First, let’s consider the two grand theories of native advertising – the hedgehog positions:
1) Native advertising is the best thing that could have happened.
According to this theory, native advertising at last frees the world from interruptive or parasitic advertisements and allows both the publisher site and advertiser to work toward a shared goal: the best possible experience for the user or reader. Success will be measured directly by readers actually choosing to consume stuff from brands, which means it’ll all be worth more and publishers will earn a bigger cut.
2) Native advertising is the worst thing that could have happened.
According to this theory, native advertising depends fundamentally on confusing the reader into clicking on an advertisement by disguising it as unpaid site editorial. As a result, readers will lose their trust in the sites’ editorial integrity and abandon the site. This loss of integrity will destroy the halo effect, whereby a site’s editorial integrity reflects positively on the advertisers associated with it.
True hedgehogs could expound on these arguments at length (they have a tendency to do that), but I’ve represented the basic positions.
Last week I attended the RSA Conference (RSAC) Innovation Sandbox for the first time. Not only was I an attendee, but I also was fortunate enough to host a CTO panel during the event. For those that aren’t aware, the Innovation Sandbox is one of the more popular programs of the RSAC week. The highlight of the Innovation Sandbox is the competition for the coveted “Most Innovative Company at the RSA Conference” award. This is basically the information security version of ABC’s Shark Tank. If you want to learn about the up-and-coming vendors and technologies, this is one place to do it. To participate, companies had to meet the following criteria:
The product has been in the market for less than one year (launched after February 2013).
The company must be privately held, with less than $5M in revenue in 2013.
The product has the potential to make a significant impact on the information security space.
The product can be demonstrated live and on-site during Innovation Sandbox.
The company has a management team that has proven successful in the delivery of products to market.
Mediapost quotes the Justice Department's filing siding with the broadcasters' argument that Aereo is infringing on their copyright by saying:
“Because [Aereo's] system transmits the same underlying performances to numerous subscribers, the system is clearly infringing.... Although each transmission is ultimately sent only to a single individual, those transmissions are available to any member of the public who is willing to pay the monthly fee.”
“A consumer’s playback of her own lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work to herself will ordinarily be a non-infringing private performance, and it may be protected by fair-use principles as well.”
As I've said before, I'm no lawyer, but I'm having trouble following this line of reasoning. This core issue is whether the Aereo stream is a "lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work," but if I put an antenna on my house, I lawfully acquire the content in question. This doesn't explain why a single-subscriber antenna in a data center doesn't lawfully acquire the content.
If it hinges on multiple people paying to view the same underlying performance, why didn't Sony lose the Betamax case, since the VCR made the same underlying performances available to anyone who paid the amount to buy the device? What if Aereo changed its model from a monthly fee to purchasing an antenna, and maybe a tiered monthly fee for different amounts of storage?
On March 19th I will present at Forrester’s second annual Marketing and Leadership Summit in Shanghai on online direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales opportunities in the Age of the Customer; I will also facilitate a short discussion on the topic with Vincent Lau, Regional Director of eCommerce Asia Pacific for Deckers. During the track session, Vincent and I will discuss:
How eBusinesses should measure the success of their DTC site. In China, DTC sites can’t generally compete with a marketplace when it comes to traffic and sale volume – the traditional eCommerce metrics. However, they can compete in a handful of other meaningful ways – fashion retailers, for example, report higher average order values, larger margins as a result of not having to sell at discounted rates, and a positive influence on overall sales growth across channels in the region.
How a DTC site compares to marketplace channels. There is no denying that marketplaces dominate the eCommerce landscape in China, and will likely take the lion’s share of online sales for a business, but DTC sites also offer a handful of lucrative advantages. One eCommerce executive noted that the DTC shopper is very different from a marketplace shopper and is ultimately more valuable. Not only do shoppers on DTC sites spend more, they buy across categories, pay full price and engage with the brand in meaningful ways by shopping across channels and categories and contributing to social media communities.
Despite an increasingly crowded market of cloud applications, salesforce.com is still very much the “darling” of the SaaS world. Some evidence of the provider’s continued fast-paced growth?
1) Strong stock market performance. On June 12, 2013, when salesforce.com announced the completion of its acquisition of ExactTarget, salesforce.com stock (CRM) was trading at $37.58. On February 19, 2014, it closed at just over $63, a gain of 67.7% over that period (for reference the NASDAQ Composite did roughly 25% over the same period).
2) External accolades for its ability to innovate. In August, salesforce.com was names by Forbes as the world’s most innovative company for the third year running.
3) Steady flow of new products and editions. In November, salesforce.com announced its new Salesforce1 Service Cloud – a platform to be used for cloud-based application development. This product represents a significant improvement in the mobile salesforce.com experience which will ideally aid them in meeting their aggressive financial predictions. Not long before that, salesforce.com had announced Social.com, in April 2013.
