5 Lessons From Forrester’s Blogging Policy

If you’re hooked anywhere into the blogosphere or twitterville, then you’ve probably caught some of the heated discussion about Forrester’s new blogging policy. As a result, I’ve received a lot of nice messages from people showing their support for this (my personal) blog. So, I want to start by saying thank you to everyone.

You’re probably waiting for me to make some profound statement about my support or opposition to the new blogging policy which will fuel a new round of tweets. Sorry to disappoint you. I have a policy about not commenting on Forrester’s policies. I find it to be my best policy.

What I am going to comment on is what other companies can learn about this situation. Not about the policy itself, but about the aftermath from the policy. So here are some of the lessons for companies:

  1. Assume everyone will find out. The thought that somehow you can make a major or controversial decision without people finding out is naïve. As you are making decisions, assume that everyone will find out. So factor it into the decisions that you make and the way that you communicate those decisions.
  2. Don’t get bullied by the crowd. From my very unofficial count, there are significantly more negative than positive comments about Forrester’s new policy. But that doesn’t matter. Companies can’t get overly swayed by volume; social media has a way of amplifying some positions over others.
  3. Pick your battles wisely. Social media provides an outlet for lots of people to share their thoughts and opinions. So you can almost always find people that disagree with your actions or decisions. If you try to rebuff all of them, then you’ll find yourself swimming upstream — and likely looking pretty silly along the way.
  4. Be open and honest. The comments about Forrester’s policy came from a range of people — Forrester followers, clients, competitors, employees, ex-employees, etc. So any attempt to “spin” the facts can be dangerous; many people with different insights are prepared to pick apart every word you write.
  5. Don’t overly obsess about social media. I’ve written a lot about voice of the customer (VoC) programs, which are a key ingredient for customer experience efforts. These VoC programs need to treat social media as one of many listening posts, which in many cases may not be as valuable as other customer-direct listening posts like calls into the call centers and comments on surveys.

The bottom line: Be smart about social media.

Written by 

I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

26 thoughts on “5 Lessons From Forrester’s Blogging Policy”

  1. Great points – “Don’t overly obsess about social media”. Get someone who understands it.

    The probability of everyone finding out is inversely proportionate to how confidential you want to keep it. The degree of distortion is similarly correlated, but more complex using variables such as how openly and honestly you respond and other points above (and other seemingly random and not so random factors).

    Excellent, thanks.

  2. How ironic with respect to their new policy regarding a blog on Customer Experience! In so far as this… how does this policy enhance Customer Experience for current and future customers? And how does this enhance their brand positioning?

    If a client was curious as to the benefits of Forrester research, they need only to peruse this blog to see the value that is articulated in only the tip of the iceberg. Or for an organization not immersed in Customer Experience, they certainly would see the benefit of exploring policies of Customer Delight.

    Amazing how some big companies just don’t get the paradigm shift in how a vast majority of people are getting and sharing information. Hmmm… I think it is called lack of Situational Awareness? Kind of why companies like Digital Equipment Corporation, a behemoth of their time… is gone! 🙂

    All the best…

  3. So, can i assume that you will continue to post the same material, but just on a Forrester page? And will that be publicly accessible, or just to clients?

  4. Bruce,

    In my view this is the best Customer Experience blog out there. I advise many clients to read it..

    I understand why Forrester are doing this but it sounds like shutting the door after the horse has bolted!.

    Simple next steps. Leave and set up your own CE company. 🙂 If you need any advice on that let me know.

    Colin Shaw
    Beyond Philosophy.

  5. Bruce,
    I have found your blog to be one of the most insightful about the customer experience. Although this is a personal blog, it clearly demonstrates your high level of expertise within the customer experience discipline. I hope you will still be able to share your knowledge with your readers in the future.

  6. Preface with “I don’t know all the facts or IP issues”, but:

    To me the policy from Forrester seems a bit dated and headed backwards not forwards.

