Left: The Future of Media Panel rounds off Day 1 at Forrester’s Marketing Conference.
I’m sitting in the front row here in Orlando at Forrester’s Marketing Conference. We’re talking about the “M”M world, no not the Mouse but Media. This closing panel is discussing the Future of Media. Moderator is colleague David Card, Annis Lyles, VP Media of Coca Cola, Greg Clayman, EVP of MTV, and David Verklin CEO of Canoe Ventures. David’s not taking any prisoners and is intending to make this a pretty tough panel, rightfully so, media is undergoing some serious changes.
David starts out showing that newspapers is struggling, from NYT, Rocky Mountain, and SFgate. First let’s start with the client side. Coke recalls the day when there were only three major media networks –now there are many. She focuses her strategy on consumers, and first starts with her kids. David, from Canoe has a focus on TV, and says “TV is getting back in the game”. How? to bring interactivity to the TV. He’s extremely optimistic saying that “TV is a platform”, and says he’s going to launch a new product in three weeks. I’m a bit hesitant to his optimism, but hey, I’m open to a briefing.
Annis from Coke brings us back to reality, but suggesting we should first collect information from our consumers. David suggests that we can use data to only show TV ads about dog supplies to dog owners. The panel debated over how to get this data, from a variety of sources, such as panels, existing data sources. I certainly hope they read my upcoming report on the Future of the Social Web, some of the answers are in there. David suggests that “the Internet has really raised our game”, and nods to how the benefits of search, and it’s ability to measure. Yet, he suggests that the accuracy and relevancy of internet ads are very low.
Moderator David Card fires a blow to the panel and says “What happens when consumers skip through advertisements on TV” The panels spins, rebalanced and comes back. David says that we’ve had ad skipping technology for years, called the “clicker”, nice counter. I didn’t hear any epiphanies out of the panel, not sure if they have a strong idea of the future of media, but hey, this is a very difficult topic.
A question from audience: “Why is new interactive ads on TV relevant? It’s still push, interruptive advertising” David suggests that interactive TV will provide new engagements for segments. Cooking shows are entertainment, and chefs are taking notes, instead, they’ll need new experiences to get recipes.
The final question from the audience? When does TV and Internet combine. Coke says “all media will merge” and says “it’s now”. Good answer. David from Canoe says 2011, “in next five years content will come across 3 screens” nice bold statement. Greg suggests 3-5 years.
David Berkowitz, who I’ve known for years, a top marketing blogger and practitioner is live blogging, see what he wrote. David always has to outdo me and has not 1, but 4 pictures.
I’m updating this post live
I’m sitting across the street from the SXSW convention center, yesterday the organizer Hugh Forrest told me that attendees to the Interactive portion (a great deal with a focus on social) was up aprox 20% (just an approximation). I’ve seen many social media strategists (see list) here at the conference that are here to network with the influencers, get educated at the sessions, and to soak in what community really means.
During a recession, marketers are often forced to reduce budgets, in fact, it’s often one of the first buckets to get trimmed. In our latest research: Social Media Playtime is Over, we found that 53% of marketers are determined to increase their social media budget during a recession, and 42% will keep it the same, a total of 95% of marketers bullish on social media marketing. Why? The reasons are obvious to some, it’s inexpensive and the opportunity to benefit from cost-effective word-of-mouth, are promising.
Now this doesn’t mean that budgets are expanding immensely, since this is a ‘new’ media, these are small budgets. How small? I say minuscule. Three-quarters of marketers have $100,000 of less budgeted for social media marketing.
Even though the budgets are small and growing, we recommend to our clients, in order to be successful, not to approach social media marketing as experimental, but to put the right roles, process, and measurement capabilities in place to be effective. Remember, the most expensive cost isn’t the tools, the most expensive part is the soft costs: strategy, education, process, roles, measurement).
Key Takeaway? Social media budgets are small, but are growing during a recession, yet brands shouldn’t approach this as an experiment, and should have a proper strategy complete with objectives, roles, processes, and measurement.
I’d like to thank Tom Cummings who lead the survey effort and data cleansing, Emily Bowen who kept us on track, and Josh Bernoff for his insight and editing for the collaborative effort on this report –without them, this report would not have published, it’s great to work with a top-notch research team.
Adweek’s Brian Morrissey: Notes that the budgets are quite small, in his piece Social Media Outlay Still Small
Read Write Web: Despite Recession, More Than 50% of Marketers Increase Spending on Social Media
Marketing Pilgrim: Forrester Report Suggests Marketers Still Spend Peanuts on Social Media, But Increases Planned
BL suggests there are still going to be internal challenges to strategy, objective, and roles.
