One-third of the digital marketers in China who responded to our survey indicated that eCommerce is one of their job responsibilities (see the figure). Forrester sees this trend developing in China as well as in Western markets. For example, in the US, Gap redesigned its global CMO role by merging eCommerce and digital marketing in a single executive position earlier this year.
However, the fusion of digital marketing and eCommerce teams is happening more extensively in China because:
Social and commerce are more closely intertwined in China than anywhere else. The bond between social media and eCommerce is extremely close in China, exemplified by the strategic partnerships between WeChat and JD.com and between Alibaba and Weibo.
With a whopping 549 million monthly active users, WeChat has become the largest mobile social app in Asia Pacific. Smart marketers not only borrow mobile momentsfrom WeChat, but leverage its power across the customer life cycle. My recently published report, Reinvent Customer Relationships With WeChat Mobile, helps B2C marketers understand the dynamics of the WeChat mobile ecosystem and learn how to best ride the wave of the WeChat-dominated mobile revolution in China. The report:
Shows how dominant WeChat is in Chinese consumers’ mobile lives.WeChat has become the default social networking tool in China and has disrupted consumers’ mobile behaviors. Metro Chinese consumers already spend more than half of their mobile Internet time on it. In the past year, WeChat users consumed US$15.3 billion worth of mobile data— more than Weibo, shopping, video, music, mapping, and email services combined.
Identifies the core features and services of the WeChat mobile ecosystem.WeChat is far more than a messaging app; it’s a rich mobile ecosystem filled with powerful features and services. The key ones that marketers can leverage include branded public accounts, advertising, WeChat Payment, eCommerce, smart services, and linking online to offline.
In case you haven’t noticed, the number of smartphone users in Asia Pacific has grown – we estimate that it breached the 1 billion mark in 2014. This is the first time that more people in the region used smartphones than feature phones.
When coupled with the fact that the region is also a leader in innovative messaging apps, such as WeChat, Line, and KakaoTalk, marketing professionals can start to see how Asia Pacific is ripening into a mobile-led commerce and marketing harvest – creating a commercial marketplace where users interact and trade and offering organizations growing sales and marketing opportunities.
However, many B2C marketing professionals today limit that potential by only focusing on promoting flash sales or discounts, as seen on the likes of WeChat and Line. Marketers must consider longer-term use cases to fully mine these apps' potential. Unless a messaging app user is specifically searching for and ready to buy a particular product or service, marketers who continue to pepper the app’s chat room with meaningless discount messages will have wasted their investment. In addition, users will likely move to the next competitive (i.e., cheaper) offering when it comes along, running the risk of marketers facing a race to the bottom with cutthroat pricing.
We recently asked marketing leaders who use content marketing platforms (CMPs) a simple "this or that" question, namely:
What business outcomes did your content marketing initiatives generate last year: top-line benefits (new customers, revenue, sales) or bottom-line benefits (loyalty, reduced marketing or media expenses)?
The responses came down decidedly in the second category. In other words, those marketing leaders who are currently practicing content marketing in a way big enough to necessitate software specific to it believe the value they're generating is less growth than efficiency.
This is in line with the input I've received from both marketing leaders and CMP vendors. Both describe a scenario where all kinds of marketing teams - search-focused, website-focused, customer engagement-focused, social-focused, recruitment-focused, PR-focused - have internalized the value of content, and are commissioning lots of it. To the point of chronic overindulgence.
Their current needs are these:
Producing content once and repurposing it and reusing it in a way that maximizes media efficiency
Managing multichannel fragmentation in a way that doesn't fragment the organization
Maintaining brand consistency when brand is as much about culture and narrative as it is about colors, logos and lock-outs
Learning how to prioritize customer needs and value in all customer engagement situations
Change is constant, especially with Facebook. Not too long ago it changed its algorithm to allow users to see their favorite content within their New Feeds first. Then it introduced Instant Articles to help publishers create interactive articles on Facebook. This week, Facebook updated its logo and its algorithm again. This update helps users prioritize stories and posts by allowing them to select the friends and pages they'd like to see at the top of their News Feed. And now for the grand reveal...
Facebook will no longer use likes in its cost per click measurement definition.
Yes, you read correctly, Facebook is discounting the value of its likes to the point where it doesn't factor into their click metric.
Why is this happening now?
At the end of the day, ads cost money. If Facebook wants to keep that ad revenue flowing, they've got to connect those ads to the things that drive the bottom line -- items that tie back to business goals, to justify the expense to marketers. Going forward, these clicks will factor into CPC:
At the beginning of the year, Forrester made the call that the future of mobile wallets lies beyond payments. By adding marketing value beyond payments — such as integration of loyalty rewards, coupons and many other services, wallets will become marketing platforms complementing merchants' own integrated apps.
