Friday May 30, 2014

Are Chief Digital Officers the Result of CMO/CIO Refusal to Change?

Apparently CDO no longer just stands for “Collateralized Debt Obligations.”  It stands for Chief Digital Officer. And they’re the ones who are supposed to answer the bat signal CEO’s are throwing into the sky, swoop in and POW! drive the transition of the enterprise to integrated digital systems.

So imagine being a CMO or a CIO at such an enterprise and realizing it’s been determined that you are not the answer that’s needed. In fact, IntelligentHQ author Ashley Friedlein points out the very rise of the CDO is an admission of C-Suite failure to become savvy enough, quickly enough in modern technology.

Is that fair?

Despite the repeated drumbeat that CMO’s and CIO’s must enter a new era of cooperation and collaboration to enact the social-enabled enterprise, the verdict seems to be that if it’s happening at all, it’s not happening fast enough. Therefore, someone else is needed with the authority to make things happen.

So who is this relatively new beast? Gartner VP David Willis says, “The Chief Digital Officer plays in the place where the enterprise meets the customer, where the revenue is generated, and the mission accomplished.” In other words, where the rubber meets the road. They aren’t just another “C” heading up a unit. They’re the CEO’s personal SWAT team, able to call the shots necessary across all units to affect what has become job one…customer experience.

And what are the CMO’s and CIO’s doing while this is going on? Playing corporate games. Accenture reports 38% of CMOs say IT deliberately keeps them out of the loop, with 35% saying marketing’s needs aren’t a very high priority. 31% of CIOs say marketers don’t understand tech and regularly go around them for solutions. Fun!

Meanwhile the CEO feels the need to bring in a parental figure to pull it all together. Gartner thinks 25% of all orgs will have a CDO by 2015 as CMO’s and particularly CIO’s (Peter Hinssen points out many CDO’s are coming “from anywhere but IT”) let the opportunity to be the agent of change their company needs slip away.

Perhaps most interestingly, these CDO’s seem to be entering the picture already on the fast track. One consultancy counted 7 instances of a CDO moving into the CEO role, which, as this Wired article points out, is pretty astounding since nobody ever heard of the job a few years ago. And vendors are quickly figuring out that this is the person they need to be talking to inside the brand.

The position isn’t without its critics. Forrester’s Martin Gill says the reaction from executives at some traditional companies to someone being brought in to be in charge of digital might be to wash their own hands of responsibility for all things digital – a risky maneuver given the pervasiveness of digital in business.

They might not even be called Chief Digital Officers. They might be the Chief Customer Officer, Chief Experience Officer, etc. You can call them Twinkletoes if you want to, but essentially anyone who has the mandate direct from the CEO to enact modern technology changes not currently being championed by the CMO or CIO can be regarded as “boss.”

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday May 27, 2014

Get the Picture: Pinterest for Marketers

When trying to determine on which networks to conduct social marketing, the usual suspects immediately rise to the top; Facebook & Twitter, then LinkedIn (especially if you’re B2B), then maybe some Google Plus to hedge SEO bets.  So at what juncture do brands get excited about Pinterest?

Pinterest has been easy for marketers to de-prioritize thanks to the perception its usage is so dominated by women. Um, what’s wrong with that? Women make an estimated 85% of all consumer purchases. So if there are indeed over 30 million US women active on it monthly, and they do 92% of the pinning, and 84% are still active on it after 4 years, when did an audience of highly engaged, very likely sales conversions become low priority?

Okay, if you’re a tech B2B SaaS product like the Oracle Social Cloud, Pinterest may not be where you focus. But if you operate in the top Pinterest categories, which are truly far-reaching, it’s time to take note of Pinterest’s performance to date:

  • 40.1 million monthly users in the US (eMarketer).
  • Over 30 billion pins, half of which were pinned in the last 6 months. (Big momentum)
  • 75% of usage is on their mobile app. (In solid shape for the mobile migration)
  • Pinterest sharing grew 58% in 2013, beating Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. (ShareThis)
  • Pinterest is the 3rd most popular sharing platform overall (over email), with 48% of all sharing on tablets.
  • Users referred by Pinterest are 10% more likely to buy on e-commerce sites and tend to spend twice that of users coming from Facebook. (Shopify)

To be fair, brands haven’t had any paid marketing opportunities on that platform…until recently.

