Study: 59% of Top Retailers Now on Facebook

Opportunity Knocks

In May of this year, Rosetta, the agency I am working for, published a study showing that 30% of 100 of the top online retailers had a Facebook page set up.  In the last five months since the original survey, there has been a substantial uptick to 59% – including pages added by Best Buy, Kohl’s and Toys ‘R Us.  This should not be a surprise and should continue to serve as a wake-up call.  Facebook has reached over 150 million users world wide, and Facebook fan pages are quite frankly, an easy way to set up a presence on the platform.

Use Caution, Plan Carefully

I have to caution retailers who just jump in by setting up a page.  Facebook is only one sliver of the overall social media space, and it’s very important to have an online strategy that embraces social media as another marketing channel. Here’s a quote from yours truly in our release on the study:

“It’s important that retailers don’t just slap up a page because everyone is talking about Facebook. An effective presence requires that you carefully consider what your customers are looking for, what you would like to communicate, and what role a fan page should play in your overall online strategy.”

I had an opportunity to talk further about this with Albert Maruggi on his Marketing Edge podcast yesterday going into further examples on how retailers can be using the Facebook page as a way to “start small” in social media and adjust to grow.  Here is the podcast – take a listen and let us know what you think.  Thanks Albert – you make this type of work a lot of fun.

Hot Topic

Facebook is a hot topic to cover right now.  Here are some other examples of where our study has been picked up – I’ll try to keep this post up to date with helpful links.  If you are interested in a direct copy of the study please don’t hesitate to contact me via the channels on my blog or comment.

Press and blog coverage for the Rosetta October 2008 Facebook Study – thanks to all for including our study:

Facebook pages are just one indicator of retailers looking to embrace social media to engage customers.  Do you think they will be successful?  Have a favorite fan page to highlight?  If your company has a page on Facebook I’d love to hear your story – I’d also love suggestions on how to improve the study for the next round.

New Blog Platform

Subscribe to Adam Cohen's FeedAfter some careful debate and a lot of thought, I’ve decided to move blog platforms. While I have enjoyed much that Typepad has to offer, I’ve found it limiting as a hosted solution in the ability to modify the look and feel, enhance for SEO purposes, and generally have the flexibility of a full scale platform. I’ve already launched the new site on WordPress and like the flexibility. The overall content, theme, and focus will remain the same.

Action Required

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  • To be safe, please take a moment to make sure you are subscribed to the correct feed at (yes, the name looks wrong, but I am trying to make the switch while keeping the subscriptions intact with Feedburner). I’ll be leaving the typepad version up but will stop updating it.
  • If you aren’t yet a subscriber, I’d love to add you to the list, please consider subscribing.
  • If you subscribe already via email, no change is required.

Part of my blogging experience over the last several months has been learning the ins and outs of these tools first hand. Thanks for your patience while I develop a better experience. More to come soon and suggestions welcome.

Have you moved from Typepad to WordPress, or across blogging platforms and have an idea/tip to share? So far, this is the best link I’ve found with a lot of step by step tips and pitfalls, but I’d love to hear more.

