Calling eBusiness Technology Decision Makers - Forrester Needs Your Help

If you're an eCommerce technology decision-maker, we would love your help with our annual eBusiness technology investment panel survey. The survey is built to help eBusiness & Channel Strategy Professionals determine where priorities lie in terms of eBusiness technology investments. Additionally, it will shed light on how your firm’s tech spending compares across industry, employee size, and company revenue. 

 
You just have to share with us your own perspective, and we’ll aggregate the answers. The survey will take less than 10 minutes to complete, and responses will be kept strictly confidential and published only in an aggregated and anonymous manner. To participate, please follow this link.
 
We'll be publishing the results in our forthcoming "2013 Online Retail Technology Investment Outlook" report, where we'll compare what's changed since we last ran this same survey in 2011
 
Your participation is much appreciated,
 
Peter

In China, mobile should be a key part of your eCommerce strategy

About two weeks ago I had the opportunity to go to Shanghai for Forrester’s first event in China, “Winning the Dynamic Digital Consumer in China”. (To read all about it check out Andrew Stockwell’s blog post here.) At the event I gave a quick presentation about the potential opportunity that retailers have to engage with mobile shoppers in metro China where nearly 100% of online adults have at least one mobile phone and more than four-fifths of those mobile phones are smartphones.

It is critical for eBusiness professionals to put mobile on the top of their to-do’s when creating their China strategy because of the huge opportunity to engage with consumers - and the fact that the market remains vastly underserved. After spending a week and a half in Shanghai and Beijing and visiting American and European retail establishments this proved to be the case - only a handful had any type of mobile offering.  A few things to think about when considering your mobile strategy in China:

  • There are 1 billion mobile phone users in China, but 3G has yet to hit 25% penetration.
  • Free Wi-Fi is available nearly everywhere – malls, coffee shops, fast food restaurants, train stations and even in some taxis.
  • Unlike their U.S. counterparts, it is very likely that the first connected device for consumers in China is a mobile phone and not a PC.
  • There are specific opportunities for successful mobile campaigns. 39% of Tmall and Taobao’s sales combined were made on mobile devices on Singles Day (China’s equivalent of Cyber Monday).
  • Android is the highest adopted operating system by far.
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Colt Revamps Its Channel Approach - Have They Missed A Trick?

 

This week, Colt launched its Ceano cloud services for SMBs with a particular focus on the reseller channel that actually services these businesses. As this announcement combines the business strategy of a telco provider with an innovative channel strategy, Forrester analysts Dan Bieler and Peter O’Neill have again combined (as in their previous blog on Cisco) to discuss their impressions:

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“The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2012, Europe” Shows Local Differences In Technology Uptake

I am delighted to announce that for the first time, our annual US consumers and technology benchmark report now has a European counterpart: "The State Of Consumers And Technology: Benchmark 2012, Europe." This report is a graphical analysis of a range of topics about consumers and technology and serves as a benchmark for understanding how consumers change their technology behaviors over time. The report, based on one of our European Technographics® surveys, covers a wide range of topics, such as online activities, device ownership — including penetration data and forecasts for smartphones and tablets — media consumption, retail, social media, and a deep dive on mobile. For Europe, we analyze our findings for five countries: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK.   

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Catch And Hold That Special Someone's Eye: Introducing Forrester's Touchpoint-Impact Framework For Marketers

Tell me you’ve had this problem. You wake up and stand in your closet, staring at all the different outfits to choose from and wondering which one is going to make just the right impression for whatever you have going on that day. Maybe you want to look authoritative and put-together for a client, be the cool parent to your kids’ friends, or be sexy to catch the attention of your objective's affection. Whatever the occasion, sometimes the wealth of options can be overwhelming and you end up panicking and trying to do too much or too little. And the next thing you know, that dream combo you had in your mind’s eye is out the window.

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Getting The Most Bang For Your Marketing Buck: Introducing Forrester’s Touchpoint-Impact Framework

As a marketer, have you struggled to identify the channels and information sources that will give you the most bang for your marketing buck? My colleague Cory Munchbach and I have just published a report — “Assess The Impact Of Touchpoints Along The Consumer Path-To-Purchase” — that tackles this issue through the lens of the customer life cycle.

Consumers use a multitude of touchpoints when discovering, exploring, buying, and engaging with brands, but some sources are more effective than others. In the explore phase, consumers use a variety of information sources and touchpoints to research the products and services they’ve discovered. But which ones are most effective in driving consumers to the buy phase and have a stronger influence on the price that consumers ultimately pay for their purchase? To help companies answer these questions, we developed the Touchpoint-Impact Framework, which identifies the channels or interaction points that have the biggest impact on consumers’ spend as a percentage above the average price for a given category — the so-called price premium.

