Wednesday Oct 01, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Tuesday

Oracle Social Intelligence CenterFew things are more gratifying than being at Oracle OpenWorld and having a big announcement to make. So imagine how gratified we were today to make TWO big announcements about the Oracle Social Cloud.


First, additional features were added to Social Station, the customizable workspace within the Oracle Social Cloud platform. Joining Custom Analytics and the Enhanced Calendar will be the Social Intelligence Center with its real-time data visualizations around geography, topic/theme, influencers, volume, and sentiment. The new Content Curation module helps you quickly find content on topics or for a certain social channels and react within Social Station. The Quick Post module streamlines publishing by letting you create posts alongside other modules. Lastly, the Social Media Mixer aggregates social data from multiple channels into one real-time visualization.


Next, we were proud to announce to all these Oracle fans in SF the release of Social Commerce. Building on the existing integration between Oracle Social Cloud and Oracle Commerce, hyper-targeted content can be delivered to segmented Facebook audiences thanks to insights about digital shopping behavior, resulting in better experiences, better relationships, and more conversions.


For those not yet familiar with the Oracle Social Cloud, Oracle’s Meg Bear, Reggie Bradford and Rahim Fazal gave a “Sky High Overview” with some compelling facts along the way. Gartner says the percentage of customers whose purchase behavior will be dictated by social and digital interactions is 80%. In 2 years, Gartner says 90% of companies expect to be competing almost entirely on the basis of customer experience. With that going on, just look at how marketing’s influence has expanded across business functions.


Marketing across the Enterprise


Forrester says we make 500 billion impressions on each other about products and services every year, so your social management platform becomes a critical tool. Differentiators of the Oracle Social Cloud include: a unified platform with modern configurable UI/UX, deeper precision listening, global social resources, and integration with CX apps and beyond.


You also don’t need a social platform that’s not really into innovation. In addition to Social Station and Social Commerce, the Oracle Social Cloud recently executed on a paid media partnership, SRM mobile, LinkedIn support, advanced global listening, and Dynamic Link Tracking.


The roundtable focused on how rapidly organizations, and the roles in them, are changing. Reggie said they’re starved for time and having to do more with less, so a global platform with integrated components addresses that. Today’s CMO must be embedded in science, data, tech, analytics. It’s not just art like it used to be. As for CIO’s, the smart ones will figure out how to bring their expertise in a way that moves innovation forward, and will see security and protecting the company become a growing emphasis of the position. We encourage you to watch the full interview Reggie did with GM on how social is driving their customer experience that was featured in the session.


And of course, Larry Ellison took to the OpenWorld stage once again, this time to personally conduct a live demo of the upgraded 2014 Oracle Cloud platform. Frankly, he looked like he was having a ball, a sentiment the social chatter backed up. The root of Ellison’s presentation was that everything on top of the platform, and even that YOU build on the platform, automatically inherits the modernizing characteristics of the Oracle Cloud, including social and mobile.


Larry EllisonEllison showed how with a push of a button, data and applications can be moved from on-premise into the cloud (and back if desired). Oracle can access all of your data sources, structured and unstructured, because the Oracle Cloud was designed on hundreds of standards. And while Ellison pointed out Oracle has not historically been known for ease of use or low cost, the company is focused on just that…made possible with automation.


As you can tell, a lot goes on here. In trying to come up with a next-best-thing-to-being-there offering, we’re doing extensive coverage on our Twitter handle @oraclesocial, doing these daily summary blogs, and you can check out our Twitter Waterfall on our Facebook Page. We’ll keep the knowledge coming.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Tuesday Sep 30, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Monday

Oracle CEO Mark Hurd

Day 2 of Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and there were so many takeaways for social practitioners that there’s not even room for a long opening paragraph.


The day began with a Keynote and a “wheel of customers” hosted by CEO Mark Hurd. Mark pointed out 87% of orgs are using a public cloud, and it’s projected by 2020, 1/3 of all data will reside in clouds. Yet most enterprises are still working off 20-year old legacy applications with over 80% of IT being spent on maintenance. The message: you must modernize to survive.


Walgreens CIO Tim Theriault said seamless integration from Oracle should help them leverage technology, even as IT budgets go down (falling IT budgets was a common theme today). Jamie Miller of GE said Oracle will solve the hard problems in ways we can’t even imagine today. Procter & Gamble uses Oracle to service 4 billion customers per day! Steve Little of Xerox said they have 145,000 employees and about 10,000 contractors, with no single visibility into all that because they’re on 150 HR systems worldwide! Naturally they’re moving toward one global platform. Intel’s Kim Stevenson spoke much truth when she said every industry is in a disruptive state, and she doesn’t know a business leader that thinks IT moves too fast. She asked Mark to make sure Oracle keeps innovating and driving these business transformations.


