By Melanie Turek, Industry Principal, Frost & Sullivan
Earlier this month, I participated in Frost & Sullivan's annual Growth, Innovation and Leadership Congress in Arizona. The event isn't focused on ICT—Frost & Sullivan has several industry-specific practices, including healthcare, automotive and defense—but it seems as though everyone I met was interested in one topic regardless of the industry they're in: Social media, and the increasing role it's playing in marketing, communications and collaboration.
Social networking, social media, Web 2.0—whatever you call it, it's the buzz word of the day. Regardless of their industry, everyone I spoke with at the GIL event was interested in social networking, whether as a communications vendor (asking, "How do I integrate this into my offering and monetize it?") or, more often, as a user ("How do I leverage this for outbound marketing and brand building and/or internal collaboration?").
As part of the GIL congress, I moderated a panel discussion about how companies are using sites like Facebook and Twitter to build their brand and better interact with their customers, as well as boost collaboration among employees and business partners. Interestingly, while most of the panelists and participating audience members seemed quite clear on the value and use of social media for internal collaboration—including identifying skills and expertise, sharing ideas around the organization, and deepening personal and professional relationships—many were less clear about how and whether to use the new technology for marketing purposes.