Photo: Paddy Cosgrave, CEO and co-founder of Web Summit
Recently, Web Summit took place in Lisbon. “Web-what”? Web Summit is indeed a relative newcomer on the event scene, but you should take notice. At its core, Web Summit is all about connecting larger enterprises and investors to smaller tech companies. On a human level, Web Summit’s goal is to bring together youngish and enthusiastic technology entrepreneurs with experienced investors and leading managers of technology vendors. The result is a fresh and dynamic exchange of ideas and opinions as well as the mutual mentoring of the involved participants.
Web Summit started only in 2009 with a few dozen bloggers, journalists, and technologists in a hotel on the outskirts of Dublin. Web Summit’s rise to become one of the most important global technology conferences is remarkable. In 2016, the event already attracted 53,000 visitors from 166 countries and 15,000 companies, with 65% of visitors being senior managers, including 7,000 CEOs.
Singles’ Day is now a global phenomenon, blending shopping and entertainment both online and offline; it’s a far cry from its origin as a one-day, one-country, online-only shopping event. This year, newer trends like live streaming and virtual reality (VR) commerce show how eCommerce is evolving. Some of the highlights were:
Elevating online-to-offline promotions with augmented reality (AR). Alibaba created a Pokémon-Go-like augmented reality mobile game — “Catch The Tmall Cat” — to drive traffic to the offline stores of partner retailers like Starbucks and Suning and increase sales; players could “capture” discount codes to use in stores.
Developing live streaming as an online shopping staple. This year, Alibaba held a shoppable, live-streamed fashion show during its kickoff gala and live-streamed more than 300 shows during its 24-day promotion period. JD.com and Suning also latched on to the trend: Both teamed up with live-video platform Huajiao to provide live streaming during Singles’ Day.
B2C marketers have taken ownership of data-driven decisioning from their customer insight colleagues. With the most holistic view of investment, execution, and results, marketers themselves are the ones best equipped to move marketing from gut-feel to results-driven. Thirty-nine percent of marketing measurement professionals in our recent Forrester Wave evaluation revealed that corporate marketing sponsors marketing measurement and optimization initiatives while only 14% indicated business intelligence or corporate analytics groups sponsor. (Source: Forrester's Q3 2016 Global Marketing Measurement And Optimization Solutions Forrester Wave™ Customer Reference Phone/Online Survey).
A powerful brand not only has to be extremely relevant to prospects, it has to make itself an invaluable and inextricable part of customers' lives as well. In the recent Forrester report called Navigate Your Brand To Resonance: Four Milestones To Brand Building, I outline a road map for CMOs with four clear stops, from salience to resonance, on the road to building a powerful brand. This journey is a must-take road trip for CMOs looking to assess the state of their brand and craft a strategy for taking it to the next step. The milestones are shown in the figure below:
The roadmap traces a deepening connection between brand and consumer built on a foundation of customer-obsessed experience delivery and powerful emotional connections. Good brands succeed in being salient, inducing trial, creating memorable experiences, and forming emotional bonds. Amazing brands do more – they energize the entire brand-consumer relationship in a way that creates a resonant and enduring bond. Brands that achieve this resonance are twice blessed - they reap the rewards of loyalty with existing customers and also set in motion a powerful recommendation engine which feeds the awareness and salience funnel. As Forrester research has consistently shown, word of mouth and recommendations are far more credible than brand-generated paid and earned media.
In the report, I provide several best practices of brands on this journey from salience to resonance; here are a few:
Every fall, more than a dozen Forrester analysts across multiple roles meet to discuss what executives and leaders at financial services firms should anticipate over the next year. Driven by our ongoing research, the result of this brainstorm is now available as the just-published “Predictions 2017: Pioneering Financial Providers Will Partner With Fintech To Build Ecosystems” report. Forrester clients can read the full predictions report by clicking the button here:
For non-clients, here are three of the 16 predictions we outline in our new report:
Leading providers and fintech firms will partner to build ecosystems. Dynamic ecosystems of value threaten traditional, vertically integrated financial firms that want to stick with the old-school value chain. But ecosystems also offer opportunities to financial providers that think carefully about the roles they want to play in the ecosystem — and by extension, the role they want to play in customers’ lives. Pioneering financial providers like BBVA have built ecosystems with fintech firms like OnDeck, and we predict that in 2017, more leading firms will follow suit and build dynamic ecosystems of value.
