Jenny Sussin

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Jenny Sussin
Principal Research Analyst
2 years with Gartner
4 years IT industry

Jenny Sussin is a princial research analyst in the ITL Enterprise Software group of Gartner Research, with primary focus on social for CRM. Read Full Bio

Your Video Got 100,000 Views? Mine Closed a $3 Millon Deal.

by Jenny Sussin  |  June 25, 2013  |  1 Comment

Every marketer makes the mistake of equating activity to value at some point in their career. You know what, it’s not just marketers: it’s everyone. “You left at 5:30? I work until 10 pm every night.”

The bottom line for the 10 pm people: if I can get similar or better quality work done by 5:30, I’m not working until 10.

When I was an entry level marketer focusing on social media, I had some really strong mentors who taught me how to create content that wasn’t boring. They helped me see that even though I was marketing B2B software, I could make the content interesting versus just having the ‘talking head’ videos that we’re all too familiar with. I was proud of myself. I was getting content created with little to no-budget that was garnering an audience of hundreds, or if I was lucky it’d get thousands, and for one product line of a non-consumer brand, that level of activity around content is not something to be scoffed at.

I also had a higher-level, executive mentor. He was this really well-respected, smart, hilarious man in the company who scared the ____ out of me and everyone who worked for him or around him. (Side note: being able to make people laugh until they cry, and at the same time have them genuinely fear you, is a legitimate skill. I’m still in awe of this person as you can see.)

So one day I was working from my former company’s headquarters and he calls me over the catch up. I was so proud of the work I’d done and as I told him about the content I’d created and the low-budget with high viewership, I was sure I was impressing him. I wasn’t. Instead he hit me with some business knowledge and took me down a peg. He asked, “so how many prospects were you able to pin point?” And I said, “well, none but…” And so he asked, “were you able to close any deals as a result of this?” And I said, “No but this cost us next to nothing and has thousands of views!” And he said, “we made a video the other day for $40,000. It has 30 views, but we closed a $3 million deal as a result of it. The ‘talking head’ helped us close a deal with his company.”

Duh. Duh, duh, duh, duh, duh. When you work in the social space, you end up getting so consumed with being creative and getting ‘hits’ that you often lose track of your true business purpose: make us money or save us money, either directly or indirectly. You can literally pay for ‘activity.’ $39 will get you 5,000 views on your YouTube video thanks to Socialkik.

When you’re building your social media strategy, including your social content strategy, consider your end game and act accordingly versus 2009 Jenny.

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Category: marketing social crm social media     Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

For the Interns: The Duck Face (and a quick tip for posting to social media)

by Jenny Sussin  |  May 31, 2013  |  1 Comment

Music for today’s reading:

Another post in preparation for intern and I-need-to-find-a-job season…we bring you “the duck face…”

You know what I mean you iPhone users, you MySpace reformers, you Instagrammers…

One more from the little Kardashian…

Heck, my one colleague and I were just talking about how his teenager has started making the duck face and throwing down 2s (a sideways peace sign a la Drake, Charlize and little K) for the last couple of months now since she’s discovered how to take an iPhone selfie (you need long enough arms to make this work, it usually takes until 14 or so.)

No one wants to employ a duck face. Especially not one with a spray tan and a beer bottle in hand.

You’ve got to keep in mind young’ns and older folk that anything you put online, can and will be found: just ask Anthony Weiner.

So here is the simplest of advice for anyone raising a teenager, getting tipsy on the weekend, tweeting or posting to social media either personally or on behalf of their company…if you’re not okay with your post, with a giant picture of your face next to it, up on a billboard along the I-95 corridor or the 101 or wherever you are: DON’T POST IT.

You can not simply delete something from social media. Thousands of companies are capturing those feeds every second of every day and so while you think you have deleted something from Twitter or Facebook, someone else already has a copy of it. Not just one someone, hundreds of thousands of someones. Be smart. Hide your phone and your face when you’re under the influence.

Take a breather when you’re frustrated before posting something on social media.

And companies, know how to manage control of your social media accounts so the duck face doesn’t happen or this, this is worse.

Direct messages aren’t private, just ask your local congressman.

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Category: social media     Tags: , , , , , , ,

For the Interns: If You Give an Intern Control of Your Facebook Page…

by Jenny Sussin  |  May 16, 2013  |  Comments Off

Let’s press play and turn on the speakers for this one because it’s nearly summer time and while our interns come to join us, we should listen to some relaxing music. Plus, your intern might look like Chad or Jeremy in ’64.


