Majority Of Fortune 1,000 Companies Will Use Social Media

    October 8, 2008

Social media will be adopted by more than 60 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies with a Web site by 2010, according to research firm Gartner.

"A key benefit of establishing a community is the amount of information an organization can gain about its customer base, which can be used for short-and long-term customer relationships," said Adam Sarner, principal research analyst at Gartner.

"Data can be collected and used for product development, customer feedback, loyalty management, customer segmentation, campaign targeting, and individual or group customer satisfaction management. This wealth of data can be used for marketing, in particular, as well as an entire customer-focused organization."

Gartner says that creating an online community has its challenges. It predicts that by 2010, more than 50 percent of companies that have an online community will fail to establish a mutual purpose leading to eroding customer and company values.

To prevent that, marketing organizations will need new skills to meet the needs of what Gartner calls Generation Virtual (Generation V).

"Companies will be challenged with what applications to use, who ultimately ‘owns’ an application or interaction and the management of socialization itself, from measuring success and mitigating negative interactions to sourcing and cultural restraints," said Sarner.

Unlike previous generations, Generational Virtual is not defined by age, gender, social demographic or geography. It is based on proven achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to find and share information.

 To do business with Generation V, marketers will need to attract online personas by creating multiple, engaging online destinations and provide tools for individual populations to socialize and express their different personas. By doing that marketers will have a better understanding of Generation V.

"To dive deeply into what different personas want, what and who they are influenced by, and for help on predicting future behavior, marketers will need to rely heavily on the social sciences for insight into the evolving needs of their customer base," said Sarner.

"They also will need proficiency in game design to create highly engaging, highly relevant environments to promote customer interaction. The Chief Marketing Officer should plan to attract these skill sets today, because, in less than 10 years, they will comprise much of what the marketing organization will look like."