Angela LoSasso, former social strategist at HP, printing group, is now with Research in Motion (Blackberry) and is excited about her new gig. I’ve worked with her on a few occasions and know good work will come from her.
Steve Murthey joins Accenture Interactive as Social Media Capability Architect Social media strategy, managed services and technology to support client internal and external SM initiatives.
Carrie Estok joins Yellowbook.com as Digital Community Manager Demvelop and oversee community development and consumer-facing social media properties for Yellowbook.com and Weforia.com, their new group buying site
Joel Nathanson joins Bank of the West as Head of Social Media to develop and execute social strategies and programs
Jennifer Smith joins Office of Broadband Sustainability (WI) as Communications Director Communications and education on statewide broadband installation project (web, social media, print, collateral, training materials, etc.)
Christopher Navin joins 5LINX Enterprises Inc. as Social Networking & SEO Specialist Managing and implementing social media plan, strategy, marketing concepts, promotions and seeking opportunities to build and enhance each of his projects.
That very bombastic question (is Facebook American Imperialism) was posed to me at the Social Media ClubFrance Club which took place near LeWeb a few weeks ago. I was joined by my friend Paul Papadimitriou (Twitter), and we were hosted by Fabrice Epelboin (Twitter) who writes for Read Write Web.
In this discussion we discuss social media from a global perspective (not just an American one) and we discuss and debate why many of the popular social networking sites are coming from United States, and adoption across the globe (see my collection of stats)
Acquisition of ‘Powered’ Grows Social Software and Services Footprint in Enterprise Companies. Austin based Dachis Group, who has a war chest from Austin Ventures, has been on a buying spree and has pre-briefed me in their acquisition of Powered, a social and marketing platform with strong social media services, who they recently acquired, including Crayon, Stepchange and Drill Team (read my analysis). To date, Dachis Group has acquired seven firms such as Xplane digital management and change management orginization, the adoption council 2.0, a user community, and many of my former team mates from Forrester’s social computing research group.
Dachis, An Enterprise Contender, Threatens Incumbent Consulting Firms
In this mornings post (coincidentally timed) I released data how social media boutiques, like Dachis, are winning deals against incumbent traditional agencies. Jeff Dachis, former agency maven, has clinched a sizable acquisition investment, and has experience growing digital agencies, such as Razorfish in the first wave. Expect Dachis to compete strongly with incumbent consulting firms. I asked Peter Kim, (former Forrester Colleague) about their vision and he replied their vision is “Holistic point of view stemming from social business design, and how to formulate a strategy, activating them, understanding collaboration and company culture”. The last time we heard this type of chanage management vision was 10-15 years ago with ERP deployments.
Industry Impacts: What You Should Expect Here’s my industry analyst perspective on what these changes mean:
Raises questions about being a platform provider –beyond just services. Dachis purchased Powered, which offers a marketing platform with social business software features and poses. This will pose questions from customers who don’t want to be funneled into a platform owned by a partner, especially if they have their own platforms in place.
Threaten incumbent consulting firms. Although outnumbered, Dachis has over 220 employees now globally, and can work with large multi-national firms threatening IBM Global Services (see recent announcement), Deloitte, KPMG, Accenture, and even Forrester’s consulting group.>
Scrutinized as a hodge podge of acquisitions without a common vision. Dachis Group had formerly released a confusing framework of social business design, but has since started to crystalize their messaging around social business design. Yet expect buyers and competitors to point out how Dachis’s acquisitions of seven firms in a short period of time really is only an assorted mixture of companies.
My Take: Strong Move For Dachis Group, Furthering Credibility as a Social Business Firm
Dachis Group made a good move, this gives them them software infrastructure to lay out into brands and then have sticky deals with recurring revenues. Furthermore, their growing staff gives them ability to take on larger deals where incumbent firms already play. I asked Peter Kim about the terms of the deal, what will happen to the Powered team and software, but he was unable to comment. To overcome challenges, Dachis Group must prove to the market they are one consolidated offering (not just a mixup of acquisitions), and clearly articulate how they’ll work with other software and service providers in the industry.
