Rob Harles joins Bloomberg LP as Global Head of Social Media Responsible for developing social media strategy for Bloomberg and its associated brands and channels globally
Chris Kim joins SAP as Director of Community Marketing Chris is responsible for increasing awareness and adoption of the SAP Community Network, driving revenue leveraging communities and promoting social media thought leadership.
Jeff Sable joins Moontoast as VP Sales Selling the Moontoast software platform to enable social commerce
Ben Farkas joins Synthesio as Director, U.S. Sales and Operations In addition to expanding Synthesio’s presence in the U.S., Mr. Farkas will be in charge of several key accounts and developing e-reputation offers to fit U.S. demand.
In the closing recommendations on slide 58, you’ll find six very specific recommendations on how to stay out of the ‘Social Media Help Desk’, and how to ensure you’ll stay proactive (like the 59% who are) and increase your changes to reach ‘Escape Velocity’.
In the sprit of Open Research, the slides are embedded below, which you are free to download, use, and share, as long as you kindly attribute to Altimeter Group, the more you advocate us, the easier it makes it for us to produce more. I would love to keynote your next conference, webinar, internal training, or assist with planning for 2011.
This Social Media Decision Maker Must Choose One of Two Career Paths. This emerging role is critical to the success of social media programs yet, most Social Strategists and their programs lack maturity, with only 23% of Social Strategists having a formalized program with long-term direction. They are overwhelmed with six major challenges – with little relief in sight: Resistance from internal culture, Measuring ROI, Lack of resources, An ever-changing technology space, Resentment and envy of the role, and A looming increase in business demands. With demands just about to increase, they have two possible career paths: 1) Fall behind in requests from vocal customers and internal business units, thereby becoming reactive which we call the “Social Media Help Desk”, or 2) Develop a proactive program that gets ahead of the demands, and operate from a strategic planning position.
[As Requests Compound, The Strategist Must Build Proactive Programs Now --or be Relegated to Ongoing Cleanup as Social Media Help Desk]
Webinars, Events, Conferences Featuring This Resesarch
If you want to learn more and ask me questions, please join me in the following appearances to discuss these research findngs:
Details: Program size, Headcount, Maturity, Skills, Organizational Formations
We surveyed over 140 professionals, interviewed 39 in the role, and 12 that are working with them. We also analyzed job descriptions, LinkedIn profiles, scoured, the ongoing index “on the move” tracking this space for the last few years, here’s a sample of the details in the report:
Open Research: Use It, and Spread it Widely
The more you spread it, the easier it is for me to produce more Open Research. This research was 100% funded by Altimeter Group, and we are releasing it under creative commons so you can use it in your planning, presentations and spread widely. Please spread it to your partners, clients, vendors, staff, embed on your intranet, corporate blog, executives and boss, just kindly provide attribution to Altimeter Group. Coming next: Forecast of Social Business for 2011.
Research Effort Credits
Thanks to the dozens who participated in the interviews, all those who participated in the survey, and some key advisors such as Gil Yehuda who provided a ‘third eyes’ review. A very special thanks to Altimeter’s core research team Christine Tran and Andrew Jones, Julie Viola for getting all the ducks in a row, and lastly Charlene Li, my editor for this report.
Join the Discussion Below: How Will Strategists Avoid a Career in Help Desk?
Let’s discuss the findings. Are you a corporate social strategist? Did this report reflect your career? How will strategists be proactive and get ahead of the incoming deluge of requests and escape a career in social media help desk?
Related Links About this Report
I’ll cross post to those that add to the discussion, I’ll link to the thoughtful critiques, even critical ones.
Altimeter Group is going to release a research paper on the Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist, and this is subset data, sign up here to receive the upcoming report. These corporate social strategists (which I’ve segmented as companies with over 1000 employees) responded to find out how they are preparing their companies for social media.
To Respond to a Corporate Wide Culture Shift, Most Form “Hub and Spoke” model. Most companies are currently formed in the hub and spoke formation in order to respond to the corporate wide impacts that social media brings. Secondly, 29% of companies are formed in centralized, a formation used for maintaining control.
Hub and Spoke Provides Centralized Resources to Business Units. Corporations recognize that these technologies have impacted every single customer touchpoint both in and outside of the enterprise. As a result, there’s been a change within a company to respond and social media teams are evolving. Most commonly, companies launch a centralized cross functional group (often known as a Center of Excellence) in order to serve the various business units with a common set of services, templates, software, and knowledge. In the “Hub and Spoke” formation strategic decisions are still often made in corporate in the hub, with some guidance from the business units in the spokes. A majority of the brands I’m working with are in this model, having recently formed their hub they are starting to coordinate and I’m brought in to help formalize the program or convince management.
