Wednesday Aug 28, 2013

How the New Release of Oracle WebCenter Sites Keeps Marketers in Step with Digital Experience Trends

Today's guest post was contributed by Joshua Duhl, Senior Principal Product Manager for Oracle WebCenter Sites.

Over the past few years, Digital Experience has tended to be a fast moving market. Driven by changing online consumer behavior, and fueled by key trends which include the demand for engaging mobile experiences that maximize efficiencies, simplification of multi-channel content management that support the reemergence of the brand site, and the personalization of individual digital experiences, it presents a challenge to marketers attempting to keep pace.

Web Experience Management or WEM, the product category focused on the creation and management of digital experiences, is rapidly changing as well. WEM has grown out of simple web site management or web content management, to include personalization, social engagement, mobile engagement and support for multi-channel marketing experiences. Now more than ever before, marketers are increasingly and actively seeking WEM solutions that enable them to keep pace with the rapid evolution of digital marketing, and the relentless demand for engaging, and cross-channel digital experiences.

Oracle’s WebCenter Sites has long been a market leading WEM solution. With the release of WebCenter Sites 11.1.1.8, Oracle continues to expand the power and impact of WEM solutions, and keeps marketers in step with these key trends. Let’s take a look at how WebCenter Sites addresses them.

The ability to manage and deliver engaging mobile experiences is currently the most pressing need we hear from our customers. Mobile site management is now seen as an integral part of managing their overall online experience, yet it comes with a distinct set of requirements that may need to be met separately, depending upon specific objectives.

WebCenter Sites 11.1.1.8 new mobile site management option offers marketers the ability to manage their mobile sites with the same ease as managing their traditional online experience, while providing flexibility to deliver device-optimized sites as needed. By allowing content reuse, the utilization of the same tools and experience for site authoring and publishing processes across web and mobile, and by leveraging responsive design to reduce site development and speed time to market, marketing can maximize efficiencies for mobile site development, and deliver a consistent cross-device brand experience. In addition WebCenter Sites allows marketers to meet mobile-specific requirements when needed, providing mobile template and site plan customization, device management, and in-context preview and editing of mobile sites. It also enables full mobile content targeting, to drive personalized mobile experiences across any mobile device.

Mobile sites can be edited using drag-and-drop tools and previewed within the same business user interface as the traditional web presence. 

Over the past few years, consumers have turned the tables on brands, dictating how, when and where they want to experience the brand. As more online channels have emerged to meet this demand – from brand sites, to micro and multilingual sites, to email campaigns, through to mobile and social – the more complex content management has become for online marketers. What we’re seeing now is the reassertion of the importance of the brand site; the idea of the corporate .com as a center point of digital experience. The content that drives activity on other online touch points (email offers, social promotions, microsite landing pages) ultimately points back to the brand site, where all of these channels converge.

In response to this trend, WebCenter Sites now enables marketers to search and access content originating from other channels such as YouTube, Brightcove and other cloud-based stores, or from enterprise content management systems, like WebCenter Content – in other words regardless of where it is stored – from within the WebCenter Sites authoring environment, and incorporate it within brand sites to produce a more unified, cross-channel experience.

The Oracle WebCenter Sites visual contributor interface provides web marketers with an easy-to-use site authoring experience, aggregating content that can originate from a wide variety of sources .

The trend to drive personalized digital experiences has finally reached the tipping point, where every organization we engage with has some sort of personalization initiative on their short list of digital experience priorities. In this new release, WebCenter Sites addresses a broad range of personalization capabilities including:

  • Targeting content and experiences to different customer segments
  • Making online search more relevant and intuitive through incorporation of Endeca guided navigation
  • Providing tools that enable site visitors to tailor their own online experience
  • Targeting specific content to mobile sites and devices
  • Integration with a fully automated predictive system
  • Advanced vanity URL management to enable better SEO targeting and campaign landing page management

Of these, the latter two are of greatest interest to our customers. The ability to deliver engaging mobile experiences is in part dependent on delivering personalized, targeted content to specific mobile site visitors. Lastly, our customers are beginning to see the power of connecting WebCenter Sites native targeting engine to a predictive solution. It can offset the labor associated with managing segmenting and targeting through automation, while delivering higher success rates for metrics like click-throughs and conversions, or driving bottom line results like recommending higher margin items. We expect to see the most interest and growth in fully automated predictive system integrations in the coming year.

