Thought Leadership Project: Moving Briskly

Since earlier this week, when we launched our research project on thought leadership in the technology industry, we've already received some very valuable feedback in the Forrester community, where the research plan (a.k.a. the development document) lives. We're looking for as much additional feedback about the topic and approach as we can get before the actual research begins. Many thanks to everyone who has contributed or will contribute soon.

As I explained earlier this week, this is our first venture into Agile Research Development, a very different way of doing research. Since it's officially Agile, I'll use even the thinnest of excuses to explain how we're applying Agile principles. Pictured here is our Scrum Master, Eric Hsieh, taking a picture of our initial list of items that we're putting into the backlog. That chart sits right next to my desk in the Foster City office of Forrester, so I threw in another shot that gives a peek at the scenic view from my desk. (If you've never been to Foster City, it's the mini-Venice of the Bay Area. I could kayak to work.) Also taken from the Agile canon are the user stories that define how we expect the collaboration between us and the Forrester community to operate. 

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What Comes After The Funnel?

Love it or loath it, we can't escape the marketing funnel. It's under our collective skin.

Why? For a start, most marketers agree that only some of the people who are aware of their product are actually considering it. And only a portion of these people will go on to prefer it, buy it, and perhaps become loyal users. We could illustrate this observation in a number of ways. For example, we could draw a dartboard with "total addressable market" as the largest outside circle and "loyal customers" as the smallest circle in the center. Likewise, drawing a funnel is a natural and useful way of making this very basic point.

If only marketing were that simple. In truth, marketing is a messy business. For example, moving from awareness to consideration and preference might be sound advice for a rational shopper, but actual buyer behavior involves heavy doses of emotion and chaos. And loyalty is not the end of a customer's journey; it's a state that the marketer must cherish and sustain, hopefully leading to positive word of mouth. 

On top of this, one can imagine a boorish marketer taking the funnel a little too literally. Draw it with the wide end at the top, and you can imagine some marketers believing that the more water they pour into the top, the more water they will watch gush out of the bottom. Of course, most marketers are smart people who use the funnel without abusing it, but it would be nice if we could find a model that was 100% idiot proof.

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The Old Spice Campaign — An Old Spice Guy Mastering New Tricks

My colleague Augie Ray has written a great blog post about why the Old Spice campaign with Old Spice Guy Isaiah Mustafa has been such a huge success out of the gate. Here are some of the early stats from Mashable. I have summarized Augie's blog post below, but you should read the whole thing.

Lesson No. 1: Paid and earned integration is the key to a successful social campaign. Paid support plus a motivated audience to amplify the message equals success in building earned media and awareness.

Lesson  No. 2: Adaptive Marketing means you need to be flexible. The world has changed, and marketing is not only always on but also increasingly unpredictable.

Lesson No. 3: Lose Control. It is something you need to give up willingly.

Are you ready to handle this truth? Tell us about your brand, what you would like to accomplish in this ever-adapting world of marketing, and how social media can contribute by commenting below.