New Research Details 2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards Winners

In my last post, I talked about the 2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards winners. I would like to echo Josh Bernoff’s recent blog observation that anyone can do a successful social application, (and from my perspective) especially those in industries that sell primarily to other businesses. In research published earlier today, I explain how the winners and finalists — and the activities I follow at other top firms — show that more companies are taking steps to enter the social world. To keep create successful social discourse with customers that drives real business returns, B2B marketers should:

1) Pick an audience, listen to them, and then join the conversation. B2B marketers keen to get involved in this groundswell of social activity should start with a specific group of customers or target buyers in mind. Actively listen to this audience in the venues they visit. Interact by tracking which topics they discuss and how frequently they discuss them. Engage in active social listening, summarize your findings, and present your experiences to your marketing, support, and sales teams.

2) Make specific business outcomes the goal of social activity. Cut the social goal-setting process short by convening five, 2-hour executive meetings that tackle, in turn, audience profiles, business objectives, measures/outcomes, resources, and responsibilities. Share the outcomes of this discussion with the primary teams who need to implement the chosen objectives for the chosen audience.

3) Rationalize your public social presence with your Web site. Most B2B Web sites focus too much on the company and not enough on what buyers want. Put your Web site at the center of your social media plans. Inventory official and semi-official presences on public social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and look at what you find when you put audience and objectives first. Chances are, it won’t be pretty.

4) Organize for social success. My former colleague, Jeremiah Owyang, recommends adopting a hub-and-spoke model for social organization, and I agree.  Hub-and-spoke supports a central, cross-functional group that facilitates resource-sharing and cross-team communications with those in distributed product groups, divisions, or geographies closer to strategy execution. It also gives business units flexibility while providing a central authority that enables your organization to act efficiently and to account for the impact of social activity.

Take a look at the winners, finalists, and other examples of social application excellence in the report and let me know what other examples you have seen that equal these accomplishments in innovation and business value.

6 Responses to “New Research Details 2009 Forrester Groundswell Awards Winners”

  1. Lead Generation: How Some Marketing SW Vendors Stretch the Truth « B2B Marketing POSTs by Laura Ramos Says:

    [...] Reading further, the sender said an “independent MIT study” backed up the claim. Former Forrester analyst that I am, I had to think “This sounds too good to be [...]

  2. Best Practices For Marketing To Buyers “In The Cloud” « B2B Marketing POSTs by Laura Ramos Says:

    [...] to build deeper — and eventually more profitable — customer relationships, I joined Jon Miller (VP of Maketing at automation rising-star Marketo) and David Alston (social media guru who heads up [...]

  3. Adam Needles Says:

    Hi, Laura. I wanted to both agree and disagree with your point number three.

    I think one of the new challenges that B2B marketers are facing is that more than ever their own Web sites are no longer at the center of their online marketing. There is a diffusion of the corporate presence across the social sphere. I agree we need to create inroads back, but I think we should shift our thinking so that it’s not that everything has to come back to our corporate Web site, per se, but rather that that we’re able to get our arms around and go wherever our buyer is. More corralling than funneling. (After all, the sales funnel is dead, anyway … it’s a buying cycle … but I digress!)

    I think that more than ever this will also challenge our current thinking around SEO.

    I also think this opens new opportunities for marketing automation — more than ever — to be that invisible connective glue that ties together multiple corporate beachheads in the Web and social sphere and enables us to turn activity into opportunity. In fact, as the diffusion continues, it’s increasingly impossible to be successful in online marketing w/o automation to better manage buyer-centric, dynamic marketing campaigns.

    My two cents.

    BTW — Great series on ‘lessons learned’ from Groundswell. Enjoying both of your posts.

  4. Rick Braddy Says:

    Excellent advice. This caused me to realize we should make our blog a top level menu item on all of our company websites, to ensure our visitors can get into the conversation with us.

    Thank you!

  5. Domenick Celentano Says:

    Hi Laura, I have your blog in my RSS as well as feeds on several blogs I write. Since Social Media is cutting across all of my clients and I find it becoming more of a part of my curriculum I teach on Retail Marketing.

    This post is great in so far as it simplifies the process of getting started. I am currently working with two clients on encouraging a social media strategy… I was getting to complex so the process you articulated will help me greatly.

    Thanks

    Dom

  6. uberVU - social comments Says:

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by lauraramos: Published research about lessons marketers can learn from B2B division Forrester Groundswell Awards winners. http://bit.ly/1cxehq


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