If you give an intern control of your Facebook page, one or two or three of many things could happen. He/she might…

Feel empowered…


Feel confused…


Establish the customer-facing social media strategy you lack…


Get angry with you and post something inappropriate…


Build a foundation on which you can express your brand’s brand on social media…


Build a foundation for your brand that is not really your brand’s brand…


Flourish under your leadership and become a change agent and leader in your organization…


Go work for a competitor, while still having admin access to your Facebook page…


As intern season springs upon us and the doe-eyed young’ns enter our white-walled dwellings, let’s keep in mind that the tasks we assign them are tasks that have an impact on both the intern and the organization. When I was a wee intern, some of the folks at my former employer gave some of us a camera, they gave others the equipment to podcast, and others the opportunity to blog. That one day where someone believed in us and entrusted us to go out and express how we felt about the company we were working for changed our understanding of “career” and what we could do to impact a “stiff” organization.

But also keep in mind that these interns don’t know the history behind your brand. They don’t necessarily understand your industry and your competitors. They might not even understand your product. And worse, they will be gone at the end of the summer. Don’t have them start something you can’t carry on.

And with those few words of wisdom, everyone enjoy your summer :)

Let the music play out…

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Category: 360 customer service intern marketing orientation social crm social media     Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Video: Gartner’s Customer 360 – A Final Recap

by Jenny Sussin  |  May 3, 2013  |  Comments Off

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Video: Day 1 Recap and Day 2 Preview from Gartner’s Customer 360 Event

by Jenny Sussin  |  May 2, 2013  |  Comments Off

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Video: Getting Ready for Gartner’s Customer 360 Event

by Jenny Sussin  |  May 1, 2013  |  Comments Off

Some of what you can expect from this week’s Customer 360 event courtesy of yours truly and Don Scheibenreif (did I spell that right?)


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Category: 360 customer service ecommerce marketing social crm social media     Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not Everyone Deserves a Trophy

by Jenny Sussin  |  April 3, 2013  |  Comments Off

First, I know I haven’t been blogging as much as I “should.” I’m not the first person to have trouble finding time to blog. I am not the best at balancing my personal and professional life and time. I am not the only person who has ever made the “I’ve been too busy” excuse. I am not one of a kind, nor am I best in class.


Alright, I came clean: social application vendors, it is time that you do the same.

Gartner follows over 150 vendors in the social for CRM space. I alone have 152 files on vendors I have been briefed by, many of them multiple times over the past 2 years…and there are multiple products under each of those vendors, mind you. And the point is: the likelihood that the product I am being demo-ed is the first, the only or the best is very, very minimal.

Jennifer Lawrence's impression of any analyst who hears the words "first," "only" or "best."

And so now, the constructive part of this post.

Vendors: it is okay. You don’t need to be the first, only or best to be different. When you talk to an analyst and when you pitch potential clients, be cool. TELL ME WHAT YOU DO. Don’t give me marketing lingo. Tell me what you do and hopefully you know what you’re doing well and can hone in on it. If you don’t know what you do well, because you couldn’t possibly have an eye on an entire marketplace because that isn’t your day job, guess whose day job it is?

That's right...

End users: I can only imagine how confused you are. I hear it every day from our clients. The irrational short lists. The pure confusion in people’s voices. If you look at any social application vendor’s web page, it’ll look like they all do the same thing. Sure there are some exceptions, but for the most part 80% of vendors are out there saying, “we’re a social media management system! We do it all. Marketing? Yes. Customer service? Sure. Sales? Of course, you can make millions in new revenue through social! Branding! Engagement! Analytics! Buzzzzzzzz” Here is the simplest advice I can give: know what you want and what you need. Shop around. If you’re a client, you can just call us. We’ve sat through a lot of briefings and talked to a lot of customer references (both happy and unhappy) so that we can let you know, what we know.

A message to all: know who you are as a vendor or an end user. Know what makes you unique. Understand that not everything is always going to be perfect and stay humble but emphasize your best features and where you are looking to grow.

Gartner clients, look at our vendor guides and top use cases research to gain a better understanding of what the differences between social use cases and the vendor’s that serve them. If you have some more questions, just set up an inquiry and we can talk through them.

Clients and non-clients: is there anything else that is confusing you that needs further definition? Tell me about it in the Comments section below.  And now, because we all miss this…

Sheen is winning.


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Category: 360 marketing social crm social media     Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

A Run in Burger King’s Pantyhose

by Jenny Sussin  |  February 20, 2013  |  2 Comments

This morning I was talking to my colleague Gene Alvarez about embarrassing things that have happened in work environments. Stains on shirts, mismatching socks and as I explained to Gene, a run in my pantyhose.

Men will never quite understand a run in the pantyhose. As women, we go through tens of pairs of pantyhose a year as they constantly rip but are the only acceptable garment for pairing with a dress or skirt. We know when we buy the ‘hose that they’re going to rip. Every morning you put on a pair of pantyhose it’s a gamble. “Will they rip today?” You come to close to some velcro, sit on a seat the wrong way, and they’re gone.


