Archive for the ‘Analysis’ Category

Social Business Buyers Invest in Scaling


Spending Increase in Social Marketing on SMMS, Education.

Brands Focused on Managing Social Proliferation
For those that like to be where they money be, this data is for you. Altimeter’s research continues to survey buyers of disruptive technologies, and continues our coverage on social technologies. In our recent Q4 survey to enterprise buyers, focused on marketing business decision makers, which are global national corporations with over 1000 employees, we posed a series of questions in our survey battery. In particular, we wanted to find out where decision makers are bullish on investing and found the following trends on marketers with intent to increase spending:

  • To manage proliferation in enterprise, marketers purchase social media management systems.  Altimeter has been covering this software category since March 2010 (see all posts), and has published reports on how companies are managing social using software.  These social media management system tools, which allow brands to manage marketing, support, and employee interaction of social continue to spread throughout the enterprise (data). We’ve also seen deal size for this specific market on the increase over the past few years, some deals crossing over the six figure dollar range.  We’ve also found that companies are straddled with a number of social accounts (on average, 178 social media accounts) as social strategists struggle to avoid being constantly reactive in a role of social sanitation.
  • Insufficient tools means investments in education programs key for employee masses.  A solution requires a strategy, education, business processes, then with software to facilitate.  While most marketers realize that technology is a key method to achieving their goals, they know that education within an enterprise is required for social business success.  Marketers invest in educating various business units (departments, regions, and product groups) to ensure they properly know how to use these technologies and avoid risk.  Yet, in our previous research, we’ve seen that brands are eager to educate, they don’t put large dollars against this investment.   To help corporations solve this need, we’ve launched our own Academy offering, and are working with large brands, agencies, and consulting firms to roll-out.
  • Surprise! Marketers “volun-told” as system integrators of fragmented software.  The opposite of volunteering is being volun-told (credit: Zena Weist).  Marketers have been VolunTold that they are unwilling system integrators in the era of VC funded startups who’ve created clones serving similar use cases.  As a result, brand side marketers and their agency and consulting partners are investing in integration disparate software together to commonly share data, in order to manage a single customer journey, or obtain data on one persona or customer type.  While Oracle, Adobe, Salesforce, IBM, and others offer suites, don’t expect this trend to go away anytime soon, as the proliferation of new web tools means that brands will forever be rushing to catch up.

Summary: Companies seeking to scale social in their enterprise.
So there you have it, today’s buyers are investing their resources and time on scaling social within their organization before it spirals out of control. They’re deploying software, coupled with internal training, and then trying to glue together many pieces into one system. While I’m not going to provide insights to each one of bullets, here are a number of other trends from this data that we can discuss in the comments.

Altimeter Research: Social Business Spreads Across The Enterprise


Screen Shot 2013-05-07 at 5.16.55 PM
Altimeter Data Above: Social spreads further to the edges in Hub and Spoke, and Distributes to Multiple Hub and Spoke, aka “Dandelion”

Social Business Evolution Spreads In Corporations
Altimeter’s most recent social business buyers survey of global national corporations with over 1000 employees has yielded interesting results. One data set that we’ve carefully watched over the years, and perhaps I’m most known for, is how companies organize their internal structure for social business. Over a year ago, we conducted this same study, to glean where the market is; we’re back with additional benchmarking data, and you can read the full report of Social Business Evolution (embedded below) This most recent data resonates the trends that we’re hearing and seeing in many of our brand side clients, here’s my take:

  • Decentralized gains no growth. Companies in this model are afflicted with unchecked proliferation and will have to eventually undergo considerable investments to clean up mis-managed or worse, un-managed efforts.  This unscalable model leaves companies fragmented in an uncoordinated method.   We predict this structure will eventually dissipate as companies must formalize their programs.
  • Centralized remains stagnant, holds at under one third.  This model, in which a single business unit (often corp comms) manages the program on behest the corporation is a short term fix.  While many regulated companies can easily make the business case for a single group, it cannot scale –and this group will eventually become overwhelmed with requests from business units.
  • Hub and Spoke loses 6 points, yet still dominant.  This popular model, in the previous year, sinks 6 points.  Why this drop?  Companies are seeing that social is spreading beyond a coordinated team (often referred to as a center of excellence) to a broad set of business units including regional, departmental, and product lines.   Despite the dip, this continues to be the dominant model most corporations are in now.
  • Dandelion model shows growth.  In this model, decision making and management for social spreads to various business units –beyond the centralized team.  This sign of maturity often means there’s coordination in the center, but freedom for local groups to manage within guidelines.  We expect this model to continue to rise year over year.
  • Holistic remains elusive. This very challenging formation, where a majority of all employees use social for business in a safe and consistent manner continues to remain miniscule. Why?  This requires a cultural mindset of trust from leaders, and a workforce that is trained and ready to accept social into every fabric of employee and customer relationships.  Don’t expect this model to grow anytime soon.

