Tuesday Oct 01, 2013

Cloud Social: What’s So Awesome About It?

wowWell, it’s not like your company owns Facebook or Twitter, so the notion you can control and execute social “on-site” was always a non-starter.  What you can do is embrace and throw your C-suite weight behind Cloud Social…integrating social relationship management, social data, and social collaboration with other enterprise applications in the Cloud for real-time, actionable insight.


To do this effectively enough to revolutionize your customer experience and make them forever, undyingly loyal to your brand, there must be an overall adoption of Cloud computing and social’s place in it. That’s happening. But is it happening in your organization?


Respondents to a TechInsights Report indicated the cloud is maturing in the enterprise, with IT decision makers achieving better results, faster deployments and lower costs than expected. That was true across Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS). Given that, it’s no surprise we see increases in Cloud spending. Those using Cloud for 4+ years are nearly 6x more likely to report increasing cloud spending by over 30% this year. Cloud spending even amongst small to midsized businesses is projected to rise to $95 billion by 2015.


If you’re reaction to that is, “Goodie for them,” it might be time to run down the primary advantages of shifting to the Cloud.


  • Cost Savings: more power, speed and storage than you might otherwise be able to afford.
  • Ability to Innovate: cited as the top benefit by US respondents. It’s amazing what you can do when time and money are freed up.
  • Security: often cited as a concern, it’s actually a plus as cloud providers are often better equipped to guard data. Is your current on-site security flawless?
  • Disaster Avoidance: data is automatically backed-up daily and can be restored seamlessly.
  • Smarter Resourcing: stats show up to 80% of IT budget are bogged down in routine maintenance. Is that really where you want your money and the time of your CIO/CTO to go?
  • Options Aplenty: go with a private cloud, public cloud or hybrid depending on your needs and comfort level. The Cloud can scale as you grow.
  • Headache Reduction: fewer worries about updates, maintenance, support, and deployment.
  • Mobility: stakeholders can get what they need from the cloud any time, from anywhere, on any device, making collaboration downright modern.
  • Green: Using Cloud for storage uses at least 30% less energy than on-site servers.


Arguments against enjoying these kinds of enterprise efficiencies are getting harder to find. And where social is specifically concerned, the socially enabled enterprise is hardly possible without it. That’s a lot of incredibly valuable, freely offered customer data to be left chugging along in the slow, expensive lane.


@mikestiles
Photo: David Siqueira, stock.xchng


Tuesday Sep 24, 2013

Oracle OpenWorld: Day 2

Mark HurdIn his Keynote address at OpenWorld, Oracle President Mark Hurd informed the crowd they were going to be hearing a lot about Customer Experience during the mega-event in San Francisco. Saying new consumers are, and will continue to be, much more difficult buyers than we ever were, Hurd added that what makes them “difficult” is simply that they expect to be treated well.


Below are the day’s key thoughts from a CX mini-keynote that followed.


91% of C-suite execs want to be a CX leader in their industry. But only 38% of them have a formal CX initiative. The need is to move from thought leadership to plan-to-solutions leadership.

Steve Miranda, EVP, Oracle Application Development.


CMO's and marketing teams are going from marketing communications to experience engineering. Rallying around the customer should now drive IT decisions. The winning combo is cross-channel optimization + relevant product + meeting individual needs at the right time and on the right channel. Embrace “failing fast”…experimenting, discovering results, learning, and adapting quickly. Being customer-centric can start paying off in the short term, even if the vision is long term.

Glen Hartman, Global Managing Director of Digital Consulting, Accenture Interactive.


eBay customers want tailored shopping experiences across platforms. The journey to a consistent CX is to be able to deliver anytime, anywhere. Today's best practices break all the rules you learned in the past.

Ghufran Ahmed, eBay


90% of commerce is influenced by social. Customer expectations are rising...BUT delivery by so many companies is declining. You can't just outsource social to any 22-year-old digital native. It’s too specialized, too critical. Something with such a tremendous impact on the bottom line should not go to the least experienced employees. Data and customer interactions can be woven into every part of the Oracle Social portfolio...into many functions beyond social. You must know your customer in order to respond to them in the way they want and like being responded to

Meg Bear, GVP, Oracle Cloud Social Platform


Do things that are incremental. The important thing is to just get started. The days of huge projects are gone. Put the customer at the center in unexpected ways to change their perspective of you.

David Vap, Oracle GVP


Attendees also heard from Oracle pros and clients in various sessions that the shift to customer-centricity is indeed yielding results that benefit both the customer and the organization.


Everything we do is about us as consumers, not brands. It's not about what kind of marketing brands send out. Consumers do the talking and sharing about our brands. Social is a global communications transformation. It took the telephone 75 years to reach 50 million users. It took Pinterest 2.75 years.

Erika Brookes, VP Product Strategy, Oracle Social


IT is not brain surgery. Figure out who your audience is and what they're doing on social. Online is another storefront – one that demands tremendous customer service.

Kat Smith, Social Media Director, Petco


Social is one of the most measurable channels - quite easy to track. It's not about "owning" social, it's about being the lead group helping your organization leverage social. Once executives know how to use social, they don't want to leave the social conversation.
Lars Silberbauer, Global Director of Social Media, LEGO


As for IT’s role in this fundamental business and organizational transformation, attendees heard it put quite simply that the CIO is already in the marketing business...they just might not know it yet. Join us on @oraclesocial tomorrow for Oracle OpenWorld, Day 3, with coverage of sessions such as:


  • Socially Enable Your Enterprise to Maximize Your Customer Experience
  • Forget B2B and B2C: Technology Enables B2P Marketing
  • Accelerating Success With Social Customer Service
  • Larry Ellison’s Cloud Keynote Address


And yes, that's Jerry Rice in the photo above who stopped by to pay a visit today.

