Want to learn about Formalized Social Advocacy Programs? An embedded recording is below.
What are some of the most advanced social media programs by companies? We see formalized Advocacy Programs like Fiskers Fiskateers, Intel Insiders, Microsoft MVPs, Walmart Moms (and Dads), and beyond (see this quora thread) as the most advanced. Why? In order to gain scale and trust, companies must give up significant control and management to allow these advocates a platform to speak. Furthermore, we found in our research that these advocacy programs often put the advocates front and center, often before the brand.
Altimeter has been tracking these programs for research for over 2 years, and have conducted a handful of workshops for clients, but for the most part, haven’t shared our findings in public. Because this topic is so niche (our survey data yielded less than 20% of companies were investing in these programs) we held off on publishing till the market matured. Interestingly, we found companies that were ripe for these programs either had already an engaged set of brand loyalists, or was a brand under scrutiny, or those that were ready for uncomfortable conversations with critics performed best.
We do not recommend this program for companies in their formative years, as these programs impact all customer relationships spanning product teams, sales, marketing, corp comm, media and executives. Companies that have become ‘social organizations’ throughout are able to properly invest, sustain, and use advocate feedback to actually change products and services.
Advance your career and learn about the three Disruptive Business Themes companies cannot ignore.
Working among our team of analysts and researchers, Altimeter’s Research group has found three common higher level themes that will disrupt all businesses. Working among our analysts from mobile, content marketing, advertising, analytics, leadership, change management, user experience, and social, we’ve distilled all of the trends we’re seeing and found a common thread among them.
We generated the three research themes with the following in mind: the goal was to ascertain business disruption trends –beyond just technology changes. Each Altimeter analyst provided a unique viewpoint to help create a consolidated view of disruptive trends. All Altimeter analysts will focus on these research themes for 2012 and beyond. All our artifacts (speeches, webinars, reports, blogs, and client interactions) will stem from these themes.
Three Disruptive Business Research Themes
Dynamic Customer Journey: How can inflexible organizations synchronize with the changing customer?
Adaptive Organization: How can an organization adapt and thrive in a real-time world?
Sentient World: What’s smarter: A college grad or your future fridge? (intriguing, yes?)
The recording is below, and you can listen in, and watch the slides in this short 20 minute presentation between myself, Jeremiah Owyang, and partner Alan Webber. We will be announcing a blog ring shortly, encouraging the industry to explore each of the three themes in the coming quarters from your own blog. If you’re interested in learning how to get involved email us at info @altimetergroup.com
This week, Altimeter (myself and Andrew Jones, researcher) hosted a webinar stemming from the the recent report on Social Media Proliferation, which you can download the full report on this blog post. In the embedded slides and video below, you’ll be able to get additional insights on how we perceive how this market will change in the coming years:
We’ll see a vendor shakeout, although expect pure play vendors of each of the five uses cases to remain
Consolidation will occur from market forces of email marketing, web analytics, CMS, marketing automation, brand monitoring, support software and beyond
These tools, in the long run, will marry into existing communication tools to become a new form of a unified digital marketing platform
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.
Responding to Customers In Social Support May Be Hurting Your Brand. Why?
You may be teaching your customers to yell at their friends in order to get your attention. You must develop a social support strategy that involves an escalation process, will scale, and use the right internal processes and software to succeed.
In the above recorded webinar, you can watch the replay and learn about the business case (why many companies have fallen down in social media crises) understand market data on trends on adoption rates and spending, and a five step escalation framework with over a dozen examples.
Above: The 5-Tier Social Support Approach
10 Reasons How Customer Care Has Changed:
There are some significant shifts on how the customer care organization must adopt, here’s what I’ve found talking to these groups:
Responding to Social Customers May Hurt Your Brand. As stated above, any company who haphazardly responds to customers in social channels without a strategy may be encouraging customers to yell at their friends to get your attention. This will only spiral down further and further.
Outbound Strategy –not Inbound: Support groups must go where customers already are, and this means beyond the call center walls into social networks, third party forums, and online review sites. At a minimum, they must monitor and develop a triage system.
Linear Escalation Now Fragmented: Previously, call center and customer care issues were cleanly routed into queues using support software, now, it’s dirty and messy as the social web is filled with unstructured data, multiple instances repeated across social networks, and a rapidly changing discussion in real time.
Customer Woes Escalate in Public in Real Time. In a few of the most extreme cases like Motrin Moms or Dooce vs Whirlpool we saw these issues escalate during a weekend. As a result, corporations must practice their firedrills in the anticipation of a Friday night crises before a three day weekend when executives are away.
