Thursday Feb 11, 2016

Infographic: How To Get The Most From Influencer Marketing

“Influencer Marketing is this year’s Holy Grail for public relations” says Cheryl Conner. Influencers, whether they are friends or celebrities, can play a major role in the purchase decision of a customer. As you will see below, social media is a popular medium for influencers. Here's how to get the most out of your influencer marketing strategy: 

Tuesday Feb 09, 2016

Creating A Unified Customer Data Profile Leveraging Social Media

To kick off the new year, we’re diving deep into the major trends for social media marketing. What will the future bring? Vice President of Marketing for Oracle Data Cloud, Cory Treffiletti spoke with Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston about the intersection of customer data profiles, privacy, and social media.

Maggie Schneider Huston: Let’s start from the beginning. Where is this data coming from? 

Cory Treffiletti: There are three types of data that we’re talking about. First party data is the information you have about a customer first hand. For example, that’d be like the data that I know about you after speaking with you directly. Second party data is when two companies share private data in an exclusive relationship. That’d be like if I spoke with a friend of yours; we both know you and share unique information between the two of us to better our relationship with you. Third party data is public information; for example, anything that shows up in an internet search or on social media. 

MSH: That sounds like a ton of information. How do marketers make sense of it all? 

CT: It’s a matter of prioritizing signals from noise. We actually offer a free service called The Data Hotline which helps businesses figure this out. We’ll do the hard work for you. We make recommendations on how to build a custom audience for your company. 

MSH: Once you have that, how should brands make the most of their data? 

CT: You need to have a data strategy. A good plan is threefold: first, understand the data you have coming in to your organization. That means first, second and third party data sets you have access to. Second, you need to add or create value with that data. What are the objectives of the campaign? What does success look like? This will determine what “signals” you should listen to from the tsunami of “noise” That is inevitably coming in. Finally, you need to push this data “out.” How will you use the information you have to make better decisions going forward? Social advertising? Website customization? Data management platform? Demand side platform? There are a lot of opportunities here. 

MSH: How long does it take to build a custom audience? Is a unified data profile ever done?  

CT: Our data is updated in real time, so these audiences are meant to be activated very quickly. If we deliver an audience to a marketer and they don’t do anything with it for 30 days, then it will be 30 days out of date. 

MSH: Can you give me an example of someone who is doing this really well? 

CT: Sure! We have several publicly available new case studies at Kellogg is a great example of a brand that is using all of their data to create an intelligent marketing campaign. The whole point is to be more efficient. When you use all of these data segments and then inject it into a SaaS platform, it enables you to be significantly more targeted with your media. You make sure the right people see the right message in a much more efficient manner. 

MSH: Do you think that the addition of big data and social media will change how marketing success is measured? 

CT: Absolutely. When you have smarter data, it creates the opportunity for accountability in your campaigns. One of our customers, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, measured a tremendous return on their investment in social data; for every dollar spent, they generated three dollars in revenue.

MSH: You’ve said that 2016 will be a year of iterative change in the data and social environment. Why is that? 

CT: A couple of reasons. It’s an election year. People make a lot of promises, but not a lot of change happens. There’s a lot of uncertainty, so people are holding off on making major decisions. Where we’re at right now, marketers have identified partners and strategies, so this year they’ll refine those partnerships and go deeper with each one. This is the year where people will double down on existing strategies, and maybe trim the fat. From a tactical perspective, this business is about four to seven years old. Hype is being replaced with real life examples. People will talk about data privacy during the election, but nothing will happen until next year. 

MSH: That brings me to my next question: what about privacy? Do you have a “Maggie Schneider Huston” profile that follows me around, wherever I go? Is this a Big Brother from 1984 situation? 

CT: All of the custom audiences we build are based on anonymized data. Audiences are built around aggregates of people who appear to be similar. This is where our integration with the Oracle Social Cloud is so important. By using the social listening tools in the SRM, it helps brands get a better understanding of what their customers are saying in aggregate. 

