Archive for January, 2010

List of Corporate Social Media Strategists, Corporate Community Managers in 2010


Update Jan 7, 2011: I am no longer updating this list, instead, find the more updated list for 2011 for Corporate Social Strategists.

As an industry watcher, I look at trends, data, spending, technologies, yet what’s really important is watching the trend of professionals as they grow into these roles managing disruptive technologies.  Update: Brian Hayashi has created a spreadsheet of this with additional info –like Twitter handles. We’re staying coordinated so the data is matched, follow Brian on Twitter.

[Connecting with customers using social technologies is deceptively challenging, as most outsiders don’t recognize the leadership to change internal cultural. Now, in public, let’s recognize those who are paving the way]

Methodology: About this List
This 2010 list is an update from the original I started in 2008, it was woefully out of date as people moved around.  This list is updated, as I’ve separated the large technology section in HW vs SW and am only linking to LinkedIn accounts.

A majority of this data is based off submissions in the 2008 post, which most which are self-submissions or from their fellow colleagues and we only link to their already public profile in LinkedIn for verification.  We’ve spend days compiling this data, but due to the content ever changing, we expect there to be some inaccuracies, leave a comment if you see something that needs fixing. Thanks to Sonal Mehta a student at American University who I’ve hired helped me in this research.

Read Carefully: How to get on this List
In a world of noise, curation becomes very valuable, as a result, there are very specific requirements for this list, which include:  1) You must have a public LinkedIn profile page, as this is one of the best way to verify employment. 2) The profile indicates that social media is part of your full time employee role at the corporation–not just for personal or casual use.  3) You must work at an enterprise class corporation with more than 1000 employees, 4) Must be on brand side  5) You’ll kindly leave a comment below with the submission for review.   Due to excess volume, submissions by Twitter and emails or other channels will not be included, kindly leave a comment in this centralized area below.

In an effort to keep information in a tight scope, I’m not able to include folks who are doing great work in other sectors.  However, if you decide to create a list for other sectors, I’ll prominently link to it from this post.  Update: Here’s a growing list for non-profits.

Sign Up For Upcoming Free Report: Skillset of the Social Media Strategist
The Altimeter Group is developing a free research report, on “Skillsets of Social Media Strategists” and will identify the attributes, backgrounds, experience of this emerging role, if you’re interested in receiving a copy, please register on this form.  We will use portions of the data found in this post for the research report, so thanks for helping to update it.

Social Media Strategists at Corporations
The strategist is a program manager, who mainly focuses internally rather than being the external public face like the community manager. They are primarily responsible for resources, processes, teams, they are usually internally focused and ultimately, return on investment.



Business Services

Consumer Product Goods

Electronics, Devices, Mobile

Financial Services

Health and Life Sciences

Hospitality, Food Service

Government, Armed Services, Education

Media and Entertainment


Technology, Hardware, Networking, Component, Computer

Technology, Software, Internet

Community Managers at Corporations
The  community manager is primarily externally facing, and interacts with customers as the public face of the company.  They are primarily customer advocates, evangelists, bloggers, community moderators,  and experts at using social technologies to communicate.  We honor them every fourth Monday of January on Community Manager Appreciation Day.  To keep the focus tight, this list is only of corporate community managers, and not those on contract at community platform vendors or service companies on contract.


Business Services

Government, Armed Services, Education

Hospitality and Travel

Electronics, Devices, Mobile

Financial Services


Technology, Hardware, Networking, Component, Computer

Technology, Software, Internet

Social Media Researchers and Social Media Product Managers at Corporations
When I started this list in 2008, I didn’t have a specific slot for researchers and product managers who are creating these products. These roles are not folks who are using the technologies for marketing, support, or other business use cases (end users) but instead are researching and creating the products that the above professionals will use in their jobs.

I’m passionate about what these folks do, as I, myself, was a strategist/community manager at an enterprise corporation a few years ago.   Update: Thanks to Altimeter’s Andrew Jones for the assistance on the updates.

