Back in the office and a little tardy with my Consumer Forum wrap-up. I met with another half-dozen execs who pretty much confirmed some of my observations from the day before. I am still rather amazed how little economy-obsessing went on at the event. Are we wearing blinders, or is digital really more insulated? Better subscribe to Forrester Downturn Alerts to be safe.
Day 2 featured the second annual Groundswell awards for social applications. Note that not all the winners were huge companies with massive resources: the Brooklyn Museum and a credit union from Alberta are right next to Starbucks and Mattel. At the risk of repetition, the ROI metrics still seem more compelling for customer service than for objectives earlier in the marketing funnel.
I did about a dozen meetings during the course of Day One of the Consumer Forum, most of them about social computing strategies for marketing. Some quick pattern-matching across the conversations produces the following trends:
Social marketing budgets are safer than mobile initiatives in the current climate
That said, social marketing measurement and ROI are sketchy at best. So marketing leaders continue to earmark for experiments more than full-blown campaigns
CPGs are keen to participate
It's way easier to prove ROI for social marketing for customer service cost-savings than for branding objectives or customer acquisition. That said, it felt like initiatives were equally distributed
Social marketing doesn't exclusively equate to youth marketing -- no, not at all. And it piques a lot of interest for business to business marketing, not just consumer
Some highlights from the keynote executive presentations:
Reebok and its agency Carat shared the details of their "Run Easy" campaign -- a multichannel effort to create a movement in running.
The situation: Reebok has strong brand recognition, but a much smaller share of sales than competitors. Reebok wanted to create a perception that running was for everyone, not just for the elite, a very different message than competitive positioning. Reebok also believed that to do this well, they needed to create a *movement* around running. It wouldn't work to try to motivate people around running just with a few outbound campaigns.
The approach: Creating a movement is different than creating a campaign. In fact, Reebok used an approach somewhat contrary to how traditional media efforts are developed. They seeded their market with the "run easy" idea in advance of a large media blitz. Then they used media to further interest in the idea and enroll people in the movement. And last they spread the message through in-person events and viral elements in order to drive participation and encourage the community to spread the word on Reebok's behalf.
From my perspective the primary lessons to take away from Reebok's effort, are: