As per Josh Bernoff's earlier post, it's that time of year again and we are now accepting entries for the 2010 Forrester Groundswell Awards. After so many impressive entries in 2009 , I'm happy to say that the B2B category will return to the awards this year. While consumer marketers might get all the love from the trade press, I know that many B2B marketers are producing amazing social media marketing applications. This is a great opportunity for B2B marketers to show that they too create great social marketing programs that generate actual business results.
So how do you enter the Groundswell Awards? The hard part comes first: you'll have to have launched a great social marketing application in the past 12 months. Then read Josh's post and (this is very important) the Groundswell Awards rules. The deadline for 2010 entries is August 27, but submit early so the Groundswell community can vote on your entry. B2B award winners will be announced online on October 28. I can't wait to see the submissions!
I'm thrilled to announce that this year Forrester will present the first-ever Forrester International Groundswell Awards! The Forrester Groundswell Awards are our effort to recognize not just the best ideas in social media marketing, but the programs that have proven the most effective at generating results for marketers. In the past we've run a single set of awards for all business-to-consumer marketers, no matter where in the world they were based -- and we've always been excited to see and reward great social media programs from outside the US. This year, with companies around the world ramping up their use of social media marketing -- and with many of them doing outstanding work -- we decided it was time to create a special category for non-North American marketers.
If you've run a great consumer-focused social media marketing program in the past year -- and if your program didn't specifically target the US or Canada -- then we'd love to see your entry for the Forrester International Groundswell Awards. The entry deadline is August 27, 2010 (get your entries in early so you can generate audience votes!) and we'll present the awards at our EMEA Marketing and Strategy Forum in London on November 18, 2010. Be sure to check out Josh's post for full details and rules. I'm looking forward to seeing your submissions!
With social media getting so much attention in the industry, it's not surprising that there's been a massive land grab by agencies of all shapes and sizes. Agencies recognize the tranformative nature of social technologies and with nearly $1 billion in social media budgets already forecasted for 2010, it's no surprise that agencies are trying to get a jump on the expertise. This creates a lot of confusion for interactive marketers. So much so that a few agency folks actually got together recently to write a joint blog post to point out how they differ ("co-opetition"). Yet each type of agency comes at social media with a distinct strong suit. For instance:
PR agencies tend to be stronger in working with earned media -- specifically working with influentials.
Interactive agencies tend to be better at building out owned media (like communities and social net pages), have expertise in technology, and understand things like the relationship between social media and search marketing.
Traditional creative agencies and media planning/buying agencies tend to focus on how social media fits into paid media campaigns (i.e., advertising) because, well, that's been the focus of their business for the last century.
Other new agencies like WOM specialists and even a new set of social agencies (e.g., Powered, Converseon, Digital Influence Group) are popping up, but they're still mostly nascent and don't dominate the space.
At the beginning of this year, we stated that application stores would continue to flourish, but none would replicate Apple's success in 2010. So far, it has been quite easy not to be proven wrong on this one. Android Market and, to a lesser extent, RIM's BlackBerry App World are growing fast in the US, while Nokia's OVI is performing quite well in some regions. Windows Marketplace is likely to benefit from end-of-year Windows 7 sales, while Samsung Apps are not yet really marketed, not to mention LG's efforts. The Wholesale Applications Community (the operators' alliance) has not yet launched. Global operators have yet to significantly launch their own multiplatform stores. Both approaches (the vertically integrated from handset manufacturers/OS players and the horizontal layer added by operators) are likely to continue to expand this year, making it even more complex for brands and companies launching their own applications. Many of them are starting to realize that there is a world outside of Apple's iPhone and that their app will be lost in a back catalog of more than 200,000 apps if they don't market it. They are starting to wonder how to break the Apple App Store ranking algorithm, how much to invest in the life cycle of their application, and which stores they should target to distribute their products and services. I see a couple of key issues that need to be tackled to seriously address this market opportunity:
Two days ago I created a blog post entitled, "Leadership And Self-Deception And Social Media." In it, I suggested that the thing that separates success from mediocrity "isn’t how we do what we do, but who we are as we do it ... What determines how a brand’s actions create or destroy rapport (in social media) isn’t just what it does -- there is no magic social media 'to do' checklist -- but who the brand is and what it stands for."
Today I had the good fortune to spend 18 minutes with a wonderful TED presentation by Simon Sinek, author of "Start With Why," which shares Sinek's theory of effective leadership. His words are quite inspiring, and the ideas he conveys are so similar to the ones I included in my last blog post that I wanted to share this thoughtful video with you.