@mikestiles

Friday Sep 20, 2013

Social Media Today Social Shakeup Roundup

wCongrats to Social Media Today for a very successful inaugural Social Shakeup in Atlanta this week. It’s an appropriate name for a conference as social is not only shaking up the way the public interacts with us as brands, but also shaking up the organization itself; mandating social be extended across all customer touch points, bringing the CIO and CMO closer, and offering vast amounts of social data that when married with enterprise data can yield stellar customer experiences.


Being a bit of a stream-watcher, I’m always interested in which takeaway tweets from conferences seem to resonate loudest. As we know, retweets and favorites don’t happen unless an emotional or intellectual chord gets tweaked. Seeing which points get the most “buzz” gives us telling insight into the current collective mindset of social marketers.


Tweet: @lizalgold (Liza Landsman) says social should be across multiple functions of the enterprise.

Thought: It’s exciting to see brands are quickly understanding the need for and inevitability of the socially enabled enterprise. Results of Oracle’s study with Leader Networks and SMT announced at the Shakeup reflect this as well.


Tweet: Brand voices are indistinguishable from each other. They're all the same 20-something year old person @briansolis (Brian Solis)

Thought: Your brand has an image, a personality, and it should be distinct. Many feel we’re homogenizing social with lazy, uncreative hiring decisions. If social voices are all the same, fans may as well just follow one Page called “Corporate America.”


Tweet: Maybe everyone who works in acquisition should work in retention first. @lizalgold (Liza Landsman)

Thought: This one got big engagement. Clearly there’s a strong feeling that knowing how to keep an existing customer happy is quite relevant to what you communicate to a new customer prospect. Is retention the harder of the two? Is it the more valuable one? Discuss.


landsmanTweet: From the customer perspective, "you either know me, or you don't know me." @lizalgold (Liza Landsman)

Thought: Customers are getting hard to dupe. They’re very aware of how much info about themselves they’ve given to you. If you show that despite that, you aren’t listening, know nothing about them, and don’t care, they feel appropriately devalued.


Tweet: Brands need to get over "jargonization." They have to start talking to people in the voice of the customer. @getsatisfaction (Wendy Lea)

Thought: There’s a growing realization the corporate-speak businesses love so much and get so excited about internally is a joke to real humans. For a public that values honesty and transparency, it makes you look like you’re obfuscating.


Tweet: People who Like you then never engage with your brand are as worthwhile as empty calories. @lizalgold (Liza Landsman)

Thought: Turns out as brands, we want customers to prove their love just like they want us to prove we care about them. Never calling, writing, shopping or buying shows no authentic love, and businesses are growing less interested in distant fans.


Tweet: A very different breed of employee is needed for social, one that's quick, nimble, human. @jay_bartlett (Jason Bartlett – Xerox)

Thought: Organizations are still grappling with the real-time nature of social. The PR flack with a hotline to legal that needs 5 weeks to craft and clear a tweet is now doing damage. The future belongs to employees who can and who aren’t afraid to be as social as the customer, and to the policies that empower them to do so.


solisTweet: CEO's need to be leaders, not just managers @briansolis (Brian Solis)

Thought: There’s a big difference. “Managing” tends to mean avoiding all possible disasters. “Leading” tends to mean actively urging and inspiring big things to happen. It means driving intelligent change and innovation. The engagement this got seems to indicate employees wish their leaders were doing more leading.


Tweet: In the org, social should cross swim lanes…but each lane has to know how to swim. @jay_bartlett (Jason Bartlett - Xerox)

Thought: Marketers feel like the socially enabled enterprise makes total sense, but each department has to integrate social to semi-equal effect for true cross-departmental social integration to happen.


Tweet: One way to express value is ROI. But it's not the ONLY way to express value. @sheldrake (Philip Sheldrake – Euler Partners)

Thought: Will we one day have an indisputable formula that connects every sale to a tweet? Perhaps. But it’s more likely a buyer is influenced over time from a combination of various touch points and info resources. Until the magic formula comes along, we have to be able to tell value stories that positively connect social to stated, measurable business objectives.


Tweet: Putting out short, shareable "social white papers" has led to 25% more leads and at lower cost for UPS @brianpember (Brian Pember - UPS)

Thought: It’s a content thing. Do you want your prospects to actually read your assets or just download them so you can get the lead capture? If you want content read (and shared), get your head out of your corporate asset-making and start communicating the way humans like consuming info.


Overall, sounds like marketers think things still need a good shaking up. Yes we’re steadily embracing what needs to be done in terms of brands relationships with customers, but the task of getting old line thinking, staffing, limitations and processes out of the way still seems to be a daunting one.


@mikestiles

Tuesday Sep 17, 2013

New Study Reveals the Degree to Which Social Business is Being Embraced

office chairsSpecifically, what are organizations in 2013 really thinking about the importance of becoming a socially enabled enterprise? A study from Oracle, Leader Networks and Social Media Today presented for the first time this morning at Social Media Today’s “Social Shakeup” in Atlanta gives us some interesting insight.


In the midst of changing roles for IT and marketing thanks to the social revolution, we wanted to take a good look at how social platform adoption is affecting internal operations and customer-facing initiatives. Respondents were organizations with 100 or more employees that use a social platform, representing over 20 industries and 52 countries.