Lastly, this release also supports the broader trend of social interaction. Building on the prior 11gR1 release, WebCenter sites provides expanded social capabilities for faster and easier development of social pages, and customer login from social sites. These features include:

  • Drag and drop of social components (polls, ratings, rankings, comments) directly into pages, with no coding required
  • Expanded social login support enabling login to WebCenter Sites using credentials from over 30+ social sites
  • Support for Oracle Access Management (OAM) platform for web single sign-on and access management
  • Publishing directly to Google+ from WebCenter Sites

The demands of digital experience continue to deepen and expand. Marketers need WEM solutions, like Oracle WebCenter Sites, that enable them to address the changing needs of their visitors, keep up with the rapid evolution of digital marketing, and meet the relentless demand for engaging, and cross-channel digital experiences.

Thursday May 23, 2013

So Much UGC, So Little Time: Options for Moderating User-Generated Content

We all know the value of incorporating social computing features such as comments, ratings, reviews, polls and blogs into the web presence. These kinds of interactive capabilities are essential for driving customer engagement and fostering community around your brand. Ratings and reviews can also play an important role in influencing the buying behavior of other site visitors. Checking out online ratings and reviews is something many of us commonly due before selecting a particular product or service. These social capabilities certainly help cultivate loyal and satisfied customers who in turn recommend your brand to others. But before enabling these kinds of features on your web presence, there are some things you need to consider.

Whether you want to enable product reviews or commenting on articles, you’ll want to assure that the dialogue on your website remains focused and relevant.  To accomplish this, you’ll need to consider how best to approach the moderation of the user-contributed content your site visitors will be generating.  



With an open community approach, there really is no moderation.  All can contribute to the conversation and all contributions are published on your website automatically.  While this approach eliminates barriers to participation, encourages a very free dialogue and requires little oversight, there are some serious drawbacks. Open communities can invite spam, trolling or other inappropriate behavior that can be damaging to your brand. For many enterprises, an open community is simply an inappropriate choice.

On the opposite side of the spectrum is a controlled community approach.  In this type of approach, all user-generated content is subject to moderation prior to publishing.  All contributed content needs to be reviewed and approved by a community manager prior to publication.  While this approach encourages contributors to be on their best behavior and provides the community manager with the most control, this approach can result in a considerable delay in the publishing of user-generated content and can discourage social interaction on your web presence.

Enterprises that wish to encourage social interactivity while safeguarding brand integrity may want to consider striking a balance between these two approaches.  If your web experience management platform permits it, this can be done by introducing some level of automated or community member triggered moderation. For example, you might employ user white-lists and blacklists to help determine which site visitors require moderation for their comments.  You could also use customizable keyword filters that will trigger the moderation of comments that contain specific key words such as profanity. Another option is to enlist members of the community in the moderation process, by enabling site visitors to flag content that they think is inappropriate.  When a comment is flagged for moderation by an automated filter or by site visitors, it can automatically be assigned to the appropriate community manager for review, editing, approval or deletion. In this way, low risk user-generated content can be published to your site quickly, while content that may be a cause for concern enters a moderation queue for further review.

See how simple is it to deploy user-generated content features and moderation using Oracle WebCenter Sites.

Friday Apr 26, 2013

Why WCM Should Be at the Heart of Your Multichannel Strategy

Today’s guest blog post was written by Stephen Schleifer. Stephen is Senior Principal Product Manager for Oracle’s Web Content Management (WCM) solution, Oracle WebCenter Sites.

It’s no secret that the WCM market has gone through a series of rapid changes over the past five years or so, in part because the business objectives driving the use of these systems evolved (from content publishing to online experience), and in part due to the changing nature and role of corporate websites, or brand sites. We are now living in a multichannel world -- with the rise of social networks, increased use of campaign marketing (including social media, email marketing and promotional microsites), and of course, the fact that more people are accessing the web via mobile devices than ever before. All of this has amounted to added complexity for web marketers to manage their brand and message across all these channels, but it has also changed the perception of what role a brand site, and by way of it, a WCM system, is supposed to play in online marketing.