The Economic Downturn Is Accelerating Digital

Under Pressure
Last week the Center for Media Research (account required) posted a study by Epsilon that revealed some insight as to what 175 CMOs and marketing executives are doing in a rough economy.  While nearly all CMOs and marketing executives in the study agreed that “a tough economic period is precisely the time when marketing plays a key role,” a majority (65%) said that spend on advertising as a whole will decrease.  A key insight, however, is that 63% of the folks surveyed also see an increase in spend on digital/interactive marketing.  Nearly a third of those surveyed work at companies with greater than $10 Billion in annual revenues last year.  Wow.
Key Factors
Key factors in the shift, according to the study, are accountability and data-driven, measurable results.  59% of those surveyed indicated a decrease in traditional marketing spend.  The beauty of online and interactive marketing efforts is the amount of data you can capture.  Half of the group already uses data-driven marketing techniques, and a third use “sophisticated modeling tools to analyze existing customer behavioral, preference and demographic data.” 
Step on the Gas
Many pundits have forecasted shifts from traditional to new media.  Forrester Research also surveyed 235 marketers in Q3 2007 and the major result was an expectation of new media (social media, SEM, mobile, online video, interactive ads, and even email) to increase in effectiveness over the next three years*.   That study was before recent market conditions, which have put an increased burden on marketers to get the biggest bang for the buck.  If you can’t measure it, can you really show ROI?  The market conditions right now are accelerating the “burden of proof” on the investment dollars.
Now What?
For those interested in social media and why so many companies are paying attention, here are some more statistics from the survey: 
  • Social computing (including word of mouth, social networking sites, viral advertising, etc.) was the most popular emerging channel with 42% of marketing executives expressing interest in adding it to their marketing mix
  • Blogs were the second most popular emerging channel: 35% of marketing executives want to pursue blogs and 19% already use blogs
  • Almost one-third of CMOs mentioned Podcasting as an area of interest: 31% are interested in adding Podcasting to their marketing mix and 18% already have.
  • Mobile devices also elicited interest: 29% are interested in Mobile Devices (Phones/PDAs) and 22% have added them to their marketing mix
For those of us looking to help companies with their efforts in interactive and social media, there should be many opportunities to lend a hand.
* Source: Forrester Research Q3 2007 US Interactive Marketer Online Survey
Photo credit: benmcleod via Flickr

Gearing up for Forrester Consumer Forum 2008

The last week of October will see some great content in the social media sphere around getting ahead of tomorrow’s customer.  In April of this year I attended Forrester’s Marketing Forum in LA, and enjoyed “live twitter” and blogging related to the event.  Knowing an onslaught of content is coming, I decided to reach out to Alexis Karlin, Forrester’s community manager for Forrester’s Consumer Forum in Dallas on October 28-29.  She was gracious enough to share some good info for “where the content will live” for the event.  Rosetta is a Forrester client and as a marketing agency we get a lot of relevant industry content out of these events – but lots more will be shared through social media.

Going to Dallas? Please reach out on twitter @adamcohen or contact Alexis @akarlin – there will be a gathering planned.  Whether you will be there or are just interested in the content, here are some other guidelines from Alexis:

I’m looking forward to some great content and expect to have follow-up posts in the next several weeks around some of the more provocative topics.  Take a look at the agenda if you have a few moments – what topics interest you?

Photo credit: bitmapr via Flickr

Blog Action Day 2008: A common goal

Blog Action Day

Yesterday at the New Marketing Summit, I had the opportunity to listen to Don Peppers present on customer empowerment.  He talked about self-organization of crowds and showed a great example of this by asking the crowd to achieve a goal of clapping in unison.  The crowd started, and within a few moments were clapping in tune.  The example was poignant: when there is a common goal, the crowd or social network can be very powerful.

I’m going to make a stretch here to tie this to Blog Action Day, a one day event where bloggers “unite to discuss a single issue – poverty. We aim to raise awareness, initiate action and to shake the web!”  With a common purpose, today you will see thousands of bloggers unite around a common goal to address awareness of poverty as a significant global issue.  I’m glad to be a part of it.  Imagine a stadium of folks starting to clap in unison, then go visit and take a look at how bloggers from all industries, trades and backgrounds are speaking with a loud voice to millions of readers across the globe.

Poverty Awareness

I’m going to use my voice today to share some key statistics on poverty in Massachusetts, my home state, and to make a small action to contribute to the cause.  Without Blog Action Day I probably would not have taken the time to look up and share this information.

  • 320,000 people sought food assistance in Massachusetts in 2005, a 14% increase over 2001.
  • Of those, 45% had to choose between food and heat.
  • 39% had to choose between food and rent.
  • 30% had to choose between food and medical care.
  • Nearly a third say their children don’t eat enough because they can’t afford enough food.

All of these are long before the recent oil price spikes, stock market challenges and housing market problems.

A Quick Action

What can you do?  Here’s a simple suggestion – I just donated online to the Greater Boston Food Bank in honor of Blog Action Day.  You can donate online easily here or go to Feeding America to find a local one for you.

There you have it, blog and action together.  What can you do today to support Blog Action Day?

