AmazonSupply . . . Amazon's Camel's Nose Under The B2B eCommerce Tent?

For years the cognoscenti have speculated that Amazon would make an official move into B2B eCommerce. Well . . . they’re finally right. Just a few days ago, Amazon launched their first purpose-built B2B eCommerce site called AmazonSupply.

And yes . . . the entrenched and established e-distributers in the B2B space should be worried.  Here’s why:

  • B2C core assets are very leveragable into B2B. Online merchandising is online merchandising. Logistical support is logistical support.  World-class customer service is world-class customer service. And don’t forget about economies of scale and low prices. It can all be extended into this new space. And Amazon’sB2C infrastructure is similar enough to the infrastructure required to sell B2B that Amazon can do it -- and with relative ease.
  • Integration with Amazon’s buying process is inherently powerful. By bringing their universal login and one-click checkout to the table, Amazon’s vaunted ease-of-use and frictionless eCommerce will now live fully within AmazonSupply’s B2B offering. Customer behavior will not have to change and the user experience will remain second-to-none. Both are powerful influences. 
  • Amazon Marketplace is a force multiplier. Now accounting for nearly 1/3 of Amazon’s unit shipment volume, Amazon Marketplace has clearly established itself as a force to be reckoned with.  AmazonSupply nicely complements the already compelling Amazon Marketplace value proposition for B2B companies and further expands Amazon's B2B eCommerce story.
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Just Published: The Forrester Wave: Cross-Channel Attribution Providers

Marketers and CI professionals frequently tell us that they want a better measurement technique to accurately determine the true performance of channels and customers. I am pleased to announce that today we published The Forrester Wave™: Cross-Channel Attribution Providers, Q2 2012.  This vendor review is a result of countless hours of vendor reviews and assessments, in-person briefing reviews, customer calls, fact checking, and countless hours of intensive research work.

After long days and countless Starbuck lattes, I crawled out of this very intense research process, and a few key takeaways emerged:
 
  • Companies are investing in attribution. Marketers are seeking expert advice for the best ways to measure their channels with more precision. Attribution approach can provide a more concise way of measuring true channel and customer performance. And that’s something organizations are hungry for. To do this, they need help developing attribution models and making sense of all their data.
  • Cross- channel attribution is a relatively immature market. Vendors have fairly immature cross-channel attribution offerings. Most continue to emphasize digital attribution but are rapidly expanding to include additional channels, while also developing future marketing scenario-planning capabilities.
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Hot Off The Presses: Forrester Wave™ For Interactive Attribution

So how was your winter?  I hibernated, holed up in a cave studying the interactive attribution category.  Like a freakish, human Punxsutawney Phil, I emerged – but unfortunately I saw my shadow and hit the snooze button. According to tradition, this means that we are subjected to more cold days ruled by the "last click" measurement standard.  And we're still stuck in those cold days:  even among marketers we surveyed who work with an attribution provider, 28% indicated that they still rely on "first click" or "last click" to assign value to their interactive marketing activities.

Now for the good news:  the thaw is coming and we’re optimistic that it will be permanent. I’m excited to announce that The Forrester Wave™: Interactive Attribution Providers, Q2 2012 is now available to help you select the right partner and learn more about attribution. In it, we discuss how momentum is accelerating for the interactive marketing community to dismiss "last click" and employ advanced attribution, the measurement of the partial value of each contact that contributed to a desired outcome.

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How Can Digital Out-Of-Home Fulfill Its Potential? (Insights From The MediaPost Digital Out-Of-Home Summit)

As digital infuses every medium, one of the oldest advertising mediums around — out-of-home — is getting a digital makeover. Forrester Researcher Cory Madigan recently attended a MediaPost summit on this topic. Here’s Cory’s take on the event:

On April 11th, MediaPost hosted a Digital Out-Of-Home Summit in New York. The event was primarily attended by digital out-of-home (DOOH) vendors, and the content was geared toward that audience, focusing on what the DOOH industry can do to help media planners and buyers shift spend to that channel. The opportunity is clear: As the medium closest to offline purchase, marketers can use DOOH to complete a marketing loop that involves TV, mobile, social, and out-of-home media. Tricia Nichols, global lead of consumer engagement and media strategy for Gap brands, noted that the interactivity of DOOH screens lends itself to in-store experiences, going beyond offers and into social loyalty. But with what seems like an obvious way to spend ad dollars, young DOOH media is having a hard time selling itself to media buyers and advertisers. How can the industry rise to the challenges it faces?

  • Media planners: Break out of your silos. Rather than plan with a customer-centric approach, media planners focus only on their channel with little collaboration across other media. Because many advertisers are already unsure how to integrate DOOH into broader campaigns and programs, opportunities to marry place-based media and mobile programs, for example, go by the wayside. Agencies and marketers need to plan media according to the customer life cycle, and DOOH will be more likely to add value and find the relevance it seeks by marrying the targeting and geolocation capabilities this medium offers with content made for its place in the customer life cycle.
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Marks And Spencer's "Plan A" Doesn't Specifically Mean "Agile." But It Could.

 I’m constantly searching for great examples of agile commerce practitioners. These are hard to find, and it’s rare to come across any one organization that exemplifies everything that we believe an agile business needs to be.

