Understanding The New Guidelines For Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) In eCommerce In India

Satish Meena

The Indian government issued new guidelines for FDI in eCommerce on March 29, 2016 to provide clear definitions for the sector and to remove ambiguities in the law that companies have been using to get foreign investment. Here are some of the key changes and my thoughts on their impact:

  • The government has defined an eCommerce entity, a marketplace model, and an inventory-led model. For the first time, the government has given clear definitions to remove the ambiguity in this sector. It also makes clearer the government’s position on the business models that online retailers are adopting. Online retailers are increasingly adopting an inventory-led model, as it gives them more control over supply and speeds the route to profitability. By not allowing FDI in the inventory-led model, the government has made it more complicated for online retailers looking to become profitable in the near term to support their valuations, go for an IPO, or raise funds.  

  • 100% FDI is allowed in the marketplace model. Allowing 100% FDI in the marketplace model largely maintains the status quo, as most online retail companies like Amazon, Flipkart, and Snapdeal are funded through the marketplace loophole; these companies position themselves as technology facilitators for the buyer and seller. The new guidelines will help boost investment in marketplaces, as not every investor has felt confident about investing via a loophole. This is good news for the leading marketplaces that are looking for more funds to grow their business; they can now approach a new set of investors who were waiting for this clarification from the government.
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The Latin American Economy Is Slowing Down Online Retail Market Growth

Satish Meena

Online retail in Latin America faces a number of challenges: a troubling economy, rising unemployment, high inflation, and regulatory and infrastructure problems. The recently published Forrester Research Online Retail Forecast, 2015 To 2020 (Latin America) explores the impact of all of these factors. Some of the key findings are as follows.

  • Brazil remains the largest, but slowest-growing, online retail market. The online retail market in Brazil is double the online retail markets of Argentina and Mexico combined. But the ongoing economic crisis in Brazil is hurting its online retail market and causing a slowdown. We expect online retail in Brazil to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5% from 2015 to 2020, compared with the CAGR of 28.3% witnessed from 2010 to 2015. Customers are spending less on both offline and online retail, which affects the overall growth rate and penetration of online retail, particularly in non-metropolitan areas. A lack of regulations and an unfavorable tax regime make it difficult for online retailers to expand beyond metropolitan areas.
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What The World Can Learn From Japan's Exquisite Service Culture

Ryan Hart

Those of you who have spent time in Japan might have noticed that interactions with service staff there play out in a carefully choreographed blend of ceremony and gratitude, regardless of whether you’re buying a coffee at the corner shop or a bag at a local boutique. The paradox is that this delightful customer experience occurs despite most companies in Japan lacking the accountability, rigor, and coordination that characterize leading CX global organizations.

What's interesting though, is that a high level of empathy enables Japanese organizations to overcome their CX maturity shortcomings by delivering an exquisite level of hospitality service. This empathy-focused culture is rooted in what the Japanese call omotenashi, a spirit of unobtrusive and respectful approach to guests that anticipates their needs, bestows respect, and surprises them at every point in the service scenario.

One misconception is that this exquisite hospitality is solely and inherently connected to Japanese culture and cannot be easily replicated elsewhere. Parents and schools inculcate an awareness of and sense of empathy toward others into Japanese children from an early age, and this ethos permeates Japanese society. However, as Charles Darwin pointed out in his book, The Descent of Man, everyone is born with an intrinsic level of empathy that remains present to varying degrees in all of us. Companies should recognize that omotenashi can take root anywhere and can begin planting the seeds of an omotenashi culture in their companies by codifying CX empathy programs that, in principle:

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GoPro: What Happened To The Content Marketing Child Prodigy?

Ryan Skinner

GoPro’s like the preternaturally gifted kid at Content Marketing High. Its community of content creators churn out viral video clips like butter, and its online audiences are second only to Red Bull’s. The product’s actually a viral video machine, giving it this absurd business, marketing and content strategy alignment:

But all is not well with the valedictorian of Content Marketing High. Its market value has been decimated in the last half year, as its stock crumbled to less than 25% of its former self.

