Good marketers know success begins with your customer.  This is true on and off line.  But all too often I talk to business owners, and other managers  and they seem to enter a glazed stupor when talking about social media and the technology which powers it.

Blogs, podcasts, social networks, Twitter, Friedfeed, and Facebook are all cool, but not necessarily the magic bullet for every company.   Before you pick a platform and launch a strategy, think about your target customer, what kind of relationship you want to build with them, what type of relationship do they want to build with you and most important what technology platforms are they likely to use.

Although it doesn’t offer all the answers, Groundswell a new book by Charlene Li and Josh Berhnoff, introduces a technology profile which divides users into categories, such as Joiners, Creators and Critics.   The researchers give you a great framework for evaluating technologies and strategies for your target customer.

In general, I agree with the authors, to move forward, you need to move your business presense further on line.   The case studies and examples gave me some terrific ideas on what types of strategies to apply to different products, services or target groups.   But the big take away for me – you need to keep revisting this because your target is moving.  They may not be active on line today, but they may be tomorrow.   Research helps you anticipate where they will go.