Forrester Report: Best And Worst Of Social Network Marketing, 2008

It’s true, most social network marketing isn’t being done effectively, why? Many brands (and their agencies) are deploying “interactive marketing” (user to website) experience rather than relying on the tools of social networks “social marketing” (member to member). As a result, many brands are wasting their time, money, and resources to reach communities in social networks without first understanding that the use case is very different than a microsite campaign. Don’t just take my word for it, research from Deloitte also suggests the same –WSJ (link via Fabrice)

In this latest report, we created a scorecard (which you can use to checklist your own efforts) which amplifies the real opportunities of social network; the community themselves. This report is great for anyone brand deploying a social network marketing effort, or for agencies that are trying to enter this new world. Marketing efforts did best when the control was turned over to the hands of the community.

[We tested marketing efforts on Social Networks using ‘Social’ criteria (rather than traditional marketing tactics) that meets the needs of the community, sadly, only 1 out 16 brands passed]

We took a multi-industry approach, and reviewed 16 firms from four industries: automotive, media, technology, and consumer products. Sadly, out of this 16 contenders that were appropriate, only the BMW Series 1 received a passing grade, and half of the firms scored a zero or lower. We also tried to find examples in many social networks including Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Imeem, and Microsoft’s Windows Live Spaces. I was already asked on Twitter if there were B2B examples, unfortunately, we only found one that made the report, Microsoft Live Server.

Despite these dismal scores, there were some great examples such as the The Dell/Microsoft (Red) program provided a rich media theme that was easily sharable, Sony’s BMG page for Alicia Keys was personable and interactive, and Kraft’s DiGiorno Pizza delivered a unique interactive experience with its members. To improve social network marketing, brands must develop community-centered content and activities, measure success based on new criteria, and be prepared to participate.

Forrester Report: Best And Worst Of Social Network Marketing, 2008

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Also, I propose we do away with the term “campaign” when it comes to social networks, it derives images of military movements, and short term commitments –exactly what not to do when it comes to communities.

Although some of them have changed since we first started to judge the 16 social network marketing efforts are:
Note: A passing score is a minimum of 8.

BMW 1 Series scores a 9 (Pass) read more
Mazda3 scores a -1
Chevy scores a 3 (who sponsored the effort at the time)
Ford scores a -4

HBO’s Entourage scores a 2
FOX News scores a -4
Disney: Enchanted Movie scores a -4
Sony BMG’s Alicia Keys scores a 7

Samsung’s Blast scores a -3
Dell/Microsoft (RED) scores a 6
Microsoft’s Windows Server Live scores a 6
Intel scores a -5

Consumer Products
Nike scores a 2
Kraft’s DiGiorno Pizza scores a 5
Pepsi’s Aquafina scores a -2
Mars: Skittles & Starburst scores a 0

The whole process was a tremendous amount of work, we spent hours testing, reviewing, and compiling data, you should use this report as a benchmark and a checklist for your future efforts on social networks. It was a lot of work, but should really help you to all move forward and reach communities even more effectively.

Lastly, I use social media tools as a small percentage of my research methodology, for example, I asked the 12,000+ readers of this blog (and 9000+ on Twitter) to help define what they think are success metrics for campaigns, some of this was factored into the scorecard requirements. At Forrester we serve different roles, mine being Interactive Marketers, it’s also important to know the largest segment of readers to this blog are Interactive Marketers according to a recent survey. So I use the same tools that I cover, and try to practice what I preach. Last by not least, thanks to Christine Overby, Harley Manning, Sarah Glass and Scott Wright at Forrester for all their help.

Scope Clarification:

Update: One brand was unsure of the scope of this research report. To be clear, this report encompassed only the marketing efforts on a social network. It does not include blogs, podcats, youtube, communities that a brand may create on their own site, or efforts within the intranet. Also, some brands may have had multiple marketing efforts on social networks, this report would have only examined and graded one.

86 Replies to “Forrester Report: Best And Worst Of Social Network Marketing, 2008”

  1. Jeremiah: Again, a really good report that I can share internally to help educate and evangelize, but also a very useful checklist to keep my assets and future programs on track, too.

