How To Get Your C-Suite To Say "Yes!" To Your Social Marketing Proposal

Like many marketing leaders, you may find it challenging to accelerate the advancement of your social marketing initiative(s) because you are at a point where you need to articulate how your social marketing program(s) contributes value to your brand's business objectives. Whether you are launching a pilot social marketing program or a long-term corporate initiative, eventually you will need to get in front of your CMO and state your case for getting more budget and headcount to support your programs. Easier said than done? Well according to many marketers, it is. In fact, marketers tell us that ROI and measurement are the top two roadblocks they face when trying to advance their social marketing efforts — the very two things that the C-suite often demands when it';s time to allocate marketing resources. It's the ultimate marketer conundrum!

What are your top 3 challenges with social marketing

 

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Three Ways To Advance Your Social Marketing Initiatives

The month of September marks many new beginnings: the first day of school, the first month of fall, the start of football and hockey seasons, the beginning of grape harvest season (a significant event for a California wine lover like myself!), the new iPhone 5S . . . the list goes on. And when there are new beginnings, there are new learnings. This is why September is one of my favorite months -- for me, September symbolizes advancement and progress.

For marketing leaders, there is no better time than now to start learning about how to advance your social marketing initiatives. Most likely, you have been using social media tactics for some time now. And if you're like many marketers, you may find that you are stuck in a social marketing rut. Perhaps you find yourself unable to optimize your existing strategies or unable to get the results you expect from your social marketing programs. Or perhaps you have hit some major road blocks that are hindering your progress:

 

 

The good news: my colleagues and I have been working on some exciting new research this quarter that will help you overcome these challenges and advance your social marketing initiatives. This research will be published in our Social Marketing Playbook and will help you to do these three things: 

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How To Spot A Social Depth Groundswell Award Winner

The August 30 entry deadline for Forrester's 2013 Groundswell Awards is right around the corner. If you have not submitted an entry yet, what are you waiting for? If you believe that you do not have what it takes to be a "winner" -- here is some insight on what we look for when judging Groundswell Awards entries. Since my research focuses on Social Depth, I will use the Forrester Groundswell Social Depth category as an example. But first, let me define "Social Depth":

In our latest social marketing playbook report -- which my colleague Nate Elliott summarizes in this blog post -- we define Social Depth as tactics that help prospects explore and buy your products. When you provide Social Depth on your own branded website(s), you offer detail about what your brand stands for and expose your prospects to real customer experiences.

Basically, if you are a B2B or B2C company and you have a . . .

  • blog
  • online community
  • message board/forum
  • ratings and reviews 
  • real-time user generated content
  • social sign-on
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Friday Flashback: My Favorite Forrester Groundswell Award Winner From 2011

In anticipation of our upcoming 2013 Forrester Groundswell awards, I have been reminiscing about our past winners. One of the great benefits of participating in Forrester's Groundswell Awards is that analysts often use the winners' (and finalists') submissions as examples of best practices. Personally, I have included our Groundswell Awards winners and finalists in event presentations, client advisories, and consulting projects. These winners have inspired many marketers who continuously seek innovative ways to incorporate social media in their marketing strategies.

One winner that I have referred to frequently — and is a personal favorite of mine — is L'Oreal.  L'Oreal won a B2B Groundswell Award in 2011 for its National Salon Facebook program. Using the Buddy Media social relationship platform, L'Oreal provided its ecosystem of thousands of salon partners with tools that helped them easily enhance their business Facebook pages with branded content, how-to-videos, and appointment-scheduling applications. I have many reasons for favoriting L'Oreal's program, but my top three are:

  • L'Oreal's campaign reflects an "outside-in" perspective.This was a true B2B2C campaign that proves how important it is to address the needs of the customer. The campaign provided content and applications to end-consumers, helped partners with shrinking marketing budgets promote their services, and helped L'Oreal get its brand in front of a wide audience of consumers. It was a win/win/win!
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Just Published: The Forrester Wave: Social Depth Platforms, Q3 2013

After the past few months of immersing myself in vendor briefings, demos, customer interviews, scoring methodologies, and writing, I am pleased to announce that the long-awaited Forrester Wave™: Social Depth Platforms, Q3 2013 has been published! We included nine vendors in this Wave and evaluated them across 57 criteria to help marketers select the right technology partner to manage their social activities on their own branded website, microsite, or online community.

