Archive for April, 2010

Social Strategy 3/3 Webinar Recording and Slides: Getting Your Company Ready


We finally completed our final third webinar in our social strategy trilogy. It’s been great sharing our insights and widely releasing it to the community, and I hope you enjoy this final segment. The topic? Getting your company ready internally through research, processes, organizational models, policies, resources, and more.

Above: Download the slides from slideshare and use as you see fit. The “crises plan” is a slide that can be customized for your needs, just provide attribution.

Social Strategy: Getting Your Company Ready, by Altimeter Group from Altimeter Group on Vimeo.

Above: Listen to the recording, including the presentation and attendees Q&A

Love to get your feedback, was there anything we missed? Let us know if this information helped your organization, contact me anytime if you’ve questions jeremiah at altimetergroup dot com.

The Social Strategy Trilogy

Part 1: Socialgraphics help you to understand your customers
Part 2: Developing a Social Strategy
Part 3: Getting your company ready (you’re here)

First Take Analysis: What Twitter’s “Promoted Tweets” Means To The Ecosystem


The Altimeter Group was pre-briefed by Twitter COO Dick Costolo last week about this upcoming launch, we’ve had some time to think over what it means to the industry.  Help your boss fight through the clutter, send them this post.

Summary: Twitter has launched Promoted Tweets, combining paid and organic media. Brands can now advertise promoted tweets on search pages, however the community has power over which tweets will appear measured by Twitter’s new metric called “resonance” which factors in behaviors like the retweet, at, hash, avatar clicks. Brands can now purchase CPM based ads to promote these popular tweets at the top of a Twitter search term –even in categories they aren’t well known in, influencing awareness.  Marketers beware: unlike traditional advertising or social marketing this is both a combination of earned media and paid media.  For Twitter this experimental move makes sense as it taps into deep pockets of online advertisers without jeapordizing sanctity of the community as users will self select which tweets will resonate and thereby become promoted ads.

How it will work, a likely use case scenario:

  1. Twitter users will continue to interact with each other, and popular tweets will receive a high ‘resonance’ score from Twitter.  Some of these Tweets will be created by brands, and some by the users themselves.
  2. Tweets with heavy resonance can be purchased by advertisers in a CPM basis to appear as the first ‘sponsored’ Tweet on a search term. (Update: Just saw Dick’s recent video suggesting that promoted tweets will appear in other locations beyond search)  The sponsored tweets will be clearly labeled and have a different background color.
  3. These promoted tweets will only stay if users continue to resonate with them, those that don’t will disappear and a different tweet with resonation will appear.

Matrix: What Twitter’s Promoted Tweets Business Model Means to the Ecosystem
This has several implications to the ecosystem as a whole, we’ve broken down the impacts to the various players in this matrix:

Player Direct Impacts What They Will Do What No One Tells You
Twitter Finally gets a business model beyond search deal partnerships with potential to scale.  Taps into deep pockets of online advertisers. Experiment. Expect black and gray hat marketers to try to game this system, in order to obtain resonance. Twitter will constantly tune algorhythm like Google does. Expect this to cascade to their partners and grow into the ecosystem as Twitter aggregates resonation on other 3rd party sites
Twitter Users Have power over which promoted ads will stay visible Initially be shocked by changes, then learn they can help self select tweets that will be promoted.. In the real time resonace world users have a lot more power Power tweeters like celebs and digerati will be targeted by marketers to engage and resonate tweets. Twitter users that retweet tweets may be surprised to see their promoted tweets in search engine results ads.
Social Marketers The conversation is now being monetized, with changes to the outcomes of whats expected of the online conversation and engagement. Educate traditional marketers. These folks will try to increase resonance of tweets by interacting with community. Will build an inventory of top promotable tweets Don’t go overboard, make sure you think of this in the larger context of integrated marketing. Avoid shiny tool syndrome.  Must pay close attention to what terms are resonating with community to build inventory
Direct Marketers and Advertisers Finally traditional advertisers and direct marketers have skin in the social game in a way they know. Flail. Many will try to buy their way in and obtain resonation without asking why a tweet resonates.  Will fight over top searched terms in Twitter, expect a lot of contests to promote tweet engagement. Expect tension between this marketer and the social marketer if education is not completed.
Developers and Agencies A clear goal (resonation) has been put forth, with opportunity to get a cut of the incoming advertising dollars. Developers are waiting with baited breathe for Chirp developers conference this week to see how this will be tied in.  Twitter has indicated that promoted tweets will spread to clients, expect revenue sharing to be offered Don’t buy the first ‘resonation solution’ that comes around, expect half a dozen vendors and agencies to approach brands in the next quarter offering the ability to increase ‘resonance’ and case studies will show increase in resonance.
Competitors and Search Engines A new player being in town a new form of advertising is afoot changing the game. Expect nervous deals to come to the table on how search engine results can factor in Twitter’s resonance.  Expect players like MSFT and Yahoo to quickly launch their version of defining how the social web should be categorized. They will have the advantage of built in ad base of advertisers and millions more users.  Expect existing Twitter partners Google Search and Microsoft Bing will fold this in and reward resonance and combine with page rank, or will create their own metric to reward social engagement

