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







Thursday Oct 02, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Wednesday

Oracle OpenWorld 2014It was Oracle Social Cloud’s busiest day yet at Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and here come the takeaways…conveniently packaged in a single post because you’re such a faithful Social Spotlight reader!


Faz Shoja-Assadi and Eran Cedar treated attendees to a peek at the Oracle Social Cloud roadmap and vision, explaining Oracle’s goal was to acquire best of breed companies, then unify and deliver one social relationship management platform that’s comprehensive, customer-centric and integrated. With 82.3% of CMO’s agreeing social impacts their business, it was and is a worthy goal.


Eran loves showing off our recent developments, like Custom Audiences, a paid media partnership program, Dynamic Link Tracking, a Mobile SRM, and Actionable Insights. But what fun is a roadmap if you can’t see what’s around the corner? Oracle Social Cloud customers can look forward to a new, modular user experience with a new calendar, Custom Analytics, user role dashboards, and a responsive design. Publishing will get simpler and more powerful; with more social networks, Quick Post, and content curation.


Oracle Social Cloud

And there’s the ongoing development of the newly announced Social Station and Social Intelligence Center, which lets customers show off their social activity at events (like we’re doing at OpenWorld) and at HQ. Integrations with BlueKai, Omniture, and Commerce are on the way. And lastly a Developer Platform will let customers extend Oracle Social Cloud to do what they need it to do via a variety of API’s.


Next, Oracle’s Angela Wells, Holly Spaeth of Polaris, Meghaan Blauvelt of Nestle and Michelle Lapierre of Marriott Rewards dealt with that pesky social ROI topic. Angela said 89% of brand leaders think measuring it is a priority, but only 49% can actually quantify its impact. 66% feel pressured to do so. The panel brought up the “Cost of Ignoring,” i.e. what will a brand lose by not doing social? Holly said since there’s not a clear direct path to the sale, brands should think about ROI in terms other than the sale. For instance, Polaris can save millions in warranty claims just by listening to customers, and that’s social ROI. Meghaan said the ROI of social and media is totally dependent on the quality and ROI of content. And Michelle said if you’re winning trust and preference, you’ve created ROI.


Our Erika Brookes chatted with Melissa Schreiber of FleishmanHillard and Chevrolet’s Jamie Barbour about “Superfans.” A top takeaway: there are differences between influencers and advocates. Advocates have more trust, are likely to recommend, share to help, have passion, and stick around. Influencers have huge followings and can get people to a brand, but from there, advocates are the ones who reinforce how great it is.


Oracle OpenWorld entertainmentThis kind of fandom has power, and value. Social users talking about Olympic athletes in Sochi not being able to get Chobani yogurt generated 380 million impressions and $70 million in unpaid media value. Jamie closed saying people are quite used to using social to tell their stories, and brands can offer bigger stages for them to do that.


Oracle’s Tara Roberts, and GM’s Rebecca Harris and Whitney Drake talked about how to create and operate “Global Command Centers.” GM’s has 16, count ‘em, 16 screens watching activity for their brands. In fact, it was listening on social that led to aluminum steering wheels being removed. They got pretty hot in the south. The panel’s advice was to start small, just start. Make each department’s role in the center clear. Have a “connector” to educate leadership on the tech needs. And be ready to adopt innovations.


Erika Brookes returned to hash out the changing roles in the C-Suite with Oracle Chief Customer Officer Jeb Dasteel; Kevin Bird, CMO of Buddhacom, and EVP Michael Farber of Booz, Allen & Hamilton. The gist was that the marketing and technology worlds are merging. Michael noted how we tend to add positions and not retire outdates ones. The org needs reimagining in anticipation of what platforms will be able to do in the future. His advice is communicate and don’t be so territorial. Jeb recommends the CIO be closely partnered with whatever Chief runs customer-centricity. His advice is to be a change agent and adopt a consultative approach. Kevin wondered aloud if there won’t be more joint C-level situations like Oracle’s co-CEO’s. His advice is to listen, be open to change, and be optimistic!


