Vendor Channel Leaders And Their Challenges In Asia Pacific

Last week, Forrester hosted a channel roundtable in Singapore on the evaluation of channel models in Asia Pacific. The goal was to create a common platform for tech vendor senior channel executives and Forrester analysts to discuss key changes faced by the channel leaders and how best to adapt to them. The briefing was attended by 26 senior channel executives representing 21 tech vendors.

All of the channel leaders agreed with a Forrester report which indicated that channel models are under great pressure due to the growth of mobility and the devices that power it, as-a-service computing models, and the decreasing influence of IT departments on overall tech spending. As they cope with these changes, the key challenges they identified during the interactive roundtable were:

  • Identifying and engaging with those channel partners that can adjust to market shifts. This emerged as a major challenge, not only for some of the new cloud-based service providers but also for traditional tech vendors venturing into new solution areas. A shortage of skilled channel professionals within Asia Pacific exacerbates this challenge. Several also identified the challenge of high turnover within their channel base and the frustration of investing in the skills of a partner executive and having him shift to a competitor’s channel.
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The Database of Affinity Can Bring Discipline To Brand Marketing

For years, brand marketers have guessed at people’s affinities from the barest of demographic, geographic, and contextual clues. We deduce that Midwestern men prefer pickup trucks and that people watching extreme sports like energy drinks, and then we spend billions advertising to these inferred affinities.

But today, we no longer have to guess. Every day huge numbers of people online tell us what they like. They do this by clicking a ‘like’ button, of course — but there are many other ways people express affinity: talking about things on Twitter and in blogs; reviewing things on Amazon and Yelp; spending time with content on YouTube (and telling us where they’re spending their offline time on Foursquare); and sharing things through both public and private social channels.

People’s rush to post their affinities online recalls another flood of data that began a decade ago: the explosion in online searches. John Battelle once described the data created by search as the “database of intentions,” which I’d define as “a catalogue of people’s needs and desires collected by observing their search behaviors.” In the same way, the result of all these online expressions of “liking” has created the “database of affinity,” which Forrester defines as:

A catalogue of people’s tastes and preferences collected by observing their social behaviors.  

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Cross-Channel Measurement to Assess the Perpetually Connected Customer

The analytics community is experiencing a rebirth. A renewal. A renaissance. Why? Data is bursting from every corner, from every device, allowing brands to deliver relevant messages and offers to its customers. So, being an analytics connoisseur is important now more than ever. I mean, who else is going to play with all this data . . . and actually enjoy it?

Organizations must develop relevant marketing strategies across devices -- to different customers -- and have the advanced measurement and analytic frameworks to fuel decisions. And the perpetually connected customer is forcing organizations to act quickly, so near-real-time insights are paramount. My past research addresses this, specifically, how analytics professionals can use attribution as a way to understand the true value of each interaction point. This is even more complex because of the increase in cross-device usage.  As a result,analytic pros are using savvy ways to connect information and to measure cross-device impact and incremental value.

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CeBIT 2013: Enabling Digital Disruptors

In years past, technology trade shows like CeBIT or its cousin in the US, CES, have been a place for the introduction of new devices. Whether it was Nokia introducing its comeback phone or Sony pushing 3D displays, computing technology and consumer electronics companies have used these shows to introduce the next big thing.

But what happens when the next big thing isn’t actually a thing but is, instead, the arrival of platforms that enable a more effective marketplace? That’s the shift that’s occurring in the world, thanks to digital disruption. Under digital disruption, companies innovate by using cheap (sometimes free) digital tools and exploiting digital platforms to change products as low-tech as the toothbrush or waterless hand soap. They also use those digital tools to alter the way they make and deliver their products and services, including things as analog as fingernail polish, something I heard about today and will blog more on in coming weeks. As a result, every company is now digital, no matter how physical their processes and outputs.

Digital disruption means that the technology companies that provide these digital tools and platforms have more opportunity than ever. Their devices and systems will be necessary in the lives of every consumer as well as every enterprise. Witness the amazing growth of Amazon Web Services as it enables businesses across the gamut with its cheap access to storage and delivery tools.

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Catch Four Forrester Speakers At SXSW

SXSW Interactive starts tomorrow! Are you making the trek to Austin? If so, please join me for a book reading and short presentation about the ideas in Outside In: The Power of Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business. In addition to outlining the business benefits of improving your customer experience, I’ll discuss the critical role that marketers play in shaping customers’ perceptions and propelling companies to their full customer experience potential. If you’ve already got a copy of Outside In, bring it with you – or buy one in the SXSW bookstore – and then head to the book signing immediately following my talk. Here are the session details:

Putting Customers at the Center of Your Business

Sunday, March 10, 11:00 – 11:20 AM

Book signing from 11:30 – 11:50 AM

Please also check out these sessions from my Forrester colleagues Nate Elliott, Sarah Rotman Epps, and James McQuivey:

Affinity, Intent, and the War for Marketing Dollars

Sunday, March 10, 5:00 – 6:00 PM

Nate Elliott

Wearables: Moving from Niche to Mainstream

Monday, March 11, 3:45 - 4:00 PM

Sarah Rotman Epps

The Next Disruption

Monday, March 11, from 5:45 - 6:00 PM

James McQuivey

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Digital Disruption Likely To Come From Outside Your Industry

Once upon a time, you could trust that your business was insulated from disruptive innovation because only people already in your industry had the skills and the tools to try to change your industry. Thus, McDonald's competed with Burger King, Crest competed with Colgate, and Dell competed with HP. When innovation did arise, it came from companies that had similar economics and were evaluated by Wall Street using the same criteria. That meant that competition, although fierce, stayed within fairly defined boundaries and real surprises were few.