One Size Does Not Fit All, Each Formation Serves a Different Need. While Hub and Spoke is dominant today by today’s organizations, it’s followed by the centralized model where a single unit maintains consistency over social media efforts. We see this formation in regulated industries such as health care, financial, pharma and some auto manufactures in order to maintain a sense of control in a coordinate fashion. Separately, the Decentralized formation where organic programs spring up are often the sign of a lack of a centralized group, or an open culture we often see in global technology giants
Over Time, Expect Companies to organize in either Dandelion Holistic Formations. Overtime, social media will permeate all areas of the corporation and we should expect that the once centralized groups will slowly fade into the background as an operational status quo. As I track this space over the coming years, expect to see more companies transfer to the Multiple Hub and Spoke, which has been dubbed by Altimeter’s Christine Tran as “Dandelion”. In this phase, decision making about social media programs shifts to the business units and geographies in order to meet the specific needs of those communities. Dependent on a culture of ‘customer service’ some companies may evolve to the holistic formation where thousands of employees are operating in a safe way, much like Zappos and Best Buy’s Twelpforce program.
This is part 2/2, yesterday, I released research discussing the priorities companies have for external also known as ‘go to market’. To balance out the data, Altimeter Group has posed similar questions to Corporate Social Strategists to find out their internal ambitions inside their company. This is a subset of a larger Altimeter report, sign up here to receive the upcoming report. These corporate social strategists (which I’ve segmented as companies with over 1000 employees) the respondents were asked to select three top internal objectives. We found that they will focus on the following:
Facing Internal Resistance, Corporate Social Strategists Seek to Measure, then Shift Culture
Confused by Disparate Data and Inability to Tie to Transactions, Strategists Seek to Prove Their Efforts. While the disruption that social media has caused is evident, 48% of Corporate Social Strategists struggle to measure the value for the following reasons: Disparate set of data, a plethora of engagement metrics –yet no tie back to transactions, and vast array of data growing at an exponential rate. To combat this, Social Strategists must learn the difference between: Business Metrics (revenue or cost savings), Social Marketing Analytics (CSat, share of voice, advocate influence), and Engagement Metrics (fans, likes, friends). Most immature strategists focus on delivering engagement metrics, which doesn’t fulfill the needs of upper management. Solution Set: Read Altimeter and Web Analytics Demystified Social Marketing Analytics Framework and apply these formulas to your program now. Secondly, develop an executive dashboard (with business metrics –not engagement metrics) and provide to your executive management on a frequent basis
Leading an Culture Revolution, The Social Strategist Focuses on Change Management. Make no mistake, social media has impacted a company to it’s core; there’s a complete cultural change happening. Yet despite the sea change occurring as companies try to catch up with customers, there’s immense internal resistance. As such, 35% of Corporate Social Strategist is trying to change the organizational flow of the company and 37% intend to provide ongoing internal training and education to explain how people’s jobs are forever changed. Our research has exposed there are five distinct models on how companies organize for social media, and we will reveal industry wide stats soon. Why the struggle? Customers don’t care which department an employee is in, they just want their problems solved, forcing a corporation to be holistic in their approach. Solution Set: Work with education programs such as Marketing Profs, WOMMA, New Communications Forum, eMarketer, and Forrester. Also join peer to peer groups such as Gaspedal’s Social Media Business Council, and Marketing Profs to connect with peers.
To Fix Root Problems, Social Strategists Try to Infuse Customer Voices to Fix Products. Social Strategists are mainly marketing to customers using social channels, (43%) and even fewer are focused on supporting customers (16% for direct customer support) according to our latest research. Yet despite the goals to “sell more product” in social channels, they are sacked by customers who are complaining about sub par customer experiences. Knowing they must fix the root problem of improving the actual product, strategists must try to infuse the customer voice directly into the product roadmap. Yet despite their aspirations, don’t expect most to be successful as we’ve only seen a handful of companies that have been enable to improve their products with direct customer voices such as Dell, Starbucks, BaconSalt, Lego, and Microsoft. Don’t expect this lofty goal to succeed in 2011, as it requires a complete cultural change that starts with convincing the product team, and even executives they are no longer in the drivers seat. Vendor Set: Uservoice, Salesforce Ideas, BrightIdea, and Get Satisfaction all offer innovation and request prioritization tools.