While I’ve your attention, I wanted to share that I’ll be hosting a webinar on Social Business Readiness, and share how we’ve helped many companies get ready internally, such as this project on Social Readiness roadmaps, (here’s a screenshot), I’d love to help your corporation get situated in a scalable model for social business. On a related note, Altimeter Group continues to hire, we’re seeking a COO and Senior Consultant as we continue to grow.

Hey Retailers! Refine That Mobile Marketing Strategy (Altimeter Report)


This latest Altimeter Report, by my colleague Industry Analyst Chris Silva, focuses on how companies must develop a mobile marketing strategy. It sources research from 26 ecosystem contributors including brands, agencies, and technology providers. To learn more about this report, please register for the webinar in which Chris will provide deeper knowledge from the report.

This report is powerful in a few ways, it indicates the growth the in space, referencing that 45% of all mobile phone users are carrying a smart phone, and the growth rate for tablets is 23% annually.

The report also indicates how some marketers are missing the market to reach to the connected consumer, citing examples how retailers and restaurant companies created apps that didn’t direct them to their stores, a missed opportunity.

Make An App Flagship Graphic
Above Graphic: Mobile App Maturity in Three Phases

Yet beyond the mis-steps of retail marketers, this report provides a maturity framework segmented into three major steps, and a point based system that brands can use to self-assess their quality. Lastly, you’ll find a breakdown in roll out steps from plotting the impact of strategy, choose business impact, choose application type, add features, extend platform support, then finally globalize.

This is Open Research: Use it, share it, and we’ll publish more, the full report is embedded below, which you can download, use and share with attribution. I’ll be working closely with Chris in future research projects, so I recommend you follow Chris on Twitter, and contact him at chris at altimetergroup dot com if you’ve further questions on the mobile landscape.

Related Resources

Slides: Social Business Forecast: 2011 The Year of Integration (LeWeb Keynote)


Research reveals corporations to focus on integration, staffing, advertising, and measurement in 2011.

I’m sharing these slides as I take the stage for one of the few business focused tracks at the largest European internet conference, LeWeb (pic). The following slides are based on the survey data collected in our latest research report on the Career Path of the Social Strategist which has been downloaded at least 3000 times and viewed over 21,000 times and been discussed on Marketing Profs, RWW, Mashable, Fast Company, and many other blogs. In the deck you’ll recognize some of the data in 2010, but we’ve also segmented it by business maturity.

In the predictions section in 2011, we’ll find data on where companies are going to focus, as well as spending changes based on maturity of corporations –notice how advanced companies shift to customization and social media boutiques.

Above: Here’s a video from the front row (Thanks Erno), apologies, I’m fighting a cold and a bit stuffed up. I added this video later.

Above, here’s the official LeWeb video, thanks Loic

How You Should Invest in 2011: Scalable Programs
1:1 dialog with customers does not scale –you can not hire enough community managers to keep up with the growing number of customer voices, as a result, we recommend that corporations focus on the following six areas of investment for 2011

  1. Hire correctly (Gurus/Ninjas/Samurai need not apply) and properly train for scale
  2. Integrate social media on the corporate website, then aggregate and curate
  3. Invest in advertising that leverages social graph
  4. Build an unpaid army of advocates –get your customers to do the work for you
  5. Invest in scalable systems like SCRM and SMMS
  6. Learn to measure using the ROI Pyramid

Open Research: Share it Widely
This data, which we make available for the industry is under the premise of Open Research rather than charging for it. It’s intended for you to use, cite, and share as long as you provide attribution to Altimeter Group. The more you share, the easier it is for us to create more. Some of the select figures are available here on Flickr, embedded below, expect I’ll discuss these in greater detail in coming weeks.

