Left: The Customer Hourglass looks at the entire customer experience –beyond the marketing funnel.
Today, 82% of marketing departments have formalized social media programs, and are just spreading to other business units such as 30% of customer support and a mere 16% of product teams have formalized programs, read the data to learn more. Yet, in our research of the corporate social strategist, we found that their desire to span across multiple business units was a career goal. Segmented primarily into marketing, social media programs must extend across the entire customer lifecycle.
To visualize how this change will occur, it’s best to follow a customer framework, rather than gear this by departmental silos. The Customer Hourglass combines both the traditional marketing funnel, and replicates it, extending to support, loyalty and innovation. While your specific hourglass may have specific needs for your B2B and B2C market, we designed this one to meet a common customer engagement.
Watch the video of a recorded webinar with Allegiance (an Altimeter client) below to see real world examples of how companies are applying these concepts today.
I want to share with you, I’ve found there are only three types of companies. Once you understand the three variations, you’ll be a better consumer, marketer, or leader.
I take a lot of briefings from companies, in fact, hundreds every year. I also meet with many different corporations who are our clients for longer term engagements and have found a clear pattern in just about every industry. In fact this doesn’t just apply to the brand, but also the specific products within a market. And deep down, when you look carefully, you’ll find this applies to siblings too.
The Three Types of Companies:
This company or product, will always make the claim they are the biggest, largest, have the most customers. You’ve heard of how McDonalds’ has served billions of Hamburgers, or how Microsoft has sold the most software licenses, or how Ford was the first auto manufacture, or Coke is the top beverage brand on the planet.. You’ll also know these companies as they’ll tout their rankings on Fortune 100, or financial growth. Often, these companies are the standard, and all others measure up to them, “We are the largest, the first, the wealthiest”. We often find these products fit the masses, but may lack in other areas such as specialization or variety.
This company or product, is locked in a second place position against Biggest. For example, you’ve heard of how Burger King offers variety of their menu, or how Dell offered the customized on the web products over 10 years ago, or how Toyota challenge big cards during the gas crises decades ago, or how Pepsi wants you to take their taste challenge. They will differentiate by making their products better than the competitors, by changing variety, pricing, or customization, “We’re better than the other guys, who can’t serve everyone’s needs”. We often find these companies to offer premium alternatives, suiting for more than mainstream appetite.
This company or product will distinctly position themselves as an alternative to the the first two by offering a complete different option. Perhaps you’ve tried In-N-Out Burger, or seen how Apple wants you to think different with their products, or how Mini wants you to drive their unique cars, or how 7up positioned themselves as the UnCola. They will attack the primary model of the first two, and suggest they are only for a certain type of buyer. “be different, stand out, and we’re only for distinguished tastes”. These companies have specific offerings, that buck the trend, and will go out of their way to stand apart.
A few rules of the road: It goes without saving that multiple companies and products can all fit in one category, we often see multiple companies claiming to be the top dog. And also we should expect to see companies traverse these three different categories, and all of that is normal.
Now that you know the three types of companies, you can start to be a better buyer, marketer, and leader. Know where they fit in the your selection process, and know where you fit between Biggest, Better, and Different.
In this continued digest of job changes, I like to salute those that continue to join the industry in roles focused on social media, see the archives, which I’ve been tracking since Q4, 2007.
People on the Move in the Social Business Industry:
Josh Elman joins Greylock partners, stemming from an impressive background as a silicon valley product lead at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Zazzle and more. I had the pleasure to learn more about Josh’s role, here’s to his growth, and his new role.
Rob Tarkoff joins as the CEO at Lithium, and founder Lyle Fong moves to Chief Strategy Role. Congrats Rob, I look forward to meeting you soon.
Matthew Epstein (Moustache included) has cleverly used social media to campaign himself to get an interview at Google, where he was seeking a position. While it wasn’t the right fit, his experience and mastery of using these tools showed prowess and he accepted an offer at Sigfig, where he can put his talents to work.
Mike Pascucci is moving on from being a Social Media Strategist at Ektron to Sr. Community Manager for Zynga, in their Boston studio. He will be managing all of the Social aspects of the games which come out of their Boston studio
Ryan Nichols, leaves Appirio and is now the VP Apps for Podio, a work platform that allows businesspeople to build lightweight social apps to get everyday tasks done. They target SMBs and have over 50K signed up since our launch in March. R&D is in Copenhagen, he will be building up a go-to-market team in San Francisco.
Dave Peck joins Bullfrog Media as Partner Strategic Alliances, Business Development, Social Strategy Consulting
William Ward joins S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse University as Social Media Professor Teaching Social Media to Students and Pros
Brad Grier joins Empire Avenue as Director of Social and Community Management Community development, relationship building, social media support.