We’ve talked a lot about the socially enabled enterprise in previous blogs, so maybe it’s time to clearly define it: “A set of collaborative processes that have the potential to yield improved business processes that are customer-driven such as faster time to market with new products and services, more successful research and development outcomes and refined market messages that are explicitly influenced by customer needs.”


Do organizations want to be socially enabled? Are they putting what’s needed in place to achieve it? Are they reorganizing internally to accommodate it? See the full PowerPoint and sign up to get the white paper in its entirety upon its October release. But…


I don’t like waiting either, so let’s go ahead and give you the highlights.

chart 1


  • Organizations are definitely adopting social platforms. Most are using 3-5 of them.
  • The bigger organizations (50,000+ employees) are much farther along in becoming socially enabled enterprises. Nearly half of them say they already are socially enabled.
  • 63% think it’s very important that their company be socially enabled, and becoming socially enabled is regarded as part of the strategic agenda.
  • The transition toward being socially enabled isn’t expected to be a cakewalk. 43% of executives say it’ll take their organizations over a year to truly leverage social throughout their businesses.
  • At the moment, marketing metrics like awareness, customer satisfaction and share of voice are the top social business performance metrics. That’s followed by lead gen & sales and new product development.
  • Respondents anticipate significant growth in the use of insights from social platforms. But right now, most use them within departments for informal learning.
  • The growth in social platform utilization has had a significant or transformational impact on the way 1/3 of respondents interact with customers. 60% plan to integrate social business metrics into customer care initiatives in the next 12 months.
  • Interestingly, organizations outside of the U.S. are significantly more likely to use social business insights for new product development and R&D.


Out of this, a profile of the socially enabled enterprise has started to emerge. It’s a business that has a strategy for using social insights to improve business functions, that’s linking social strategies to operational plans, and that has strong & collaborative leadership.


Is that you?


Group VP of the Oracle Social Cloud Platform Meg Bear said, “As this study shows, business executives now understand that creating a socially enabled enterprise can create better customer experiences, enable more responsive internal networks and drive organizational efficiencies. This combination gives organizations of all sizes a significant competitive advantage.”


So if you happen to like having the advantage, don’t forget to get on the list for the October release!


@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Aug 23, 2013

Oracle’s 8 Social Business Best Practices

social mediaToday, Oracle Sr. Director of Product Management John Nolt had the opportunity to address those gathered at the MediaPost Social Media Insider Summit in Lake Tahoe, where the future of social business is being thoroughly discussed and prognosticated.

The view of social business is far different today than it was just one year ago, when many organizations were still viewing social as that marketing thing that may or may not be worth serious, long-term investment.

That marketing thing is now not only an imperative, it’s becoming the “enterprise thing.”

Social is not about pitching your stuff. Social is how the public builds its perception of you, how it lets you get to know them, and how it wants to interact with you for any number of reasons. And it’s about the resulting overall customer experience that wins you raves or slams…very public ones.

Social has flipped the customer/corporate dynamic on its head by empowering consumers with an always-connected, always-on, very loud voice. And those empowered consumers are only getting more numerous and powerful.

  • They spend over 2 hours per day on smartphones.
  • Smartphone penetration in the US is 55%.
  • There are over 1 billion smartphones worldwide.
  • 63% of smartphone users are social networkers.
  • 55% of social consumption happens on mobile.
  • 72% of online adults use social sites.
  • Social is the #1 online activity.
  • In 2017, 87% of the US population will have mobile Internet devices, more than homes that have broadband.

Businesses see these undeniable changes, yet far too many still believe it doesn’t necessarily call for a revolutionary reimagining of the enterprise. “This is the way we’ve always done it” is a powerful, seductive force.

Gleanster & YesMail’s “Customer Lifecycle Management” study showed marketers continue to struggle to incorporate cross-channel touch points and data, even though optimizing customer engagement is the #1 perceived source of revenue growth. 8 out of 10 organizations fail to utilize available customer data that could improve personalization and relevance.

Tracking, understanding and predicting a customer’s journey is more critical than ever. Customers don’t care how you want things set up internally, they care about being known and having a seamless brand experience across every touch point.

If eyes stay closed to this social business revolution, change will come to the organization anyway. You just won’t be directing those changes to your benefit. The Oracle-sponsored Economist study “Cultivating business-led innovation” shows companies with cross-collaboration, taking advantage of disruptive technologies, are the most successful.

At Oracle, we believe the silo corporate structure is an endangered species. A holistic, unified approach is called for, with social capabilities woven throughout the fabric of operations. Here are 8 prime best practices to get the ball of change rolling:

  1. Support: The C-Suite has to buy in, give their backing, and create a culture of commitment to it.
  2. Strategy: Social efforts must be aligned with business objectives & goals.
  3. Collaboration: Across departments, particularly between the dynamic duo of the CMO & CIO.
  4. Guidance: There should be clear social guidelines and policies.
  5. Leadership: We’ll bet there’s already an impassioned advocate for social at your brand. Let them lead the charge.
  6. Integration: Integrate social across all key areas, both internal and external.
  7. Results: Illustrate the results and showcase social success stories.
  8. Education: The data is there, so always be using it to learn and adapt.

@mikestiles

Friday Aug 09, 2013

The Social Cloud Primer

templecloudThe foundation for the socially-enabled enterprise is cloud-based platforms and software. It has increasingly become the accepted foundation for facilitating integrated processes and data across the organization. And there’s a lot of good news about that. After all, who thinks better efficiencies, more actionable data, improved customer experiences and lower costs sounds like a bad idea?

First, a refresher on what it means to be a socially-enabled enterprise.

