Zeus of Marketing


Archive for February, 2011

Mobile Marketing: How to Ensure a Successful Test in 5 Steps

Where Am I?

First let me get this off of my chest: Mobile Marketing? When are we going to start calling a spade a spade? Isn’t it time that the pseudo-marketers a.k.a. techies start integrating these amazing new tools within the existing marketing lexicon.  Location Based Services (LBS) actually comes closer to what this is all about, but it still ignores the fact that it represents the best promotional tool marketers have ever had for trial and continuity. The term also tends to identify it as a whole different effort than Social Media when in fact; it should be treated as an extension and complement to any social media effort you are currently implementing.

With that said, let’s put the opportunity into perspective, remember all the point of purchase (POP) merchandising widget offers in the 1990’s and early 00´s?  The flat screen attached to your shopping cart that would broadcast an ad for a specific product as the consumer “drove by” that product in the aisle? Or the mini printer clipped to the shelf that would print a coupon on demand to motivate trial? These are all “ancient” forms of LBS.

The new smart phones augment the possibility of POP success by eliminating the high fixed costs of earlier technologies (flat screen on every shopping cart?). Imagine not only the investment necessary, but also the CPM (cost per thousand) charge to recoup it within 3 years. At which point the technology would be obsolete. With an Android phone, Blackberry or iPhone in-hand the consumer provides the hardware investment and the offer can be better targeted to the individual’s taste and needs.

While still nascent, already over 1 in 4 mobile phones are Smart Phones (i.e. have data capabilities) and network speeds continue to increase (6G anyone?). Similarly with Google and Facebook also intent in penetrating the location based space, the opportunities to find and test promotional efforts for your business will abound.

InformationWeek recently reported, according to a study by Jwire Mobile Audience Insights (http://tiny.cc/0x4s3), that:

  • 17% of consumers actually spent money because of location-based ads
  • 78% had location-based apps on their phone
  • 29% use them daily
  • 57% of respondents were more likely to engage with an ad that was relevant to their location
  • 42% used apps to locate a store and to find points of interest

I recommend that in order to best identify the potential for your particular business, you test one or two of the existing services to familiarize yourself with their capabilities and read the potential benefits for your business.

Five Steps to a successful test:

1. Start with your marketing objectives: who’s your target, what strategy are you following. Awareness, trial or continuity of usage, e.g., I recently heard an anecdote regarding a hotel chain franchisee in Florida that monitors feedback on one of these services. After leaning that a customer was disgruntled (based on his feedback post), they sent a bottle of champagne to his room – how’s that for motivating continuity and loyalty?

2. Check out and start using existing location based applications that are relevant to your business (never select an app that you have not used yourself – it’s like trying to swim in the ocean, at night, with a blindfold).

  • Restaurants or bars: Yelp, Foursquare, Loopt, Urbanspoon.
  • Retail: Yelp, Foursquare, motivate your customers to use UPC reader applications like RedLaser (http://tiny.cc/n9qh6), but only if you are sure that you offer the best price/value or willing to match the best price and/or promotions available.

As an example, a client of mine started using foursquare and when comfortable with it used it to send messages (free) to customers as they checked into her establishment (foursquare window pops up as soon as someone checked-in) for a free trial of selected products. How’s that for a trial test?

3. Integrate: If you are using any other type of Social Media, make sure that you plan the best way to cross-promote your LBS effort and leverage all channels. Remember these are all complementary marketing tools – not standalone strategies.

4. Execute: self-explanatory

5. Measure: Like with any other successful strategy, understanding the results against your objectives is critical to identifying if you’ve moved the needle, and at was cost … if any. Oftentimes a small-scale test can be performed for free but for a larger scale you may need to invest. If you understand the revenue potential from the test, you will be in a better position to project the ROI, even if it costs you to expand.

What’s next?

The good news for many of my readers is that by starting now you will be way ahead of the curve and be more ready to expand and succeed as the existing services grow in capabilities or capitalize on the capabilities that mammoths like Google and facebook will have when they finalize their plans in this area. The not so good news is that I see that the opportunity is not that clear for B2B yet, but I maintain with my eyes and ears open to identify creative solutions in this area as they materialize.

As we move forward, I am keeping my quick survey open for one more week so that everyone has a chance to respond. The objective of the survey is to ensure that I keep writing about what you want to read about (and take some measure on who’s listening – practice what you preach, right)? Please take a minute or two to fill it out:

http://tiny.cc/khnl0

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

Additional Sources:

For more details on Pros and Cons of “Mobile Marketing:” http://tiny.cc/pm167

For a summary report on 2010 Digital trends (comScore presents the 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review, its annual report on the prevailing digital trends of the past year and their implications for the future. The report looks across the digital landscape to highlight the industry’s leading stories of the year.) http://tiny.cc/qdn0x

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2 comments February 22nd, 2011

Traffic is Just the Means to and End – Social Media Measurement

The destination better be worth it

Even the sophisticated real estate selection algorithms of McDonald’s and Wal-Mart would be rendered useless if the right objective driven data was not properly entered into each equation. Both companies use their extensive history and experience to project the kind of traffic that will optimize each new store’s revenue. Why wouldn’t you do the same thing for your Social Media efforts?

This week’s blog focus is on the final step of my recommended iterative process. You can review the first four steps in my previous blogs.

  1. Listen:
    Two Ears, One Mouth, Truism for the Ages – The Social Media Age that is.
    January 25, 2011
  2. Monitor:
    So You Are Listening, Now What???
    January 18, 2011
  3. Analyze
    “The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”
    January 25, 2011
  4. Engage
    “Past Dreams are Enabled by the Present to Ensure the Future”
    February 7, 2011
  5. Measure
    “Traffic is Just the Means to an End”

State of Measurement

I was disappointed and actually a little shocked, to read the latest research from eMarketer regarding the Social Media metrics used by otherwise sophisticated marketers (http://tiny.cc/bt41b). The top metric mentioned was site traffic, endorsed by 68% of 175 CMO respondents, followed by number of fans/followers, with 62.9%, and number of positive customer mentions, also at 62.9%.

Sadly, when asked about social media activities with the highest ROI:

“CMOs were most likely to say they did not know the return from any channel other than their company’s online community. Even Facebook and Ratings and reviews, the two top venues with ‘significant ROI,’ failed to win over more than about 15% of respondents”.

If you ask me, it’s time to focus on returns and real business results, or we risk missing the true value of this unique tool. Learning to measure the value of specific social media interactions is vital to properly allocating financial resources and leveraging our strategies. Every game needs a scorecard and social media is no different.

The Benefits

As clear as water:  Real results – not just bragging rights that 100,000 + liked you, but actually knowing that you increased awareness, trial or loyalty, and the cost of doing so.

How do you do it?

If you have been following my blog from the beginning, you should have a pretty good idea. Recapping:

Marketing Basics:
1.  What is your marketing objective:

Awareness: You could include a call to action, a one-question survey, or a sweepstakes entry to ensure that customers have not only passed by your page but that at least they have read it and liked it enough to have some interaction with your brand promise.

Trial: Include a coupon offer with a site-specific code. You will be able to track origins for each coupon used.

Continuity of Usage: offer reward points each time a customers comes back, makes a relevant comment, etc.

2.  Listen, Monitor, Analyze, Engage:

Track who you are reaching, where are they gathering, change in attitude from your identified influencers – you will have a base metric from where you can track changes that are relevant to moving your business.

3.  Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater

Use your existing marketing intelligence, do not ignore your current marketing experience and learnings when executing in Social Media;
Chances are that you already have some marketing intelligence on awareness to conversion ratios, or percentage discounts needed to motivate purchase, etc – use these numbers as base projections to identify metrics to measure.

