This is the second in our series of key takeaways from some of the presentations and panel discussions offered at the Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit in May 2008.

Josh Bernoff, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, is one of Forrester’s most senior and most frequently quoted research analysts. Josh joined Forrester in 1995. In 2007, Josh began work on a book, Groundswell, which describes how people with social technologies like blogs, wikis, MySpace, and YouTube will threaten institutions of all kinds, and how companies can succeed in the face of this change.

Josh’s research, analysis, and opinions appear frequently in publications like The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Broadcasting & Cable, and on national television news programs. Josh has spoken at conferences including the executive summits of both the National Association of Broadcasters and the Consumer Electronics Association. He also testified before the Gore Commission on Public Interest Obligations for Digital Broadcasters.

Turning Social Technology Groundswell to Your Advantage: Josh Bernoff, Vice President and Principal Analyst, Forrester Research

Conquer approach-avoidance syndrome regarding UGC using “POST”: identify your people, objective, strategy, and technology.


Assess your customer’s social activities to ensure you can affectively reach and engage them. Establish where they fall on the Social Technographics Ladder.

  1. Creators: publish blogs, write articles, and upload pictures
  2. Critics: post reviews, contribute to forums, edit UGC, and comment on blogs
  3. Collectors: use RSS feedback and add tags to photos
  4. Joiners: join social networks
  5. Spectators: consumer content
  6. Inactives: do not engage in online activities


Decide what you want to accomplish with your program. Do you want to deliver a marketing message? Are you trying to cut costs through user-to-user support? Do you want the community to help you improve your business?


Plan for how you will reach your community, and prepare for a change in the nature of your relationship.


Decide which techonology(ies) to use. Make sure you complete robust ROI calculations. One way: tie UGC to traditional business functions. For example, measure the impact of user-to-user support on your call centers. Get review content to research and development, as well as marketing.

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