Risk Avoidance and the ROI of Social Media, Insurance, Guitars and Tires

There is a lot of buzz about Social Media ROI, and since the topic is complex, there will continue to be buzz about it for years to come. Brands want to know that Social Media works, what works, and how to invest their money.

Much of the results generated by Social Media can be measured quantitatively and qualitatively: transactions, decreased customer service costs, increased awareness, improved sentiment, etc. But some of the advantages from Social Media cannot be measured, because much like investments in insurance and tires, the benefits come from risk avoidance.

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Looking backward and forward, virtually

Train for Success hosted a panel discussion today in Second Life to both look back to 2009 and forward to 2010 and discuss observations and trends in virtual worlds.  The other panelists — Sam Driver of ThinkBalm and Doug Thompson of Remedy Communications — are really the experts on virtual worlds and all that is developing in and around them.  I spoke primarily about the rise of virtual event platforms, which the other panelists referred to as “pseudo 3D” environments.  Despite the denigrating nature of the label, I accepted that the platforms that I have focused on are less rich, and less interactive than Second Life and other “real” virtual worlds.  However, as my previous blog post indicates, that richness comes with a downside.  The barriers to entry are just too high for the use cases that the “pseudo” virtual environments have specialized in.  When using a virtual platform (of any kind) for marketing purposes, targeting a large and diverse audience, the “real” virtual environments just aren’t there yet.

However, I did want to share some of the observations that I made on the panel.  My comments were really based on adoption and use cases for “pseudo” virtual environment as tools for B2B marketers. Looking back at 2009, what did you see as highlights, lowlights, and trends in the virtual platform enterprise market?

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