Since there have been hundred page theses written about the subject of measuring ROI, I wont bore you with the details. If there is one take-away I want you to have it is this: In business you spend to get value, and you spend to understand if you are getting value from your spending, i.e. you must measure to understand what your spending is generating.

Social Media is not an Island; it is a wonderful tool that can be incorporated into what currently makes you successful. Measuring focused objectives should be a basic component of this, as well as any part of your marketing mix.

What’s next?

The good news is that you have the background behind all five steps to a successful Social Media Strategy. The not so good news is that it doesn’t end here. As mentioned, these steps are iterative, so now you have to rinse and repeat just like your favorite hair conditioner. As you measure, learn from your successes and make sure to repeat them. Also, more importantly, learn from your mistakes (and believe me we all make some) and run away from them like the plague.

As we move forward I have prepared a quick survey to ensure I keep writing about what you want to read (and take some measure on who’s listening – practice what you preach, right)? Please take a minute or two to fill it out:

http://tiny.cc/khnl0

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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4 comments February 15th, 2011

Past Dreams are Enabled by the Present to Ensure the Future – Social Media Engagement

On the road to a better future

The Past

Twenty years ago there was plenty of marketing buzz around psycho-graphics and customer relationship management (CRM).  Customer Intimacy, 1to1 marketing, empty nesters vs. urban affluent, etc. were heated points of discussion. As time progressed, few companies were able to successfully execute any of these trends and interest diminished. While there were many reasons for this cooling in interest, I can think of three main ones:

  1. Vehicles: In the case of psycho-graphics, the only way to target at that point was mainly through snail mail campaigns using “sophisticated” zip code based data. Hardly an efficient awareness or continuity tactic. In the case of CRM, face to face or phone where the main vehicles, easier if you have 100 customers but difficult, if not impossible, if you have 1,000,000+. The advent of e-mail created a more efficient vehicle, but not mature enough at the time (not many spam guard products at the time)
  2. Cost: Besides the cost associated to the available vehicles there was also storage, software/application and labor. For perspective, over the last 30 years, the average cost per gigabyte (GB) has gone from way over $100,000 to just a few cents. Add to that, the space required for these storage units – size has decrease just as fast, if not faster.
  3. Scale:  Mostly due to the above stated reasons, these “trends” could only be afforded by the “big and mighty.”  Which due to complacency or silos created by shear size, were either happy with their market position already or their siloed structure made it impossible to implement – particularly CRM. A classic “catch 22” if I ever saw one.

In spite of these reasons, CRM has remained a viable topic due to its promise of achieving customer loyalty, thus a sustainable competitive advantage. Psycho-graphics, on the other hand, has pretty much dropped from the trending horizon until now, although it is mostly referred as behavioral targeting.

The Present

Social Media and more cost efficient technology, allows us to deliver an unprecedented customer experience by clearly identifying with them through their attitudes, behavior and life cycle stages in real time (no more need for awkward, and often generalizing zip code algorithms).

If you have read my previous blogs on Social Media strategy, you already understand how to identify your customers, understand their likes/dislikes and the places they “congregate” in order to reach them. With this information at your fingertips you can now consider the benefits and steps to what I call the ultimate benefit of Social Media:

Developing a sustainable customer engagement process or Social Customer Relationships Management (SCRM) allows us to expand the benefits of CRM and include behavioral information thus boosting by an n factor.

The Future

SCRM defined: the real-time art of listening to this constantly growing community, recording their interests, passions and preferences, and engaging with them on their terms. In this new paradigm, the consumer makes the rules, defines the channels and leads a collaborative discussion regarding the goods and services they desire.

WHAT? Giving up some control? Have a conversation? Show my customer that I am listening? YES, YES and YES. If you want a loyal customer relationship why should it be any different than any other human relationships?  The truth is that your customer is researching, reviewing and reporting on their experience with your company right now whether you are engaging or not – do you prefer to have some influence on this or be clueless about these conversations?