Keith Jason Bates joins www.loveyourshoes.co.uk as Senior Link builder and Social/SEO analyst Link builder and Social media
Eric Doyle joins www.wavesquad.com as Principal, Founder company vision, accounts strategy, client relations, business development
Mike Spataro joins NM Incite as VP, Client Services Manage the media & entertainment market
Rob Murray joins 7Summits as Senior Vice President Murray will drive 7Summits’ social business solutions while expanding the agency’s national business through management of key strategic alliances.
Tom Huxtable joins Engage Sciences as Chief Revenue Officer Marketing, new business and company management
Left Image: Startup Alley features 200 emerging startups, I talked to as many as I could.
In my quest for ABR (always be researching), the Three Web Strategy Spheres, I had a day to focus in on the technology sphere (the bleeding edge of it) to connect with a handful of the 200 emerging garage startups at Techcrunch Disrupt yesterday.
Trends: Emerging Startups Show Innovation –Despite Most Will Fail:
It’s been fun attending the Techcrunch events emerge from Michael’s backyard in 2006 to the now international events where thousands descend, here’s the high level trends:
The air smelled like “opportunity”. with many entrepreneurs filled with passion bring forth their projects, some who travelled from around the world (there was even an Israeli row) to share their work. It smelled like geek. What’s that? A bit of bad breath, body odor, within this male dominated scene.
There was marketing everywhere, even in the urinal. From street teams, phamplets handouts, ninjas, and other circus acts, the one that stood out was how one startup Fee Fighters put branded screen urinals with their logo and saying something like “you’re pissing away money”.
PR Opportunity: Their positioning from startups needs lots of help. I strolled down the aisle with one VC friend of the 200 startups, we noticed they had ridiculous company names missing vowels and cutesy logos. The biggest set back, is the lack of positioning or even tag lines. A majority of the banners lacked a descriptor of what the company did. This is a big opportunity for PR firms to assist this early market.
Lots of companies doing the same thing. I saw many startups that did the same thing, with just a slight variation on which data element they will push on. I asserted that strategic marketing and early influencer adoption will be key to push them over the edge. However colleague Christine Tran correctly suggested that several sites have gotten early influencers on them such as Quora, EmpireAve and Google+ and have not received mainstream attention.
Bubble? Not this part of the market. It’s not a bubble (over-inflation despite lack of revenues) as entry costs are so low. The NYT asserts that Disrupt felt like a bubble, but as someone who worked at Exodus in 2000 I don’t think so, why? Startup costs for these emerging startups are so low, with many just needing 50k seed fund they can get up and running. However, if we’re discussing valuation for the established startups, that’s a different story.
Most will fail. Overall, many of these will never make it, and few would be considered by enterprise class buyers due to volatility and lack of service, support and security.
Startup Gems: What Caught My Eye
Despite that I’d guess less than 5% of the 200 startups will make it, here’s a few that caught my attention:
Over Saturation of SoLoMo Startups
Feature sets are a mobile application sorting data based on proximity data and immediate social graph:
Sonar.me finds who’s near you and prioritizes by your social graph, (people you know) and recommends what to do. (pic)
Holler is social network for local events by @allnick who recently sold his Facebook blogs. This startups focus on finding spontaneous events from friends, which I imagine could work in an urban setting. (pic)
Similarly I met Doweet (pronounced “Do it”, see what I’m saying about company names?) which was founded by at 15 year old Israeli, Unlike plancast, which is public data Doweet is prioritizing mainly by your primary social graph (pic)
Lastly, I also met Smolk Signal (again with the misspelled names) which has more public data offers a similar feature yet is situation on Google maps as an overlay to find hot spots of popular local events.
Startups for Bigger Business Rare But Unique
It’s important we look at both B2C and B2B technology and here’s a few that are for businesses to use, with a focus on enterprise class (companies with more than 1000 employees)
Datasift, also more established, aggregates social data then provides a toolkit for data modeling, and output. think Pipes with far more features for modeling and output. (pic)
Mancx offers a unique feature that enables sales teams to post public questions (likely anom) where they can put a bounty on an answer and crowd source answers. Common questions could be around competitive data, suppliers, contacts. (pic)
Established vendor Badgeville (i’ve done a webinar with them) was a winner from the previous Disrupt, and continues to integrate gamification features with enterprise class clients.
Assorted Sundries Keep it Interesting
Here’s a few interesting things I saw, or got tours of to watch
Former Digg founder Kevin Rose discuss his upcoming startup Oink which will provide ratings and reviews for all consumer products, then sort by location priority likely with contextual marketing. Oink is one of the companies to come out of his development garage called Milk. I joke that Beef and Leather will be the next product set.
I had the honor of joining one of the top podcasts in the space For Immediate Release podcast series which has been publishing as long as I can remember on how communication, technology and business intersect. It was an honor to spend my Saturday morning discussing Altimeter’s latest report on Social Business Readiness, how companies are ill-prepared, social media crises, and what companies should do. You can tune in directly with the four options below: