Archive for January, 2011
Listening will pay big in Social Media
In last week’s blog I commented on the importance of listening and promised to give you additional details about my recommended steps to develop a successful Social Media Marketing Strategy. As mentioned, listening is the first step, but we are not done yet.
Let’s review the iterative steps again:
There are many benefits to be gained from listening to and participating in these conversations, from brand reputation management to improved word-of-mouth networking. But remember, listening once is just a snapshot of a moment in time. In order to reap full benefits you need to benchmark and continue monitoring the conversations.
“Social media monitoring” might sound like something secretive, but it’s really just about on-going listening to your current and potential customers, identifying and tracking their needs and concerns, so you can ensure that they have the information and support they need. But more on the latter in my future blog on Engagement.
mon·i·tor·ing: to watch, keep track of, or check usually for a special purpose (objective).
In our everyday life we monitor all the time. We monitor our relationships, our health, our mood, etc. We monitor to ensure our well being, improve ourselves or take corrective actions when signs direct us that way.
Similarly, Social Media allows us to monitor our customers’ relationship health, their mood/sentiment, changing needs, etc. (that of our competitors as well) to help achieve similar courses of action as for ourselves.
Below, I list various examples of how monitoring has allowed companies to take corrective action by joining in on the conversation, admitting a mistake or even, proactively requesting feedback and ideas from its users.
Company Reputation: Starbucks: http://tiny.cc/hwihx
Brand-Logo Plans: Tropicana: http://tiny.cc/cfk0h, GAP: http://tiny.cc/5buh8.
Product Change: Sun Chips http://tiny.cc/v5vvx.
And an example of not doing it: Domino’s: http://tiny.cc/lzt3z (they have improved since then).
Product Development/Improvement: Dell: http://tiny.cc/az0wh, Procter & Gamble (P&G): http://tiny.cc/mswyi.
Benefits from monitoring:
The above examples help us illustrate various benefits from monitoring Social Media.
The most salient of which are:
Identifying Influencers: Starbucks and DELL successfully use influencers to either read or prep the market and network their messages far and deep based on their product loyal customers followers. Seth Godin, best selling author, summarizes this well when he says; “I would much rather be in front of ten people who are the right people than ten thousand people who aren’t.” Early identification of the “right people” or influencers through monitoring will save us time in our on-going efforts.
Crisis prevention: Starbucks, SunChips and Tropicana thwarted potential backlash from their actions, while Domino’s should have known better.
Quantifiable Customer Feedback: While not necessarily the most efficient, GAP was able to confirm that it should not change its Logo, and hopefully gained goodwill in the process. The Tropicana example also works in this category.
Product Development/Improvement: As you gain knowledge and experience about your influencers you can start adding additional tools to your process to develop micro community sites for co-creation. This will only strengthen your list of benefits from Social Media. P&G ‘s case shows a highlight of what they are doing. As we review engagement in the next blog we will build upon this benefit further and include Innovation to them – WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
How to do it:
First and foremost – using your marketing objectives and listening benchmarks, identify the key topics your customers are interested in (most passionate about) and places/vehicles in which they are discussing these topics. This will help you focus on the key areas that you will need to monitor.
Second, on its most basic form (and labor intensive), you can develop a spreadsheet or template with predetermined objectives and key words/sentiments that you are listening for and track on a daily basis observing for key changes. Here, I strongly recommend using one of the companies mentioned in my previous blog (Radian6, ListenLogic), you can also find a more comprehensive list of suppliers at http://tiny.cc/rict0.
Third, schedule regular interval for analysis and engagement. I bet you can see now where I am going with my 5 recommended steps.
Last but not least, involve everyone in your organization. While out of scope for this blog, please do keep in mind that success in Social Media is the responsibility of all, not just the Marketing Department. This is an area that is just starting to receive attention, so there is not much written about it. I will continue to research it and inform you as we go on.
In future blogs, I will continue to review the five steps and introduce the emerging trend of Social Customer Relationship Management (SCRM). On a positive note on organizational change, we could learn from existing CRM processes as a base to execute relevant organizational change, thus alleviating existing process gaps for Social Media. In the meantime please feel free to comment or contact me here or directly at email@example.com you can also find me in Twitter @zeusofmarketing.