Oracle OpenWorldOracle Social’s Phil Sykes moderated a session on social for retail. IDC’s Miya Knights said their research shows consumers with 5+ devices are more willing to share data with retailers, but brands must treat that data with respect. Customers are learning how valuable it is. She reminded us many use social for info on how to better use products they already have. Kristina Console of Method says they need social sites to function as commerce sites, which is why they have great interest in Twitter’s “buy now” button. They’re big on Pinterest, offering incentives there, using it to remind customers the company is green, and wrapping products in imagery that conveys feelings, thus yielding amazing engagement.


But…ROI and measurement is still the tough nut that needs cracking. Miya said social listening is an absolute prerequisite for ROI, while Kristina said even if you get huge engagement, proving what happens after it is the hard part. Oracle’s Gary Kirschner aimed for the endgame: every aspect of the customer experience being variable in real time based on customer data.


Our own Angela Wells joined Tom Cernaik of Command Post and Katie Gulas of BBVA Compass Bank to discuss social for financial services. Angela kicked things off by saying the customer journey is no funnel. It’s a figure-8 loop including brand interactions during both purchases and ownership. Katie said social touches several parts of her bank; HR, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Web, and Service. And don’t think banks can’t do social contests. BBVA did one that generated valuable one-on-one interactions with small business leads. She does suggest using a contest vendor, keeping it simple, and anticipating questions though. Tom’s advice was around those fun-filled regulations. For instance you can share 3rd party content via a disclosure banner or an interstitial disclosure. Social is subject to the same rules that apply to traditional media. You should establish documented policies and procedures, train reps on their responsibilities, and disclose & disclaim. And you should have governance based on clear signals from the C-Suite, which must be involved in social processes and policies.


Social Media Customer Journey

Then manufacturers got their social advice from the likes of Oracle’s Bill Hobbib, Marshall Powell, and Polaris Industries’ Holly Spaeth. Bill conveyed that if a loyal customer engages, they’d like some recognition for it. Giving them dynamically personalized content will lead to more conversions. Holly actually did tell a good social ROI story. Their existing social listening tool wasn’t cutting it, so what Oracle Social Cloud offered was a way to eliminate irrelevant signals. Sounds simple, but it saved them 20-30 hours a week at $70 an hour. Money in the bank.


And of course, Oracle OpenWorld attendees continue to fill the Social Intelligence Center, where they’ve been able to see for themselves how we’re applying social listening to OpenWorld itself. Much more tomorrow!


@mikestiles @oraclesocial


Tuesday Jul 08, 2014

Marketing Technology Have You Dazed & Confused?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the growing necessity for brands to have someone filling the role of Marketing Technologist.  Obviously, this wouldn’t be a growing necessity if marketing technology weren’t literally overwhelming management teams.


It’s not that these management teams are unaware, inexperienced, disconnected, aren’t digital natives, or didn’t finish high enough in their class at Harvard. The speed at which technological change is hitting us has everyone back on their heels…including the consumer. How many times have you heard someone say they aren’t on certain social network because they “just can’t handle them all”?


And yet, maybe even unfairly, the public increasingly expects their brands to flawlessly execute the predictive meeting of their needs, instant response and gratification in customer service, and 100% relevancy in the content they’re served…and on whatever channel they might be, 24/7/365 globally.


Yeesh. No wonder there’s the urge to employ new marketing technology as fast as it comes. But because it does come so fast, and because there are so many companies in the space, with disparate products & components of the digital marketing solution, many a corporate eye is glazed over with confusion and doubt. Confusion and doubt leads to not moving forward. Many brands have expensive tech they aren’t even using.


As my great grandfather Stiles never once told me, “Son, too many choices will make your head explode.” So as you’re trying to decide what marketing technology to embrace, consider these things:


  • Whatever tech you adopt, it’s probably going to call for change in strategy, processes, personnel, and budgeting. It’s not like getting a taco from a food truck.
  • You generally get what you pay for. There are plenty of cheap choices out there that will keep you in the minor leagues.
  • Things on the rapid rise like the volume of consumer data, mobile, Internet of Things, cloud, collaborative purchasing (social friend recommendations on steroids), etc. means you can’t sit and wait “until the dust settles.” You will choke on dust.
  • How much fun is a 1000-piece puzzle if none of the pieces fit together? Look to a vendor that has all the integrated pieces you can add on as you grow. It’s the only path to seamless cross-channel customer experiences.
  • Shy away from buying the product without the service. Maximize what you get.
  • Establish an innovation lab for testing or piloting potential new tech products like the one Mayur Gupta has at Kimberly-Clark. It lets you date before you get married.


