Last week at Facebook's developer conference, the massive social network announced a few big changes. Loosely veiled in the enhanced features is a startling amount of new data, giving Facebook even more capabilities to track and learn from consumers sharing behavior, networks, purchases, songs they listen to, and so on.
While there were no direct announcements about what this means for marketers, it's still brought a fair amount of discussion around social marketing, customer data, and the future of consumer privacy online. Last week I tweeted a link to this summary (and pointed out the URL's passive aggressive analysis). But since then, the concerns around Facebook's use of data have only increased. So what does this mean to Customer Intelligence professionals?
The way I talk about customer privacy and social data - the information you can collect and manage from social media channels - is that it's a big, gray, squishy, and constantly moving line. It's not black and white. It's not a thin line. And the overall sentiment about how privacy online works seems to shift constantly. The best thing Customer Intelligence teams can do today is to make sure they're on the right side of that line.
Do you use a listening platform? Maybe a social media monitoring tool? Or work with a social analytics vendor? All of the above? Well if you do, we need your help. Today we're kicking off the second annual report covering the many ways businesses use social media data. Our goal is to find out who uses social data, how they use it, and for which business purposes. To answer these questions, we've created a survey (available here and below) that will ask you about your experience with social listening tools.
Our survey last year created this report, and I'm eager to see how the market has changed over the last year. For example, last year we learned that most listening platform users conduct fairly basic tasks with the tool — such as brand or competitive tracking, or quick market research, as seen in the graph below. Now I want to see if, a year later, an increased percentage of companies use social data for more interactive tasks — such as sales or customer support.
This is a big annual project for us, and it's great fuel for my ongoing research, so please help us out and take this short (5-10 minute) survey on your use of social listening tools. In return, we will send you a free copy of the research — hopefully publishing in early October — with which you can benchmark your current work against the rest of the market, learn about new ways to use listening tools, and get an understanding of how to improve your social data practices.
Every summer we play host to the Forrester Groundswell Awards, a contest to find the best examples of social media success. This will be our fifth year running the awards (and my fourth year helping organize and judge entries), and I'm eager to see how far we've come in the industry. To see highlights of previous years, check out this earlier post on past Forrester Groundswell Award Winners.
These awards are a great opportunity for you (or your clients) to get recognized for your work. We publicly highlight the best applications here on the Forrester blogs, announce the winners at Forrester Conferences this fall, and often use many of the winning (and runner-up) entries in our research throughout the year. So if you want exposure for your success, it's an easy way to get your work in front of the masses.
After the longest winter I can remember, it's finally getting nice out in New England and it seems summer is finally around the corner. Along with the weather, the market's interest in social intelligence is heating up, too. I'm filling my days talking to marketers interested in using social media data to inform their business strategies.
As a result of this growing interest, I'm hitting the road in June to share my research. Along with a packed series of client and vendor visits, I have a few events coming up that I hope you can attend:
On June 8th, I'll speak at MeasureUp — a conference dedicated to marketing measurement. My session is on "Social Network Analysis" and covers the theory and practice of understanding your customers through the combination of their online conversations with social network connections, all made possible through the customer database.
On June 16th, I'll speak at the Vocus User Conference, in a session titled "Combining Public Relations With Customer Intelligence." In this talk, I'll speak about the different ways social media data is driving a revolution for the PR industry.
On June 20th, I'll lead a session with Forrester's Customer Intelligence Leadership Board (our networking community of CI professionals) on new trends in customer influence. For this session, I'll share some of the data I showed at SXSW this spring and give a sneak peak at my upcoming research on identifying, measuring, and utilizing customer influence.
Social influence is one of the hottest issues for Customer Intelligence and Interactive Marketing professionals today. Not a day goes by that I don't talk with marketers or vendors about how to identify, measure, and utilize influential sources online. But for all the interest, there's not much out there defining or standardizing how influencers work — or what online "influence" even means. As a result, I'm kicking off some new research covering how social media makes it possible to find and engage with your brand's influencers. My last research on this subject — now over a year old — is still one of my most-read reports, proving that there's a need for an update.
