Walt Disney once said, “of all our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.” Perhaps he was more prescient than anyone realized at that time: Decades later, the onslaught of social media and the emergence of mobile phones have made his assertion seem truer than ever, as consumers have gained the tools to share a picture with the global population in a matter of seconds. Today, the fascination with pictures has come to define communication that spans both the offline and online worlds.
According to Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data, sharing visual content is indeed a universal phenomenon — but it is most prevalent in countries like China, India, and Brazil:
Some believe that our obsession with taking and sharing photographs speaks to a modern narcissistic culture. Indeed, Pew Research reports that the majority of Millennial consumers post “selfies” on social networking sites. However, when Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar “selfie” became the most retweeted tweet ever this week, narcissism was hardly part of the conversation. Instead, Ellen’s post exemplified what can happen when the power of the picture meets the power of social media: large-scale awareness, excitement, and engagement.
We evaluated established SRPs like Spredfast, Sprinklr, Shoutlet, Adobe Social, and salesforce.com’s Buddy Media, and found that none of them were good enough to fall into our “Leaders” category. Why? For one thing, most had significant gaps in their offerings.
But we also found that many of their customers weren’t terribly satisfied. Even though all the clients we spoke with were referred to us by the vendors themselves — and so presumably were amongst each SRP’s happiest customers — most had some reservations about the features, functionality, and service the vendors provided. In several cases, we were shocked by how little the reference clients thought of their technology partners.
One year later, we decided to check in on whether marketers had grown any more satisfied with their social relationship platforms. For a new report out today, we asked 56 marketers who used a variety of SRPs whether they’d recommend their vendor to a colleague — and found that overall, social relationship platforms have a Net Promoter Score of -16. Yes, that’s negative sixteen.
For the past seven years, Forrester has reported on how consumers rate their experiences with major brands in the US by publishing our annual report, the Customer Experience Index, or CXi. The CXi has helped us identify customer experience leaders, and helped many top brands in the US benchmark their customer experience against their peers.
On March 19th, I’ll be joining several of my colleagues in Shanghai, China for our Summit for Marketing & Strategy Professionals. One of the themes we’ve been exploring recently is how the Age of the Customer translates in the Chinese market. During my session at the summit, I will discuss some of the following things that the most customer-obsessed businesses, and savviest eBusiness leaders, are doing to effectively compete in China. These leaders:
Understand their customers and use this information to be as relevant as possible. In China, a growing number of eCommerce players are using customer data to help drive sales online, for example, by providing detailed product recommendations. As in other parts of the world however, many eBusiness executives in China are at the early stages of truly understanding their customers and using this information to be relevant in their daily lives. We’ll look at how some brands use customer data effectively today, and what some of the more innovative use case scenarios look like in eBusiness.
First, let’s consider the two grand theories of native advertising – the hedgehog positions:
1) Native advertising is the best thing that could have happened.
According to this theory, native advertising at last frees the world from interruptive or parasitic advertisements and allows both the publisher site and advertiser to work toward a shared goal: the best possible experience for the user or reader. Success will be measured directly by readers actually choosing to consume stuff from brands, which means it’ll all be worth more and publishers will earn a bigger cut.
2) Native advertising is the worst thing that could have happened.
According to this theory, native advertising depends fundamentally on confusing the reader into clicking on an advertisement by disguising it as unpaid site editorial. As a result, readers will lose their trust in the sites’ editorial integrity and abandon the site. This loss of integrity will destroy the halo effect, whereby a site’s editorial integrity reflects positively on the advertisers associated with it.
True hedgehogs could expound on these arguments at length (they have a tendency to do that), but I’ve represented the basic positions.
Mediapost quotes the Justice Department's filing siding with the broadcasters' argument that Aereo is infringing on their copyright by saying:
“Because [Aereo's] system transmits the same underlying performances to numerous subscribers, the system is clearly infringing.... Although each transmission is ultimately sent only to a single individual, those transmissions are available to any member of the public who is willing to pay the monthly fee.”
“A consumer’s playback of her own lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work to herself will ordinarily be a non-infringing private performance, and it may be protected by fair-use principles as well.”
As I've said before, I'm no lawyer, but I'm having trouble following this line of reasoning. This core issue is whether the Aereo stream is a "lawfully acquired copy of a copyrighted work," but if I put an antenna on my house, I lawfully acquire the content in question. This doesn't explain why a single-subscriber antenna in a data center doesn't lawfully acquire the content.
If it hinges on multiple people paying to view the same underlying performance, why didn't Sony lose the Betamax case, since the VCR made the same underlying performances available to anyone who paid the amount to buy the device? What if Aereo changed its model from a monthly fee to purchasing an antenna, and maybe a tiered monthly fee for different amounts of storage?
On March 19th I will present at Forrester’s second annual Marketing and Leadership Summit in Shanghai on online direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales opportunities in the Age of the Customer; I will also facilitate a short discussion on the topic with Vincent Lau, Regional Director of eCommerce Asia Pacific for Deckers. During the track session, Vincent and I will discuss:
How eBusinesses should measure the success of their DTC site. In China, DTC sites can’t generally compete with a marketplace when it comes to traffic and sale volume – the traditional eCommerce metrics. However, they can compete in a handful of other meaningful ways – fashion retailers, for example, report higher average order values, larger margins as a result of not having to sell at discounted rates, and a positive influence on overall sales growth across channels in the region.
How a DTC site compares to marketplace channels. There is no denying that marketplaces dominate the eCommerce landscape in China, and will likely take the lion’s share of online sales for a business, but DTC sites also offer a handful of lucrative advantages. One eCommerce executive noted that the DTC shopper is very different from a marketplace shopper and is ultimately more valuable. Not only do shoppers on DTC sites spend more, they buy across categories, pay full price and engage with the brand in meaningful ways by shopping across channels and categories and contributing to social media communities.
The Indian online retail market is still nascent, yet it is growing rapidly. Despite all of the existing challenges — underdeveloped logistics and supply chain operations, poor last-mile connectivity, delivery rejections at the doorstep when cash-on-delivery payments are used, and low conversion rates — online retail in India grew by 67% in 2013. Forrester expects India’s online retail spending to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 50% over the next five years as more Indian consumers start purchasing online. Our recently published report India Online Retail Forecast, 2013 To 2018 discusses our online retail forecast and the growth drivers for India.
On the demand side, Forrester sees a lot of room for growth in the number of Indian online buyers. India had a total population of 1.28 billion in 2013, nearly 16% (or one in six) of whom are online. While higher PC penetration rates have driven Internet adoption in the developed economies over the past two decades, faster mobile penetration is helping boost the Indian Internet population, thanks to “mobile-only” Internet users.
Of all Indian online users, just 14% currently purchase online. Forrester expects the online buyer population in India to grow to 128 million by 2018. Mobile Internet access will be a catalyst for the growth of online retail in India. Several Indian online retailers have reported a large increase in their mobile traffic in 2013, which was virtually nonexistent two years ago; in 2013, almost 20% to 30% of the Indian online retailers web site visits came through mobile. Additionally, mobile commerce accounted for 10% to 15% of online retailer transactions.
While this $320 million acquisition of a behind-the-scenes ad tech company seemingly pales next to Comcast's splashy $45 billion bid for Time-Warner, it is a more important transaction for the evolution of television advertising. FreeWheel provides essential functionality for the networks to maximize revenue as their advertising inventory splinters across computer, tablet, and smartphone devices as well as cable, Internet, and mobile delivery systems.