Friday Mar 29, 2013

Let’s Play! How to Win With Gamification

I was late getting to work today.  My daughter had my iPhone and was intently popping bubbles. Every time I asked for it she replied, “Hold on, I’m on a roll.” She showcased the utter simplicity of gaming’s power.

medalsMashable describes gamification as “the use of game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. The technique can encourage people to perform chores they ordinarily consider boring.” Let me guess, you have a list of things you want customers to provide or do for you, but have given little thought as to why they should. Maybe that’s why fan engagement with brands is at around 1%.

Let’s look at why gamification in in-game contexts works.

People Like Simple, Fun, Free Things: 
Free-to-play removes friction. You want them playing within seconds. In 2012, casino, hidden object, and casual games were most popular. Why? Because we already know how to play. And it has to be work technically. Facebook is making it easier for players to have a continuous experience across devices. Social management platforms for brands incorporate skinned social games to increase time spent on brand Facebook Pages.

People Like to Advance and Achieve:
Working toward a goal is addictive. Sure you’re only trying to level up, but as far as your brain is concerned, you’re saving the planet. Farmville still tops the charts, because there’s “work” to be done, a crop to harvest. Other game rewards like virtual goods, extra “lives” or credits are hugely satisfying because they took effort. We “earned” them.

People Like to Compete:
Social gaming, especially mobile gaming, is still rising. Last year, total social/mobile games boomed from 90 million to over 211 million. An IDATE study says by 2016, social games will make up about half the video game market. Facebook had 235 million active gamers in August 2012. You get the picture. You want to play with friends. And once you’ve achieved something, you want to share it.

People Like to Avoid Boredom:
We’re not talking about hardcore gamers who spend 8 hours on the virtual battlefield. We’re talking about the person in a waiting room that just wants to fill/kill time. But without that winning formula of fun, achievement and reward, a game activity won’t last. Playnomics.com found 85% of social gamers drop a downloaded game in one day.

So how can you win by “gamifying” in a non-game context?

Research and Product Development:
Edelman’s Robert Phillips talks about brands setting up “prediction markets” in which users are incentivized to help predict how well a campaign or product will work. A/B testing at its most honest.

Data Collection:
You want my email and a bunch of other information about me? Fine. Then you’re going to have to rope me in where I offer it to you a little at a time, and for the purpose of achieving goals I’m pursuing, such as free products or major discounts.

Social Engagement:
Gigya found out adding gamification to a site boosts engagement by almost a third. Comments go up 13%, social sharing goes up 22%, and content discovery goes up 68%. That makes sense. You’ve given me something fun and active to do on your site instead of just making it a brochure.

Staff Education
I know, you’re the boss and you can order your staff to learn things. But how cool would it be if they learned things not just to keep from getting fired, but approached the material positively and actually retained the information?

Increased Sales/ROI 
Do your customers get any rewards for getting a sale for you? Are they getting rewarded for making multiple purchases with you? No? Wow, I guess you feel they owe you everything instead of the other way around.

HR 
Alert! Employee reviews aren’t fun. Interviewing is not fun. But having benchmarked goals that go on your record and earn you a day off is fun. Working through a practical, real-world exercise related to the job you’re applying for so you can be measured against other applicants is kind of fun…and perceived as fair.

There’s very little that can’t be gamified. My dentist is even thinking about giving us letter grades to make us improve our flossing. But here’s your takeaway: we want the public to do a lot of things for us these days, from sharing to liking to commenting to buying to giving us their data to learning more about us. And they might do it. But only if they’re hooked, having fun and being rewarded.

@mikestiles

Tuesday Mar 26, 2013

CMO's and CIO's Should Be Repositioning for Today's Social

The following is a post from Oracle SVP of Product Strategy - Oracle Social Reggie Bradford, as first appeared in Social Media Today.

pocketwatchHave you ever noticed not very many people want to listen to the person who keeps talking about the way things used to be? It’s those who talk about how things are, and where things are headed, that seem to get the most attention. So let’s have a brief moment of sympathy for the enterprise CMOs and CIOs who don’t believe their worlds are changing…quickly.

Somebody audaciously entered the hallowed halls of the corporation: the customer. They now feel they actually have a say in a brand’s product, service, tone, look…you name it. They feel this way because they’ve banded together. They have megaphones and can get very loud, very fast. They’re always connected (no matter where they are, thanks to mobile). They know they collectively represent value to you, so they fully expect good experiences. This is what social media has created.

The job of the enterprise is simply to adapt. I say “simply” knowing that it’s anything but simple. Those consumers are forcing infrastructure changes, policy changes, priority changes and role changes. And all that’s happening in large organizations where change is rarely an overnight affair. An unprecedented collaboration of people, processes and technology is being called for.

Social was once a “marketing thing.” Not anymore. It’s become increasingly essential in every consumer interaction across the enterprise.  From CRM to sales to HR to product development, there’s an unprecedented gold mine of social data that, when married with enterprise data, can paint an actionable picture of the customer so as to create differentiating consumer experiences. Conversations about holistic, socially enabled enterprises are increasingly common. 

