Marketing Forum Theme Day 2: Engaging the Innovative Customer

Forrester’s Marketing Forum in Orlando Florida, see other photos tagged FMF09

Yesterday’s theme was to take risks and engage in innovation –even in times of economic hardship. Armed and excited with examples from the speakers and panels, the conference was now focused on the ‘how to’, with a focus on engaging your customers to be involved, guide, and lead your company in tandem with your own leadership.

Forrester’s Peter Burris: Engaging the Innovative Customer
First we heard from Forrester’s Peter Burris, who focused on the theme o engaging your innovative customer, he suggested that as you take risks, let your innovative customers be your guide. The conference focus met the needs of multiple industries, and Peter gave data and insight not just how B2C can win but how B2B customers’ reliance on each other and social tools changes the marketing game. He referenced IBM’s Sandy Carter’s programs as best in class for bringing community into the forefront of B2B marketing including how they’ve integrated community into next week’s IMPACT event.

Peter brings forth a framework to help marketers plan for innovation: PLOT a path forward, which includes: Persona, Develop customer needs through social interactions, Location: Allow customers to create groups, and gives the example that Adobe hosts 700 user groups. Serena software embeds customers in its development & launch processes. Then Option and finally, Test.

His recommendations were very clear for engaging innovative customers:

  • Position marketing as a resource that B2B customers can use to drive better business outcomes.
  • Blend social media with traditional tactics to create new marketing forms and new levels of productivity.
  • Align marketing and development to lower the risks
  • Ending notes: Innovative customers are ready, willing, and thanks to social media–able to guide your efforts to manage risk.

  • Case Example: Microsoft’s Craig Dewar on Community
    Next, we heard from Craig Dewar of Microsoft, hailing from New Zealand, he discussed how Microsoft has engaged. His first example, Craig gives the example how Microsoft launched a gaming console into a saturated market where Sony was a leader, and they launched the Xbox product. Each Xbox user can establish their own online identity and can interact with others. As each new game came out a new forum and dialog was formed. The second example is Channel 9 an online community for developers. The third example is Microsoft Dynamics Community, a CRM tool. The goals are: learning, networking, support, and feedback.

    Lessons learned

    • Even if you build it, they may not come.
    • Critical Mass in a community is hard and will take longer than you think.
    • You won’t get community right, so be prepared to optimize.

    Want to learn more? Blog Coverage from David Berkowitz
    Long time friend David Berkowitz covered the many sessions, and even was adding pictures in near real time in his live blogging. Pretty dang impressive, even if I may say so myself. See all his posts that are tagged “conferences” to get more detailed coverage of the event. You can also see the hundreds of tweets tagged FMF09, and if you live blogged any of the sessions, leave a comment below.

    Jeremiah’s Wrapup
    I enjoyed this year’s show, it’s amazing that we had around 500 attendees registered even during a tight economy, it goes to show that now is the time for marketing to step up and innovate. I enjoyed having dinner with clients and drinking a bit too much EJ Gallow wine, heh. I was told that we had a wait list of over 30 vendors that wanted to be in the showcase, it was currently filled to capacity, so the demand for partners who wanted to help brands is clear. It was universally said that Forrester’s Shar stole the show, even with her opening musical rendition (see video from day 1, about 9 minutes in). I quick Forrester factoid, Forrester keynotes are encouraged to rehearse 20 times, many times in front of colleagues. We’ve already several more forums lined up, including the Marketing Consumer Forum in Oct in Chicago, see you there.

    Here’s the archive of the live ustream of Day 2 opening keynotes.

    Lastly, for attendees, you can login to the Forrester site using your password sent to your before the event to access the presentations.

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