Social media has transformed the way that buyers discover, explore, and engage with a brand. As a result, many marketers have invested in establishing a presence on popular social networks like Facebook and Twitter yet are struggling with how to convert interactions on these social networks to a purchase. This is where social depth marketing comes in — by driving people to your own web properties, you can provide credible and current details on your products and services. And social features such as your own blog, ratings and reviews, discussion boards, online communities, and other types of user-generated content can inform and influence a purchase decision. We call these technologies and platforms "social depth platforms":

Social depth platforms are technologies that add social content and experiences to marketing sites. 

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The Marketer Diaries - What I Learned From The 2013 Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum

I am probably one of the few individuals who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and only heads to Los Angeles during Forrester's annual Marketing Leadership Forum.  I recently had the opportunity to visit Los Angeles for the second time and, just like last year,  did not venture too far from my hotel.  I have yet to experience the true LA "scene" or even get a glimpse of an actor, musician or sports star!  But the highlight of my annual trip to LA is having the opportunity to completely immerse myself in various discussions with fellow marketers (yes, I still consider myself a marketer at heart!).  Who needs to see Ozzy Osbourne's Jessica Simpson's mansion in Beverly Hills when  I get to mingle with the real "stars" who are the clients,  attendees, vendors and Forrester employees who participate in the Marketing Leadership Forum with such passion?

 

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You Get Out Of Your Community What You Put Into It.

For the first time since I started my analyst role at Forrester in 2011, community conversations have surpassed social media conversations during my client meetings. Online communities and social networks have been around for many years, so why are communities such a "hot" topic among marketers? These days it is rare to find a company who has not either launched their own customer community, published a fan page on Facebook, or created a business profile on LinkedIn. These tactics are not new, so why the increased interest? I believe that marketers are finally beginning to absorb the fact that their perpetually connected customers frequently tap into online communities. Their customers frequent communities at each stage of their customer life cycle to gather information and connect with others. Today, marketers know that they can use online communities to reach, deepen engagement, and establish relationships with customers. In addition, marketers have a stronger case to increase investment in their community strategies since there is growing evidence that deploying a customer community can lead to positive ROI through support call deflection, increased leads, and stronger engagement with brand advocates. 

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You Get Out Of Your Community What You Put Into It.

For the first time since I started my analyst role at Forrester in 2011, community conversations have surpassed social media conversations during my client meetings. Online communities and social networks have been around for many years, so why are communities such a "hot" topic among marketers? These days it is rare to find a company who has not either launched their own customer community, published a fan page on Facebook, or created a business profile on LinkedIn. These tactics are not new, so why the increased interest? I believe that marketers are finally beginning to absorb the fact that their perpetually connected customers frequently tap into online communities. Their customers frequent communities at each stage of their customer life cycle to gather information and connect with others. Today, marketers know that they can use online communities to reach, deepen engagement, and establish relationships with customers. In addition, marketers have a stronger case to increase investment in their community strategies since there is growing evidence that deploying a customer community can lead to positive ROI through support call deflection, increased leads, and stronger engagement with brand advocates. 

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Top Twelve B2B Tech Social Marketing Highlights Of 2012

Last January, I kicked off 2012 with a report titled “The New Year Of Social Marketing”. The theme of that report was that B2B marketers would begin to emphasize the “social” of “social media” by focusing more on engagement and  interactions and less on broadcast marketing. I explained how marketers would continue to adopt social media listening and community platforms, that social media tactics would be used across various marketing functions within the organization and that marketers will start taking a community perspective to their social marketing strategies.

I humbly admit that my 2012 predictions were very conservative.  2012 was a remarkable year for B2B social marketing as seen by the acceleration of B2B social media adoption, rapid consolidation of  the social media platform market and the evolution of digital and social marketing. Savvy B2B tech marketers are quickly adapting to these changes in order to effectively (and efficiently) engage with prospects and customers.

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Jump Start Your Online Community

 

Over 40% of business technology decision-makers indicate that support forums, discussion forums, and professional social networks influence them throughout their online journey. Yet many marketers overlook the impact of the conversations that occur within these networks.

Chances are your company has an online community that requires your attention. Whether you have a support forum on your corporate website, a company page on LinkedIn, or a brand page on Facebook, somewhere there is a community of customers, partners, and influencers that is talking about your brand.

It is up to you to take advantage of this opportunity to interact with your community members, but it requires a new marketing mindset. It requires a shift from traditional media creation to social capital creation. It requires an ability to engage and motivate influencers. It also requires time, energy, and commitment from you and the stakeholders within your organization.

It is difficult to ignore the impact that community interactions have on decision-makers. But why do online communities often fail? We speak to many clients who struggle with establishing their communities and found five common mistakes:

1.       Choosing the wrong approach. Communities are not a “one size fits all” strategy for customer engagement. Companies must understand how and where their customers and prospects prefer to engage online and the types of activities that will drive member participation.

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