Vendors: Take Advantage Of European Marketers' High Propensity To Buy Technology

Peter O'Neill

Wake up, B2B marketing and sales enablement automation vendors — especially those of you in North America. Many of you have not yet seriously set up shop in Europe because you consider firms there to be late adopters of marketing and sales automation.

Well, they are perhaps late from your point of view, but they have now caught up. Forrester’s Global Business Technographics® Marketing Survey, 2015 reveals the proportion of B2B companies intending to buy or expand their automation projects for, among other things: content management; sales; online marketing; and marketing automation. In each case, European firms’ propensity to buy is actually much higher than that of their North American counterparts. For example, 53% of European firms plan to adopt or expand their use of marketing automation software, compared with 37% of North American firms.

But remember, the marketing and sales disciplines are also markedly different in Europe than in North America, with local differences apparent within Europe as well. In our survey, 64% of European marketers described their organization as federated compared with just 40% in North America. This reflects the fragmentation of the target markets that European firms sell to: They need to use many more channels, languages, and messages to be effective.  

European B2B sales organizations are also more complex: 33% see their channel partners as their primary sales channel, compared with 11% in North America; in contrast, 34% of North American firms see direct sales as their primary sales channel, but just 10% of their European peers do. The result? Sales enablement projects are quite different.

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Beyond The Beacon Proximity-Marketing Hype, Fuel Contextual Marketing With Location Data

Thomas Husson

When it comes to location-based marketing and proximity-marketing, more often than not, marketers seem fascinated by the beacon technology.

With 82% of shoppers making their actual purchasing decision in-aisle, it’s no wonder that vendors are betting on beacons and indoor positioning systems to help marketers interact with consumers in real time.

A year ago, Forrester warned of the hype around beacons. Despite huge interest and numerous successful pilots, we have yet to see very many successful commercial rollouts. This is not so much about the technology (even though battery life and operational deployments raise technology issue), but primarily because reach is limited today and because few marketers can deliver smart contextual messages at scale. They must also define engagement scenarios and automated rules to deliver relevant messages to individual customers.

Location data alone is dumb. Sending someone a coupon to redeem in a nearby store just because they’re passing by isn’t enough. For ads and messages to be relevant, firms must combine location data with insights like past behaviors, preferences, needs, and situations. It is also likely they will have to combine multiple technologies to reduce the complexity of in-store operational deployments and boost the accuracy of location data.

There are many more opportunities than just pushing marketing messages in real-time. Using location data is more important than just capturing the attention of nearby smartphone owners — it’s about powering contextual marketing.

In particular, marketers should fuel contextual marketing with location data to:

  • Increase brand preference by delivering personalized experiences
  • Improve the customer experience on location
  • Advertise more efficiently
  • Unlock audience targeting and offer intention data
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Your Partners Are Floundering In The New Services World Order — Here’s How To Help Them

Tim Harmon

The tech value-added services (VAS) business used to be so easy: Your channel partners would provide installation, configuration, training, and maintenance services for all vendor products that they resold. Their — and your — primary value target (i.e., whom they sold to) was the IT organization. And the required expertise was in the products, not the customer’s business. But technology itself — including cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT) — has upended the VAS market. Forever.

·         Cloud technology has pretty much wiped out the installation services business. And it’s not just tech products/solutions that are affected. Pretty much everything B2B is now offered to customers “as a service.”

·         IoT technology promises to do the same to the maintenance services business. For example, Thermocable, a British manufacturer of heating cables, with the help of IoT developer Concirrus, created a remote monitoring solution that generates automated alerts on a cable breakage or damage, as well as triggering technology to take remediation action remotely — in effect displacing partners’ onsite support services.

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The Data Digest: Evolving Consumer Attitudes On Privacy

Anjali Lai

Back in 2013, we conducted a study to figure out how the “summer of Snowden” was affecting consumer opinion on privacy. A year later, we combined that data with a current pulse of consumer sentiment, and found that mainstream attitude signaled imminent behavior change.