Social has become essential for every consumer-facing department and business application. As silos crumble, an integrated approach to data is no longer an innovation or luxury…it’s what is required to remain relevant and competitive.

The socially-enabled enterprise is key for modern customer experiences. Social users are perpetually connected, mobile, and vocal. And because they expect gratifying, real-time responses, corporate workflows are getting spun like a top. Altimeter Group says companies manage an average 178 corporate-owned social media accounts, meaning that for social, systems are needed for publishing, analytics, listening, moderation, engagement, paid social, content management, social app development, marketing automation and admin…none of which can be islands unto themselves.

And that’s just social data. Enterprise data growth is expected to continue at 40% through 2020. The ideal scenario is for the value of all that social data you’re now pulling in to be amplified via integration with other core business applications. Now you’re discovering insights you didn’t know existed, you’re developing dynamic, real-time dashboards, reports and alerts for rapid decision-making, and you’re maxing out your Customer Service, Sales, and Support applications.

About now, you’re getting an idea of the speed, flexibility and processing power this ideal scenario calls for, and that’s where the cloud floats to the rescue. Only a cloud-based, enterprise infrastructure, platform and applications suite that extends social’s power across all consumer-facing touch points can give you the social insight + enterprise data combo that make actionable, real-time views of the customer work.

A 2012 Gartner Data Center Conference poll showed almost 9 out of 10 organizations were planning, piloting, or already using a private cloud. Others are deploying public/private hybrid clouds. But increasingly, businesses are seeing a) the need to process and utilize the vast amounts of Big Data now available and b) the need to rapidly, confidently deploy technologies that become available faster and faster.

With that kind of workload becoming the norm, on-site, traditional IT infrastructures are quickly becoming the most expensive, most inefficient proposition available. Data analysis is faster in the cloud, resources can be added and deployed as needed, and stakeholders can tap into the same data pool to satisfy their varied goals.

However…despite the benefits of systems being integrated in the cloud, many businesses are choosing the quagmire of using multiple cloud vendors for multiple processes. Recently, polled business managers reported staff downtime, missed business deadlines, and stunted innovation initiatives thanks to poor/no integration of cloud applications from multiple vendors. The 2013 InformationWeek State of Cloud Computing Survey showed 66% are using 2-5 providers, and 33% don’t integrate cloud services. It’s a one shop, legitimately integrated enterprise cloud that delivers the kinds of user experiences that make competitors sweat.

Adoption is happening. In 2012, spending on cloud tech was expected to increase by about 25%. IT departments inside the enterprise are standing toe to toe with the future, and must decide whether or not to up their strategic importance by embracing its changing role. Because with the enormity of intelligence that social offers, data collection, processing and analysis is the only hope of bringing order to metrics chaos so brands can fully reap the monetary benefits of intimately knowing their customer.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Aug 02, 2013

Brazil is Hot for Social Media

Today’s guest blog is from Oracle SVP Product Development Reggie Bradford, fresh off a visit to Sao Paulo, Brazil where he spoke at the Dachis Social Business Summit and spent some time getting a personal taste for the astonishing growth of social in Brazil, both in terms of usage and engagement.

BrazilI knew it was big, but I now have an all-new appreciation for why the Wall Street Journal branded Brazil the “social media capital of the universe.”

Brazil has the world’s 5th largest economy, an expanding middle class, an active younger demo market, a connected & outgoing culture, and an ongoing embrace of the social media platforms.

According to comScore's 2012 Brazil Digital Future in Focus report, 97% are using social media, and that’s not even taking mobile-only users into account. There were 65 million Facebook users in 2012, spending an average 535 minutes there, up 208%. It’s one of Twitter’s fastest growing markets and the 2nd biggest market for YouTube. Instagram usage has grown over 300% since last year.

That by itself is exciting, but look at the opportunity for social marketing brands. 74% of Brazilian social users follow brands on Facebook, and 59% have praised a company on either Twitter or Facebook. A 2011 Oh! Panel study found 81% of social networkers there used social to research new products and 75% went there looking for discounts. B2C eCommerce sales in Brazil is projected to hit $26.9 billion by 2015.

Reggie Sao PauloI bet I’m not the only one who sees great things ahead, and I was fortunate enough give a keynote ABRADI, an association of leading digital agencies in Brazil with 53 execs from 35 agencies attending. I was also afforded the opportunity to give my impressions of what’s going on in Brazil to Jornal Propoganda & Marketing, one of the most popular publications in Latin America for marketers.

I conveyed that especially in an environment like Brazil, where social users are so willing to connect and engage brands, marketers need to back away from the heavy-handed, one-way messaging of old school advertising and move toward genuine relationships and trust-building.

To aide in this, organizational and operation changes must be embraced inside the enterprise. We've talked often about the new, tighter partnership forming between the CIO and CMO. If this partnership is not encouraged, fostered and resourced, the increasing amount of time consumers spend on mobile and digital, and the efficiencies and integrations offered by cloud-based software cannot be exploited.

These are the kinds of changes that can yield social data that, when combined with enterprise data, helps you come to know your social audiences intimately and predict their needs. Consumers are always connected and need your brand to be accessible at any time, be it for information or customer service. And, of course, all of this is happening quite publicly.

Reggie Jornal
The holistic, socially-enable enterprise connects social to customer service systems and all other customer touch points, facilitating the kind of immediate, real-time, gratifying response customers are coming to expect. Social users in Brazil are highly active and clearly willing to meet us as brands more than halfway. Empowering yourself with a social management technology platform will have you set up to maximize this booming social market…from listening & monitoring to engagement to analytics to workflow & automation to globalization & language support.