Forward-thinking CMOs are plunging into tech head-on. They’re collaborating with IT to leverage social/mobile/cloud technologies faster. They want to understand digital, have a voice on tech matters, align with sales for consistent brand and consumer experiences, and move toward proving the ROI behind the spend.  Gartner predicts the CMO will even outspend the CIO on IT by 2017.  

For their part, the CIO is realizing everything they do is about the customer. InformationWeek found more IT leaders give their relationship with marketing weaker marks than any other business area. They’re highly effective at what they do, but “what they do” now has to extend beyond functional excellence and move toward pioneering customer-focused innovation that speaks to the CX. 

CMOs must see the science behind the art. CIOs must see the art behind the science.

It’s no longer a matter of whether or not to focus on social, but how roles will be reorganized around social, plus figuring out what partner can insure effective execution of the social enterprise. Plenty of vendors offer pieces of the puzzle, but social can’t sit in vendor silos if the goal is true integration/accountability. The growing CX imperative requires a scalable, end-to-end system that facilitates satisfying and profitable interactions, no matter the touch point. Social marketing, social selling, social commerce, social service, social HR, social recruiting, and social collaboration…fully realized with global enterprise applications.

Companies that truly understand social lives at the core of a powerful CX will be reflecting that in the reshaping roles of the CMO and CIO. We hope you will explore this changing landscape further by joining Oracle’s upcoming webinar discussing this topic and more with myself and Forrester’s lead analyst David Cooperstein, in a videocast March 28, 11am EDT/8am PDT.

Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Mar 22, 2013

The Path to a Social Sales Explosion

fireworkExperts love to pronounce the death of things.  Sadly, Social Sales has found its way onto various lists of the dearly departed. I say “sadly” because not only is it still kicking, but with integrated technologies in place and just one major impediment remaining, consumer purchasing on social platforms will explode and change shopping forever.

A New York Times article said while 15% of luxury fashion brands were trying out Facebook shops in 2011, only 2% are now. The PriceWaterhouseCoopers 2013 report showed 12% of respondents had purchased an item on a social site, while 70% of online shoppers said they never buy on social.

Geez, guess it’s all over, huh?

Tell that to small businesses running Facebook storefronts. The SBA reports they’re actually having more success than the big boys at social sales, with some getting 15-30% of their total sales from Facebook. What do they know that enterprise brands don’t?

They know it’s about the experience and leveraging the “social” part of social sales. The Edelman 2013 Trust Barometer shows we always trust each other more than we trust brands. A friend’s rave gets you to a Facebook storefront, where you’ll never be more engaged in that brand and that product than you are at that moment. It’s where the sale can be closed if you’re attentive. Being attentive is often a challenge for large brands.

They also know social commerce is part of something bigger called e-commerce, meaning the Facebook storefront is in sync with the store’s site and isn’t a lesser experience. Beyond that, there’s something even bigger called commerce, meaning brick and mortar enters the loop so all revenue sources work in concert. Customers can come to the store, and the store can go wherever the customer may be.

According to Rakuten’s latest E-commerce Index, 45% of the world’s consumers recommend products on social. The US leads the way in social shopping adoption, with 39% sharing and recommending products. Duke behavioral economics professor Dan Ariely writes that once we own something, its value increases in our minds. To validate the purchase, we advocate for the product. The Times article also cites the psychological concept “social proof.” If we know others are buying something, we assume it’s good.

The power of social influence on sales is amazing, and crystal clear, so why hasn’t the social sales “explosion” happened?

It’s not that consumers won’t trust a non-brick and mortar brand. Interbrand shows Amazon as the 4th most valuable US retail brand, with eBay coming in 9th as reported by Forbes. But social is perceived as more “fast and loose” when it comes to privacy, security and data protection. When industry efforts assuage that concern (easier as you get into younger demographics), look out.

The social storefront will explode, yielding revenue fueled by ease of use and social review/recommendation. The technology is ready. An integrated commerce platform that enhances the CX across social networks, that powers your site and mobile, and that offers prebuilt components to switch up content and stay relevant on the fly makes the social storefront an exciting place for customer and brand.

Plus the resulting data lets you tune customer segmentation and personalize experiences across channels. Gartner predicted earlier this year 50% of information on new customers will be based on social network id’s by the end of 2015.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers report may not have been the rosiest, but its digital intelligence expert Matthew Tod still arrived at the conclusion, “Social commerce is an unstoppable force. 15 years from here will be a different world.”

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Mar 19, 2013

Social is Driving CMO/CIO Role Changes

drivingIsn’t life funny?  One minute you think you completely have a handle on your role as an enterprise CMO or CIO and can get all the way to retirement without those roles changing. The next minute, those roles and required skillsets have been turned on their heads.

You have social to thank for that. Oracle VP of Product Strategy for Cloud-Social Erika Brookes recently presented to a packed house at the Dachis Social Business Summit what forces are driving these internal changes so quickly.

