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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

Photo: stock.xchng


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