How I'm Using Google+ (Hint: It's About Relevance)

Melissa Parrish

If you were to glance at my Google+ profile, you’d probably think I’m practically inactive. But what you’re seeing is the public view of a very targeted set of actions, based on relevance.

I like to have different kinds of conversations with different people, so when I share content it’s with circles that designate not only relationship but topics too, and Google+ makes it really easy for me to be highly relevant in this way. Take, for example, politics. I like to talk about it, but I’m rarely interested in fighting, so when I share a politically focused news article, it’s not enough to be in my Friends circle. To see it, you have to be in my Friends-Politics circle, where I’ve included people who I know I’ll have an interesting conversation with that won’t result in insults and multiple exclamation points. 

There is one thing missing if relevance is an aim of the platform. As of today, my relevance-based circles only apply to what I share with others. What would be especially helpful would be a way to limit the content I see from others in that circle to the topic I’ve assigned it. For example, I’m following Christian Oestlien, one of the Google+ product managers, specifically for updates about Google+. So while the YouTube music videos and Onion articles he posts are probably funny, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in seeing them from him. Now, if one of the people in my Friends-Hilarious circle posted them, that’s another story . . ..

So what are the implications for brands?

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Acquisio Supports Agencies With Paid Search Technology

Shar VanBoskirk

In January we published a spate of research around automation tools specific to the search marketing space. See "Automation Helps Marketers Scale Organic Search" and "The New Paid Search Automation Landscape."  Our audience for these reports is the enterprise marketer.  So we represented here tools that sell directly to marketers. But, of course, there are vendors who service marketers indirectly -- by selling agency-enabling technologies instead.

One such vendor, Canadian-based Acquisio sent me some case studies recently about the efficiencies it brings agencies. Like the vendors we featured in our report (e.g., Adobe Search Center, Marin Software, Kenshoo, Efficient Frontier), Acquisio provides bid optimization, campaign management, and reporting.  But Acquisio's sweet spot is providing these services for agencies that might manage high volumes of keyword groups across several search engines for multiple clients. One agency grew its client base by 50% without adding any new headcount by using Acquisio to support campaign workflow, bids, and reporting.

The takeaway here for agency readers is that there are considerable firms outside of the set we profiled in our published research that might provide particular value for you.

Mobile Location Becomes Invisible

Thomas Husson

Maps and navigation are not yet mainstream, but they are more useful as product features anyway. This means that location is no longer a service like maps or navigation but is increasingly an enabler of new product experiences.

  • Location and maps are increasingly becoming features of new mobile products and services.
  • Location will happen automatically, behind the scenes. Adjustments will be invisible from a user perspective (think about the automatic weather update on your home screen widget).
  • Relevancy of local data will improve quickly. The era of basic point of interest (POI) information is over. Enriching addresses with more accurate information on opening hours, real-time data (traffic information, promotions, etc.), product/brand data, dynamic data (consumer reviews, inventory information) will deliver greater consumer benefits.
  • New algorithms will bridge the physical and digital worlds. Coupling more accurate local data with user context and other sources of information will foster the development of crowdsourcing and predictive analysis (e.g., predicting traffic congestion or air quality monitoring). Moving forward, these new algorithms will have far-reaching consequences well beyond mobile.
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Why Apps Aren’t The Killer App For Mobile Marketing

Nate Elliott

It was more than 10 years ago that I listened to my first sermon about the growing importance of mobile as a marketing channel. It was late 2000 or early 2001; I was working at DoubleClick at the time, and my boss left the company to join a mobile startup, claiming we should’ve already had a mobile ad offering in place because it wouldn’t be long before smartphones replaced PCs entirely.

Suffice it to say I’m still waiting anxiously for a chance to throw away my computer -- and likewise, marketers are still waiting for mobile to become a genuinely important marketing channel. It’s not that they’re pessimistic: In fact, the marketers in our surveys rank mobile just a hair behind social media in terms of channels they think will grow in effectiveness over the coming years. But anticipation has never quite equaled reality -- and so most interactive marketers across the US and Europe continue to bide their time, waiting for a mobile marketing opportunity that’ll match the hype.

