Riley, EmilyI had a fantastic time at the Forrester Marketing Forum in Orlando last week. Being a newly indoctrinated Forrester analyst, it was equally beneficial to meet clients and other Forresterites. It was great to see that a lot of clients blogged and tweeted throughout. A few clients put together great overviews of the forum.

The opening session focused on on taking risks in a down economy, a great way to jumpstart conversations during the event. I got a chance to roll up my sleeves and talk to a slew of clients one-on-one about how this notion could put them ahead of their competition. There were a few key themes that kept coming back:

  • Knowing more about People: I was very interested to see that many clients are actively in the "Listening" phase of their social marketing. I highly recommended to many clients that they take advantage of all public user generated content about their brand, but also work with Forrester to learn more about what technographics data we can offer. Before you can take a risk, make sure you know where to focus your efforts.
  • Executing a plan that increases revenue: No marketer wants to spend money without making it back, so of course, a social strategy should be informed by revenue generation and cost savings. The main takeaway here was: integrate, integrate, integrate. Use proven channels like email and search as part of your social strategy. Use data resources from places you already own like customer service to inform your outreach. Use tools from software vendors you already work with such as panel companies and ad servers to save money.
  • Measuring the ROI of brand and social: Not surprisingly, with the down economy, marketers want to know how to justify their investment. Some clients wanted to know how to measure the value of a community site while one client in particular was still deciding if social marketing would fit into a mostly direct response media strategy. My presentation on Measuring the ROI of Social Media was well attended, so as a follow-up, I'll be doing it again on a teleconference.