Want My Job? (Or One Very Like It?)

Don't worry, I'm not planning on going anywhere just yet! In fact, I love what I do at Forrester: Put simply, I look for the most interesting and difficult-to-answer questions in interactive marketing, I spend a month talking to really smart people and collecting data on those questions, and then I write reports and give speeches that answer those questions for our clients. (My favorite recent questions have included "What's the best way to use interactive marketing as a branding channel?" and "How can marketers use social data?") In the process I get to collaborate with fantastic, thought-leading colleagues like Shar VanBoskirk, Sean Corcoran, Thomas Husson, and Zach Hofer-Shall; I get to dig into the best and richest data anywhere in the industry; and I get to work for some amazing clients all over the world. It's a pretty sweet gig.

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How To Use Social Data - And How Not To!

We work with a lot of different types of marketers at Forrester, and we always customize the recommendations we deliver to different clients based upon their unique situations and needs. But over the past few years there's one piece of advice I've found myself giving nearly every company I work with: "Hire a listening vendor."

I love listening platforms and the social data they create; it's a powerful source of information that, used correctly, can make marketers and their programs more effective. But not enough marketers are taking advantage of these benefits.

No matter what type of company you work for -- indeed, whether you work directly with social media or not -- you should be using social data right now to:

  1. Develop your messaging. If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about. Many of our past Forrester Groundswell Award winners have used private listening communities to craft their marketing messages; increasingly, we're seeing companies use data from public social media to guide their messaging as well.
  2. Source your creative. We know that consumers trust what they hear from other consumers more than any other source of information -- why not use listening platforms to identify positive social content that can be included in campaign creative? I've even seen a UK bank, First Direct, use social sentiment data in an outdoor advertising campaign.
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We're Accepting Entries For The 2011 International Forrester Groundswell Awards!

For the past five years, we've been running the Forrester Groundswell Awards to recognize the companies that do the best job using social media -- and last year we added an international category for the first time. We were thrilled to recognize some fantastic international social media programs in 2010 -- from companies who both used social technologies in an innovative way and were able to show how their social programs helped build brand awareness, develop new products and services, or generate leads and sales -- and I'm excited to see the entries we receive for 2011.

If you think you (or your clients) have used social media exceptionally well in the past year, and the program was targeted to consumers outside the US, we'd love to see your entry. Feel free to browse the rules here and to submit your entry here -- just remember our deadline is August 3rd. So get busy with those entries -- and good luck!