Back From Yet Another Pilgrimage To Mobile's Mecca

Thomas Husson

After experiencing some of the most exhausting days in the life of a “mobile” analyst, I am back from Barcelona. Here are my key takeaways from the 2016 event.

MWC 2016's "Mobile Is Everything" theme summarizes two ideas: the disruptive power of ubiquitous mobile devices and their ability to connect things and objects in our surrounding environment. This year, innovation and key announcements did not so much come from new flagship smartphone manufacturers but instead focused on solutions that enable mobile devices to activate adjacent technologies — like VR, 360-degree cameras, 5G, and the IoT — to build the next generation of connected experiences. Let's cut through the hype to look at what the headlines really mean for B2C marketers:

  • VR is really still hype. Samsung massively surfed on the VR "wow" effect and heavily promoted its Gear VR headset while Facebook's CEO insisted that VR is the next-generation platfrom and will shape the future of social. After the distribution of five million of Google's Cardboard VR Viewers since June 2014, the buzz will continue with Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR (to be launched mid-March at the Game Developer Conference), creating awareness for digitally immersive experiences. But reach will be extremely limited, as the technology will only attract a niche set of users — especially gamers — in the first two years. However, marketers at retail, automotive, travel, or luxury real-estate companies with a digital innovation agenda should keep an eye for signs of VR adoption beyond the "techno-few."
  • Use mobile to unlock IoT consumer experiences. IoT remains first and foremost a B2B and industrial play. However, B2C marketers can combine mobile and IoT to activate new brand experiences.
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Fixing the Mobile Shopping to NFC Payment Adoption Gap

Brendan Miller
NFC is Ready For Prime Time, but Merchants and Consumers are Standing By
Mobile in-store shopping hasn't translated into mobile in-store paying. Seventy-two percent of smartphone-owning US online adults have used their phone in-store as a "trusted advisor," to check prices, find product information, or locate an item, but meanwhile adoption rates of Apple Pay still hover around 5% for eligible transactions*.  In the past year, two market factors started to shape the next phase for mobile payments in-store. First, tech giants like Apple, Google, and Samsung released new NFC-based payment systems. Second, in an effort to avoid new fraud liability with the EMV liability shift, US retailers began implementing new EMV terminals that are also NFC ready. Yet despite consumers having the right technology in hand — and merchants now technically ready to use that technology for mobile payments in-store — consumers haven't changed their tried and true payment behavior.  
 
Merchants Need to Take The Reins
Merchants who have NFC can bridge the gap by being much more proactive in getting consumers to try "tap and pay" at the POS.  The mobile payment systems:Apple Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay and PayPal  have made strides to make the act of paying simple, but more needs to be done at the merchant to fully crack the convenience code.  Forrester has a framework called the Convenience Quotient**: to be fully adopted, any new product’s benefits have to be greater than its barriers to use.   Most merchants who have NFC still have not overcome the convenience quotient and therefore consumers default to their plastic card.  
 
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Look Forward To The B2B Marketing Forum In October

Peter O'Neill

For the past six years, Forrester has held its Sales Enablement Forum for B2B marketing professionals in March, the first two years in San Francisco and then down in Scottsdale (see here for my debrief from the successful 2015 event). I've already had a few calls and emails asking me about this year’s Forum: What is the agenda? Where and when is it being held?

So, here is a timely reminder that we have reconfigured our events calendar this year and the 2016 B2B Marketing Forum is now scheduled for October 18 and 19 in Miami, Florida. Planning is well underway: We are recruiting guest speakers and planning the track sessions. Without giving too much away, I can report that our current thinking is to set the overall agenda across these five themes:

1.  Go-To-Customer  - How to inform and configure your marketing, channel, content and sales plans so that they are customer obsessed.

2.  Blending Art And Science - Use data to set sales and marketing activity based on the ultimate predictive metric: propensity to buy.

3.  Contact In Context - Use voice-of-the-customer/social listening/predictive analytics to be able to speak to customer issues more directly and authentically.

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The Public Is Still Skeptical Of Federal Digital Customer Experience

Rick Parrish

The White House has been trying to improve the federal digital customer experience (CX) since 2011. But when I published my first report and blog on the topic in 2015, the situation was still dire. A Forrester survey had just shown that, for instance:

  • Only two-fifths of the public agreed that the federal government should focus on offering more digital services.
  • Fewer than a third of Americans wanted federal mobile apps that tailor safety alerts and other government information to the user’s location.
  • Just two-fifths of people were interested in a single-sign-on credential for federal websites.
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The US Presidential Election Is A Lesson In Adapting To Changing Times

Victor Milligan

It is often said that campaigns work in poetry (beautiful language with lofty ideals), but one governs in prose (the pragmatic workings of the day). If we are in a poetic state, this is one strange poem with little rhyme or reason. 

However, there are common threads that are meaningful that tell us something about not only the election but also the business climate.

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The Data Digest: Finance Gets Social

Anjali Lai

There’s little doubt that we are living in a “selfie” culture. The once-mundane activities of exercising at the gym, driving to work, or simply making coffee are now social spectacles that win attention and, in some cases, profit. This impulse to share daily tasks begs us to rethink the meaning of “personal” – and now consumers have even begun to expose sensitive information like their financial behaviors.

