Marketers, have you ever been in an agency pitch that focuses on the tool and channel and forgets about content? Or, from the other side of the table, have you ever had a client on the brand side ask you for your Twitter/FacebookPinterest strategy –but doesn’t have anything meaningful to say?
Our industry is afflicted with shiny object syndrome, a focus on the new tools, without thinking about the content that will drive it. As we mature and the tools make it easier to share information, companies need to be extra sensitive to the content that will be shared, both that’s created by the brand, and the customer.
Altimeter’s latest report by Industry Analyst Rebecca Lieb, takes that topic head on. This report had a thorough methodology that interviewed over 50 brands, agencies, vendors, and industry experts to find out how the industry is changing. The top six findings include the following trends:
Visual information reigns supreme, from video to images to infographics.
Mobile and location-based marketing are the second most-cited area into which marketers want to expand content initiatives.
Marketers must manage flow and develop the ability to respond in real-time in social channels
Bright, shiny objects, i.e. a fixation on newer channels and technologies, can distract from foundational channels, e.g. search, written content, such as blogs, and educational content, which is often essential in B2B channels.
Budgets must increase to accommodate content channels such as video and mobile that require larger production and development investment.
Marketers’ confidence in and reliance of content marketing is beginning to diminish their reliance on print and broadcast advertising, as well as public relations.
Marketers Confident in Future of Online Video, Social, Mobile
What does the future hold? This report offers an interesting aspiration state (Although the Red Bull case study shows some companies are doing this now) that companies who mature in this space can actually monetize their content –even if they’re not a media company. That’s right, even companies that sell soft drinks can build a lifestyle culture around their brand, and monetize the content created by their own community. This is perhaps one of the most powerful promises ever to marketers, to convert the perception of being a ‘cost center’ to a real profit center by developing a strategic content marketing plan.
Open Research: Use it, Share it, and We’ll Create More.
To learn more how companies will achieve this, read the report in the embed below. We look forward to your feedback as we track how content spreads across multiple tools, channels and mediums.
The practice of Open Research is continuing to become a trend, but not just limited to the research reports that Altimeter is sharing, but with websites like Wikipedia, Focus.com, Quora, Linkedin Q&A, and communities like Social Media,org, Marketing Profs, and WOMMA and beyond. I see the trend that corporate buyers can talk directly to each other –without a middleman or expert in between. As a result, some thought leaders are giving away their best knowledge and not holding back in order to be top of mind.
Above is part 1, advance to the NBC site to see part 2. An interesting thing about this state-of-the-art studio is there are no camera persons on set, just robots that are controlled from the main controller room, a slick operation. Overall, it was a lot of fun, but to be honest, an interesting experience being in the hot seat with so many rapid fire questions.
Below is my research agenda (which includes my research team Christine Tran and Andrew Jones) for the customer strategy group here at Altimeter Group. I’ll cross post this from the ‘Research Tab’ on the upper right of my blog.
Research, A Subset of the Web Strategy Mission
While I’m best known as an “Industry Analyst”, I choose that title as that’s easiest to understand, overtime, I hope to do away with that title. Although research is the foundation for all my activities, recognize that it’s only part of how we help clients in their education, research, strategy, and planning. My career mission, (which is greater than any job I work at) is to help companies connect with their customers using technologies. This has been the motto of this blog for the last 5 years (obviously with a focus on web) and I’ll continue this over the course of my career.
About The Approach: Open Research
I don’t publish numerous reports, but instead, I publish fewer reports and focus on going deeper with greater market impact. Because we publish this under Open Research premise (for public consumption under creative commons) these reports spread further, and have more market impact and influence to improve the industry. (see slideshare numbers in links below). These research reports are expensive to do and take months to create, yet we’ve figured out a model that the more you help us spread the reports, the more we can do.
2011 Research Agenda: This research agenda was chosen based on what we heard from buyers (we have data to backup why these initiatives are important), and also mixing with our own insights on where the market is headed.
How to Spend on Social Business by Maturity (completed)
How companies build and manage Customer Advocacy Programs (underway, and workshop available)
How companies prepare internally for social business
Social Media Management Systems (SMMS) Vendor Comparison (Q3, 2011)
Social Media and Website Integration (Q2, 2011)
Social Stack Framework/2012 Social Business Trends/Forecast (Q4, 2011)
Note May 31st: I’ve removed mobile marketing, and added the first report, and updated dates)
Each of these research items represent advisory, speaking, and webinar opportunities for clients. Caveat: While the reports in Q1 and Q2 are locked in, this market changes so quickly so the Q3 and Q4 items may change to meet the needs of the market.
