Gartner Says More Than 60 Percent of Fortune 1000 Companies With a Web Site Will Connect to or Host a Form of Online Community by 2010 Analysts to Discuss Enterprise Use of Social Networking at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2008, October 12-16
STAMFORD, Conn., October 6, 2008 — To do business with the growing "Generation Virtual" population, companies will need to provide, or connect to, social applications to attract and engage customers, gathering information about their future wants and needs to lead them toward products and services, according to Gartner, Inc. By 2010, more than 60 percent of Fortune 1,000 companies with a Web site will connect to or host some form of online community that can be utilized for customer relationship purposes.
“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.”
However, establishing an online community isn’t without challenges. Gartner predicts that by 2010, more than 50 percent of companies that have established an online community will fail to establish mutual purpose, ultimately eroding customer and company values. To combat this, marketing organizations will need new skills to meet the needs of Generation Virtual.
“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 Mr. Sarner.
Unlike previous generations, Generation Virtual (also known as Generation V) is not defined by age — or gender, social demographic or geography — but is based on demonstrated achievement, accomplishments and an increasing preference for the use of digital media channels to discover information, build knowledge and share insights. The definition of Generation V derives from the recognition that these common behaviors, attitudes and interests are starting to blend together in an online environment. (omit the rest)