Brands, it’s time to be as social as the great people of Brazil are. Obrigado!

@reggiebradford
Photo: Gualberto107, freedigitalphotos.net

Tuesday Jul 16, 2013

Is Cloud Security Holding Back Social SaaS?

Cloud CastleThe true promise of social data co-mingling with enterprise data to influence and inform social marketing (all marketing really) lives in cloud computing. The cloud brings processing power, services, speed and cost savings the likes of which few organizations could ever put into action on their own. So why wouldn’t anyone jump into SaaS (Software as a Service) with both feet? Cloud security.

Being concerned about security is proper and healthy. That just means you’re a responsible operator. Whether it’s protecting your customers’ data or trying to stay off the radar of regulatory agencies, you have plenty of reasons to make sure you’re as protected from hacking, theft and loss as you can possibly be.

But you also have plenty of reasons to not let security concerns freeze you in your tracks, preventing you from innovating, moving the socially-enabled enterprise forward, and keeping up with competitors who may not be as skittish regarding SaaS technology adoption. Over half of organizations are transferring sensitive or confidential data to the cloud, an increase of 10% over last year.

With the roles and responsibilities of CMO’s, CIO’s and other C’s changing, the first thing you should probably determine is who should take point on analyzing cloud software options, providers, and policies.

An oft-quoted Ponemon Institute study found 36% of businesses don’t have a cloud security policy at all. So that’s as good a place to start as any. What applications and data are you comfortable housing in the cloud? Do you have a classification system for data that clearly spells out where data types can go and how they can be used? Who, both internally and at the cloud provider, will function as admins? What are the different levels of admin clearance? Will your security policies and procedures sync up with those of your cloud provider?

The key is verifiable trust. Trust in cloud security is actually going up. 1/3 of organizations polled say it’s the cloud provider who should be responsible for data protection. And when you look specifically at SaaS providers, that expectation goes up to 60%. 57% “strongly agree” or “agree” there’s more confidence in cloud providers’ ability to protect data. In fact, some businesses bypass the “verifiable” part of verifiable trust. Just over half have no idea what their cloud provider does to protect data.

And yet, according to the “Private Cloud Vision vs. Reality” InformationWeek Report, 82% of organizations say security/data privacy are one of the main reasons they’re still holding the public cloud at arm’s length. That’s going to be a tough position to maintain, because just as social is rapidly changing the face of marketing, big data is rapidly changing the face of enterprise IT. Netflix, who’s particularly big on the benefits of the cloud, says, "We're systematically disassembling the corporate IT components." An enterprise can never realize the full power of big data, nor get the full potential value out of it, if it’s unwilling to enable the integrations and dataset connections necessary in the cloud.

Because integration is called for to reduce fragmentation, a standardized platform makes a lot of sense. With multiple components crafted to work together, you’re maximizing scalability, optimization, cost effectiveness, and yes security and identity management benefits. You can see how the incentive is there for cloud companies to develop and add ever-improving security features, making cloud computing an eventual far safer bet than traditional IT.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Jul 12, 2013

Social Marketing: What We Should Do Right Now

checkmarkNobody likes wasting their time, or their effort, or their money.  That’s why it’s handy to know, at least in general, what does and doesn’t constitute effective social marketing.

The infographic and slideshow farms have been very busy, presenting several articles and studies that all speak to what the social user wants and is thinking. So let’s do some listening and act on what users are telling us.

Mary Meeker’s 2013 Internet Trends report asked what social media people are using. Facebook is still #1 but…was the only network to decline.  YouTube experienced the strongest growth, with Twitter, G+ and LinkedIn rounding out the top 5.
So we should: Keep maximizing and resourcing Facebook, but wake up to the fact that people like to get info and entertainment via video, preferably short ones.

We also learn from the study how hard it is to get Americans to share content. Saudi Arabia shares the most at 60%, while the US fell below the global 24% average at 15%.  Japan shares the least.
So we should: Realize most people only share if the content triggers an emotion, or if sharing it casts a positive reflection on them.  Our content can’t just “lay there.”

The disconnect between marketers and the real world remains stunning. While only 6% of the public spends their media time with print, we put 23% of our ad spend toward it.  Meanwhile, as users spend 12% of their time on mobile, we threw a mere 3% of ad spend that way.
So we should: Give ourselves a good face-palm, say “Duh,” and market where the people are.  

The amount of content created grew 9 times in 5 years. Over 500 million photos uploaded a day, 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube per minute. And think audio is dead? 11 hours of sound was uploaded to SoundCloud per minute. 
So we should: Recognize we’ve got content competition not just from our competition, but from anyone with a phone.  See section above about how our content can’t just lay there.

45% of Groupon transactions in North America are from mobile, up from less than 15% two years ago. Tablet growth is even faster than smartphone growth.  People want access to everything no matter where they are.
So we should: Develop experiences with the device user first in mind.  Not only will mobile use only go up, the study says it will soon be wearable/drivable and hands-free.

Surveyed CEO’s said they now think technological factors will have the biggest impact on their organizations, second only to market forces.
So we should: Disrupt the enterprise, scary as that is.  Socially enable it so all customer touch point experiences and analytics can be integrated into actionable data.  That’s where social ROI comes from.

A Ypulse study of 14-30 year-olds sought to learn where they get their information. Social was at the top of the list with 68%, followed by word of mouth. 
So we should: Recognize that social IS word of mouth, and we have a golden opportunity to not only be a source of usable info but to have it spread credibly.  Key word: “usable.”

