While the wildly successful “Groundswell” book by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff continues winning acclaim — most recently from the American Marketing Association — Josh has announced work in progress on a new book. This time, he’s teamed with Ted Schadler as co-author.

The title is “Harnessing the Groundswell: Drive Your Business With Empowered Employees and Customers”. The authors say this next Groundswell book is not a sequel…

“It focuses on individuals empowered by technology — both employees and customers — and how businesses can efficiently turn them into a force for better performance.” - Josh Bernoff

Look for the book in summer 2010 from Harvard Business Press.

Josh is carrying forward some precedents established with the first Groundswell book project. For example, you can keep up with progress and more at the Groundswell blog.

In case you missed it, Charlene Li started her new book project a few months ago. She’s engaging with the community in full force. You can vote on the title for her book right now — check out this post. I’ll write more once she settles on the title. Hers is due out in May 2010.

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Barbara on April 27th, 2009

May marks the 1-year anniversary of the release of Charlene Li’s and Josh Bernoff’s book, Groundswell.  Several industry analysts have released books since then. I figure it’s a good time to shout out to some recent analyst authors and talk a little about why writing books can be such an important activity for market influencers and influencer relations professionals alike.

For IT industry analysts and other types of influencers, writing a book serves several purposes. Books can help create broad industry acceptance of ideas. They also elevate the status of the author as a bona fide expert, and serve as a powerful marketing tool. As a result, influencer relations programs take “author status” into account when profiling opinion-leaders. Publishing a book adds weight to the influencer’s market reach and authority.


cbaroudiCarol Baroudi, Jeffrey Hill, Arnold Reinhold, Jhana Senxian: “Green IT For Dummies” explores how businesses can save money and energy and reduce environmental waste by becoming a leader in green technology.  Carol has other “Dummies” titles to her credit, including SOA for Dummies which she co-wrote with Judith Hurwitz, Robin Bloor & associates.


jblossomJohn Blossom: Developed through a collaborative expert wiki, “Content Nation: Content Nation: Surviving and Thriving as Social Media Changes Our Work, Our Lives and Our Future” describes how social media changes the way businesses market products & services, influences how people interact with the government, and dictates how we communicate with one another on a personal level.



gschulzGreg Schulz: “The Green and Virtual Data Center” covers technologies and techniques for data centers trying to maximize resources such as power, cooling, floor space, storage, server performance, and network capacity. It shows how to make server and storage virtualization energy efficient and still be able to support a diversity of high-performance applications without degrading application quality of service or service level commitments. 



csharmaChetan Sharma: “Wireless Broadband: Conflict and Convergence” (IEEE Series on Digital & Mobile Communication) explains the business, regulatory, and technology issues of the future market for wireless services. It covers broadband and the information society; drivers of broadband consumption; global wireless market analysis; broadband IP core networks; convergence; and contention and conflict. 



jfenn1Jackie Fenn, Mark Raskino: Companies rush to adopt the innovation, often with a heavy investment—and then, when the promised bounty doesn’t appear as quickly as anticipated, there’s an equivalent rush to bail out. ”Mastering the Hype Cycle” lays out a disciplined, benefits-led approach to innovation adoption, drawing on company examples and Gartner’s STREET framework (Scope, Track, Rank, Evaluate, Evangelize, Transfer).



Did I miss one?  Feel free to post additions & comment on these titles. All valid influencers and all types of influencers are welcome.

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Barbara on February 19th, 2009

Can winning industry awards help sell products and services? According to the Influencer Marketing book, the answer is no:

“Industry awards are primarily self-congratulatory ‘feel good’ exercises, which have limited marketing value and all but zero influence on the top decision-makers.”

– Nick Hayes and Duncan Brown

They do credit awards with some value in the early stage of a decision process, such as in response to a Request For Proposal.

Is that the practical extent of the value of an industry award?

I agree with them insofar as few industry awards have the impact of the Oscars. However, that seems more a shortcoming of the typical awards organizer than the nature of awards in general.

Every industry has its awards programs that amount to little more than karaoke. It pays to avoid those. Or, bury them.

Likewise, every industry has its awards programs that do matter.

As with all forms of influence, the trick is knowing which is which.

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Barbara on November 25th, 2008

The tech outlook keeps sliding in the wrong direction — IDC revising forecasts downward, NPD forecasting lighter holiday spend on consumer electronics, etc. — and sooner or later that means cuts in marketing spend and marketing jobs.