Do you want to brief us for this research?
Research requires ecosystem input, and If you want to brief us, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include in the subject line ‘Customer Strategy Research’, and we will review.
Below is a list of some of the previous research we’ve completed, please explore the links to see the vibrant discussions and market impact from each report.
Earlier this week, we hosted a joint webinar with Barbara French of Tekrati, Jonny Bentwood Edelman AR practice, and Carter Lusher of Sagecicle (Carter and Barbara were able to make it to The Hangar, see pic). The topic? To explore how social technologies impact the industry analyst space.
We explored definitions, major impacts, disruptions to middle men, impacts to research, influence and personal brands. There’s no doubt that like the media industry, the analyst industry has been impacted by these simple publishing tools, and we’re seeing new business models appear like Open Research, at Altimeter Group, and variations at firms like Focus.com. The trio debated concepts and we tied it up to give final recommendations to analysts and analyst relations professionals.
Specifically for analysts what are the impacts?
Analysts can use these tools to listen in and identify research efforts. They can also use it for primarily qualitative research.
Analysts can go direct to the product managers, and in some cases bypassing AR professionals.
Can develop personal networks, career brands, that carry with them further than reports under an umbrella brand.
Analysts finally realize they are also media in addition to their traditional roles.
Would love to hear your commentary after listening in to the discussion, what are topics that need to be dove into further?
Social technologies have impacted every industry, and most in a disruptive nature as middle men (and women) have been cut out, consumers turn to each other, and the lines of communication have become direct. The Industry Analyst space, which is known for research, advisory, insights, and ability to influence buyers and media, has directly been influenced.
While we’ve lately seen some major changes to the industry analyst space using social technologies, the question that many (buyers of research, Analyst Relations, Analysts, and their management) are wrestling with is ‘how’ does social technologies impact the space, and how can I take advantage of it. Some questions that quickly come to mind are: how does social impact research, client relations, vendor relations, influence, media interactions, premium or syndicated content, conferences and events, and can buyers of technology simply connect to each other and bypass analysts all together?
We’re going to take these topics head-on, as we’ll be hosting a no-cost roundtable discussion (no slides) with the top thinkers on this space. Please join Jonny Bentwood, (Technobabble, @jonnybentwood) who has undertaken efforts to measure social influence in the space, Barbara French (Tekrati, @bfr3nch) an understated long-time influencer in the analyst space, as well as Carter Lusher, a dynamic commentator, former Gartner Analyst and former HP AR professional now at SageCircle, @carterlusher.
Registration is limited, please sign up now, and mark your calendars. Although we have a long, long list of specific discussion points, we want to help craft the discussion around the comments and questions you have, so *please* leave a comment of the discussion topics you’d like us to tackle.
I had an interesting conversation with the head of marketing of a vendor here at Forrester’s marketing conference. She told me about the changing role of AR. Now, the role of AR must evolve, as analysts have direct connections to employees of their company, and have the ability to circumnavigate that traditional relationship. For example, I can easily tweet out “anyone in the sharepoint team have have a moment for some questions” and I’d suspect they’d quickly respond in seconds, whether or not the AR person was involved.
To respond to these times, I’ve found that the best AR folks do the following things: 1) Listen to analysts and synthesize. Now, AR folks can listen directly to the thoughts and insights of analysts that share online. Most AR folks I talk to know what I’ve been up to, where I’m going, and what I care about. As more analysts start to create more content online, the AR role becomes more critical 2) Prepare internal stakeholders. This isn’t anything new, but I’ve noticed that the top AR folks are prepping the interviewers I speak with my blog posts and reports, helping them save time. I’ll be honest, it’s difficult to keep track of my output, fortunately the AR person can do this. 3) Reconnect me with stakeholders. The best AR folks are building a long term relationship with me, leave comments on my blog, send me emails, and setup formal briefings.
What’s the theme here? The role hasn’t changed that much in the traditional sense, but the AR professional isn’t a gatekeeper, instead they facilitate.
Leave a comment, how else can AR folks evolve when it comes to social?