66% of this age group have little confidence the news they get is accurate. Information sources have forfeited their credibility.  The audience is highly guarded.
So we should: Begin the long process now of building trust through honesty, transparency, sincerity, humility, and making sure we know the customer intimately. 

69% of 14-30-year-olds prefer to be informed by people who are older, not by people of the same age.
So we should: Not embarrass ourselves pandering to young users, desperately trying to be “hip.”  Oh, and just being 22 doesn’t qualify someone to be a community manager.

Lastly, our friends at Georgia Tech compiled 14 things that make a real difference in your ability to get Twitter followers. They didn’t study brands, but what works for individuals applies to us as well.  The top factor: when people see a friend follow an account, they’re more likely to follow it.
So we should: Recognize success begets success.  Retweets attract more followers as well.  So get momentum by acting on these next suggestions.

Inform. Make sure tweets have a target and a point. Use clear, simple language. And don’t pack your tweets with worthless hashtags. 
So we should: Realize even one little tweet is content.  Don’t ask your customers what they’re doing this weekend.  That’s generic filler.  And make tweets quickly readable.  Cool it with the symbols, hashtags, and hieroglyphics.

That’s a lot of things we should be doing. But, since they’re responses to what the audiences we’re trying to win over and turn into our advocates are telling us they like and want, perhaps it’s high time we got serious about following their lead.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Friday Jun 21, 2013

Provocative Tweets From the Dachis Social Business Summit

tower guardOn June 20, all who follow social business and how social is changing how we do business and internal business structures, gathered in London for the Dachis Social Business Summit. In addition to Oracle SVP Product Development, Reggie Bradford, brands and thought leaders posed some thought-provoking ideas and figures. Here are some of the most oft-tweeted points, and our thoughts that they provoked.

Tweet: The winners will be those who use data to improve performance.
Thought: Everyone is dwelling on ROI. Why isn’t everyone dwelling on the opportunity to make their product or service better (as if that doesn’t have an effect on ROI)? Big data can improve you…let it.

Tweet: High performance hinges on integrated teams that interact with each other.
Thought: Team members may work well with each other, but does the team as a whole “get” what other teams are doing? That’s the key to an integrated, companywide workforce. (Internal social platforms can facilitate that by the way).

Tweet: Performance improvements come from making the invisible visible.
Thought: Many of the factors that drive customer behavior and decisions are invisible. Through social, customers are now showing us what we couldn’t see before…if we’re paying attention.

Tweet: Games have continuous feedback, which is why they’re so engaging.  Apply that to business operations.
Thought: You think your employees have an obligation to be 100% passionate and engaged at all times about making you richer. Think again. Like customers, they must be motivated. Visible insight that they’re advancing on their goals helps.

Tweet: Who can add value to the data?  Data will tend to migrate to where it will be most effective.
Thought: Not everybody needs all the data. One team will be able to make sense of, use, and add value to data that may be irrelevant to another team. Like a strategized football play, the data has to get sent to the spot on the field where it’s needed most.

Tweet: The sale isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s the start of a new marketing cycle.
Thought: Another reason the ROI question is fundamentally flawed. The sale is not the end of the potential return on investment. After-the-sale service and nurturing begins where the sales “victory” ends.

Tweet: A dead sale is one that’s not shared.  People must be incentivized to share.
Thought: Guess what, customers now know their value to you as marketers on your behalf. They’ll tell people about your product, but you’ve got to answer, “Why should I?” And you’ve got to answer it with something substantial, not lame trinkets.

Tweet: Social user motivations are competition, affection, excellence and curiosity.
Thought: Your followers will engage IF; they can get something for doing it, love your culture so much they want you to win, are consistently stunned at the perfection and coolness of your products, or have been stimulated enough to want to know more.

Tweet: In Europe, 92% surveyed said they couldn’t care less about brands.
Thought: Oh well, so much for loving you or being impressed enough with your products & service that they want you to win. We’ve got a long way to go.

Tweet: A complaint is a gift.
Thought: Our instinct where complaints are concerned is to a) not listen, b) dismiss the one who complains as a kook, c) make excuses, and d) reassure ourselves with internal group-think that they’re wrong and we’re right. It’s the perfect recipe for how to never, ever grow or get better. In a way, this customer cares more than you do.

Tweet: 78% of consumers think peer recommendation is the best form of advertising.  Eventually, engagement is going to eat advertising.
Thought: Why is peer recommendation best? Trust. If a friend tells me how great a movie was, I believe him. He has credibility with me. He’s seen it, and he could care less if I buy a ticket. He’s telling me it was awesome because he sincerely believes that it was.  That’s gold.


Tweet:
86% of customers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience.
Thought: This “how mad can we make our customers without losing them” strategy has to end. The customer experience has actual monetary value, money you’re probably leaving on the table.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday Jun 18, 2013

8 Tough Social Strategy Questions for Your CEO

thinkerOften, the best way to get someone to think is to ask questions that get them to at least start thinking about what you’ve asked.  You may not get an answer right away, but the search for a good answer begins because an unanswered question tends to linger until resolved. This can get your CEO contemplating their social strategy.

We derive our questions from the recently released “State of Social Marketing” report from Altimeter Group, which polled a variety of brand and digital types involved in social marketing.

Study: The main goal of social is a near tie between engagement and brand lift.  Sales as the top goal fell over 40% in this year’s survey.
Question: Just what is it you want our social to accomplish?  
Pick one. Pick the one by which you’re going to judge the value of our social media. Pick the one you think is worth investing in. Don’t just leave me groping in the dark to prove “general” social ROI.

