Chances are, you've recently visited a brand's webpage and stumbled upon a visually appealing, Pinterest-like media gallery with photos of happy customers and the brand's products. Today, media galleries are all the rage as marketers attempt to capture the priceless content their audiences are generating on social networks and at live events. But before you run out and invest what's left of your 2014 marketing budget on a social content curation platform (see Figure 2 from this report) make sure social content curation will help you:
Last week, two news items captured the front-page headlines of the Indian financial newspapers. The first was an announcement by Flipkart on July 29 that it has raised fresh capital of $1 billion in one of the largest funding rounds. The second was an announcement by Amazon on July 30 that it will invest another $2 billion in India. These numbers appeared large to us when seen in the context of overall online retail sales in India. As per the Forrester Asia Pacific online retail forecast published in early October 2013, India’s online retail spending was expected to reach $2 billion by the end of 2013. We believe that the pace of eCommerce in India picked up faster than our expectations during the past 12 months and these companies would have witnessed very strong growth. According to Amazon, at current scale and growth rates, India is on track to become the fastest country ever to reach $1 billion in gross sales. It is important to note that Amazon launched India operations in June 2013 only.
These events raised many interesting research questions for us. We will try to address them as we work toward updating our APAC online retail forecast for the years 2014 to 2019. The two most important questions relate to the number of online buyers in India and the mobile commerce opportunity in India.
Last week Peter Sheldon and I published The Forrester Wave TM: Omnichannel Order Management, Q3 2014 report, assessing order management vendors targeting omnichannel businesses. Compared to our 2010 Forrester Wave on order management hubs, this new stream of research addresses the heightened requirements that order management systems (OMS) must now help broker and fulfill orders across all distribution centers as well as physical stores. Based on our research many retailers are seeing a significant lift in online sales by enabling all inventory in the enterprise to be sold. The omnichannel OMS applications evaluated in this Wave differ from our 2010 evaluation because:
Inventory transparency is a priority. In a world where digitally enabled customers expect to find and purchase products from any touchpoint, inventory visibility is now a requirement for OMS applications. The OMS today is responsible for consolidating and maintaining inventory positions from various systems including WMS, eCommerce and even from the supply chain. This consolidated, enterprise view of inventory is made available to customers in near-real time, affording shoppers the best opportunity to have their needs met regardless of the whereabouts of the product.
Corporations spend a lot of time and money to ensure their employee- and customer-facing technologies are compliant with all local and regional data privacy laws. However, this task is made challenging by the patchwork of data privacy legislation around the world, with countries ranging from holding no restrictions on the use of personal data to countries with highly restrictive frameworks. To help our clients address these challenges, Forrester developed a research and planning tool called the Data Privacy Heat Map (try the demo version here). Originally published in 2010, the tool leverages in-depth analyses of the privacy-related laws and cultures of 54 countries around the world, helping our clients better strategize their own global privacy and data protection approaches.
The most recent update to the tool, which published today, highlights two opposing trends affecting data privacy over the past 12 months:
Increased government surveillance continues to impede the free flow of information. Corporations worry that storing or processing data within the borders of a country with high levels of governmental surveillance could place their intellectual property at risk. Notable additions to the tool's growing list of countries with lowered barriers to government surveillance include the US, Germany, and the UK.
An agency head told me how he was on a call between the European head of marketing for a US brand and that brand’s board of directors. The chairman asked the marketing honcho, “How is the European market?” The marketer answered, “There isn’t one.” Awkward silence. “That is, there is no European market. There is a French market. A German market. A British one. And so on. I can tell you about those.”
In no other sphere of marketing are these national differences magnified more than in social media. Social media is, by its nature, participatory and thus takes on the form, tone, and color of its users. Social media in Germany is German social media. In France, French social media.
Then brands enter the picture. That social media strategy hatched in Dallas or Dublin, with a sum earmarked for translations, will not cut it.
Three reasons cookie-cutter strategies will fail in Europe:
Europeans as a broad group are less likely to engage with brands on social media than, say, in the United States or metro Hong Kong.
Europeans’ usage differ significantly country to country; Italians usage is not comparable to German usage.
Each market boasts strong local players that excel at the intricacies of their market’s social media usage.
