset, data-driven insights, new processes and agile talent, marketers can set themselves up for success. 

Learn More

Watch the How to Adopt a Modern Marketing Approach to Drive Success presentation on-demand now.

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