Above: See the details of the survey results, due to heavy data, it’s best when put into ‘full screen’ mode, the fourth icon on bottom.
To me, this blog belongs as much to the community in which I serve as it does to me, as such, it’s important to find out who the readers are and what they want, to learn about previous efforts, see 2008′s results. The goals of this survey are simple 1) Find out who the readers are, 2) Find out if they are they influenced by this blog, and how, 3) How this blog can improve year-over year. With a sample size of nearly 200 respondents, some of the key findings from this survey were:
Overall, Readers Were Satisfied: Overall, respondents were pleased with the blog, and 47% rated it a “10/10″ in recommending it to others when asked “would you recommend this blog to a friend or colleague”, and 54% read more than half the posts, and over one-third shares it monthly with others (slides 3, 4, 5)
Many are Buyers at Corporate: 59% of respondents said they are buyers, 28% of respondents have budgets $100k-$1 million (although one-fifth do not hold budget), and over a quarter work at enterprise class companies with over half of respondents in the United States (slides 10, 14, 18, 19).
Sophistication of Social and Mobile at Work Varies: 39% of respondents said their company was intermediate when it came to social strategy, and 43% said their novice when it comes to mobile strategy. (slide 20, 21)
Identified Many Areas for This Blog to Improve: There was a large request for adding more case studies, and interviews with thought leaders in the space, and a variety of comments in the open-ended section that I’m all taking to heart. (slide 8, and qualitative answers)
A few notes on this survey. I’m not sure this is truly representative of all readers, it’s likely those that are more engaged, and are willing to spend time filling out the survey. While some research firms take data samples from smaller numbers, this is only 195 of respondents, although there are far more readers than that.
If you want to influence the readers of this blog, it’s simple. Be part of the ongoing conversation (not be pitchy) by leaving comments and demonstrating your knowledge and expertise. Also, you can schedule a briefing with me, but I’ll have to admit up front, it’s been hard getting on my cal as we just launched this new company. I’m figuring out ways to make briefings easier, such as blocking out Friday mornings, using web based forms to collect more information up front.
Thanks to the folks who took the time to answer the 20 question survey, I read every response, and am constantly trying to improve this blog. Here’s to making this blog even better in 2010!
We’re just a few days from Y2K+10, ten years after the big scare of the whole world collapsing from a lapse in computer programming foresight.
I remember it closely, I spent a few hours in the later part of Dec 1999 backing up data at the small business my wife was working at. We were able to download nearly all of her company’s (a very small office) data onto just over a dozen zip drives, remember those? Funny that we could fit nearly all the digital files onto those drives –perhaps, if Y2K fears were to happen, it’s better than uploading to the cloud.
I also remember an army of Y2K consultants, and their concerns over liabilities, appear marketing how they’d offer CIOs Y2K enterprise proofing for companies that were concerned about losing all their data. I even had one slightly off-keel friend stay home on NYE 2000 eve with a gun in hand, military rations beside his bed. I wasn’t phased, I enjoyed reveling in downtown San Francisco with friends.
I want you to reminisce, do you remember what you did to protect your personal data, finances, work data, or what your company did in preparation for the Y2K apocalypse? Leave a comment, share with others, and take a look back 10 years ago. To trigger some memories, here’s a video to remind you of the fear, oh Leonard, really? Illogical.
Here’s my latest column in Forbes, which I’ve also posted below. I’m leaning on naming this CMO focused column “The Connected Customer”, which appears to be a theme, what would you name it?
A Year In Review: 2009 Social Marketing Trends
The connected customer leaves brands in the dust.
As we close out the year, it’s important to look back at what happened in social marketing in order to plan for the future. There were four key trends in 2009 that CMOs should reflect on, starting at the macro level then shifting down to micro real-time updates. They are:
The Recession Spurred Consumers to Adopt Social Technologies. Humans are social creatures and, as a result, they tend to band together in hard times. During financial crises, this same behavior is evident: People connect to one other, share, learn, and communicate. What’s more, with unemployment at record highs, those with internet access have more time–and need–to connect with others. It’s evident through Facebook’s 350 million global users. For brands, it’s interesting to note a study by Razorfish, which indicates that 52% of consumers have blogged about a brand’s product or experience. Don’t expect this to change as the recession lifts, as it is the preferred method of communication for young people.