But the reason it’s so embarrassing, the run in the pantyhose, is because you never notice right away. You’ve been walking around with the run for an hour, talking to other people, when all of the sudden you look and see. No one told you, they all noticed but they all figured you knew and were trying to be polite.

Where is this going, Sussin?

Burger King had a run in their pantyhose on Monday and now something is up with Jeep. I feel for the social media managers. I mean, MTV faked a run in their pantyhose (the trashy girl Halloween costume) and ostensibly had fun at BK’s expense. Well listen up MTV, no one wants to walk around with a run in their ‘hose!


All social media managers and all business leaders know there is some sort of risk to having all of their communications be so public, real-time and accessible. They also know there is a reward. They want to cover up their legs while wearing a dress. They have to! But they also recognize their is the risk of an unnoticed run. So ladies, social media managers, does the risk of a run outweigh the reward of proper dress versus bare legs and no social media presence?

Personally, I’d rather have the run in my ‘hose. It has happened to me before. Jumping analogies let me be clear, I have had a run in my ‘hose, I have never had my Twitter account hacked. But let’s talk damages now. What actually happened as a result of the BK account being taken over and singing the praises of McDonalds?

  1. Publicity happened.  Sure BK had a little egg on their face because it took them over an hour to do anything about the hacked account, but did they lose any business? No. Are people talking about Burger King? Absolutely. Has it impacted BK sales favorably? I’d bet not, but the bottom line is it didn’t hurt them and now more people are bothering to tlak about BK than they did before.
  2. Competitors showed their humanity. Did McDonald’s jump on the opportunity to say, “hey look, even Burger King likes us?” No. They did the opposite actually and expressed their sympathies for the situation. In a political and competitive world, to me that was a refreshing sentiment.
  3. We more publicly entered into the risk versus reward conversation. Clients ask us all of the time if the data privacy and security risk is worth it when contemplating a social for CRM strategy. So I ask, is the potential for a run in your pantyhose, worth the reward of cost savings on marketing campaign impressions? The increased revenue from coupon-holders entering your establishment after opting in to a Facebook deal? Do you know what the reward even is?

I’m sorry for Burger King’s social media manager, and Jeep’s, but I’m sort of happy this happened because now I want to challenge everyone reading this post. Do you know what you’re trying to accomplish with social? If it’s CRM, what are your marketing, sales and service objectives? How are you determining if you’ve been successful? And hey, what are the risks associated with what you’re doing OR not doing? If Burger King didn’t have an official Twitter handle, you can bet someone else would have created a mock one for them.

Two things to think about and comment on if you would:

  • If you were Burger King’s social media manager, what would you have done differently?
  • Have you (honestly) bothered to draw up a risk vs. reward scenario for your social presence?

The grammatical and spelling errors in this post…I know.



Category: customer service marketing social crm social media     Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Social Media “Bro” Fest

by Jenny Sussin  |  December 11, 2012  |  4 Comments

I recognize even writing this blog post and the nature of my job alone makes me somewhat of a hypocrite for writing this, but the idea struck and I had to.

So today I’m sitting at my desk and a particular group of sales guys walk by. I see them every day and every day they’re just bro-ing out. Totally loving each other, ripping on each other, being a little too loud, lots of movement. They never travel alone and there are a lot of “yeah man”s. It’s amusing to watch.

I realized the same thing is going on in our industry. It’s a social media “bro” fest. We’ve got a ton of bros, that I’ll categorize into two groups: the “it’s all about experience” bros and the “Twitter is too noisy” bros.

This picture just cracked me up.

The “its all about experience” bros are all just “going rogue” maven-ing it up together, spreading the good word about how “the man” is right or wrong for how they approach social within their business or maybe how large firms *cough cough* cover social in the wrong way and how they’re all so right and the rest of the world is wrong and how nobody understands because everyone else is stupid.

STOP putting pictures like this on the internet where they are readily accessible to the public. C'mon!

Enough already. We know, we all know, that there are components to social business which we simply can not measure in numbers or direct profits. WE GET IT. But guess what, it is what executives want to see. And guess what x2, those executives are allotting the money to fit your clients bill. So guess what, sometimes people communicate about a numbers game. And I get that if you are the day to day practitioner, trying to please your execs and your social constituents is an almost winless game, but please recognize bros as bros and just consider checking out some other sources before defining your social media reality.

And on the other side of the equation are the “Twitter is too noisy” group of bros, the people who only care about numbers and have never tweeted about a mysterious stain on their shirt or the madness happening in the cafeteria, at the bar, or while walking through a park, you’re a bro in your own right. You’re in the group of bros that is too cool for social media, the “frivolous” part anyway. The part where we do things aside from talking about our jobs and what we’re trying to sell. The part where we leave embarrassing comments for our friends on their Facebook walls. The part where we’ve posted frameworks to Pinterest.