Today's channels that bridge social connections are increasingly playing into consumers’ personal financial management tactics. Forrester’s Consumer Technographics® survey data shows that the number of US online adults logging into their financial accounts through social media has more than tripled in the past two years. In fact, more consumers are turning to both social channels and their cameras to forge closer interactions with financial services providers overall:

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Customer Obsession Is An Employee Engagement Strategy, Too

Sam Stern

CX pros: What's better than delivering experiences that delight customers? Doing so, while helping your colleagues feel more engaged with their work. That's a nice thought, and few would dispute the importance of engaging employees to deliver better experiences. In fact, most execs have internalized the ideas laid out more than 20 years ago in the service-profit chain theory, which is that employee satisfaction leads to customer loyalty that in turn leads to profits. So why then, according to Gallup, do employee engagement rates remain stubbornly unchanged year after year? 

Maybe it's because companies haven't offered employees what they want most: purpose in their work, the chance to master new skills, and the autonomy to figure out the best way to work. Those three characteristics show up again and again in academic research studying what makes people engaged or satisfied in their work.

The good news for CX pros is that asking their colleagues to contribute to great CX gives them that sense of purpose, asks them to master new skills, and requires autonomy for employees to respond to customer needs and requests appropriately in the moment. In my recent report, "Customer Obsession Is An Employee Engagement Strategy, Too," I make the case for focusing on improving customer experience delivery as a way to drive greater employee engagement  and all its benefits like higher retention and productivity rates. To do that effectively, though, CX pros must:

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How Big Will eCommerce In Asia Pacific Be In Five Years?

Lily Varon

The answer: In the markets included in our latest Asia Pacific Online Retail Forecast— China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Australia — total online retail revenues will nearly double from $733 billion in 2015 to $1.4 trillion in 2020. For perspective, $1.4 trillion is about the same amount spent online in 2015 in every market that Forrester forecasts across the globe combined. 

In our latest report, Asia Pacific Online Retail Forecast 2015 To 2020, (subscription required) we look at the growth in these markets over the next five years and some of the key trends shaping the development of online retail in each one, including the following:

  • China’s eCommerce market grows despite the economic slowdown. 2015 marked a global eCommerce turning point: China surpassed the US to become the largest eCommerce market in the world, but its economy also dipped below 7% for the first time since 2009. While the days of staggering year over year eCommerce growth in China are behind us, current growth rates are solid and more consistent with other mature markets in the region, like Japan and South Korea.
  • India is the fastest growing eCommerce market in the region, but is not without its obstacles. The smallest eCommerce market in our forecast, India’s online sales will grow by more than five-fold by 2020 as the number of online buyers and per capita online spending increase rapidly. However, in addition to underdeveloped logistics and challenging last-mile connectivity, India's cash-based culture still poses a challenge for eCommerce firms.
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Forrester’s Customer Experience Marketing Summit 2016 In Sydney Is Fast Approaching!

Michael Barnes

 

Six months after our highly successful Summit for Marketing Leaders in Australia, I’m excited to announce that Forrester’s CX Marketing Sydney 2016 event is less than 7 weeks away.

As all organizations operating in Australia understand, the line between brand, marketing, and customer experience (CX) disciplines has blurred as people gain access to companies, services and products on their own terms. How can you thrive in this dynamic environment? Start by effectively coordinating between brand, CX, and marketing teams.  

We’ve filled our agenda with senior CX and Marketing professionals from leading organizations across Australia, and beyond. Key topics they’ll cover include:

  • Driving business results, competitive advantage, and growth by delivering the right customer experience.
  • Identifying the key practices and behaviours that fuel CX innovation.
  • Building and maintaining a brand in a digital world.
  • Instilling an understanding of customer emotions into design experiences and branding strategy.
  • Systematically improving CX through effective measurement.
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Apple Does The Right Thing To Defend Customer Privacy

Fatemeh Khatibloo

By now, most of you have read about Apple's powerful public statement of refusal to comply with a court order compelling the firm to help the FBI gain access to the data stored in the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone 5. Specifically, the FBI requires Apple’s help disabling the device’s data auto-erase function after 10 incorrect password attempts, and Apple is refusing to modify the software to enable this.

Over the past three years, Apple has hitched its brand wagon to privacy, because the firm believes that a) customers care enough about privacy to vote with their dollars and b) as the steward of people’s most personal, sensitive data, Apple has an obligation to serve their best interests. While this isn’t the first time that Apple has found itself targeted by regulators over privacy, this is the firm’s staunchest defense yet against government intrusion. Forrester believes that, with this move:

  • Apple is putting its money where its mouth is. Until recently, there has been plenty of debate about whether Apple has simply been paying lip service to privacy. But this move — along with its recent shuttering of the iAds business — proves that Apple is making serious product and business model changes in support of user privacy. Tim Cook is holding fast on the line he drew in the sand last year at the EPIC’s (Electronic Privacy Information Center’s) Champions of Freedom event in Washington, DC, where he said:
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