Forrester Study: Stakeholder Segmenting Strategy Essential to Online Success

4 06 2007

Forrester Segmentation Strategy

Organizations spend a great deal of resources in people and money to conduct usability studies to improve their user experience online. Sadly, much of this investment is wasted because it justifies the initial redesign only but provides no ongoing methods for continuous improvement of the user experience.

This week’s posts will feature different approaches that associations can employ to create customer-centric strategies that measure and assess user experiences on an ongoing basis.

Today we look at Forrester’s process for developing stakeholder profiles using what they call Social Technographics” (analyzing a population according to its social participation type). The point is to develop a specific customer engagement strategy for each participant type from among your various information consumers BEFORE you deploy different means of content distribution.

Forrester believes that many organizations approach social computing as a list of technologies to be deployed as needed – a blog, a podcast, etc – to achieve a specific isolated goal without a coherent approach to target an intended audience that determines what kind of relationship you want to build with them based on what they want. If we understand how information consumers use various “social technologies” we can develop more targeted and effective means of engagement that will provide greater customer satisfaction.

Forrester groups information consumers into six different categories of participation (see above graphic): creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. It is important to know that segmented users profiled into one level may or may not overlap by participating at other levels. Forrester uses the metaphor of a ladder to show this, with the rungs at the higher end of the ladder indicating a higher level of participation.

Here is an example they give:

For example, 13% of US online adult consumers are “Creators” meaning that they have posted to a blog, updated a Web page, or uploaded video they created within the last month. A blogger would fall into this group because they publish a blog. That blooger may also be an avid user of services like so she would be a “Collector” as well. But she is not really active on social networking sites – so she wouldn’t be a “Joiner”. Lastly, while she might enjoy reading environmental blogs like Treehugger, she is mostly a “Spectator” when it comes to that content area.

In the recently published Forrester Report, they examine how Social Technographics profiles differ by primary life motivation, site usage, and even PC ownership. The report also lays out how companies can create strategies using Social Technographics to help determine what to deploy for whom and how to get that audience to move up the ladder and participate more actively. You can purchase this indepth report from Forrester for $275US (link here).

Once again, a common theme for creating experiences that add value are driven around customer need fulfillment by knowing what outcomes are important to customers. Plotting where your members and nonmembers are on this ladder can help shape stronger customer engagement around products and services.

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