While most still agree that a brand site is an important place for customers to acquire information about a company’s products and services, others propose that as more traffic and leads are generated through alternate channels that they should become the main focus of online marketing and customer engagement efforts.

I would argue that it’s not an either/or proposition, but instead what’s needed more often than not is a more blended approach, and in fact, your brand site should serve as the centralized point of your online marketing strategy. Why? Because it’s the one place where all these channels tend to converge -- it’s the glue that holds your brand and message together across all these diverse customer touch points. Linking these channels back to your brand site is also important because it’s the place where you control the message, and it’s ultimately where you can engage customers in more dynamic ways, as the experience you create there is entirely of your own making.

WCM systems are the technology set that provides the tools for marketers to manage corporate web sites, and they are unique in their ability to support a wide variety of cross-channel online marketing value propositions; these include:

Extending the reach of / re-purposing content between brand sites and social media: For example, by enabling site visitors to engage in interactions around site content and then extend the reach of that content by sharing it to their walls. Or by repurposing content on your site such as articles, blog posts or promotional offers for publishing on social media pages. Conversely, many organizations are choosing to host promotional or educational video on social video sites such as YouTube, but then integrate those videos within the context of brand site pages as streaming content. All this can be facilitated by a WCM system.

Seamlessly adapting brand site content for delivery though the mobile channel: Mobile has been a difficult channel for marketers to master, but we’re at the point where technologies like HTML-5 and approaches like responsive design where effective mobile web experience has become a reality, as you can now design once for your branding site, and have those templates instantly adapted and optimized for mobile delivery. While this is not the only effective approach to mobile web (depending on your business objectives, you may indeed want to develop mobile templates or mobile-specific sites), most WCM systems are now flexible enough to support multiple approaches.

Integrating websites with email marketing for cross-channel marketing automation: Bringing together WCM and email marketing makes a lot of sense, because the better the two work together, the more consistent, targeted and effective your online campaigns will be. Both systems leverage content such as text and images that will need to be duplicated or adapted across channels for web landing pages, email blasts, etc. -- the more you can centralize the management of that content for more effective cross-channel publishing, the more you can be sure that your branding and message will be consistent and clear to your customer. Both systems also require some level of personalization to ensure that the various customer segments in a campaign are spoken to with a relevant message – and whether it’s being featured in an email or somewhere on your site, that message must remain the same. Integrating the customer segment data that is being captured in your WCM system with that in your marketing campaign system (not to mention CRM) is key to be able to provide a unified profile across these customer-facing touch points, and in turn can help to ensure more effective targeting.

Whatever role you decide is best for your corporate website to play in your online marketing mix, there is no escaping that it continues to be as relevant as ever in today’s multi-channel world. Think of it as a kind of digital hub for online experience, and your WCM system is the backbone for creating and managing engaging, cross-channel experiences. 

Friday Feb 22, 2013

Engage Your Customers. Empower Your Business. Do More with Your Minutes.

#DoMoreWithOracle ~  It’s a Social World

We live in very social times – in 60 seconds in today’s online world, we see 695,000 new searches on Google while 72 hours of new video is uploaded to YouTube. We send 11 million instant messages and tweet 98,000 times. There are 1389 new blog postings and 695,000 new status updates to facebook. Meanwhile, Instagram gets 3480 new photos uploaded. 

Some of these figures may seem large, some may seem small, but they all show a trend for more - More - MORE as the population becomes ever more engaged with our social media world.

We see staggering statistics of social media usage across the globe – in 2011 YouTube had more than 1 TRILLION views or to put this in relative terms that would translate to 140 views for every person on the planet Earth. Over 4 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube.  Facebook has 845 million active users that create 3.2 billion likes and comments every day. Facebook users spend an average of 6 hours, 35 minutes per month on the site. Facebook has reached 100 billion friendships. There are 250 million photos uploaded each day = 173,611/minute.  Let’s face the facts – we are all hooked on socially engaging via the latest and greatest tools available.