Special Section: Vendors and Service Providers. If you offer services or software to corporations in the social media space, it’s key you align to their internal and external efforts. Every social software vendor must have a reporting ability and quickly develop analytics abilities –or partner with vendors that do. If budget cuts come around, expect systems that can’t measure to quickly be replaced by others that do. While many vendors currently offer education for free as a ‘lead in’ don’t be afraid to charge for workshops and immersion sessions –you can rebate the education if the client buys the services. Lastly, it’s key that you ask your buyer which formation they are in, as it gives clues to who has the purchasing strings –and where other buckets of money can be found.
The Corporate Social Strategist Must Plan for 2011
In the near future, I’ll be publishing a research report about the corporate social strategist and their program. In our survey these decision makers within corporations over social media programs, we asked about their goals for 2011. If you want to receive this upcoming report, I will send it to you directly,just complete this form. These corporate social strategists (which I’ve segmented as companies with over 1000 employees) the respondents were asked to select three top objectives. We found that they will focus on the following:
Analysis: Expect Companies to Aggregate Discussions, Struggle with Authentic Discussions and Be Frustrated with Listening Tools. Despite their aspirations, I don’t expect them to achieve all of their goals due to cultural limitations, insufficient technology, here’s my take as an Industry Analyst:
Out of balance, the Corporate Social Strategist plans to integrate social media with the corporate website. Social Strategists have deployed social media in existing social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, and beyond. Yet there’s an inbalance as they’ve joined customer where they are, but have not tied it back to their overall corporate website. This is due to a few reasons: primarily stemming from the reactionary nature of “we must have a Facebook strategy” and not thinking it through, and also the freedom to not rely on legacy IT and web publication systems. To restore balance, strategists will start to infuse the most trusted conversations of prospects and customers back to the corporate website closer to the point of purchase or during customer support. Expect that the first steps will be simple sharing tools, then aggregating discussions from branded communities to then Facebook features. Savvy strategists will know the risks and benefits of each of the 8 Stages of Corporate Website Integration and Social Media framework. Vendor set: Community platforms, Aggregators like Echo, and the existing integration protocols and embeds provided by the social networks themselves.
Companies will focus on engaging in dialog with customers –yet expect most will do it wrong. The second most important goal (43%) companies said they’ll focus on is developing an ongoing dialog with customers using social channels. Yet, our previous research focused directly on how they’ve attempted to do this on their own Facebook Pages shows that while they’re updating content at a rapid pace, they lack true dialog, engagement, and enabling the customer to leave their own voice. Our research found that when it comes to dialog brands scored a meager 3.1 out of a total 5 points, while they scored 5 out of 5 points in ‘being up to date’. While strategists may be focused on dialog with customers, most are unable to give up legacy behaviors of direct marketing, advertising, and spewing content in all channels. Brands must follow the 8 Success Criteria of Facebook page marketing –or risk an ineffective investment or worse yet, brand backlash. Vendor Set: Much of these skills will need to come from internal changes and training –until this is done, no third party vendor or application can help.
While volume of customer voices increase, corporations bolster listening efforts –despite substandard tools The amount of content being created in social channels is increasing exponentially, this hockey stick growth from Twitter indicates that Tweets grew 1,400% last year to 35 million per day. To match, companies are already investing in brand monitoring systems, with deal sizes ranging from 50-100k per year per major product set. Yet, despite this investment, most of these tools lack maturity and do not return refined data sets, nor actionable information. Despite the technology challenge, the problem is getting worse for brands as the amount of content created by customers is increasing at a rapid pace. Vendor Set: Brand monitoring companies, while effective at counting number of mentions lack ability to accurate sentiment, provide actionable insights, or make suggestions on what to do. As outlined in the Social Business Stack for 2011, expect an emergence of the social analytics vendors to out place the commodity set of brand monitoring.
In future blog posts, I’ll be discussing other aspects from our research, such as budgets, internal goals, staffing size, orginziational models over this coming next few weeks. Feel free to use this data in your slides and planning (this is Open Research), kindly just provide attribution to Altimeter Group.
I look forward to your thoughts below, do you think companies will achieve these goals?
