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!
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."
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.
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 theForrester Marketing Leadership Forumin 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 forRagan'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.
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:
How do you think social media impacts an organization’s lead-generation and lead-nurturing processes?
How has your company reacted to the use of social media for work purposes?
How has social media influenced your customer's buying experience?
What are the best practices for using social media to engage with customers?
What results are you getting from your social media tactics?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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: