Does Social Media work for the Enterprise?

1. Read this and 2. answer this question

1. A must-read from Jeremiah
My friend Jeremiah posted his manifesto (as Shel calls it) on Customer Reference Programs. Working at marketing agencies, I’ve had a ringside view of how customer references work presently and I agree that it’s time for the evolution of customer references.

Jeremiah gives us an insightful train of thought capturing the past, present and future of customer references with a generous sprinkling of how social media is going to transform the industry. Couldn’t agree more with J, however I’ve a question…

2. Is your product, Social Media Friendly?
I’ve dabbled in this philosophy in the past, and the more I focus on it, it seems to me that there’s a distinguishable difference between the corporate marketing of:

(a) consumer related technology products/services and (b) the enterprise customer

If social media is the aggregation of “online tools that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives with each other”, then I don’t see how the enterprise customer (read execs) has the time/inclination to generate content sharing their take on how their most recently purchased server or database amplified the brand or increased sales?

Here’s Justin Kestelyn, Oracle Technology Network (OTN)’s Editor-in-Chief questioning whether blogging has made a difference to their brand?

In summation, I couldn’t agree more that any consumer related product (PCs, lifestyle technology like Skype, etc…) should go the way of social media but…

…will the enterprise customer engage? That’s the billion $ question.

Feel free to check out my earlier posts on customer references The Rise of Corporate Podcasts – 5 Facts and Virtual Customer Lounges

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  1. email marketing strategy

    email marketing strategy

    Hi. Thanks for the good read.

  2. Maybe Enterprise Social Media has finally arrived? « Marketing Nirvana — by Mario Sundar

    […] Posted by Mario Sundar in corporate marketing, conferences. trackback I’m actually tired of asking the same question time and again over the past year. However, two recent research articles prove that corporations […]

  3. Mario Sundar


    Couldn’t agree more with you on that. Definitely smart enterprise companies will have to find a way to develop suitable multi-media to augment their current customer reference programs.

    I just don’t see it being social as in user generated content by their customers.

    Great job with the manifesto, buddy.

  4. Mario Sundar

    Well, Mario, I agree discussion forums and corporate branded social networks are definitely going to be the mainstay of enterprise customer references.

    Jeremiah gives some great examples of those forums and wikis. However, I don’t see social media play out in the traditional sense of the term. Customer Reference Programs are going to evolve from case studies and white papers, to corporate podcasts and corporate vodcasts. No doubt about it.

    I don’t see user generated content becoming a mainstay of enterprise social media. Just my 2 cents.

  5. Jeremiah Owyang

    There’s a couple of cases out there already that demonstrate social media is being created by both communities as well as enterprises.

    1) Channel 9: Development community, crosses both Consumer and Enterprise (They talk about sharepoint, which is enterprise)

    The next two examples are very enterprise

    2) HP Forums: This is a very active and massive user base

    3) Data Storage (Enterprise) blogosphere, see this wiki that I initially created to track this large blogosphere.

    With that said, the smart enterprise companies will find a Social Media Partner to assist them with understanding Social Media as well as help create.

  6. Mario Vellandi

    Meaningful direct conversations between tech producers and enterprise customers will mostly involve questions and answers regarding new/requested features. But there won’t be that much volume there in comparison to…

    Enterprise user groups, where the community benefits from the vast collective intelligence. This is where the passion for using the product lies and where real needs are met in a very agile and responsive environment. Usenet, discussion boards, and now corporate branded social networks (see Leverage Software) are the mediums.

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