Oracle’s Tara Roberts and Kathryn Schotthoefer of Heavenspot presented on the effective use of social data. Tara put this wakeup call out there: 2/3 of digital info is created by consumers yet only 1% of the digital universe was actually analyzed in 2013. There’s so much to be learned. Kathryn said they use social data to find out what movie/TV fans are buzzing about. In the past, she’s been dubious but now believes Latent Semantic Analysis can work effectively, interpreting words that have different meanings depending on what community’s using it.


One more day to go! Let’s see what we learn tomorrow.


@mikestiles @oraclesocial

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


Monday Sep 29, 2014

What We Saw and Did at Oracle OpenWorld: Sunday

Once again, the streets of San Francisco have been bannered Oracle red, Howard street has been turned into an outdoor convention space, and every high-thinking, forward looking technologist has made their way to Oracle OpenWorld 2014.


The Oracle Social Cloud team spent the day fine tuning the Social Intelligence Center, located at CX Central on the 2nd floor of Moscone West. Here, attendees can see the Oracle Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform in action, especially where the ability to listen to social activity around a topic or big event (such as OpenWorld) is concerned. If you’re here, be sure and stop by. But even if you’re not, we’ll be reporting many of our findings, so be sure to follow @oraclesocial.


We first heard an address by Renee James of Intel, in which she made the highly retweeted statements that half of enterprises will operate in public/private hybrid cloud modes, that the private cloud is actually growing faster than public clouds, and that the cost point of private clouds is growing competitive with public clouds. Oracle and Intel are good partners, highlighted primarily by the new chip that was co-developed for Exalytics in-memory.


The main event, as always, was Larry Ellison taking the stage. This year, his message was all about the cloud and the culmination of a mission that began 30 years ago. A major upgrade to the Oracle Cloud platform in 2014 has brought us to a place where you can move any Oracle database from your data center to the cloud, with the push of a button, and without changing a line of code. Plus Oracle is the only cloud that gives customers the choice of moving it back to on-premise. This facilitates the public/private hybrid today’s developers are seeking.


How does social play into all this? Well, that’s the point. Social now plays into all this. The foundation of the Oracle Cloud is the Oracle database. On top of that sits 4 critical services that modernize the apps you build on it; multi-tenancy, memory, mobile, and social capability. In this way, all of the Oracle suites on the platform, CX, ERP, and HCM, are social-enabled. Remember how often we’ve talked about the social-enabled enterprise in this space?


As Ellison said, building all this wasn’t easy. If were easy, almost every other Software-as-a-Service provider wouldn’t be running on…Oracle. There are 49 SaaS and Data-as-a-Service products around social campaigns, 36 of them new.


A lot was accomplished in 2014. A lot. But there is still much work to do. Ellison pointed out that regarding the infrastructure, there’s got to be an emphasis on securing data. He says we have some clever ways of doing that. And there has to be an ongoing focus on reliability always being on the rise, and costs always being kept in check.


Keep your eye here for daily blog updates from Oracle OpenWorld 2014, and don’t forget to watch the activity on @oraclesocial.


@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



Friday Mar 07, 2014

Oracle Social Giving Customers Choices with Paid Social Media Partnership Program

social media choicesPaid social media is becoming increasingly crucial as marketers seek to amplify content for greater reach, higher engagement and better concentration of resources on the most likely of targets.


To better facilitate the integration of paid media with other social relationship management functions, Oracle Social Cloud is announcing an open API-based paid media solution bringing customers vendor choice, flexibility, and expertise. Our inaugural partners in this endeavor are social ad platform leaders Kenshoo, Nanigans, and SHIFT.


What this means is customers already on their way to becoming social enabled enterprises with the Oracle SRM can capitalize on the top ad technologies available, connecting content creation & management in SRM to promotion of that content with the paid social partners’ platforms.


-- See the demos of how these paid partners work hand in hand with the Oracle SRM--


Without question, our inaugural partners represent the best in the field, chosen based on criteria including platform capabilities, technology innovation, strategic partnerships with major social networks, customer base and scale capabilities.