Some Brands Followed Suit With Social Marketing. Marketing budgets are pinched during tough times. Recent data from eMarketer indicates that companies are slashing print budgets by 37% and TV by 21% as a response to the recession. Yet marketers know that tough times also spur innovation, as they experiment with mediums such as social marketing. Social marketing promises lower costs and bigger returns. In fact, word-of-mouth campaigns encourage consumers to do the marketing on behalf of the brand themselves. Yet despite the opportunity, research conducted by the Altimeter Group (where I’m a partner) and Wetpaint found that while brands like Starbucks, Dell, eBay, and Google interact with their customers, most brands do not. Still, we’re seeing a noticeable increase in social marketing budgets, as brands find ways to innovative marketing.
Social Networks Share Data, Spreading Social Influence. A key trend across the technology vendor space in 2009 is that social networks are connecting with other systems. Much like how Apple’s iPhone developer program enables third parties to build and create new applications, many social networks are doing the same. Take for example, LinkedIn, a business network that recently began allowing third party sites to connect with the LinkedIn platform to share data. Similarly, Facebook Connect allows users to log into third party sites using their Facebook ID. There have been over 80,000 connections since this time last year. So what does this data availability mean? It means that consumers’ social experience will spread from site to site, and that wherever they go online or off, they can access their friends’ opinions, experiences, and recommendations in real time.
Consumers Move Faster By Sharing Real-Time Data. In August, 2009, blogger Heather Armstrong, who boasts over a million followers on Twitter was miffed about a shabby customer experience and tweeted about it. Although the company, Whirlpool, responded within hours, the damage had been done–Armstrong’s real-time feedback about her company experience spread quickly through her network and beyond. This spread of customer experiences in real time is a trend, in fact, status updates are a feature found not just in Twitter but in many social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn. Recently, Twitter signed a deal to allow Microsoft’s Bing and Google access its real-time data, displaying real-time tweets which appear along side traditional search results. So what is the impact of this increase in real-time data? It means that consumers can instantly give feedback about their product experiences and tell their friends. For brands, it means they have to move faster to keep up with consumers who are sharing.
Takeaway: This year, consumers are more connected, and moving faster than brands. It’s essential for senior marketers to use the past to plan for the future, and these four trends indicate that people are connecting and sharing with each other–at an increased pace. Brands need to develop a strategy and a plan to respond–not simply react–to the latest technology. In our next piece, we will discuss the key trends to watch in 2010 to help with strategy planning.
Thanks to Christine Tran on the Altimeter Research team for her assistance if finding data references.
Long term friend and former colleague Robert Scoble (who’s now with Rackspace) came by to interview the Altimeter Group. Although Deborah Schultz and Charlene Li were off traveling the globe, Ray Wang (who covers enterprise strategy) and myself were able to sit down with Robert and discuss the trends we see happening in the industry. Big wave to Rocky who’s the show producer, and also a former colleague.
The web is quickly moving to real-time, people share the information about what they’re doing while their doing it. Yet the next step beyond real time, is future-looking data, which is called the Intention Web (get up to speed by reading this post). In an effort to map out this trend in 2010, let’s list out the vendors, companies, and beyond that will facilitate this type of forward looking data.
There are countless opportunities for people to connect with others with the same goals, or for companies that want to serve them as new technologies like Social CRM evolve and develop. Scope: These Intention websites facilitate a person to publish their future goals in the context of their community, or sometimes even in public. For example, an unshared CAL isn’t a qualifier.
To The Future! A List of Intention Enabled Websites
43 Things: This “wish list”, they suggest that you make a list on 43 Things and see what changes happen in your life. They encourage you to connect with others with the same goals.
Coachsurfing: Helps those traveling to other cities to find homes and couches to stay on, by organizing availability. (thanks jasminw)
Facebook Events: Facebook allows members to RSVP for future events, publish their own events, or see what friends are doing.