Users are seeing Promoted Pins in both category and search feeds from rollout brands like Gap, ABC Family, Ziploc, and Nestle. Are the paid pins annoying users? It seems more so than other social networks, they’re fitting right in to the intended user experience and being accepted, getting almost as many click-throughs as user pins.

New York Magazine’s Kevin Roose laid it out succinctly; Pinterest offers a place that’s image-centric, search-friendly, makes things easy to purchase, makes things easy to share, and puts users in an aspirational mood to buy. Pinterest is very confident in the value of that combo and that audience, with CPM rates 5x that of the most expensive Facebook ad, plus (at least for now) required spending commitments and required pin review by Pinterest for quality.

The latest developments; a continued move toward search and discovery with enhancements like Guided Search to help you hone in on what interests you, Custom Categories, and the rumored Visual Search that stands to be a liberation from text.

And most recently, Pinterest has opened up its API so brands can get access to deeper insights into the best search terms and categories in which to play ball, as well as what kinds of pins stand to perform best in those areas.

As we learned in our rundown this week of Social Media Examiner’s Social Media Marketing Industry Report, around 50% of marketers specifically intend on upping their use of Pinterest. If you’re a big believer in fishing where the fish are, that’s probably an efficient position to take.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Adam Lambert_Gorwyn,

Friday May 23, 2014

How to Build Social Relationships for Sales

social sellingSales professionals have access to an abundance of blogs and articles offering to teach them how to use social media for sales. Many are quite good. Others are cryptic and vague because they’re trying to sell you something, like sales training programs.

Well, we don’t sell sales training programs at Oracle Social. So when I sling these tips your way, it’s more about fostering the appropriate & effective use of social for achieving your goals, but in ways that don’t annoy or turn off your social connections.

Tip: Cool Your Jets

Unless you sell jets. In fact, even if you do, making a social connection and then immediately hitting them with your pitch makes you someone to avoid. I know you need to hit your goals, but social relationship (and trust) building does not happen fast.

Tip: Get Over Yourself

People follow you on social for their purposes, not yours. Make the social relationship entirely about them, what they’re thinking about, questions/problems they have, etc. and they will be far more attentive to you.

Tip: Be a Consultant, Not a Salesperson

It’s no secret to your social followers whom you work for and what it is you offer. Go bigger and broader than that. Converse with them about overall challenges in the space, even suggesting some solutions or asset sources that aren’t yours. Be genuine.

Tip: Don’t Be a Curation Bot

Yes, you should share curated content. No you should not sling share an article every hour to all your followers. When you share an article with someone specifically because you paid attention and remembered they were dealing with that issue…that’s relationship gold!

Tip: Have a Thought in Your Head

The social nets are absolutely filled with people who appear to have absolutely no opinion or personal take on anything. Their original posts are vapid, innocuous, safe, and always sit on the fence. Yawn.

Tip: Get a Backbone

If I were a doctor, my life would be much easier if I just lied to everyone I saw and told them nothing was wrong with them. My patients would adore me! Sometimes, with the above-mentioned opinion in hand, you have to win respect by politely disagreeing and being honest.

Tip: Be Their Publicist

You can draw people to you if you give them what they want or need. What your social connections want/need is engagement with their content. If you promote them and position them as someone special on your channels, they’ll like you. Eventually, even the most self-obsessed will give you something in return.

Tip: Don’t Love ‘Em and Leave ‘Em

You were attentive and conversing with me until I bought something from you, and suddenly all that great engagement stops? Uh oh. I’m going to feel like I’ve just been had.