For Resonation, Brands Must Pay Closer Attention To Users –This Isn’t Traditional Spray And Pray. Power continues to be in the hands of the users, however brands that pay attention to why tweets resonate will have a leg up.  here’s how you should approach this new space:

  • Change your mindset, as organic and paid merge: This is a combination of organic and paid ads, you’ll need skills from both worlds to be successful. Direct marketers should educate social marketers, and social marketers should explain how resonation occurs in the conversational web. Remember, this gives top tweets staying power beyond the constant stream of chatter.  In the end, remember that users have power over which advertising inventory will be created, chosen, and allowed to stay as a promoted tweet.
  • Remember Twitter users have power over which promoted Tweets will work: Remember that users they get to choose which tweets can be put into the advertising inventory as their interaction will self select which tweets can become promoted. Secondly, promoted tweets that don’t yield community engagement will also fall off the stream. is that in the real time resonance world users have a lot more power. Brands must analyze what works for users first before promoting tweets.
  • Then, carefully pick tweets to be promoted by analyzing the conversation: First, monitor which tweets are already resonating with your brand, take note of what is causing it to resonate and in what context. Secondly, recognize that these tweets should have long term impact, not a daily special as the tweet is promoted, users will interact with it, forcing it into a viral loop.  For best results, experiment with promoting tweets from your customers –not just those that you create.
  • Recognize that ‘Resonance’ is the page rank of microblogging: Advertising agencies and social marketing agencies will come out of woodwork with “resonance solutions”, yet most will do it wrong.  Instead, look for a sophisticated partner that knows the value of social conversational marketing to create an inventory and the long term experience of an advertising agency. Expect resonation to also cascade to other social networks like Facebook and even community platforms and content management systems to derive what content should surface.  Twitter has made nods to new dashboards to appear, expect your agency partners to align around resonation as the new ROI.

This post is the result of the collaborative efforts of the Altimeter team including Charlene Li (Leadership), Alan Webber (Web User Experience/Government), Michael Gartenberg (Mobile and Devices) and Christine Tran (Customer Strategy Research), learn more about the Altimeter Group. For more news, see Twitter blog, AdAge, we’ve cross posted on the Altimeter blog, and NYT for details.

Social CRM Webinar Part 1: The 5Ms and Marketing Use Cases (Slides and Recording)


The Market Took to the Social CRM Use Cases
The Social CRM report by the Altimeter Group is a hit.  Within 30 days it has received over 30,000 views, been touted as the “Most Viral BtoB Report,” and brands and SCRM vendors are aligning their roadmaps with the use cases. There were over 800 registrants for the webinar, and we had nearly 300 attendees, over 135 of the registrants said they wanted to be contacted by a SCRM vendor. All of these numbers indicate that there’s interest in this new market, and we’re glad to help illuminate the pathway. (Update: If you want to give a primer to your CMO, send them my latest Forbes column on the topic)

Watch the Recording and Use The Slides
Our belief in Open Research means we try to collaborate with the market on conducting research, then sharing a great deal of it so the market can build on top of it, improve it, and we can continue to learn. Yesterday, we hosted part 1 of the SCRM webinar series, and have made the slides and the recording available.