Localist: Allows those in DC and Baltimore to find events, publish their intent to attend, and organize with friends (thanks Mary)
Meetup: Encourages groups to organize events, plan events, and connect with others.
Plancast: Is a social network that allows members to publish their future plans. It allows people to see who is going to other future goals, and to publish to Facebook, and Twitter.
Above, thanks to Mitch Canter, we’ve a new header graphic for the “On The Move” series, which needed an update since I started this digest a few years ago.
In an effort to recognize the changes in the social media space, I’ve started this post series (see archives) to both track and congratulate folks who get promoted, move, or accept new exciting positions. Please help me congratulate the following folks:
My former colleague Alexis Karlin who was very involved with Forrester’s social media efforts now joins Neolane, and will be starting their social strategy from scratch and running their web site. She’s quite the professional, an incredibly fast learner, and I’m glad to have worked with her. Follow her on Twitter at @akarlin.
David Armano moves on from Dachis Group and joins Edelman Digital as a SVP. Regardless of where David works, his blog is a fantastic collection of thoughts, informative graphics, and insight, I’ll follow his insights anywhere, find him @armano It’s interesting to see how Edelman is placing bets in social strategy, with that in mind, also see that…
Paul Gilliham, who I’ve had excellent professional experiences with, joins Lithium Technologies Director, Customer Marketing where he’ll be Running Lithosphere (Lithium’s customer community), social strategy, customer consultancy, customer/analyst relations. Find him on @bladefrog
Samir Bhavnani has been hired at EXPO as a Vice President where he’ll be working with brands to engage with consumers, on video, for insights and marketing. Find him on Twitter at @samirb
Hiring? Leave a comment
If you’re seeking candidates in the social media industry, many of them are within arms reach, feel free to leave a link to a job description (but not the whole job description, please)
Experimenting With Mobile Apps
It’s clear that content can become more contextual and personalized as it transects with location based devices. A few weeks ago the folks at the company MotherApp, created a “Web Strategy iPhone App (download in iTunes)” to take on the go. This isn’t just a “m.” mobile website that shows essential content minus heavy graphics, this is a true iPhone app, with the native interface of Apple products, see screenshots below. I’m not the only one, they created the app for Tim Ferris (iTunes), Guy Kawasaki (iTunes) and Brian Solis (iTunes) and others.
Above: Screenshots of the Web Strategy iPhone App, featuring latest Tweets and Options
Above: Screenshots of the Web Strategy iPhone App, featuring latest blog posts details and summary of posts
Mobile Based Apps Offer Content On The Go
The content can be accessed on an iPhone, even if there’s no internet connection, the content is downloaded. Secondly the content is in a clean Apple native user interface making it easier to read and navigate, rather than some clunky “m” looking site. Also, you can serve up a variety of content sources related to your brand. Also, the app has location based content, I’m looking at Brian’s app, and it can serve up Fan comments based on location (it asks you for your current location, first). In the future, it would be interesting if two fans of Brian Solis’s app would be signaled to each other they are in proximity, resulting in unique engagements. Brian’s app links directly to his amazon page, where his books (products) are available for sale.
Brian Solis’s Apps Requests To Access Your Location
Brian Solis’s Apps Filters Fan Wall Shout Outs By Proximity.
Conversion: Brian Solis’s App Promotes His Books, With Links to his Amazon Store.
What’s the downside? The URLs and comments are visible, only my voice. In the future, I’m sure these will be native into the app, so the community can talk back. The barriers to entry are still high, you’ll need to find an app developer to build this for your iPhone or other mobile device.
Apps for Events and Corporate Conferences
It’s not just personal brands, I recently noticed the Forrester Consumer Forum iPhone app that listed out the schedule, top topics “What’s hot” based on attendee votes (I think) and the ability to create a schedule of tracks to attend. LeWeb has the most impressive event iPhone application, with links to previous videos, session list, news, maps, and speaker roster. Nearly the entire event website was ported to the device on the go.
Forrester’s Consumer Forum App Highlights the “Hot” sessions. No doubt, of course, it’s Josh Bernoff.