4) Revenue growth. Salesforce.com’s recent fiscal results (Q3 2013) conservatively project revenue growth of more than $1 billion for both this year and next ($4.05 billion for FY 2014 and $5.15 billion for FY 2015, compared to $3.05 billion in FY 2103).
So, it is no surprise then (in light of salesforce.com’s massive scale and continued expansion) that we continue to receive a heavy volume of Inquiries into Forrester about how to negotiate with salesforce.com.
The Indian online retail market is still nascent, yet it is growing rapidly. Despite all of the existing challenges — underdeveloped logistics and supply chain operations, poor last-mile connectivity, delivery rejections at the doorstep when cash-on-delivery payments are used, and low conversion rates — online retail in India grew by 67% in 2013. Forrester expects India’s online retail spending to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 50% over the next five years as more Indian consumers start purchasing online. Our recently published report India Online Retail Forecast, 2013 To 2018 discusses our online retail forecast and the growth drivers for India.
On the demand side, Forrester sees a lot of room for growth in the number of Indian online buyers. India had a total population of 1.28 billion in 2013, nearly 16% (or one in six) of whom are online. While higher PC penetration rates have driven Internet adoption in the developed economies over the past two decades, faster mobile penetration is helping boost the Indian Internet population, thanks to “mobile-only” Internet users.
Of all Indian online users, just 14% currently purchase online. Forrester expects the online buyer population in India to grow to 128 million by 2018. Mobile Internet access will be a catalyst for the growth of online retail in India. Several Indian online retailers have reported a large increase in their mobile traffic in 2013, which was virtually nonexistent two years ago; in 2013, almost 20% to 30% of the Indian online retailers web site visits came through mobile. Additionally, mobile commerce accounted for 10% to 15% of online retailer transactions.
Over the past few months I have spoken with a lot of CIOs, customer experience professionals, marketing professionals, and BT strategists in both the public and private sectors in Australia about their organization’s or department’s mobile strategy. This culminated in a number of meetings in Canberra last week, where I got a great feel for how mobile strategies are playing out within the Australian federal government.
While there is a broad spectrum of maturity when it comes to embracing the mobile mind shift, the good news is that everyone I spoke with recognized not only how important mobility is to existing business processes, but also that mobile will transform their customer base and their organization.
It was interesting to note that the conversations I’ve been having with private-sector organizations about mobility usually involve both someone from the CIO’s department and someone from marketing (sometimes CX, sometimes management, sometimes channels). Mobile initiatives are generally partnerships; while the business side leads these initiatives, they also involve the technology department. In contrast, in the public sector the mobile initiative is often led by the technology department — and often by the CIO herself.
Microsoft's new CEO, Satya Nadella, must take three actions to make the company relevant in the Age of the Customer:
1) Attack mobile. Customers are undergoing a mobile mind shift -- an expectation that they can get any information or service on any device at any time wherever they may be. Nadella must establish Microsoft as the third mobile ecosystem, legitimately competing with the formidable franchises of Apple (iOS) and Google (Android). Amazon, with its profit-free business model, will spend unlimited dollars to win the third spot. And a hoard of challengers, from Samsung to Dell to Lenovo will generate confusion and a shower of Hail Mary products in desperate efforts to gain a foothold. Nadella must flawlessly execute in a space that is unfamiliar (he's a cloud guy) and unforgiving. The good news is that Microsoft has a rich history of building powerful ecosystems (e.g., Windows, .NET). But this time around it must approach the market as a challenger, not as the dominant player. Which brings us to...
While this $320 million acquisition of a behind-the-scenes ad tech company seemingly pales next to Comcast's splashy $45 billion bid for Time-Warner, it is a more important transaction for the evolution of television advertising. FreeWheel provides essential functionality for the networks to maximize revenue as their advertising inventory splinters across computer, tablet, and smartphone devices as well as cable, Internet, and mobile delivery systems.
Innovative organizations rely on content to make informed decisions about their customers, products, and go-to-market plans. Accurate information needs to get to the right prospect, partner or client at the right time. Large companies often have multiple content management systems, particularly in industries that grow via acquisitions. Busy information workers need to make decisions, and this can get complicated if multiple systems from multiple vendors are in place.
Standards have the potential to help organizations stay agile and responsive to change. Good standards help companies streamline routine requirements and avoid re-inventing the wheel. Bad standards get ignored, fall out of date and become barriers to innovation.
CMIS (Content Management Interoperability Services) has been a much-discussed standard in the ECM world, even before its formal ratification in 2010. In our 2013 ECM survey, just 13% of content management decision-makers put CMIS front and center as part of their strategy. What I wanted to understand:
Who is using CMIS in the real world?
How are architects using it to deliver valuable content to their busy front line workers?
How are software vendors using it to respond to their customer demands to bring content into a bigger information ecosystem?