Forrester has just released the findings from our 2009 Benchmark Survey. If you didn't know, the survey is the second largest in the country - after the US Census. This data is what we use for many of our most popular and important consumer research. For example, it is the foundation for our new social technographics ladder which you can see here.
So, across the survey, what did we find? Consumers of all ages and family situations continue to incorporate technology more deeply into their daily lives. Today, technologies like PCs and mobile phones, which were once reserved for the most well-heeled tech freaks, are in three-quarters of US households. Forty-three percent of households now have a high-definition television, and nearly one in four have a DVR. And consumers is every stage of life continue to move an increasing amount of their time and attention away from offline channels. Our analysis of four different life stage groups shows that:
We recently surveyed over 100 interactive marketers about their on-line measurement practices for my report "Committing to Meaningful Digital Metrics." I was intrigued to find that interactive marketers are not very confident in their ability to measure their on-line marketing. While traditional media is notoriously hard to measure, it has been around for a long time, so marketers are used to the metrics they have and essentially accept them. However, interactive marketing is still new, so while it seems very measure-able, few marketers have established reliable measurement techniques. In fact, even direct response marketers have major room for improvement. Here is how marketers rated themselves across three different types of interactive marketing measurement.
Health insurance isn't cool, government agencies aren't hip and medical equipment isn't very social. However, many companies that pedal these products and services work with me on a regular basis to understand how they can make social media work for their marketing needs. Often they find excellent reasons to use sites like Twitter and Facebook, and typically the ideas are quite practical. For example, one company came up with the idea to tweet lab schedule changes back to doctor's offices so they can in turn reschedule patient appointments. Or this Facebook application from Quest Diagnostics, that they created to encourage their customers to live a healthy lifestyle. These social services are free and can create much more effective pathways for communication, so it's worth looking at social media no matter how un-sexy you think your company is.
Major players are showing signs that marketers are starting to spend more online. Yahoo recently made public remarks that they’re optimistic that advertising revenue will start to increase soon. If we do see a near term increase in spending (Forrester is forecasting general growth in the industry over the next 5 years) then it is probably a combination of things including a turn in the economy and the approaching 4th quarter, typically the biggest quarter for ad spending.
If you are like most marketers I talk to, you are probably trying to find a reliable way to measure the effects of your social marketing efforts. One of the tactics I typically recommend is to use a listening platform to understand and benchmark the scope and quality of conversations happening around your brand. In Razorfish's recent publication "Fluent"they along with TNS Cymfony introduce a formula that really captures the value of listening platforms for measuring social media. They call it a "SocialInfluence Measurement" or SIM score, and it works like this:
1. Calculate the number of positive, negative, and neutral conversations happening for your brand
2. Use the formula (Positive + Neutral - Negative)/ Total brand conversations
3. Calculate the number of positive, negative, and neutral conversations happening for your industry
4. Use the formula (Positive + Neutral - Negative)/ Total industry conversations
I have been following the recent viral video phenomenon created by Evian. In case you haven't seen it (or them, there are a few iterations) you can check them out here. According to AdAge, the videos have gotten more than 14 million views, smashing all previous viral video records. Obviously the viral video phenomenon is alive and well, although it hasn't become more predictable with age. With millions of free video impressions so tantalizingly close, it's no wonder that more and more marketers are starting to take all sorts of "earned media" more seriously. I've seen a few great social media applications being created from companies who don't have a cool or sexy brand, so it's possible to jump in the game no matter what industry you come from.Comcast has a whole customer service team Twittering full time, for example, and Coldwell Banker lets you check real estate listings on Facebook and your iPhone.
Many of you look to Forrester for comparative information: You ask us to compare you to other marketers for marketing budget allocation, success benchmarks and competency with emerging tactics. Now is your chance to make our answers to those questions more accurate and more helpful - by participating in our Interactive Marketer panel survey. We thrive on your feedback, so please send this link to colleagues at other companies to take it as well. We'll be taking the results and reporting on them in the coming months so that you can see where you fit in compared to other marketers. You can get to the survey here: http://deploy.ztelligence.com/start/index.jsp?PIN=13B5T92C4Z5UL
I had a fantastic time at the Forrester Marketing Forum in Orlando last week. Being a newly indoctrinated Forrester analyst, it was equally beneficial to meet clients and other Forresterites. It was great to see that a lot of clients blogged and tweeted throughout. A few clients put together great overviews of the forum.
The opening session focused on on taking risks in a down economy, a great way to jumpstart conversations during the event. I got a chance to roll up my sleeves and talk to a slew of clients one-on-one about how this notion could put them ahead of their competition. There were a few key themes that kept coming back:
Marketers are certainly focusing their efforts on improving the ROI of their campaigns these days. Often, behavioral targeting factors into their plans. This must be why I have so many different projects focusing on BT. In addition to my report that recently came out, I will be presenting a webinar on March 5. You can sign up here. Finally, I'll be presenting after lunch at the OMMA Behavioral Summit on Thursday the 26th.
BT has a lot of great attributes, namely that marketers can find so much value in aggregating behavior over time. However, I also think we need to see more continuity across the market and that consumers deserve a standard opt-out that they can manage across sites. To hear more, sign up for my webinar or meet me at OMMA. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the matter.