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!
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Take Forrester's Marketing Technology Survey

Using, investigating, or buying marketing technology? If so, we want to hear from you. Take the survey and receive a complimentary copy of the completed research.

Take the marketing technology survey

Forrester's global Marketing Technology Adoption survey investigates:

  • What technologies do marketers currently use, and what do they plan to use?
  • How much do marketers budget for technology acquisition and operations?
  • What are the users' top goals for and pain points from marketing technology?

You can use the survey results to:

  • Provide justification for a business case in your 2013 technology road map.
  • Compare your spend levels and technology use to those of other marketing professionals.
  • Spot trends and see best practices to incorporate into your technology strategy.

The survey will close on Friday, August 3, and the completed research report will publish in early September. Once the research publishes, I will also present the findings in a Forrester Webinar and in advisory sessions to interested clients.

Take the marketing technology survey

Please share this blog post and survey link with friends and colleagues who share an interest in marketing technology.

Thanks in advance for your support and involvement.

Innovative Methodology: My Experience With Mobile Behavioral Tracking Data

As an analyst, my job is to examine the emerging research methodology landscape and see what trends are evolving and how market insights professionals are leveraging and integrating these new techniques into their research toolkit. While this type of research is extremely enjoyable, every now and then I am lucky enough to be able to get my hands dirty and play with some of these methodologies. This time around, I got to play with passive mobile behavioral measurement data.

Similar to online behavior tracking, mobile behavior tracking passively records the activities that consumers perform on their mobile phone. With this data, you are able to know, for example, how many inbound and outbound texts are made, when and for how long a person uses an app like Facebook, or how many megabytes of data they downloaded or uploaded. Vendors that provide this tool include Arbitron Mobile, comScore’s MobiLens product, Research Now Mobile (formerly iPinion), and RealityMine (a spin-off company from Lumi Mobile).

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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.

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Why You Should Use Social Marketing In China

Our clients are asking us more questions than ever about marketing in China. So we’re responding – by increasing our presence in the market, by launching our first marketing & strategy event in China, and by publishing more research on the country. In fact, today my researcher Jenny Wise and I published two new reports on marketing in China: The Key To Interactive Marketing In China and Social Media Marketing In China. Below are Jenny’s thoughts on social media in China:

If you’re marketing in China, social media offers an enormous opportunity: Chinese online adults are the most socially active among any of the countries we survey worldwide, and a whopping 97% of metropolitan Chinese online adults use social tools. And this isn’t only driven by the younger generations — we find that on average Chinese Internet users ages 55 to 64 are more active in  most social behaviors than US Internet users ages 25 to 34.

But a Chinese social media strategy is not that simple to implement, especially for Westerners accustomed to marketing on sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube – none of which operate in this market. So before you take the leap into social media in China, be sure that you:

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Turning The Twitter Stream Into An SEO Reservoir

Twitter content visibility ages quickly — yesterday's news is todays chip shop wrapping paper. However, not all Twitter content of value ages badly. Yes, Google, Bing, and the like use Twitter for social signals but current content is mostly favored over older tweets. Outside of time-bound announcements there is wealth of content from brands that tips over the Twitter waterfall into oblivion — top tips, cool videos, white papers, quotes, free music tracks, and other media goodness that has a much longer shelf life than the perpetually scrolling Twitter feed can keep up with.

Cow Green Reservoir - GeoGraphThere are many services that offer an attractive magazine-style landing page that aggregates all activity on your tweet stream, such as paper.li, but the problem from the brand perspective is that it is all content on your tweet stream — not just your own posts. That approach is fine for broad curation of ideas and topics but not for promoting a brand or individual. Other services like news.me provide magazine-style presentation of your Twitter content, but the problem from the marketer's point of view is that the content is locked up inside a smartphone app that doesn't garner search engine attention — it's a private reader not a public profile.