The challenge?

Are you giving your customers, employees and partners the best online experience they have come to expect from their personal lives?

ARE YOU ENGAGING EVERYONE WITH EXCEPTIONAL EXPERIENCES?

Not to mention that this also usually includes managing huge QUANTITIES of business data, while replicating the QUALITY of the social media experience.

So then, how do you manage the qualities of a business – including data and interaction and replicate the quality of the social media experience?

#DoMoreWithOracle – we can certainly help! Check out the full week of Fusion Middleware Screencasts


Sources:

http://www.youtube.com/t/press_statistics/

http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-instagram-stats/

http://thesocialskinny.com/100-more-social-media-statistics-for-2012/

http://www.mediabistro.com/alltwitter/social-media-stats-2012_b30651

Thursday Feb 21, 2013

DO MORE WITH ORACLE WEBCENTER

DO MORE WITH ORACLE WEBCENTER

Whether you’ve established a content infrastructure and you’re ready to build solutions on top; or if you have tactical needs to solve specific business problems, Oracle WebCenter provides out of the box applications and a feature-rich foundation to meet your needs.

The more you plug into key applications and use cases, the more value your content infrastructure provides to the enterprise. Extend your reach, your ROI, and your value to your organization. Set the stage for future innovation.


Enable Employees, Partners, and Customers to Do More With Oracle WebCenter

Did you know that, in addition to enterprise content management, Oracle WebCenter also includes comprehensive portal, composite application, collaboration, and Web experience management capabilities?

Does Oracle power your portal solution for intranets, self-service portals or community websites? If so, did you know that Oracle WebCenter now also includes comprehensive content, web experience management and social computing capabilities?

Are you providing your customers with engaging online experiences using Oracle? If so, you probably realize that there’s more to exceptional customer engagement than just Web experience management. You must also empower your business by engaging and enabling employees and partners to deliver on customers’ expectations.

Now you can do more with WebCenter than ever before by creating advanced customer facing web solutions to improve customer loyalty and sales by delivering contextual and targeted multi-channel experiences to users across mobile, social and web channels. And you can manage the entire content lifecycle of not just the content in your portals but across your entire company as well.

Join us for this On Demand Series of 3 Webcasts and learn how you can provide a new level of engagement.

Learn how to Do More with Oracle WebCenter:

  • Do More with Oracle WebCenter – Expand Beyond Content Management
  • Do More with Oracle WebCenter - Expand Beyond Web Experience Management
  • Do More with Oracle WebCenter: Expand Beyond Portals

Learn more about how WebCenter:

  • Drives task-specific application data and content to a single screen for executing specific business processes
  • Enables mixed internal and external environments where content can be securely shared and filtered with employees, partners, and customers, based upon role-based security
  • Offers Web experience management, driving contextually relevant, social, and interactive online experiences across multiple channels
  • Provides social features that enable sharing, activity feeds, collaboration, expertise location, and best-practices communities
  • Drives sales and loyalty with an engaging cross-channel online experience
  • Enables self-service extranets, intranets and custom application dashboards
  • Enhances productivity with social collaboration
  • Optimizes information access with content management
  • Enables the social business by coordinating collaboration inside and outside the enterprise
  • Improves the online experience by delivering targeted multi-channel customer experiences
  • Manages the complete content lifecycle across all websites, applications and social tools on a strategic enterprise content management platform

What businesses sometimes forget, is that to truly engage your customers, you must also first enable and engage your partners and employees.

Do More with WebCenter, the user engagement platform for social business.

Watch Now: Do More with Oracle WebCenter Series




Monday Feb 11, 2013

Oracle Forums: Learn How to Transform Your Online Customer Experience

Your customers expect a brand experience that is engaging, consistent, and connected across Web, mobile, and social channels. To deliver on these expectations, you must transform your online customer experience into one that is personalized and relevant, social and interactive, and optimized for multichannel delivery.