January 25th, 2011
Sticking to my initial blog’s theme, this continues my recommended roadmap towards turning Social Media Chaos into Marketing Utopia. In a nutshell my recommended roadmap includes five iterative steps:
In the interest of brevity and ease of reading – I will focus on the benefits of listening in this installment. Make sure you continue to follow my blog in the coming weeks, as I will be revealing the benefits of each individual step.
The future belongs to the listener.
With the recent growth of social media, companies are struggling to understand how to leverage the large amount of information that is being generated about their brands and how to reign in this information with a positive outcome. With over 600 million Facebook users, over 25 billion tweets a year and 2 billion daily video views on YouTube, marketing, as we knew it, have changed. No longer are we communicating to a once thought of passive, faceless customer, but to an empowered, opinionated and influential one.
A challenge? It definitely is.
But, it also represents the best opportunity a marketer has ever been given.
Listening as a First Step
One of the first steps in developing a marketing strategy is conducting a Situational Analysis (1), which tremendously helps in crafting the ever-important Positioning Statement (2).
Social media gives you the opportunity to find timely information to truly understand your environment. Just think, when was the last time you had so much information at your fingertips about your customer’s preferences, attitudes and behavior as well as your competition? And all this without having to spend on market research and/or hire a multitude of overpriced consultants to spend your money for you.
All you have to do is listen to what is being said about you, your competition and current or potential distribution channels. You can start with any of the free listening and tracking websites. Two of my favorites are www.boardtracker.com and www.socialmention.com. On these sites you can enter your brand and/or any other topic and quickly identify what is being said, as well as track comments. The only negative is that the output is not contextual and you may have to sift though various pages to identify the relevant comments to your needs.
There are also over a thousand companies that will do this for you in a contextual and efficient manner– two of my favorites are ListenLogic (www.listenlogic.com) and Radian6 (www.radian6.com).
No matter which alternative you choose (free or contractual) I cannot stress enough the importance of listening as a first step in your journey to Social Media success.
Once you have achieved an understanding of the basic insights about your brand/company and its environment you will be in a stronger position to better understand the Social Media landscape as it specifically relates to your objectives. You will be able to prioritize areas to monitor and who and where and how you need to focus your efforts.
Benefits of listening:
- Review/confirm your brand positioning.
- Understand your customer and what your competition is doing (or not doing).
- Identify their favorite Social Media Forums.
- Help develop and fine-tune your objective and strategy in real time.
For once you will be way ahead of the pack, a competitive advantage by itself. For perspective, a new study by MarketTools revealed that 94% of companies do not yet use social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter to gather customer feedback, despite consumers’ growing engagement with these mediums. The study found that the most common ways companies gather customer feedbacks are email/online surveys (51%), formal phone surveys (28%), and informal phone calls (28%). (See full article at http://tiny.cc/hu9id)
Following this basic step will build a strong base with which to follow the roadmap towards engagement – also known as creating increased customer value and loyalty.
In my next blog, I will take you though the next steps in my recommended roadmap. In the meantime please feel free to comment or contact me here or directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(1) Situational Analysis (http://tiny.cc/spp8a).
(2) Positioning Statement (http://tiny.cc/y2s4l).
January 18th, 2011
If they only knew then...
Sorry Mad Men: PR Agencies May Have the Advantage in Social Media
In light of the recent news, I couldn’t refrain myself from blogging about Ted Williams “the homeless man with the golden voice” and draw parallels to how it would work for a product or service launch.
In the process I came to the realization that post-You Tube viral success – the media placement activities could be better executed by a good PR agency, press agent or very Innovative and fully integrated Ad Agency (not the run of the mill Madison Avenue shop). When is the last time your ad agency filmed a low budget 90 seconds video and secured interviews in every major broadcast network?
Ted William as a Parallel Case Study of The Power of Social Media and its Implementation
An hypothetical case study
Ted Williams: Get a job as an announcer in one or more media outlets.
Brand X: Introduce a revolutionary new package
Ted Williams: While Ted delivers on its promise – there’s a stigma attached to being homeless.
Brand X: While the product packaging delivers on its promise – it requires a “how-to” visual representation to truly communicate it’s differentiation.
