Friday Jul 19, 2013

Involver to Oracle: Gold Rush to Modern Marketing

With the migration nearly complete from legacy Involver apps to the Oracle Social Relationship Management platform, we thought this would be a good time to hear from Mr. Involver himself, Rahim Fazal, to both commemorate Involver’s incredible accomplishments and to celebrate the powerful modern marketing capabilities now possible with Oracle’s integrated marketing.

kid minerOracle has nearly finalized the sun-setting of the legacy Involver free applications package. Why? Most notably, because in the last five years, the market has matured and so have the needs of our customers.

Pre-Engagement Era (the Gold Rush of 2009)

Early 2009 was an explosive time for the social marketing world and, in turn, my company Involver. People all over the world were signing up for Facebook at a rate that tripled the size of the user-base in just twelve months. Brands naturally followed suit by launching company fan pages because as any good brand knows, you want to be where the people are.

Involver, which at the time was a ten-person startup in San Francisco, recognized a glaring gap in the arsenal of social marketers. Sure it was easy enough to set up a fan page, but once activated, there really wasn’t a lot for users to do there. To us, these pages looked like blank canvases. So we decided to build a suite of applications for marketers to add richer content to their pages, like YouTube, Twitter and blog posts, or interactive widgets like polls or surveys.

Borrowing from one of our friends and advisers, Ian Schafer, we too believed brands shouldn’t “advertise” to their customers, they should give their fans engaging tools that could help them tell friends about the brand. Brands agreed, and in large numbers. When Involver was acquired by Oracle in 2012, there were over 1 million pages using these applications with more than 2 billion fan connections!

Engagement Era (present day)

In the last few years, as companies have accumulated thousands and thousands of fans, marketers have been working feverishly to figure out what to do with all these people – a great problem to have by the way. And as the expectations of those fans have changed and grown more sophisticated, so have the needs of social marketers.

Simply providing a tool to publish the occasional YouTube clip or launching a contest just isn’t enough.

Marketers want more active engagement with their social media efforts:

  • They want to listen and respond to conversations
  • They want to schedule publishing across many sites and pages
  • They want systems and workflows to be integrated so the right people in the organization can interact with fans and followers using the best tools
  • They want to anticipate the needs of the individual, so they can deliver a more personalized customer experience
  • And much more (much, much more. You should see our road map!)

Given the expanded and every-expanding needs of our customers, we joined forces with Oracle last summer along with our friends Vitrue and Collective Intellect (love you both). Together, and in close collaboration with our peers across the various Oracle applications teams, we have launched Social Relationship Management. SRM is a fully integrated social marketing system designed for modern marketing and is an order of magnitude more advanced than our individual legacy products (the old “the sum is greater than its parts” analogy).

Social Relationship Management provides:

  • Listening, Engagement and Analytics (SE&M)
  • Publishing/Moderation/Content and Apps (SM)
  • Workflow & Automation and Enterprise Integration (SE&M/SM + integrations with known enterprise platforms such as Eloqua, Rightnow, ATG, Siebel, and Fusion.)

We’ve come along way as an industry and as a company since launching the first fan page five years ago. Today, we’re lucky to be part of a much bigger team, a much bigger vision, and a product set that has allowed us to progress from providing tools for fan pages to providing an integrated enterprise marketing system that not only meets the needs of marketers today, but that can scale to meet the needs of marketers tomorrow.

That’s the kind of innovation and forward motion that’s incredibly exciting for all of us, and we welcome anyone migrating from the Involver products to the Oracle SRM platform with us!

Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Nov 16, 2012

13 Things From the Oracle Social Summit You Should Know

Oracle held its first annual Oracle Social Summit, “The School for the Socially Gifted,” this past week in Las Vegas.  If anyone came to the event uncertain as to why Oracle has such an interest in social, and what its plans for social are, they left with an entirely new vision of where social is headed, and why.

For those unable to attend, I was able to keep my MacBook charged just long enough to capture some of the more pertinent takeaways.

1. The social enterprise is inevitable.  Social technology is disrupting the hierarchies of big companies.  It’s a revolution in corporate structures, just as it has been in various governments.  It’s not crazy to ask yourself if your CEO is the next Mubarak.  (David Kilpatrick Author of “The Facebook Effect” and founder of the Techonomy Conference)

2. The social enterprise represents collaboration on steroids.  It’s tapping into the power of your people, as opposed to keeping them “in their place.” 

3. 1 in every 7 humans on earth is an active Facebook user.  75% have posted a negative comment after a poor customer experience.  The average user will inform 53 people of a bad experience.

4. Checking social media is the 2nd biggest use of phones now.  Reading posts from brands is 4th.

5. 70% of marketers have little or no understanding of the social conversations happening around their brand.

6. Advertising, when done well, is content we care about, preferably informed by those we trust.

7. Acquiring low-quality fans through gimmicks, or focusing purely on fan acquisition is a mistake.  And relying purely on organic distribution is a mistake.  (John Yi, Head of Marketing Partnerships – Facebook)

8. Using all this newfound data and insight serves to positively affect the customer experience.  It allows organizations to now leverage the investments they’ve made in social up to now.

9. Social is not a marketing utopia where everything is free.  It’s pay to play.  The paid component is about driving attention. 

10. We are only in the infancy of ad-targeting opportunities in social.  There’s an evolution underway from interest-based targeting to action-based targeting.

11. There’s actually very little overlap of the people following you on different social platforms.  Don’t assume it’s the same audience on each.

12. People who can create content and who also have an understanding of what drives that content are growing increasingly valuable.

13. Oracle Social’s future is enterprise SRM, integrated across marketing, selling, service, HR and every other corner of the organization.

And in case you thought those were the only gems to come out of the summit, you may want to keep an eye out for Tuesday’s Social Spotlight, ever so aptly titled “13 More Things from the Oracle Social Summit You Should Know.”

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