In terms of marketing spend, adopting influencer relations should be a priority. Influencer identification and engagement can improve measurable results from marketing, despite budget reductions. Find more by contacting me (barbara.french@influencer50.com) or start by reading Nick’s and Duncan’s book, Influencer Marketing.

In terms of marketing jobs, there is no straightforward fix. Marketing jobs are always a target for cost reduction in the tech sector. It’s one of the grim realities of being a marketing professional in the tech sector.

If you’re out there on the hunt for a new position, get a quick sanity check from Seth Godin.

If you’re in the unfortunate position of cutting staff, check out Guy Kawasaki’s post at the American Express OPEN Forum, The Art of Laying People Off. It’s an excerpt from his new book, Reality Check. Readers are commenting on his advice at his blog.

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Barbara on October 10th, 2008

Can you measure branding through tangible improvements in operations and the bottomline? Are your branding investments aimed directly at changing customer behavior? Is brand equity a myth that exists in the minds of marketers?

These are some of the questions that Jonathan Salem Baskin raises in his new book, Branding Only Works on Cattle. He talked about his ideas for rocking the branding boat at a special presentation to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco last night.

It’s easy to see that branding strategies developed for the era of mass media are not going to perform as well in the era of social media. It’s much harder to get your head around what that change would actually look like.

At least 2 of Jonathan’s ideas struck a chord with me, as they fit very well with the transition to influencer marketing:

1. Shift the branding focus away from creating fictions (mascots, celebrity endorsements, etc.) Instead, enrich the actual customer experience with your company, products, and services. The customer experience is the brand.

2. Trade in the creative marketing math for measuring branding (recall, impressions, tonality, etc). Instead, adopt standard business math. Measure brands based on real world customer behavior. Worry less about whether your YouTube vids go viral, and more about whether your brand facilitates shorter sales cycles, higher word of mouth referrals. Look to the bottomline to find the benefit of branding investments.

Jonathan is not advocating the end of branding, merely the end of bad branding habits. For example, perception-changing branding isn’t going away, nor should it. Find more about that in Martin Bishop’s perspective on the evening.

Influencer marketing is all about addressing customer behavior, as it is happening. Jonathan is challenging us to adopt some similar ideas about branding.

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Barbara on October 6th, 2008

Tarah Remington was in touch with Influencer50 today, with a heads up that the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) has released a draft of the WOMMA Influencer Handbook for public comment. The handbook is about best practices in the use of influencer marketing:

“WOMMA believes influencer marketing is real and here to stay. It is not a myth, or a passing fad, or the latest trend. Rather, it is one component of successful word of mouth marketing programs.”

The WOMMA handbook references Nick and Duncan’s book, Influencer Marketing: Who Really Influencers Your Customers, in the bibliography on books, white papers, and research.

WOMMA is calling for public comment from marketers, bloggers, and consumers in order to make this tool as useful and effective as possible.

Update: Found a cameo post by one of the authors, Sean O’Driscoll.

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In conjunction with their new book, “Getting It Right the First Time: How Innovative Companies Anticipate Demand”, Internet Research Group principals Peter Christy and John Katsaros offer a one-page analyst perspective on do’s and don’ts for high tech vendors intent on briefing industry analysts. I suggest that analyst relations managers read the book and consider giving their spokespeople each a copy of the book, along with a print-out of the Do’s & Don’ts page. Here’s why.

1. For spokespeople: The Do’s and Don’ts are a minimalist list, and this is a good thing. If all else fails, don’t fail on the points explained by Christy and Katsaros. If your spokespeople have the attention span of a gnat or the ego of a shark, then these are the prep points to cover, cover, cover. Meanwhile, the book may help them rediscover the importance of accurate, well-informed forecasting.

2. For analyst relations professionals: The book can revitalize analyst relations managers, providing a launch pad for redefining the way that analyst relations and industry research contribute to high tech companies. Analyst relations managers are in a unique position to contribute to their organization’s success. The first challenge is envisioning such a role. This book can help:

In ‘Getting It Right the First Time’, we show that the most successful businesses will be those that accurately predict market conditions–especially the market changes that will occur within the crucial 18-to-36-month innovation window. Or, to paraphrase the advice hockey superstar Wayne Gretzky received from his father: ‘Skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where it is.’ — Katsaros and Christy

The Web site for the book is at www.irg-intl.com/book/index.htm. The analyst briefing Do’s and Don’ts are in the What’s Inside section.

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Louis Columbus, LWC Research, recommends Tekrati Industry Analyst Reporter as a top resource for analyst relations professionals in “Best Practices in Industry Analyst Relations.” The book is available for online purchase in hardcopy and electronic formats.

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