• September 1, 2008
  • By Jessica Tsai, Assistant Editor, CRM magazine

The 2008 CRM Market Awards: Influential Leaders -- Josh Bernoff + Charlene Li

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The Swells:
Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li
Industry analysts and co-authors of Groundswell

We’re in the Web 2.0 world and people are more connected than ever. An alarming byproduct is what Josh Bernoff and Charlene Li have identified as “the groundswell”—a phenomenon delineated in their acclaimed book of the same name. Written when both were analysts at Forrester Research—Li recently stepped down—the book’s insights helped the two industry heavyweights stand out, even among the all-stars at Forrester, which has a reputation at the cutting edge of technology market research.

Groundswell is the best book I’ve read about social media and social-media marketing,” says David Berkowitz, director of emerging media and client strategies at online marketing agency 360i. In just over 200 pages, Bernoff and Li cover seemingly everything—from blogs to social networks, from B2B to B2C, from the United States to China.

Bernoff and Li are also able to communicate this complicated trend in a way that resonates. “People in the online industry sense that social networking is a really big deal, but we rely on folks like Josh and Charlene to articulate that,” says Craig Newmark, customer service representative and founder of craigslist. “They’ve done extensive research and let us know what’s going on, through blogs, public speaking, and so on.”

Perhaps most significant is the commitment to quality research. “I find their analytical, data-driven approach refreshing and one that I wish were more pervasive,” says Steve Rubel, senior vice president and director of insights for Edelman Digital. The new key to holding onto consumers is letting them go—with extensive backgrounds in social technology and Web 2.0 research, Bernoff and Li are helping companies swallow this dose of reality and transform traditional business processes. The Internet has changed everything—and they double-teamed a tumultuous industry to provide a guiding light.

For the rest of our 2008 Influential Leaders, click here.

To view the rest of the 2008 CRM Market Awards, click here.

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