Corporate Social Business Maturity: Breakdown by Budget, Team Size, and Formational Modal

2010-2011 Forecast:  Social Business Go To Market Programs by Adoption Percent.  Growth in All Areas, yet in Single Digits Only

2010-2011 Forecast:  Social Business Go To Market Programs by Dollar Spend: Increase in Staffing, Advertising, Community Platforms, and Customer Technology Development

Total Budget Across All Respondents for Social Strategy in 2011, Per Corporation

Special thanks to the research team involved in this project lead by Christine Tran, Andrew Jones, and guidance from Charlene Li, all of Altimeter Group, where I’m a partner.

Analysis: 2011 Internal Goals In Corporate Social Strategy: Proving Value and Change Management (2/2)


Part 1: External Goals
Part 2: Internal Goals (You are here)

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:

Analysis: 2011 Internal Goals In Corporate Social Strategy: Proving Value and Change Management

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.

In future blog posts, I’ll be discussing other aspects from our research, such as budgets, staffing size, organizational 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.

CMO Matrix: How Social Technology Must Integrate with Traditional Marketing, a Horizontal Approach


CMOs must approach social technologies in an integration fashion
Although social technologies have been capturing marketers time for over four+ years in corporate, they’ve often been operated in a silo as experimental, or a separate deployment from traditional marketing. Yet the savvy marketing leader knows that reaching customers is increasingly becoming challenging as their touchpoints continue to fragment.

To reach the fragmented customer, marketers must apply an integrated approach.  As an industry, we should dispel notions that social marketing and it’s subsequent tools should operate in a silo, but instead sit horizontally in the marketing organization as they impact so many different forms of marketing tactics, approaches, and mindsets.  Furthermore, this has considerable impacts as social media organizations are founded and lead as they approach hub and spoke models to serve a variety of internal clients, as well as connect with customers in real time.

CMO Matrix: How Social Technology Must Integrate with Traditional Marketing, a Horizontal Approach