Colleague Josh Bernoff reinforces: Recession resistant: 95% of social media marketers will maintain or increase social media spending
You’ve heard of demographics (who people are) and psychographics (what they care about) but now, you must be aware of technographics (how people use technologies)
Forrester is known for it’s success with our consumer social technographics, how buyers use social media in their lives. Just this Monday, we released information on the B2B side, technology buyers and folks often within the enterprise lead by Oliver Young, and Laura Ramos (read their take)
I’m going to quote Josh who notes the following from the data:
Some highlights from this research (start by looking at the right two columns):
91% of these technology decision-makers were Spectators — the highest number I’ve ever seen in a Social Technographics Profile. This means you can count on the fact that your buyers are reading blogs, watching user generated video, and participating in other social media. Note that 69% of them said they were using this technology for business purposes.
Only 5% are non-participants (Inactives).
55% of these decision-makers were in social networks (Joiners) — despite as mature businesspeople and not college students, you’d think they’d be participating a lot less.
43% are creating media (blogs, uploading videos or articles, etc.) and 58% are Critics, reacting to content they see in social formats. Again the numbers are very high compared to other groups we’ve surveyed, and again the level of participation for business purposes is also very high
Above: Oliver Young has created a slideshare deck, thumb through it to learn more.
If your boss isn’t sure if social media is right for you, forward them this data and check out the full report, or download a free copy after registration.
Data is a powerful tool (more than a panel of ‘social media gurus’) so use it to make business decisions –go beyond gut instincts and opinions.
Above: The Social Technographics of Baby Boomers. Need to understand more about technographic ladder? read this handy key.
I recently published a report on how baby boomers use social technologies based on our social techngraphics research. While my parents aren’t yet on Facebook, you’d be surprised on how their adoption of social media –they aren’t luddites by any means. With the president of the United States using social technologies for campaigning and his ongoing administration, Boomers retiring and wanting to stay in touch with their digitally expressive children and grandchildren, and with a recession causing need for all of us to connect to each other –expect an increase in social technology adoption across many generations.
If you’re a Forrester client, download the full report, or read my discussion with the New York Times. Sarah Perez, who does excellent coverage at Read Write Web has some additional thoughts and provides some suggestions on what it means (be sure to read the comments)
When I saw the data, I was surprised by the social technology adoption of baby boomers, would love to hear your perception and opinion on this.
Update: Some really don’t like the findings and insights, and have extended me a virtual finger, and I’m pretty sure it’s not this one. Finally, someone gets the fact that we’re not banging on boomers, but instead showing that social media extends beyond teens. Thanks Laura.
Ill be up front, writing research is one of the hardest parts of the job for me, it’s an area I end up putting extra time in.
Despite the extra effort I have to put in, looking back I’m very proud of my body of work. You’ll notice that there’s a strong body of work on community and social networks, all designed to help a brand with their community strategy from soup-to-nuts. Here’s some highlights of what I’ve been working on in the last 16 months:
Body of Work: Community and Social Network Research
Strategy: Online Communities: Build Or Join? (Hint: the answer is ‘when’)
Resources: How to Staff for Social Computing (Like any business program, key people are needed, and here’s there two roles you’ll need to succeed)
Best Practices: Online Community Best Practices (I interviewed 19 brands that have done it right, and to find out how, remember: only 20% is technology)
Best Practices: Best And Worst Of Social Network Marketing, 2008 (we scored 16 brands who conducted marketing efforts on social networks like Facebook, MySpace, and Bebo)
Best Practices: What works in Online Company Forums (lead by Cynthia Pflaum, we published this report to help brands understand what works)
Vendor Selection: Forrester Wave on Community Platforms (This recently launched report scrutinizes 9 of the 100 vendors in this crowded space)
Technology: I’ve done a piece on Facebook’s engagement ads and Google’s Opensocial, while I tend not to like to focus on technology as a driver, these were both innovative ways for marketers to reach communities.
Soon to be published: My upcoming publications include the social technographics of baby boomers, and our predictions for social computing for 2009, you can setup a ‘research alert’ on the right nav of my profile page to be alerted to upcoming reports.
