60 percent of Fortune 1000 companies will connect to or host some kind of online community by 2010.
By 2010, more than 50 percent of companies that have established an online community will fail to establish mutual purpose, ultimately eroding customer and company values.
The research was conducted by Gartner CRM analyst Adam Sarner. I haven't seen his results in detail, but this sounds about right -- even a bit conservative -- to me.
Re 60% adoption by 2010, I've always believed that it would take about a generation for online communities to become universal for large organizations. (I've been saying this for many years -- most recently last spring.) If we date the beginning of this generation-long transformation to 1994 (birth of the commercial web), that puts us at 100% by 2014. So 60% by 2010 is not far off.
Re 50% failure, that matches my own observations too -- not with Lithium customers, thankfully, but with community efforts in general. Adam's comment about "mutual purpose" is right on the money, but I'd be more specific -- communities that fail are usually focused completely on marketing and sales objectives and don't recognize that the community needs to support the customer's goal too -- or perhaps even as a first priority.
Notice too that Adam is talking about customer-facing communities, not internal communities. Hats off to him for making the distinction.
A number of other people have commented on the Gartner results. Here are two:
What's interesting to me is that, contrary to Caroline's and Ben's take, the Gartner release doesn't use the term "social media" and doesn't refer to "campaigns." Instead, Adam is writing about communities, which are (to my mind) a specific type of social media, and exactly the opposite of a campaign.
If you want to get a good idea of what social media means in the broadest sense, check out Peter Kim's list of social media marketing examples. Communities differ from other social media efforts in two ways: they are persistent (i.e., no end date, hence the problem with the term campaign) and they are three-way conversations. The three ways are:
How many examples on Peter's list meet these criteria? You tell me.
One more thing about the Gartner release that I thought was spot-on:
“To dive deeply into what different personas want, what and who they are influenced by, and for help on predicting future behavior, marketers will need to rely heavily on the social sciences for insight into the evolving needs of their customer base,” said Mr. Sarner. “They also will need proficiency in game design to create highly engaging, highly relevant environments to promote customer interaction. The Chief Marketing Officer should plan to attract these skill sets today, because, in less than 10 years, they will comprise much of what the marketing organization will look like.”