It's that time of year again. We have officially opened the submission process for our 2015 Forrester Groundswell Awards. You can find more details about this year's awards here. As in the past, we will have three categories: social reach, social depth, and social relationship. Show us your most innovative and successful program(s) and we may see you at the podium in April when we present the awards at the Forrester Marketing Leadership Forum in New York!

I'm frequently asked, "What makes a winning Forrester Groundswell Awards program?" To help you prepare your submissions, here's an example of a winning social depth entry from PGA TOUR Superstore last year and why it stood out:

To drive holiday sales in 2013, the PGA TOUR Superstore launched an online social gift guide where consumers could explore their favorite golf products. Consumers voted for their favorite gifts on Twitter and Facebook and saw the results in real time on the PGA TOUR Superstore site, where the top 20 gifts and a photo gallery were posted. The results? The brand saw an impressive 40.4% uplift in conversions from consumers who visited the social gift guide compared with those that did not. Consumers who visited the gift guide also spent on average of over 20% more time on PGA TOUR Superstore's site compared with consumers who did not visit the social gift guide. In addition, almost 5,000 product page referrals came from the social gift guide.  

Here are the reasons the program was our 2014 winner:

  • It helped drive product exploration. Social depth programs support the explore stage of the customer lifecycle. PGA TOUR Superstore brilliantly drove exploration on its branded website with dynamic user generated content (UGC). Since the UGC provided customers' perspectives on the PGA TOUR Superstore's products, it enticed shoppers to consume more "trusted" content that helped inform a future purchase. 
  • It moved consumers from the explore to the buy stage. Consumers who visited the social gift guide were more likely to convert to a purchase. This is the ultimate marker of a successful social depth strategy because it shows that the social content led to an actual sale.
  • It delivered real business outcomes. The success of PGA TOUR's social gift guide was based on quantifiable and meaningful metrics. The brand measured how the program increased the time consumers spent on its site and how the program increased conversion rates. These are solid measurements for a social depth program.

Now that you know the formula for a winning social depth Groundswell submission, it's time to get started on your entry. We look forward to announcing our winners and finalists in April!