April 24, 2007
Very interesting new report from Forrester Research out recently which talks about the concept of ‘Social Technographics’. The report summary describes it as:
‘Many companies approach social computing as a list of technologies to be deployed as needed – a blog here, a podcast there – to achieve a marketing goal. But a more coherent approach is to start with your target audience and determine what kind of relationship you want to build with them, based on what they are ready for. Forrester categorizes social computing behaviors into a ladder with six levels of participation; we use the term “Social Technographics” to describe analyzing a population according to its participation in these levels. Brands, Web sites, and any other company pursuing social technologies should analyze their customers’ Social Technographics first, and then create a social strategy based on that profile.’
Spot on in my opinion! Refreshing to see a research company getting it so close to the mark. Engaging with your customers through the new social web has to start with your target demographic first and foremost. There is no point in adding social web features that aren’t suited to your audience, you will just risk enticing users that you don’t really want and diluting the benefits derived (real world example: a well known travel company adding a photo hosting tool, ostensibly for their customers but actually it just attracted web users looking for a photo hosting tool).
The Participation Ladder itself is an interesting concept too and again very true to real web users. We experience all of these different levels of engagement from our customers and have them mapped by percentage engagement; our model looks very similar indeed.