LeWeb IPhone App Streams Archived Videos
Expect majority of top blogs to have mobile apps within the next few months, at first they will be custom created, then a platform will emerge allowing them to quickly ported to multiple platforms (blackberry, droid, etc).
This platform will emerge that will create this blog network, and new advertising opportunities will emerge who are able to cascade the information to the mobile devices. Players like Federated Media, Blogher, should move quickly.
Content will become location-based, as blog posts, tweets, and other content is based on a specific area (a foodie blog, reviewing restaurants in Mission district, SF) the content will auto-surface to the application when needed.
A standard will be set for all conferences and events to have a mobile based event that encourages members to find out about sessions, find other attendees, and even tweet from it.
I’ll continue to experiment with the Web Strategy brand in a variety of mediums, to test, and report back to you what works and what doesn’t.
Blogging conferences in the US were popular a few years ago –and have given way to Facebook conferences, and now Twitter or last week’s “Real Time” focus at LeWeb. The Middle East has been evolving quickly in the blogosphere, and this is a real focus for individuals, organizations, institutions, and governments to connect with others, and let their voice to be heard.m Embedded above, you’ll find my presentation, which has international examples of bloggers. It has a section with data (sourced cited) and then I talk about where I see blogging headed into the next era. The purpose of this event is to educate local bloggers on how to most effectively use blogging tools to connect and reach to the outside world, so I’ll give a hand, and try to connect the community right here on this blog.
Arabic Bloggers, Kindly Leave A Comment
In the spirit of community, in this case, global community, at the end of my keynote, I’m suggesting that the attendees leave a comment on this post, to shout out to the world, leave a URL, and a few sentences on what they focus on.
Web Strategy Community, Please Welcome Them
My hope is that these Arabic bloggers will not only connect with each other, but also connect with my readers in the business world. If you’re a regular reader of the Web Strategy blog –please welcome them, surf their blogs, and share about yourself if you’ve similar interests. We recently installed Disqus so we have threaded conversations –making it easier to keep track of multiple discussions. Be sure to return to this post in the future, in order to see how the conversation developers over time.
To me, success for this project is to see at least two people connecting with each other in which they can develop a meaningful relationship for understanding, business, or friendship. Blogs, a simple technology, that can bridge people around the world.
Update: It’s a few hours after the conference, and I’ve had time to reflect, and connect with other bloggers that attended. I’m told this was the first time bloggers were able to get together in Qatar, and some met for the very first time face to face. It was an privilege to be part of this historical event, which was organized and sponsored by ictQatar, ForumOne, and the many bloggers who attended. Really an honor, I hope to return in the coming months, this is one of the highlights in my career, and a milestone for the social web. Also, do see their latest blog, which was launched at the event, both in Arabic and English. The Gulf Times featured the event on the front page (pic).
I’m about to present at LeWeb, Europe’s largest internet conference with this year’s focus on “Real Time”. With information moving even quicker, there’s a new strategy needed for companies to adopt. Since the accompanying slides are best used with narration, here’s the gist of my presentation:
Real time data is exploding at a rapid pace with the influx of status features and mobile devices. This brings new opportunities for people to get information when they need it and opportunities and the companies that want to provide contextual information. Yet, despite the opportunities, most companies are unable to keep up with the “Slow time” web as it is. In fact, those that can’t keep up risk missing opportunities, or worse –heading off detractors before they become mainstream. To best leverage real time data, companies must adopt three strategies: 1) Start listening now, and quickly offer social personalization features, 2) Develop an unpaid army of advocates who can respond when you’re not there, and 3) Start to invest in systems –like social CRM– that can support their overall strategy.
Looking forward to sharing more on this topic as it develops during 2010, I’ve written more about this topic and the intention web.
Tracking the Market with an ‘Industry Index’
For a few years ago, I’ve created what I call my posts called the Industry Index (see all) lists to track companies in any particular vertical, it helps me, vendors, and buyers to track the space. I expect this space to rapidly increase in size as social channels will be bolted onto CRM vendors, and many brand monitoring and community platforms are adding workflow, triage, and tracking capabilities. The purpose of this list is to quickly capture the vendors participating in this space, and to acknowledge those that were not on yesterday’s review, I expect there to be many more vendors who leave a comment, which we can quickly add to this list.