Given that this brand is such a content marketing wunderkind, anyone interested in content marketing has to ask himself: Is this a demonstration of content marketing’s impotence? I’ve asked another content marketing influencer, who wouldn’t really answer the question.*

My colleague, Ted Schadler, has the consumer electronics savoir-faire to diagnose GoPro’s real problem: The product has not become a mass market product; it’s been embraced almost exclusively by extreme sports stars and wanna-be’s.**

Powerful consumer electronics brands cannot
grow on snowboarders and skydivers alone.

GoPro’s success documenting inhuman feats by death-defying daredevils has come at the expense of documenting the content that real people might want to create from a first-person camera.

The brand is adjusting to the market headwinds by investing in its software, making it easier for anyone to upload and edit video footage. Democratizing its storytelling to appeal to everyman should get as much focus.

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What's The Impact Of Content Marketing In The B2B Marketing Mix?

Laura Ramos
I have a confession to make.  I love talking with B2B marketers and clients, but there is one question I get occasionally that really makes me crazy. (And you will hear an earful if you are unfortunate enough to ask it.) 
 
“Laura, what’s working well in B2B marketing tactics?”
 
And I’m thinking, “Do I look like the Lone Ranger?”
(Silver bullets? Get it?)
 
To be fair, when marketers ask me "What works best?" I don’t really think they are looking for a simple and seemingly magical solution to a complicated problem. Most just want to validate their current choices and ensure they haven't overlooked other viable approaches. But when 87% of B2B marketers say they struggle to develop compelling content, no amount of messing around with the mix will create a significant improvement in results.
 
And now I have research to support that position.  Forrester’s recent report on the state of the B2B marketing mix reveals a couple of very interesting results:
 
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The Data Digest: Turn Data Monotony Into Data Mastery

Anjali Lai

Next time you find yourself wading through data points, sifting out patterns from the noise, hoping to catch the rare pearl of insight to affix to your business plan, know that you are not alone. Employees worldwide incessantly engage with data, and the companies they work for urgently execute on data-driven strategies in a race for better, faster results. Data pervades the workplace and continues to grow in terms of volume and variety: Research suggests that by 2020, the number of connected devices will more than triple, tens of thousands of data scientist jobs will be in high demand, and the majority of sales decisions will be data-driven.

But using data regularly doesn’t mean that employees truly understand it – or are comfortable with data practices. Specific obstacles prevent individuals – at the top and bottom of the organization – from eliciting effective insight. Forrester’s Business Technographics® and ConsumerVoices MROC data shows that while individuals rely heavily on data for decision-making, they still grapple with key challenges regarding the accuracy, volume, value, and security of the data they use:

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Beyond ROI: Showcasing The True Impact Of Mobile Marketing

Thomas Husson

My colleague Jenny Wise and I just updated the business case report of Forrester’s mobile marketing playbook with new data, examples and primary research.

B2C Marketers know mobile is a strategic imperative but the vast majority don’t strategically integrate it in their marketing-mix with only 13% saying they do so systematically. Only 27% of marketers we surveyed told us the ROI of their mobile marketing campaigns was profitable and a stunning 67% told us they simply cannot measure it!

Why? Because marketers:

  • Don’t align objectives and KPIs. There is a misalignment between their top objectives — improving customer satisfaction and transforming customer experience, which they barely track.
  • Can only start to benefit from vendors’ advanced ROI tools. Greg Stuart, CEO of Mobile Marketing Association, sums it up better than anyone else: “It seems crazy that CMOs haven’t pushed vendors to do marketing mix measurement comparing TV, mobile, and all other media and that the MMA, working with our research partners, is the only entity to have developed an industry methodology for an opportunity this obvious and big”. You can find out more on MMA's SMoX research here.
  • Find it difficult to measure the impact of mobile on other channels, especially offline.
  • Have limited mobile expertise of their own.
  • Can’t prove they need it to take budget from existing pools.
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12 Quick Observations On The Content Marketing Vendors In That Supergraphic

Ryan Skinner

Two days ago, Scott Brinker published his annual marketing technology supergraphic. It's now grown to some 3,800 vendors.*

There are, by my count, 159 vendors categorized in the content marketing part of his uberstack.

