Google Buying Social (Facebook) Campaign Vendor Wildfire Continues Consolidation Of Social Platform Vendors

A few minutes ago, Wildfire Interactive was purchased by Google for a reported $250 million. Of course, this is a lot of money, and a great exit for Wildfire investors, but what does it mean for social marketers, especially B2B social marketers? It is part of an ongoing trend of consolidation as many smaller vendors have been bought by major companies in the industry such as salesforce.com, Oracle, and now Google. Just looking at vendors I examined (with Kim Celestre) in our October 2011 Market Overview of Social Media Platforms for B2B Marketing (subscription required), many of them are no longer independent companies, and we expect this consolidation to only accelerate.

As a partial list, and please let me know if I missed any major acquisitions (of course, Yammer was bought by Microsoft, and Instagram by Facebook, but neither are external social marketing solutions for B2B marketers):

  • Involver, July 2012, Oracle
  • Collective Intellect, June 2012, Oracle
  • Vitrue, $300M, May 2012, Oracle
  • Buddy Media, $689M, May 2012, salesforce.com
  • Crowd Factory, April 2012, Marketo
  • Alterian, January 2012, SDL
  • Radian6, $350M, March 2011, salesforce.com
  • Unisfair, $35M March 2011, InterCall (West Corporation)
Read more

How To Approach Your Social Marketing Initiative

At Forrester, we’ve always strived to help our clients address their challenges from a number of different angles, and now we’re formalizing this approach with an idea called playbooks. Each playbook we write is focused on one specific business challenge and is designed to give you every detail you’ll need to be successful.

Our interactive marketing research team is hard at work writing playbooks that cover mobile marketing, email marketing, digital media buying, and more — and I couldn’t be more pleased that our first interactive marketing playbook is the Social Marketing Playbook. We’ve worked to create a playbook that’ll help you:

  • Discover social marketing. You’ll see how firms like Unilever and De Beers defined a vision for fitting social into their marketing plans; you’ll be able to survey the social landscape around the world; and you’ll learn how marketers like Charles Schwab and NASCAR built the business case for social spending.
Read more

Evolve Beyond Social Media Monitoring With Forrester's New Social Intelligence Playbook

If you've been following my sporadic blogging this year, you'll no doubt notice a recurring theme: the call to action around the social data collect. This theme comes as a result of the past few years of writing research and working with companies on their social media strategies but still seeing too many companies stuck just monitoring for brand mentions or collecting weekly "social listening" reports that tell them what happened on Twitter. Count all the Facebook likes you want, but there's a lot more to the data social media creates than what most companies touch today.

Fortunately, I'm not alone in this crusade to get companies using their untapped social data. My post back in March — Listening Must Evolve Into Social Intelligence — currently has more comments than any other post on the Customer Intelligence blog in the past two years. This isn't meant as bragging; it just shows that the message resonates within our community. We know we need to make social data actionable — it's time to start evolving our social intelligence strategies. That's why I'm excited to launch the culmination of this crusade: Forrester's Social Intelligence Playbook.

The Social Intelligence Playbook lays out the path to help companies establish the right framework and mature their practices around capturing, managing, analyzing, and applying social data. It contains twelve reports, focusing on four key areas:

  1. Discover the value of social data. The first series of reports lays out the concept of social intelligence, addresses the framework of how successful companies got there, and provides business cases for how to justify the investment.
Read more

Submit Your Entry For Forrester's 2012 Groundswell Awards!

Today we officially launched Forrester's 6th annual Groundswell Awards! Since I cover B2B tech social media/online community research, I am always looking for interesting examples of how B2B companies are getting exceptional results using social media. I use the B2B Groundswell Awards winners in a majority of my client presentations, reports, and webcasts, and these best practices are often a highlight. After all, Forrester's Groundswell Awards winners inspire others to set the bar higher!   

 
My colleague, Nate Elliott, provides some guidance to improve your odds of winning here. This year, we have added "mobile applications" in our B2B category. So make sure you consider your mobile programs in addition to your social media programs when you submit your entries!
Read more

Announcing The Sixth Annual Forrester Groundswell Awards

It’s that time of year again! That is, it’s time to look back at the very best social programs your company has run in the past twelve months, and to prepare your entry to the Forrester Groundswell Awards. This year’s entries are due on September 5, 2012 – and you can enter using our online form. We’ll be presenting the awards at Forrester Forums in October.

We’ve been lucky enough to recognize some fantastic social applications since we started these awards back in 2007 – and we’d like for you to have a great chance of winning, too. To improve your odds, we recommend you focus on two key points:

1.       Enter in the right category.This year we’ve got 17 categories spread across three divisions: Business to Consumer, Business to Business, and Business to Employee. (If you’ve entered in previous years, you’ll notice that our two B2C divisions – North America and International – have been combined into a single global division; and that our Management division has been renamed Business to Employee.) Choose the division that best describes your program’s audience (B2C, B2B or B2E), and then choose the award category that best describes the objectives of your program (for instance, Listening, Talking or Supporting). If you’re not sure which category fits best, you can review the descriptions of each category on our FAQ page.

Read more