As luck would have it, thanks to @SarahSGlass, who's a researcher on our Interactive Marketing team and our Customer Intelligence Community Manager, and @Mike_Grant_FORR, we have a perfect venue to open the discussion around social influence: a tweet jam. Yes, "tweet jam" sounds silly, but it's a great way to connect with others and to share and learn about an interesting topic. Our Interactive Marketing team holds a weekly discussion on Twitter, using the #IMChat hashtag, around certain marketing topics and has had great success so far.
Back in February I announced the introduction of our Customer Intelligence Community -- a place to discuss the news around customer data and the business challenges CI professionals face every day. Over the past few months the community's really started to heat up, with hundreds of new members and many lively discussions, and today I wanted to share some of the highlights.
As much as I believe in the power of social media data, I've always stood by the fact that if you just monitor social media, you'll only learn about social media. If you want to learn about your customers, you'll have to look at them across all of their varied communication channels.
With this concept in mind, today NM Incite and Clarabridge announced they are joining forces — and data — through an integration partnership. The strategic alliance gives customers the ability to feed NM Incite's social data through Clarabridge's text analytics platform, run sentiment analysis, and combine it with other voice of the customer (VoC) data. This partnership signifies two important areas for Customer Intelligence professionals:
Successful VoC programs require access to social media. Social media is important in the customer feedback space, but it's not the silver bullet. It is a series of channels to monitor consumer discussion and gain customer insight — but it's just one set of many areas to learn about customers. A complete picture of a customer comes from any of the fragmented ways they communicate — including surveys, chat transcripts, call logs, and more. Just yesterday my colleague Andrew McInnes — our resident VoC expert — published research on the importance of listening to social media as part of the customer feedback process. Check out Andrew's blog for more VoC coverage.
It's been quiet on the social media data acquisition front the past few months, but today's announcement — that salesforce.com plans to acquire Radian6 — is the biggest news yet, both financially ($326 million) and for what it means to the social space. First off, congratulations to both parties involved; this deal will benefit you both.
Watching the two companies over the past year, this acquisition comes as a natural extension of what was already a strong partnership. Radian6 was one of the first listening platforms to identify the need for — and implement — salesforce.com integration. Salesforce.com recently announced a Radian6 app as part of its service cloud. Last month Radian6 began feeding salesforce.com's Chatter data into its Engagement Console. And just last year, Radian6 brought on a new director — former salesforce.com CMO, Tien Tzuo — to advise on its SaaS offering. The deal is a logical step for salesforce.com and a testatment to Radian6's strength in the listening platform market.
This year's theme of the Customer Intelligence talks is "Accelerating Intelligence: How Marketers Leverage Customer Intelligence To Drive Decision Making." We think this content aligns with Customer Intelligence professionals' interests and goals and the sessions will deliver actionable insight from our star CI analysts. We've published a lot of great research recently and are excited to share it at the forum. Here's what our team will present at the forum:
Sri Sridharan will speak on How To Enhance Your Marketing With Improved Customer Segmentation.
My role at Forrester is to help Customer Intelligence professionals better understand the constantly shifting nature of social media and the ways it informs customer marketing and business strategies. With that in mind, I'm excited to announce that today we're bringing a little more social media to you, with our new Forrester Community For Customer Intelligence Professionals -- a place to discuss the business challenges CI professionals face every day.
The Forrester Community For Customer Intelligence Professionals will serve as a resource for connecting with peers and Forrester analysts, sharing stories, asking and answering questions, and discussing the topics most interesting to you. This online community is open to all CI professionals, so feel free to pass the link along to your colleagues. During the past year at Forrester, we've trialed other role communities with great success and look forward to helping The Forrester Community For Customer Intelligence Professionals grow in the coming months.
In The Forrester Community For Customer Intelligence Professionals, you will find:
A simple platform on which you can pose your questions and get advice from peers who face the same business challenges.
Insight from our analysts, who weigh in frequently on the issues.
Fresh perspectives from peers, who share their real-world success stories and best practices.
Content on the latest technologies and trends affecting your business -- from Forrester and other thought leaders.