Ted Williams: Utilize YouTube for awareness and follow up with broadcast TV to add credibility and secure job offers. Spin the homelessness element as a human-interest story, particularly when released during the holiday season. Show Ted in his current environment and secure his announcer voice is heard for a shocking juxtaposition.
Follow up via Facebook page to update fans on results and maintain momentum for continuity of employment.
Brand X: Utilize YouTube for awareness and follow up with broadcast TV to add credibility and secure purchase. Showcase the unequaled green and cost saving attributes as its main benefits.
Follow up via Facebook page to update fans on results and maintain momentum for continuity of purchase.
Ted Williams: Metrics: Number of Job Offers
Brand X: Metrics: Sales
I know, I know. This is way simplified:
1. First, best estimate I have seen projects that only about 5 in 1000 videos go viral (0.5%)
2. Broadcast Media placement requires additional investment (but that’s why I recommend taking a closer look at PR agencies with their existing experience and media contacts).
3. For comparison purposes with other projects you may want to measure sales to exposure ratios instead of just sales.
A real brand example could be P&G’s Old Spice “the man you wish your guy smells like”, true it cost more, true it was created by Wieden + Kennedy (by no means an average Madison Avenue Ad Agency – they are in Portland BTW), but I am sure a strict marketing objective and strategy was followed (see Old Spice: Responses Case Study-Best of 2010 Requires free registration with AdAge)
The key takeaway is that starting with an objective and following a tried and true marketing process should increase your chances of success. I believe that as of January 7, Ted had at least 3 full time job offers, within 2 months from the time the Video was shot.
January 11th, 2011
It may be closer than you think
Back to Basics:
2011 should bring basic marketing principles and common sense to new media.
If you’re like me, classically trained in marketing and strategy (which includes starting my career at Procter & Gamble), I bet you’ve wondered when the focus of social media development will switch from what’s technologically feasible to what’s necessary to execute real marketing strategies and achieve real marketing objectives.
Remember A/T/U – awareness, trial, continuity of usage?
My advice for all marketers and media suppliers is to focus the development on delivering against these strategies, which are the fundamentals of any marketing effort. For example, why should Facebook focus on developing a smart phone rather than on securing strong tools for marketers and fans that successfully build awareness and community? Why is Google running in every direction and forgetting about search?
Please do not follow the trends without a clear objective. Creating a Facebook fan page or tweeting 24/7 without an objective will mean no clear metrics are set and you‘ll only be wasting your scarce resources. Trust me, this is a topic that deserves its own blog series and I intend to tackle it in the future. A whole business is emerging now on metrics as if fire has just been discovered. The main reason why there are no metrics now is because there were no objectives to begin with.
Come back to the basics. No need to re-invent the wheel!!!
If you want measurable metrics, then review your current marketing strategy and confirm your marketing objectives.
Is your objective awareness? Identify which vehicle reaches the largest amount of your target demo in an environment that is consistent with your brand promise. (Do you have your positioning statement memorized and up to date?)
To date, Facebook has the largest probability of delivering against this objective on a B2C basis. For B2B, I would stay abreast of improvements coming up on Linked In. Also, explore Linked In Groups – chances are that there are some groups already created for your industry. If not, create your own.
Is your objective trial? Identify which vehicle is closer to your point of sale and to your customer. Stay abreast of the players in the location-based, mobile space. Nothing spells trial opportunity better than receiving a high-value coupon for your product as your customer is located at the point of sale. Current players like Groupon and Four Square deserve a closer look.
Is your objective continuity of usage? Most brands are focused on this objective. Only via continuity of usage will you ensure a sustainable and profitable business.
Continuity includes not only repeat purchases, but also referrals from satisfied customers motivating others to buy. Continuity includes all the variables that lead to that cash register ringing, online shopping carts filling up, or contracts being signed. It also leads to that share of pocket increase as brand extensions or improved versions are launched.
Continuity is the result of loyalty – “the Holy Grail” for marketers. This is why CRM has been so important even in pre-Internet years. It’s also THE area where social media can shine (and few, if any, have mastered it). Leveraging social media for loyalty development is the ultimate goal for marketers in this medium, and I predict that it will be the hottest trend this year.