Fast forward another year: Today, US presidential candidates are talking about privacy and personal data protection during the pre-primary season. We have recently witnessed three more major data breaches affecting millions of Americans. The adblocking debate is at fever pitch, while Internet giants make privacy a point of differentiation. So, we ran our study a third time, and incorporated behavioral tracking data into the methodology.

Our findings? Consumers are more willing than ever to 1) walk away from your business if you fail to protect their data and privacy; 2) adopt technologies like tracker-blockers and VPNs to limit their exposure to data misuse; and 3) extend their protective actions to the physical realm. And, Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® data shows that this story pertains to millennials and their older counterparts alike:  

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Consumer Privacy Attitudes: A 2015 Update

Fatemeh Khatibloo

Back in 2013, my colleague Anjali Lai and I wondered how the "summer of Snowden" was affecting consumer attitudes about privacy. So, we fielded a survey and ran some qualitative analysis in our ConsumerVoices Market Research Online Community. A year later, we used that historical data, combined with Consumer Technographics and social listening data to see how perception and behavior were changing. It was a fascinating study

Fast forward another year: it's now pre-pre-primary season in the US, and candidates are talking about privacy and personal data protection. There have been three more major data breaches affecting millions of Americans. The adblocking debate is at fever pitch, while Internet giants make privacy a point of differentiation. Obviously, we decide to run our study a third time. And this time, we incorporate (opted-in, permission-based) data from our Consumer Technographics Behavioral Study.

Our findings? Consumers are more willing than ever to 1) walk away from your business if you fail to protect their data and privacy; 2) adopt technologies like tracker-blockers and VPNs to limit their exposure to data misuse; and 3) extend their protective actions to the physical realm. 

And the real kicker is that, if you're one of the marketers who's been counting on Millennials who "don't care" about their online privacy, you're going to be waiting a long time.

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Predictions 2016: eBiz Professionals’ Influence Continues to Expand

Patti Freeman Evans

2016 is looking busy for eBusiness professionals, who hold an increasingly important role as digital leaders in their organizations. They’ve been in strategic and operational roles, driving digital transformation throughout their companies. Their hand in new developments such as digital store or branch, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT) proves that this role is core to productive, current, and rapidly evolving firm. 

In 2016, Forrester believes that:

Top digital leaders will get poached by other firms. As lagging firms wake up to the current competitive reality in 2016, they will actively look to those leading digital transformation in the service of customer obsession to find top talent.  And they’ll be looking across verticals — not just within their own competitive set.

Mobile takes business beyond digital channels, roles, and responsibilities. Only 4% of the executives we surveyed have the organization, technology, and talent to engage consumers proactively in their mobile moments, but 14% aspire to do so.  To address this gap, many companies will create mobile centers of excellence where digital leaders will be key players. In this role, they will orchestrate the use of mobile throughout the organization, driving cross-role collaboration.

Digital ecosystems will accelerate — particularly with mobile. As more organizations look to serve their customers across multiple touchpoints and an evolving journey, digital pros will help tie them together via partner ecosystems.  These ecosystems will connect with customers across their personal ecosystems. For example, digital pros will create new partnerships with mobile platforms as consumers spend time in fewer apps.

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B2B Marketing Professionals — Prepare For 2016 By Considering These Predictions

Peter O'Neill

The B2B marketing research team has just published its 2016 predictions report, outlining four shifts that B2B marketing professionals can expect by December 31 of next year. This report is aligned with and part of a series of Forrester predictions reports — each discussing the effects on specific roles in a company, but all part of the greater picture: The Age Of The Customer.

Forrester clients can read the full report here, they can also attend this webinar on December 10th.