Research Findings: While traditional agencies clinch up to $162,000 per client from beginner, experimental and formalized companies, yet when corporations become advanced, boutiques earn an average of $238,000 per brand. Expect traditional agencies to glean new skills or start M&A, and expect boutiques who have vision to stand the test of time.
Social Media Boutiques are Emerging to Threaten Traditional Agencies
It’s been a long time coming since we’ve seen major disruptive in the agency space. 10-15 years ago we saw the rise of internet agencies, digital agencies, and web marketing boutiques, and then a fast consolidation during the downturn. Now, we’re seeing the rise of social media boutiques, and we have telling data that shows they are threatening the budgets of traditional digital agencies in a particular type of client. This is a massively growing space, at Altimeter we were tracking the many agencies on a wiki, but stopped updating it due to overflow of submissions.
Above Buyer Data: 2011 Budgets: Social Media Boutiques Overtake Traditional Agencies Among Advanced Buyers
Immature Brands Naturally Rely on Traditional Agencies
In the novice through mature level brands, the traditional agencies are the first go-to. Corporations rely on them, as they have existing relationships and have purchase orders set in place. Yet we know (see engagement DB and our Facebook marketing research) that most corporations are not even engaging with their customers –they are doing it wrong. They often rely on traditional agencies for education (often a loss leader) research and strategy and implementation.
[Traditional agencies clinch revenues from immature and formalized clients, yet have often invested unpaid hours in education, research and strategy and are unable to specialize to meet the specific needs in social business]
After Traditional Agencies Have Laid Groundwork Boutiques Swoop In, Clinching Revenues
Once corporations realize that social business is not about short term campaigns, they give $ to boutique agencies. The data from the buyers indicates there’s a significant jump in spending on boutique social media firms when the buyer is advanced and sophicaiated in social business. They know their traditional agency lacks flexibility or doesn’t have a business model for social engagement and relies on them. This is a great opportunity for the boutique agencies, who let the traditional agency do education, set plans in place, experience a few failures letting boutiques swoop in.
[Boutiques lack ability to monetize in immature corporations, but when companies reach maturity they clinch an average of $238,000 per brand and push traditional agencies budgets in social to a mere $87,000]
In my LeWeb keynote, I stand by my convictions not to hire social media “Ninjas, Gurus, and Samurai” and received audience applause. Instead, I offered, corporations should hire business program managers, in other words, people that put business goals first –tools and technologies second. This also applies in selecting your boutique agency
Why Social Media Boutiques Differentiate, and Win Deals From Advanced Buyers
Social Media Boutiques are taking the budgets away from Traditional Agencies as corporations become mature. Corporations know they need these specialists for the following reason
Offer a specialized skillset in new media and social business that traditional agencies may not offer
Often offer change management within the corporations –traditional agencies have a reputation for layering social media on top of existing campaigns.
Rather than be ‘campaign’ focused, instead are more long term focused such as building a community with customers for the long term.
Are ready to roll up sleeves to assist with deeper customer engagement –not just deploy traditional advertising (one of the top spends in social business)
Are more agile within smaller teams and can quickly maneuver as the technology space changes over time.
Fundamentally are geared to measure differently around engagement, and what it means –not just top line and bottom line measurements
Yet Social Media Boutiques Limited by Size –and Must Partner
Despite their strengths, Social Meida Boutiques have weakenesses. They are often unable to scale as engagement is difficult to roll out to all product units and around the globe, are quickly finding that traditional agencies are catching up by training staff (see how Edelman has an internal black belt education program) and often lack the ability to achieve an integrated marketing approach
Industry Analyst Perspective: What the Future Beholds
Traditional agencies will adopt these skills, or be forced to contend with options.