The proverbial journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step. Get in touch with your biggest pain point. What’s currently causing the biggest disconnect between your brand and your customers? Since marketing is becoming dominantly about user experience, that’s as good a place to start as any. Then resist chasing squirrels. Examine potential marketing technology vendors not just for what they offer today, but whether or not they have the big picture integrated parts of the whole you’ll need as you build.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

Friday Jun 27, 2014

What’s Holding You Up: No Chief Marketing Technologist

The marketing world has had to absorb several truths over the past 5 years.  Technology is changing, fast, for both consumers and businesses. Marketing now finds itself leading the entire customer experience, at every touch point. And technology is creating capabilities and driving KPI accountability in this enormously expanded endeavor. Keeping up has been a crushing challenge. Good luck doing it without a Chief Marketing Technologist.


What is a Chief Marketing Technologist? And how does that fit in with the frequent calls we’ve heard for greater CMO/CIO collaboration? The CMT might be the best way for the CMO to get that collaboration done. The best could address every complaint Marketing has about IT (not responsive, not willing to innovate, not agile enough, etc.) and every complaint IT has about Marketing (don’t understand the importance of compliance, don’t understand security needs, don’t even speak the language, etc.)


Gartner discovered 67% of marketing departments plan to up spending on tech activities over the next 2 years. 61% are increasing capital expenditures on tech, and 65% are raising budgets for tech service providers like the Oracle Social Cloud. That’s good news, and it makes sense, but managing all that is a real bear.


Many a business has lost much valuable time trying to change internal roles and areas of expertise by sheer force of will, ignoring the deep differences between marketer-types and technology-types. You don’t have the luxury of time to burn anymore. A person with the existing newly-highly-marketable hybrid skillsets of tech and marketing can put you in the fast lane.


And by the way, you can call them whatever you want to; Chief Marketing Technologist, Chief Digital Officer, Captain Big Data, Big Tech Cheese…as long as they take command of the most needed tasks in marketing today.


  • Making sure marketing tech addresses business goals
  • Be an effective go-between/translator between Marketing and IT
  • Evaluating and choosing tech and 3rd party providers
  • Brainstorm or curate new digital methods/opportunities
  • Encourage experimentation and innovation
  • Make sure requests of IT are reasonable
  • Make sure IT policies are adhered to
  • Help in explaining activities to others in the C-suite
  • Ensure Marketing staff has proper training in the tools


If you don’t have a Chief Marketing Technologist, or someone competently filling that role, that’s an awful lot for a CMO or CIO to take on in addition to their other required talents and responsibilities. The likely outcome is that things will not move forward with the speed and vigor required to keep up with the changes tech and changing behaviors/expectations demand.


But get it right, commit to that area of expertise, and you’ll put real distance between you and your competition. Gartner found orgs with a CMT-type person will spend 11.7% of their revenue on marketing, compared to 7.1% for those that don’t. They’ll spend 30% of their marketing budget on digital, compared to 21% for those that don’t. They’ll spend 9.8% of their marketing budget on innovation, compared to 5% for those that don’t.


In other words, investments get made when there’s something in place that warrants putting gas in the tank. Leave the confusion in place, and what CEO can summon the confidence to facilitate modern marketing? As the Tech Guys Who Get Marketing say, a Chief Marketing Technologist is “critical to keeping the left brain and right brain from blaming each other about why the body keeps tripping instead of sprinting through the 100m at record pace.”

@mikestiles @oraclesocial
Photo: freeimages.com

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
Photo: freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Jan 10, 2014

5 Secrets to Marketing and IT Collaboration Success

Today’s post is from Jack Newton, Dir. of Outbound Product Management & Strategy for Oracle Social Cloud. He shares results from the new Oracle, Leader Networks and Social Media Today study on Marketing/IT collaboration inside the enterprise.


Collaboration white paper coverIf you’re hoping that congress comes together in 2014, it’s probably a lost cause.


But it can be a different story with Marketing and IT leaders in modern organizations.


In Oracle’s Socially Driven Collaboration study, 26% of Marketing and 36% of IT leaders report that they collaborate frequently – with Marketing leading the charge. While that’s great, it’s disappointing that 20% of Marketing and a whopping 38% of IT leaders collaborate rarely or never.


For those who don’t collaborate, they’re holding themselves and their organization back.


In fact, 74% Marketing and 71% of IT leaders collaborating more report that they are more effective as professionals. With the business benefits that can come from collaboration, the C-Suite has a vested interest in creating a strong culture of collaboration, too. Some of the benefits include:

  • Stronger/more compelling marketing messages (54% Marketing; 51% IT)
  • Faster speed to market with products and services (47% Marketing; 43% IT)
  • Greater adoption of the products or services offered (40% Marketing; 42% IT)
  • Reduction in project costs (23% Marketing, 36% IT)
  • Fewer defects in products or services offered (26% Marketing, 27% IT)


How can you bridge the collaboration gap?


1. Get C-Suite Buy-in for Shared Goals

When it comes to the quality of collaboration between groups, 57% of Marketing and half of IT respondents classify their level of collaboration as being only “adequate.”