Every business and industry faces digital disruption today. Digitally empowered customers demand a much higher level of customer obsession to win and keep their business, and they are forcing firms to redefine their business models. Whether you are in banking, insurance, financial services, education, media and entertainment — essentially, in any industry — digital technologies will disrupt your business. Nevertheless, our research shows that firms currently favor a bolt-on digital strategy over digital transformation, but this will drive only limited value from their digital investments. Digital strategy is not about adding a new mobile app or building a social media presence. It requires a fundamental shift in business strategy, responsibilities, technology capabilities, and organizational structure.
Against this backdrop, Forrester is holding its third series of CIO Summits across Asia Pacific in August and September. The India summit is on August 21, 2014 in Mumbai with the theme of: "Beyond IT: Empower Digital Business In The Age Of The Customer." Just like last year, we expect around 150 CIOs to attend the event. The Summit will focus on the significant shift we’ve seen in CIOs' traditional focus — from the design and deployment of internal systems focused on process control to digital products and services for their customers. Of particular importance on the digital journey are three domains:
- Customer experience.
- The mobile mind shift.
- The transformation of big data into actionable business insights.
Over the past year, we’ve told banks that some of them would become custodians. We’ve told insurers that many of them would be forced to specialise. We’ve told wealth management firms that many would shrink. We’ve done this to show them how digital disruption could savage retail financial services, just as it has done with the music and publishing industries.
But we don’t want to be just the bearers of bad news: We want to help you deal with new players like peer-to-peer lending platforms and even Google entering retail financial services. And to be fair, it’s not all bad news. There are plenty of companies out there using digital innovation to meet their customers’ financial needs in new and better ways. Take for example BBVA which has brought its customers the virtual assistant Lola, video banking, and the crowdfunding platform called Suma. And BBVA hasn’t stopped here. The Bank is currently running the sixth edition of its Open Talent competition for start-ups most likely to affect financial services.
How does the CI pro responsible for marketing technology buying make an informed decision when faced with so many options? Well, to quote Ron Davies (feel free to summon the voices of Three Dog Night, David Bowie or Shelby Lynne, if you prefer), “It Ain’t Easy!” To help CI pros with their decision-making, my latest brief The Marketing Technology Buyer’s Dilemma provides advice on how to maintain customer focus while navigating market changes.
As customers we’re rarely satisfied with simply buying goods and services. What we really want, on top of the actual purchase, is a great customer experience (CX). This drives us to seek out companies that not only understand our wants and desires but more importantly, understand the role their company’s products actually play in our lives.
Nowhere is this more true than in the hyper-competitive Australian retail banking market. That’s why we invited Louise Long to speak at Forrester’s Summit For Marketing & Strategy Professionals: Australia. Louise is Head of Customer Experience at National Australia Bank (NAB), leading the company’s initiatives to deliver truly great customer experiences to NAB’s clients.
Louise was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about what she’s doing. Read on for insight into how NAB continuously seeks innovative ways to ensure that the customer remains at the center of the company’s business strategy.
Those of you who’ll be with us in Sydney on Wednesday, August 13th, can hear even more from Louise. I look forward to seeing you there!
Q: When did your company first begin focusing on customer experience? Why?
We at Forrester believe Digital Money Management, often referred to as Personal Financial Management (PFM), is the future of digital banking. But as we find in our new report, The State Of Digital Money Management 2014, available here, it doesn't appear to be the present. Fewer than 22% of customers in the US and Europe have used a single money management feature in the last 90 days.
Why? It's simple: most people just don’t want to manage their money. They don’t want to budget, as in doing any work. They don’t want insight, beyond one or two bite size chunks. And they don’t want to save. They may think they want to, so they’ll set up a savings goal, but most won’t stick with it. Even if they do, it's not about the saving. It’s the buying – that’s the thing they actually want to do.
Even with today's money management, I suspect many of the best users actually spend more, not less, as a result. Few banks measure this - and that's another blog - but it's an instinct I know some clients share. When customers have more transparency around their options, they feel empowered to buy more.
Those users who have no choice but to save often find money management too depressing and give up. Efforts to gamify money management, to make it social, or send “you should save” reminders just alienates them further - the digital equivalent of that unopened bill reminder in the post.