Expect the traditional agencies to generate revenues outside of engagement in brand monitoring, education, measurement, and leading an integrated approach
Traditional incumbants will acquire these young startups. Expect this data to be cascaded to the upper echelons of traditional corporations who know they need to quickly get a strategy on M&A activity (see today’s Dachis news)
A handful of these agencies will grow into the next digital agency. Not wanting to sell and enjoy the fruits of their hardwork, many of these agencies will stay
Brands will rely on traditional for education –boutiques often can’t afford to this unless it’s a loss leader for a sale.
While specialization and competition is good, buyers will demand that their agencies work together. The previous HR block marketing team rallied 5 agencies together to work on a single social media effort, for a holistic customer experience
We’re already seeing a few traditional agencies like Edelman (in the lead, in my opinion with Rubel, Armano, Carfi, Brito), Oglivy (Bell, Rohit) build strong internal teams on social business using blogs, thought leadership, and hire social media practitioners.
If you found this helpful, please forward on to your agency partners, and internal teams. Or if you’re an agency and want to share your perspective, I look forward to your comments below.
Last year was the first time we’ve recognized the folks on the front lines connecting with customers in a human way using online tools. It’s that time again this year, that on the fourth Monday of every January we recognize community managers. You can read about the first time we did this in 2010, thanking all those who are trying to make customer experiences online more human.
Interestingly, one CEO of a social media vendor teased me for starting this off last year, gently ribbing me “wow I have so many community managers, do I have to all give them raises?”, I replied, “It’s about appreciation, as we know they internally have to harbor a lot of emotional customers, endless work schedule, and are contacted from all types of accounts to help customers”.
It’s simple to do: On Community Manager Appreciation Day (Jan 24th, 2011), just send a genuine thank you to those (at your company, or someone who has helped you as a customer) that are working to make a difference in how companies build relationships with their customers.
Often, our industry can appear complicated, and yearns for simplicity. One such technique to glean simplicity is to develop frameworks which the corporate social strategist can then apply to achieve their business goals. I’ve been working on this “ROI Pyramid” framework for a few months now, and am ready to share in greater detail than on my keynote at LeWeb (slides and video) where I introduced this to the public for the first time.
[The novice provide executives with engagement data –causing themselves to be stuck in the churn of obtaining more followers and fans –without a clear business goal]
140 social strategists around the globe at enterprise class size companies indicated their top internal objectives for 2011 is to “Create ROI Measurements”
Measurement, the Number One Priority, Is Important to Social Business In our recent research report on the buyer of social business, (read research report: Career Path of the Corporate Social Strategist) we learned that measurement is one of the most important aspects to social business, in fact the top priority stated by 48% of corporations was “Creating ROI Measurements” for internal programs, (see data).
Experimental mediums require proof they work. The corporate social strategist is constantly being challenge as they grasp more budgets to prove their efforts and teams are making a difference. In addition to proving these new mediums are worth the time spent, the corporate social strategist is being challenge by their peers in incumbent positions who may be giving up effort and budget to support social efforts.
Down markets put greater scrutiny on spending. As spending across the board reduces in a recession, focus on proving new efforts is required by all parties involved. Those that can effectively measure improvements can make the business case they can truly obtain more budget.
The Corporate Social Strategist Must Develop Frameworks Now. Most corporations are already forming in the “Hub and Spoke” formation (see data) which means a small cross-functional team is helping a variety of business units. Establishing a standard way of measuring now is important before corporations move into “Dandelion” where measurement strategy fragments into spokes.
[The seasoned professional provides executives with business metrics first. They know fans and followers aren’t a business goal, but what you do with them is]
Yet, Measuring Social Media Is Challenging While we learned that measurement is the key, we found (see data in slide 20) that 65% of corporations are using engagement data as the top used metric, with only 22% using product revenue as a metric.
Excess variety of data options, and disparate platforms. Due to the thousands of applications, dozens of social networks, and millions of combinations corporations are stymied by how to make sense of this disparate space. In addition to the variety of choices to deploy, each has a different set of ways to measure from fans, engagement, followers and the like.
