Introducing CLICK For Customer Communities

Join me for an interactive webinar on Tuesday, March 27 at 10am PT/1pm ET on a new Forrester framework for building an online community called "CLICK." CLICK is a new approach tech marketers can use to define the critical elements of a community: context, linkages, identity, conversations, and knowledge assets. 

Why are we so passionate about communities here at Forrester? Well, our research has consistently shown that communities/discussion forums/support forums are the most influential social media information source for BT tech buyers.  In addition, some B2B companies are achieving outstanding results with their community efforts by lowering support costs and increasing conversion rates. And that is just the beginning. We predict that we will see many more success stories in the future.

Most importantly, tomorrow's webinar provides a rare opportunity for you to provide your comments and feedback on a new framework that is in the final stages of development. You can influence the outcome!  Yes...YOU.   Hope to "see" you tomorrow.

Time To Shift B2B Social Media Marketing Focus From The "Media" To The "Social"

As marketers, we think of ourselves as social. So why is it that almost 50% of B2B marketers surveyed say that they primarily use social media as just another channel to push messages to their target market?

And those are the ones who are attempting to use social media for demand generation. There are still many who are not. One marketer I talked with recently believes that social media is only useful for marketing to consumers and the gimmicks that B2C marketers use would never work for B2B. To some extent that's true, but B2B and B2C marketing are both about people-to-people communications and eliciting emotional responses, which social is perfect for doing.

I was giving a presentation to a marketing team a few weeks ago, and one of the senior folks in the room said that his buyers are too old, too senior, and too busy to be on Facebook. But we were able to show him that his demographic of buyers does use social media when learning about solutions the company sells. Forrester's B2B Social Technographics data shows that business decision-makers use social media for business purposes, and when it comes to creating content and sharing opinions, they do it more for business than personal reasons.

Social media can be harnessed for generating demand, but you have to recognize how it's different from your other channels and use it differently. 

  • Social media is about relationships, so it requires you to engage in two-way conversations and participate consistently.
  • Social media is real time, so you need to be monitoring the conversations and taking action on them in real time.
  • Social media enhances and amplifies other channels, so it cannot be used in a silo.
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Personal Data & Privacy – Big In Austin, Big In LA

It’s been a week since I got back from SxSW in Austin, and I still can’t believe how absolutely MASSIVE the coverage of privacy, personal data, and identity issues was at the conference. By my count, there were some two dozen sessions, including the Core Conversation I led, across a range of topics that are central to the principles of personal identity management (PIDM). 

Photo of PIDM Core Conversation courtesy of Doc Searls

Some of the most interesting takeaways from my perspective:

1.       We need a consumer bill of rights that’s defined and ratified mutually by individuals and industry. We need adoption convergence by both groups if PIDM is to succeed in a mutually beneficial manner.

2.       We need more cross-functional working groups that include marketers, policy wonks, technologists and consumer advocates. Regulators are simply not going to be able to address the needs and responsibilities of all parties, nor the practical and technological challenges this massive problem faces today.

3.       We desperately need guidelines and best practices for privacy policies, governance, and acceptable use of consumer data. By and large, most of the marketers and business people I spoke with WANT to do the right thing, but they’re just not sure what that means right now.

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Interactive Design Agencies In Europe — Please Report Your Capabilities In Forrester's 2012 Online Survey

Once again, I'm going to write an overview of the European interactive design agency market to help Forrester clients identify design agencies to help them with their projects in Europe. The report title will be "2012: Where To Get Help For Interactive Design Projects In Europe." Participants will receive a copy of the research and their details will be included in the report.

I would like to invite interactive design agencies in Europe to participate. Please complete the agency survey at the following location:

https://forrester.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_3ItaKu2lYfupm3G

The survey is designed to gather data from European firms that have significant experience in designing and developing digital experiences (web, mobile, etc.). Survey questions cover interactive agency size, practice areas, industry expertise, locations, and a range of costs for typical engagements. If you know any agencies that should be included in my report, please forward the survey link to them or show them this blog post.

Thank you!

P.S. If you want a preview of the survey, you can see all the questions on the following site:

https://forrester.qualtrics.com/CP/File.php?F=F_089Q1OJFXDCdXvK

 

UPDATE (10/May/2012): Survey deadline extension. This survey will be open until 15/May.

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New Data Is Bringing New Insight To TV Viewing

At our Marketing Leadership Forum in April, Forrester Researcher Mike Glantz will be talking up TV in its future state with a panel made up of Comcast, ABC, and others. Here is a post written by Mike about his upcoming panel and a report he is working on. Enjoy!

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Marketers have struggled with accurately measuring their reach across TV and digital media platforms. Today’s TV watchers multitask with digital devices, fluidly moving between platforms and expecting a seamless experience. In this complex world, marketers need standardized data sets to measure:

  • Cross-platform reach. In an increasingly fragmented ecosystem, marketers need to know their total reach across TV and digital video platforms.
  • Social engagement with their TV brand. The connection between social media and TV can no longer be denied after this year’s Super Bowl. With viewers embracing social media to chat about what they are watching in real time, brand marketers need to be able to measure their brands’ reach across the social graph.
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Listening Must Evolve Into Social Intelligence

Why do companies "listen" to social media? In short, they listen to learn and improve the business. Marketers use social listening to improve their campaigns and build customer relationships. Customer support teams listen so they can fix problems. PR teams listen to put out fires before they spread. Researchers listen to drive innovation. In this sense, listening isn't a social media strategy; listening is a data collection component of a business strategy. We "listen" as a means to drive action.