Oracle Social Cloud Group VP Meg Bear says, “This strategic approach signals our belief in the power of an open API strategy, and we believe this is the best solution to meet our customers’ needs to leverage performance-based, targeted advertising at scale.”


Just look at the advantages of such an API partner strategy:

  • Technology Expertise: SRM customers quickly benefit from years of focused development in the social paid media space by our partners.
  • Analytics: Comprehensive analytics will be available to users through SRM and partner sites, helping them understand the metrics behind paid, owned and earned content.
  • Coordination & Collaboration: Oracle SRM’s workflow functionality will enable better coordination and conversation between the community manager (owned and earned content), and the agency or media manager (paid content), facilitating greater efficiencies and effectiveness.
  • Custom Audiences: Customers will be able to take advantage of SRM’s Custom Audiences capability via SRM and Eloqua integrations.


Why put yourself in the best position to act on paid social possible? Advertising Age has noted nothing has bested TV’s reach since the early '50s. Now, Facebook alone surpasses the reach of the 4 broadcast networks 18-to-24 and 25-to-34. Meanwhile a Nielsen study shows 3/4 of respondents use Paid Advertising, with 64% looking to increase spend in 2014.


It’s a massive audience of prospects. And if you’re spending ad dollars to engage with them on social (as a growing number are), that paid social spend should be as informed as possible.


The choices, flexibility, connection and collaboration offered by Oracle Social’s Paid Media Partnership Program offer a tremendous opportunity to move social marketers much closer to the real-time, right people, right-time strategies that lead to measurable success.


@mikestiles
Photo: Ruth Livingstone, stock.xchng

Tuesday Nov 05, 2013

In Social Relationship Management, the Spirit is Willing, but Execution is Weak

In our final talk in this series with Aberdeen’s Trip Kucera, we wanted to find out if enterprise organizations are actually doing anything about what they’re learning around the importance of communicating via social and using social listening for a deeper understanding of customers and prospects. We found out that if your brand is lagging behind, you’re not alone.


failure signSpotlight: How was Aberdeen able to find out if companies are putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to implementing social across the enterprise?

Trip: One way to think about the relative challenges a business has in a given area is to look at the gap between “say” and “do.” The first of those words reveals the brand’s priorities, while the second reveals their ability to execute on those priorities. In Aberdeen’s research, we capture this by asking firms to rank the value of a set of activities from one on the low end to five on the high end. We then ask them to rank their ability to execute those same activities, again on a one to five, not effective to highly effective scale.


Spotlight: And once you get their self-assessments, what is it you’re looking for?

Trip: There are two things we’re looking for in this analysis. The first is we want to be able to identify the widest gaps between perception of value and execution. This suggests impediments to adoption or simply a high level of challenge, be it technical or otherwise. It may also suggest areas where we can expect future investment and innovation.


Spotlight: So the biggest potential pain points surface, places where they know something is critical but also know they aren’t doing much about it. What’s the second thing you look for?

Trip: The second thing we want to do is look at specific areas in which high-performing companies, the Leaders, are out-executing the Followers. This points to the business impact of these activities since Leaders are defined by a set of business performance metrics. Put another way, we’re correlating adoption of specific business competencies with performance, looking for what high-performers do differently.


Spotlight: Ah ha, that tells us what steps the winners are taking that are making them winners. So what did you find out?

Trip: Generally speaking, we see something of a glass curtain when it comes to the social relationship management execution gap. There isn’t a single social media activity in which more than 50% of respondents indicated effectiveness, which would be a 4 or 5 on that 1-5 scale. This despite the fact that 70% of firms indicate that generating positive social media mentions is valuable or very valuable, a 4 or 5 on our 1-5 scale.


Spotlight: Well at least they get points for being honest. The verdict they’re giving themselves is that they just aren’t cutting it in these highly critical social development areas.