    Just a note/question: It’s incredibly difficult to accomplish all the criteria/goals within one effort; rather, I’m finding that it’s more of a journey, a long-term committment to get all of these features and must-haves into our first community efforts — especially the engagement and dedication of at least one internal employee (who just happens to be me) to each program in order to provide the features that will encourage and enable member to member interaction, member advocates, content sharing and more. In its nascent stage (both for the communities and as specialty/marketing career path within HP), it’s still can be an uphill battle for people to “get” the personal touch and interaction that is required and deserved to truly represent a company socially for the customer’s benefits, wants and needs. However, I am hopeful and determined to adequately measure how the personification of our brand makes for very happy customers going forward — both for our members and for HP.

  2. Interesting. At least one example of a specific marketing campaign failure or success might have been even more interesting, not just the name of the company. At $279, I’ll pass…that’ll buy a lot of adwords clicks…forget about social.

  3. This is good… we can (hopefully) only move up and should be a wakeup call to many social marketing efforts out there. Thanks for the post.

  4. Bryan

    Thanks. For what it’s worth, I saw a more recent Intel marketing effort on Facebook that certainly would have scored much better.

    Take the scorecard and apply it towards future and past efforts and improve

    You’ve got a great attitude, thanks for being proactive. You know how to contact me for more details, I’m here to help.

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  6. Great report that’ll help us improve. Your analysis helps frame much of the great ideas and recommendations you’ve been making for months (longer!). It’s all jam packed inside the report and this post.

    My analogy is that you give us big nuggets of gold, we merely have to do the work to chip away at it and cash in the coins. Listen, learn, do, grow, do, learn, listen, do, repeat.

    Thanks for the work you put into this report!

  7. One last thing to the Intel folks, I’ve seen some of the more recent social network efforts by Intel, and they certainly would have scored much better.

  8. Jeremiah

    Any gauge of how these efforts affected sales? Are these measured by social engagement and involvement? Or by turning involvement into sales and profit?

  9. Jonathan

    That would be a good follow-up report. Since this was a heuristic (expert review) we did not contact the brands directly to find out the end results.

    Most brands appeared to be raising awareness or increasing consideration. Some of the consumer products and tech consumer products could indeed directly correlate to an ecommerce increase.

  10. Pulled the full report and found it a valuable read. Clear, simple criteria that can be applied for evaluating programs. Thanks for sharing it.

  11. As an educator, I have participated in a true product based community, which really has become the community to judge other communities by -the Discovery Educator Network. It started off as educators who were using unitedstreaming/DiscoveryStreaming, but has since then evolved to other Discovery Products. Look at their model and see how they have remained strong.

    Also, I have participated in two other online communities. The first is CSI: Las Vegas – where we used wikis to figure out who the miniature killer was and communicated via discussion boards. The other community was the American Idol community for David Cook. We planned pre-AI events and made use of the discussion boards and are now meeting up at the concerts.

    I think the difference those with all three is that people saw the long term of those communities, they had a passion to join them, and while they were brand related- they are about the people.

    So if you want to have a successful community – make sure it’s about the people first.

  12. A very comprehensive report. I am curious as to your thoughts on Harley’s efforts to go social. Facebook, youtube, etc…

  13. I was referring to the motorcycle maker – Harley Davidson. YouTube accounts, Facebook app (which is uninspiring at best) and their new Facebook page. My opinion is they are approaching a new marketing medium with old marketing thinking. I was just curious as to your thoughts.

  14. Hey Jeremiah, great post.
    You go out of your way to get the research in.
    It's good to know the scores to do research on how to mimic the results.

  15. Hey Jeremiah, great post.
    You go out of your way to get the research in.
    It's good to know the scores to do research on how to mimic the results.

  16. Many people have failed in using social media for network marketing. Now by going through your article, they can correct the mistakes and then work towards network marketing success.

  17. Dear sir,
    My name is ramu. I am a research scholar. I am planning to do PhD on Social Network Marketing. So kindly guide  me the working and useful title . Please provide me related data on my email ID: and do needful.
    Thank you.

  18. Dear sir,
    My name is ramu. I am a research scholar. I am planning to do PhD on Social Network Marketing. So kindly guide  me the working and useful title . Please provide me related data on my email ID: and do needful.
    Thank you.

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