Dynamic. Willing to take calculated risks. Organized for cross-touchpoint customer engagement. A clear vision for the future with the customer firmly at the center.

In the various interviews I do, I frequently find that I end up talking about a British retail icon.

Marks and Spencer.

So what’s so special about M&S, you may ask. Well, not only is M&S a digital innovator in the space of video and its use of social media, but under the leadership of its Chief Executive Mark Bolland it is transforming itself into a truly multichannel organization. With a clear ambition to be the “UK’s leading multichannel retailer,” M&S has set itself a stretching target.

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The Data Digest: Mobile Behaviors in Russia

I’m sure you’ve noticed from the latest data digests that I'm really in a mobile mood, but there's just so much going on with mobile globally! Last week, I was at a research conference on “Mobile Research in a Mobile World”; it presented many interesting case studies on how to use mobile for research purposes in both developed and developing markets.

One of the most intriguing presentations was by Mikhail Zarin from Mobiety and Artem Tinchurin from Tiburon Research. They shared the challenges they encounter with doing research in Russia and how adding mobile adds a layer of complexity with regards to questionnaire design, engagement, and sample management. 

This reminded me about a report I recently worked on with a colleague called “The Introduction To The Russian Consumer.” My colleague is from Russia, and she taught me that many consumers pay their bills or top up their phones at machines that take cash. And these machines also act as eCommerce platforms: You can use them to purchase airline tickets, for example. During their speech at the mobile research conference, Mikhail and Artem shared how they use these machines to ask people to participate in research. Although response rates are low, overall participation is quite good because there are so many ATMs.

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TV Is Getting More Targeted? Online Video Is Adopting GRPs? Welcome To The Upfront Twilight Zone.

The ever-insightful Mike Glantz has picked up on something strange in the water for video (TV and online) advertising these days. After conducting a great panel at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in Los Angeles last week, here's his take:

Online video is certainly rising fast as a medium and an ad vehicle. Just this week, comScore announced that Americans watched more than 8 billion video ad impressions in March alone, setting an all-time record. Audiences in the US are embracing online video across a wide variety of devices and show no signs of slowing down. To capitalize on this explosive growth, many of the big online publishers like AOL, Hulu, and Yahoo are hosting their own "New Fronts," with the hope of emulating TV and attracting bigger advertisers with deeper pockets and larger commitments to purchase the more valuable online ad space in advance.

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Introducing Forrester’s Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark

Technology is radically changing the way bank customers interact with their providers, and mobile touchpoints are at the forefront of this change. In the past five years, mobile banking adoption in the US has more than quadrupled, hitting 17% by the end of 2011. This represents a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 33%.

As such, eBusiness professionals and mobile strategists at banks are in a white-knuckle contest to out-do each other in the mobile space. To evaluate and gauge banks’ mobile offerings, we applied Forrester’s Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark to the four largest retail banks in the US.                                                                                                 

What we found:

  • Big US banks offer solid, not-yet-splendid, mobile services.  We employ 63 individual criteria in our Mobile Banking Functionality Benchmark methodology. The combination of weightings and scores for the criteria generates an overall score based on a 100-point scale. In our inaugural ranking, the four largest US banks posted an average score of 63 out of 100 – above our minimum standards but far from perfect.
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Moving From Cool To Critical: What We Learned At The Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum

Last week, Forrester got about 700 of our friends together (ok, conference attendees) to figure out what is cool and what is critical in marketing today as well as what is likely to cross from the former to the latter. We had amazing presentations from major consumer goods, retail, insurance, and technology brands tackling these different issues.

Below, I have included the graphic illustrations of these presentations (courtesy of Kate Dwyer at Collective Next), highlighting the key takeaways from each. In them, you can see the stories and concepts that our speakers revealed to help the audience progress in this complex marketing world we now live in.

What's cool?

  • Branding is cool again, according to Chris Stutzman. He studied the relationship expressed by consumers between things like brand pride and brand uniqueness and how they influence premium prices and willingness to recommend. His insight: 21st century brands will be built on different foundations than 20th century brands, especially as they  relate to what leads the marketing effort. Product-led brands will suffer as experience-led brands thrive (Note: His report will be coming out soon, but here is preview from Advertising Age). 
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With O2 Wallet, The Disruptive Mobile Payment Space Is Heating Up

A year ago, Forrester stated that mobile payments were entering a disruptive phase. More recently, my colleague Benjamin Ensor elaborated on the battle for the digital wallet.

Mobile digital wallets are emerging and going beyond payment. New technologies, mixing QR codes, apps, personal financial management software, NFC, and many more, are combining to convert mobile handsets into digital wallets that combine not just payments but also receipts, vouchers, and loyalty. Beyond the convenience of using the phone for payment, consumers will benefit from post-transaction elements such as location-based coupons or enhanced product information at the point of sale (POS).

We’ve not seen a single day without a new product launch, start-up creation, or acquisition — or a new strategic alliance between banks, payment networks, Internet firms, or mobile operators.

So what’s new today? Telefonica 02 just announced the launch of O2 Wallet in the UK.

We believe that the O2 Wallet is, for now, the most comprehensive mobile payment solution in the UK – available to a majority of smartphone owners, whether they are O2 customers or not. The new product combines the following functions:

  • Money Message — This gives customers the ability to easily transfer money to any UK mobile phone number.
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