Expect Rapid Evolution of the Branded Support Community


Companies With Support Communities Not Ready For Changes To Come
For over a decade, with simple BBS systems to community platforms, support communities haven’t undergone much innovation.  Often a silo and tucked away in a website, these communities are going to take center stage.  With social technologies appearing on every webpage, and more existing systems starting to connect, expect to see interesting use cases evolve.   Support focused communities will evolve to touch marketing, sales, channel partners,  CRM systems, and even become a thriving platform in the next few years.  Let’s explore the rapid changes coming together.

A Support Community, Defined.
Take a look at Microsoft’s media centric Channel 9, VMware communities, or even AAA’s travel tips. These branded communities are offered by companies and encourage members to self-support each other, or the company will support them directly. The members are often customers, developers, or implementation partners. It’s not limited to them alone, prospects of a company may peer in to see how vibrant –or angry–the community is. There are over 100 technology vendors offer these commodity features.

The Opportunity: The Support Community No Longer A Cost Center
New forms of monetization for the brand are going to emerge. Support communities won’t just be a cost-center, we should expect to see new forms of value that meet the needs of the community members themselves, the brand, and the partners. To kick start the discussion here’s a few ideas of where I think the support community could evolve to:

  1. Become a thriving marketplace of buyers and sellers. Not just through discussions, but through automated matching of buyers and sellers using reputation systems, and needs analysis tools.  See how the concept of VRM is slowly taking hold.
  2. New forms of value from third parties will spur innovation. System integrators, consultants, and other vendors who have services to offer community members will want to offer training, webinars, or other campaigns.  Branded communities can monetize this as an intermediary.
  3. Formalized advocacy programs will take hold beyond the organic evangelist. Some communities will offer features and programs that encourage members to join an unpaid army and reach out to prospects –and ready them to arms when the brand is under attack.
  4. Communities members will ideate and start build new products with R&D. In some cases, they may help the brand define new products and be very involved in the R&D process.
  5. Developer platform will let community create their own experience. Taking a nod from Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, someday, support communities will offer platforms that will enable the members to create new applications, tools, and even products within the context of the community.
  6. Connecting to CRM systems to offer better service. Community platforms will connect to CRM systems identify upsell, crosssell, and underserved accounts, increasing the efficiency of support.
  7. Connections to other systems yield new experiences. Support communities will no longer be a silo but will connect to brand monitoring tools. ERP systems, business intelligence systems, web analytics, and social analytics tools.
  8. The walls of support communities crumble as they connect to the public web. There are support communities in existence all around the web (see Get Satisfaction, UserVoice or even a customer created community). Expect to see branded communities tie to these off-domain systems.
  9. Leave a comment below with your idea.  The opportunities are abound.

A Key Constraint: Members first, Company Second
Despite the many opportunities for innovation of communities, first and foremost, the sanctity of the community members must not be broken.  Companies have learned, often the hard way, that the members are in charge, so this needs to be a win for them first, the company second.

Join The Discussion and Upcoming Roundtable
I plan to hold a no-fee “Community Innovation” roundtable in Q1, to ideate the evolution of the branded community beyond support. Should you be interested in attending, I look forward to hearing from you in the following web form. I’ll be extending an invite to some key thought leaders in this space, to really spur the thinking from the top minds.

Growth at Altimeter Group: Supply Chain Management, Government Innovation


Two Key Additions In Growth Areas: Lora Cecere, Alan Webber
We’re pleased to announce that we’re expanding two new partners Lora Cecere (full bio), Supply Chain Management and Alan Webber (full bio), Government Innovation. Founding partner, coauthor of Groundswell, Charlene Li discusses the hires and the changes in the marketAt the Altimeter Group, we’re not forced into limited topic areas, but instead look at the intersection of major themes.  Each partner has a unique perspective, and we are constantly talking, sharing, and pushing our ideas by collaborating, you’re starting to see this manifest as Ray (CRM) and (Social) converge on Social CRM. We know that customers demand a holistic experience, so organizations will follow suit, here’s how our world of social technologies merges with these two new topic areas:

Supply Chain Management: Intersections with Consumers
In my area of focus, customer strategy, it’s important to expand the thinking to ‘where the customers will be’. With the rapid adoption of simple social technologies, they’ve caused great disruption to marketing, PR, media, and customer support. With customers and prospects explicitly giving off signals of what they want, don’t want, or intend to do, it gives companies the opportunity to anticipate their needs. We see this opportunity to tie these customer signals in social media and getting the right products to customers –when they need it most. So what’s next? Beyond social media marketing, or supporting customers with social technologies, an upcoming trend we see is tying social technologies with supply chain management. There are three areas where social and supply chain management start to converge:

  • Demand signals by empowered consumers using social and mobile technologies. As consumers indicate their demand for new products or intentions, these signals will be transmitted to companies, their distributors, and sellers to anticipate the needs of consumers.  Companies can reduce their inventory, shipping, an risk of spoilage of limited shelf-life products.
  • Co-innovation of new products between consumers –and engineering. We’re already seeing some companies like Uservoice, SalesForce ideas power Nokia, Dell, and Starbucks to ask their customers what they want built, but we expect this trend to continue.  Aside from reducing time and cost of the R&D process, companies can produce just the right amount of inventory, and benefit from an army of engaged advocates that participated in co-creation.

We’re pleased to bring on Lora Cecere from AMR, where her domain knowledge of supply chain management will cross over with many of of our areas of focus. Learn more about her on her bio on the Altimeter site, or on Twitter.

Government and Education Connect With Communities
Open government, citizen media, and social media used to organize and rebuild after a crises have all touched our lives in one way or another. Undoubtedly, government agencies are realizing the power of these tools to understanding their citizens, learning from them, and influencing them. As a result, expect disruptive technologies like mobile and social to quickly move into the government limelight, such as the TSA adopting a blog to connect with travelers.

  • Build better relationships with communities. We’re already seeing government organizations benefit from understanding these tools, and using during campaigning practices. As citizens have already adopted these technologies, government organizations can benefit by listening, understanding and responding to citizens using social tools.
  • Use social technologies to innovate programs. It’s not just about using these tools for campaigning purposes, but also improving existing programs.  Take for example, San Francisco uses Twitter to located troublesome potholes, reducing the costs for city workers to find the areas to fix –instead relying on citizens to reduce costs.  Expect new forms of innovation to emerge that will improve cultures and where people live.

It’s a pleasure to welcome former colleague Alan Webber from Forrester Research, who’s got a strong background on web user experience, and a focus on government innovation. Together, we’ll be crafting frameworks for government agencies, educational institutions and those that serve them on how to harness social technologies to improve their missions. Learn more about Alan from his blog, Ronin Research, his bio on the Altimeter site, or on Twitter.

Growth At the Altimeter Group
Back in late August when Ray, Debs, and myself joined Charlene, we were excited to try a new model. Now, four months later, we’ve over 40 clients on retainer relationship, that’s little over 2 companies signing on board with us per week and are about a dozen employees.  We’ve previously announced new hires, recently we hired Valerie, our operations manager, who will keep the gears going as we help our clients tackle ‘wicked’ problems.

Although we’re best known for our focus on disruptive technologies like social, web and marketing, the Altimeter Group has a wider offering that expands to enterprise applications and innovating new products.

Related Posts

Community Manager Appreciation Day #CMAD (Every 4th Monday of Jan)


Every fourth Monday of January, let’s take the time to pause, recognize, and celebrate the efforts community managers around the world to improve customer experiences.

Passionate About Customers
The title matters not, whether it’s online customer advocate, online customer support, company evangelist, disgruntled customer handler. Instead, focus on what they do: A customer advocate willing to help regardless of where they are online. Learn more by reading the Four Tenants of Community Managers.

Yet, Community Managers Don’t Have it Easy
Yet despite their admirable intentions, we know they face several uphill challenges:

  • Many challenges are internal: Most companies want to hide customer issues, and shuffle them into existing support systems. Additionally, measuring ROI in new media when a company wants to keep the kimono shut, increasingly becomes a challenge.
  • Seemingly never ending job: Customers never stop having problems, and with the global internet, the questions, complains, and inquires never stop.
  • Emotional drain impacts lifestyle: The sheer emotional strain of dealing with a hundreds of yelling customers and the occasional trouble maker will take a strain on anyone.
  • Privacy risks in the world of transparency: In an effort to build trust with customers, they expose their real name exposing their personal –and family– privacy forever on.