B2B buying has changed: Buyers prefer to do research themselves rather than rely on vendors’ sales reps. Our report highlights several major changes coming in 2016 as a result of this shift and organizes their implications into four realms: go-to-customer strategy, the accelerating shift from art to science, tech investments, and B2B messaging. In the report, we explain these changes, with data and research substantiation, and also outline what they mean for B2B marketing professionals. Here are some of the key takeaways:

  • As funnel becomes life cycle, marketing will need to manage a new dynamic with sales.
  • Marketing’s role as steward of the customer relationship will surge.
  • Buyers will expect B2B suppliers to be at the right (digital or physical) place, at the right time.
  • Big data will help manage sales and marketing activities.
  • Through-channel marketing will become a critical success factor for many B2B companies.
  • Adoption of through-channel marketing automation (TCMA) will even affect the success of enterprise marketing automation vendors.
  • Mobile will become the primary target for all systems.
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Holiday Shopping Moves Online — In Both Western Europe And The US

Michael O'Grady

In Western Europe, November and December account for a fifth of annual retail sales. However, consumers aren’t spending more over the holiday period; they are just shifting their spending earlier in the shopping season. Forrester expects European online sales over the holiday period to grow 12.5% compared to 2014. In the UK, heavy discounting, notably as a result of Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions, has a huge impact on holiday shopping.

  • Holiday spending is of critical importance to retailers. In 2014, Amazon traded one-third of its retail sales in the last three months of the year. And in the UK, 19% of annual retail sales happen in the six-week run-up to Christmas. Consumers spend more online during the holiday period and buy from more retail categories than they do during the rest of the year. Toys, jewelry, perfume, and videos are among the most popular categories bought online.
  • UK retailers embrace Black Friday and Cyber Monday. The majority of UK retailers participated in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in 2014. In fact, nearly one-fifth of all online sales in the eight weeks leading up to December 27, 2014 happened in the week of Black Friday. And for UK retailer John Lewis, its sales in Black Friday week overtook its sales in Christmas week.
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Announcing Forrester’s Inaugural Wave Evaluation of Subscription Billing Platforms

Lily Varon

Few industries are immune from the digitization of experiences, content, services, and products. In this era of cloud computing, IOT and mobile devices, firms are increasingly testing new product offerings that combine elements of content, software, services, and hardware together. Like the evolution of the products themselves, the rulebook on monetizing them is also evolving: firms are replacing the simple one-time sales models of yore with subscription and consumption-based business models that better sustain a continuous relationship with their customers. But unfortunately, in most cases, firms’ existing technology ecosystem doesn’t support the complex requirements of supporting a subscription business model- from customer lifecycle management to finance management.  Enter: subscription billing platforms.

Forrester has identified the eight leading vendors in the space and spent the last four months putting them through a grueling process of due diligence, product demos, capability assessments and customer reference checks. Here’s what we found.

■  Aria Systems, SAP hybris billing, and Zuora lead the pack. These three vendors represent thought leadership and the associated market innovation. All three commonly go head-to-head in opportunities at both midmarket and enterprise firms and in both B2C and B2B monetization scenarios. Each of the three has developed core industry vertical expertise in sectors such as IOT, healthcare, and telco and has established mature partnerships with global management consultancy and system integration firms.

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Predictions 2016: The Digital Store Engagement Surprise

Adam Silverman

We’ve all been told time again that the in-store shopping experience is undergoing seismic change. Technologies such as beacons, omnichannel fulfillment and in-store analytics have promised to change the definition of how a retail store engages with customers. And although iron-clad digital store success stories are few and far between, stores will continue to chase the digital store dream despite not knowing the precise endgame. A handful of market leaders are implementing digital store initiatives that will act as lighthouses to the rest of the industry, showing a glimpse of what's possible with the right strategy.

In 2016, Forrester believes that:

Digital operational improvements will emerge as the golden child of store digitization. Trying to engage shoppers with shiny new technologies makes for some pretty flashy headlines, but does little to boost the retailer’s bottom line. On the other hand, store operations-focused technologies have shown early, but real, results. Tools such as in-store analytics and associate task management are ushering in a new era of store efficiency, using real-time insights to help associates understand what needs to get done and when.  The smartest retailers will start combining data from sources like online behavior, in-store analytics, supply chain, and labor planning to make operational decisions in real time. 

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