consumer adoption, engagement, strategy

Creating exponential growth

I’ve been very intrigued by exponential growth and its typical the hockey stick pattern.

Exponential growth patterns have held true in many social networking sites or applications’ adoption and understanding this better might be key to architecting a desired consumer behaviour like the internal adoption of a community or collaboration tool or fostering social networking growth for an organization or event.

With the right integrated marketing support, right engagement strategies and adequate lead time, marketers can architect constant growth and, over time, experience exponential growth.   But the supports need to be present –

  • Integrated marketing support – god! if digital didn’t already suffer from a lack of integration with traditional media, now arrives social media which needs to be part of PR, operations, communications and much more.    It has to be clever integration too because the social media presence is not a broadcast of other medias.   Here is a post on my woes.


  • Engagement strategies – I’m not convinced there is enough thought given to how to create a strategy or environment where sharing is made easy, is built into a campaign and consumer contributions are encouraged and valued.  Mitch Joel, Twist Image, once tweeted or said somewhere that viral is a result – and I always liked that distinction because people try to sell ‘viral marketing’ but not everything ‘goes viral’.     That said, there are some elements that need to be planned in order to make viral easy and happen if the idea, content, widget is gonna go viral.


  • Adequate lead time – Importantly, if the wrong amount of time or support is given to marketing – then all we see is the first half of social media exponential growth – which isn’t impressive because the BOOM hockey stick hasn’t taken off.   Wouldn’t it be cool to measure the first half of the hockey stick and have alarm bells go off when an exponential growth pattern is established!  I’d like that.

I found a great discussion on exponential growth on Youtube.

social networks

Big corporate investments in social networking expected: Forrester Research

Forrester’s spending forecast for web 2.0 tools is out .   Big business is expected to spend heavy on social networking tools among social medias – calling enterprise 2.0 a $4.6 billion dollar industry by 2013.

forecast growth of web2 spendWhat I’ve started to observe in Canada is that these internal social networking or collaboration/community tools are mostly IT initiatives with, I’m guessing, moderate to strong executive support.

A big problem brewing for big business is that the IT departments as masters of the social networking tool implementation, are then charged with securing adoption.

And yet, changing behaviours and securing adoption are not traditional IT skills — they are marketing skills.   And so big business will need to employ good marketers to create the internal change required to maximize the use of these tools.

I see great opportunity for marketers who understand technology well and can fit themselves between the IT department and the stakeholders they serve.

Back to the research – the small widget growth surprises me but perhaps this is an indication of pricing & costs and not adoption of widgets themselves.  When I think of widgets  – I think of the growth of iphone or facebook applications.   I see great opportunities in this space and a need for the modern agency to retain programmer talent in this area.

See ZD net’s article on Forresters report.