    Social Media, open source, low profit corporations, Google 20% time – there is a storm brewing…… Those that see it and understand will be those that thrive in the coming decade.

    If an Analyst builds “her” brand and Forrester is doing the right things, the analyst will not only stay but sing the praises of Forrester. Win-win. If not, “policy” is not going to solve the underlying issue.

    Daniel Pink has a new book out called Drive. Very interesting concepts on Human behavior and motivation as it applies to business.

  7. Bruce, I knew little of Forresters until I started reading your blog a few years back. The fact that they employ someone with your IQ/EQ, communication skill and of course incredible grasp of customer experience only reflects positively upon them as an organisation (and encourages the likes of me to do business with Forresters). I kinda understand why they would want to have ‘their arms’ more around that thought leadership. Its a shame it took a policy rather than just working out a way for your blog and the business to be more formally integrated. I am sure you will all find a good way forward. Darren

  8. Bruce -I am completely in awe with your remark on a topic as sensitive as this. But the fact remains that customers are empowered a harsh reality !
    Such things does not do good to the image of the brand on the whole.

  9. Bruce, you’re blog is great. It’s the most insightful resource for customer experience information that I’ve found. It seems to me that you’ve raised Forrester’s brand in this space and they should be very thankful for that. I hope you don’t give in and give up on your great blog

  10. Bruce, I origianlly left this message on Colin Shaw’s blog, Forrester takes the ’social’ out of social media, but then thought, why am I not telling this to Bruce himself? You have encouraged me to be involved in customer experience and start my own business through your many blogs and words of wisdom. It is a shame to think that someone else may not be able to find the same encouragement because that could mean one less person on our side. The more the merrier right? It only adds to the cause and there is strength in numbers.

    For me, you are “bigger” than Forrester as the info I seek is not found on Forrester’s site. It is found in the minds of the people like you who are the base of a great company. The people who make sense of the info and put it “out there” in a fashion that appeals to all. Now if someone asked me if I knew of a company that did what Forrester does, I would recommend them for sure. But to be clear, I only know of Forrester becuase of you. Isn’t that the reason we are all here? Relationships. Word of mouth. Alliances. Communication and sharing. Great customer experiences. It seems their new policy breaks down the very fabric they helped to create.

    My best to you and thank you.


  11. My colleagues and I regularly read and discuss your blog. It’s great! The reason I’m leaving my first comment is that I can’t believe that Forrester wants you to stop this blog. It’s the bright light amongst a lot of irrelevant noise on the topic of customer experience. My company has a Forrester subscription, but I didn’t even think about getting access until I saw some of your references to the research. I must be missing something here, isn’t that all good for Forrester?!?! Maybe Forrester’s management just doesn’t get customer experience!

  12. I agree with the first comment… Bruce, you’re a class act. I don’t understand why Forrester wants to shut down this blog, but it seems like you aren’t letting it get in your way. Whatever happens, I hope that you continue to provide thought leadership for those of us in the customer experience trenches.

  13. What?!? Tell me this isn’t true. You’re not going to take down this blog are you? How can that make any sense, unless you don’t want to do it anymore. This is the best insight about cust exp around. It doesn’t seem like Forrester is acting very “social”

  14. Dear Forrester CEO: Please come to your senses. This is a great blog which seems to help your company (look at the other comments), without any downside. Closing down this blog will not only hurt those of us who really like to read Bruce’s posts, but it will also make you look silly. For your own sake, please come to your sense.

  15. I’ve been following Bruce’s blog for a while and find it to be a great source for meaningful insights that also seems to promote Forrester’s research and its brand. Does Forrester really advise companies about social media? Not sure I’d trust a company that doesn’t seem to embrace one of the few good blogs around.

  16. I just ran across your blog — it’s really outstanding! I’m not sure what all the fuss is with Forrester and blogging, but I hope they don’t close down your blog.

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