Archive for November, 2010

Industry Reference: The Social Business Stack for 2011 (Slideshare)


Below is an embedded powerpoint. If you can’t see it (perhaps from email) please see the blog post to access the presentation.

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.

The Social Business Stack: 7 Categories, 18 Discrete Classes, for 2011
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)

Altimeter Report: Social Commerce, How Brands Are Generating Revenue in Social Media, by @lcecere


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.

Related Links:

Positioning Matrix: Lifestyle, Pain, Brand, Product, or Features


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

Positioning Level Description When to use Drawbacks
Lifestyle 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.
Pain Point 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.
Brand 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
Product 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
Features 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.