Anyone in Company can be in Support. Unlike prior years where support was often routed to trained dedicated customer care professionals, now anyone in the company can participate in online tools and support customers. This poses significant threats and opportunities for scale.
Customers Can Do Your Job For You: Similar to #5, companies now can tap into their customers (yes, those people who give you money) to do your job for you, but you’ll nee to provide them with service, recognition, and access.
Must Factor in Social Influence –But Know When To Draw the Line. While we’ve already documented the many examples of punkings, we also need to curb our instant reaction to catering to influencers as this could cause bad behavior from influencers in future scenarios.
Special Treatment is Shared in Public: Related to #7, assume special treatment to angry customers is now public, as they’ll tell others around them what worked –potentially forgoing your business model.
Support is the New Marketing. As prospects read reviews from your existing customers, they will undoubltly read reviews on ratings sites, blogs, and forums. Since we know customers trust each other often more brands themselves the support group is one of the most important business units in the company, and cannot be ‘swept under the rug’.
Must Seek New Business Models. Many support organizations are now profit centers, they generate revenues through service level agreements or upgrade and upselling. Now, because customers can self-support each other, many support executives must rethink their strategy. Savvy companies like Autodesk and Intuit have already integrate social support communities right into the product experience.
Webinars continue to be an important way companies connect to customers for education, marketing, sales, and customer support purposes. Yet most companies relegate these tasks to junior staff at the last minute, forgetting a key number of crucial steps and increase risk. While tools like Cisco’s Webex, GoToMeeting, Adobe Connect, and Microsoft LiveMeeting and Slideshare Zipcast, (Or Virtual events with On24, INXPO, Unisfair ) offer a variety of technologies, they don’t provide a strategy or a comprehensive checklist on the many components needed.
Get to know the Ten P’s
Master the Ten P’s, and notice that steps one through seven are actually before the actual webinar performance. The Ten Ps include: 1) Philosophy, 2) Purpose, 3) Planning, 4) Professionals, 5) Programming of Content, 6) Promotion, 7) Preparation and Practice, 8> Performance “Showtime”, 9) Pursuit, 10) Post Mortem
Detailed Guide for Download: How To Successfully Produce A Professional Grade Webinar, Webcast, or Teleconference
Download this excel sheet from slideshare by clicking on the embed below.
Review with your team, then assign team members and dates
Place this document in a central location so all team members can see, and conduct regular meetings to complete checklist
If you’re in the marketing or sales arena, the 9th P is crucial. Remember, once the event ends, your job is just starting and you must focus on “Pursuit” for sales followups, don’t just throw a lead least over the transom to sales.
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?
We’re embarking on yet another research report to identify how some top brands are using the Facebook platform well.
While no longer a one-off effort, many brands are already using Facebook for customer communities, word of mouth marketing, and are starting to integrate it with their own corporate website. At the end of July, I’ll be publishing our findings, as well as grading some of the world’s top brands on their Facebook efforts. We’ll be conducting a heuristic evaluation (acting like actual customers) and rate and rank these efforts with a variety of diagnostics.
Now back to you, what criteria to you deem as key for brands to use in Facebook? I’ll kick off with a few: 1) Enable social features. Some brands have disabled the ability to have discussions or post information. 2) Encourage efforts that spread the experience to friends. Many brands are just talking directly to their members, but don’t explicitly enable the community to pass it on to others. 3) Engage in a dialog. The social web is about behaving in a way that consumers already are, and this means brands should also participate in the existing conversation. 4) While we have a list of over 10, we’d love to hear from you.
Update: The submissions are pouring in, to date, we’ve included, Vendor Contributors such as:
360i, AKQA, Awareness Networks, The Community RoundTable, Context Optional, Digital Evolution Group, Edelman Digital, Facebook, Horn Group, Janrain, Inside Facebook, Kickapps, Gigya, Lithium, LiveWorld, Ogilvy’s 360° Digital Influence, Razorfish, RockYou, SHIFT Communications, Spredfast, StepChange a Powered Company, Vitrue and Wildfire Interactive.
Webinars an effective way to engage prospects
Webinars are increasingly important to the online marketplace who doesn’t have time to attend a conference, peel away from the office, or wants to learn on their own time. In fact, webinars, webcasts, and teleconferences can also be a long term asset as it’s viewed multiple times, and will continue to generate qualified leads.
Yet most have the wrong mindset, fail to plan, and miss qualified leads
Yet, most webinar producers do it wrong, or they miss key steps in planning, or fail to follow up and ‘pursue’ attendees. A common mistakes? Not engaging with the distracted multi-tasking audience, and recognizing that webinars are now a two-way medium –even if chat features are not enabled in the platform. Those who seek to produce successful webinars should follow these “Ten P’s” and reduce risk and increase chances of success.