Friday Feb 05, 2016

Infographic: Building Real Relationships on Social Media

Tuesday Feb 02, 2016

Ted Rubin: Nurturing Relationships On Social Media

Ted Rubin is an author, social marketing strategist, keynote speaker, and acting CMO of Brand Innovators. He sat down with Oracle Social Cloud’s Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston to discuss how brands can nurture relationships on social media. 

Maggie Schneider Huston: What’s the best way for B2B companies to build relationships on social media?

Ted Rubin: It’s so much easier to apply social to a B2B brand. If you’re B2C, you’ve got millions of people you’re trying to connect with. If you’re a B2B brand, you have a much more refined audience. But people always forget that they are selling to a person, not a company. We need to build a relationship. If you feel like we’ve connected, you’ll listen more closely. Personal connections lead to business relationships. I often say, “relationships are like muscle tissue.” The more you use them, the stronger they become.

MSH: Obviously, not every interaction is going to go well. With every relationship, there are bound to be a few missteps. What should brands do then?

TR: They should admit it. Don’t apologize if you don’t mean it, and don’t apologize if you didn’t do anything wrong. But if you’ve done something wrong, you need to fix it. You have to take the time to say, “we realize we have a problem, and it will take us some time to fix it.” Be transparent and authentic. It can be as simple as saying, “we’re going to retrain our employees.” Don’t automatically fire an employee, unless it’s really obvious that it was malicious. We all make mistakes, especially in the social world. The most important thing is to catch those mistakes.

MSH: A lot of employees are scared to post on social media about work - they’re afraid they will say something wrong and get fired. However, we know that employee advocacy (especially on social media) is one of the most important levers brands can pull. What should leaders do to instill confidence in their employees and encourage them to be active on social media?

TR: Leaders should get into the social sphere themselves. They might not share (although they should), but they should at the very least read other people’s posts and show that they’re listening. If you tell your employees that you want them to be social leaders, then you need to lead by example.

Leaders also need to empower employees to get on social channels - even during the work day. Don’t cut your employees off from social. I know that Facebook can be a time suck. But look, I’m 58 years old. In the beginning of my career, if you wanted to waste time, you could find plenty of ways to do it. I used to go to the bathroom just so I could read a book. Leaders need to encourage employees to build their personal brand and influence. Do for others without expectation of anything in return and the authenticity shines through. If you show your employees that your primary concern is helping them grow, then they’re going to be that much more apt to support you in your efforts.

Business is very different these days. In 1980, most business dinners were a drag because they had to be entirely about business. Today, I love going out with my colleagues. We talk about everything. I want my employees sharing experiences and putting things out there, because a lot of the time your business colleagues are also going to be your friends on social media, get to know who you are, and feel that much more connected. A Network gives you Reach, but a Community gives you Power! Networks Connect… Communities Care.

MSH: You’re a divorced dad. How is parenting similar to management?

TR: <laughs> It’s really the other way around. Managing is more like parenting. We don’t want to be managerial in our parenting skills. You know, being a parent is about building a relationship. By the way, that doesn’t always mean I’m your friend. A good parent has a great relationship with their children. It means they’re listening - and hearing - and taking what they’re hearing and applying it to the way they parent or manage. Managing has to become more like parenting, more thoughtful. You’re more worried about the end result than what’s happening right this minute.

Being a divorced dad, we’re not necessarily one big happy family. We have different groups with different responsibilities. We need to come together and get rid of the silos. In a family, it works best if it’s not broken down into what’s most important to each kid. In business, one of the most important things is customer service and marketing working together with one voice and the same goals.

MSH: Ok, I have to ask. What’s the deal with the socks? Do you plan your outfit around your socks?

TR: I’m playful. Socks have become part of my personal brand since 2010. It started because people noticed I was wearing funky socks at conferences. It creates conversation. It makes me approachable. I have CEOs stick out their foot and want to take a #TedSockie when we meet or come across each other serendipitously. It makes it so somebody can say, “what socks are you wearing today?” instead of thinking they have to come up with some bright comment or way to open up a conversation or approach me.

Follow Ted and Oracle Social on Twitter for the latest social media thought leadership.