Remember, when it comes to social media for sales, you’re connecting at a disadvantage right out of the gate. You’re not as smooth as you think you are. They know what you’re doing, they know why you’re trying to connect, they know what you want. All of that has to be overcome over time with humanness, honesty, genuineness, value, and transparency.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday May 20, 2014

Social Marketing Report: 7 Things For You To Think About

social media marketingGetting Social Media Examiner’s annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report is like opening a present on your birthday. It’s always intriguing to find out what you social marketers are doing and plan on doing. It’s also interesting to see if the answers you give on surveys match up to the actions you’re taking in the real world.

Let’s take a look at some of this year’s findings and give you something to seriously think about for each.

1. The top 5 things you’re struggling with are tactics (91%), engagement (89%), measurement (88%), social management tools (85%), and audience targeting (83%).

Hm…could it be that your inability to wrap your arms around maximizing engagement, measuring the KPI’s that affect your business goals, and being able to accurately and relevantly target your audience has something to do with those social management tools you’re also struggling with? Multiple, non-integrated tools would leave anyone struggling in this environment.

2. 37% of you say you can measure the ROI of your social, up from 26% last year. 68% of you analyze your social.

Hm…I’m thinking about the 32% that don’t analyze their social activities. If even those that do have taken 4 years to get to this still non-impressive point of ROI measurement, those that don’t need to play some serious catch-up with a robust analytics platform.

3. 83% of you said you’ve integrated social into your traditional marketing activities.

Hm…you have? I get the queasy feeling many of you answered “yes” to this question if you put a social sharing button on an email newsletter. True integration comes in the form of a widely social-enabled enterprise, and we happen to know 83% of you aren’t there yet.

4. 64% of you use social 6 or more hours a week, 37% of you are on it 11+ hours weekly, and 19% put 20 hours into it per week.

Hm…I’m so confused by these stats I don’t really know where to start. Someone will have to tell me what social media’s operating hours are and how you’re not managing your social channels 24/7/365.

5. Most of you are using social to develop loyal fans (72%) and to get market intelligence (71%).

Hm…how’s that loyal fan development coming? Because study after study shows brands woefully falling short of responding to customers reaching out on social, especially for customer service issues. Many brands’ social channels are merely new ways to anger customers.

6. You mostly plan to up your usage of blogging platforms (68%), YouTube (67%), Twitter (67%), LinkedIn (64%), and Facebook (64%). You don’t have big plans for location nets like Foursquare/Swarm (12%).

Hm…while it’s true this list alters depending on whether you’re B2B or B2C, it doesn’t look like mobile is on your mind, an essential ingredient of right person/right time/right place/right way marketing. You do get points for ranking video/YouTube higher on your priority list though.

7. Other than social, the kinds of marketing you use most are email (85%), SEO (65%), events (60%), press releases (51%), online ads (40%), direct mail (39%), print display (36%), sponsorships (30%), and mobile marketing (19%).

Hm…see above about the critical nature of mobile. 19%? As for email, SEO, online ads, direct mail, etc., these are not things that need remain in silos, disconnected from social. Consult your friendly neighborhood marketing cloud.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: Erika Brookes
Model: Sunny

Friday May 16, 2014

What the Foursquare Spin-Off of Swarm Says to Marketers

Foursquare SwarmFoursquare has chosen to rid itself of the check-in functions of its app and spin them off into a separate app called Swarm.


As we know, Facebook had already started down this road of unbundling usages of its app into smaller, more focused standalone applications. The thinking being when an app does a lot of things, it’s harder to find what you want to do and harder to use. But Foursquare users basically only did two things; check in to places & meet with friends, and discover new places.

Swarm is now the Foursquare check-in app. Check-in and you can see a graph showing where nearby friends are. If you don’t want anyone to know where you are, you can toggle off neighborhood sharing. There’s now history search, which Foursquare calls one of its most requested features ever. So if you loved a place but can’t remember the name or where it was, you’re in business. And, to help coordinate activities with friends, there’s “Plans” so you can ask who’s up for what.

Meanwhile Foursquare, later this summer, will become Foursquare’s discovery app and the one meant to give Yelp headaches. Perhaps Foursquare's strongest asset is its existing directory of every place everyone ever checked into on the platform, with more being added daily. Users can quickly see digestible tips about what to try or avoid left behind by friends and experts.

