Friday Oct 03, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Thursday

Oracle OpenWorldAll good things must come to an end, although innovations in the Oracle Cloud and Oracle Social Cloud never end and are always an ongoing process. After all, we want to have great stories to tell and great announcements to make at Oracle OpenWorld 2015. Believe it or not, after a great night at Treasure Island with Aerosmith and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, attendees still made it in for one final day of discussions.

In the wrap-up of CX Central (which by itself had over 2000 participants and over 300 sessions) Meg Bear and GM’s Rebecca Harris were talking about the importance of Latent Semantic Analysis in social listening. For instance, Rebecca pointed out that “good morning” is often shortened to ‘GM’ on Twitter…a problem for their monitoring, as is the fact that “Chevrolet” is in the lyrics of almost 2000 songs.

Meg said we’re well past discussions of whether social is a fad and are now hearing more stories about product innovations coming through and from brand social channels. Orgs can turn that into strategic value. Rebecca said every department touches social in some way, with each department believing they’re doing what’s right. But there must be an integrated strategy through the customer lens, which involves stakeholder meetings that aren’t always pleasant.

Oracle’s Rahim Fazal and Mike Ballard led a great session on how governments and utilities can effectively use social before and during disasters/ emergencies. From its very beginnings in Rome, government was intended to be local, instant, personal and social. So governments must consider all channels to serve all constituents of all ages in all socio-economic groups, wherever they are. At its peak, Instagram users uploaded Sandy-related pictures at a rate of 10/second. Facebook mentions of Sandy and Frankenstorm were up 1 million percent!

During a crisis, don’t try to control the conversation. Let people vent. Your job is to provide actionable info. Mike said 624 million customers worldwide are expected to engage with utilities by the end of 2017. You won’t have much trust if you create a social presence when a major issue happens. It has to already be there and ready. Even if a utility is doing a great job in a disaster, nobody will know without steady communication. Mike suggests developing a social engagement and resource strategy, then stress test it to make sure it’ll work during the real deal.

Altimeter Group’s Andrew Jones had a nice chat with us about the importance of social identities. Limited insight will only lead to messages and ads that lack context and make no sense. 57% of consumers are fine with providing personal info if they benefit and it’s used responsibly. 77% would trust business more if they explained how they’re using personal info to improve their online experience.

The benefits of compiling social identities include richer customer profiles, cross-channel engagements, efficiencies of marketing budgets, and social media ROI. It also lets you leverage influencers, identify prospects, reach custom audiences, find lookalike audiences, nurture leads, personalize products, gain real time insight, retain and reactivate, reward loyalty, and tap advocates. Gee, is that all?

Oracle OpenWorld WizardThen it was on to Rahim’s super-casual chat about social data with BlueKai’s Molly Parr and Marriott Rewards’ Michelle Lapierre. Disparate data creates marketing complexity and lost revenue. If they can’t pull together all their data, marketers fail to target the right customers. Yet 82% of enterprise marketers have NO synchronized view of customer data. 58% say social data is important but 52% collect little to none of it.

Molly says data is fine, but the ability to activate on data is finer. Most data is tied to specific execution, but today it must be “unchained,” with focus shifting from campaigns to customers. Can multiple small vendors deliver that kind of unchained, actionable data across the enterprise? Michelle said that’s a tough way to go. It’s putting functionalities under one umbrella that makes more sense.

Thanks to all who attended our social and CX Central sessions at this year’s Oracle OpenWorld and for those who have virtually attended through this blog and @oraclesocial. But don’t leave now. Keep your eyes on these space as we continue to build the power of social listening and data into the newly upgraded Oracle Cloud.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Friday Sep 26, 2014

Why Oracle OpenWorld is for CMO’s and Marketers

social media marketing at OpenWorldThis year, as we head into Oracle’s biggest event of the year, Oracle OpenWorld 2014, social is a more prominent theme and topic of discussion then ever before. It’s been awhile now since the dawn of the consumer empowering social media revolution. The focus now is on developing and applying the power of technology to meet the new customer expectations in order to win and keep their business.

When social first entered the corporate picture, it was regarded largely as a novelty. Arms were folded across the C-Suite as businesses went into wait-and-see mode. Rebels and pioneers launched a brand presence on social. Interns and believers went about posting and building communities. It grew apparent that consumers actually wanted to be connected to brands as well as their friends and family.

But what did this mean? Was this a new way to get the brand’s ads in front of customers and prospects? The great “misunderstanding of social” movement began. Over time, we learned how consumers used social, why they used social, and what they wanted from the brands they voluntarily connected with on social. It wasn’t to be the recipient of a marketing megaphone. It was to build one-on-one relationships with brands that would lead to higher satisfaction. They wanted to feel special and valuable to their brands.