Now, Recognize A Community Manager, Every 4th Monday of January
While we agree with common manners to always thank someone after they’ve helped you, just take a moment to pause.. and think. Why would someone willingly go through the above mentioned challenges? Because of their passion to improve the company, and help customers have a better relationship. In many cases, a genuine ‘thank you’ can mean more than a yearly customer satisfaction survey. Take the time to recognize and thank the community manager that may have helped you while you during your time of need.

  • If you’re a customer, and your problem was solved by a community manager be sure to thank them in the medium that helped you in. Use the hashtag #CMAD.
  • If you’re a colleague with community manager, take the time to understand their passion to improve the customer –and company experience. Copy their boss.
  • If you’re a community manager, stop and breathe for a second, and know that you’re appreciated. Hug your family.

This isn’t just about a single role, but a bigger trend of making product and services more efficient, and thereby our world a little bit more efficient and sustainable. The comments are wide open if you wanted to share your experience working with community manager, or as one, feel free to thank them below.

Supported by Bill Johnston, Connie Benson, Rachel Happe, Jake McKee, Sean O’Driscoll, Lane Becker, Dawn Foster, Thor Muller, Amy Muller and Jeremiah Owyang, as we recognize and salate community managers!

Related Links

  • HRZone recognizes Becky Midgley
  • Jake McKee says this is (just about) the loneliest job
  • Bill Johnston, recognizes community managers
  • Amy Muller, Get Satisfaction contemplates where community management is and where it’s heading.
  • Amy also asks the community to showcase her community management heros.
  • Dawn Foster asks if you’ve thanked your community manager today.
  • Dawn shouts out to community managers.
  • Sam reasons why the community manager role is essential.
  • Connie Benson, a great friend, shouts out to community managers.
  • Rachel Happe gives reasons why we should pause and thank community managers
  • Connie Bensen of Alterian sent me this screenshot of mentions
  • Slides: Four Social Media Trends for Business in 2010


    Companies Must Approach Social Programs In A Coordinated Effort
    Many companies are enthralled by the opportunity to use social technologies to connect with customers, yet many lack a plan or coordinated effort. Additionally, things are going to get more difficult as they don’t realize that as consumers and employees rapidly adopt these tools the level of complexity increases across the organization. While it’s easy to get caught up on the specific new technologies that are constantly emerging, companies should focused on business trends and themes in 2010. In particular, companies must develop a business strategy based on customer understanding, put the baseline resources in place to get your company ready, deliver a holistic experience to customers –and build advocacy programs and anticipate customer need.

    Open Research: You can download the slides from slideshare, and use with attribution for non-commercial reasons.

    To Be Successful, Companies Should Focus On Four Key Trends
    While there are many themes in 2010 for companies, II focused in on the four key themes companies must focus on:

    1) Don’t fondle the hammer. Understand customers, focus on objectives, not develop strategies based on ever-changing tools. Companies really need to understand their customers first, see our recorded webinar to learn more.
    2) Live the 80% rule. This is a movement: get your company ready. 80% of success is getting the right organizational model, roles, processes, stakeholders, and teams assembled –only 20% should be focused on technology.
    3) Customers don’t care what department you’re in. Customers just want their problem fixed, they don’t care what department you’re in. Yet, now, nearly every department can have a direct relationship with your customers using social tools. As a result, provide customers with a holistic experience Start to investigate how brand monitoring, community tools and CRM systems are merging.
    4) Real time is *not* fast enough. Companies cannot scale when it comes to social media, for most companies, you cannot hire enough people to monitor and respond to the conversation, As a result, lean on advocates, by building unpaid armies, and anticipate customer needs through advanced listening techniques.

    This event was hosted last night at the Silicon Valley American Marketing Association nice redesign, and hosted by Adobe (disclosure: an Altimeter client). I was later joined by Jeannette Gibson, social media executive of global marketing at Cisco, Ed Terpening, VP of Social Media at Wells Fargo, Maria Povermo, leading Social Media in Marketing at Adobe, and Rob Fuggetta of Zuberance to have a lively panel on how they are using these technologies. The event was recorded, I’ll add a link as soon as it becomes available.

    Text translations now in Japanese