And that’s where mobile apps appear to come in. Few interactive marketing opportunities are more hyped than mobile apps, but in our search for a mobile marketing channel that really works we’ve lost sight of one crucial point: Marketers’ target audiences don’t care nearly as much about branded applications as the marketers themselves do. In fact:

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

Kim Celestre

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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Want My Job? (Or One Very Like It?)

Nate Elliott

Don't worry, I'm not planning on going anywhere just yet! In fact, I love what I do at Forrester: Put simply, I look for the most interesting and difficult-to-answer questions in interactive marketing, I spend a month talking to really smart people and collecting data on those questions, and then I write reports and give speeches that answer those questions for our clients. (My favorite recent questions have included "What's the best way to use interactive marketing as a branding channel?" and "How can marketers use social data?") In the process I get to collaborate with fantastic, thought-leading colleagues like Shar VanBoskirk, Sean Corcoran, Thomas Husson, and Zach Hofer-Shall; I get to dig into the best and richest data anywhere in the industry; and I get to work for some amazing clients all over the world. It's a pretty sweet gig.

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How To Use Social Data - And How Not To!

Nate Elliott

We work with a lot of different types of marketers at Forrester, and we always customize the recommendations we deliver to different clients based upon their unique situations and needs. But over the past few years there's one piece of advice I've found myself giving nearly every company I work with: "Hire a listening vendor."

I love listening platforms and the social data they create; it's a powerful source of information that, used correctly, can make marketers and their programs more effective. But not enough marketers are taking advantage of these benefits.

No matter what type of company you work for -- indeed, whether you work directly with social media or not -- you should be using social data right now to:

  1. Develop your messaging. If you want to create messages that resonate with your audience, you need to know what they care about. Many of our past Forrester Groundswell Award winners have used private listening communities to craft their marketing messages; increasingly, we're seeing companies use data from public social media to guide their messaging as well.
  2. Source your creative. We know that consumers trust what they hear from other consumers more than any other source of information -- why not use listening platforms to identify positive social content that can be included in campaign creative? I've even seen a UK bank, First Direct, use social sentiment data in an outdoor advertising campaign.
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We're Accepting Entries For The 2011 International Forrester Groundswell Awards!

Nate Elliott

For the past five years, we've been running the Forrester Groundswell Awards to recognize the companies that do the best job using social media -- and last year we added an international category for the first time. We were thrilled to recognize some fantastic international social media programs in 2010 -- from companies who both used social technologies in an innovative way and were able to show how their social programs helped build brand awareness, develop new products and services, or generate leads and sales -- and I'm excited to see the entries we receive for 2011.

If you think you (or your clients) have used social media exceptionally well in the past year, and the program was targeted to consumers outside the US, we'd love to see your entry. Feel free to browse the rules here and to submit your entry here -- just remember our deadline is August 3rd. So get busy with those entries -- and good luck!

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

Kim Celestre

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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We're Hiring! Principal Analyst Serving Interactive Marketers, London

Christine Overby

Our European Interactive Marketing research team continues to grow. We've just opened a position for a Principal Analyst, preferably based in London. We're looking for someone with strong viewpoints on interactive marketing, an analytical mind, and experience solving for the added complexities of Pan-European digital programs (multiple countries, langugages, online behaviours, cultural tendencies).

If this sounds like you, then I hope you'll consider the opportunity and apply (you can do so here). Now is a fun time to be an analyst writing in the space. We get to help our Interactive Marketing clients make the right call on where and how to invest as more money goes to digital marketing, emerging tools promise richer engagement, and more robust measurement demonstrates the business results of interactive efforts. Plus, you'd be joining a great European IM team -- Nate Elliott, Lucilla de Sarlo, Tanya McCabe, Lauriane Camus, James McDavid, and me. OK, I'm a little biased here.

If you want to discuss further, then DM me @coverby. Hope to hear from you!