We hear a lot about the exciting stuff that US marketers are doing in social media, but it's important to realise that, whilst consumers in many markets in Europe may not be quite as active as US consumers (even though over half of online Europeans use social media regularly, and my next report will be looking at our brand new 2009 Social Technographics data, so watch this space!) a lot of interesting experimentation is happening here in Europe too. My latest report "The Practicalities of Social Media Marketing" highlights some of them, with case studies from Daimler, Ford, Carphone Warehouse and Innobasque, showing how these brands are reaching out to, talking to and supporting consumers in Europe using social media.
For example, Daimler shared with us how their blog works to engage stakeholders both internally and externally, whilst Ford and their agency We Are Social reached out to influencers in the arts world to spread awareness of the new Ford Fiesta through the This Is Now strategy, generating over 40,000 submissions so far (you can also read more information on the case study here)
A couple of months ago my colleague Shar posted about being converted to social media by attending the P&G digital night in the US, aimed at using all types of social media to sell Tide Loads of Hope t-shirts. That event raised around $50k for charity.
Well, I drew the golden ticket in Europe, and am at the European HQ of P&G in Geneva, where 200+ employees, social media experts, and media folk are having a similar night, this time raising money for vaccine for tetanus, to help save the lives of the world's most vulnerable babies; see www.justgiving.com/pampersfeelnlearn.
And the social media world is responding - in a couple of hours the teams have raised around £2500 already, and there is a lot more outreach going on. This is a great venture, really showing to the teams here the possible value of social media - OK, it's an artifice to highlight some specific tactics - clearly, when you are asking people to reach out to their personal networks, in a real world marketing context you need to think long and hard about the value you are bringing; but as a tool to educate employees and excite them about the possibilities, it's hard to beat.
As you can see from Jeremiah's post below, our 2009 Marketing Forum is up and running in Orlando, Florida, with Shar VonBoskirk kicking off proceedings with (after lifting the audience with a resounding rendition of “M I C K E Y M O U S E!” – well, they are at the Disney Resort!) a keynote addressing how marketers affected by the recession, across the globe, need to treat their online planning and strategy teams as core parts of their business planning, taking account of the advantages of more accountable marketing channels. She urged marketers not to be stifled by the idea that a recession is a bad time to innovate; on the contrary, as interactive marketing channels continue to grow strongly, now is a great time to take innovative steps to reach consumers across online channels, with far less risk than many marketers perceive.
>More experts from the likes of Microsoft, Starbucks and iProspect take the stage on Friday to share their insights into how to get the best value out of interactive marketing in a recession.
The Forum is being held in the US, but the recession is an equal reality in Europe, and European marketers are faced with the same challenges – how to get the best out of their marketing spend, how to take advantage of the flexibility and measurability of interactive channels, and how to best reach and talk to consumers also feeling the bite of the downturn. Marketers struggle with understanding how they can identify key consumers in their European target countries, what technologies to use to reach them, and how to innovate, say using social media, to make a brand stand out from the crowd?
“We all know that young consumers, both in Europe and the US, have adopted social media avidly. But what about their parents’ generation – the Baby Boomers (those aged 43 to 63)? How are they using social media? Well, I’ve just finished a piece that looks at the Baby Boomer generation in Europe and their social media activity, and found that this audience are also starting to integrate social media into their daily lives.
Phew! We've reached the end of the first day of our Consumer Forum, here in Dallas, Texas and it's been a busy one – our attendees have had the opportunity to attend over 20 presentations including keynotes, track sessions and theatre presentations from Forrester analysts and industry experts. Some of my highlights:
Carrie Johnson, VP and Research Director at Forrester, kicked us off by expanding on our theme – Keeping Ahead Of Tomorrow’s Customer. She showed (with the help of Homer Simpson J) how important it is to understand how consumers have changed – become multi-channel, multi-taskers – in a short period of time, and how vital it is that we understand how the next 10 years are going to change them further, especially in today’s economic climate where maximizing the power of every marketing dollar spent is more important than ever.