The graphic below illustrates the Touchpoint-Impact Framework and how it places the channels that consumers use to explore brands, products, or services into four quadrants:

  • Strong premium impact and low market penetration.
  • Strong premium impact and high market penetration.
  • Weak premium impact and low market penetration.
  • Weak premium impact and high market penetration.
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Digital Disruption Will Eliminate Your Monopoly, Too

Monday’s The New York Times offers a defense of authors’ rights from bestselling author and head of the Authors Guild, Scott Turow. In the piece, Turow interprets a Supreme Court decision that allows the importation of books purchased abroad for resell in the US, making it seem like all of Western culture would henceforth be at risk. Later the same day, I read a brief statement from News Corp in which the company threatened to make the FOX broadcast network a premium pay channel in order to get its just compensation for its creative works ahead of the likely decision that Aereo is not illegally capturing and restreaming broadcast content.

These individuals and organizations have the right to do what they feel they must as they pass through the phase known as denial. But may I offer this one small suggestion to help them through the stages of grief yet to come: Stop pretending that the foe you face won’t eventually win because it will. That goes for all of you. Digital disruption will eliminate your structural advantages someday, too.

We’ve been through this before, dating back to the first time the music industry sued someone to prevent the future. No, it wasn’t Napster or the users of BitTorrent in the 2000s. It was actually Diamond Multimedia, makers of the new PMP300 MP3 players, and the year was 1998. The argument then was the same as it is today: We, the people who currently benefit from an artificial monopoly in either the creation or distribution of value, don’t want that monopoly to end.

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US Mobile Ad Spending On Social Networks To Reach $4.5 Billion By 2018

If I were to ask you to name the top three social networking sites, you could probably answer easily. If I asked you to name the next five, you might find it a bit more difficult. You may be surprised to hear that Wikipedia has a list of nearly 200 active major social networking sites across the globe. Of these, I was interested in the top 20 social networking sites in the US when building the Forrester Research Social Media Forecast, 2013 To 2018 (US).

I had several research questions in mind. Which are the top 20 social networking sites in the US? How many unique monthly visitors do they attract? How much time do visitors spend on these websites? How many visitors access these websites via mobile? Which of these websites are most important for marketers? What is the share of social media spending within total online advertising spending? How much can it grow? What will drive growth? This last question was of particular interest to me. We believe that mobile will be a key driver for social media spending growth. Here’s why:

  1. More users are accessing social networking sites through mobile. As per our forecast, we expect the number of US social media users accessing social networking sites via mobile to exceed 200 million by 2018. Nearly one-fourth of them will be mobile-only social media users; the rest will access social networking sites via both PC and mobile.
  2. The share of time spent on mobile social networking apps continues to increase. Social media apps are among the top apps that smartphone users use. The amount of time they spend on these apps continues to increase.  
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Sophisticated, demanding mobile customers: Ready or not, here they come!

A few weeks ago, my dad and I were talking about the policy on airplanes to turn off all devices from the time the door closes until the plane has reached 10,000 feet. 

My point: I don’t have a problem powering down for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s when we get delayed on the tarmac for an hour or two that I get antsy, though lately the pilots seem to let you reconnect while you wait for take-off. 

His point: “I don’t see why people feel the need to be connected all the time anyway.”  

A predictable response based on generational differences? Perhaps. But what made it a particularly interesting comment is that he said it while using his iPhone to find the least traffic-ridden route home to CT from NJ. 

This, then, is the mobile mind shift: The expectation that the info you need is available whenever you need it on any appropriate device — without having to make a conscious effort to stop what you’re doing, decide which device to use, turn it on, scroll, click, etc., and eventually find what you’re looking for. You want to know what the traffic’s like? Here’s the map. You want a table for dinner? Reserved. You want to know the weather? Done. 

The result is a customer with extremely high expectations that you must be ready to meet, or risk irrelevance. The key to serving these customers will be to shorten the distance between what they want and what they get; to refocus your marketing efforts to deliver utility at speed; to make your customers’ lives better rather than just making your messaging better.

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B2B Thought Leadership? Not So Much . . .

What does it take to become a thought leader in your market?  

Deep understanding of what inspires your customers (or keeps them awake at night), executive commitment, companywide involvement, and authentic generosity. 

Unfortunately, most business-to-business (B2B) marketers fall short when they publish promotional content or threadbare case studies masquerading as thought leadership.

At least that's what I found when researching my latest — and first — publication since returning to Forrester. (Please take a look and rate/share what you think!)

Great marketing content can fuel your company's demand generation engine. It can boost your brand's visibility to key audiences and bump aside competitors. Most of all, it attracts buyers interested in the types of challenges your company can solve. Because, as successful marketing execs know, business buyers don't buy your products and services; they buy into your approach to solving their problems.

Thought leadership is different. And it's rare.

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