Twitter and Takeaways from the Marketing Forum

Josh GordonI have a number of general thoughts and impressions from Forrester Research's Marketing Forum this year. First of all, it was sparsely populated. Any regular attendee or solution provider on the trade show circuit knows what an energy filled show feels like… and this was not one of them. Obviously, the lack of travel budgets for some companies means fewer people attend the shows, but it was a bit more flat than I thought it would be.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot to learn and a lot of interesting impressions from the show. One thing that was interesting is that Shar VanBoskirk used anecdotal, secondary research from searches on Facebook and Twitter to support her research findings. Perhaps it’s a sign of things to come, but when reviewing the general impression left by Tropicana’s rebrand attempt she noted that the brand researchers didn’t uncover anywhere in their research how valuable and excited their core customers are about the straw in the orange. She noted that it was easy to find evidence of that from a quick search on Facebook or Twitter, and she used examples. Interesting that secondary research from a social network is now a legitimate source of material.

Another takeaway? Relevance still rules in digital marketing. Last year’s forum was dominated by language touting the need for relevance in digital marketing. This year’s show brought more of the same, but, like last year, spent little time talking to marketers about how to overcome the barriers to it. For example, especially during the new media panel, there was ample opportunity for the panelists to call out the 100 pound gorilla in the room – relevance demands additional creative, and that’s okay. Instead, the issue was really talked around. My general feeling is that this is an easy barrier to overcome provided the agencies engaged for creative step up the game – and brands are in a good position to make that happen.

Switching gears for a final thought – Twitter stamina. It was reported today that 60% of the people who sign up for Twitter fail to return in the second month. While Twitter is all the rage right now (you can follow Knotice on Twitter), does the general user have the stamina to use it long term, or will there be a great deal of attrition over time? Has the emergence of TweetDeck and some other desktop apps brought the measured return site visits down? One piece of anecdotal evidence – far more people Tweeted (are you supposed to capitalize that?) at last year’s Annual Summit than they did at this year’s Forrester Marketing Forum. So, will Twitter last?


  1. Donnell Harmon
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Interesting blog, I have a couple of comments. Social media is in fact becoming a legitmate source for searching for information. At my job I use Twitter constantly to find new information about a variety of topics. In addition, did you read the article about when the plane crashed in New York? When that happened reporters were getting their information from people on Twitter who was seeing it in person. I find that article to be truly amazing.

    Finally, I believe Twitter has the capacity to survive, and will only continue to grow. You have to remember that apps and mobile were not taken into account in that study, so that percentage is not actually correct. Furthermore, if you look at the changes in social media it has evolved greatly in the direction of “short and sheet” messages. Combine that with the fact that you can get more update to date information used in searches generally from Twitter than search engines such as Google and I believe Twitter is here to stay.

    • Posted April 30, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      Interesting points, Donnell. Do you think it’s fair to be cautious when using Twitter feeds as a news source?

      • Donnell Harmon
        Posted May 1, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

        Absolutely, I believe everyone should be cautious when evaluating the information they get from Twitter. However, this is not any different from anything else you get on the web. Many people assume the information obtained from a Google search is accurate but in many cases this is not true.

        The information obtained from Twitter does act as a excellent starting part when looking for information because of the immediacy of the information. After that is up to the individual person to do research to determine the validity of the information.

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