We recently attended VMworld 2016 Europe in Barcelona. The event, which attracted about 10,000 visitors, has established itself as an important destination for anyone with an interest in virtualization-related topics. In many respects, the event was over-shadowed by the VMware-AWS partnership. However, the event also provided us with several additional impressions. We felt that there were several encouraging signs pointing to how VMware is progressing as a business within Dell Technologies, in particular, VMware is:
Developing its ecosystem of partners. The event was a good example how large VMware’s ecosystem has grown over the years. Most major systems integrators, IT firms, software houses, and telcos were present. In discussions with management, it was obvious that VMware fully understands the need to partner with a wide range of providers to address the business requirements that enterprise customers have. We expect VMware to further strengthen its ecosystem activities.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not one big, specific technology. Rather, it is comprised of one or more building block technologies. So, to understand AI, you have to understand each of these nine building block technologies. Now, you could argue that there are more technologies than the ones listed here, but any additional technology can fit under one of these building blocks. This is a follow-on to my post Artificial Intelligence: Fact, Fiction, How Enterprises Can Crush It
Here are the nine pragmatic AI technology building blocks that enterprises can leverage now:
■ Knowledge engineering. Knowledge engineering is a process to understand and then represent human knowledge in data structures, semantic models, and heuristics (rules). AD&D pros can embed this engineered knowledge in applications to solve complex problems that are generally associated with human expertise. For example, large insurers have used knowledge engineering to represent and embed the expertise of claims adjusters to automate the adjudication process. IBM Watson Health uses engineered knowledge in combination with a corpus of information that includes over 290 medical journals, textbooks, and drug databases to help oncologists choose the best treatment for their patients.
To reach and engage with more than 700 million online consumers, B2C marketing professionals have put digital atop their agendas. However, marketers in China are far from ready to go digital-first on their own, and need agency support particularly in the following three areas:
Customer understanding and segmentation. Digital consumers’ behaviors are changing fast, and marketers must better understand, reach, and engage with them. Marketers expect to get more data services from agencies, especially industry-relevant customer insights, to help them better understand their customers.
Multichannel strategy. Marketers increasingly realize that siloed thinking fails to tap the full potential of digital business, and their efforts are often disconnected when supporting digital marketing initiatives across platforms and channels. As a result, marketers’ demand for multichannel solutions is increasing.
Creative strategy. Marketers need creative strategies to improve the return on their digital marketing investments. Content marketing, creating relevant ideas, defining customer segments, and customer journey mapping are critical to developing an effective creative strategy where the ultimate goal is to deliver business outcomes.
Prime Minister Modi’s announcement of the demonetization of the large denomination bills is a significant initiative. While he indicated terror financing and corruption as the main causes for the initiative, there are many ramifications this move will have on legitimate business activities as well.
India is known for its love of cash. Uber is primarily a cashless service elsewhere in the world, but more than 50% of Uber trips in India are paid for in cash. This preference for cash transactions arises primarily from following reasons:
The majority of Indians are still not familiar with card-based or electronic payments, irrespective of the relentless focus of the Reserve Bank of India toward changing their behavior.
Merchants in India are forcing the choice of cash payments on customers because electronic payments eat into their margins — just like everywhere else in the world.
Even more significantly, cash payments allow merchants and professionals like doctors, lawyers, and accountants to keep such transactions off the books and avoid tax.
Public cloud services are one of the biggest disruptions in the tech market in the past 15 years. In September 2016, my colleagues Andrew Bartels, Dave Bartoletti, and John R. Rymer published their latest public cloud services outlook, The Public Cloud Services Market Will Grow Rapidly To $236 Billion In 2020,projecting 22% annual growth in public cloud services over the 2015-to-2020 period. Explosive growth in cloud applications has depressed software license sales, and cloud platforms have upended the traditional on-premises server and storage market. The pure-play public cloud players continue to report fantastic growth: Amazon Web Services’ revenue grew 58% year-over-year in Q2 2016, and Microsoft Azure reported 116% year-over-year revenue growth in Q1 2017 (September). In response, traditional software and hardware vendors are moving to the cloud via both acquisitions and launches of new cloud services.