Turn the tide by tapping into the widespread belief among executives about the potential for social to transform business. An MIT Sloan Management Review executive study shows that 70% of senior leaders indicate that social business presents an opportunity to fundamentally change the way their organization works.

2. Understand the Perspective of Your Peers

For those who do see the benefit of collaboration, it can be frustrating to get the cold shoulder from the other team. More Marketers (17%) report that while they see the benefit, their peers in IT are not receptive.


Why is this a problem? A Lightspeed Research study shows that 25% of customers who complain on Twitter or Facebook expect a response within an hour. If the organization isn’t set up for social customer service, bring IT’s experience with organization-wide technology rollouts and Marketing’s experience with social together to fix it.


3. Be the Role Model

Over the past 12 months, 41% of Marketing and 38% of IT leaders say they have engaged in more collaboration. This means there’s a lot of room for improvement, since the majority of Marketing (56%) and IT respondents (60%) report no change.


Don’t be the anchor that’s weighing the company down. Kick things into gear by picking one point of customer pain or a business priority that has both IT and Marketing implications, then reach out. Be persistent.


4. Find Meaningful Metrics

Pick two or three initiatives that are near-term so you can show impact sooner rather than later. Use the list above for some ideas.


5. Carefully Choose Tools and Technology

Your new bargain basement bike may be able to get you to work now, but it’s not going to be very helpful when your job moves across town… in the wintertime… in the middle of a polar vortex.


One-off social tools are similar. The cost incurred when adopting short-term solutions and then switching to integrated tools can potentially be more than the money saved.


According to one IDC analyst, “aggregating into a new user experience (UX) or augmenting an existing one requires social tools to be integrated with other enterprise systems and needs to be embedded inside the work processes to get the most value.”


Want to learn more?


Download the study to see more findings and read interviews with social media leaders from Whole Foods Market, Chubb and Shell. They share tips and lessons learned that could be applied to almost any business on the journey to becoming more collaborative.


Tuesday Dec 03, 2013

6 Reasons Marketing and IT Might Be “Frenemies”

The two areas being most dramatically affected in the modern transformation of the corporation is marketing and IT. What’s more, the changes involve a forced coming together of two of the most unlikely of compatriots. It can be awkward.


A “frenemy” is someone you’re technically friends with, but the friendly part exists mostly on the surface. Neither is exactly cheering on the other. Here are some reasons marketing and IT are set up for such a relationship.


1. There’s someone or something making them play nice.

Frenemies usually don’t come together by choice. They’re pushed into it by circumstances or some authority figure. In this case, business changes imposed by socially empowered consumers have CEO’s fully expecting their marketing and IT teams to unite and meet these new challenges…like it or not.


2. They’re usually very different people.

Think about company holiday parties of the past. Did the marketing people hang out with the IT people? Didn’t think so. There’s often a different vibe, a different language, and business goals are viewed from a different angle. No longer can each refer to the others as “those guys over in marketing or IT.”


3. There’s resentment over who has the most.

Who has the biggest budget and the most control? The Gartner prediction of January 2012 is oft repeated; the average CMO will have a larger IT budget by 2017 than the average CIO. IT is being eyed for cost containment, not investment. IDC says about 2/3 of tech spending for marketing and rising already comes from marketing. Add to dropping IT budgetary needs the fact that tech strategy is increasingly being led by the CMO, and it can be a tough pill to swallow.


4. Fear of being the odd person out.

Larry Weber of the W2 group points out CIO’s are realizing they may soon basically be working for the CMO as the tech arm of marketing. An Economist survey of C-suite execs found 57% expect their IT function to change significantly over the next 3 years, 43% said their company will increasingly use IT as a commodity service, and already 1 in 6 CIO’s have no real role in setting IT strategy. The choices are to fight (hoping the CEO won’t side with the department driving lead gen), or follow Dell CIO Andi Karaboutis’ lead and make your primary concern “how do I enable this enterprise so they have what they need?”


5. Lack of trust.

CIO’s think marketing promises things without consulting them and without good business reasons. 36% of CMO’s say IT doesn’t deliver fast enough. An Accenture survey came right out and showed the CMO and CIO don’t trust each other. CMO’s are thinking of IT as a provider, not a partner. So convinced are they that IT works against their interests, they go around them. 45% of marketing execs prefer letting marketing employees handle data with no involvement from IT. IT thinks marketers don’t “get” data integration, standards, privacy or security.


6. Everybody around the bad relationship stands to get hurt.

There’s a reason collaboration between marketing and IT is imperative. When it’s not happening or when it’s being done poorly, the customer experience (and thus business) suffers. Nobody wins…except maybe the competition if they’re more unified.


How can marketing and IT move beyond “frenemies” and into a healthy, productive relationship? The good news is younger workers in both aren’t as keenly aware of the divide. New marketers are not opposed to embracing tech. New IT types embrace facilitating lead gen and want to be agile, internal innovators in the process.