How To Successfully Produce A Webinar: Follow the “Ten P’s”
1) Philosophy: Most approach webinars realizing they are different than all other mediums. Despite being primarily one-way they have a social element as attendees will interact with each other in the provided chat features, or on tools like Twitter. Secondly, many webinar producers don’t offer helpful content to the audience, and instead treat it like a sales pitch. Lastly, speakers that are great on stage in the real world, may fall short and appear lackluster in an online faceless webinar.
2) Purpose: Many webinar producers fail to pick a succinct goal, in fact this is key as it will define how you measure success. Some objectives can include: Thought leadership, association, customer references, lead generation, sales material, accelerating the customer life cycle, or education.
3) Planning: There are many decisions and steps that need to happen in this crucial phase. From deciding if the event should be recorded in advance, or done live, when to schedule the event (taking into account a global audience and conference and travel sesaons) and then selecting the right platforms between Adobe, Microsoft, WebEx, and Go To Meeting. One biggest fail point is not having the right hardware and software (including compatible browsers) and waiting to the last-minute-scramble to get this done. The truly savvy producers will integrate the webinar with existing community and tie with direct marketing systems and then funnel leads to the CRM system.
4) Professionals: There are many talent considerations to make during this performance. Just as you would bring forth the best speakers at your customer conference, you should apply the same thinking here. Your internal team will include the following duties, but keep in mind, often one person will conduct multiple duties such as: Internal Stakeholder, Webinar Producer, Coordinator, Marketer, Community Manager, and Technical Support of both the platform, hardware, and software. The performance team will include any of the following: Speaker, panelists, emcees, and should have a backup speaker.
5) Programming of Content: Once a kickoff meeting has been set in place, the internal and performance team should discuss content. The producer should offer details about the event, goal, audience, and suggest topics. Decisions around this being a one-off event, or an ongoing series needs to occur, as well as the presentation style (keynote vs panel, or some type of hybird). The hosting company needs to clearly think through the risks of ‘pitching’ wares as it will have both negative and positive impacts.
6) Promotion: Most webinar producers don’t fully think this through, however successful webinar producers create a template of marketing content that can be used in multiple mediums, create a registration form that both collects opt-in leads as well as polls the audience for the actual event, applies an integrate marketing approach by alerting prospects via email, web, account teams and even advertising. In the most sophiticated examples the producer and marketer has developed a way to benefit by early engagement and word of mouth by polling the audience to submit questions and using social events features like Facebook and LinkedIn events. Tip: get your speakers to promote, for example, I always tweet out to my followers about my upcoming webinars.
7) Preparation and Practice: Like a real world performance, the speakers should both practice in advance by doing a dry run. While the entire set of content doesn’t need to be rehearsed specifics on the logistics, hardware, software, and connections tests need to be completed. Assume some aspect of the technical side will go wrong at the actual performance, so it’s key you reduce risk by having a rehearsal in advance.
8] Performance: This is it, we’re now at “Showtime!” One key mindset is to remember to engage with the crowd by sourcing questions. Savvy producers will have an emcee who can guide speakers or panelists that go astray, and also be the voice for the attendees who are asking questions in the chat room or even on Twitter. Savvy producers will poll the audience at the start of the event (or use data from the registration form) and also pose a post-performance poll, asking for satisfaction in near real time.
9) Pursuit: This is the most overlooked opportunity by producers. Rather than patting yourself on the back after the webinar, the greatest opportunity lies in “facilitating action after your call-to-action.” Do this by: sending a thank you to the attendees in email, and ask if they want to be contacted directly by your account and sales teams. Also, engage with those who were very engaged in the event, both in their explicit behaviors and duration of paying attention. Furthermore, publish the slides and recording, and make it easy for prospects to contact you to learn more. Then continue to funnel qualified leads to your sales team, showing in order of priority those that have requested to be contacted, and those that were highly engaged.
10) Post Mortem: Have an internal meeting to recap what was done well, and what needs to be improved. Develop a report for your primary stakeholder based upon your decided purpose, and send a thank you to the speakers. Lastly, congratulate yourself for producing a successful webinar!
Most webinar teams are successful at planning and promotion, but often fall short at preparation and pursuit. Make your webinar outstanding by using these 10 phases as a high level checklist.
I’ve a much more detailed worksheet for clients who hire me as a professional speaker for their webinars. It breaks down in detail each of these items into 60 specific items with insights and recommendations, which we can use as a working document in our planning, contact me for more information or learn about my speaking.