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Benchmarking Marketing Mix Modeling

Marketing mix modeling is no longer just a tool for consumer packaged goods (CPG) marketers to measure the effect of traditional marketing on overall sales. Today, marketing mix modeling (MMM) can help all marketers optimize their online and offline marketing budgets through predictive analytics that bring order to the chaos of an increasingly fragmented media landscape. But while the benefits of marketing mix modeling are significant, so too are the resources and planning required to embed it into your organization and marketing process. Forrester’s research shows that marketers are in different stages of maturity for integrating MMM into their organization and getting the most from this powerful tool. We are conducting a survey to better understand the state of MMM deployment within marketing organizations. We’ll use the results to help you and other marketers benchmark your MMM experience. So if you are a marketing mix modeling veteran, a newbie, or somewhere in between, take our 10-minute survey to share your experiences, and we’ll share the results with you.    

Healthcare, The Supreme Court, And Customer Experience: What It Means

The Supreme Court decision upholding virtually all of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (AKA “Obamacare”) shifted a balance for customer experience professionals in the healthcare industry. Now they — and the executives they report up to — know that it’s more risky to do nothing than to respond by taking action.

Keeping in mind that “the healthcare industry” is really three industries, here are some of the most important actions that healthcare organizations will need to take.

Health Insurance Providers (Payers)

As we point out in our upcoming book, Outside In, the health insurance industry has owned the cellar of our Customer Experience Index (CXi) since we began that study five years ago. The main reason for its dismal performance is that the CXi is a consumer study, and for health insurance providers, the customer has not been a consumer but a business — or more accurately, a person at a business, like a benefits manager.

The result was that payers didn’t need to focus much on the end users of their products — consumers — so most of them didn’t. But starting in 2014, a greater percentage of their business will come from consumers. That will drive health insurance providers to better understand consumers so they can attract and retain the healthiest ones, who are the most profitable. Payers will also want to get consumers to change their behavior as a way to keep costs down. For example, they’ll want them to opt for generic drugs and to take better care of themselves. But none of that will happen unless the health insurers build a trusting relationship by providing a far better experience than they have to date.

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What Would You Like In Your MDF Menu?

Last week, Peter O'Neill here, I had the pleasure of going to Marseille and contributing to Dell’s first EMEA-wide PartnerDirect Marketing Advisory Council. I led a session entitled “Leave Your Competitors Behind With Better Marketing Campaigns,” where I proved that vendor-centric fulfillment marketing models no longer work in today’s market because the modern empowered buyer now controls when and how information is found and consumed. 

The battle among tech vendor marketers to configure their programs and content accordingly has now really heated up. The very same trend is about to hit the channel as well — there are too many companies in the tech channel, so only those that market well and appear compelling to buyers will prevail.

I enjoyed discussing content management, the buyer’s journey, and digital marketing tactics with the 30-odd marketing professionals in the audience in Marseille. But even these marketing pros admitted that they still need ammunition to argue for more resources with their own executives, so I hope that the material I provided will be useful in that respect. Feel free to drop me a line if you would like a copy of the presentation as well.

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Banks Make It Clear: We’re Sticking It To You With Fees

An article in Boston.com highlighted the fact that many big banks still don’t understand what customer experience is or why it’s the biggest single driver of business success for most companies.  

Apparently Citigroup is about to join a “growing number of banks and credit unions” that have adopted some version of a one-page disclosure form. That form makes it easier for customers to see and understand fees.

Now don’t get me wrong: Making it easier to understand fees is a step forward. After all, ease of doing business is the second level of the customer experience pyramid and only slightly less important than meeting customer needs.

What has me shaking my head is the next part of the article. It says that these new summary pages come in response to complaints about rising fees, including fees that few customers knew about in the first place, like a fee for getting a paper statement and — my personal favorite — a fee for closing an account.   

A fee for closing an account? Really? I may be old-fashioned, but I’m used to paying people to perform a service for me, not paying them to stop performing a service for me.

Here’s why the whole “fee transparency” thing misses the point: Your bank really, really wants you to open more fee-generating accounts with it. When you add a savings account or CD to your checking account, or take out an auto loan or a home equity loan, you ring its cash register.

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