Rapid7’s CIO Jay Leader points out, “In the old days, you couldn’t get anything out of a computer unless you came through me or my organization. Those weren’t the good ol’ days.” If marketing and IT can agree on primary business goals, on what’s needed to reach them, and the parameters to do so securely, the foundation exists for real collaboration.


Part 2 of Oracle’s study with Social Media Today and Leader Networks focuses on collaboration between marketing and IT departments, and how enterprise organizations are faring in that respect. We invite you to sign up to be alerted to the paper’s release.


@mikestiles
Photo: Martin K, stock.xchng

Friday Nov 15, 2013

Big Data Crucial to Seeing the Social Marketing ROI Light

LighthouseEveryone calls for the definitive ROI of social marketing, and while we can debate if such a beast exists, we should all agree Big Data is the path to it. In fact, if anyone can show me the ROI of marketing in the dark in 2013, please do.


Remember when people with clipboards in malls tried to take you away to a small room and ask you questions for an hour in exchange for a modest gift certificate? That’s the kind of ambush it used to take to find out what customers liked.


Look at us now. Millions all over the globe are on multiple social platforms voluntarily giving us vast amounts of information about their preferences and behaviors every second. With CRM, we also know what they bought, when they bought it, at what price, and whether they contacted customer service with a problem. They’re giving brands tons of info we claimed we wanted. In return, we act like we have no idea who they are.


To be fair, it’s a lot more info than most brands were ready for. 90% of the world’s data was generated in the last 2 years alone. 80% of that data is unstructured, meaning legacy systems were never intended to deal with it. But that unstructured data is what gives us the kind of customer insight that makes the relevant, personalized, one-on-one customer experiences increasingly essential for modern business possible. So we should probably get serious about it.


Being unable to spot trends, not knowing what your target audience is into, not being able to predict future likely behaviors or product needs, not knowing which customers can influence others in your favor, not knowing which conversations you should join, not knowing the history of a customer who reaches out to you for help, all of that leaves you in the dark.


You know what happens in the dark? You can’t see anything and you miss a lot.


If you’re not ready for big data now, the future won’t be getting any easier for you. Computer Services Corp. says the volume of data produced is expected to be 44 times greater in 2020 than it was in 2009, 75% of it being created by individuals. Even if all you care about is SEO, the major search engines are placing a renewed emphasis on the unstructured data represented by social.


So how can there possibly be no ROI in knowing your customers, listening to them, responding to them, making them undyingly loyal, retaining their business, and having them market you to their peers? Big Data is what can get you there. And that’s only going to happen if the CMO and CIO collaborate on data integration connecting social data to enterprise and marketing data.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Oct 29, 2013

Are You Afraid of Each Other? Study Shows CMO’s/CIO’s Missing Benefits of Collaboration

Scared guyRemember that person in school you spent months being too scared to talk to?  Then when you finally did, it led to a wonderful friendship…if not something more. New research from Oracle, Social Media Today and Leader Networks shows marketing and IT need to get over whatever’s holding them back and start reaping the benefits of collaboration.

See the details on the Oracle study

Back in the old days of just a few years ago, marketing could stay on their side of the building, IT could stay on their side of the building, and both could refer to the other as “those guys.” Today, the structure of organizations is shifting from islands to “us,” one integrated body where each part knows what the other parts are doing, and all parts work together in accomplishing job one…a
winning customer experience.


Ignore that, and you start losing. Give your reluctance to change priority over the benefits of new collaborations, and you start losing. You’re either working together and accelerating forward or getting in the way of each other’s separate agendas and grinding down…much to your competitors’ delight.


The study reveals a basic current truth: those who are collaborating in marketing and IT report being more effective, however less than 1/3 report collaborating even “frequently.” In other words, this is obviously a good thing, so we’d better not do it. Smart.


The white paper, “Socially Driven Collaboration,” set out to explore how today’s always-changing digital, social and mobile landscape is forcing change across the enterprise, whether it’s welcomed or not. Part of what it found is marketing and IT leaders are not unaware of what’s going on and see their roles evolving. And both know the ability to collaborate more effectively now exists. And of those who are collaborating, over 2/3 say they’re “more effective” professionally because of it.

Collab slide


Yet even if you don’t want to take the Oracle study’s word for it, an August 2013 Accenture study of 400 senior marketing and 250 IT executives revealed only 10% think CMO/CIO collaboration is at the right level. There’s a lot of room for improvement here, and not just around people. Collaboration is also being called for across processes and technologies.


Business benefits of such collaboration cited in the Oracle study include stronger marketing messages, faster speed-to-market, greater product adoption, faster discovery of product and service shortcomings, and reduction in project costs. Those are the benefits you will cheat yourself out of by keeping “those guys” at arm’s length and continuing to try to function in traditional roles while modern business and the consumer is changing around you.