But that's not really the case, is it? Most companies I speak with know that listening is important - it seems that nearly all companies know the classic social mantra, "start by listening" - but years into their social strategies, they're still counting the number of Facebook fans or tracking for brand mentions. They're listening, not acting. It's 2012, and we're still passively - without purpose - collecting social media.

This rant comes as the result of two milestones: 1) the two year anniversary of our first research introducing social intelligence and 2) the week in which Google and Adobe double down on the social pieces of their analytics offerings. Although I'd love to spend an entire post talking about the past two years of social intelligence, it took Google and Adobe to inspire me to talk about today's market instead.

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Of Mad Men And Market Insights Professionals

So, I’m off to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference next week. This started me “rethinking” how advertising has changed over the decades, and what that means for market insights professionals.

Back when I was born, advertising was a no-brainer. TV. If you could afford it. Only 3 channels to choose from so the “marketing mix model” was not really complicated. Did you need a lot of research to optimize your advertising? Hmmm, with all eyeballs tuned to you, research-optimized content probably was not as important as it is today (for a trip down memory lane, click here).

Fast-forward a few decades and customer choices have exploded. Has TV been killed by the Facebook star? Should you invest more in Google Adworks than traditional media column inches? If you do venture into social media, in which of the 1,000s of sites do you find your customers? And are they your best customers, i.e. the ones you really want to attract? It’s like playing Find Waldo, except that Waldo is a fickle consumer who keeps moving around.

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For P&G, Will The Revolution Be Digitized? Not The Way You Might Think

 Last week’s announcement by P&G CMO Mark Pritchard that it intends to cut marketing costs in part by shifting money from TV to digital sounds like a possible revolution in the marketer’s traditional TV-centric approach. I agree with my colleague Tracy Stokes that this is not the end of TV.

Nor is it the beginning of a new drive for CPG brands to build digitally based one-to-one, CRM-style customer relationships.

But it is an opportunity for interactive marketers to increase their presence and impact on brand teams if they look ahead of the curve on how the increasing digitization of media, adoption of new devices, and impact of big data will have on TV advertising. Interactive marketers should position themselves to lead brands in the future by adding the tools and concepts of mass branding to their skill sets, then mapping their career path to these changes:

  • Today: Brands like Tide and Bounty still thrive with a brand strategy rooted in mass reach and emotive messaging. Now that is best delivered by TV, but Internet advertising has played the role of reach extender for years. The growth of online video should enhance this role but interactive marketers risk losing control of this medium unless they set aside their traditional action metrics and learn to speak mass media metrics with their colleagues.
  • Tomorrow: Digital will become more important as the Splinternet further fragments media consumption. But tablets and smartphones offer more than reach extension through complementary experiences that will key off the TV ad. Traditionally trained TV experts don’t have the conceptual framework to envision these opportunities; interactive marketers who can plan the reach and design the experiences will have an edge.
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Q&A With John Swigart, CMO At Esurance, About How To Approach Marketing In The 21st Century

I recently got to engage with John Swigart, CMO at Esurance (recently acquired by Allstate), who will be keynoting at our Marketing Leadership Forum in Los Angeles on April 18. Here are some words of wisdom from him about how to take new marketing tactics and put them into action. 

1. What was your approach and justification for investing in new marketing tactics that are still in their development phase?

I’m pretty consistent in pushing my teams to explore new avenues that may yield better results for us. I want us to make informed decisions but take risks, whatever the application might be. We’re a company borne of the Internet, so I think we are a little more forward-leaning than some of our competitors in some ways. We push pretty aggressively — how can we improve, gain more mindshare, and sell more policies — things like paid search, cost per clicks are all very much a part of the online environment we grew up in, as is social media, so it made sense for us to explore making a tighter connection between our offline advertising and our social media presence online. The average Facebook user spends about 6 hours a month on the platform, so we certainly see the value of having a conversation with some of the 200 million Facebook users in the US.

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Mobile Internet Use In The US Is Two Years Ahead Of Western Europe

In two recently published forecasts — Forrester Research Mobile Adoption Forecast, 2011 To 2016 (Western Europe) and Forrester Research Mobile Adoption And Sales Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (US) — we looked at mobile Internet usage across the US and 17 countries in Western Europe.* Tracking the evolution of mobile Internet usage allows us to understand changes in consumer behavior and to better understand such things as the rise of mobile commerce. We found that in 2011, less than one-third of mobile phone owners in Western Europe connected to the mobile Internet at least monthly; this equates to 100 million individuals. In the US, monthly mobile Internet penetration reached 114 million people, approaching half of handset owners. Even the UK, which is one of the leading proponents of mobile Internet usage in Europe, lagged the US, with less than 40% of mobile phone users connecting to the mobile Internet at least monthly.

European economic woes have almost certainly had an impact, but factors like higher smartphone penetration, competitive data plans, higher post-pay subscriber penetration, and the faster rollout of 4G networks and handsets in the US than in Western Europe help explain this difference. In 2011, more than 17 million US mobile phone users already had 4G compatible handsets compared with only 1.6 million in Western Europe.

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