There was a time social was dismissed, if not altogether laughed off. Many executives bet it was a passing fad with no tangible value to the enterprise. Bad bet. Fast Company editor Robert Safian wrote, “Social media is not a fad. It is a powerful, global communication revolution that requires new approaches for all businesses.” Specifically, social revolutionized how consumers interact with brands.

You should care about that.

There’s strength in numbers, and customers have connected with each other. In fact they’re always connected. They’ve kicked “word-of-mouth” into hyperdrive, with all the potential pluses and minuses that brings. Millions of conversations, many about you, happen every minute, in real time across multiple social networks. eMarketer says social is the #1 activity online. 63% of smartphone users are social networkers.

You get the picture. Today’s empowered, go-anywhere, socially connected consumer is forcing change in business. The transfer of control from the brand to the customer is every company’s new reality.

How have corporations reacted? Altimeter Group says they now manage an average 178 corporate social accounts each. That’s a wealth of potential social customer data that, combined with enterprise data, could result in a differentiating dream CX. But it can only happen if the CMO and CIO accept role changes and embrace the holistic, socially enabled enterprise.

The perfect storm of social, mobile, and cloud lets marketers leverage technologies faster, so the forward-thinking CMO is plunging into tech head-on. Gartner predicts they’ll spend more on technology than CIO’s by 2017, getting to the science behind the art by:

  • Better understanding digital and technologies
  • Gaining a stronger voice on tech matters at the executive table
  • Increasingly partnering with the likes of the CIO and CTO
  • Leveraging data to intimately understand the consumer
  • Aligning with sales for a more consistent brand and consumer experience
  • Proving the ROI behind the spend

InformationWeek found more IT leaders give their relationship with marketing weaker marks than any other business area. Participants at the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Network conference set forth some top going-forward priorities:

  • They should be more customer-focused and knowledgeable about the business
  • They should drive innovation by creating a culture that accepts change and risk
  • They must actively free themselves from the past, maintaining a functional excellence but also being willing to look beyond functionality alone

In other words, CIO’s must start seeing the art behind the science.

These changes aren’t easy, especially for the largest of enterprises where the most upside exists. A technology partner that can seamlessly extend social’s power across every consumer touch point and marry social and enterprise data for a real-time view of the customer is indispensible in creating, in concert with these new breeds of CMO and CIO, the most powerful CX imaginable.

@mikestiles

Friday Mar 15, 2013

Social Insights: Katie’s Got a Problem

The following is based on a presentation given by Oracle VP Product Strategy JP Saunders at Oracle CloudWorld.  Check the dates to see when CloudWorld is in a city near you.

Katie’s got a problem, and depending on how you handle it, she may have two problems. If you’re set up to have social insights differentiate your brand by improving her customer experience, everything will be fine. If you’re not, Katie won’t be impressed and will be more than happy to tell friends about it.

Katie’s been a loyal customer for years and has made several purchases. She’s also “regularly active” on social. Her daughter’s birthday is in 2 days and she’s trying to get the present she wants.

Most customers still turn first to a brand’s web site help. Whether she Googles the issue or goes right to your support page, she winds up in your self-service portal. She can’t find her answer quickly or easily. So she initiates a service request. Her reward…an automated email saying she’ll get a response. 24-hrs later, still no answer and her daughter isn’t getting any younger.

Now she goes public, posting the question to your Facebook Page with a likely frustrated tone. Typically, Facebook’s managed by Marketing or PR, so that’s who sees her cry for help. The fan base now watching, they tell Katie support will be alerted. Marketing emails support and, you guessed it, another service request is generated. Katie’s having a poor experience and the organization looks confused.

There’s a better way. Katie couldn’t self-serve because she couldn’t find what she was looking for, or it wasn’t there. Social offers the chance to go beyond FAQs and leverage the collective knowledge of your customers. What if she were encouraged to pose her question to other customers so they could solve her problem? Is that better than a “we’ll get back to you someday” email?

When Katie provided an email to get help, you could have asked her to authenticate with one of her existing social accounts. Studies suggest this lowers friction and abandonment rates, but what it does for you is build a social profile of your customers. You don’t have to wait until she’s on Facebook to start collecting social profile data.

When Katie generated a service request, existing social data on her could have helped. You’d know how influential she is on social, you’d be able to prioritize and customize your response to her, she could be asked for her communication preferences, and no matter what touch point she used, you would recognize her as “Katie, your customer.”

If Katie initiated a service request on your site with email, then she went to your Facebook Page where she was authenticated differently, you wouldn’t know this was the same person. The Community Manager wouldn’t know a service request had already been opened. Now Katie’s had a bad experience and there are redundant service requests.

Integration is the key to the entire organization knowing who Katie is. A structure should be in place that manages customer interactions as they cross departments. Social data is tied into CRM data. The conversation suite tracking Katie’s Facebook conversation is tied to the service department. Interdepartmental emails give way to automated holistic toolsets.

Marketing forwards her issue to service with a click, context and content preserved. The handoff to service is tracked. When service resolves the issue, the system updates so everybody knows where things stand with Katie. You’ve improved Katie’s experience so that she remains a loyal, happy customer. And you have better efficiencies and fewer headaches in your organization.