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” –Stephen Hawking


@mikestiles
Photo: istockphoto

Tuesday Aug 06, 2013

Integrated Social and Enterprise Data = Enhanced Analytics. Why a Savvy CMO + Experienced CIO are Necessary to Succeed

This is the fourth in a series of posts on the value of leveraging social data across your enterprise, with Oracle Social VP Product Development Don Springer and Oracle Social Analytics Product Manager Kaylin Linke.

handful of screensIn today’s post, we are going to explore the recent trend, really a necessity, on the collaboration between the CMO and CIO to integrate social and enterprise data into a data “pool” so all departments in the organization can leverage it according to their specific needs. Why is this happening?

  • The CMO has become the primary owner for social (earned, owned and paid media) within the enterprise and is leading the effort to create more compelling customer experiences by listening, learning and engaging with customers meaningfully. The CMO buys the social CRM tools, selects the data and hires the staff to drive social relationship management within the enterprise. Usually, marketing are the social experts within the company.
  • The CIO has always been the owner and provider of the enterprise’s traditional data (including customer records such as transactional, operational, and behavioral). In addition, the CIO typically leads the technical architecture decisions to acquire, store, process and make available new forms of consumer generated information to the enterprise.
  • The rest of the enterprise needs access to unified and enriched data, made more valuable by blending social and enterprise data together intelligently. The enterprise’s departments are looking to the CMO to drive business requirements and social “know-how” and the CIO to manage data & technical architecture and integration interfaces. As a team, they’re being called on to lead the charge on socially enabling their organization.

As discussed in previous posts, the value proposition for big data analytics is already recognized. The hard part can be getting started.

So, you want to integrate Social + Enterprise Data…

Let’s first review the basic steps of the data integration process:

Step 1: Identify the data.  
This will be a mix of:

  • Traditional sources (customer profile data and transactional data including orders, service requests, digital campaign response history, surveys, etc.)
  • Social data (unified social profiles, tweets, posts, pictures, videos, etc.).

In this step, the CMO will be working alongside the CIO to identify what data is currently available and in what format. Any discovered gaps in data will need to be further researched to identify potential sources or solutions.

Step 2: Plug that data into a data exchange mechanism.  
For new sources of public data (e.g. digital, curated, social, etc.), many are looking to migrate and outsource this to a cloud-based data-as-a-service provider or DaaS. For proprietary data, this can be stored in a private cloud environment or on-premise. In either approach, the office of the CIO will look for a solution allowing access to all data through a unified architectural approach, so new data-pools can leverage already implemented enterprise data pools (e.g. MDM records).

Step 3: Enrich the data.  
As explained in a previous post on DaaS, the enterprise will want to enrich the combination of traditional data and social data to gain insights based on a more complete view of the customer. The CIO leads the delivery of these services to meet the requirements of the CMO.

Step 4: Analytics & next generation data pull. 
By creating a shared data pool and sharing best practices, the CMO & CIO can help all functions across the enterprise conduct new insight detections and ongoing actionability through a variety of CX and CRM solutions.

Use Case – Improve Campaigns with Analytics that Leverage Social + Enterprise Data…

Let’s explore one of the most popular use cases for the office of the CMO, a campaign. Assuming the shared data pool is now in place (social + enterprise data), the following analytics-based approach toward optimizing the campaign across digital, social and traditional media channels is improved:

don blog graphic

Pre-Campaign
There are two important areas to analyze for data insights, prior to preparing the campaign:

  • Current Content Performance: what type of content are consumers engaging with the most across your digital & social assets? What times/days of the week are optimal for communication, and is it different between social, digital and traditional media? What is the demographic breakdown of your customer base, fan base?
  • Current Consumer Conversation: what are consumers saying about your brand/products? Is there language that you can echo back, are there current conversations happening that you should be aware of (e.g. a problem with a product, or specific questions, or a gap that my latest campaign could help address), are your competitors doing something similar, what are their current taglines, how are consumers reacting to their products & language vs. your own?

Launch
Leverage the pre-campaign analysis to inform the campaign’s overall strategy & success metrics. Then, do the campaign creative, corresponding content, schedule, and launch.

During Campaign
Perform real-time monitoring to identify opportunities for campaign shifts to improve the outcome while you still can (adjust messaging, profile targeting media mix and media sequencing). Monitoring includes:

  • Quantitative – Track what is working across owned and paid media (reach, impressions, engagement metrics, responses, growth in fans, etc.)
  • Qualitative – Track why the campaign is working by listening to/polling targeted consumers for their themes of interest, desired response propensity, likes/dislikes, why resonating/irritating by targeted profiles, etc.

Post-Campaign
The post-campaign analysis then becomes the learning basis for your next pre-campaign work, along with re-starting your consumer analysis anew because social is ever-changing along with consumer perspectives. So stay fresh.

