B2B Marketers, It's Time To Influence Your Community Strategy With CLICK

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day with a Bay Area community platform vendor's exec and management team.  We discussed the current and future state of online communities, spoke about market growth and B2B marketing trends.  It was a passionate, energetic discussion...one of those rare moments when everyone at the table realizes that we all on the same page, each of us "preaching to the choir" about the incredible opportunities that online communities offer to companies across all industries. Opportunities that many B2B marketers miss.  

Well, the time has come for all of you to take advantage of these opportunities. Our Forrester research team has been quite busy over the last 2 months, working on a B2B Online Community Playbook that will provide you with all the research, tools, assessments and guides to help you plan and execute  your online community.  One of the critical reports in our playbook (what I like to refer to as the "heart" of the playbook)  is now available, and provides you with 4 unique community strategies and a simple framework, called "CLICK",  for building them: 

 

Read more

Submit Your Entry For Forrester's 2012 Groundswell Awards!

Today we officially launched Forrester's 6th annual Groundswell Awards! Since I cover B2B tech social media/online community research, I am always looking for interesting examples of how B2B companies are getting exceptional results using social media. I use the B2B Groundswell Awards winners in a majority of my client presentations, reports, and webcasts, and these best practices are often a highlight. After all, Forrester's Groundswell Awards winners inspire others to set the bar higher!   

 
My colleague, Nate Elliott, provides some guidance to improve your odds of winning here. This year, we have added "mobile applications" in our B2B category. So make sure you consider your mobile programs in addition to your social media programs when you submit your entries!
Read more

Silicon Valley Thought Leaders Discuss The 5 Social Media Trends You Should Care About

Last week, a few Forresterites and special guests took a break from the end of quarter crunch to participate in a panel event in our beautiful San Francisco office. The theme of our panel was "The Top 5 Social Media Trends You Should Care About." Our audience included tech marketers (mostly from Silicon Valley). We had a great mix of companies in the audience, which included both large enterprises and small startups. I moderated a great panel of local Bay Area thought leaders, including:

 
Jeanette Gibson @JeanetteG  Senior Director, Social and Digital Marketing, Cisco
Dan Ziman  @LostInTheFlog VP Corporate Marketing, Lithium Technologies
David Hurwitz  @Serena_Software, SVP of Worldwide Marketing, Serena Software
Zachary Reiss-Davis  @ZacharyRD, Researcher, Forrester Research. 
 
We spent a very interactive 90 minutes discussing social marketing best practices. Our panelists covered the following 5 trends: 
 
Social intelligence
Read more

Your Business Tech Buyers Are More Social Than Ever

 I am writing this blog from a country club in beautiful (albeit rainy) Virginia. It seems like yesterday when I was in warm LA for the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum. What a difference a week makes! Our sales enablement and tech marketing teams have a 3-day offsite here to dive very deep into our clients' problems and how Forrester can help solve them. In order to tackle these problems, we must start with the critical step of understanding everything we can about our customers. For example, Forrester has surveyed business technology buyers over the past 4 years to gather data on their on line behaviors. This data is commonly known as  Forrester's Social Technographics™ ladder. This intelligence is priceless to our Forrester clients, who more often than not are skeptical with regards to B2B buyers' use of social media. There is a general perception that social media primarily applies to consumers, not B2B buyers. Well, if you still don't believe that B2B tech buyers use social for work purposes, think again! I created an infographic to show that B2B buyers continue to engage online for work purposes and in more ways than you may think. They are commenting on your products, creating video, writing blogs, and posting status updates. And this just scratches the surface!

 
 
Read more

Tech Marketers Have A Reason To Love LA...The Forrester 2012 Marketing Leadership Forum!

I am embarrassed to admit that I have lived in the California Bay Area for 18 years and have yet to venture outside of the Los Angeles airport. Some have told me that I "am not missing much," yet others are surprised...as if one is never truly a "Californian" unless you have been to LA for a visit. Well...this year will be my first official visit "in" LA...and excited that the reason for breaking my 18-year streak is Forrester's 2012 Marketing Leadership Forum!  My Tech Marketing (i.e., "Travis Martin") colleagues and I have a very energetic, interactive, and fun session in store for you. Join us to learn how to improve your marketing strategies by using "journey marketing" to engage with your customers.  Peter Burris and Chris Kelley will kick off our TM track session  on April 18 with "Driving Revenue With Journey Marketing." I will follow Chris and Peter with "Getting From Good To Great: How To Create A Winning Social Marketing Strategy." On day two, Lori Wizdo is presenting: "Engage Customers With Lead Nurturing" and Peter O'Neill and Tim Harmon close our TM track session with "Marketing To Customer Value." 

