Today at Forrester's Forum for Marketing Leaders in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of announcing the winners of the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards. This is the eighth edition of our awards and the first time we've had a chance to present them at our flagship marketing event — and I'm thrilled I had a chance to share these great stories of social success with the more than 700 people in attendance. Once again, this year our awards were based on Forrester’s Marketing RaDaR model and the way social programs can support the Marketing RaDaR. That means we presented awards in three categories:

  • Social reach marketing. This category recognizes social programs that effectively delivered marketing messages to new audiences — whether by word of mouth or by using paid social ads.
  • Social depth marketing. This category recognizes social programs that helped prospects explore products in detail and make a purchase decision — such as corporate blogs and communities and marketers’ on-site ratings and reviews.
  • Social relationship marketing. This category recognizes social programs that engaged existing fans and customers in order to increase their loyalty and lifetime value — something that most commonly happens through branded profiles on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

In all, we received more than 100 entries for this year’s awards, including submissions from all over the world. Many were excellent quality — in some categories we had trouble picking a winner from among 6 or 7 great entries. We applaud all the companies that entered, but of course only a handful can win. And the winning programs, as always, did more than just create fans and followers and engagement — they drove brand awareness, they closed sales, and they improved customer loyalty.

So without further delay, I present to you the winners of the 2014 Forrester Groundswell Awards:

Social Reach Marketing (Business-to-Consumer)

Finalist: MINDDRIVE Social Fuel by VML and MINDDRIVE

Finalist: Kmart's "Ship My Pants" Facebook Ad Campaign by Sears Holdings Corporation and Kenshoo Social

Finalist: Creating Moments with America's Tea by Bigelow Tea and Collective Bias

Finalist: Downy #SoftSide by Downy and 360i

Winner: MorningStar Farms® Feel Good Grilling House Party by House Party and Kellogg

Business-to-Consumer Social Reach was once again our most competitive category, receiving 29 entries. Marketers submitted so many good social reach programs that we could have easily had 7 or 8 finalists. MINDDRIVE, Kmart, Bigelow Tea, and Downy all deserve recognition for their outstanding work — and we recommend that you have a look at their programs using the links above. But our panel of judges thought MorningStar Farms' program stood out for the real-world business value it generated.

MorningStar Farms wanted to introduce its meat-free products to new audiences — a classic use case for social reach marketing. So they worked with House Party, Inc. to identify 3,000 influencers and sent them a "party pack" so they could host meat-free barbecues for friends and family. The parties themselves generated 128,000 trials of MorningStar Farms products, and the brand saw a 40-point lift in favorability and purchase intent from partygoers. The social activity around the barbecues created a further 29 million impressions that reached 10 million people. In total, this program created a 5.6% lift in sales for the brand — proving that a well-executed social reach marketing program can go further than creating reach and awareness to also drive financial success.

For much more detail on MorningStar Farms' winning program, click here.

MorningStar Farms Feel Good Grilling House Party


Social Reach Marketing (Business-to-Business)

Finalist: Adobe's Social Super Bowl War Room by Adobe

Finalist: Eat Your Competition For Breakfast With Social Selling by XO Communications

Winner: The Bomgar Insider by Bomgar

Bomgar offers enterprise-level remote support software — a vital tool for many companies, but not the kind of sexy product that drives a lot of social conversation. So the company decided to tap its existing satisfied customers to reach new audiences and generate new leads. Bomgar launched a textbook advocate activation program, issuing social challenges to its "insiders" to spread the word about the company's offerings, and used gamification to keep advocates motivated. Within months, Bomgar's 600 insiders had completed more than 10,000 challenges — increasing social mentions of the company by 66% and driving hundreds of thousands of additional social impressions. More importantly, Bomgar credits the program with driving almost 350 qualified leads in its first three months.

For much more detail on Bomgar's winning program, click here.

Bomgar Insider


Social Depth Marketing (Business-to-Consumer)

Finalist: Heidi Klum for New Balance by New Balance and Olapic

Winner: Social Gift Guide by PGA TOUR Superstore and Mass Relevance 

To drive stronger holiday sales in 2013, the PGA TOUR Superstore decided to let golfers themselves decide on the top gifts of the season. The company allowed customers to choose their favorite items and vote for them through Twitter and Facebook posts. Mass Relevance then tabulated those votes and identified the top 20 golf-related holiday gifts for 2013. The resulting gift guide didn't just get shoppers to spend more time on site — it got them to buy more as well. In fact, gift-guide shoppers converted at a 40% higher rate than PGA TOUR Superstore shoppers who didn't visit the gift guide.

For much more detail on PGA TOUR Superstore's winning program, click here.

PGA TOUR Superstore Social Gift Guide


Social Relationship Marketing (Business-to-Consumer)

Finalist: Collaboration ForTwo by smart USA and Razorfish

Finalist: HCSC EduRetail Campaign by Health Care Services Corporation

Finalist: HBO #RoastJoffrey by HBO and 360i

Finalist: Barclaycard Travel Community by Barclaycard

Winner: Photoshop Photography Program by Adobe

Business-to-Consumer Social Relationship was another category where we received many outstanding entries. We encourage you to study all the finalists' work using the links above — but it was Adobe's use of social relationship marketing that most impressed our judges.

Adobe made a big change to its iconic Photoshop product in 2013, shifting from a purchase model to a subscription model. The company needed to upsell its existing customers into the new product while reducing churn — a perfect use case for social relationship marketing, and the type of goal that branded social networking profiles are best suited to achieve.

Adobe targeted its upgrade efforts to its biggest supporters: its Facebook fans. The company promoted a special offer to these customers, and it amplified positive customer reviews of the new offering. Adobe's program resulted in more engagement and more positive sentiment in that engagement — and it also drove tens of thousands of customers to Adobe's site to learn more about the new product.

For much more detail on Adobe's winning program, click here.

Adobe Photoshop Photography Program