Tuesday Jan 26, 2016

Tickr & Oracle Social Cloud Visualize Social Intelligence

Makes real-time social intelligence accessible and actionable across the entire organization

Tickr, the marketing performance management platform, today announced they are working with Oracle Social Cloud to provide enhanced data visualization.

Oracle Social Cloud is a cloud service that helps businesses to manage and scale their relationships with customers on social media channels. Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) Platform has integrated the best-in-class components -- social listening, social engagement, social publishing, social content & apps, social analytics and social collaboration -- into one unified cloud service to provide one of the most complete social media management solutions on the market. Tickr and Oracle Social Cloud can deliver powerful data alongside other key marketing metrics, as interactive visualizations, live in the browser. This provides the entire marketing organization with a holistic view and better understanding of business metrics and performance with Oracle Social Cloud at the center.

“With new cloud data platforms like Oracle, marketers can access the most up-to-date information available about customers, competition and the market. Until now, the ability to share this information at scale and in business context was limited to static and out-dated reports distributed by email,” said Tyler Peppel, CEO and Founder, Tickr. “Tickr provides real-time data, live in the browser, accessible to everyone on the marketing or agency team. Our relationship with Oracle Social Cloud helps connect every employee in the organization directly to their customers’ behaviors and attitudes, in real time.”

“In today’s fast-paced business climate, successful organizations need to be able to react in real time to market changes, in order to keep pace with their customers and their competition,” said John Stetic, Group Vice President, Oracle. “To enable our customers for success, we continue to expand our ecosystem of partners and capabilities, and this integration allows our customers to better leverage the power of real-time social monitoring and analytics throughout the entire business.”

Oracle SRM enables organizations to socially enable the way they do business—without the cost and complexity of social silos. It's a strategy to be more engaging and responsive at scale, listen, and respond at the speed of social, with a consistency and transparency customers will value. Tickr and Oracle are already empowering global brands to leverage the power of real-time social intelligence. These brands are using the combined solution to put their employees closer to customers and unlock the value of data for the entire organization.

The combined solution from Oracle and Tickr is available now. Tickr is a Gold level member of Oracle PartnerNetwork (OPN).

Friday Jan 22, 2016

Infographic: Mack Trucks' Social Success

Mack Trucks has experienced tremendous growth on social media. Read their story and check out these amazing numbers: 

Tuesday Jan 19, 2016

Mack Trucks: Driving Success on Social

In 2013, Mack Trucks had 6,000 fans on Facebook. As of January 19, 2016, they have 125,229 fans. This tremendous growth was achieved organically. As Neil Tolbert, Director of Marketing Communications, says, “we don’t want to buy fans. We want you to follow us because you want to follow us.” Their Instagram account, started a year ago, has over 6,000 followers.

What makes Mack Trucks so special?

Turning A Customer Into An Advocate

To answer this question, we spoke with Jamie Hagen, an independent owner/operator of a Mack Truck. Jamie first appeared on Mack’s radar during a truck show. He was in the market for a new truck, so he test-drove a Mack. His contact information was entered into Oracle Marketing Cloud’s Eloqua system, which allowed Neil to reach out to him personally and build a rapport.

This relationship developed into a genuine friendship. As Jamie described it, “it’s not that their social media made me want to buy a truck. A truck is a big purchase, and needs to be based on more than a feeling. But their Twitter and Facebook definitely made me see that Mack Trucks was a different kind of company. They’re very accessible to their customers.”

After working with a dealer, Jamie bought a tricked out truck that gets nearly 10 miles per gallon. Compared to other big rigs, which usually get 6 miles per gallon, this is an incredible feat of engineering - and inspiring others to take a closer look at Mack. Jamie frequently posts from his truck, highlighting the cool things that are going on.

As Neil says, “It’s getting out there at the driver level, in the weeds and trenches, and spawn[ing] those relationships with those guys… We try to demonstrate that Mack is here - always has been, and always will be. We’ll be a consultant to help you drive your business.”