CEO Dennis Crowley has been working since 2012 to stop people from thinking of Foursquare as an only for-fun check-in app where you can try to be Mayor of a doughnut shop. The UI was changed and once search came to the forefront, searches doubled in 2 months. Plus 50 million monthly visitors were getting intel from all those reviews.

(And by the way, badges will be dropped in Swarm in favor of emotion-revealing stickers you can unlock, and you only compete against friends for Mayorships, not the whole Foursquare universe.)

So what should you, the marketer, take away from these developments? Awareness of the emergence of passive suggestion. As Crowley puts it, “The best version of Foursquare is the one you don’t have to remember to use.” As long as your ambient location is turned on, Foursquare will know where you are and can notify you of timely, relevant suggestions, no check-in necessary. Foursquare says test users interacted with the passive suggestion version of the app 60% more.

This speaks to the tidal movement toward right person/right place/right time/right way marketing that platforms such as the Oracle Social Cloud are facilitating. If you as a marketer know what the weather is, know what time of day it is, know where a customer is, know what’s nearby, and know what they generally like and do based on past behavior, then you can use their social app of choice to deliver offers or info that will be appropriate, appreciated, and hopefully acted upon.

Not to mention this should be a nice reminder of how critical mobile and context is to any serious marketing strategy.

Will Foursquare’s spinning off of Swarm be a winner? Other location broadcasting business models have struggled, including one of Facebook's that was not unlike Swarm. There must be a willingness on the part of consumers to make their location available more often than not, a trend that can only solidify with marketers’ responsible, rewarding usage of that info.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday May 13, 2014

Social Data Benefits Too Much to Handle?

social data engineIf knowledge is power, a marketer having access to copious amounts of social data on their brand’s customers and prospects would have to leave them feeling pretty pumped up wouldn’t it?

It doesn’t.

So far, it has way too many of them feeling frustrated, anxious, and frozen with indecision. It presents them with a fire hose of riches they know is available, know they should be taking advantage of, but that they aren’t sure exactly how to structure, manage or incorporate.

Asked what things they feel unprepared for most over the course of the next 3-5 years, 71% of marketers cited the explosion of data. Coming in 2nd at 68% was social. So you can imagine how they feel about their ability to maximize the explosion of social data! And that’s at today’s data levels, in which Facebook brings in about 500x more data daily than the New York Stock Exchange. The volume of data will be “exploding” from there.

Why do you need to figure out the social data conundrum? That’s the way you’re going to achieve the “right person/right content/right time/right place” marketing dream we so often read about. A couple of free Oracle assets, the webcast “Mining Data for Social Insights,” and the white paper “The Value of Social Data,” can be the start of your tapping into the fire hose of data and turning it into actionable info.

And make no mistake, such data can lead to effective real-world action. It has done so in charitable/social services, it has done so around disaster relief efforts (after super storm Sandy, the Red Cross pulled in 2.5 million+ social posts, isolating almost 300 passed on to operations for action), and it can do so in marketing as increasingly mobile consumers expect relevant, location-aware, needs-based offerings from brands.

This hyper-awareness of the customer is also going to serve you in terms of knowing what kind of content to create so time isn’t wasted producing and pushing things they couldn’t care less about. And it will help focus your engagement efforts on the social users who can do you the most good, influencers that get you in front of the most people. Both benefits brought to you courtesy of effective social listening.

Being presented with today’s social data possibilities is like getting a brand new Harley Davidson as a gift when you’ve never ridden a motorcycle in your life. You know it’s cool, it’s shiny, it has a lot of power and can really take you places, but you’re going to have to get on it and learn to ride it first. Sure, that’s awkward at first, but it’s the necessary first step to the smoother ride ahead.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Friday May 09, 2014

21 Brand Video Ideas at Non-Consultant Prices

social media videoLast post, we talked about the rising necessity of brand video content. Reaction was about what we expected. People realize the public is increasingly consuming video. But many pointed out videos can’t be “skimmed” for quick consumption or quick assessment of value like articles can.