The tools (on top of the social networks themselves) and processes to actually facilitate such attentive, satisfying, one-on-one relationships have become the concern of a now fully invested C-suite; CMO’s with broader responsibilities, new creatures like Chief Digital Officers, Chief Experience Officers, and Chief Content Officers. Social has steered the dialogue to customer experiences and customer-centricity, which is what you’ll hear a great deal about at this year’s OpenWorld.

Frankly, from a tech perspective, not just anybody can pull this off. When you think of the integrated systems and platforms needed to:

  • Know the customer
  • Know their purchase & service history
  • Listen to what they’re experiencing in real time
  • Anticipate their needs
  • Reply to and resolve their problems in short order
  • Offer up relevant/usable content in exactly the right place at exactly the right time
  • Communicate on the right channel and the right device
  • Leverage satisfaction for customer advocacy & added marketing amplification

…you realize small players offering point solutions is a non-starter. That’s why CMO’s and marketers are finding Oracle OpenWorld more relevant to them than ever as they join their CIO and IT partners in attending. If customer experience and customer-centricity are indeed the name of the game today, such things as social marketing platforms, CRM, data, and the cloud must now be in the marketer’s curriculum.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

Friday Sep 19, 2014

The Social Spotlight Will Shine on #OOW14

Oracle OpenWorld

Want to see an example of “busy” and “everywhere”? Then keep an eye on the Oracle Social Cloud team as they head into this year’s Oracle OpenWorld. Famous for their motto of “surely we can tackle even more,” Oracle’s top socializers will be all over Moscone, from the Social Intelligence Center in CX Central to 16+ social track sessions to live demos to comprehensive social coverage. Oracle Social Cloud will be trumpeting the social business imperative with live, interactive displays and inspiring speakers from Oracle, General Motors, Chevrolet, FleishmanHillard, Nestle, Polaris, CMP.LY and more.

If you’re bringing yourself live and in person to to OpenWorld, catch as many of these highlights as you can. But you can also “attend” from a distance if you’re a loyal follower of @oraclesocial, because we’ll be bringing you the key highlights and takeaways:

  • Social Intelligence Center: Swing by the Oracle SRM “Social Intelligence Center” in CX Central in Moscone West. We don’t know if it will literally make you smarter, but it is a real world demonstration of how the Oracle Social Cloud’s Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform serves up big data visualizations. Specifically, we’ll be watching the web and social chatter around #OOW14 using advanced analytics and deeper listening. You can see the new graphical representations of social data and global activity, get some great ideas for establishing a Social Intelligence Center at your brand, or see firsthand how the Oracle SRM platform is a mean modernizing, social management streamlining machine. And don’t forget to tweet about what you see.

  • “A Sky-High Overview: Oracle Social Cloud” with Meg Bear, Group Vice President of Oracle Social. Tuesday, Sept. 30 @ 10 and 11:45am.

  • “Show Me the Money: Building the Business Case for Social” with Holly Spaeth of Polaris; Michelle Lapierre of Marriott; Meghan Blauvelt, Nestle; and Angela Wells of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 11:45am.

  • “Social Relationship Management: Lessons Learned from the Olympics, Super Bowl, Grammys and More” with Jamie Barbour of Chevrolet; Melissa Schreiber of FleishmanHillard; and Erika Brookes of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 1pm.

  • “Whose Customer is this Anyway? Rise of the CCO, the CDO and the “New” CMO” with Jeb Dasteel, Oracle’s Chief Customer Officer (CCO); other C-Suite executives; and Erika Brookes of Oracle Social. Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 3:45pm.

  • “Leveraging Social Identity to Build Better Customer Relations” with Andrew Jones of the Altimeter Group. Thursday, Oct. 2 @ 11:30am.

  • “When Social Data = Opportunity: Leveraging Social Data to Target Custom Audiences” with Michelle Lapierre of Marriott; Rahim Fazal of Oracle Social, and Molly Parr of BlueKai. Thursday, Oct. 2 @ 12:45pm.

  • “B2B Social Success: Leveraging Social Relationship Management for Leads” with Bill Hobbib of Oracle, Holly Spaeth of Polaris, and Katie Gulus of BBVA. Thursday, Oct 2 @ 2:00pm.

Want the most thorough coverage of Oracle Social’s OpenWorld activities imaginable? Then by all means go ahead and make sure you’ve friended and followed us on all our channels, including Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn. And subscribe to our daily Social Spotlight podcast!

If you’re there, we want YOU to contribute to our channels and share the sights and takeaways you’re getting at OpenWorld. And if you aren’t there, we want to get your reactions to what you’re hearing and reading.

@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

Tuesday Jul 01, 2014

NOT the Usual List: What Brands Are Doing Wrong on Social

That title assumes brands are doing something wrong on social. Are they? Clearly, the vast majority of consumers are connected to the brands they use on social and actively and regularly engage with them, sending revenue skyrocketing.