Above: Download the slides from slideshare and reuse under creative commons

Social CRM Use Cases: 5Ms and Marketing, by Altimeter Group from Altimeter Group on Vimeo.

Above: The webinar recording. My voice was a bit soft due to technical reasons, however at 14 minutes in I switch headsets and it clears up.

We also polled the attendees about their readiness to deploy:
When are you planning to invest in a Social CRM Solution? (41% of attendees responded, but this was at the end of webinar, so we don’t know how many were still online.)

  • A) Not at this time (25%)
  • B) In the next 30 days (14%)
  • C) In the next quarter (14%)
  • D) In the next year (9%)
  • E) Not sure (35%)

This means that 28% of the attendees were interested in investing on Social CRM solutions.

Related Resources
This is just the starting point, harness these other resources to become successful.

Four Steps When Working with Social CRM Vendors
After you’ve digested the report, and are starting to prepare for the 5Ms, approach social crm vendors with these four tips.

  1. Forward them the report.
  2. Ask them to define which use cases they currently specialize in.
  3. Ask to see a roadmap of which use cases they’ll be launching in coming quarters.
  4. Ask how they’ll work with other SCRM vendors that offer use cases that they can’t deliver.

Matrix: How To Choose Social Media Programs by Brand, Lifestyle, Product or Location


Brands confused by choices on how to deploy social media programs
I recently spoke to the global marketing team at a large technology company, and one of the questions being wrestled with was deciding if social media efforts should be setup by brand, vs product teams wanting to create their own unique pages and experiences.  A specific question emerged “Should we setup our efforts by product type or by brand?” There are drawbacks and upsides to each of these, and I wanted to layout the ramifications.

[Whether companies setup their social programs by ‘Brand, Lifestyle, Product, or Location’ they must choose wisely. Each deployment has a different benefit and drawback –the savvy will use in combination.]

Brands who choose poorly risk community backlash -those that do not choose risk worse
Companies that choose poorly will have wasted internal efforts and resources, set up false expectations for customers and may struggle with trying to redact a program in public where customers are already assembling. In particular, social failures like Wal-Mart’s branded community ‘The Hub’ have now become a case study of doing it wrong. Yet having no strategy means that product teams, regional teams, and individual regions will do whatever they want –causing clean up for corporate late.

Matrix: How To Choose Social Media Programs by Brand, Lifestyle, Product or Location

What it is: Benefits: Drawbacks: What no one tells you:
Brand Companies often created their own Facebook/Twitter/Blog site focused on the company logo, brand, and corporate news.  See early pioneer Direct2Dell, Sony Electronics Twitter, GM’s Fastlane Blog On brand. One stop shop for all things related to the brand.  Easy place to find company news, product announcements.  Often, corporate teams can support an ongoing program Less trusted. Will often lack engagement, personality, and as a result decreased trust.  If brand doesn’t allow customers to talk to each other or self-express, it’s odd talking to a logo. It’s important to set expectations on the type of communications that will happen, be sure to have a community policy in order to enforce. See Nestle’ case example
Lifestyle Brands created lifestyle communities such as communities for Wells Fargo’s teen, Amex’s small business owners, or even by cultures like Asian Avenue or BlackPlanet Staying power. By joining customers in the way they already self-organize you’re matching their existing needs –beyond your product push Off message. Less control over the conversation which may extend beyond your brand and products and talk about what matters in their life.  Product focused teams may not have right mindset ‘customer-first’ mindset. First, find where they may already exist and consider joining. Create your own lifestyle deployment only to meet an unmet need.  Often this is at the mouth of the marketing funnel.
Product Building a Facebook, Blog or Twitter feed for a specific product or product line.  See the Playstation blog, Doritos Facebook page, Specific info. Meets the needs of the Product Marketing Manager to give tight information about a product Granular and insular. Lack of customer focus and risk of investing in a community that could become irrelevant if the product reaches end of life. Lack of solution sell to lifestyle as consumer may want to purchase several products. If your product has staying power and a thriving community around it (like Xbox, PS3) with sub products around it it may make sense.  Consider this towards the bottom of the marketing funnel, or even customer support.
Location Restaurants, hotels, and retail stores may want to create their own Facebook, MySpace, Yelp experience. Or specific regions may have different product sets and create their own communities to meet a unique culture.  See Four Seasons Twitter index Hyper targeted. Local markets may benefit from geo location marketing as location based social networks like GoWalla, FourSquare, MyTown, and Yelp grow.  Provide unique local experience. Lack of control. These individual pages may be setup by the managers daughter and lack true long term resources or ability to fend of sophisticated situations. Danger in these sites becoming abandoned over time, with no clear way to retire them without community backlash. Likely, this is already happening. Get ahead of it and provide the right training, processes, and hotlines for these disparate groups to have autonomy –but within clear set of guardrails protecting your brand.

