All Articles Marketing Digital Technology Live from IAB Marketplace: Advice from "Groundswell" author

Live from IAB Marketplace: Advice from “Groundswell” author

3 min read

Digital Technology

Josh Bernoff, author of “Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies,” gave this morning’s opening keynote at the IAB Marketplace: Social Media.

Social media is an ongoing activity that requires both long-term and short-term planning, Bernoff argues. You cannot succeed if you regard the proliferating list of new technologies as separate entities. Instead, he recommends looking at social as a long-term trend. People are getting information from each other rather than from traditional institutions like corporations. The technologies you decide to use should be based on your listening activities, objectives and strategy.

To get everyone on the same page, Josh reiterated the four step P-O-S-T (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) process spelled out in “Groundswell.” For this audience of marketers, he homed in on the first two and spotlighted related success stories.

  • Objectives. What do you want to accomplish?

How does this look in practice?

If your objective is research, then the task at hand is to listen. For example, the pet products division of Del Monte Food identified a group of fanatical dog owners and asked them a series of questions (e.g. What would Max like to eat for breakfast?) that led to the development of new products such as bacon and egg shaped Snausages that come loaded with vitamins. The whole fascinating study is here.

If your objective is marketing, then talking takes priority. But do not talk about your products. Rather, engage with your audience about their problems, thereby giving them an opportunity to talk about your products. A prime example is Tampax — who wants to talk about tampons?! Instead, the BeingGirl community — tagline: “for girls by girls” — lets girls talk about growing up and puberty. This approach has proved four times more effective for Tampax than traditional advertising.

If your objective is sales, then the trick is to find someone who loves your company and product, energize them and give them tools to talk to other people about it. Example A: The 10,000 house parties Hershey’s organized for the launch of Hershey’s Bliss. Using, the company sent chocolates for attendees to try at the party, set up an invitation process through their Web site, encouraged guests to upload videos and photos and share them with friends. It worked: 7 million people viewed the site as a result of this effort.

The final part of Josh’s keynote focused on measurement Successful social applications must have a clear objective and metrics that matter. “When it comes to social media, people really need to hear this.” He concluded with a quick list of measuring sticks, by platform:

  • Social networks: How many messages passed along?
  • Ratings/reviews: Sales!
  • Communities: Referrals, value of insights generated, avoided support costs, impressions, likelihood to buy.
  • Blogs: Number and quality of leads, awareness, press coverage, search rank.
  • Videos/podcasts: Build in tracking.