Study: It’s now believed most social users expect exclusive content from brands, even more than customer service, and definitely more than deals.
Question: If we start social channels for our brand, where will the content come from?  
You wouldn’t start a TV station without knowing where the shows to put on it will come from. But that’s what CEO’s are doing with social channels. The belief is that content comes out of thin air, by magic, and for free. What a dumb belief.

Study: More than anything else, budgets are holding back social and digital marketing.
Question: Is it because you don’t know what social marketing realistically costs, or is it that you won’t budget for it until it proves that it’s effective with no resources?  
This is the classic “don’t get in the water until you know how to swim” philosophy. It makes zero common sense. If they want to “test” social, fine. But give it legs to stand on so that it can fairly pass that test.

Study: More than ever, executive buy-in is cited as the reason social went mainstream at the brand.
Question: What will it take to get you excited about social?  
When you’re dating, you’re going along, having a pleasant time. But then that one little thing happens that sets off fireworks and alters the relationship. What would make your CEO finally “heart” social?

Study: Fewer social marketers believe they understand their social user than did last year.
Question: Do you even care what your customers think?  
Because seriously, with the growing awareness we’re in the age of customer centricity, with enormously empowered customers, with tools available to know and understand the customer better than ever before, if you don’t know your customer, it’s because you’re going out of your way not to. Find out if your CEO is a fan of trapped, manipulated customers or of raving fans.

Study: 54% have still not asked social users what they want from the brand.  That’s unchanged from 2011.
Question: New question not necessary. Just ask the one above again.  
Study: Only slightly more managers see social as being a mainstream part of their organizations than did in 2011.

Question: You realize you’re at risk of being a dinosaur, right?  
Corporate leaders aren’t being asked to be innovators, pioneers and risk-takers. That ship has sailed. Now we’re at the point where the continued refusal to adopt a fully accepted modern means of communication makes an organization just look silly. It’s like taking a wait-and-see approach toward this “telephone” thing.

Study: The trends managers are most concerned about are mobile experiences, followed by content management. Integrated experiences came in 6th.
Question: How can we have integrated experiences (which include mobile and content management) with a patchwork of vendors and tools?
If your CEO can show you seamless integration amongst a quilt of disparate technologies that socially enable the enterprise, they should. Otherwise, time to talk about choosing a technology partner whose components can be added as needed.

Discussions like these should not be avoided. Answers rarely come without questions before them.

@mikestiles
Photo: Mario Sanchez, stock.xchng

Friday Jun 07, 2013

The Dynamic Duo of the Enterprise

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

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

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

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

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

POW! The Data

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

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

BAM! Internal Disruption

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

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

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

BOP! Social ROI

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

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

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

@mikestiles
Photo: Julien Tromeur, stock.xchng

Tuesday May 28, 2013

Who are These “Influencers” I’m Supposed to Find?

red micBrands have gone beyond paying stars millions to endorse products.  They’re making them Creative Directors. Lady Gaga’s been doing it for Polaroid for 3 years. Will.i.am “works” for Intel, and Justin Timberlake for Bud Light. Why is this happening? The raw power of influencers.

Whether it’s Psy selling pistachios or Beyonce’s face on Pepsi cans, influencers are sought out, courted, and offered the sun, moon and stars just to bask in part of their glow. And it’s always been that way. What makes them worth it?

They have the ongoing attention of the masses, they have credibility with those people, and they elevate the value of a brand by being associated with it. By gosh if 50 Cent drinks Vitamin Water, that’s what I should be drinking!

The good news is influence is not a market cornered exclusively by celebs. There are people who have the ongoing attention of your target audience, have credibility with them, and can elevate the value of your brand by being associated with it. Those are the influencers you must find.

Who are they? Where are they? The answers are different for every industry vertical, brand and product. The science is in discovering them. The art is in making them your fan and advocate.  An influencer: 

Has built a significant audience with consistent, valued content.
You’re not just looking for bloggers and media types, although they certainly carry weight. You’re looking for anyone online with a significant following of potential customers. Make sure most of their posts are relevant to your topic and get reasonable engagement. And make sure they produce content consistently. You may love or hate Social Spotlight, but you can count on it being there every Tuesday and Friday. 

Has built trust by never or rarely steering readers wrong.
We’ve seen it in study after study, one positive recommendation from a known and trusted source is more influential and leads to more desired actions taken than any ad, gimmick or product review. Yes, Alicia Keys is the Creative Director for Blackberry, but posting a tweet marked “sent from my iPhone” did little to add to her trust (she says she was hacked).   

Is willing to write about and share things they think are great.
80% of user impressions on products and services were made by 6% of users on social. That’s an indication of just how anti-social most social users are. An influencer who prides themselves on never mentioning anyone or sharing others’ content isn’t worth cultivating.  

Understands mutually beneficial relationships.
Like the Beatles said, “In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Influencers know they’re valuable to you. But if you make them a true fan, they won’t mind giving you a mention or two. Make sure you earn the consideration by contributing to their channel in ways that benefit them (see more below).

Once you’re clear on your topic, finding influencers active around it is a matter of using a glut of available tools, including Klout (including Klout for Business), Peer Index, Kred, Technorati, etc. And there are native tools like Google searches, LinkedIn groups, Facebook groups and Pages (Graph Search makes this easier than it used to be), and Twitter chat search (hosts are usually active). Overall, the most engaged participants are good influencer candidates.