Digital disruption will change that -- or already has, depending on your industry. Under digital disruption, any company of any size can make a play for your business. That's how the Zeo sleep monitor, a $100 device that can monitor your sleep nearly as effectively as a $3,000 sleep lab visit can, potentially disrupts research hospitals, the makers of sleep meds like Ambien and Lunesta, and eventually the insurance companies that have an interested in promoting your health. That's how Amazon is now a major competitor for TV show pilots, using its vastly different economics to justify buying shows that would normally have a narrow set of bidders among broadcast and cable networks. That's how startup software companies are building apps to insert themselves into consumers' lives in ways that bigger companies should have done first by offering menstrual cycle tracking, DIY home improvement cost estimating, and weight loss monitoring.

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Emerging Technologies Demand New Marketing Fundamentals

Digital disruption - swifter, deadlier, and more inevitable than any disruption before - tears down and rebuilds every dimension of business. And marketing is no exception. As more media and experiences become digital, marketers must work with an invisible technology backdrop that changes the way people think and behave and - ultimately - how brands go to market. In my new report, Emerging Touchpoints Require a Marketing Mind Shift, I explore the specific effects of digital disruption on marketing, and the four new fundamentals marketers must embrace as a result. 

I published an article on Advertising Age this week that explains these fundamentals in detail:

Emerging technologies — from smart objects and wearables to behind-the-scenes taxonomy tools — are radically changing how customers think, act, and relate to others. And in turn, forcing a rebuild of how brands must go to market on every dimension. It's clear that marketers who try to respond to this seismic shift with today’s practices and skills will fail. So how can marketers adapt? There are four new fundamentals to consider:

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Hybris Secures An Additional $30M In Funding: What It Means

Today hybris announced it has secured an additional $30M in funding from two Silicon Valley VC giants (Meritech Capital Partners and Greylock Israel). This funding comes only 18 months after hybris took a significant funding round from Huntsman Gay Global Capital to secure their acquisition of iCongo in August 2011. Despite an unprecedented period of growth over the past two years the firm has remained profitable. So why has hybris taken this additional round of funding and what does it mean for customers, prospects and partners?

  • It allows hybris to retain independence while growing credibility and market share. This additional round of funding buys hybris a window of security to maintain their independence in the market, allowing them to focus on R&D and scalable expansion without the distractions of the need to do an IPO or the threat of acquisition. By adding two leading VC firms as investors, the firm is clearly signaling to the market their intent to solidify their position as a global leader in the commerce technology market.
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So, You Think You Can Disrupt?

If you’ve turned on reality television lately (and I’m sorry if you have), you have seen a lot of overconfident folks who think highly of their ability to cook, sing, model, dance -- whatever -- when in actual fact most of them stink. The spectacle of these shows comes from watching to see if these people ever accept the painful gap between their perceived and actual abilities. 

From data we have just published today in a new Forrester report, Assess Your Digital Disruption Readiness Now (client access required), it turns out that digital disruption is like reality TV in at least this one way: There is a significant, even painful, gap between how ready some executives think they are to engage in digital disruption and the actual readiness of the enterprise. 

This disparity rears its ugly head at a crucial time. As Forrester principal analyst James McQuivey has recently written in his book Digital Disruption, digital disruption is about to completely change how companies do business. Digital tools and digital platforms are driving the cost of innovation down to nearly zero, causing at least 10 times as many innovators to rush into your market while operating at one-tenth the cost that you do. Multiply that together and you face 100 times the innovation power you did just a few years ago under old-fashioned disruption (see figure). 

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Data-Driven Insights And Technology Change March Madness . . . What CMOs Can Learn

If you’ve been following my posts, you already know that I love sports. But, if this happens to be your first time reading my blog, I’ll admit it right now . . . I’m a sports fanatic. In fact, I’d say I’m just slightly to the side of being obsessed. Seriously obsessed.

Second only to the Super Bowl for me is March Madness, the greatest time of year for NCAA college basketball. What makes it so great is the passion and enthusiasm that takes over every one of the 64 teams that make it into the tournament. And, of course, the Cinderella stories that seem to emerge, year after year.

In South Florida, we love our world champion Miami Heat, and even our Miami Dolphins, which seem to just flop around year after year. But who would have thought that the University of Miami Hurricanes basketball team would be the talk of the town in 2013?

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