The message I’m trying to get across is this: strike a balance and recognize that just because someone doesn’t use a social network specifically for what you’re using it for doesn’t make them wrong, or stupid, or frivolous. You’re not smarter than everyone else because you’re trying to sell or really, prove how smart you are on a public social network. In fact, I would almost call this bro-type of behavior, on either end, obnoxious – just as bros are in real life.

I don’t have thousands of followers on Twitter. I have more friends on Facebook then most other “social media experts” (I’m cringing right now.) I only check LinkedIn sporadically. I am probably on YouTube every day. I share what I want and I have a bunch of different constituencies who I am confident are all smart enough to read through the noise they don’t want. But guess what, these people know me. Strangers I’ve interacted with on Twitter know more about me than those sales guys probably know about each other. Engaging on social and preaching the good word of social media is more than being loud and giving one another pats on the back. It’s about day to day interaction and connection with people who you never would have connected with before that makes social channels special.

Resist the urge to pop your collar, that is all I ask.

(Criticize my grammar, I can handle it.)



Category: social crm social media Uncategorized     Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Black Friday – Do Your Homework, Check the Reviews Twice

by Jenny Sussin  |  November 15, 2012  |  3 Comments

The holiday shopping season is upon us with Black Friday descending upon the US next week. In a blaze of glory we wake up at 4 am and run to the mall to get a discount on a TV and some sweaters at 40% off.

While you develop your plan of attack, and I literally mean plan of attack for getting in and out of stores at the pre-dawn hours, odds are you’ll check out some product reviews and determine which products you should look  to get the most bang for your buck. This will ring especially true for those of us who will wait for Cyber Monday to do some online shopping, avoiding physical lines that wrap around city blocks.

See as we’ve discussed before, more than 30% of consumers consult online product and service reviews before making a purchasing decision and as we’ve discussed before a lot of their reviews are fake, false, bologna, spam, disingenuous – get the picture? After doing some initial research on this topic, my colleague (Ed Thompson) and I decided we were going to dig a bit deeper and find out what review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Expedia and OpenTable are doing to protect our, the consumers’, best interest and provide us with the most honest, accurate reviews possible. These guys aren’t the only ones trying to address the issue of fake reviews. Social software vendors like Bazaarvoice, Reevoo, Trustpilot and Yotpo work with popular consumer brands who host reviews on their own sites, like, to thwart phonies from posting reviews. We’ll get deeper into the muck in our formal written research set to publish over the next few months, but in the meantime here is what you need to know about how these sites and vendors who have your best interest at heart (we hope) are working to be sure the reviews you see come from real peers and not marketers.

There are two main ways to go about this:

1. With the help of text and sentiment analytic algorithms

2. With the help of humans: employees and the site audience

Both the automated and human detection look at things similar to what we as the consumer would look at to see if a review is fake and it goes deeper than the intuitive “one of these things is not like the other“:

  • Has the reviewer ever posted to our site before?
  • What other types of product has the reviewer looked at?
  • Is the review overly extreme – positive or negative?
  • When looking at a series of reviews: were they posted almost simultaneously? Back-to-back-to-back?
  • How similar are the reviews to one another? Are they specifically mentioning the same criteria?

But this is all stuff you can look up online. You don’t need my blog to tell you this. What I want to do is return a sense of decency and calm to my jaded audience (who is jaded because I have asked them to question all that surrounds them on social media.)

I want to tell you who you can trust this time. You can trust people you have a personal relationship with. For example, many review vendors and review sites are asking members to create an ID using their social profile. Take a look at which companies or products your Facebook friends endorse. Ask them about the endorsement. Take the review site’s methodology into account. Anyone can contribute to Yelp or TripAdvisor, giving those sites a larger sampling of reviews to pull the average of. But OpenTable, Expedia and Reevoo require you’ve made a reservation for a service or purchased a product from a business before you are asked for a review. There will be less reviews but the reviews which are there were written by people who’ve actually purchased the product or invested in the service.

Nothing is foolproof. Rival hotels could book a night at one anothers’ establishments for the privilege of posting a negative review, but this more costly approach is a deterrent as compared to the quick login and seamless post on a free review site. TripAdvisor and Yelp are doing their due diligence to prevent fake reviews from ruining their good name and personally, I know I look at those sites before making a purchase. The advice I’m giving is to take an average. Look at multiple sites. We’re not using dial up anymore, it’ll only take a few seconds.

Don’t let this be an accident versus a prank:

Criticize my grammar. I can take it.


Category: ecommerce marketing product reviews social crm social media Uncategorized     Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,