Now Katie can go brag to everyone she’s connected with on social about how great you are. No problem.

@mikestiles

Tuesday Mar 12, 2013

The Social Enterprise at SXSW: Why Community Managers Need Data and Marketing Integration

Guest post from Roland Smart, Oracle VP of Social and Community Marketing:

AustinSouth by Southwest has evolved considerably over the last few years. As a hotbed of innovation, it’s still a premier showcase for confirmed and would-be futurists: earlier this week, attendees were treated to demos of new 3D printers, which will supposedly one day mass-produce electric vehicles, homes, and — according to some hopeful people we met — spaceships.

On a more terrestrial note, it’s been exciting to witness the increasing enterprise participation at SXSW. The programming certainly reflects this: this year’s schedule was packed with panels and workshops on social business design and social media measurement.

It goes without saying, but the best thing about SXSW is the people. Our time in Texas has included wonderful conversations with hundreds of community managers, developers, and marketing executives who are all dedicated to innovating on behalf of the social enterprise.

SXSW has given us a great opportunity to share Oracle's newest technologies and integrations, and we’ve been thrilled by the response so far to our vision for Social Relationship Management. Just as important, we’ve been fortunate to learn so much from our fellow SXSW attendees, many of whom are leaders in the brand, agency, vendor, and enterprise worlds.

While I don't have the space to list all of my SXSW findings, let me share one crucial social enterprise lesson that has popped up again and again here in Austin:

The power of your community manager is directly related to the power of your social analytics tools. Let me explain by way of some industry background:

Even just a few years ago, it was common to come across large enterprises that saw their community managers as the functional equivalents of customer service representatives. Now, though, the community manager often assumes a number of roles as needed.

For example, the community manager might aggregate customers' qualitative feedback in order to validate research done by product marketing teams. Or, in light of the relentless growth of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks, they might serve as a kind of social data translator — someone who determines customer attitudes and preferences from a giant pile of status updates, tweets, and clicks.

For the social enterprise, defining such responsibilities for your community manager is only one part of the puzzle; the second part is actually equipping this person with the tools they need to carry out their job.

One case in point — earlier this week, I attended a great SXSW workshop entitled "The Community Manager: Enter the C-Suite." In this session, a number of community managers discussed how they had been charged with providing reports on brand sentiment as it was instantiated on social networks. However, in the absence of dependable tools, these community mangers struggled to distinguish real brand sentiment from social chaff. One attendee even related how they were once asked to painstakingly and manually calculate (really, invent) a random “sentiment score” for every tweet produced by their brand's followers.

The workshop also allowed me to hear more about the challenges that community managers face in valuing different activities across multiple social networks. I had an enlightening conversation with another attendee whose social marketing efforts are centered on a thriving Facebook Page and a growing collection of YouTube product how-to videos. For this community manager, top-line statistics included likes, organic shares of stories and status updates, clicks on Facebook Sponsored Stories, and unique video views.

Now, notice the many types of social metrics that this community manager must learn how to evaluate and compare:

  • Organic content versus paid advertising
  • Views and impressions versus person-to-person sharing
  • Short engagement paths (e.g., a click on a Sponsored Story leads immediately to an external landing page) versus longer engagement paths (e.g., repeat video views over an extended period of time ultimately lead to sign-ups and sales conversions).

Here's the upshot: For a community manager — for someone who often creates and/or delivers customer-facing content and is often responsible for assessing the efficacy of this content — it would be difficult if not impossible for them to measure, learn from, see the relationships between, and iterate against these social data if these data remain trapped within disparate platforms.

If one person likes your Facebook Page some time this month in order to gain access to your newest white paper; and then retweets one of your messages a week later; and then signs up for your email list three months later; and then buys your product or service after attending your webinar six months later…given that we know such enterprise conversion paths are common, the key question for you is this: Does your social enterprise solution allow you to track such critical activity — and on an end-to-end basis?

The people we've met and the conversations we've had at SXSW have inspired us to continue innovating across the entire universe of our social solutions. As my colleague John Nolt wrote on this blog last week, Oracle is already leading the way in offering the industry's first unified end-to-end social management solution for the enterprise through Oracle Social Relationship Management. That said, you should know we’re just getting started.

Monday Mar 11, 2013

SXSW Monday – What Oracle Heard, Saw and Did

Oh boy, if you thought days 1-3 of South by Southwest in Austin were full of knowledge, check out day 4’s takeaways below. Oracle was doing what Oracle does best, soaking up the data.

SRM boardFrom “Brands, Bloggers & the Social Commerce Future

-Kickoff question: how can you keep your blog audience's trust when you start *shudder* making money?

-Keep it real. Don't deceive your readers about what you're going to offer them.

-Influencers write objectively about brands. Advocates take the brand's side every time.

-Blog Power! 5 years ago 64% bought based on blogger recommendation. Now it's 87%.

-81% of women trust info on a blog. 87% purchase based on it.