In addition, the insights learned may also feed into other opportunities – such as identifying key advocates, new, previously unknown opportunities, or new messaging platforms to extend or launch a campaign. By listening to “earned” conversations outside of your normal “owned” channels, you will find new influencers, brand advocates and loyal customers. These relationships can be an advantage for early testing during the soft release of a new product or promotion.

Also, insights viewed alongside the sales results of your campaign can provide you with analytics that provide a more complete picture of success. Over-time, these analytics become your knowledge base to deploy best practices and institute a data-driven approach to get on a path of optimization and continuous improvement.

It will be fascinating to watch how more executives join forces with the CMO and CIO to socially enable their various business functions and leverage the combination of social and traditional data to provide better customer experiences. We are already seeing this from some of our customers that are including Sales, E-Commerce and Support executives into their social corporate guidance teams. In the future, we will continue to shares trends where we see interesting use cases that leverage enterprise data alongside social data.

Photo: SOMMAI, freedigitalphotos.net

Friday Jun 07, 2013

The Dynamic Duo of the Enterprise

heroNo, I’m not talking about Kirk and Spock.  The Dynamic Duo of the enterprise is the CMO and CIO. No positions are evolving more or faster, brought on by the perfect storm of social, mobile, and data. To triumph, the CMO and CIO must partner as never before.

In the AdAge webcast, “Capitalizing on Marketing & Technology: Social’s Powerful Impact on People, Processes & Technology,” Oracle VP Product Strategy Erika Brookes and Forrester VP & Practice Leader David Cooperstein discussed how changes to these two positions are altering the entire organization’s structure and operations.

Social changed communication. It’s how people now interact, get informed, express themselves, and connect to brands. Facebook has a billion users, Twitter over 200 million, Pinterest over 50 million and Instagram over 100 million. Since 2010, social site visitors went from 58 to 70%. 45% Liked, followed or became a fan of a brand, with the average Facebook user Liking 9 of them.

The 2nd revolution, the shift to mobile, is happening quickly and right now. By the end of the year, there’ll be more mobile devices than people. Mobile is at 55% penetration in the US. More time is spent on smartphones than is spent online. And 55% of social consumption happens on mobile.

So, technology is how marketing is executed. And marketing/CX are technology’s key raisons d’etre. That’s why the enterprise needs heroes, the Dynamic Duo of the CIO and CMO working in tandem, each bringing their unique strengths. Our Dynamic Duo has to go up against:

POW! The Data

80% of data is unstructured and is literally growing by the second. Emails, blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, pictures, videos, online purchases, customer inquiries…all trying to teach us what our customer wants, if we’d just listen. In 2012, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created daily. That’s a 1 with 18 zeros after it.

Time to flash the “C-signal” into the night sky, calling on our Dynamic Duo to determine what data is relevant and actionable, institute systems to gather and process that data, and integrate that data holistically across the enterprise to every customer touch point. They should be fighting for a better “customer-centric” tomorrow, where data leads to exceptional products and flawless customer experiences.

BAM! Internal Disruption

Marketing and technology are converging, a trend that will become the new “normal” in just a few years. In October 2012, Oracle & the Economist released the survey “Cultivating Business-led Innovation,” which found companies with cross-collaboration, taking advantage of disruptive technologies, are the most successful.

Who should instigate these organizational changes? In a perfect world, CEO’s recognize the disruption and see the opportunities therein. Some companies have named Chief Digital Officers. It might stick, or it might be a transitional role given how fundamental “digital” is to business (like having a Chief Copy Machine Officer). Others suggest the formation of a Marketing Technology Office (MTO).

Aside from technology, there are cultural changes wherein roles and habits long and comfortably held get upended. The CIO must understand the speed of marketing is different than the speed of tech maintenance. The CMO must understand tech, period. It can no longer be “those guys in the other department.”

BOP! Social ROI

Ever get the feeling social is held to a higher ROI accountability than many other marketing channels? That’s because it often is. Some use it as an excuse not to deal with the very real changes we’re seeing. At Oracle, we socially enable enterprises such that social is not just a marketing channel, it’s integrated throughout the organization both externally (customers) and internally (employee collaboration).

On the marketing side, perhaps it’s more realistic (and fair) to measure social ROI on whether users were moved to the next step, not necessarily straight to the cash register. Remember that bit about data leading to exceptional products and flawless customer experiences? That’s the kind of thing that should kick the ROI question to the curb.

So cheer on our Dynamic Duo, for they are agents of some of the biggest, fastest changes in business the world has ever seen.

@mikestiles
Photo: Julien Tromeur, stock.xchng

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

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 Feb 08, 2013

The Social Enterprise: Who's Going to Run This Thing?