Sinek has studied great leaders and notes "All the great and inspiring leaders ... think, act and communicate the exact same way." That's a pretty bold statement, and he illustrates it using companies such as Apple and people including Martin Luther King and the Wright brothers. He notes that great leaders don't work from the outside in but from the inside out -- they start with Why and not What.
And what does this mean to marketers? Sinek contends (quite convincingly) that great brands do the same. In the end, "People don't buy what you do; people buy why you do it."
I hope I whetted your appetite to spend 18 minutes with this terrific TED Talk:
As you might have read, the Interactive Marketing analyst team has been growing. What you might not know yet is that I’m one of the new recruits.
I’m one of those practitioners who’s been working with social media since before we called it that — early on at Bolt.com and most recently at Time Inc. Check out my profile for more details about me.
I imagine it’ll come as no surprise that social media is one of my coverage areas. I’ll be looking at the operational, tactical side of social media — especially topics related to community management. Speaking of which, my first piece of writing as an analyst was published in this month’s issue of CRM Magazine. If you have a chance to read it, I hope you’ll come back here and share your feedback.
In addition to social media, I’ll be tackling some emerging topics for interactive marketers, like e-readers and other mobile devices. My early research agenda is sketched out and my first document, a checklist to prepare for community management, will be published in the next few weeks. Following that, I’ll be working on the Community Platforms Forrester Wave, but if there are particular questions you have about any of my coverage areas, or specific pieces of research that would be of interest or help to you, please add a comment and let me know.
I spent last Wednesday at the Yahoo! investor day conference in Silicon Valley where Yahoo! execs outlined the future of one of interactive marketing's largest players. Yahoo! spent a large part of the day on its content and audience, touting its efforts in customization, mobile, and social integration and demoing a slick and creative web-based email client for the iPad. It was nice to see Yahoo! show off some content innovation, but what I (and I suspect many of the financial analysts in the room) were really interested in was Yahoo!'s approach to advertising and its revenue projections. That's not to say keeping and growing its audience isn't key to Yahoo!'s advertising offering. Yahoo! is as close as the web has to a "must buy", TV-scale property and that in and of itself is a strong incentive for media buyers to keep pumping dollars its way. Still, the future of Yahoo! as well as the broader online media industry isn't just about obtaining the largest audience, it's also about effective monetization.
Yahoo!'s own projections bear this out. Let's take a look at some numbers presented by Yahoo! CFO Tim Morse:
That +4-5% number labeled as "volume" is what Yahoo! expects to get from its content and user experience initiatives. The +6-7% that Yahoo! labels as "yield" is all about monetization. Yes, scale and audience engagement are going to be significant contributors to Yahoo!'s revenue growth, but even more important will be convincing marketers that an ad on Yahoo! is worth more than it is today. Some of this will come simply as the economy turns around and demand for advertising grows. Still, it's going to take more than just passive efforts from Yahoo! to hit its projections. So how can Yahoo! do this? I see two core components:
Five years ago I read a book that changed my life: Leadership and Self-Deception by the Arbinger Institute, an organization dedicated to helping people, organizations, and communities solve problems created by self-deception. It had such a powerful impact on the way I see myself and others that I have since purchased more than ten copies for employees and friends, and I recently gave it my third rereading.
Although the book is about personal and organizational improvement and not marketing, a recent experience with my mobile provider made me appreciate how the lessons in “Leadership and Self-Deception” apply to social media. One of the insights in this book is that behaviors are not as important as who we are. Organizations and people can do the same set of behaviors and get disparate outcomes; the difference isn’t how we do what we do, but who we are as we do it. Nowhere is this more true than in social media.
One way of being is to recognize people as people and the other is to see people as obstacles and objects. The first way of being encourages us to connect with people and do right by them, and the latter causes us to treat people as tasks that must be disposed of as efficiently as possible. Because people primarily respond not to what we do but to how we’re being, the difference in these two approaches is the difference between an antagonistic relationship seeded with distrust and a collaborative relationship of mutual benefit. Which type of relationship does your brand want with its customers?
As Apple announces it has sold more than 2 million iPads (no indication of US/global split), would-be competitors are unveiling their tablets at Computex in Taiwan. With so many products in the mix (and so few on the market), it can be hard for a product strategist to keep up with it all. So here’s Forrester’s quick guide to the tablets that are taking on Apple in the near future (note: this list doesn’t include devices that may have a tablet form factor but are primarily eBook readers, such as Acer’s planned 7” Android tablet. It also excludes tablets that are more rumor than reality. And I know just by putting together this list I will leave some off, and if that’s the case leave a comment and tell me which ones you think I should add. Okay, enough caveats!):