-The power of human connections. Commercial revenue from blogger recommendations outperformed CPM ads by 4-16%.

-Idea time: spiff worthwhile blog participants with little gifts. It will help keep your blog’s quality up.

-BULLETIN! Bloggers should know how to write!

-People who came to eCommerce sites from text links spent 12 minutes there. Those that came from a visual item spent 18 minutes.

-Do you stop in the middle of a blog to go shopping? Well neither do your blog's readers.

-The magic formula for getting revenue from blogs: quality product + trusted advocacy + frictionless sale.

-Brands are impression driven. This session recommended giving them a cost per exposure (engagement) as well as a CPM. Will they go for that?

-Content on blogs? You get what you pay for. You will soon be bidding to get the best writers.


From “Creating Brand Advocates via Employee Engagement”

-If your employees aren’t fans of your brand, your product's in sad shape.

-Yep, they really do have to be told. 68% of employees would share if they knew what to share.

-Even though they're scared to share, employees want recognition when they go to the effort of doing so.

-Employee sharing = short path to plenty of earned media. Are you leaving that on the table?


smacFrom “Why Social Ads Work. Ignore Facebook Naysayers

-Over 60% of media buyers will spend more on social this year, but still aren't sure how to measure it.

-Social is a means of getting customers to interact with your brand, not just notice it.

-Use analytics to see when customers are talking about what you do or offer, then surface ads accordingly.

-One voice does not fit all. Wendy's has 3 Pages with 3 distinct personalities.

-Promos & giveaways get you followers, but not necessarily consistent engagers.

-It's why your targeting platform is so critical. To drive an action, target people who want to hear about what you’re saying.

-Wendy's measures social advertising ROI with time on landing sites, check-ins, and coupon sales.

-Promoted posts work, but (surprise surprise) mostly if they're creative and you’re not making people jump through hoops.

-How many do YOU have? Wendy's & their agency have 10-11 working on content at any given time.


From “The Sweet Science of Virality: You Are Bad At It”

-Take a cue from the New York Post, headlines can make or break you.

-If anyone guarantees you something will go viral, run, don't walk, away from them.

-Better find writers who can do lots of content. There's a 95% engagement fail rate.

-You HAVE to tap an emotion to get a share. Anger & happiness result in the most sharing.

-Sharing comes from being conversational and from framing what you have to say properly.

-Your fans already like you. You're trying to win their friends over with your content.

-This is also the secret to talk radio's success…say what people are thinking but can't express on their own.

-Going viral is not a strategy. Crafting the kind of content that gets shared is.

@mikestiles

Sunday Mar 10, 2013

SXSW Sunday – What Oracle Heard, Saw and Did

Day 3 of South by Southwest in Austin, and Oracle is still at it, racing around, squeezing into crowded sessions and foregoing finding the best barbecue so we can present the best takeaways and you can learn from afar.

From “Data, Storytelling and Breaking Through the Noise”

-You need to take risks with social. Sometimes you should ask for forgiveness instead of permission.

-The ability to take risk is a competitive advantage.

-Creative humans still required: "You're never going to get an algorithm to create a great story."

-Engagement with content is a chance to get consumer data to inform future content, so pay attention.

-Many brands miss the opportunity to use content to help drive search.

-Great content requires great talents. Tweaking an algorithm isn't enough.

-Brands aren't getting it. People are hungry as ever for great content. They're not hungry for ads.

-Do you even have a story? Success in social is telling your story, not selling your stuff.

From “Social Circles vs. Social Media”

-Everyone talks about privacy. But transparency about how data is used will win you more trust.

-Watch what people are doing, then figure out how you can help them do it better.

-What's better, shallow relationships with the masses or deep relationships with a loyal, sincere following?

-Apps are either to hold your attention or to make your life easier with a utility.

-The challenge is to fuse online activities with offline to enhance virtual social groupings with *gasp* real-world elements.

Photos: Rich Schwerin

Saturday Mar 09, 2013

SXSW Saturday – What Oracle Heard, Saw and Did

Day 2 of South by Southwest in Austin, and Oracle is doing everything it can to be everywhere. Lots of sessions and takeaways today so let’s get to it.


Grab Bag

-Oracle SRM is showcasing listening capabilities at SXSW. Check it out.


From “How Twitter Has Changed How We Watch TV.”

-1 in 3 Twitter users tweet about TV at some point.

-People still like to watch TV "with" people. Of those who tweet about TV, 76% do it while watching TV live.

-The shows that really get Twitter buzzing have elements of real-time unpredictability (sports, reality, awards)

-Think it's catching on? There were 14 million Super Bowl tweets last year. This year it was 24 million.

-The "House of Cards" dilemma: will such all-at-once series releases challenge the TV tweeting experience?

-Tweet or die. If a show is getting no Twitter buzz, it's taken as a sign the show isn't going to work.

-Twitter's the new water cooler. Existing fans are used to recruit new viewers, and it's working.

-Tweeting as characters from the show drives higher interaction. Who's tweeting for YOUR brand?

