We’re now accepting entries for the 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards. This is our chance to recognize the very best social marketing programs from the past year — and we’d love to give an award to you for your best work. You can enter here.
To get your creative juices flowing, I wanted to highlight one of my all-time favorite Forrester Groundswell Award winners: Analog Devices, our 2013 B2B Social Relationship Marketing award winner. Analog manufactures integrated circuits, and its EngineerZone community allows members to resolve challenges and questions by tapping into the collective “wisdom of the crowds.” The company’s technical community has a global membership that empowers each member to help or be helped from any part of the globe, making it an invaluable resource.
When they submitted their entry, Analog Devices shared the following results from a member feedback survey:
•Over 90% of respondents said the information was helpful to their design.
•76% were more likely to purchase ADI products knowing EngineerZone was available as a resource.
A true social relationship marketing strategy ensures that customers continue to have their needs met and receive tangible benefits even after the point of purchase. In doing so, customers are primed and ready to accept new information about products and services which can provide even more value.
With a whopping 468 million monthly active users, WeChat has been the focus of marketers for a while; as of July 2014, WeChat had 5.8 million public accounts. However, marketing leaders face challenges in using WeChat for marketing:
WeChat is a private social platform. The tactics that work on open social platforms like Weibo do not necessarily work on private social platforms like WeChat. Many marketers still wrongly attempt to use WeChat as a platform for news announcements.
WeChat provides limited ad formats and APIs. Although we do see Tencent considering the possibilities of introducing display ads in Moments (WeChat’s timeline) and laying the groundwork for search advertising by partnering with the local search engine Sogou, so far the only available advertising opportunity for marketers is purchasing display ads in public account articles. Many marketers also complain about the limited APIs that WeChat provides to them.
I would like to take the opportunity to remind you of our upcoming Sales Enablement Forum on March 2-3 in Scottsdale, Arizona,where the overall theme this year is about the different approaches required to optimize your B2B sales channels. Our research shows that more transactional buyers now prefer more automation and self-service (eBusiness); whereas executives who are involved in buying prefer (no, insist on) having conversations and engagement that match their problem-solving needs. So we have designed an agenda that covers direct selling, selling through channel partners, as well as selling through eBusiness interactions. And, as this is a strategic topic, over and perhaps above the discipline of selling itself, most of the presentations will be made by marketing leaders in the B2B companies we have invited.
Asia Pacific marketers have moved from experimenting with social media in the recent past to integrating it into their marketing mix. However, a large number are guilty of setting and measuring metrics, such as vanity metrics, that do not inform the next course of action.
To increase your chances of social marketing success, you must:
Build an understanding of your audience. Brands all too often mistake social media platforms as a broadcast channel and rave about their own products and services without first understanding the conversations going around them. Astute marketers will first deploy listening platforms by studying the social behaviors of their target audiences and the context of their conversations. Forrester’s Social Technographics® will tell you both how social your audience is and the types of social behaviors in which they engage.
Invest in social marketing based on clear business outcomes. Many Asia Pacific marketers are still allocating media budgets based on user consumption of media — or worse, on how budgets were allocated in previous years. But this model is obsolete, thanks to new methods of accessing data and harnessing technology. Marketers must be able to answer which specific social activities drive specific business outcomes and boldly reallocate marketing investments based on these. For instance, marketers must show how their Facebook strategy has driven fans to their eCommerce site and helped stimulate them to complete a sale.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Pinterest for the past year. I first planned to write a report about the social upstart last summer. When that deadline passed, I was certain I’d produce something in the autumn. Now here we are in the dead of winter, and at long last today we published our report on how marketing leaders should use Pinterest.
The reason it took so long? Pinterest is confusing. It’s a bundle of contradictions: at once it offers marketers huge potential and huge frustration.
On the one hand, there’s so much opportunity:
Pinterest boasts a fantastic audience. In fact, 21% of US online adults visit Pinterest at least monthly — nearly as many as use Twitter and more than use Instagram and Google+. Those users spend freely online, they’re willing to engage with brands in social media, and when they talk about products on Pinterest they drive vast amounts of traffic to brand sites.