Trip: And the widest gap is around directly engaging with customers and/or prospects on social networks, which 69% of firms rated as valuable but only 34% of companies say they are executing well. Perhaps even more interesting is that these two are interdependent since you’re most likely to generate goodwill on social through happy, engaged customers. This data also suggests that social is largely being used as a broadcast channel rather than for one-to-one engagement. As we’ve discussed previously, social is an inherently personal media.


Fig1


Spotlight: And if they’re still using it as a broadcast channel, that shows they still fail to understand the root of social and see it as just another outlet for their ads and push-messaging. That’s depressing.

Trip: A second way to evaluate this data is by using Aberdeen’s performance benchmarking. The story is both a bit different, but consistent in its own way. The first thing we notice is that Leaders are more effective in their execution of several key social relationship management capabilities, namely generating positive mentions and engaging with “influencers” and customers. Based on the fact that Aberdeen uses a broad set of performance metrics to rank the respondents as either “Leaders” (top 35% in weighted performance) or “Followers” (bottom 65% in weighted performance), from website conversion to annual revenue growth, we can then correlated high social effectiveness with company performance. We can also connect the specific social capabilities used by Leaders with effectiveness. We spoke about a few of those key capabilities last time and also discuss them in a new report: Social Powers Activate: Engineering Social Engagement to Win the Hidden Sales Cycle.


Fig2


Spotlight: What all that tells me is there are rewards for making the effort and getting it right. That’s how you become a Leader.

Trip: But there’s another part of the story, which is that overall effectiveness, even among Leaders, is muted. There’s just one activity in which more than a majority of Leaders cite high effectiveness, effectiveness being the generation of positive buzz. While 80% of Leaders indicate “directly engaging with customers” through social media channels is valuable, the highest rated activity among Leaders, only 42% say they’re effective. This gap even among Leaders shows the challenges still involved in effective social relationship management.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Oct 18, 2013

Oracle and Eloqua Welcome Compendium’s Content Marketing

Compendium LogoYesterday, Oracle announced its acquisition of Compendium, a cloud-based content marketing provider that helps companies plan, produce and deliver engaging content across multiple channels throughout their customers' lifecycle.


Why? Because every part of the above paragraph speaks to where modern marketing is and where it’s headed.


Customers have now been empowered, thanks to the Internet and particularly social, with access to almost limitless amounts of information about companies and products. This includes the especially influential voices of friends and objective acquaintances that have experience with the product or brand. With mobile, this info is available instantly in the palm of their hand. All of this research and influence mind you, is taking place long before a prospect will ever engage with the brand itself or one of its sales reps.

Marketing Sales Funnel

So how does a brand effectively insert itself into these conversations and this flow of the customer journey?


Now, more than ever, marketers must deliver relevant and engaging content across multiple channels and throughout the entire customer journey to be useful, helpful, and influential. Compendium has a
data-driven content marketing platform that lines up relevant content with customer data and personas so brands can accelerate the conversion of prospects.


Now think about combining that with the Oracle Eloqua Marketing Cloud, part of Oracle's comprehensive CX solution. Marketers will be able to automate content delivery across channels by aligning persona-based content with customers' digital body language. Better customer engagement, improved sales lead quality, better return on marketing investment, and higher customer loyalty. Now we’re talking.

Eloqua Compendium

Does data-driven content marketing have an impact? Compendium customer CVENT is a SaaS company specializing in meetings management tech. They wanted to increase leads & ad performance on their blog and dramatically increase their content. They also wanted to manage the creation, workflow, promotion and distribution of that content. With Compendium, CVENT created over 9,000 content elements, and sales-ready leads grew 325%.


So Oracle Eloqua helps you target audiences, know buyers, and automate multi-channel marketing campaigns. Compendium lets you plan, publish, manage and measure content across content types and channels. Now kick it up yet another notch with Oracle’s Analytics, Big Data and Social solutions, and you’re using your marketing dollars to reach the right people in the right place at the right time with the right content.


And as if that weren’t enough, your customers will love you for it.


