One of the biggest transformations in retail that Forrester highlighted in its recent B2C buying research stream is the growth of brand manufacturers in commerce and the corresponding tension with marketplaces like Alibaba, Amazon, and others around the world. (“Brand manufacturers” are traditionally wholesale companies that distribute through intermediaries. They’re a complex ecosystem, and no two are the same — see the graphic.)

To discuss a swath of the complex issues brand manufacturers face, the retail research team at Forrester is hosting a series of succinct 20-minute sessions on a dozen issues we’ve heard companies ask us about. This online event will take place September 29 and 30. Here’s the agenda:

Day 1: September 29, 2020

  • 11:00 a.m. ET: “The Shifting Commerce Landscape” with Michael O’Grady and me. We’ve completed several forecasts and projections over the years on marketplaces around the world and will share those at this event.
  • 11:20 a.m. ET: “The Future Of Marketing” with Joanna O’Connell and Shar VanBoskirk. All companies must contend with shifting opportunities in customer acquisition. Bottom-of-the-funnel goals had never been critical for brand manufacturers, but that’s changed as many are now direct-to-consumer retailers.
  • 11:40 a.m. ET: “How Brand Manufacturers Organize For Digital Excellence” with Michelle Beeson and Brendan Witcher. Many brand manufacturers are global with broad product lines. How are the best companies making technology decisions across different geographies? Do most companies have centers of excellence? Where should digital report in a complex sales-driven organization where channel conflict is a sensitive topic?
  • 12:00 p.m. ET: “DTC Sales — Lessons And Insights” with Emily Pfeiffer and Lily Varon. Thanks to early movers like Apple and Dell, the playbook for direct-to-consumer sales has not only been written but — with the right strategy — can be a resounding success. This session will discuss opportunities (and challenges) for different types of brands, including subscriptions, replenishment, resale, and more.
  • 12:20 p.m. ET: “Optimal Marketplace Models” with David Wright, CEO of Pattern. Marketplaces are inevitable for retail distribution in the 2020s, but nuances around execution — first-party, second-party, and third-party sales — all have their pros and cons. We’ll have an expert on these and other issues share his recommendations for brands.
  • 12:40 p.m. ET: “Nurturing An Innovation Culture” with James McQuivey. Brands that don’t innovate risk extinction. We’ll share the research and thinking on how companies thrive by disrupting themselves and, more importantly, how that applies to brand manufacturers.

Day 2: September 30, 2020

On the second day of this event, we’ll dive into more specific tactics:

  • 11:00 a.m. ET: “Online Content Management” with Emily Pfeiffer and Rob Gonzalez, CMO, Salsify. Brand manufacturers are the stewards of their presence online. They’re responsible for educating consumers. In the age of the internet, that increasingly means what (and how) information is presented.
  • 11:20 a.m. ET: “Personalization For Brands And Manufacturers” with Brendan Witcher. Companies believe that the future of effective customer acquisition and retention is relevance. This session discusses the myths and truths around what drives success and what spins wheels with respect to relevant consumer content and marketing.
  • 11:40 a.m. ET: “The Importance Of E-Control” with Whitney Gibson, e-control attorney, Vorys. Gray market and counterfeit goods are part of the mix on marketplaces and have often backed brand manufacturers against a wall. Brands must employ legal frameworks to protect their intellectual property and their authorized distributors, but they must first understand what tools they have available to defend themselves.
  • 12:00 p.m. ET: “Blockchain And Product Authentication” with Martha Bennett and George Lawrie. Technologies for brands, consumers, and their distributors to definitively vet products will be more crucial than ever as the internet grows and unscrupulous sellers look to sell goods however they can.
  • 12:20 p.m. ET: “Unique B2B Challenges” with Allen Bonde. B2B-only companies must also contend with issues around org structures, direct-to-consumer, and e-control. Allen will delve into how these companies have thrived in a world where digital procurement and Amazon Business promise to disrupt.
  • 12:40 p.m. ET: “Endless Aisle, Drop Ship, And Pricing Considerations” with Emily Pfeiffer. Brand manufacturers own the biggest assortment of their goods. Alternative ways of distributing those goods and pricing them optimally are critical to drive wins for brands, their resellers, and consumers.

We’ve designed the program so you can pick the sessions most useful to you. If some or all of these topics align with your areas of interest, please register here and invite your colleagues to attend:

We look forward to hearing your thoughts and helping brand manufacturers navigate this complex journey.