Consumer Forum Day Two Wrap-Up

Back in the office and a little tardy with my Consumer Forum wrap-up. I met with another half-dozen execs who pretty much confirmed some of my observations from the day before. I am still rather amazed how little economy-obsessing went on at the event. Are we wearing blinders, or is digital really more insulated? Better subscribe to Forrester Downturn Alerts to be safe.

Day 2 featured the second annual Groundswell awards for social applications. Note that not all the winners were huge companies with massive resources: the Brooklyn Museum and a credit union from Alberta are right next to Starbucks and Mattel. At the risk of repetition, the ROI metrics still seem more compelling for customer service than for objectives earlier in the marketing funnel.

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Trend-Spotting at Day One of the Consumer Forum

I did about a dozen meetings during the course of Day One of the Consumer Forum, most of them about social computing strategies for marketing. Some quick pattern-matching across the conversations produces the following trends:

  • Social marketing budgets are safer than mobile initiatives in the current climate
  • That said, social marketing measurement and ROI are sketchy at best. So marketing leaders continue to earmark for experiments more than full-blown campaigns
  • CPGs are keen to participate
  • It's way easier to prove ROI for social marketing for customer service cost-savings than for branding objectives or customer acquisition. That said, it felt like initiatives were equally distributed
  • Social marketing doesn't exclusively equate to youth marketing -- no, not at all. And it piques a lot of interest for business to business marketing, not just consumer

Some highlights from the keynote executive presentations:

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Taking a Pulse

One of the things I want to do at the Consumer Forum in Dallas is get a read on marketing attitudes during The Downturn.

For conservative marketers:

  • I'm assuming online is treated like traditional, i.e., one knows what it's good for and standard rules of ROI & efficiency hold. Esp. for direct marketing purposes
  • That said, where do "newer" branding efforts stand?
  • Other digital efforts are (relatively) inexpensive in an absolute sense, but do they feel the hatchet because of their unproven payback and thin reach? I'm thinking mobile and real social marketing (not cheap banners on social networks)
  • And how will advanced efforts, like attribution measurement, fare?

For aggressive marketers, is now the time to double down, gain share, and cut through the clutter?

Forrester's early takes:
Budget Cuts
Recession Strategies


Hello, World

Davidcard[Posted by David Card]

follow me at davidcard

Hi. Welcome to my first official post on a Forrester blog. Haven't quite figured out how to integrate the Jupiter blog. For those who don't know me already, I've been following the intersection of media, technology, and consumer behavior for 12 years or so, and been an analyst for 20. I like pop culture and mass media. I think branded entertainment isn't evil. Some might call me an Old Media apologist, but they'd better be smiling when they say it.

I'll be at the Consumer Forum in Dallas, so I'll see you there.