-Fans like to be tribal. 51% tweet about TV to feel connected to other show fans.

-3 out of 10 people check out a show because they heard about it on Twitter. Think things are any different for your brand?

-It's a data thing. Live shows like American Idol do Twitter polls for real-time feedback that's then incorporated into the show

-Take the incoming with a grain of salt. Twitter TV audiences are younger and generally more negative.

-Conversations around TV are going beyond Twitter and onto other platforms, like Tumblr, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc.

-79% of TV viewers visit Facebook while watching TV. That's no small number.

-When branded content is right for the channel, it will spread. WAY too much of it is not right…and are ads, not content

-Live tweeting encourages live viewing vs. on-demand, and live viewing means they'll see the ads.

-Big question: how much do viewers want to influence TV plots? How much do your fans want to influence your product?


From “Brand Fans, the New Brand Marketers”

-It's about crowdsourcing the voice of your fans and making it your marketing voice.

-We humans are all brands, and we’re all marketers.

-The more “360-degrees” and the more screens your campaign is executed across, the more successful and relevant it will be today.

-The fan is becoming a partner in the marketing process. That’s what’s new.

-Crowdsourcing gives you insights your traditional marketing research can’t provide.

-Don't go into social defensive and nervous. Trust your brand and your fans.

-The strongest agencies are the ones who understand creativity has changed and embrace that change to innovate.

-The agencies that embrace the community side of brands have a better understanding of what creative to deliver.


From “Going Social: You Got the Tux, but Can You Dance?”

-Shame shame, social teams respond to complaints ASAP while too many physical businesses still hide from customers.

-Quick...who at your brand responds to social communications? Do they know where to route problems?

-The Holy Grail is connecting customer ID to social ID. Wow, then keep your eye on Oracle.


From “Less is More: Why 5 Comments Beat 5000 Likes”

-Everybody likes "Likes," but they're deceptive. They take no effort and require no investment.

-Comments take effort, genuine care, and start conversations. Likes don't necessarily convert to money

-Comments increase time spent on a site by 23%. Comments increase the average number of Pages viewed by 13%.

-It's great you're getting comments on your Page but...are you participating and commenting on other Pages?


From “Real Talk: The Social Customer Service Shift”

-Get your wooing skills on. Customers need to be romanced.

-One of our fave themes: social isn't a silo - it extends into customer service and beyond.

-Your regular customer care team should own social customer service & it should be integrated with other departments.

-Ha. Which is worse: your competitors knowing your plan or your employees not knowing your plan?

-CX expectations have changed. You don't have the luxury of putting customers last.

-If you don't trust them, you better train them. Your employees are your social brand ambassadors.

-Smart. Chase pulled product experts from divisions and trained them on brand, social and CX.

-Marketing makes promises to customers that must be upheld by customer service or it's a huge fail.

-It's called mirroring, and it works. Look at what customers write, and respond in the same context.

-Suggested model: all employees get social training and select employees get a certification.

-The benefits of listening: data from social at Chase is being used to inform social marketing strategy

-Super true, and pick the right vendor. Every brand should have an active listening program.

-Want social ROI? How about all the customer data social customer service can provide?

-Predictive analytics will help you know your customer.

-Does the emperor have clothes? Social will quickly expose all your support inefficiencies.

Friday Mar 08, 2013

SXSW Friday - What Oracle Heard, Saw and Did

The center of the known interactive universe is in Austin, TX for the annual South by Southwest confab. Oracle is there, soaking in the info and posting/tweeting on our channels so those who couldn’t make it don’t miss out. Feel free to take in these takeaways from Friday along with a couple of pics from the Oracle SXSW Survival Party at Fado.


Grab Bag

-10 Types of People You'll Definitely See at SXSW from Mashable

-Where should attendees eat at SXSW? The Oracle SRM is watching, and here are the results.

-It's in the bag. Here's what attendees are getting when they check in at SXSW.

-The buzz keeps coming around Oracle's newly announced integrated social tools.

-Watch the SXSW live stream and catch some keynotes with your own eyes and ears, brought to you by Oracle.

-3 great social startups integrate, a major step toward Oracle's social-enabled enterprise vision.


From “Is Mobile Really a Branding Vehicle?”

-Consumers don't see marketing "buckets," so don't act that way.

-Get friction out of your process so you can convert. Don't ask for someone’s city when you've already asked for their zip.

-Consumers are ahead of you marketers. They use multiple screens at once. Do your campaigns reflect that?

-Smile! 14% of mobile social networkers upload a photo taken from a mobile device.

-People don't watch the web, they participate in it. Mobile drives and facilitates that.

-Do you look like everybody else? Then you lose! Find your brand's unique personality.

-Consumers are the ones creating amazing things out there on mobile, not brands & agencies.

-When it comes to mobile, "collect all the data you can." (Oracle knows a little something about that).

-Gut Check! Behind on mobile now? You'll be light years behind in 6 months. Tough to catch up to the speed of change.

-Yes! Walgreens says big brands need to be more like SXSW entrepreneurs, constantly innovating.

