The Art & Science of Social Marketing

An abbreviated version of this post first appeared at Forbes.com


social marketing artAs we near a very exciting event in NYC April 30, in which CMO’s will bear witness for the first time to the “big picture” of cloud and data-driven modern marketing execution, how about a quick look at the social media component of that modern marketing?


Marketing used to be largely art. But today’s CMO must also know and be adept at the science driving customer insight, relevant and timely targeting, and precision measurement.


The Science

  • Understanding the tech of each social network, those that are here and those yet to come. What are their functions? What value prop do they offer marketing? Just keeping up with the changes the current nets are always making can be rough.
  • Integrating those networks into one, manageable platform for efficient publishing and facilitating a comprehensive picture of your social analytics.
  • With organic reach dropping and the importance of paid social rising, is there tech that connects you to your choice of paid social media partners so you can quickly leverage top performing content to extend its reach and engagement?
  • Listening to the customer has become every bit as important as pushing marketing messages. Your social listening tool should alert you to the current hot topic in your space, what the public is saying about you, where the competition is messing up so you can offer better solutions, how people are responding to your campaigns, and the overall sentiment for your brand.
  • If customers are engaging on your social channels, you must honor that by responding quickly and relevantly. An engagement tool surfaces these communications and facilitates such responses. Nobody likes being ignored.
  • An extensive, enterprise-capable workflow system means tasks can be assigned, managed, and customer communications can be routed to the right person for the fastest response and resolution. This workflow also allows for internal admin so, global to local, access to and activities on your channels are closely managed.
  • All these tools lead to the ultimate…the social-enabled enterprise, in which social weaves not only through marketing functions, but connects to other enterprise systems such as CRM, Sales, HR, Fulfillment, etc. for the most powerful use of big data imaginable.


The Art

  • Tech is far from the answer to every marketing challenge. Creativity is not only still vital, it is even more do-or-die as content quality separates winners from losers. Bad idea attempting to commoditize creative talent.
  • Brands now have to be “Liked.” So, you can’t realistically proceed sans brand voice and personality. People don’t connect with entities, they connect with humans. As in real life, there’s an intuitive art to striking a chord with people and making them want to associate with you.
  • Brands need entertainers and journalists. For the content you put out there to stand a chance, it must entertain or inform. Entertainers and storytellers are artists.
  • You’ll hear how effective it is to “surprise and delight” customers. Yes, tech can show what your audience tends to like, but creating something that truly catches them off guard and sweeps them off their feet is an art. (See? You didn’t realize you were performing art when you came up with that amazing surprise for your anniversary)


Social is but one part of the modern marketing ecosystem. But perhaps more than any other component, as a result of being in the trenches of day-to-day brand/customer relationship building and nurturing, social is where you’re likely to find the most even mix of art and science.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

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