Category Archives: marketing

Social Media Intervention for Engagement and Intelligence

Event-related communication has always been at the heart of social media, from Twitter’s debut at SXSW in 2007 to the everyday sharing of check-ins, meals and parties in Foursquare and Facebook, to Oreo’s big marketing win with a single tweet during the 2013 Superbowl.

As my colleague Daniel Honigman pointed out to me today, for brands trying to gain attention through social media, simply being event-driven does not ensure engagement. Daniel noted the social media efforts around the 2013 Oscars as an example of event-based communications that underperformed expectations because although they were clever, they were also contrived and (unlike Oreo’s superbowl message) not naturally related to the actual unfolding of the event.

So relevance and timeliness are the required characteristics for successful social media engagement, both in the proactive publicity-seeking outreach mentioned above, and in the other common form of social media communication: crisis response. Continue reading

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Overlapping Disciplines for Digital Marketing

I frequently use this space to write about the dangers and downfalls of organizational silos. As we move into 2013, I thought it might be useful to share a visualization of at least one way that digital marketing organizations could more effectively be structured to deliver against the multiple considerations required for effective digital experience delivery.

At the center of this structure are the drivers of digital marketing: consumer behaviors, organizational operations, consumer attitudes, the competitive landscape and organizational objectives. The order given in this diagram is indicative of influences across these drivers; corporate operations shape consumer attitudes, attitudes shape the competitive landscape, competition shapes objectives, and objectives determine the types of experiences consumers may have with a company, and thus shape behavior. And of course, behaviors (i.e leads, purchases, referrals, complaints) determines the resources with which a company can operate – closing the loop.

The next circle out shows the disciplines that a digital marketing organization can use to understand what’s happening in the inner circle; the Analytics and Research disciplines. Research is the older and more established marketing discipline, helping to align organizational operations and objectives (i.e. through marketing mix modeling), evaluating attitudes through panels, surveys and focus groups, and evaluating the competitive landscape through survey and 3rd party data sources. Continue reading

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Facebook versus Semantic Web

One Step Forward, One Step Back
From my standpoint as a marketing science data junkie, the Facebook changes announced at F8, while very cool from my perspective as a user, ultimately amounted to no change at all in my role as a data analyst. While personally I am already enjoying the new design and sharing elements, when I put on my marketing hat, I can only be disappointed that in their version of the “open graph”, Facebook remains the only party with full insight into any users’ integrated history, and the exchanges across the social graph created by its users.

What did not change with the redesign is that Facebook’s business is still built on targeted marketing. Its expansion of interest signaling from just “liking” to now any verb will certainly improve Facebook’s ability to target based on unique and shared interests. Every business on Facebook would benefit from an understanding of their consumers’ shared interests and key influences across their social graph, but Facebook retains a tight hold on their sole position as market-maker. Continue reading

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Social Media and Marketing: Evolution Not Revolution… Part II

The first part of this blog on social media and marketing arrived at the observation that questioning the value of social media to your business is fine, but not bothering to look for an answer will be deadly.

Most businesses now understand that they cannot chose to ignore the question of how engagement in social media can benefit their business, so the search for an answer as to how this will work for them is now underway at most firms. Continue reading

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Social Media and Marketing: Evolution Not Revolution… Part I

Markets and the businesses that serve them are being required to respond to the perpetual state of advance in digital information technologies, particularly social media and mobile. The question that everyone working in any part of digital communications is now facing (explicitly or not) is whether the change to business is more revolutionary or evolutionary.

As the currently pervasive online and offline discussions of topics such as “social media ROI” reveal, organizations are currently struggling to understand and manage these transformations through the established language (and mathematics) of business management. Continue reading

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Social Media for Enterprise – Value-adding Practices

Even the best general models don’t solve specific problems of practice, but they should be useful in guiding thinking around specific problems. This particular model proposes a standard path for building value from social media practices within organizations.

Each of the practices has inherent value for particular organizational problems of practice, and each additional practice draws value from the successful presence of preceding practices. The specific value of each of these practices to a particular organization will depend on many factors including organizational readiness & adaptability, product offerings and market environment, all of which must be considered when building solutions in each area.

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Walmart and Tesco Make Big Moves in Social Strategy

Tesco just announced its acquisition of social media marketing firm BzzAgent. This follows Walmart’s April acquisition of social media analytics firm Kosmix.

The world’s first and third largest retailers have thus set into motion what they view as the next stage in customer intelligence and engagement.

Each firm’s acquisition reflects a gap in their prior organization. Tesco has maintained what is apparently one of the most advanced customer intelligence databases for over a decade, while Walmart’s current consumer insights group was launched in February of 2011. (I’ve created a Storify story with background on Walmart and Tesco’s consumer intelligence approaches up to and including today’s acquisition.)

With a wealth of consumer insights already at hand, Tesco’s acquisition of a firm that specializes in linking loyalty and social-network promotions makes perfect sense in extending their existing intelligence into social engagement. What they do not get with BzzAgent is a social intelligence platform – a way to collect insights from social networks. Tesco may already have such insights through their existing database in order to add social graph connections as an additional layer on its existing consumer insights. Continue reading

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Investigative Forms of Social Media Measurement

In yesterday’s post I wrote about the category of social media measurement most frequently discussed in conference sessions; evaluative measurement which identifies/estimates the impact that communications are having across various media channels including social networks.

While this one form of measurement gets a lot of attention thanks to the facts that 1) people need to show value to their bosses/clients and 2) measurement vendors like to sponsor these conferences, there are other reasons for measurement that also bring great value to organizations.

While evaluative measurement looks backwards at what has been done to evaluate and confirm (and provides real value by this when done right), investigative measurement is a forward looking approach that seeks to discover advantages or even predict outcomes. Continue reading

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The Interdependence of Communication and Feedback

There are two primary and interdependent activities in social media management: communication and intelligence collection. These activities are interdependent because the style and quality of your communication will influence the context and content of your networks and the intelligence you are thus able to collect from those networks.

Very simply, a communication approach that establishes trust and affinity through shared interest and value will generate more useful feedback than will a communication approach that elicits indifference or annoyance (which will probably yield the insight that people are indifferent or annoyed). Continue reading

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Reciprocity, Engagement and Value in Social Networks

Yes, another post about Empire Avenue – but only because it presents such an interesting little laboratory to examine the valuation of social media activity.

In this week’s leader-board analysis, I noted that some of the leading brands in EA were not making purchases in their investors or other EA players. This lack of reciprocation seemed antithetic to something the social sciences have clearly shown to be a powerful norm in most cultures; a drive to return or repay what another has provided.

Unsurprisingly, this social norm translates nicely into most social media practice. Social media interactions should be based on perceived mutual value or shared interest, so while social media engagement does not require 1:1 exchanges (of follow for follow for example) when there is no perceived value in the connection – reciprocation is nevertheless a very good strategy when first building a network as these brands are doing in Empire Avenue. Additionally, while no one should feel compelled to connect with (or invest in) network members who don’t add value, it would still be expected that there are some valuable connections in the network – so there would be some level of reciprocity. Several of the leading brands seem to see little or no value in making or returning most/any EA connections. Continue reading

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