Oh wait. That’s not happening. Stats tell us while 86% of us marketing pros have Liked a brand on Facebook, 58% of consumers have. 61% of marketers follow a brand on Twitter. You know how many consumers do that? 12%.

We’ve seen and read the standard, often-blogged list of brand social mistakes; focusing on follower quantity over quality, posting too much, not using images, blah blah blah. But here are some errors brands might be tripping over that don’t get nearly as much talk.

Scaring employees away from social by squawking like Chicken Little:

Really? You don’t know why they aren’t using their personal channels to amplify the brand’s message when there’s ZERO to be gained and you exude it will be the end of their professional lives if they mess up?

Thinking the world is as narcissistic about your brand as you are:

Customers care about one thing (maybe two). They care that your product works, keeps working, and solves a need they have. Past that, they might care how socially responsible your company is. Post accordingly.

Staying on platforms that just aren’t working for you:

If you can’t resource/staff 7 social networks, don’t be on 7 social networks. Yes, the advice is to be where your customers are. But if a channel is all tumbleweeds, or if you’re on it and looking bad, focus on getting it right on fewer networks.

Trying to be cool:

Don’t try to talk young if you aren’t. Don’t try to “tap” into what’s hot with a younger demo if your brand isn’t sincerely all about it, as in a “Red Bull” kind of way. Patronizing not only rarely works, it offends people.

Flying with the lemmings:

Remember when Oreo did that Super Bowl thing and then seemingly every brand in the world was attempting an “Oreo” moment? Yeah, think of something original that can be uniquely yours and not a me-too.

Treating social marketing like you’re grabbing things at a yard sale:

If you’re going to go the “potpourri of point solution, least expensive, non-integrated tools” route, get the aspirin ready. It’ll never give you the stability for today’s marketing a fully integrated social management platform will.

Listening in 100% defensive mode:

Proving the customer wrong is not the intent of listening on social. Keeping them at arm’s length is not an achievement. If you cared about and acted on what you heard, you’d be indestructible. Oh, and sticking with downright abusive customer service experiences…that’s going to kill you. No, really. That’s going to knock you completely out of the game one day.

Expecting the one poor schmuck you have running all your social channels 24/7/365 to possess six highly specialized, skilled disciplines and execute in all those areas…and for near entry-level money.

‘Nuff said.

Getting bent out of shape when your meager social marketing efforts don’t directly result in customers pounding on your door, waving cash in your face.

Don’t even talk about how your social isn’t a success until you’ve set clearly defined and reasonable goals for it, and have a way to credibly measure the metrics that speak to those goals.

@mikestiles @oraclesocial

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

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 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

Tuesday Apr 15, 2014

5 Things That Should Be Keeping CMO’s Up at Night

CMO insomniaHey, don’t go assuming that being kept up all night is always a bad thing. When you think about what’s swirling around in a CMO’s head, it might be worry that keeps them tossing and turning, or it could be excitement about the cool changes we’re seeing.

To be on safe side though, let’s just assume it has to do with confusion.

And that’s understandable, because marketing has been turned on its head in a very short period of time. Here are 5 things the CMO-on-their-toes should be asking themselves. If they don’t know enough to even be asking the questions, well, there are bigger problems.

1. Seriously, Am I Going to Be in Charge of EVERYTHING Now?

The demands on today’s CMO have gone far beyond branding, PR and advertising. Since the disruption to business had its epicenter in Marketing, the CEO is looking to the CMO to “deal” with every ripple effect resulting from it, no matter how far out into the organization it reaches.

Suddenly, it’s not about getting leads for sales, it’s about conversions. Suddenly, the CMO must understand the tech that drives marketing execution or harvests the metrics by which they’ll be judged. Suddenly, with social a big part of recruiting, the CMO has a big hand in HR. Suddenly, with customer service via social, the CMO is invested in that customer interaction. Suddenly, the CMO is culling feedback that informs product development.

Today’s CMO might notice the c-suite doesn’t require as many offices as it used to.

2. What Do My Customers and Prospects Want From Us?

Nothing good will come from a CMO that lies awake at night thinking about the next campaign or corporate message. If you’re going to lose sleep, lose it thinking about how to find out exactly what your customers do and don’t want from you. It’s called customer-centricity. Lots of companies talk about it, but frighteningly few actually do it. If you care, and if you listen, you’ll be more than halfway to sleeping through the night.

3. How Am I Going to Cope with Being a Media Company?

No matter the platform, marketing is increasingly content marketing. With an all-out war on to capture attention from a mobile, over busy, short-attention-span public, only content that entertains, informs, or provides tangible value will score.

You’re probably not an entertainment or journalism brand. That doesn’t matter anymore. You have to be. Imagery and video are huge in terms of engagement. Your blog has to rock. 24% of digital marketers even plan to add podcasting this year to capitalize on the intimacy of in-car listening and car connectivity. The days of not resourcing content, not hiring people who know how to consistently make it, or trying to commoditize it, are OVER.