How to Choose The Right Mix:

  • First, be customer focused. Companies should first identify the social graphics of their customer base to understand where they are online.  Secondly, they should understand their social behaviors, who influences them, and how they influence others.  In most cases, customers have already assembled their own communities and analysis should be done on how to join them where they already are.
  • For best results, use in combinations. Rarely is the world an ‘or’ but an ‘and’.  Companies should know when to use these in an orchestrated combinations.  Sophisticated social strategists are mapping all of their programs against marketing funnels to know which tool should be used during what customer phase.
  • Think long term –not just by campaign. Don’t launch short term social efforts unless it’s just around a single event and the expectations are clearly set up front.  Grown fans, followers, or subscribers is an investment that will cost you, so plan on doing this for the long term –not a short one-off campaign.  Remember, in most cases, customer communities have been here before your brand was on the social web, and likely they will be here after your brand.

Framework: Rings of Influence


Recently, I spoke to a crowded room of senior marketers at a CPG retailer, one of the executives asked “What’s an indicator a company is advanced in the social space?”.  I gave three answers, and one of them was “Developing a thriving unpaid advocacy program to evangelize for you and fight your battles.” The executives, which were used to traditional advertising and direct marketing had a lightbulb go off as I showed them this following framework.

Companies unable to scale into social channels –and hindered by traditional thinking
Companies struggle to quickly respond to the assault of customers who are constantly dialoging in social channels, they simply can not hire enough community managers and the promise of Social CRM systems are in its infancy.  Additionally, the old school thinking of traditional marketing which puts the sole focus on the branded voice of corporate communications, and polished, sanctioned executives.  Yet now, as social tools are pervasive (take a look at all the people accessing Facebook from their mobile phones) the gateways of public communication have given anyone the opportunity to communicate.

Brands must extend their strategy to the outside rings.
In order to scale in both time and mass, corporations must now extend their communication strategy beyond just corporate communications and sanctioned ‘company representatives’ to include the other rings in their communications mix.  In the following graphic, the “Rings of Influence” I’ve mapped out how other roles can and should be used in the communications strategy.   I’ve worked on trust research, and found that in most cases the closer in the rings (corporate) there’s less trust.  Other studies, like Edelman’s 2010 trust barometer indicate similar findings as the most trusted relationships are at the outer rings, see figures 7 & 8 in this PDF.