-Walgreens learned a better CX is the path to increased sales. 40% use their app in the store.

-$ in the bank. Customers with the Walgreens mobile app spend 6x more than those without it.

-Learn what people will pay for. Removing the paid portion of the Oscars Backstage Pass app led to a 1000% increase in downloads the following year.


From “What Marketers Should Ask Themselves About Social”

-No more bullhorn? People don't trust marketing messages anymore. They trust each other.

-REAL advocates are key. Partners, vendors shareholders, customers can all make better marketers than you.

-Jeff Dachis thinks brands will move from ads to engagement at scale this year. Is that what you're seeing?

-Are brands entering "The Relationship Era"? Maybe, but old habits sure do die hard.

-The public will decide what your image is now, based on your actions.

-Listen to customers at every touch point and act on the data. You've got the tools to do that…right?

-You are not "directing at an audience." You're "sharing with a community."


From “Marketing Implications of Facebook’s Graph Search.”

-Not exactly glowing raves for Facebook Graph Search in this panel. The future promise all seems to be in Facebook's colossal data.

-One thing Graph Search has to overcome is the ingrained user search behaviors around Google.

-For Graph Search to reach top potential, users must lower privacy concerns and be forthcoming with their data.

-News Feed is not out of sight, out of mind. Graph Search mines activities you thought were long gone.

-Some ask: is Graph Search valid if data is tainted by misleading profiles?

-Amen. "Lazy marketers don't support a community, they buy likes."


Tomorrow’s Recommended Panel

Don’t miss Frito-Lays’ brand fan panel with @ShivSingh, @KevinJKnight & @ToddWasserman at 11am.

Social Startups Integrate Within Oracle

Guest Blog today from Oracle Sr. Director Product Management John Nolt

SRMHello Everybody
Tuesday, Reggie Bradford outlined in this space the essentials of a social-enabled enterprise foundation. This week we’re proudly announcing the integrated Oracle Social Relationship Management suite. It’s the culmination of often maddening, but extremely rewarding work combining forces with our former startup brethren to bring you a new interface with the best of what we offer, plus a platform for further innovation in our toolset and your social aspirations.

Social success depends on well-laid plans and nimble reactions. Our suite lets you accomplish both with aplomb.

Social Ain't Peanuts
Social’s no longer a niche, and no longer limited to marketing. Social is the way people are, not just a new way of communicating. Over a billion people interact on a daily basis via the many social networks. It's in the digital air we breathe.

Who Is This Guy?
It's my privilege to lead a team of product managers working on Oracle's social solutions. Last summer I was working my tail off as part of a small company called Vitrue, building cutting-edge and industry-leading social solutions for major brands.

We were a rag-tag group, ~35 when I joined, and ~185 as of last summer when we learned our company was to be acquired by Oracle. "Oracle?" we said. "The database company?"

Turns out, Oracle has what some may call "a robust portfolio" of products, including solutions that lead the pack in CRM. Customer Relationship Management is a close cousin to what we've been doing for the last couple of years - social relationship management. Joining forces started to make a lot of sense.

SRMgraphicStrange Bedfellows
The three social companies Oracle acquired last summer: A social technology company, Involver, and Vitrue, had similarities but also significant differences. Regionally, CI is from Boulder, CO while Involver grew up in San Francisco and Vitrue sprang like a panther from the dirty south - Atlanta, GA.

Involver and Vitrue were direct competitors. Imagine what that's like, suddenly being on a team with people you were at odds with a week ago. And imagine what it's like to finally peek behind the curtain into the other team's operation. We were shocked at how many similarities we had and how many similar decisions we’d made in the pursuit of solving the business needs of our customers.


The Long, Often-Aggravating Trip
Working inside Oracle is a far cry from a startup. It's bigger than any organization I've ever been a part of. It has more employees than my hometown of Harrisburg PA has citizens. So it took some getting used to.

Our job is to manage the change our group is undergoing and make progress. I believe we’re doing that, and this week's launch is exemplary of it.

It takes the best of Oracle SRM, blends them together into one experience, and paves the way into the future with clever (if I do say so myself) positioning of elements and sections within the interface to indicate not only what's there now, but what's coming.

Look Out World
I thought we worked hard when we were a startup. We’re working twice as hard now, but the stakes are greater and the potential so much larger. With my former competitors (now colleagues), we’ve taken a big step, but only the first step, toward reaching the potential of our combined team and products. The launch of Oracle's Social Relationship Management suite is a cannon shot indicating the start of our next Great Campaign.

Tuesday Mar 05, 2013

Foundations of the Social Enterprise Suite

Guest Post by Oracle SVP Product Development Reggie Bradford

foundationWith so much discussion going around of the socially enabled enterprise, many are still perplexed over exactly what that means. More specifically, they wonder what key components comprise the foundation for such a re-imagining of the technological makeup of an organization.

Based on my own observations as a former brand marketing CMO, founder of a social management platform startup, and now SVP of a broader enterprise technology solutions company such as Oracle, the following functionalities strike me as key.