4. What Tech Am I Supposed to Invest In?

Many brands are trying to operate with disconnected, standalone solutions. That’s an untenable position as Marketing continues its expansion and social extends to nearly every function of the enterprise. Not having integrated components means you’ll be leaving big data advantages on the table. The right hand won’t know what the left hand is doing, and the feet will be completely clueless.

It’s unlikely most brands are ready to jump in to the largest social and marketing ecosystem for the enterprise available. Therefore, a technology partner that gets you the components you need today, but that also sets you up for the addition and quick integration of components like CRM, will help you rest easier.

5. What If I Pursue a Strategy and Then Everything Changes?

Good news: you don’t have to wonder about that, because you can already be 100% assured everything is going to change…probably often and quickly. Looking for a point at which you can say, “Okay, we’ve totally got this down,” or at which you can go on autopilot, will only lead to anxiety.

The social networks themselves will always change, the ad products they offer will come and go, mobile technology will change, abilities to measure will change, trends & tastes will change, and consumer behavior will change – as will their expectations. The fact that change is inevitable makes waiting for things to “settle down” before you act a dangerous endeavor.

Asking yourself the questions is the first step toward resolving these pressing issues in your mind, which is your key to sleeping like a baby.


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.

Photo: Martin K, 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

Photo: istockphoto

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.

Photo: Julien Tromeur, stock.xchng

Friday May 17, 2013

Data Adoption Must Come Before Social ROI

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.

go team gorillaEB: 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

Friday Apr 12, 2013

Mad Men is Just a Show: How to Be the CMO of the Future

baby macLife has changed, and is still in the process of changing for the CMO.  The marketing opportunities of social, of emerging technologies, of mobile, the rising importance of content, the addition of social data to big data, and how social is changing the enterprise experience have all evolved the required skillset of the position. Since these consumer behaviors are highly unlikely to reverse, I picked the brain of Oracle VP Product Management for Cloud Social Erika Brookes for a look at what today’s CMO should seek to fully understand going forward.

The Customer Owns Your Brand

  • Understand the customer is now in charge and should be the focus. Their expectation is to be respected and treated well. Anything less disappoints.
  • Understand that phenomenal products and services, and personalized, hyper-attentive customer service is the new marketing.
  • Understand social is how the public is choosing to engage with each other and brands, and has kicked word-of-mouth into overdrive. The public is talking about you.
  • Understand social is not a megaphone for ads. Try to internalize how mistrustful of push messaging people are and that the path to drawing attention is to provide something of real value.
  • Understand you’ve got to lead crowd-pleasing content creation efforts, or find people who do know how to entertain/inform.

The Marketer Must Speak API

  • Understand you can no longer be comfortable in what you don’t know. You have to jump into technology head-on, knowing how it will deliver business value.
  • Understand you’ll be collaborating with the CIO and IT to leverage technological advantages faster than ever. You must have a voice on tech matters and implementation.
  • Understand the unprecedented gold mine of social data that, married with enterprise and 3rd party data, can paint an actionable picture of the customer.
  • Understand the importance of your brand’s mobile experience and how fast it’s becoming the primary way social is accessed.
  • Understand the cloud as the best technology practice for gathering, managing, analyzing and acting upon big data.

Know the Science Behind the Art

  • Understand campaigns should be built around what the consumer has shown you, through data, they like.
  • Understand not just social marketing, but social selling, social commerce, social service, social HR, social recruiting, and social collaboration.
  • Understand the value of listening, and how to extract worthwhile data from the noise.
  • Understand all of the social channels and platforms available to you, which targets are using them and how so appropriate strategies, messaging and measurement can be crafted for each.
  • Understand you have to keep moving toward proving the ROI behind the spend.

You Will Likely Conduct an Internal Symphony

  • Understand the changes going on inside the organization. Your role is expanding.
  • Understand that an unprecedented collaboration of people, processes and technology is being called for, and it’s probably you that must conduct that symphony.
  • Understand you have to communicate and align with sales for consistent brand and consumer experiences.
  • Understand you’ll play a large role in finding the technology partner to insure effective execution of social, a single vendor that offers every piece of the puzzle.
  • Understand that even in huge business enterprises, agility offers a competitive advantage and should be aspired to.

Below are some additional resources on the changing role of the CMO that might help you get to the future sooner rather than later.

Webinar with Oracle SVP Product Development for Cloud-Social Reggie Bradford and Forrester lead analyst David Cooperstein.

Social Spotlight Blog: Scandal! The CMO/CIO Relationship Revealed.

Video: “The changing role of the CMO.” Argyle Executive Forum’s 2013 Chief Marketing Officer Leadership Forum (New York).

Photo: stock.xchng


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