Marketing Tactic Why It’s Important Opportunities of Social Technology
Market Research You can’t effectively reach consumers till you know about them, and market research is a key function for any corporation. For some time, market research was limited to focus groups, consumer testing, and survey based methodology. This includes both traditional marketing research groups as well as competitive intelligence groups. Now, with the advent of social technologies, at least three forms of opportunity have emerged:  1) Using brand monitoring technology to harvest what consumers are already saying in social channels, 2) Harnessing the crowd to find out their real time reactions, see how Communispace and Passenger have done this.  3) Using innovation tools like Salesforce Ideas, UserVoice, GetSatisfaction to build products in real time with consumers.
Corporate Website The corporate website is a source of product factual information, and pro-brand materials.  This is the master repository of a brand, it’s products, and services. Social technologies are being integrated in three phases: 1) Standalone tools like communities are built, but not integrated, 2) Social login systems like FB connect and Open ID are increasing conversion rates 3) Social context is being developed so content is served up on the fly from social data. See my keynote at Gilbane’s CMS conference on social and corporate website integration.
Intranet Marketing must influence internal stakeholders, including sales, field marketing, and product teams.  The intranet is a key internal repository of information, this would also include any associated email communications. Social technologies are being deployed internally like PBWorks, Socialcast, Basecamp, and Yammer without the consent of IT.  The opportunity to use these tools to allow teams to find experts, information regardless of region or time are ripe.
Email Marketing Email, one of the primary forms of digital communication is often a highly trusted source when customers have opt-in.  When you look closely, email is a social network, see how Google wants to do it. In fact, the root information requirement for Twitter and Facebook is a verified email. Email marketing companies are starting to offer ‘sharing’ features so recipients are encouraged to quickly share the information with their peers, as well as offering brands SMMS systems to manage this information.  Expect the Facebook inbox and email marketing to quickly merge in coming years,
Search Marketing A mature practice that attracts buyers and prospects during their core information seeking phase, SEM is critical to reaching the information starved through well placed sponsored information and advertisements We’re also seeing an influx of social advertisements appear as the social graph is infused in search results. Example: We’re starting to see the content our friends recommend in search engine results, and Facebook’s foray with social ads.
Search Engine Optimization Fine tuning websites so they are the first choice in organic search results is both a science and art by experienced practitioners. Social media tools, esp blogs and ratings and review sites like Yelp score high in organic search due to many incoming links and freshly updated content.
Advertising Often the bulk of most marketing budgets, advertising is key in many phases of the customer journey, in particular driving awareness and consideration. Like SEM listed above, advertising can become more efficient in the future by tapping into social profile data (who is this person) and their social graph (who do they trust) to serve up relevant content.  As Facebook spreads their features all over the web (analysis), expect a new form of advertising to appear based on social data.  Twitter’s “Sponsored Links” bodes similar experimentation
Sponsorship Marketers drive associative branding and qualified leads through sponsorship opportunities. Social helps in two specific ways:  New influencers have emerged such as ‘Mom and Dad bloggers” creating more niched inventory with deeper engagement to sponsor.  Furthermore, all traditional sponsorship activities can use social marketing for further engagement.
eCommerce While over a decade old, online shopping has continued to be primary low cost driver for the brick and mortar company. The mainstay integration has been consumer ratings and reviews from the aggregation of the crowd, often powered by vendors like Bazzarvoice.  Yet expect new forms of eCommerce to evolve as an individuals social graph is connected to eCommerce tools. See how Levi’s has done it, and attend our conference, the Rise of Social Commerce.
Mobile Marketing While in it’s infancy, marketers may use these tools to connect with consumers as they are on a specific location, during a certain part of the day, with greater context. Now, as consumers indicate their location and time while on the go, marketers may reach them using a variety of contextual information, advertisements, and harnessing what their friends have done before them in the same locations.  See how Starbucks sponsored mayorship in Foursquare to increase both loyalty and WOM.
TV/Radio The pioneering mediums in the electronic communication realm, these mediums provide content in a one way format. Programs (radio hosts, newscasters, and stations) are using social technologies to infuse a two way relationship with listeners by finding new content in social channels (Watching Twitter) as well as integrating the voices of the audience, and empowering communities to build around them.  Perhaps more importantly, this creates new forms of inventory for these mediums to enable brands to sponsor or get involved with.
Print From newspapers, magazines, to flyers, nothing creates an experience like holding physical paper in front of you. Nearly all of these publications have associated social media properties, from Facebook fan pages, to supplementary blogs.  In fact, if paper adoption continues to decrease, these social tools provide a low-cost method of publishing and interacting with their audiences.  Magazines like Dwell have launched thriving online communities and nearly all national and many global newspapers have adopted social media in their online resources.
Field, Persona, Channel, and Regional Marketing Marketing teams are often segmented by regions, or to sit with sales units in the field, or even to target specific consumer types, like moms. This segmented marketing approach is key for deeper context in approaching unique markets. Like in other forms, don’t expect a one-size-fits all approach, each audience type will have a different penchant for social media technologies, which we call socialgraphics. Expect a tailored approach using social technologies to emerge for each of these groups as you reach different audiences.

Executive Recommendations: Shatter the silo and integrate social across all marketing efforts now.
The above matrix demonstrates that social technologies are already being integrated in the overall mix, yet marketing leadership is at a standstill on how to integrate.  Approach the space in a pragmatic method, follow these three steps:

  • Start by organizing your company in a Hub and Spoke, Dandelion, or Centralized model.  Our research shows that companies are organizing in at least five different models.  Whether you have a centralized team or a hub and spoke, develop a way for an internal team to assemble (often cross-functional) to share and learn, then serve internal stakeholders.  Companies must know the 43+ points to get social business ready, watch our no-cost webinar and slides to learn more.
  • Cascade training and encourage sharing to reduce risk and decrease time to market. Social technologies are still new and come with high degrees of risk as brands continue to have misteps in a new form of marketing.  Yet to reduce risk, empower those that have already experimented to share with others, reward those that quickly fail and get back up, and provide a constant stream of training from external partners.
  • Require your marketers to integrate social technology up front –not as last minute additions. Marketers are not in the mindset of combining social technologies in existing events, campaigns, or traditional marketing.  Instead of being reactive and adding this as a last minute consideration, enforce a line item in marketing plans to include social integration up front.

I look forward to your additional comments, perhaps I’ve missed some key integration touchpoints, please leave comments below.