Frost & Sullivan Breakout: Online Marketing

In an era in which overall marketing spend is projected to be flat, this Peer Counseling breakout session moderated by Kevin Hoffberg gave us a chance to share ideas on how online marketing will claim an increasing share of that slowly growing pie.

Here are my notes from the session. I’d welcome others who participated in the conversation to jump in with additional clarifications or comments.

Rick Short mentioned CIC Data as a way to monitor and measure word-of-mouth in China.

Intuit uses Bazaar Voice to see what customers are out there saying about their products, and incorporating that user-generated content into the Intuit site.

Cara Shockley from says linking to support groups (supporting the support groups) has been an important strategy. User communities can be a huge marketing advantage. Jim from Eloqua calls it a source of strength. You’re not just buying a product, you’re joining a community. This is Wikinomics…letting people who are your users add value.

Financial services company have had a fear of transparency because they are worried about getting flamed. There’s a big difference between an official corporate blog and understanding what people are already saying about you. The conversation is happening, so you need to at least monitor. The representative from Union Bank says they are informally getting into commenting on some other blogs, but not ready to jump in yet. Advanta, another financial services company, has started a social site called ideablob.

For a software company, half the revenue is from support. So having communities could cut revenue. They don’t want to aid these non-paying communities. Why not create an on-line knowledge base by subscription? If you don’t support customers with an online community, those communities will spring up, and your support team will lose. This is a lack of vision that could lead to a Wikipedia-esque alternative replacing the software company’s World Book.

Check out Quicken online , and their Facebook page.

One of the keys in blogging and liability for companies is that if you don’t moderate comments, you don’t bear the responsibility for what’s posted. is a QuickBooks product, and now they went with a free version of their entry level QuickBooks product. They developed a Just Start contest for would-be entrepreneurs encouraging people to quit their jobs and start small businesses. This could have tie-ins for financial services companies, so making some of those connections could build.

Peter from Intuit mentioned Genesis measurement services as a possible integrated service.

Please do add your comments, and continue the great conversation we had this morning. Feel free to add links to helpful resources in your comments, and particularly any case studies of things your organization is doing.

Author: Lee Aase

Husband of one, father of six, grandfather of 15. Chancellor Emeritus, SMUG. Emeritus staff of Mayo Clinic. Founder of HELPcare and Administrator for HELPcare Clinic.

0 thoughts on “Frost & Sullivan Breakout: Online Marketing”

  1. Rick

    Great notes. One of the themes that really caught my attention came up at the very end . . . the use of contents and challenges to engage an audience. Jump Up is and example as was ideablob. A challenge goes out. Send us your best business ideas is an example. The community votes on the best and the site sponsor pays a prize. Another is the “I quit my job and started a business” challenge that Intuit and Microsoft sponsored. Brilliant. It engages the intellect and the imagination. It’s an idea I want to run with.

    The point you made about how the “I” is so small that any discussion about ROI seems like it can get silly fast. I know we can’t ignore metrics, but I don’t see that they’re well established, so why not experiment like crazy?

    Authenticity is a dumb word and comes up usually as an applause line, but it’s a real thought when it comes to community. I think as much as anything, this is what makes marketing people nervous. The Cluetrain Manifesto certainly lit this candle with “markets are conversations”.

    More later.


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