Groundswell: Perhaps the Most Important Marketing Book of the Decade

groundswellI really liked Groundswell by Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li, for several reasons. It not only gives examples of how social technologies have been used effectively and made a significant impact, but also provides examples of when the best intentions in using social media have blown up. It discusses several possible uses for social technology in marketing, such as marketing research, customer support, providing information for customers in the middle of the sales funnel, building long term relationships with customers, empowering promoters, dealing with a PR crisis, getting customer feedback, building a community for customers, and several more uses that I can’t think of right now. I also like that the authors delve into the ROI of social media tactics, and provide estimates of ROI, which can help marketers to convince management that they should support social marketing initiatives.

The biggest reason I liked this book is because it covers a tremendously significant trend that is currently changing marketing. Old marketing tactics are becoming obsolete (to a degree) and the marketing world is in the middle of a once in a lifetime shift due to advances in technology, especially the most powerful media ever invented- the internet. Change presents organizations with tremendous opportunities to become leaders in a new brand world. This book presents a compelling case why utilizing social technologies can propel your organization to market leadership, or at least achieve better results than you are currently getting from traditional media.

Learn more at The Groundswell Website

Some things I learned:

  • Not every product can have a community. There is no community for buyers of toilet paper.
  • If there is not community for your product, you can still create a community for solving a problem that your customer has, like P&G’s P&G found social network marketing was 4 times more effective than ads for the young girl demographic.
  • Marketing research is good for finding answers to questions, but isn’t good at gaining great business insights.
  • Listening to customers via social media can alert you when something is wrong with your product
  • Advertising isn’t talking to customers, it’s shouting.
  • A blog post or forum post that answers a question that many customers have, can save thousands in support costs.
  • People are willing to actively contribute content to your community site, because people seek physic income, the benefit they get when they help someone.
  • Using the wrong social media for your product will not be effective. Find out if your customer demographic tends to create, collect, critique, join groups, or passively observe, and select the best social media for your customers or target demographic.