Analyzing Forrester’s Wave(tm) Report on Listening Platforms


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I’ve been reading and participating in Forrester “Wave” reports for years and it’s always interesting to see how people react to the vendor technology evaluations in these reports. Sure, it’s always great to be selected as one of the companies to participate and we are certainly thrilled to continue to be ranked as one of the top providers in the industry, but for me the real value of the Wave Report goes far beyond which companies were named “Leaders” and “Strong Performers.”

The inside information and trend data collected and synthesized by the lead analyst, in this case the extremely knowledgeable Zach Hofer-Shall, is usually as valuable, if not more, than designated vendor bragging rights for the next 12 months. You’ll see all kinds of online discussion and buzz about the report, but virtually none of it will be about the key industry insights and trends highlighted by Zach and his research team. With that in mind, here are a few of the key takeaways that I found most interesting:

  • the emergence of social media is helping companies transition from “Brand Listening” to “Social Intelligence,” the concept of informing marketing and business decisions with insights from social media conversations and data;
  • the industry remains still very much in relative infancy and will continue to be challenged even more in the future by the ever-moving target of new social media communities, technologies and shifting online consumer behavior;
  • the demand for improved text analytics and sentiment analysis accuracy will rapidly escalate in importance as social intelligence continues to infiltrate every aspect of a company’s operations;
  • social business insights is fast becoming an enterprise-wide discipline and is no longer being driven mostly by only the marketing and communications departments; and,
  • the winners and losers in this space will have nothing to do with how big a name they are or how much money they spend. Technology innovation combined with smart people and services will be the real winners.

As always, we welcome your comments on the industry and the “Wave” report, a complimentary copy of which you can download from our site.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Mike Spataro
Mike is a senior vice president with Visible Technologies, a leading provider of social media listening, measurement and online brand activation. Mike has designed and implemented first and second generation social media strategies and programs for some of Visible Tech's growing roster of global clients, including American Express, FedEx, TD Bank and Kraft Foods.


  1. The hopes that we have for the kind of role that listening platforms can play in marketing and social CRM will depend on the extent to which the platforms are purchased / sponsored / used by people outside the PR team within Marketing.

    And the hopes that we have for the role that listening platforms can play in the business will depend on the extend to which the buyer / user / sponsor based is expanded beyond just Marketing.

    It will be critical to watch how quickly and widespread this expansion is happening.

    For example, we have great hopes for connecting listening platforms with web analytics and CRM at Unica. So I am watching this trend closely but am not 100% certain how long it will take from users perspective to take action on the opportunities beyond PR.


  2. Akin,

    You guys are uniquely positioned to accomplish that. It is a great area to keep an eye on. It has been my experience that the growing importance of social within corporate research departments and consumer insights is where this leadership integration could possible be driven in the immediate future.

    Mike Spataro


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