Some quick analysis of this collection:

  • First of all, a blob of logos is hard to relate to (but it looks intriguing, so I know why Scott does it). To see the 'content marketing' vendors in a more usable way, I made a list in this spreadsheet (three relevant colums: all 159 vendors, the 89 new ones he added this year, and the 21 that departed, for varying reasons).
  • Only a small handful of these vendors would ever be considered as an enterprise content marketing platform. Nine of these vendors made that cut last year.
  • The longer and harder you look at any space, the more vendors you will find. Vendors that were new this year, but which have been around for several years, include DivvyHQ, Inpowered, Livefyre, Oracle Content Marketing, Nativo, Outbrain, Pressly, Sprinklr, Taboola, TechValidate, TrackMaven, and Uberflip. It's possible many other of the 89 'new' entrants are not new, but I don't know them as well.
  • Only three of the 21 departed from the space are 'presumed dead'. The remainder were recategorized, pivoted or acquired (Storify by Livefyre, and Docalytics by Contently). Some pivots are likely equivalent to 'presumed dead' (in the content marketing space).
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Sales Enablement Automation – A View Of The Landscape

Steven Wright

In the days before Waze, Google Maps, or even Mapquest, when I needed to figure out how to get somewhere in Southern California, I relied on the Thomas Guide. Still available for many areas, the thick, spiral-bound tome was the location bible. It was not the easiest thing to use. Everyone’s copy was dog-eared through constant flipping back and forth to compare the street name index at the back with the coordinates on the correct map-page at the front. It was time-consuming, and sometimes confusing if you didn’t know the exact version of the street – court versus place versus avenue – or what section of the street you were looking for.

The market landscape for sales enablement automation solutions has been in the Thomas Guide phase of finding solutions.  There are a wide range of vendors, with a correspondingly wide range of offerings and capabilities. That leads to the web-based equivalent of flipping back and forth trying to map what it is they really do to where you want to go.

The latest Forrester Vendor Landscape: Sales Enablement Automation Solutions and the related toolkit, which includes detailed profiles, looks at 18 vendors and calls out key functions and considerations when starting a search for a sales enablement solution. It discusses why B2B marketers should focus on content, understand how to present and recommend from the seller’s point of view, leverage engagement analytics for multiple audiences, and more.

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The State Of Mobile Marketer Tactics: 2016

Thomas Husson

I quite like this provocative sausage dog picture because it forces marketers to think differently about responsive web design (RWD). More often than not, marketers scale content down to fit a smaller screen; because they then claim that they use RWD and have some mobile apps, they think they have checked the mobile box. In fact, RWD was by far the most common tactic that marketers were using or planning to use in 2015: Only 9% of marketers we surveyed are not planning to use it. When fully implemented, RWD can improve the user experience, but more often than not, it’s implemented as a quick fix to the problem of multiple screen sizes. It often prevents marketers from thinking about the need to contextualize offerings for different devices. Customers do not necessarily want the same content across all their screens. However, a scarily high percentage of marketers we surveyed — 47% — admit their mobile services are primarily a scaled-down version of their PC services. In short: 

  • Marketers misuse mobile marketing tactics. B2C marketers often focus too much on piloting the latest mobile shiny objects and, unfortunately, do not invest enough in adapting to mobile experiences’ core touchpoints -- like email or search -- that most consumers use to engage with brands.
  • Use mobile to transform brand experiences. Too few marketers think of mobile as an opportunity to transform the brand experience. To really differentiate themselves, they should develop mobile-unique interactions delivering visible value with apps, messaging, and online-to-offline tactics.
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