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. 
 
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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.
 
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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...

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C3 Gets An Impressive Start As It Evolves From Idea To Startup

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with the C3 leadership team in their San Mateo, CA, headquarters. Many of you may not be familiar with C3, as they have been operating in stealth mode for the past few years, working with industry thought leaders, partners and customers to build out their very robust energy resource management software platform. "Monitor, mitigate and monetize your energy and resources" is the company's tag line.

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It's Time For Tech Marketers To Go Big With B2B Social Media Strategies

Today I had lunch with a favorite colleague (from my pre-Forrester tech marketer days) who owns a marketing agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. We had a very lively discussion about how his agency is seeing an explosion in demand for B2B social media strategies. He is in the process of adding headcount to his social media team to meet the needs of his clients, and he is excited about the potential he sees in the B2B space. I have heard similar feedback from other agencies and clients who want to take advantage of the opportunities social media has opened for B2B.

Social media is playing an increasingly important role for B2B marketers who want to build improved customer engagement models that drive value. This should not be surprising considering the social nature of individuals who work in a business environment.  Information is constantly exchanged within one's network of colleagues, peers, vendors, customers, and partners. These relationships are critical for success and social media facilitates the interactions required to grow and nurture them.

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Show Off Your Innovation, Creativity, and Brilliance. Enter the 2011 Groundswell Awards!

The 2011 Forrester Groundswell Awards is in full swing and the deadline for entries is August 3. This is right around the corner, so I am posting a "shout out" to all of you fellow B2B tech marketers to get your submissions in! I know that there are many amazing marketing programs and campaigns out there that are utilizing social technologies and bringing in impressive results. I know that the majority of tech marketers are  listening, talking, energizing, spreading, supporting, and/or embracing their customers through social technologies.  I know that tech marketers love to get kudos for their innovation, creativity, and brilliance. So what are you waiting for?

The bottom line is that the Forrester Groundwell Awards provide you with the priceless opportunity to showcase your social applications and get the positive attention you deserve for your innovative efforts. Last years B2B awards recipients were quite impressive, to say the least. And companies like Spiceworks and eCairn proudly promoted their prestigious Groundswell awards to their peers, customers and partners.  Now it's your turn!

You are only 3 steps away from the chance of being this year's award winner:

1.  Read the rules

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Product Launch Metamorphosis: From Introverted To Social Butterfly

Product launches often have a reputation for being constrained by tightly managed internal processes, cross-organizational misalignment, and closed communication loops. So how does a tech marketer improve the experience? I have been involved with many product launches and events during my 15-year career in the high-tech industry and have seen the good, bad, and the ugly of each of these constraints. In my experience,  social media has provided the "good." It loosens internal processes by allowing customer conversations to influence the direction of a product launch. It brings organizations together through the sharing of data captured by monitoring tools. It opens communication by allowing internal product launch teams to interact with customers, in real time, throughout each stage of the launch. If done correctly, all of these benefits will lead to more effective (and successful) product launch events.  My new "The Social Tech Product Launch" report shows how it is possible to turn your inverted product launch into a Social Butterfly.

How have you used social media and listening platforms in your product launch processes? 

The Art Of Listening

"It is the province of knowledge to speak, and it is the privilege of wisdom to listen" - Oliver Wendell Holmes

I had the privilege of wisdom to listen to many individuals from various B2B and B2C companies last week at the Forrester IT Forum in Las Vegas. One of my favorite aspects of my new analyst job here at Forrester is to meet with tech marketers and hear about the creative ways many of them are using social media to deliver customer value. The individuals I had the pleasure to meet at IT Forum last week certainly did not disappoint, and these discussions were the highlights of my time spent in lovely downtown Las Vegas (insert sarcastic tone here for I am not a big fan of Las Vegas).   

A few key takeaways I had from IT Forum were the following: 1) The lines that once divided B2C and B2B are beginning to blur; 2) Companies are looking for new and improved ways to obtain deeper, more meaningful engagements with customers; and 3) Social media continues to be an area of focus for many companies, albeit many are looking for more effective B2B social media channels, i.e., in addition to Facebook and Twitter.

That said, some of the research I will be conducting in the upcoming months will touch upon each of these topics. I would love to hear your thoughts on your B2B social media strategies! I am here to listen, after all ;-)