I’m very proud of the hard work we’ve put in, and I’m thankful for my very tough editors, researchers, research associates, editing team, web team and management for supporting this process. Although the research is never done, the current body of work is designed to answer the most critical questions during key milestones for brands who want to understand community. In most cases, while these reports help brands get their strategy in order, I’m often asked to present the reports to their staff, conduct custom research, or make specific strategy and vendor suggestions, I’ve noticed an increase in demand and it’s keeping me very busy.
I’ve two reports that I’m working on, both I hope you’ll find interest in. The first, which is focused on how brands are changing their spending and behavior towards social media during a recession. We conducted a survey, and I found it interesting that most marketers certainly leaned one direction when we asked them “are you going to increase or decrease social media spend”. I am also seeking case examples of brands that have conducted social media efforts since sept 08 and have seen success during times of resource scrutiny. Secondly, I’m working on a report to outline the future of social networks, you may know about the roundtable I hosted in Oct, which is just the precursor to this vision piece. I’m seeking to speak with thought leaders that can see how technologies like, social networks, mobile, ecommerce and corporate websites will evolve to impact the marketing and purchasing process.
If you have research examples you want to submit, you can contact me at jowyang at forrester.com, lead in the subject line “Research Report Submittal: X”
Social + Research
In my opinion only, I’m well aware of the impacts of social technologies on research and analyst firms. Although it hasn’t been done correctly yet, the market could self-organize and provide community based research to each other, bypassing firms. We’ve not seen this happen yet, as then quality of community based research is still low and lacks a directional strategy it certainly is possible. Like I tell my marketing clients, the power is in the hands of the participants –so participate!
My employer has taken note of how I’ve used social technologies to improve research, increase thought leadership, and to share the findings with the market, I’ll be working with fellow analysts to help them understand what works and what doesn’t. Blazing trails is always risky and sometimes fun, but what really matters when it helps a company become more efficient.
If you had your say in my 2009 research agenda, I’d love to hear what you think is missing. We’ve a pretty solid plan based on what we think the market is asking, but I’d love to hear your opinion as well.
Research is always challenging, I’m required to stay objective, follow a consistent methodology, and inform the market who is strong and who’s not. Believe me, I’ve gotten my share of angry calls, emails, blogposts, comments, and conversations with brands and vendors as a result of my reports. I’ve found that one thing that really helps everyone to understand is to be open and transparent about the process.
In every Wave, like the Community Platform Wave I recently published, there are vendors that are elated and those that are disappointed, this is a normal outcome of reports that make the tough decisions to help brands make decisions. I’m empathetic to some of the vendors who were not in the Wave and want to make some clear explinations as they have to answer their colleagues, customers, and investors.
To start with, in a market of now 100 vendors, it’s very important that vendors take the onus to respond to the call for submission to the Vendor Product Catalog (free after registration). We used this information to filter out which vendors would be appropriate for the Wave report. I made a few public calls on my blog, twitter, indicating my intent as a result over 50 vendors submitted. We generally do not follow up unless we’ve heard client demand from inquiry calls, and I turned to 3 analyst peers for their inclusion of any additional vendors.
You can understand the challenges in filtering a large market to just a few vendors, given the amount of hours required to spend on each vendor, Forrester limits the number of candidates involved in the Wave, for this one, nine was a manageable size and we capped it at that number.
Next, we filtered vendors to meet the needs of external communities used for customers (I serve the Interactive Marketer) as well as vendors were primarily serving enterprise class companies.
Some vendors chose not to participate as being involved in a research report takes time of the vendors and perhaps precious time away from clients. Vendors have to participate in meetings, plan travel to meet me in lab, and be involved in several communications throughout the process. In fact, a multi billion dollar company who owns a community platform chose not to participate despite my offer.
I’m required to be objective, without this, I lose credibility and then everything else will fall apart. Several vendors who are in the community space who are Forrester clients were not included in the Wave, in fact, some were livid and gave me an loud earful and I actually suspect they may leave us as a client. Despite this, I’m supported by my management, and our CEO to stay objective.
Now for the good news, while there is no immediate plans, Forrester is known for updating Wave’s in the space after a few years. Secondly, if you’re in this space, you know I publish a weekly digest giving updates to buyers about what’s happening in the market. I know for a fact the digest is read by senior decision makers at large corporations. If you are a vendor in this space, you can schedule a briefing with me and we can discuss your situation, I speak to clients, press, and media frequently and will always match market needs with vendors as deemed appropriate.
I believe in the open conversation, and will support the right for every vendor and customer to voice an opinion. I hope this helps provide insight to why some vendors did –and did not make the Wave, we tried every effort to be fair in our first report in a very large market.