Technical limitations vast in a fast changing environment. As if the choices weren’t staggering enough, there are significant challenges to measuring. Corporations are unable to apply web analytics tools on third party sites they don’t have ownership on, and therefore are often relegated to manually counting data, or relying on one of the 150 brand monitoring platforms to scrape it for them.
Hard to tie engagement to bottom and top line efforts. In addition to being a new program, understanding of this disruptive set of technologies causes friction. Additionally, social media is frequently known for driving awareness (second to ads) through WOM then through customer engagement through interactions –yet rarely tied to transactions or ecommerce which often occur on a disparate platform.
Apply the Social Media “ROI Pyramid” In Your Measurement Strategy
(Above: First, recognize there are three types of role, all who need different types of information about your social business efforts)
(Above: Secondly, understand the high level types of data they need in order to be actionable)
(Above: Finally, assemble this information using the metrics and creating formulas. The above are just examples, as customization within every corporation is required)
Matrix: Understand the Social Media ROI Pyramid
Who it’s for
How to generate
What no one tells you
Executives, and everyone else who supports them, which of course, is everyone.
This is a roll up formula of Social Media Analytics. Use tracking software or referral traffic to infer how customer engagement moves down marketing funnel. Existing CSAT methods should also incorporate social channels, and measure a sample of sentiment from customer communities. Cost reduction is a formula based on reduced costs and time in these lower-cost channels.
The pyramid is smaller at top as their are less metrics to give to busy executives. There’s really only three: increased top line, reputation, and reduced costs. Compare these lower cost channel to existing marketing efforts to get additional budget, and benchmark over time.
Social Media Analytics
The Corporate Social Strategist and the internal stakeholders and internal clients (leaders of the ‘spokes’ in the hub and spoke model)
This is a formula based on Engagement Data (the tier below), there are no industry standards, so pick one and benchmark over time
We’ve identified there are 16 analytics, but there are many more in existence, you’ll have to create these formulas on your own
Those who are deploying social media: community managers, developers, designers, agency partners, IT.
Don’t ever give this to executives until you’ve first given them business metrics or expect many months focused on ‘more followers’ without a business purpose.
(Above: Here’s a single slide with all three columns of info on it which you can use as an instant reference)
Five Steps To Start Using the ROI Pyramid Now
Corporations must develop a standardized way to measure first based on business goals. Next developing a standard way that the entire company and agency partners can think about measurement is key in 2011 as social business will fragment to every customer touchpoint.
Start with a Business Goal in Mind. Expect significant challenges to occur if your social media efforts don’t have a business goal, so clearly you should first start with a purpose. It’s easy to spot when this happens as the goal will be on getting ‘more fans and followers’ rather than moving the business needle forward. Start with a clear business goal and define ‘what success looks like’ or don’t start at all.
Give the Right Data to the Right Roles. Not all roles require the same types of data, and be sure to give the right type of data to the right segment. While all the formulas of the pyramid should be accessible by the corporation, understand the viewpoints needed from each vantage point.
Frequency and Quantity of Data Varies in Pyramid Tiers. Recognize that executives need reports less frequently that the deployment teams, hence their size on the pyramid. Also, there is more data needed at the bottom tiers than at the top, remember the top tiers are roll-up formulas from bottom tiers.
Know the Customization of Formulas is Required. This industry lacks any form of standards, so don’t wait years for an industry wide formula to appear as it likely won’t even apply directly to your business needs. Invest the time to create the social media analytics needed to support your business goals now, which you should expect will take massaging over a period of time.
Benchmark Over Time and Cascade to All Spokes. The specific numbers aren’t as important as the trend lines over months, quarters, and years, yet in order to obtain these, you must start now. Looking at how these numbers trend over time will provide more insight to the teams involved.
I look forward to hearing how you implement this framework in your measurement efforts, let’s open up the discussion in the comments below, please share this with your teams, agencies, partners, and staff. Thanks to Christine Tran and Asha for design help. Feel free to use these slides, flickr images, just provide attribution to Altimeter Group.