Best-in-Class Companies Provide Online Outlets for Collaboration and Individuality

Thu Jul 10, 2008 11:36am EDT

* Reuters is not responsible for the content in this press release.

  BOSTON, MA, Jul 10 (MARKET WIRE) -- 
The popularity of online social media forums has not only changed the way
peers interact with each other, it has also succeeded in creating a new
breed of online customers. These customers have come to expect a certain
level of accessibility and interaction with businesses, as well as the
ability to engage with other consumers who share similar wants and needs.
In order to meet the expectations of their online clientele, top
companies are leveraging an assortment of Web 2.0 technologies to allow
for increased interaction between the business and its customers. A
recent study, "Customer 2.0: The Business Implications of Social Media"
(, conducted by
Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), revealed that
Best-in-Class companies are over 17 times more likely to improve customer
satisfaction than Laggards, 89% versus 5% respectively, through the use
of social media.

    While the need to increase market awareness was identified by all
respondents as the top pressure causing organizations to focus resources
on Web 2.0 technologies, an interesting discrepancy exists when it comes
to the additional factors motivating companies to explore social media.
Best-in-Class companies are naturally concerned with improving the online
experience for their customers; however, these top performing companies
recognize that the valuable information inherent to online conversations
can directly impact revenue growth. As a result, Best-in-Class companies
have establish organizational processes to utilize consumer-generated
insights in product development inititatives and marketing campaigns. Top
performing companies currently utilize company-hosted blogs (57%), wikis
(43%), and customer rating and feedback solutions (37%) to create an
online social media experience that simultaneously provides customers with
opportunities for collaboration and individuality.

    "Modern customers expect to interact with peers and businesses when they
want, how they want, and in the channel of their choosing. Rather than
turn a blind eye to the emergence of a new type of consumer base, savvy
companies are providing an assortment of Web 2.0 touch points for
consumers to provide feedback and interact with one another," explains
Alex Jefferies, Senior Research Associate in Aberdeen's Customer
Management Group. "As solutions like blogs, wikis, and social networking
become commonplace online, businesses will succeed in creating a
closed-loop process with their customers. One where the insights gleaned
from consumer-generated conversations drive product development and
marketing decisions," concludes Jefferies.

    The report demonstrates the value of collectively leveraging
organizational practices in process, performance measurement, knowledge
management, and technology to provide a foundation for social media
success. By combining processes for using consumer-generated insights
across multiple business units and establishing the support of senior
management, Best-in-Class companies are 8-times more likely than Laggards
to be satisfied with their return on marketing investement (ROMI).

    A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part by the
following underwriters: Awareness, Mzinga, and Small World Labs.
Furthermore, this research is being disseminated to the market through the
support of various media outlets, such as the ECT News network, the
American Marketing Association, and ITO America. To obtain a complimentary
copy of the report, visit:

    About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

    Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market
intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more
than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely
positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating
demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment
analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets,
corporations turn to Aberdeen(TM) for insights that drive decisions.

    As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in
context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's
analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of
Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement -
Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role
Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit
Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more
about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to

Copyright 2008 Aberdeen Group, Inc., a Harte-Hanks Company
451 D Street, Suite 710
Boston, Massachusetts  02210-1928
Telephone: (617)854-5200
Fax: (617) 723-7897


Media Contact:
Alex Jefferies
Aberdeen Harte-Hanks
(617) 854-5337

Copyright 2008, Market Wire, All rights reserved.

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