Sharvanboskirk [Posted by Shar VanBoskirk]

The theme for my speech at Forrester’s marketing forum on April 23-24 in Orlando this year is that the down economy is actually the *right* time to catalyze marketing change.  Instead of hunkering down and trying just to maintain marketing status quo, my assertion is that marketers should actually take risks during the recession.


I tested the idea and some of my research to date with a few bloggers well known for their own thinking on marketing innovation:  David Berkowitz and BL Ochman. 


Overall, they agreed with the notion and made a few very interesting points that I am going to try to flesh out into the speech.


1)       First, leveraging interactive tools can actually make marketing innovation *less* risky.  Berkowitz mentioned – and I agree – that doing things like monitoring Twitter for what is being said about your brand or campaigns is actually an extremely *safe* thing to do.  Although Twitter sounds all newfangled for a traditional brand, it provides a way to listen to how your audience is talking about your brand.  Heeding this input can help marketers actually be better/more secure in crafting customer-centric marketing programs. 

2)       Leveraging social media gives brands enough of a personal face, that consumers are willing to forgive their peccadilloes.  I hadn’t thought of this benefit of social media.  It has its value in allowing marketers to listen and speak with consumers.  But it also has an opportunistic value.  The theory is that consumers will be more tolerant of customer service gaffes from marketers who talk to them like a fellow human (eg, via Twitter, blogs).


The conversation around marketing innovation definitely hinged around social media.  We talked about Disney, Zappos, Dell, H&R Block as firms innovating well with social media.  Are there other innovations you have seen that are outside of social media?  Perhaps firms applying other interactive tools in a new or better way?  How about using interactive tools for better measurement?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on my forum theme as well and also learn about the examples you have seen that seem particularly compelling to you.  And then of course, let’s continue the conversation at the forum.  I’m on stage from 8:40-9:20 on Thursday April 23.  I hope you’ll be in the audience and then able to chat afterwards during one-on-ones or in some of the networking events.