Last night, I was invited to to present my research findings to the VC community on Sand Hill road at National Venture Capital Association presented a forecast of where the Enterprise Social Business space was headed in 2011. Below, you’ll find a reduced version of my slides and most of the salient points. I’ve removed much of the spending data in 2010 and 2011 as I have a formal research report coming out in the near future which will publish on this blog.
The social business category is quite difficult to track, in part due to the constant investment injections this room as provided. I provided my view of the entire category and presented the 7 major categories and 18 specific classes within the space, here’s a former blog post where I was laying out the stack, although this presentation supersedes the post. Also, you’ll find a few snippets of enterprise buyer objectives for both internal and external, and I provided the attendees with recommendations on what I would do if I were in their shoes.
Above Framework: The Social Business Stack: 7 Categories, 18 Discrete Classes, for 2011
In closing, I told these top VCs that much later in my career, I plan to move closer to the investing space. But first I must get more experience under my belt, I recognize I still have a lot to learn as an entrepreneur just passing year one.
(Credits: Thanks to Altimeter’s Charlene Li and Christine Tran for ongoing collaboration)
I’m frequently asked “What’s the top challenge the corporate social strategist is struggling” and over and over, ROI comes up very high. To tackle this challenge head on, Altimeter has conducted a research project to find out how companies are connecting social technologies to the overall buying process as well as analyzing how they increase revenues for brands.
In conjunction with our recent conference on Social Commerce, we’ve now published the findings from interviewing top social commerce vendors and brands that are connecting commerce with social media. Our lead researcher analyst on this project is Lora Cecere who stems from Gartner and AMR and stems from Supply Chain Management, her and I will be doing a no-cost webinar to discuss these findings, I hope you join us.
This report is intended for you to use, share, and spread, under creative commons, feel free to embed it on your own blog, comment on it, and discuss. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Most Companies Lack a Positioning Strategy
Companies must be deliberate in their positioning efforts –rather than rely on the same way that’s been done in the past. Frequently, I meet with young technology startups that focus purely on the technology and features –and completely miss what problem they are solving. Similarly, I meet with large brands that are positoning at the brand and product level –yet forget to connect with their customers in their existing lifestyle. I’ve used this framework in a variety of client engagements, and want to release the high level here, for you to use in your positioning strategy.
Positioning Matrix: Lifestyle, Pain, Brand, Product, or Features
When to use
An effort positioned at the the desires and experiences in the buyers life –not connected to products
Works well in regulated industries (Wells Fargo, Amex, have deployed in this way), or companies who sell component products. Great for deploying at a new market when you’re trying to introduce a new concept or offering. Also strong at clinching competitive marketing space.
While an ‘associative’ effort it may not be closely tied to the products and not drive prospects down the marketing funnel.
Focusing on the trials, tribulations, and pain in a buyers life or work.
It’s key to pointing out to customers the challenges that may exist in their life, then quickly move into product positioning. Use this to connect to a prospect in the wider mouth of the marketing funnel, this is often a first hook.
If a company only positions against pain they may not move customers down the funnel, quickly follow up with value statement and product introduction.
Positioning directly on a company’s brand, much how Coke does it.
A company that has an existing, established, brand promise can lean on this reputation as a standing point. Standing on a brand promise –and the associated tagline –works well in reputation driven industries.
Positioning against brand works for Coke and Pepsi, but it’s required millions over decades to have this level of recognition –most cannot hinge entire effort on this level
Focusing on the product itself, such as discussing a new car –but not it’s features.
Use when your brand is established and releasing a new product set, use this level to sub segment into a new product category.
Many tech vendors that brief me start at this level but forget to focus on ‘why’ this product exists as they’ve built a company around a technology –instead of around a customer need
Focusing on features such as speeds and feeds, this positioning competes at sub product level.
Used to compare in a crowded market when there are established players and little deviation at brand or product level. Often used in consideration and buy stage of a product.
This is granular and may not be effective in new markets, or markets where consumers only care about the outcome of buying the product.
Use this Framework
Use value statements in your positioning –at each level. Positioning at each level still requires a value statement that answers “What’s in it for me?” for example, lifestyle is the opportunity to connect, gauge, or interface with peers.
Use all levels in a coordinated effort. This framework isn’t about using only one level at a time, but the sophisticated marketer will deploy all levels and know how to amp up one of the other at the right moment.
Funnel your prospects through the phases. The savvy will know how to shift prospects to the various levels at the right moment, and customers will arrive into the marketing funnel at different levels –know how to advance them to the right level at the right time.