We owe it to the market to try to include as many as possible, although it’s going to be very difficult as this space quickly grows. So first, let’s try to put some scope around this space with a definition.
“CRM is a philosophy & a business strategy, supported by a technology platform, business rules, workflow, processes & social characteristics, designed to engage the customer in a collaborative conversation in order to provide mutually beneficial value in a trusted & transparent business environment. It’s the company’s response to the customer’s ownership of the conversation.” (also read his 2009 review of this space on ZDnet)
It’s a broad definition, but the key criteria he lists out are enough for me to go on.
List of Companies Providing Social CRM Offerings: (34 vendors total)
Traditional CRM Vendors offering Social Integration (11 vendors)
ACT!: This barely fits the scope of social crm, but ACT! allows a single individual to manage multiple types of information, including social, however if this product was extended across an enterprise, it fits the quota.
BatchBlue: While not a ‘traditional’ CRM like many of the others listed below, has traditional sales automation features, but also connect with existing social graph data, think social aggregation of contact lists. After watching the demo, it looks like you have to manually enter feeds of contacts, rather than auto-finding data from social graphs by scraping.
Buzzient: Offers a CRM platform that provides social media analytics that can be used for web marketing, customer tracking, or reporting. They have partnerships with Salesforce, Oracle, and SugarCRM.
Microsoft Dynamics: Offers Accelerators (here and here) that “Allows business professionals to monitor and analyze customers’ conversations on social networking sites, and as a result, provides real-time status updates about their products and services” (thanks Menno, who writes on the topic) They are also partnered with Neighborhood America
Oracle Siebel Social CRM: Promises the ability to provide insights based on the buying behaviors of similar customers, as well as shared content to be used between sales teams.
RightNow CRM: Offers several features in their suite such as Support Communities, Innovation Communities, Cloud Monitoring, and Social Experience Design. Rightnow recently acquired Hivelive an enterprise community platform.
Sugar CRM: Offers “SugarCRM Cloud Connectors connect via Web Services to leading third-party data service providers such as Hoover’s, JigSaw and LinkedIn”
We Can Do Biz: Offers traditional CRM features (although their website is a bit difficult to navigate) for SMB, and has a unique Twitter scraping feature that filters down by some level of geography and organizes records in the database. I had a briefing with them on Feb 2010. Added Feb 2010.
Community Platforms Offering Social CRM (5)
Jive Software: Community Engagement, offers data integration from Radian6, encouraging management of the discussion.
Leverage Software: I recall that Leverage offers built in integration with Salesforce, but I was unable to find it on their site.
Lithium Technologies offers the Social CRM Suite offering features such as Community Applications, Reputation Engine, Actionable Analytics, CRM Connectivity, and Social Web Connectivity.
Roving Group: Offers a product called ‘Roving Contacts’ that aggregates the social graphs and contact information from your address book.
SocioToo: Not the typical corporate enterprise company, this Dutch company offers a search page (and no real corporate site –by intent) that mines social graph data in public.
Xobni: This cleverly named (opposite of inbox) Outlook plugin scrapes your social graph and most frequently emailed contacts improving email utility. This barely falls within the scope of social crm, but if the data was able to export to other systems, it could start to apply.
CRM Applications and Plugins (2)
Appirio: Offers the ability for companies to create applications on Facebook which then marry data back to Salesforce, called Cloud Connectors.
Twitter: Has made motions they plan to offer premium services to brands, that would offer verified accounts, then management-like features. The specifics are still unknown, as they sort out their business model. They have partnered with Google and Bing.
Feb 12,2010: Added WeCanDo.biz after a briefing, and Alterian.
Not on this list? Leave a comment, with justification why you fit in Paul’s definition with a link to your site explaining more, I’ll take a look and add to it, please be patient while I review. Also, if you want to brief Ray and myself, please read and submit to this briefing form.
Update: Business Partner Ray Wang and I have created a more detailed matrix of this space for our clients.