Twitter Is The New CB

The trucking industry is a small, tight knit community. Before cell phones and satellite radio, truckers spent hours in solitude, driving through the desolate parts of the countryside. CB radio was their only method of communication. Truckers are a friendly bunch, and now, social media (and especially Twitter) has made long distance friendships possible. Jamie has, “hundreds of truck drivers I talk with around the world - in the UK, Australia… Now I’ve known these people for 5 years. It makes the trucking experience a little less lonely.” 

Mack is an integral part of this digital conversation. By using the Oracle Social Cloud Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, they are able to keep track of what people are saying not only about their brand, but about the industry as well. They tapped into the heart of this community with their “The Horn” video, which highlights the history of Mack Trucks. People are encouraged to go to their Tumblr page and contribute their memories of Mack Trucks. With nearly 50 submissions, it’s a testament to the legacy of the Mack Trucks brand. Their Facebook page has hundreds of anecdotes about Mack families. Neil adds, “the purpose of the campaign was to connect with people inside and outside of the industry. The industry is small, so we wanted to reach out to the moms, the women, the people who aren’t necessarily in the industry, so we tied the horn into that.”

Creating a Community

From a numbers perspective, Mack Trucks is killing it. Their Big M social campaign had a 35.7% conversion rate, which was higher than their email conversion rate. Their organic growth is outstanding. They even have sales that they can directly tie back to social campaigns.

From a community perspective, (arguably the more important perspective) they’re setting the standard for all social media campaigns. Neil gets it. “You can’t remove the human element.”

Thursday Jan 14, 2016

INFOGRAPHIC: IoT Drives Social in 2016

As we discussed earlier, we think social media is going to merge with the “internet of things” in 2016. Take a look at these numbers. How do you think IoT is going to change social media? Answer in the comments below!

Tuesday Jan 12, 2016

Looking into the (GPS enabled, wireless) Crystal Ball: Social Merges With IoT in 2016

To kick off the new year, we’re diving deep into the major trends for social media marketing. What will the future bring? Here are some thoughts from Oracle Social's Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston:

I’m not a “good sleeper.” I have struggled my entire life with falling and staying asleep. As a newborn in the hospital the nurses called me, “the baby with the eyes” because I never closed my large, light blue eyes.

I never grew out of it. A few years ago I used the “Sleep Cycle” app to track how poorly I was sleeping. When I showed the data to my doctor, he whipped out his prescription pad and started scribbling.

Fast forward three years, and this is what my daily routine will look like in 2016: I wake up and read a report on my sleep habits, generated from my bed. I weigh myself and learn that I have lost .5lbs, the air quality in my house is good, and that I have a super-low body fat percentage. (Hey, I’m dreaming, okay?) I measure out breakfast, which is then recorded in my daily calorie log, and check my phone to see how long it will take to get to work. I order a ride through Uber and Facebook Messenger, and arrive at work precisely on time. Every click at work is recorded. I use my ClassPass app to find a workout for my lunch hour. After work, I check Yelp for a restaurant recommendation and order takeout. I notice my activity level is low and run a few sets of stairs. Finally, I arrive at home and binge watch something on Netflix until I crash.

In 2010, the exact same day would’ve provided just two major insights for social media marketers: I use online reviews to find restaurants and I watch Netflix. In 2016, every single action in my daily routine will be converted into data points. Things that used to live entirely in the physical world (like how well I slept, how much I ate or what workout I prefer) are now tracked, logged and entered into algorithms. Patterns emerge. “In a world where every device can generate useful information, entirely new business opportunities are presented, and there’s no shortage of people who want to get after them,” says Chuck Hollis, Oracle Senior Vice President of Converged Infrastructure. With the Internet of Things (IoT), customer profiles become richer and customer experience reigns supreme.

Data Becomes Currency in IoT-Saturated World

Social marketers can use this data to provide highly targeted ads for their customers. In 2010, I would have been labeled as a “25-34 year old female, college educated, lives in Atlanta.” In 2016, I’m an “active, college-educated, 25-34 year old female who is employed, tech-savvy, lives in Atlanta, has a 45-minute commute and is interested in health, wellness, and trashy television. “The advent of IoT changes everything. Data has now become the new currency for differentiation and competitive advantage,” says David Ng, Oracle Insight. By converting physical actions into digital data points, the IoT enables marketers to create a more complete profile of their customers.