So, know that the opening seconds of your video are critical like the headline and opening sentence of an article. It must prove right out of the gate it’s worthy of the time required to watch it, or viewer retention will be short. Also, giving it a transcript and/or compelling description will help potential viewers decide whether to watch.

Today, as promised, we want to run down what many consultants charge really good money for, ideas for brand videos. Just as many brand bloggers grapple with, “I don’t know what to write about,” many marketing teams don’t know what kind of videos to make. Try these on for size.

  1. Company History: depending on your company’s size/age, this could be a one-shot or a series.
  2. Product History: how did your product or service come to be what it is today?
  3. Featured Department: show me how your various departments run and show me the people who work in it.
  4. Department News: regular update videos from appropriate departments like marketing and R&D that tell us what they’ve been doing.
  5. Personnel Features: people are interested in people. Show me interesting, non work-related things about the people you have working there.
  6. Customer Testimonials/Case Studies: show me problems like the kind I have and how your company solved them.
  7. Explainer Videos: show me what you do overall, or what certain aspects of your products do in really short videos.
  8. Product Tips/How-to’s: your product probably does things I’m not even aware of even though I own it. Show me.
  9. Industry Newscasts: don’t talk about your brand in these, just present the latest news in the space in which you operate.
  10. Company Newscasts: if your company is so active that there are things to report at least weekly, break out the news desk and let’s hear it.
  11. Interviews with the C-suite: and don’t give me any PR fluff. Ask pertinent, relevant, probing, and yes, difficult questions.
  12. Brand Q&A: take questions via social then have the most qualified person in your company answer them on camera.
  13. Chopped Up Presentations: your execs give these all the time in various places, and each one can be broken up into a series of short videos.
  14. Customer Service Files: show me real issues your customers had and how it was resolved for them. If you show me you care about your customers that much, I’m sold.
  15. Product Rollouts: don’t just lay it out there, but some showbiz into it, Steve Jobs-style.
  16. Product Usage Montage: no dialogue, cool music bed, quick edits.
  17. User Generated Content: doesn’t even have to be related to the brand. Showcase your customers just doing the fun/funny things they do.
  18. Fun Videos: and notice I didn’t necessarily say funny. Can be employee karaoke, employee recipes, employee lip-syncs, parodies, pet showcase, hobby showcase…make me want to work there.
  19. Stunts: you don’t have to make a guy jump from the edge of space, but stage something genuinely interesting to watch and people will watch it.
  20. Repackaged Webinars: take the same info but go beyond the deck, illustrate it more visually.
  21. Insider Videos: these can be gated or subscription-based videos giving advanced, first-look notice about a new product or product in development.

Okay, one more.

22. Entertainment/Information Web Series: go mass appeal. Do a sitcom, reality show, news magazine, but keep your brand out of it except for “(Your Brand) Presents…” and the ad breaks in it, if any.

Now get to work Spielberg!

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday May 06, 2014

Video on Social: Are We Too Dumb or Too Busy to Read?

social videoWe keep hearing how important video is to social marketing and content marketing. We hear it…but hearing it doesn’t magically build studios in corporate offices or fund brand video teams to actually make this type of content. Most brands are lagging behind the video necessity.

So let’s talk about that necessity.’s Jayson DeMers declared online video’s role in marketing will only get bigger this year. I think Jayson would be the first to tell you he’s hardly alone in this belief. Cisco says video will account for 69% of global consumer Internet traffic by 2017. The GB equivalent of all movies ever made will cross IP networks every 3 minutes. Shutterstock found 61% of Americans watched about 397 online videos in January. And oh yeah, 36% of those were ads.

Much of what we heard about video’s shortcomings has lost validity. Videos aren’t good for traffic referral? YouTube grew 52.86% in referrals from 9/12 to 9/13. People won’t watch long videos, especially on little mobile screens, right? Yes, short might be better for your strategy, but the truth is that 53% of mobile viewers spend over half their time on videos over 30 minutes.