The good news is that Social Media delivers the perfect enabling platform to do this. It also levels the playing field, as scale is not as important as your ability to innovate as costs have continued to decrease. In the not-so distant future SCRM will change from nice to have to a must have to remain competitive and protect your customer/consumer base. Think of the benefits you will sow.

The Benefits

Top three benefits as I see them:

  1. Customer Value: Increased customer loyalty leads to longer customer life, lower cost of service, higher likelihood of referrals and the ability to up-sell and cross-sell across product lines and divisions as you become a trusted peer rather than a monolithic structure
  2. Direct and real time feedback: Opportunity to test and receive real time feedback on products as well as valuable input and ideas on new products
  3. Competitive Advantage: Increased customer loyalty also provides the best protection against competitive new offerings and/or claims.

As if this wasn’t enough, this level of engagement will allow you to truly measure quantifiably your results as you can follow your newly found friends through their purchase life-cycle.

The Execution

The good news is that many of the listening and monitoring companies I have previously referenced are currently offering or developing an engagement platform to their list of services and applications. So assuming you are not going at it alone – your research and selection for a listening, monitoring and analysis partner can be expanded to include engagement.

The not so good news is that even though the payout is large, it will require training amongst your organization on who and when to engage with your customers. Outsourcing your engagement is also possible. The critical point is that you ensure your selected outsourcing partner can represent you seamlessly and follows strict privacy protection rules.

At this point I invite you to download and read the this enlightening white paper http://tiny.cc/mw6ff, which covers additional benefits and implementation stages for using SCRM to build a competitive advantage. FYI, I helped develop this white paper for my client Morley (www.morleynet.com), a great partner for managing contact centers as they do so for several Fortune 500 companies.

Stay tuned for my next blog on the next and final step “Measure”. In the meantime, don’t forget to comment below. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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7 comments February 8th, 2011

“The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living” – Social Media Analysis

Socrates preferred to die over giving up analysis

I am positive that if Socrates (469 B.C. to 399 B.C.) were alive today – he would use these same words as it relates to Social Media. Socrates said this at his trial for heresy, for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and think for themselves (kind of what Social Media has fostered, isn’t it)?  Found guilty, he could have chosen life in prison or exile, but he chose death rather than compromise his principles.  While I am not advocating as drastic a measure as death for not analyzing the data, I do want to stress its importance.

This week’s blog focus is on the third step of my recommended iterative process. You can review the first two steps in my previous blogs.

  1. Listen:
    Two Ears, One Mouth, Truism for the Ages – The Social Media Age that is.
    January 25, 2011
  2. Monitor:
    So You Are Listening, Now What???
    January 18, 2011
  3. Analyze
    “The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”
  4. Engage
  5. Measure

Why Analyze?

Simply, data without insights is not actionable  – it’s a waste of gigabytes in your storage.

What’s more important for your business? As an example which of these two scenarios will lead to a better decision:

Scenario 1, Data: Mary C. posted on Twitter that Brand A, a carpet cleaner, works great as a laundry pre-spotter

Scenario 2, Insights from Analysis: By monitoring all Social Media Platforms and analyzing commonalities, you find that Mary C posted this comment in multiple social sites and actually wrote about her experience in her widely read blog about household cost savings tips.

Using only the data on Scenario 1 could send you on a “goose chase” to try to reach for all people using pre-spotting products and “hard sell” this additional use. Using the insights would help you focus on courting Mary C, chances are she will continue to share her positive experiences with your company in her blog.

As context, you could think of Arm & Hammer and the multiple uses of Baking Soda. Imagine how much faster they would have discovered about their product usage alternatives if Social Media were available 30 years ago.

Ideally, I would have a real case example to share, but analysis is so important that it usually delivers insightful information deemed as a competitive advantage. And these insights become non-disclosable intellectual property.  Believe me, you will keep your insights as well guarded secrets as well.