Courting and winning over influencers is trickier. You must have a winning product and value proposition. Few will write about you “just because.” Listen. Get a feel for their style and willingness to write about others. Determine what the influencer wants, be that sharing their blog, retweeting them or participating in their forums. Remember that mutually beneficial relationship? Hold up your end of that. Refer potential clients to them, buy their book, go to their events, pat them on the back, or offer a written rave.

Just remember as you’re looking for superstar influencers, there is no substitute for having a product and customer service that makes one customer so stoked about you that they praise you from the social rooftops. Replicate that at scale with a holistic, integrated social relationship management platform, and no one will be able to keep the good word about you from spreading.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng

Tuesday May 21, 2013

Social Data Part 2: Socially Enabled Big Data Analytics and CX Management

This is the second in a series of posts on the value of leveraging social data across your enterprise, from Oracle Social VP Product Development Don Springer

In this post, I will cover more advanced “next” steps in how to leverage social data within your enterprise’s Big Data Analytics, Business Intelligence and Customer Experience Management deployed applications and systems. This is a follow-up to a post I wrote in April around the first step in implementing a Social CRM approach and the value for your enterprise specific social data.

Social Data Integration Framework to Socially Enable Big Data Analytics and CX Management.

Once you have successfully deployed a Social-CRM Platform as described in the post referenced above, it’s possible to know more than ever before about your customers, prospects and key target segments. Expanding your social listening capabilities to not only capture customer and prospect signals, but also their key profile information along with your results from social engagement, opens up a comprehensive approach to socially enabled big data analytics and CX Management.

The framework diagram below shows a representation of how this infrastructure could look within your enterprise:

Springer1

At the core, is a Socially Enabled Consumer Data Store to provide a 360 view of your customers, integrating:

  • Unstructured content that captures your customers intentions, interests and needs along the ‘Customer Lifecycle Journey’ from social and internal data sources
  • Quantified transactional, behavioral and customer profile data within your CX Management Applications.

As you delve deeper into this new data store, your data starts to have the following characteristics:

Springer2

As this unified view of your customer data comes together, you have the ability to support the following key capabilities in regards to Big Data Analytics and CX Management (leveraging the initial diagram in this post):

Springer1

Let’s dig a bit more into each of the core components within this framework:

Social & Enterprise Unstructured Data - Signal Detection

  • Social. The ability to quickly and consistently filter through all the noise in the publicly available online environment and capture highly targeted, relevant customer/prospect signal information,
  • Enterprise Text (Call Center Transcripts, Chat and Email Logs). Additionally, capture signal detection from your internal customer-to-company internal data sources to provide a unified, consistent and repeatable approach for all customer & prospect real-time and historical signal detection.
Socially Enabled Consumer Data Store (Next Generation)
  • The data repository should be architected to support high performance and horizontal scalability for both structured and unstructured data. The data model should be designed to support your specific CX Management and Business Analytics data models, combining hadoop, map reduction (for unstructured data) and r-base (for structured data) for complete and seamless data access. 
  • Within this environment, customer & prospect signal data should be enriched with your other structured enterprise data (Via CX Management systems and other Business Intelligence customer data) in a continual, near real-time basis.
  • What’s new in this data-model: A combined content perspective – social and transactional.  And a combined profile perspective – profile (marrying internal client profile information with social profile information) and behavioral (demographics and psychographics)
Insight Discovery (built on the consumer centric data repository)
  • An ability for your analysts to uncover new insights across structured and unstructured data by conducting contextual data drill-down about your customers, prospects and key business data.
  • Take these insights and determine if new, unique, high-value Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be generated within your business intelligence systems for faster decision making and real-time business management (action via CX Management). 
Business intelligence & Real-time Analytics
  • Repeatable, near real-time dashboard and reporting on existing and newly discovered KPIs to easily see trends, determine important variances & outliers, and track overall performance. “Correlations and patterns from disparate, linked data sources yield the greatest insights and transformative opportunities” - Gartner
  • Real-time alerts based on pertinent conditions. For example, a client may have indicated in Social Media that they are investigating a competitor’s offerings. Analytically, tracking this on a periodic basis for trends across filtered and group KPIs is important for data-driven, objective decision-making across the line of business for executives and their teams. 
CX Management
  • CX Management for Sales, Marketing, Services and Commerce allows your suitable business functions to act on any newly generated signals (alerts). For example, take action on the customer’s signal when they are evaluating a competitor.  
  • Engagement can be managed via your CX Management application’s workflow to match that customer need to the appropriate, company determined response. 
  • Broadcast Delivery, via Marketing Automation solutions, will allow results achieved through specific customer experience interactions to be amplified through targeted segment communication efforts.

At the core, this socially enabled Big Data Analytics and CX Management framework allows your enterprise the ability to integrate your current enterprise data with new sources of public data and corresponding signals for faster decision-making and real-time ‘ROI-oriented’ action.

This post covers some pretty advanced concepts. In my customer interactions, the more savvy and advanced enterprises are just now looking to consolidate their successful experiments into a unified approach described in the diagram above. Hopefully, this post provides you with a suitable a framework to begin thinking about your own enterprise approach for socially enabling your key external facing business functions.

Based on reader feedback, I’ll plan on writing some additional posts highlighting ‘best practices’ from where we are seeing specific customer value from the above approach.

In future posts, I’ll also be bringing in other colleagues to discuss in more detail aspects of socially enabled big data analytics and CX Management including topics like: public Data-as-a-Service (DaaS), lessons learned on data enrichment, a market perspective on data-matching (connecting offline to online profile information), etc.

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.

@mikestiles
Photo: stock.xchng, Glenn Pebley

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