Consumers want a better shopping experience, not better payment systems. By adding support for rewards programs (from the likes of Walgreens or Kohl’s) and store-issued credit and debit cards, Apple will make this fall a first step in building a more integrated mobile wallet. The rebranding of Passbook to Wallet represents an explicit push by Apple toward a more comprehensive, consumer-friendly solution.
Less than a year after launching in the US, consumer adoption of Apple Pay is modest but encouraging, all the more Apple Pay has quickly become a trusted solution.
I believe adoption in the UK will be faster than in the US for a number of different reasons:
The NFC and contactless ecosystem is much more mature in the UK.
There is no consortium of retailers like MCX with ConcurC led by Walmart willing to launch a competing offering. That said, Zapp is likely to be main competing service when it launches in October with the backing of Sainsbury’s, Asda, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook, HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, and Santander. Barclays, the one major UK bank not backing Apple Pay, just announced today they will also support Zapp at launch.
The inclusion of Transport for London as a partner is a way to raise awareness and accelerate daily usage.
Apple will benefit from a larger installed base of compatible devices (iPhone 6 and 6+) and from the awareness created by the media buzz from the US launch.
Most CMOs today have to close gaps in data collection within and across marketing units, integrate the data to transform it into actionable insights, and foster a closer working relationship among these units to achieve the overarching business goals. Building a command center may be a distant priority.
However, I have argued that digital command centers are intelligent nerve centers that let brands quickly track digital moments and respond appropriately to manage their reputation, retarget display ads, drive new sales opportunities, and provide customer support. In effect, it’s a marketing organization’s digital gold mine. On a broader scale, this marketing capability will importantly feed into an entire firm’s system of insights.
“Once you scale beyond a couple contributors and teams, it gets messy.”
– Content marketing leader at Intel
That’s as succinct a summary as you’ll get for the pains of contemporary content marketing. Even as marketers flock to it, experienced practitioners know of content marketing’s side effect: An unmitigated mess, with lots of people producing piles of content all at the same time, all over the world.
Cue the Content Marketing Platform, or CMP. CMPs emerged to bring order to this cross-channel, cross-organizational, cross-brand, cross-geography, cross-everything content mess, by putting all the people working on content in to a common and shared space.
[Editorial note: Forrester publishes approx. 50-60 wave reports per year, or about one per week on average. Of those, only about a dozen each year are entirely new. This is one of the latter.]
The CMPs assessed in this report – Contently, DivvyHQ, Kapost, NewsCred, Oracle, Percolate, PublishThis, RebelMouse, and Skyword – can cite content marketing giants as part of their client list like: GE, Pepsi, Marriott, BlackRock, IBM, Dell, Diageo, Unilever, MasterCard, and Colgate-Palmolive. And they are picking up new ones relentlessly; as a group, they’re doubling software revenue year after year.
To pin down exactly what CMPs do, here is Forrester’s definition:
Apple will sell more than ten million Apple Watches and dominate the smartwatch category in 2015. Despite the hype, this will only represent 1% of the 2 billion smartphones’ installed base. Should B2C marketers even care? Yes, because the Apple Watch is a good way to learn how to deliver extremely contextual experiences to a niche of early adopters and influencers. Because Apple Watch will boost sales for the entire wearable market, it is also a good opportunity to anticipate and innovate on connected objects.
However, smartwatches are a double-edged sword for marketers. On one hand, they offer unique opportunities to develop brand proximity and hyper-contextualized alerts for consumers in their micromoments. On the other hand, they risk damaging the brand by oversaturating customers with irrelevant messages and raising privacy concerns.
Most branded apps I had the opportunity to test did not deliver value. I even ended up deleting some iPhone apps that did not offer relevant messages. I think marketers should not even consider Apple Watch if they haven’t implemented a mobile messaging and push notification strategy. To differentiate among other apps, you must mature your push notification approach to deliver truly personalized experiences in the context of your overall customer relationship management.
For marketers having a more advanced mobile strategy, now is a good time to start working with app developers or their agencies to plan for native Apple Watch Apps by taking advantage of all the sensors on the device, and to build their own “complications”, mashups of data that would be pertinent for a given user at a given time.
Twitter's had a busy few days. Last Thursday, the company opened up about Project Lightning, a new feature that'll make it easier for users to follow live events like the NHL Stanely Cup Finals. And Friday, Twitter announced two more new features: product pages and place pages will collect people's tweets about, well, products and places; and product and place collections will allow people to curate lists of their favorite products and places.
It's fantastic to see Twitter innovating. These announcements mean the company has now launched more new features in the past nine days than it had in the previous nine years — and that'll be important if they're going to get back on track. And Project Lightning looks like a great idea. Twitter created an event-specific experience for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and credited that experiment with a boost in usage. Offering similar experiences for other events makes a lot of sense, and should bring more people to the site more often.
But product-focused pages are unlikely to be the company's savior. According to our Forrester Technograhpics survey data, US online adults are more than four times more likely to research products on a search engine than on a product's social media page. And they're more than three times more likely to do research on a brand or manufacturer web site than on a product's social page.