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.