Report: Companies Should Organize For Social Media in a "Hub and Spoke" model

I often get asked by brands: "How should we organize our company for social media?" or "Which roles do we need", or "Which department is in charge". So for our latest report (clients can access all the details) answers just that, it has data and graphs about spending, brand maturity in the social space, which department 'owns' the program, and how companies are organizing.


Companies organize in three distinct models

For this post, let's focus in on how companies are organizing. There are three basic models that I've observed and surveyed brands:

  1. The Tire (Distributed): Where each business unit or group may create its own social media programs without a centralized approach. We call this approach the “tire,” as it originates at the edges of the company.
  2. The Tower (Centralized): We refer to this centralization as the “tower” — a standalone group within a company that’s responsible for social media programs, often within corporate marketing or corporate communicaitons.
  3. The Hub and Spoke (Cross Functional): Like the hub on a bicycle wheel, a cross-functional group that represents multiple stakeholders across the company assembles in the middle of the organization. The hub facilitates resource sharing and cross-functional communications (via the “spokes” in the wheel) to those at the edge of the organization (or the “tire”)
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Scribd: The Future Tunecore of Publishing?

I spoke with Scribd.com yesterday about their partnership with Simon & Schuster to sell 5,000 eBooks in the recently launched Scribd Store, as well as their future plans for where they're taking the business. There are great articles in BusinessWeek and the WSJ on the Scribd/Simon & Schuster deal, so I won't repeat what they cover, but I'll add a few of my own thoughts.

Scribd is tapping into unaddressed needs in the eBook/eContent market by:

  • Expanding content beyond books. Scribd content runs the gamut of reading material, including things like sheet music, resumes, and recipes in addition to more conventional long-form books, both professional and user-generated. There isn't anything else quite like it on the Web, and nothing like it in an eReader device environment. (Currently, you can download Scribd content into PDF format and sideload them into your Sony Reader, but they don't yet have more streamlined device integration.)
  • Enabling social interaction around reading. One of the major shortfalls of Amazon's Kindle and Sony's Reader is that they don't support the social behavior that accompanies reading books, like recommending books to others and buying books for a friend. Scribd doesn't take sharing this far, and it isn't yet integrated into any eBook/eReader devices, but at least on the Web it has introduced a social norm around sharing content that eReading has lacked so far.
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European Social Media Marketing? Alive and Kicking!

We hear a lot about the exciting stuff that US marketers are doing in social media, but it's important to realise that, whilst consumers in many markets in Europe may not be quite as active as US consumers (even though over half of online Europeans use social media regularly, and my next report will be looking at our brand new 2009 Social Technographics data, so watch this space!) a lot of interesting experimentation is happening here in Europe too. My latest report "The Practicalities of Social Media Marketing" highlights some of them, with case studies from Daimler, Ford, Carphone Warehouse and Innobasque, showing how these brands are reaching out to, talking to and supporting consumers in Europe using social media.

For example, Daimler shared with us how their blog works to engage stakeholders both internally and externally, whilst Ford and their agency We Are Social reached out to influencers in the arts world to spread awareness of the new Ford Fiesta through the This Is Now strategy, generating over 40,000 submissions so far (you can also read more information on the case study here

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MOCCA & MarketingProfs: B2B Marketers Focus On Social Media and Metrics

Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

During the past week I’ve had the privilege of presenting to two
different organizations that I think B2B marketers would benefit from
exploring further: 

June 3, 2009 I spoke at the MOCCA quarterly meeting, held at Adobe’s facilities in downtown San Jose. The Marketing Operations Cross-Company Alliance (MOCCA) is a community for sharing practical experience between Marketing Operations professionals in technology companies.

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Sharing Social Media Insights With Business.com

Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

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Confirmed: The Recession Limits Interactive Experimentation

Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

Forrester's "Interactive Marketing Channels To Watch, 2009" -- our annual look at actual interactive channel adoption compared to hype -- went live on Friday.  A few of the study's key takeaways:

*Few marketers experiment with emerging media with the exception of social media applications.  They stick with email and search and are waiting for a better economy to embrace online video and mobile marketing.

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Mobile Apps Will Still Matter, No Matter What Apple Does Next Week

[Posted by Neil Strother]

Much speculation surrounds Apple's upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference next week. Will Steve show up? Will a new, cheaper iPhone be announced? Or will Apple further pump up its iPhone 3.0 software upgrade? Only Apple insiders know for sure.

For marketers looking for signs of an even larger iPhone audience at which to target branded apps, it won't matter much. The number of users is already quite large (17 million worldwide) and growing steadily. And the broader audience for mobile applications continues to build on other platforms: the just-launched Palm Pre (and store), the recently launched BlackBerry App World, Nokia's Ovi Store, and Microsoft prepping its own app store. There will be plenty of places to offer apps to a hungry mobile audience.

But how does a marketer decide a sensible mobile app strategy? Check out my recent report, "Is An iPhone App Right For You?" Or join my June 12 teleconference to find out.

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Google Selling eBooks: A Bold Step But Not The Last For The Search Giant

I'm a few days late on this one but it's been a busy week!

Google announced Monday that by the end of the year it would allow publishers to sell eBooks directly through Google. Google was already involved in the eBook/eReader market through its patented book digitization efforts and through a partnership with Sony that offers 500,000 public domain books for free in the Sony Reader store.

We expected that Google would move more aggressively into the eReader space, but the move to sell eBooks directly is surprising. Sure, there's Froogle, and Google Checkout, but Google doesn't really sell anything but ads. Even when it could have moved from displaying search results to selling products--like airline tickets--it hasn't, until now.

This move directly threatens Amazon as an eBook seller, but more importantly, it challenges Amazon's whole proprietary approach to the eBook market. Google eBooks will use open standards and can be used on any reader, unlike Amazon's Kindle format. Google will also let publishers set their own pricing, unlike Amazon.

What's next for Google? We wouldn't be surprised to see an Android-operated eReader, one that syncs with Google docs and is optimized for reading business documents in addition to books and news. In addition, specialized eReaders are seen as a potential enabler of paperless hospitals; Google's involvement in digitizing health records could put Google in a central role in the health eReader space.

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An Affiliate Program Can Help in Tough Times

[Posted by Neil Strother]

Affiliate marketing has taken its share of abuse as a less-than-ideal way to advertise online. However, in today's tough economy, major brands are taking a second look at affiliate programs as a way to boost sales at a very reasonable cost. Indeed, data from our survey of online marketing executives shows that a majority would spend more in online advertising if they had proof it would increase sales. An affiliate program is one such method that is all about lifting sales, and the proof is easily measured since the advertiser only pays for a completed sale of qualified lead.

If done properly, an affiliate program can be a valuable asset to an overall marketing effort, with manageable risk. Commission Junction - a leader in this space - reports that between 5% and 30% of incremental online sales can come through the affiliate channel. My latest report, "Performance Marketing: How To Build An Effective Affiliate Program," outlines a framework for launching a successful effort.

For marketers looking to drive new acquisitions and live within constrained budgets, an affiliate program could be a welcome tool.

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Silverpop Sets New Bar for B2B Campaign Design Tools

Laura Ramos [Posted by Laura Ramos]

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