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.