Every “Thing” Will Be Connected

According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected “things” will be in use in 2016. That’s a 30% increase from 2015. One of the main challenges for marketers is making sense of these disparate data points. Oracle Data Cloud, Oracle Marketing Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud work closely together to provide a holistic view of the customer. Even more importantly, Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool listens to social media posts in over 30 languages, which is essential in the global marketplace.

Misused, this data could lead to some very creepy actions. For example, I was recently targeted on Facebook with an ad for e-counseling. Needless to say, it was a bit odd - until I remembered that I had "liked" a friend’s post about coping with depression. What had started off as a way for me to support my friend ended up flagging me as a potential customer. That’s… too much.

Finding the sweet spot between targeted advertisement (which is welcome) and too-targeted advertisement (which is invasive) will be the biggest challenge for social marketers using IoT in 2016. When in doubt, sleep on it - or in my case, lie awake, stare at the ceiling and ruminate for hours.

Tuesday Jan 05, 2016

Top Trends for Social Marketing in 2016: Social + Service

To kick off the new year, we’re diving deep into the major trends for social media marketing. What will the future bring? Here are some thoughts from Oracle Social's Senior Content Manager Maggie Schneider Huston:

A month ago, I went to Hawaii. I realized mid-flight that I had forgotten to alert my bank I was traveling. Worried that my credit card would be flagged for fraud, I fired off a tweet to the bank to let them know that yes, I really am in Hawaii, and please don’t cancel my card.

After landing in Honolulu and falling asleep at 7pm (gotta love jet lag) I awoke to two tweets from my bank. The first, sent within an hour of my initial tweet, gave me instructions on how to set up a “travel note” on my account. The second tweet, sent about 12 hours later, asked if I needed any more help.

Now THAT is customer service. And it’s exactly where we’re heading in 2016.

Social media is better for customer service than other channels, such as email or phone

Social media operates on your own schedule. While I was flying, I was not able to sit on hold for 10-15 minutes while I waited for a customer service representative to help me. When I landed, I didn’t want to search their website to find an email address, draft an email, wait for someone to reply, etc. I wanted to reach out instantaneously. I wanted a quick answer. That’s what social media offers to customers: a direct, fast channel of communication.

Social customer service is harder than it looks, but it’s vital to deliver on CX

Traditionally, customer service was a department in and of itself. To quote the Black Eyed Peas, “That’s so 2000-and-late.”

Now, social media permeates your org chart. It could be a social media manager, marketer, public relations spokesperson, customer service representative, or someone else entirely who responds to social service inquiries. Social media has blurred the lines between these roles, especially when it comes to customer service.

If your organization isn’t up to speed, your service will suffer. Most customers expect a response within an hour. Having the right structures in place is essential to providing good customer service.

It’s essential to be fast on social media. As New York Times best-selling author Jay Baer said, “Nobody wants to wait on hold. Nobody likes smooth jazz.” That was exactly how I felt while flying - I just wanted a quick answer to a quick question. They succeeded. Mr. Baer adds, “answer every customer, in every channel, every time. You answer every phone call and email, don’t you? A lack of response is a response - it’s a response that says, ‘We don’t care what you think.’”

Social customer service is harder than it looks… but it’s more important than ever. Customer service - or the lack thereof - has huge brand implications. That’s why Oracle VP Reggie Bradford said, “customer service is the new marketing.” People who have their needs met become happy customers. Happy customers are more likely to be loyal and refer your product to their friends. Mr. Baer adds, “every competitor can match you on everything else - capabilities, price, etc - but they can’t match you on customer experience.���

Social customer service provides insights into your product

One of my favorite examples of learning from social customer service comes from General Motors. GM launched a new truck that had an aluminum steering wheel. Southerners immediately started posting about how the steering wheel heated up in the hot southern sun. By listening to their messages, GM was able to make changes quickly to their truck.