Why the video domination? Are we just too dumb to read anymore? Quite the contrary. Nearly two-thirds of us learn more effectively visually, and our brains process visual data faster. Not only are we not dumb, we’re smart enough to move to the most efficient means of information assimilation available.

Nor are we too busy to read. We have time to read, but because we are indeed busy, we’re going to allocate that slower-moving reading time more selectively. We’re doing a lot of skimming, setting aside a few top contenders to read later…if we get around to it.

So if you’re going to rely on written word only (and hey, nobody loves written word more than me), what you write must have enough value or be entertaining enough to survive this ruthless skimming & eliminating process.

Increasingly, the same is true even of video. It’s hardly “special” anymore. 6 billion hours of YouTube watched per month, 100 hours of video uploaded per minute, 1 billion mobile video views per day; that’s the environment in which your little ol’ video has to somehow get noticed and start getting shared.

Here’s your tweet for the day: Video is becoming so dominant that soon, scanning social channels will be almost the same experience as channel surfing.

Include videos in your strategy. Craft them to appeal to your fans. Don’t patronize. Don’t manipulate. Make sharing super easy. Optimize your videos for YouTube (the 2nd largest search engine). Use an analytics platform to monitor performance. Be consistent. And know that even if you do everything right, your video still may bomb. Major feature films do, despite stars, money and formulas, so why should you be any different?

And if you’re stuck in “but I don’t know what kind of videos to make” mode, watch for Friday’s Social Spotlight, in which I’ll pour forth multiple ideas.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Friday May 02, 2014

Oracle Marketing Cloud Announced for Modern Marketers

(Before I get to the blog, here’s an interesting and pertinent video in which Oracle senior vice president Reggie Bradford talks about the social enterprise with Josh Sternberg, senior editor of Digiday Content Studio.)

Oracle has introduced the Oracle Marketing Cloud, a comprehensive suite of modern marketing products consisting of Oracle Eloqua, Oracle Responsys, Oracle Compendium, Oracle BlueKai, and Oracle Social Cloud.

What’s a poor enterprise marketer to do in 2014? The whole space got turned on its ear thanks to social/digital, everyone’s talking about the need to integrate marketing functions, there’s big data to deal with, yet they’re expected to deliver improved, relevant customer experiences.

Great. How?

Stringing together isolated, piecemeal solutions from a variety of vendors, or trying to stick with siloed legacy technologies, is increasingly not the answer to “how.” On April 30 at an event in New York City, Oracle President Mark Hurd unveiled the Oracle Marketing Cloud, a comprehensive suite of modern marketing products that includes cross-channel marketing, content marketing, social marketing and data management for marketing.

We’re talking about a best-in-class technology for marketers to find, engage and develop ideal customers. What’s an “ideal customer”? It’s a customer of the highest value, one that’s gone beyond purchasing to engaging and advocating for your brand.

Unfortunately, right now, most customers are getting a fragmented, inconsistent experience across channels, with brands delivering shot-in-the-dark transactional messages rather than data-driven, targeted, relevant content that fosters lasting relationships. A Harvard Business Review study says 77% of customers don’t feel like they have any relationship with any brand.

A single profile of each customer, accessible to all departments across the org that need to access that profile to engage that customer holistically and intelligently, is the best hope for fixing this fragmented, inconsistent, uninformed environment marketers currently struggle with.

Therein lies the vision for the Oracle Marketing Cloud, the ability to deliver on the promise of true customer centricity by combining and orchestrating powerful Oracle components like BlueKai, Compendium, Eloqua, Responsys, and the Oracle Social Cloud. It’s a suite for unifying customer data, engaging the right audiences, and delivering high-performing marketing programs across paid, owned and earned.

As if that weren’t enough, it’s a marketing ecosystem that speaks to the merging requirements of Marketing and IT. It must unify resources for Marketing, but IT has to trust it in terms of security, scalability, and performance.

So welcome to the age of modern marketing, a time in which a proven enterprise suite with integrated marketing automation, content marketing, and social marketing for enterprise B2B and B2C is well worth a serious look.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial


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