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Online Communities and Social Networks have transformed the Marketing
landscape in the last ten years. From pioneers such as Myspace to the
behemoths of Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, Online Communities
have become digital neighborhoods, hangouts and intersections of
Marketers have found the global Social Networks to be both a benefit
and a challenge. The benefit is the ability to reach millions of prospective
customers with the click of a mouse. The challenge is be seen and heard
in a growing cacophony of marketing noise. Increasingly, marketers are
finding that the answer is to create private or company-owned Online
Communities set apart from the social mainstream and dedicated to the
needs of their unique customers.
Company-owned online communities are websites that act as engagement
engines. They enable companies to create social relationships with
customers and prospects and to foster peer-to-peer relationships that
drive engagement with the company, brand, product or service.
Activities include blogs, forums, Q&A, groups, contests, Gamification, SEO,
and Social Media integrations.
Increasingly, companies are using these communities for crowdsourcing
and ideation to drive innovation and new product development. Online
Communities are also useful for identifying potential advocates who can
be further engaged using the Advocacy and Loyalty platforms.
In this report, we examine company-owned Online Communities rather
than the large social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Our Online Communities Vendor Landscape provides a detailed look at
the landscape, vendors and solutions for Online Communities.
The goal is to enable Modern Marketing organizations to make effective
investment decisions about the private Online Community platforms
and tools that best fit their broader Customer Engagement strategy.