Army HatFrom the primordial soup of Marketing where it nested, evolved and sprang forth, social for business has now found its legs and is expanding into new terrains such as Human Resources, Sales, Procurement, and Customer Service. So with social growing more expansive, the question arises, who in the socially enabled enterprise is going to run “social”?

A panel of experts addressed that very thing in a recent Social Media Today webinar. The impressive number of attendees illustrated how such internal relationships are on a lot of minds these days.

But while we obsess over internal structures and processes, one little fact often gets overlooked. The customer couldn’t care less. They’re defining how they want to engage, and they have no regard for your various departments. To them, the brand is the brand, and they want results when they reach out. Our job is to adapt.

Oracle VP of Product Strategy Erika Brookes says we can’t look at social as a marketing-only problem. It’s permeating every aspect of the CX, something that has to be acknowledged across the top. Leadership first has to be exposed to the problem, otherwise a shift in strategy or structure is a hard sell.

Frank Eliason, Director of Global Social Media at Citi, agrees we’re entering a more holistic, customer-first era the C-suite must recognize. Different departments have different cultures, so a great deal depends on a leader at the top instilling the customer-first culture. We have to get better at upward management so execs know the reality of the brand’s customer experience.

Customers First Culture Principal Carol Borghesi says the executive suite can’t be exempt from CX accountability. She points out that a) it’s hard to get them to admit they don’t know something, and b) they’re focused on details unrelated to customers, almost shielded from the customer’s voice. “They have to stick their noses in the dog dish.”

Brookes says marketers were the ones thinking through driving the value proposition across all channels, and we still see most budgets coming from the marketing side. But we’re also starting to see conversations between the CMO and CIO. The CMO is spending more on tech, taking advantage of disruptive consumer tech. Today we’re seeing marketing and IT working together in that effort.

Borghesi reminds us social didn’t invent customer feedback, it just cranked up the volume. Budgets must shift so the buyer’s experience matches what’s presented by marketing. You’ll get caught if it doesn’t. The dangerous gaps are in the relationships between silos. Every function in the company should understand the relationship between what they do and how it relates to customers.

Eliason says companies love to say they listen, but they don’t. We’re in a relationship-driven economy, and that should start well above Customer Service where it resides today.

Brookes suggests marketers and CX people look for base hits that tell the story about how experience affects brand loyalty. CMO tenures are getting longer thanks to platforms that show some measure of ROI. But to maximize data across the organization, marketers need IT and other enterprise functions.

The “who’s in charge” question will likely vary from company to company, but Brookes says social must connect with overall business strategy, which requires leadership across process, tech and content using external and internal collaboration.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Jan 29, 2013

Scandal? CMO/CIO Relationship Revealed

No pictures!Ever get caught with someone you’re not supposed to be with?  Of course not, we didn’t think so. But increasingly, enterprise CMOs and CIOs are spotted together far more often than they used to be. And we should be happy for them, because they potentially have a beautiful future together.

Reggie Bradford, SVP Product Development for Oracle Cloud-Social is spilling the details today at the Evanta Southern California Mid-Market CIO Executive Summit in Los Angeles.

Bradford says technologies like social, mobile and cloud are upending business and organizational models, like it or not. The consumer is changing into an informed, connected, empowered driver of that change, and they’re using social to do it. They’re in charge, and now it’s the job of the enterprise to figure out how to best adapt.

The customer can interact across many touch points, globally and in real-time. And they love being able to do that, so expect it to grow, especially with mobile continuing to boom. By 2014, eMarketer estimates nearly half the total US mobile population will be mobile social networkers, and comScore indicates 24% of eCommerce will be transacted via mobile by 2017.

Customer expectations of you are higher. They know you’ve got immense amounts of data on them, and they seem to be fine with that as long as you’re using that data to give them a desirable customer experience. But while Fortune 100 companies are mentioned 10,400,123 times per month on social, 70% of marketers still have little understanding of the social conversations going on about their brand.

How do we get that understanding and use it to our and our customers’ advantage? We cheer on that budding CMO/CIO relationship.

Just as social plays a vital role in consumer’s everyday lives, so it should across the enterprise. It should be holistically integrated so insights, actions and interactions can be shared and acted upon across departments such as marketing, service, sales, and commerce.

That, of course, required unprecedented collaboration of people, processes and technology. The CMO needs the CIO more than ever to understand the science behind the art. The CIO needs the CMO more than ever to execute customer-focused tech. Relationship-wise, sparks are flying.

Oracle not only understands the changes enterprise organizations are facing, they’re uniquely positioned with the scalable technology tools that work in concert to field the cloud-based socially enabled enterprise. Social marketing, social selling, social commerce, social service, social HR, social recruiting, and social collaboration fully realized with Oracle’s global enterprise applications.

If that makes us CMO and CIO matchmakers, we’re okay with that.

@mikestiles
Photo: istockphoto

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