As Mr. Baer said, “Customer feedback is the petri dish for operational improvements. They’re taking their time to tell you how to make your business better. Businesses should mine that and build it back into their product. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t happen often because historically customer service has been a separate thing. The people who are complaining are the unelected representatives of a whole bunch of other people. Only 5% of unhappy customers complain. So if someone is raising their hand, you should listen.”

The right tools make all the difference

Diverse teams, multiple social platforms, 24/7 response time… it’s a lot. You need a great tool to keep all of these pieces moving in sync. With Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) tool, you’ll be able to juggle the demands of social customer service easily. We have partnered with Twitter to provide more sophisticated data to our clients. The SRM helps brands discover influencers and prioritize service issues through a new modular display. Learn more about the SRM here and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Vine for the latest social media marketing news and behind-the-scenes shenanigans at our office. 

Tuesday Dec 22, 2015

Oracle Social Cloud Earns “Top 10” & “Best Usability” in New Report

Oracle Social Cloud has been named a “Top 10 Social Monitoring Tool” and “Best-in-Class Tool for Usability” in the recent Goldbach Interactive (GBI) fifth annual social media tools report. GBI based its results on hands-on demo access of the product and comparison of features and business results.

According to GBI, the report “does not claim to be exhaustive” but includes solutions that should be considered in social media monitoring evaluations. Oracle made an impressive debut as not only a “Top 10 Solution” but also for best “Usability.”

GBI highlights from the report on Oracle Social Cloud:

  • “We loved it.”
  • “The operation of the tool is very simple.”
  • “Many processes can be automated…”
  • “Plays very well with the other Oracle products - for example in the field of CRM.”

Full GBI report on Oracle Social Cloud below (translated from the original German):

We had to wait until we were able to test the tool by Oracle itself, what have we seen in the test in the live environment, we loved it. The operation of the tool is very simple. For mounting of a search, the user does not need to deal with endless links and operators chains, but may have recourse to the semantic search function of Oracle. Only when filtering the results come the usual Boolean operators to further limit used. In addition, many processes can be automated in the field involvement, which facilitates the work of the Community Manager. The most important mentions land quickly on the screen and the tool can be interacted with the community. Oracle brings out every three months a new release to always be up to date in the development of the social web. And do not forget: The Social Cloud front Oracle is part of its Enterprise Solution and plays very well with the other Oracle products together - for example in the field of CRM - but also offers interfaces for systems of other manufacturers.”

To learn more about Oracle’s Social Relationship Management tool, click here.

Thursday Dec 17, 2015

Infographic: How Social Listening Drives The #1 Facebook Page For Overall Engagement

By listening to their customers, FamilyShare Network was able to identify a void in the market and create family-centered content. “Content needs to bridge the audience’s needs and the brand message,” says Chris Lee, President of Deseret Digital Media (which owns FamilyShare Network.) By using Oracle’s Social Relationship Management tool, FamilyShare has seen a 570% increase in monthly readership from 2014 to 2015. “There’s a way to [create content] that causes people to smile, click, and share in an authentic way.” 

Tuesday Dec 15, 2015

10 Ways To Turn Customers Into Brand Advocates

This article was written by Oracle’s VP of eCommerce and Social Bill Hobbib. It originally appeared in ForbesBrandVoice.

Every company says it wants to be “customer-centric” and deliver great “customer experience,” but only a handful are able to turn their customers into brand advocates.

Roughly defined, such advocates are not only willing but eager to say great things about a brand or defend it without any incentive. Studies show that brand advocates spend twice as much with a company as regular customers do and have five times the lifetime value. Yet 77% of customers still say they have no relationship with a brand, indicating that companies are leaving a lot of business on the table.

Companies serious about improving their customers’ experiences and boosting brand loyalty must do their own analyses to determine the root causes of the disconnect and the gaps to be filled. To assist you in mapping out a plan, here are five basic “Inside Out” steps and five “Outside In” steps to consider.