Reach your own conclusions:

I love conjecture. Looking at the never ending Cola Wars, who would you nominate as the best Social Marketer, Coke or Pepsi?
Review the following and please comment below.

Coca Cola, Social Media Strategy presentation: Follow your fans; Let them create their own content around their brand experience, find synergies with other properties such as The Olympics. (http://tiny.cc/7qe7s)

Pepsi: Forego media investment in the Super bowl, redirect it and focus solely on generating goodwill through social media population votes on local charities via www.refresheverything.com. (http://tiny.cc/jx92c)

A couple of additional data points (disclosure: these are just data points for directional context. Actual revenue change or market share information would be a better indicator if it were publicly available)

  • Pepsi stock price change versus last year: 8.02% (as of Jan 31, 2011 at 1:24PM EDT).
  • Coca Cola stock price change versus last year: 16.43% (as of Jan 31, 2011 at 1:24PM EDT).

For consideration:

  • I am assuming both companies have the same objective of increasing loyalty and frequency of purchase (pursuing improved brand perception would have a longer planning scenario)
  • Pepsi has a larger product portfolio than Coca Cola (Snacks, breakfast oatmeal, etc) and its share price reflects all divisions.

What to look for in your analysis:

  1. Identify and confirm key metrics based on your current customers or potential customers conversations. Critical, as mentioned in my first blog, to start this process with a clear value proposition and objective. This will help you focus on your target and the type of interests they have associated to your Brand’s promise. In Mary C’s example, the company confirmed that new customer acquisition metrics are important as they could track category conversions from pre-spotters to their brand.
  2. Allow you to develop strategies to engage with these customers on a more personal level rather than a straight product sell. Identify their common interests that pertain to your brand’s positioning and develop tactics around these interests. Value was identified as a critical interest amongst Mary C’s followers. Developing content about household cost-savings tips will help develop stronger customer ties.
  3. Identifying key influencers in your category after monitoring for reach and frequency of individual’s posts. Develop strategies on how to reach them with real benefits for their communities, establish a two-way conversation. I believe in the 20/80 rule.  Without analysis, Mary C would have been categorized as a satisfied customer but not necessarily as an influencer.
  4. Identify where your customers “gather” for sharing and conversing on the relevant topics and interest. This will not only help you plan Social Media paid advertising more efficiently but also help you focus on whom, where and how to “personally” engage. (Getting ahead of myself again, Engage is next week’s topic). While all platforms were being used in Mary C’s scenario, analysis identified her blog as the critical “gathering” place (Facebook is not always the right answer, see this article just published today; http://tiny.cc/cufnp).

How to do it?

Here is where it gets a bit more complicated. A local small business may be able to hire an intern or part time analyst to do this using available web tools – some free.

My recommendation to large medium and large enterprises is to identify a partner to do this for them while at the same time developing an internal team of evangelists for management of social media efforts (internally and externally).

In my previous blogs I have shared with you some resources that you could tap to identify the right partners for you. For the most part there are basically three choices

  1. Own the Software/Application, you can actually integrate data mining and analysis applications into your current IT architecture
  2. “Rent” the application (s) through cloud computing offerings that integrate with your current customer data.
  3. Outsource the operation to a full service provider

I recently helped a client in reaching this decision; it is not difficult once you understand gaps in capabilities for reaching your objectives versus available offerings.

A couple of free sources:

Forrester published this White Paper ranking some of the existing offerings:

http://tiny.cc/vgxbn

Seamless Social, has created this pretty comprehensive Directory of Social Media Monitoring and Analysis Tools

http://tiny.cc/48rff

Stay tuned for my next blog on step number four “Engage,” it only gets better. In the meantime, don’t forget to comment on the “Cola Social Media Wars” below or any other topic of interest. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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6 comments February 1st, 2011


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