Framework: Rings Of Influence
As brand embrace the larger circles, the greater opportunity for reach, trust  –and risk.  I hope you use this graphic in your planning docs and presentations, it’s licensed under creative commons as Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike Creative Common.  Graphic assistance by Christine Tran, @christineptran

Rings of Influence

Role and Description The Opportunity: Who’s Doing It Right: What no one tells you:
Prospects: Those that are not yet customers. Engaging soon-to-be-customers during their problem and pain stages and focusing them on your solutions is the goal. Build lifestyle communities to engage them in a ‘bigger-than-brand’ discussion such as CVS’s community for caretakers. You’ll really need to let go of hard marketing styles and focus on what IBM’s senior marketer Sandy Carter calls “light branding.” Make sure you have a community kickstart plan.
Customers: Existing buyers, some which are highly engaged and vocal in your space. Enabling the voice of the customer has been a mainstay belief for product development, but most companies have not harnessed them for marketing and support. Build an active advocacy program that encourages them to fight your own battles like Intel Insiders, Microsoft MVP, Wal-Mart’s 11 moms program. Bazaarvoice enables companies like BestBuy to have ratings and reviews on their site –increasing flow through funnel Customers will love and hate you alike. If you harness their voices, expect to let both types of information come through in a strategic way. The trick? Use complaints as an opportunity to show openness and customer response in public. The savvy brands will trigger advocates to deal with detractors, use this checklist to get started.
Employees: Rank and file as well as ‘approved employees’ who are blessed to use social tools. Regular rank and file employees that are knowledgeable about products and are close to customers are likely to be more trusted than veneered executives. Give your own rank and file the opportunity to voice their opinion like Premier Farnell gave many of their employees the ability to publish their own videos on a community like Element 14. Employees need guidelines, training, and processes. Don’t leave your company or your employees exposed, develop internal training programs, regular communications, and a place to share. See how Intel has created a light weight ‘certification’ program for employees who participate in social
Corporate: The traditional and centralized communications group and sanctioned executives Corporate comms can benefit from social tools that allow the spread and sharing of company messages, and they can also build a social platform to stand on in order to fend of critics See how SouthWest Airlines has built a corporate blog for years, which gave them the standing power to fight back against detractor Kevin Smith. Also, see how Domino’s President used online video to respond in a human and more trusted way during an employee health crises. Lots of retraining when it comes to rethinking the approach in this space. Stop and breath, develop a measured set of steps a framework, control is not completely lost if you have a balance. This is an opportunity more than a threat.

Harness All The Voices In Your Ecosystem –Not Just Corporate Communications
Brands should stop focusing on the corporate ring alone –and benefit by using all the rings in a coordinated fashion.  I’ve broken down the roles into subsets in the above matrix, yet there are some key baseline considerations as your deploy, remember to:

  • Recognize that greater opportunity is abound at outer rings –but comes with increased risk. Brands are most comfortable operation in the inside rings, like ‘Corporate’.  Yet the greatest opportunity to leverage trust and reach happens at the outer rings of influence with ‘Customers’ and ‘Prospects’.  Of course, with a greater benefit comes greater risk as there’s less control over conversations on the outer rings.
  • Map the  rings to your existing customer experience timeline. These rings aren’t unlike traditional marketing funnels, except that there’s a focus on role and trust, over cycle. In most cases, prospects are in the outer mouth of a funnel, but customers, employees, and corporate can also participate in every step of the marketing funnel. Analyze which roles are needed in what aspects of the customer timeline –and map your strategy accordingly
  • Analyze your existing social marketing programs. From Facebook, community, Twitter, to Gowalla, brands must take inventory of each of their existing social programs.  Pull out a spreadsheet and map which each of your social media programs are doing, look at both: 1) Which ring is the primary publisher, 2) Which ring are they trying to reach.
  • Be pragmatic, and develop a roadmap: start with smallest ring and move out. Don’t jump on the largest ring of prospects without first getting grounded. Start at the inner circle and work your way out, by building a foundation at the core and building on success and safety in experience. Companies that try to address prospects but lack the internal resources and ethos to deliver may find themselves offering false promises.

This single graphic represents an entire presentation I’m developing for internal client workshops or keynote presentations at marketing and business conferences.  I love to share, and want to get your feedback in the comments below so I can improve it.   Update: Mitch has also extended the conversation in the Social CRM pioneers Google Group, watch it unfold and participate in the group.