To read more, click here:

Tuesday Dec 08, 2015

Practical Tips To Conquer Content Marketing Challenges

As part of our ongoing conversation about content marketing, we reached out to Jeffrey L. Cohen (@jeffreylcohen) a marketer, strategist, author, speaker and blogger with a 20-plus year career in business to business (B2B) marketing. He is the director of content strategy at the Oracle Marketing Cloud; coauthor of The B2B Social Media Book, which has been translated into Italian, Korean and Vietnamese; and is the co-founder and managing editor of, the leading online resource for social media’s impact on business to business marketing. Jeff spoke with Maggie Schneider Huston, Oracle Social Cloud’s Senior Content Manager, about overcoming content marketing challenges. 

Maggie Schneider Huston: How do you set a content marketing strategy? What factors should a business consider? Take me through it step-by-step.

Jeff Cohen: A content marketing strategy is not that different from creating a marketing strategy. It all starts with your audience. The more you understand about who you are trying to reach, the easier it is to create this strategy. Many B2B companies already have detailed personas as part of their marketing, and these come in very handy when crafting your content marketing.

The next thing to focus on is the message. Again, it sounds like marketing, but in a content marketing world this may be driven by the platforms your audience frequents or the kinds of content they consume. A consumer company with millennial customers would create a way to tell their ongoing brand story with images on Instagram, and a B2B company might provide helpful business articles on their blog or LinkedIn.

Once your prospects or customers become aware of your content, what action would you like them to take? This is where content marketing begins to stray from a traditional marketing approach. The point is to get some sort of engagement from your audience, where they take some action that shows an affinity with your brand or its ideas. In the examples above, the brand on Instagram is looking for more than likes or even comments, but shares or even their audience sharing their own images. The B2B company entices their prospects with a call-to-action on every blog post, offering a more extensive piece of content, like an ebook or white paper, in exchange for contact information.

And the last part of this simple content marketing strategy is how you measure success. These goals must align with your business, so you can talk about success in the same terms as others in your organization, especially executives. Don’t tout your ebook downloads when everyone else focuses on marketing-qualified leads. Don’t boast about likes when the business goals are about sales. These metrics should be agreed upon beforehand, so you will know if your content marketing efforts are meeting company goals.

MSH: How do you convince the C-suite that this matters? Do you ever face resistance?

JC: The main philosophy behind content marketing is that you provide something of value to your prospects and customers to build trust and ensure retention and advocacy. The C-suite understands that customers now hold the power in the relationship and this is the new way to build it. Cold-calling, product-focused marketing and pure brand-awareness advertising are no longer the means to success in business.

If you encounter resistance from executives in taking this approach, you can start by piloting something small. Pick a product, or persona, or market and create helpful content. Make sure you agree on what success looks like from the start, and you have enough time to generate those results.

And remember, it may not just be executives who resist this idea. Other marketing colleagues may also expect you to fail. Using content marketing is a cultural mindset, and not all businesses are ready for it.

MSH: Where do marketers frequently make mistakes in content marketing?

JC: One of the biggest content marketing mistakes is when marketers don’t put themselves in the minds of their prospects. This causes them to create content about their products. Prospects don’t care about your products. They care about solutions to their own business problems. If your content doesn’t address that, they will not care about it.

Another mistake is focusing on the wrong metrics. It is critical for brands to build their own audiences that are separate from their social channels, for example, an email list, but that is not a goal. That is a means to the end. The goals need to relate to leads and sales, and in the same way others in the company talk about these results.

MSH: How do you manage content across different platforms? How do you stay organized?

JC: The core of our content approach is based on the ebooks we release. We use the editorial calendar within Oracle Content Marketing to show the publication dates and the associated blog posts of these pieces, as well as content offerings from other teams. We also provide links to production schedules, PDFs and associated artwork from within the calendar for more detail. Everyone in our marketing organization has access to this calendar, so they can create their own plans for other channels based on our new content.

Thursday Dec 03, 2015

Infographic: The State of Social In The USA

What does the social media landscape look like in the United States? Pew Research just released a new report outlining the portrait of social media users. 


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