Social Media for Social Change Takes Off

A Great Event

Sm4sc This past Friday night I had the pleasure and honor of attending an event that represented what a small grass-roots movement can accomplish with some focus and a bunch of personal connections through social media.  At the Harvard Club in Boston, a gathering of folks initiated by the social media enthusiast community in both Boston and New York gathered for an evening to benefit JaneDoeInc., a non-profit organization focused on ending sexual assault and domestic violence.  With the help of sponsors and some passionate individuals the group sm4sc, Social Media for Social Change, kicked off it’s very first event by raising over $20,000.  Sweet.

Grass Takes Root

Back in late August I wrote, “I see this as a grass roots effort that can be spread to other cities as passionate people pick up the vibe.”  Just as any effort with social media, it requires commitment to make the first event a reality.  It will also take a long term push to make the movement into a continued success.  But if a start is an indication of the potential, Friday night’s kickoff of sm4sc can be just that.  The night had all the ingredients – A great turnout, an opportunity to meet some good people (many who I had previously only known through social media tools like Twitter), a beautiful location, some cocktails, and a series of genuine and passionate speeches about the purpose.  Not to mention some late night karaoke (which I avoided clearly to ensure no streaming video of yours truly got into the hands of my project teams at the office).


Of course, the effort ate it’s own dogfood – before, during and after the event.  See the respective blog, twitter account, Facebook group, Myspace group, and now the spread of the “sm4sc” tag in Flickr and elsewhere.  Great blog recaps and “Utterz” are popping up too.
Some Thank Yous

In the world of philanthropy there are many options to choose from – everything from donating personally to small causes to large, established organizations.  I am grateful to Rosetta (who recently acquired Brulant), the agency I work for, for participating as a silver sponsor.  I’m grateful to the other sponsors for everything from funds to great contributions for the raffle.  (I won a great messenger bag from Timbuktu and a pass to the New Marketing Summit, which I had Matt Knell draw another winner for since I was already attending).  While many individuals contributed to making the night a success, special recognition is deserved for four people:

Job well done.

The Sponsors
What’s Next?
See Gradon’s recap that says it all and sets the stage for future events.  If you are interested in planting some grass roots efforts in your city, take a look at for more info.
Photo credit: pictoscribe via Flickr

Putting Your Social Network To Use

Over time, social networks become a place to accumulate contacts.  I’ve used LinkedIn for nearly five years, and tools like Facebook and Twitter have become part of a daily ritual.  Do you interact with those folks regularly, or is it a virtual rolodex accumulating dust?  Do you watch on the sidelines, or really engage?  I’ve written before about how I scrutize connections on social networks – I like to keep both Facebook and LinkedIn contacts to people I know or have interacted with in a meaningful way.  I’ve also discussed how social media can enhance real world relationships.  With little effort, we each can make these network connections more personal and useful.

Recently a friend contacted me about a potential job opportunuity at one of my clients.  Of course I’d be will to pass along a resume and make an introduction.  We started talking, and I suggested to go through my LinkedIn contacts to see if there are other potential folks she would be interested in talking to.  She was very appreciate of the help, which took a quick conversation and an email to make happen. It’s not difficult – so why don’t we do it more often?

Take a few minutes and think about the last time you helped someone out leveraging your social networks.  Bryan Person wrote a great post this week about how often he mentions himself vs. others in his posts on Twitter.  While social media and networks can be a great personal promotion vehicle, there is definitely a sense of contributing to help others that makes the networks meaningful.

I’d encourage you to take a moment after reading this and reconnect with someone in one of your social networks.  Personally, I like to connect dots to help folks – there’s some satisfaction from being able to leverage social networks to help friends out – either professionally or personally.  Some small examples:


  • I have a friend who is an entrepreneur and connected him to a reporter on Twitter who was writing an article about the same industry.
  • I noticed a contact changed jobs on LinkedIn, working for a company that our agency partners with, and reached out to her to see how things are going and share our experience in working with that company.  This helped her understand her company’s partner relationships and we may be working together on a future project.
  • A friend’s Facebook status read “I’m heading to Hawaii…” and I sent her some restaurant recommendations from our honeymoon trip many years ago.

These small interactions make your social network more relevant, meaningful and worthwhile – and one day those folks may come around and “scratch your back” too.  How can you help someone out?  Share a useful link, introduce a relevant connection, recommend a resource.  You’ll get more from your social networks than just “people watching.” 

How did your social network last help you?  Have a good story to share?


Photo credit: 7-how-7 via Flickr