This is my maiden blog entry. My objective is to have a weekly entry where I can share my thoughts on social media based on sound marketing strategies rather than hype … For once, have business objectives drive technology creatively rather than vice versa. I welcome your comments, topic suggestions and questions (email@example.com).
January 6th, 2011
Born in the tropics, the beach is my natural habitat
The Road to Blogging – Where I’m Coming From
The Formative Years
I was born in post-revolutionary Cuba. Gratefully, my parents were able to leave legally via Cubana de Aviación (as opposed to the “Adiós Amigos” raft). After six months in Mexico City and another six months in Little Havana, we finally settled in sunny San Juan. Although I was only three years old by the time we got to Puerto Rico, I was always a minority on the Island. During those years, Cubans were seen as the opportunity grabbers, the job stealers, the unwelcome immigrants – you name it. Believe me, I can easily identify with the Irish and the Italians of the past and the Mexicans of today.
Still, I was a happy kid. My mother and grandmother raised me, assisted by a much older sister (eight years older, though she will never admit it). I built character very early in my life. Who wouldn’t, when at the tender age of eight, they would send me to the deli to buy them sanitary napkins. I still cringe when I hear the word Kotex.
Regardless, during 12 years of Catholic education, I focused on learning and developing into the interesting guy I am today. By the time I got into high school, I was a 4.0 student and held elected offices in The National Honor Society, Junior Achievement of P.R. and Forensics Club. I had a short-lived Drama Club experience, and turned down nominations to the Student Council (never liked politics) and invitations to join the Chess Club (wouldn’t admit there is a geek in me).
I knew that I wanted to expand my horizons and move to the States for college. I also knew that I wanted to study business. My success in Junior Achievement taught me that I had a knack for successfully marketing a product made by teens for $4.99. But wait! There’s more! You don’t get a second one free …
The College Years
I still remember that mid-February day that I got my acceptance letter to Cornell University. I celebrated for a week until reality settled in. How would we pay for it? After submitting many applications, I achieved an acceptable financial aid package and started packing for Ithaca, a place high above Cayuga’s waters. Still can’t believe that I survived the snow and the strict academic standards, all the while working my way up from short-order cook (freshman year) to residence life program director with a full room, board and tuition scholarship (senior year). What memories!!!!
With senior year upon me, it was time to make new decisions. Work or grad school? Fortunately, the decision was easy when I was accepted to the University of Michigan’s MBA program with a full scholarship. I had to turn down an offer from Procter & Gamble, but they assured me that a job would be waiting for me upon graduation from Wolverine headquarters. I met amazing friends in Michigan, most of whom ended up in finance. My goals remained in marketing, where I excelled in the strategy courses. I was definitely prepared to face the world.
The Working Years
Imagine my surprise when my first brand assignment was Always sanitary napkins. I take it as proof that everything happens for a reason. Starting my career at P&G was a perfect choice. Its proven processes successfully categorized all I had learned in college and offered a strategic recipe to ensure successful execution and measurement.
But, I missed New York, so I moved to Lehn & Fink (now part of Reckitt Benckiser). The Lysol company was even better for me. I started in the Lysol franchise and transitioned to Resolve, garnering great learning opportunities along the way. Since it was a smaller company, I had greater responsibility and closer access to all the great teams that make a CPG company run. It was with Reckitt that I got to travel the world and build a franchise (Resolve) from single digits to close to a billion dollars worldwide.
The technology bug bit me in 1999 – right before the burst. Like many others, I tried my luck in the .com world and successfully worked in multimedia Internet projects that required an army of resources and coding back then, versus a click of a button today. While it was a great shaping experience, we ran out of funding and I did the next best thing: moved to IBM to work on corporate strategy to identify “The next big thing.”
My experience at IBM provided me with the credentials to not only write this blog authoritatively, but also to craft my elevator pitch: I have the best combination of classical marketing expertise and technological savvy to truly understand technology’s business implications.
Currently, as a consultant, I am actively learning and testing social media to truly understand its capabilities. I help my clients channel their efforts toward real performance and away from the fads and hoopla.
This blog represents learnings and opinions as the market develops and as my fellow marketers help shape this new world.
Trust me, the four Ps are still alive and well.
You can contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana
January 3rd, 2011