@mikestiles

Tuesday Oct 15, 2013

Is Tech Cheating Itself Out of Female Genius?

graduateOr put another way, are we as an industry doing everything we can to encourage women to develop an interest in and pursue the field so that we benefit from the leadership and innovation they bring?


Today is Ada Lovelace Day. Actually she was Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, and she lived between 1815 and 1852. An English mathematician, she’s mostly known for her work on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer. Since she came up with the first algorithm meant for a machine to process, she’s also regarded as the first computer programmer.


Have women come as far in math, tech and science since then as we might expect? And if not, why not? Brilliantly realizing I’m not a woman, I asked some pointed questions to Meg Bear, Group Vice President of the Cloud Social Platform at Oracle.


Spotlight: What are some of the barriers to encouraging and inspiring girls/young women to develop and pursue an interest in technology?

Meg: When I think back to my own experience, I realize there was an imagination gap in my education. I was the first in my family to attend college, so I had no obvious role models in STEM or professional disciplines, male or female. I realize now how critical it is to help kids from a very young age imagine themselves in these types of careers. I was lucky my professional journey got me here, but looking back, there were many opportunities in my early education where it should have been mentioned and wasn't. I know this is still a problem for many young girls today, especially those being educated in socio-disadvantaged environments.


Spotlight: Is there anything about our education system that keeps steering boys and girls into certain areas of interest? Are our schools making the opportunities for women in tech clear?

Meg: Having two girls in elementary school, I notice awareness is improving. Part of this is the natural outcome of the consumerization of technology. No longer is the concept novel, it’s just part of everyone’s life. My girls are digital natives and for them, technology isn’t a new idea, it's how life works. That said, there’s still a very clear gap for girls as they hit middle school, where the social pressure to appear less smart is a critical problem. Girls must be reminded to embrace all of their abilities and not shy away from science and math since we now know the suggestion boys are better at math is a myth. Myths and bias are often less about fact and more about how our brains work.


Spotlight: What are the responsibilities of those women who are currently in tech and who are blazing trails across it in terms of encouraging more to follow in their footsteps?

Meg: I’m a strong believer that being visible is a critical responsibility of women today. We often downplay our technical and professional strengths at home and in social settings. This deprives the next generation from realizing the diversity we’re achieving. I was reminded how important this is when a few years ago, my 5-year-old daughter said she wanted to wear a tie to school to look like a "man who was a boss." When I asked what a women boss might look like, she said, "I don't know, I've never seen one." I was horrified and realized I was letting her down by not letting her see what my own job was about.


Spotlight: In terms of tech companies and startups, are women getting any signals they aren’t welcome, or are companies making an extended effort to recruit exceptionally talented women?

Meg: I think we have a long way to go here. I’m pleased to see the dialog is starting to happen, but we’re still seeing more examples of missing the mark than realizing the opportunity.


Spotlight: For women coming out of college and entering the field, what are the most important things they should be prepared for?

Meg: There’s a lot of documentation about how women set themselves up for lesser roles directly out of college, especially in the equal pay area. I think that everyone, not just women, should start their career with both an open mind to opportunity and a commitment to lifelong learning and giving back. Those are the keys to maximizing your potential personally and professionally.


Spotlight: How has the environment changed for women in tech over the past 20 years? Has tech become cool? Is tech required knowledge now for women majoring in business? Are ideas from women more likely to gain traction/funding than in the past?

Meg: Without a doubt the 21st century is leaning toward the feminine. That’s not to suggest a lack of men, but to suggest the increased contribution of women. No longer are women expected to participate from the sidelines but instead to be active participants. This shift is exciting to see and I firmly believe the benefits to the world will be widespread and sustained. Technology becoming cool is a big part of this but also the macro trends of globalization and consumerization bring forward the need for both genders to partner in solving the biggest problems we face in our world. Technology is no longer the purview or responsibility of the few, it’s available and critical to everyone. This changes the landscape dramatically and increases the urgency of STEM education for everyone.


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng


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