Read more

Introducing CLICK For Customer Communities

Join me for an interactive webinar on Tuesday, March 27 at 10am PT/1pm ET on a new Forrester framework for building an online community called "CLICK." CLICK is a new approach tech marketers can use to define the critical elements of a community: context, linkages, identity, conversations, and knowledge assets. 

Why are we so passionate about communities here at Forrester? Well, our research has consistently shown that communities/discussion forums/support forums are the most influential social media information source for BT tech buyers.  In addition, some B2B companies are achieving outstanding results with their community efforts by lowering support costs and increasing conversion rates. And that is just the beginning. We predict that we will see many more success stories in the future.

Most importantly, tomorrow's webinar provides a rare opportunity for you to provide your comments and feedback on a new framework that is in the final stages of development. You can influence the outcome!  Yes...YOU.   Hope to "see" you tomorrow.

Event Season Has Sprung

For many, spring brings visions of robins, tulips, Easter bunnies, and longer days. For Forrester analysts, it marks the beginning of what I like to call "event season," which officially kicks off with Forrester's Tech Sales Enablement Forum. This event takes place at the lovely Palace Hotel in San Francisco on March 19-20. For those attending, you may catch me during one of the Q&A sessions on Tuesday.  Come say "hi" if you spot me there!  And better yet...mention that you read this blog :-)

In April, we have the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in Los Angeles on April 19 - April 20. I will be presenting with other Forrester colleagues at the Tech Marketer track session on April 19. And I am planning a special "tweet jam" that week to discuss many of the topics from the event. Stay tuned!
 
On May 8, I am the keynote speaker for Ragan's "Advanced Social Media Strategies Conference" at the Cisco campus. I am very excited about this event, and will be talking about "the New Age of Social"...and what it means to PR, marketing and communications professionals. 
 
Read more

How Is Social Impacting Your Business? Join Our #IVJam Tweet Jam On Monday, March 12!

I am honored to be at InsideView's Insider Summit on Monday, March 12 at 9:15am PT to host a keynote and tweet jam. Join me and my fellow analysts, @ZacharyRD, @loriwizdo, @JRSilber, and @timharmon for a lively and interactive discussion on the impact social media and social data are having on marketing and sales processes. 

The tweet jam hashtag is #IVJam

Some of the topics we will discuss are:

  1. How do you think social media impacts an organization’s lead-generation and lead-nurturing processes?
  2. How has your company reacted to the use of social media for work purposes?
  3. How has social media influenced your customer's buying experience?
  4. What are the best practices for using social media to engage with customers?
  5. What results are you getting from your social media tactics?
  6. What are your top social business priorities in 2012?

 We look forward to your participation!

Stay tuned to this blog for a recap on the event and attendee feedback!

The Tech Marketer's Guide To The Social Media Platform Universe

A few months ago, our research team embarked on an important quest: to help B2B tech marketers make sense out of the confusing ecosystem of social media platforms and tools. This ecosystem is fraught with vendor consolidation, technology integration, platform expansion and a multitude of amusing buzzwords. Tech marketers have enough to worry about these days without spending time (time that they do not have) trying to navigate around the chaotic landscape.

 
  
Three months later, I am happy to announce that tech marketers now have a simple guide to help them identify the categories of social media platforms that are currently available to meet their needs. One word of caution: This Market Overview report is merely a snapshot of the social media platform landscape. Since this report was published, some of the vendors we briefed have notified us of recent acquisitions and major updates to their platform offerings. This is a very dynamic landscape that our team will continue to monitor throughout the upcoming months. Stay tuned for additional research on this topic. And perhaps we will have some new buzzwords to decipher as well.
 
Read more

A Wild And Crazy Week For Technology Marketers

I am back from a very relaxing vacation on the Oregon coast and cannot believe all that has happened during that short time. Google purchases Motorola, HP gets out of the PC business, an earthquake hits the East Coast and Steve Jobs resigns from Apple. And I am not even mentioning the many other interesting announcements that did not get significant coverage this week, such as this, this and this. Can't wait to see what the next week has in store for us...

Read more