Data Adoption Must Come Before Social ROI
By Mike Stiles on May 17, 2013
On May 14, Social Media Today hosted the webinar “What Is Social ROI Made of? New Revenue or Reduced Costs?” with a panel consisting of Oracle VP Product Strategy Erika Brookes, MarketShare CEO Wes Nichols, and V3 Integrated Marketing CEO Shelly Kramer. Based on the number of retweets, things were said that really hit home. Below are some of the discussion’s highlights.
EB: If you’re looking for social ROI, you have to start with a strategy. Big data and little data must then connect back to that strategy.
SK: The C-level feels as long as we’re on Twitter and have a Facebook page, social is covered. When you ask what their goals for it are and how it ties back to their strategy, they have an “Oh my God” moment.
EB: Data fuels the belief that with all this digital data, surely we can do a better job of telling the story of what works and what doesn’t work. True, but you have to know what the intent was for getting into social in the first place.
WN: Companies operate in swim lanes. Direct mail is a lane. PR is a lane. Social is a lane. Each lane reports its own ROI, often self-serving, which doesn’t help the CFO. It’s critical to know how these lanes interact with each other.
SK: Marketers know what needs to be done. They know what’s important. But they aren’t staffed or resourced to collect the data, analyze it, and leverage it.
EB: It’s not just about marketing anymore. It’s about how do I attribute across the company. That’s where the data problem grows enormously and the call for marketers to be prepared goes up. The CMO has to collaborate with IT and sales.
WN: What used to be done by marketers isn’t possible anymore. You have to have the technology infrastructure to process the data. Most don’t have that set up internally.
EB: People have legacy tech, then buy new tech, and those things aren’t hinging together. That has to happen for real time insight. Marketers must share with IT the metrics on which they’ll be measured. That’s what facilitates actionable decision-making.
WN: It’s not so much a sales funnel anymore, it’s a pinball machine. A social post might bounce you to a video. The video might bounce you to a search. The search might bounce you to a coupon. The coupon might bounce you into the store to buy something.
SK: Even smart marketers still think a 40k/year person running the social channels has it covered. That’s far from the case. Job descriptions want a digital strategist, social strategist, email strategist, content strategist, and business analyst all rolled into one person…for maybe 70k. That’s craziness.
EB: Even at 100k you won’t find someone who does all those aspects really well, because they’re very distinct functions and disciplines.
SK: Expectations are totally out of whack with what they want to pay somebody. Just pushing out your content is not integrating social into business objectives toward any hope of ROI.
WN: There’s no correlation or causation between vanity metrics and P&L or ROI impact. Once they see the lift impact of social, they’ll allocate for staffing. Until then, they’re going to keep dabbling.
EB: Marketers want this. But are they really prepared for the wholesale changes required inside the organization?
WN: You have to look broad to look narrow. You have to look at the ROI of marketing to get to the ROI of social. You can’t measure at a what’s-under-your-nose campaign level.
SK: Content marketing is so not new. But we’re struggling to get clients to understand the importance of content strategy and how that, SEO, et al works to drive leads. We’re struggling to get clients to understand the importance of data to drive business strategy.
EB: Companies realize they’ve built audience, but now how do you turn that into engagement and sales? More marketers are asking for help turning those opportunities into something the rest of the organization can activate upon. CMO tenures are increasing, not declining, because they’re thinking broadly about social and tech, and the data is there to tell success stories.
WN: CMO’s can be at the executive table, armed with proof of impact. Otherwise they get relegated to the kids’ table. Being numbers-oriented doesn’t mean you can’t be creative. Analytics can show the impact of creative and thereby get more funding for it. But without numbers, marketing looks soft and thus an easy place to make cuts.
SK: If you try to do this on the cheap, you’re going to get what you pay for and you’re going to get what you deserve. You have to be in it to win it.
WN: You’re CEO has to embrace the changes that are underway. Marketing is not yell and sell, it’s customer dialogue and relationship building, leveraging social.
EB: Oracle did a study with The Economist and found companies with cross collaboration across departments, taking advantage of disruptive technologies, are the most successful. Marketers can start the dialogue internally about data sources and the metrics you’ll be measured on. Get the buy-in and structure in place.
WN: We can prove the impact of marketing is larger than what they’re currently getting credit for. You need the tools to defend and grow marketing investments. Analytics is like electricity running through the whole organization. It will one day be as taken for granted as electricity.
Photo: stock.xchng, Glenn Pebley