You Should Be Able To: Market on Social

Not just to be on social networks, but be able to compose, creatively enhance, schedule, and streamline the process through which teams and admins engage customers, build relationships with them, and put forth the best customer experience possible.

Your presence on social is your brand’s image and its voice, an always-on consumer touch point. Your social marketing component should be about making that voice, the content, and your interactions consistent and credible. You’re in the trust-building business.

You Should Be Able To: Engage & Monitor on Social

The public has spoken. What they want from brands more than anything else is to be heard. To hear, you have to listen. Your social suite should have a component that monitors what customers are saying, allows you to respond in the timeframe to which they’ve grown accustomed, and lets you combine the social interactions across all your channels to increase your knowledge of the customer.

They want to tell you what’s important to them. They’re eager to help make your products better. And when they reach out for help, your system should be able to route the issue to the appropriate business function so fans aren’t left wondering if you care enough to respond.

You Should Be Able To: Get and Use Social Data

When you operate without analytics, you operate in the dark. Social offers a constant flow of data riches just waiting to be mined. You’ll know your customer like never before, learn what they best respond to, gauge the effectiveness of campaigns, and adjust investments and strategies based on what the social data tells you.

Your suite should be able to aggregate data from all your active social networks, providing a holistic view of consumers that enables implementation of those superior customer experiences essential for success. Such patterns and sentiment represents high value business intelligence, provided you have the tools to surface it.

You Should Be Able To: Collaborate Internally on Social

The workplace is changing. Employees want to use the kinds of tools for business they’re used to using in their personal lives. And that means social. Grouping, sharing, uploading materials, chatting, finding answers in discussions…all represent the kind of collaboration possible via an internal social network.

Your social suite should provide such real-time virtual work environments, with secure networking and collaboration tools for the enterprise driving productivity.

You Should Be Able To: Seize the Future

All of the above pieces of the puzzle are offered in various combinations by various vendors. But to truly lay the groundwork for the socially enabled enterprise, each must have the capacity to be fully and functionally integrated not just with each other, but also with Social Sales, Social Commerce, Social HR, and other such enterprise concerns.

True integration streamlines the enterprise, increases efficiencies, empowers marketing, drives sales, enhances the customer experience, builds brands, and positions you to quickly capitalize on future rapid innovations in social (and they’re all rapid).

Without the seamless integration a single vendor can offer, you may later find yourself with cracks in your foundation.

Photo: stock.xchng 

Friday Mar 01, 2013

Will You Wither on the Vine?

grapesNow that Vine, the video app acquired by Twitter in October 2012, has had time to apply some updates, reach proper levels of usage and absorb feedback, where might it wind up on the “Scale of Social Importance” for brands? (There is no such scale. I totally made it up.)

Vine takes the concept of restricting content exhibited in the Twitter character limit, and applies it to video. Vine videos don’t go beyond 6 seconds. They’re looped, meaning they automatically repeat, not unlike the animated GIFs so iconic of Tumblr. And they do begin playing automatically.

But the bottom line is, you have 6 seconds to thrill, entertain, amuse, inform, and communicate your message. The adoption of Vine videos further illustrates how the public has been telling us they want to consume content. They like video…and they like it to be easy to make, easy to watch, and easy to share. Vine speaks to all these things.

Which plops the ball right back in our court as brands. We have to decide if we’re going to play by the consumer’s rules and make the kind of content they like, on the platforms they like, or not.

If production costs are why your brand hasn’t gotten deep into generating video for your social channels, Vine takes away some of that argument. The audience isn’t necessarily looking for “slick” or big budget. They don’t expect George Clooney to appear in your Vine video. You simply record by holding down a button on your device, starting and stopping if you like, until your 6 seconds is up.

The end result looks like something like these examples of Vine video.

We’re still a ways from seeing if user-generated Vine videos can be monetized with ads from us marketers. An AdAge article poses the absurdity of putting a 15-second pre-roll in front of content that’s only 6 seconds. Frankly, there are those that argue such pre-rolls in front of 1:15 videos on YouTube exceed the proper limits of exasperation. But there they are.

Aside from UGC Vine video contests, that leaves brand-created videos holding the most “marketing usage of Vine” potential. Notice how every hot trend and advancement in social points in the same direction? Content and creativity is everything.

With that truth embraced, your awesome Vine videos can be shared to fans and followers on Vine, Facebook and Twitter. They can find additional exposure on a variety of different startups that focus on Vine video discovery and search-ability. These create environments of channel surfing on steroids, short-attention-span theatre.

The differentiator between success and failure for brands is the same as for rank and file users - imagination. Many Vine videos are awful, a complete waste of the viewer’s valuable 6 seconds. Co-founder of Viddy, JJ Aguhob, points out there’s a diminishing pool of quality content for an ever-expanding audience. That’s spells opportunity for your brand to be one of the more valued Vine video content providers.

The job is really the same as it’s always been on social - keep the content relevant, cool, and worthwhile. Vine is simply another new, albeit shorter, way to do that.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

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