Pinterest’s data has the potential to drive more sales than Facebook’s data. After all, Facebook users generate mostly affinity data: information about their tastes and preferences, based on their past experience with brands and products, that’s better suited to targeting brand advertising than direct marketing. But Pinterest users don’t only share historical affinities; they share the kind of purchase intent data that’s more commonly seen on search engines like Google. And just as ads targeted with Google’s data generate outstanding direct response, so will ads targeted with Pinterest’s data.
I've just started work on a report tentatively titled "How People Choose." I'm interested in studying how technology is influencing user decision processes. My hypothesis is that technology is fundamentally rewiring us so we actually rely more heavily on gut-based decisions than on well-rationalized ones. If you buy Daniel Kahneman's notions of fast and slow thinking (others have called it irrational and reasonable, or emotional vs rational thought), then my theory is that people are outsourcing more and more of their rational decisions to technology. This means, that what is left for most of us is a heavier reliance on our fast thinking, our impulses, and our gut-based response, when making decisions.
If this hypothesis is true, then marketers should actually focus on influencing impulse, rather than all of the linear, direct-response types of marketing sequences they prioritize today.
I'm just kicking off my research, so my overall hypothesis may evolve as I get some research under my belt. But my end goal is to write a report for marketing execs that would help them think through HOW to influence user decisions in a future where the fundamentals of how we make decisions have changed.
The start of a new year provides an opportunity to take stock of our environment and do things a bit differently. This year, I am addressing the role microvideo can play within a marketing strategy.
Though we all enjoy receiving information about items that are of personal interest, we may find we have a few “go-to” sites. This may be due to the presentation of the content, the ease with which we can interact with it, or a host of other reasons. Microvideo is versatile and provides numerous opportunities for marketers. Let’s use color as an analogy for this type of content. I have certain colors in my wardrobe because they work across a multitude of other colors. Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 color of the year, is described as an “elegant, grounded statement color when used on its own or as a strong accent to many other colors.”
Microvideo is similar. It can stand on its own or supplement targeted interactions with your customers. Just take a look at what Lowe's has done to keep us inspired.
Every year since 2007, Forrester has recognized the very best social marketing programs from around the world — and I’m thrilled to announce we’re now accepting entries for the ninth annual Forrester Groundswell Awards.
The rules are simple: Entries should represent the effective use of social technologies to advance an organizational goal. The more data you can offer to prove this, the better your chances of winning. You can enter using our online form. If you win, you get a nice shiny trophy,a winner's badge for your website, and lots of recognition from Forrester. (For much more information on rules, guidelines, and award categories, click here.)
Every year for the past few years, I've revisited our predictions for the previous year's mobile trends. It's now time to look back at what happened in 2014. Let’s have a look at some of the trends we put together a year ago with my colleague Julie Ask:
Mobile sat at the epicenter of mind-blowing exit events. Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp for $22 billion is the best illustration of the phenomenon. Acquiring mobile expertise and audiences is increasingly expensive. There have been numerous acquisitions – especially in the mobile analytics and advertising space (e.g Yahoo/Flurry, Millenial/Nexage, etc…). VCs increasingly invested in companies that power disruptive mobile-centric business models. Uber was valuated up to $40 billion, demonstrating the power of matching supply and demand in real-time via a best-in-class customer mobile app.
Smartphone adoption is surging. Your customers’ eyes are glued to their mobile screens. You want to get your brand in front of them. It’s time for mobile advertising.
Sadly, executing on a mobile ad campaign isn’t as easy as deciding you need one. Not only do you have to fight for budget and craft a mobile-first — not mini-desktop — campaign but you also need to pick the right partner to deliver on your mobile advertising needs. And while there is surely no shortage on vendors to select from, there is a lack of clarity into who actually does what.
To navigate this chaotic landscape, we surveyed mobile ad tech vendors and asked nitty-gritty questions about their heritage, creative, targeting, and add-on capabilities. What did we find? Marketers are right to be confused.
Why is this?
Each vendor’s value proposition isn’t clear. Fewer than one-third of the 35 vendors we surveyed are purebreds in any one ad tech category, and they offer anything from in-house creative services to contextual targeting to strong attribution chops. The result? Many jacks-of-all-trades that muddle the mobile ad tech landscape.
Each marketer’s expectations aren’t clear, either. We’re not just blaming the mobile ad tech vendors for this. Vendors are creating combinations of capabilities that they think marketers want — but aren’t getting much guidance.