Attend one of Oracle's Forums to learn how Oracle’s Web experience management solution can help you develop a connected and engaging online customer experience that drives sales and loyalty. You’ll learn:

  • Why the online channel is an ideal place to begin connecting customer touch points
  • How personalization and targeting improve the effectiveness of online customer experience initiatives
  • How to get social by creating an interactive online customer experience that builds community engagement
  • How to optimize the online customer experience for anytime, anywhere engagement

Upcoming Forums

Oracle Forum Philadelphia - Sponsored by Deloitte and Avio Consulting

Wednesday, February 20, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Sullivan's Steakhouse, 700 West Dekalb Pike, King of Prussia, PA 19406, USA
Click Here to Register

Oracle Forum Bangkok

Wednesday, February 27, 2013
8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Crowne Plaza Hotel, 952 Rama IV Rd., Bangkok, Thailand
Click Here to Register

Oracle Forum New York City - Sponsored by Deloitte

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
The Muse Hotel, 130 West 46th Street, New York, NY, 10036, USA
Click Here to Register

Oracle Forum Stockholm - Sponsored by LBi

Thursday, March 14th, 2013
8:30 AM – 11:00 AM
Friends Arena, Råsta Strandväg 1, Stockholm, Solna, Sweden
Click Here to Register

Friday Jan 18, 2013

Online Customer Journey: The Service and Recommendation Experiences

We wrap up our week of focusing on the online customer journey by looking at the final two stages – the service experience and the recommendation experience.

The Service Experience

Once you’ve successfully converted site visitors into paying customers, you’ll want to assure that it’s easy for customers to continue doing business with you and help them get the most out of their investment in your products or services. Oftentimes, in industries like financial services, healthcare, or even government, you’ll want to provide your customers, patients, or constituents with both a public online presence where they can find information and engage with your organization early in the customer journey, and also an online self-service presence that enables your customers to access secure services where they can conduct financial transactions, look up personal health information or take advantage of government services. In cases like this, the combination of Oracle WebCenter Sites and Oracle WebCenter Portal is ideally suited to helping you meet both of these objectives and ultimately deliver an online experience that is unified, consistent and seamless as those visiting your web presence evolve from prospects into active customers.

The whole idea of incorporating a self-service aspect into a company’s online engagement strategy is definitely one that is picking up steam as companies looks at new ways to service their customers efficiently and effectively online. And not only is online self-service a means for driving greater efficiencies, the vast majority of customers – 75% -- prefer to use online support if it’s available and reliable.

The Recommendation Experience

The final phase that you should consider in your online marketing strategy is the recommendation phase, whereby satisfied customers become advocates for your brand and recommend it to others. The opinions that people share about their experiences with a product or brand are a highly valued source of information relied upon by prospective customers as they contemplate a purchasing decision. In fact, 70% of consumers trust the opinions of other online users, making it one of the most trusted types of information that potential buyers consider, second only to the opinions of people they know.1

You can tap into the influence your satisfied customers can have over prospective customers by making it easy for them to share their experiences with their social networks, and to contribute helpful comments, ratings or reviews of your products and services. The ability to share and contribute socially on your web presence should be given component of your web presence. You can encourage social sharing and the contribution of user-generated content by enabling social login on your web presence, whereby customers can login into your site quickly and easily using their familiar social networking profiles. Such capabilities are available to you when you use Oracle WebCenter Sites for web experience management.

This concludes our series of posts on the online customer journey. Remember that developing an effective online experience that supports the customer life cycle is critical to driving sales and earning long term loyalty.

 ******

Are you providing your customers with engaging online experiences using Oracle? If so, you probably realize that there's more to exceptional customer engagement than just web experience management. You must also empower your business by engaging and enabling employees and partners to deliver on customers' expectations. Join us for this Webcast and learn how to meet your engagement goals by doing more with Oracle WebCenter for portals and enterprise content management. View now.

1 Neilsen, “Global Trust in Advertising and Brand Messages,” 2011

Friday Dec 14, 2012

OK - What now? How do we become a Social Business?

Now available On-Demand!We hope that those of you that attended yesterday's Webcast with Brian Solis enjoyed Brian's discussion with Christian Finn for our last Webcast of the season for the Oracle Social Business Thought Leaders Series

For those of you that may have missed the webcast or were stuck at a company holiday party - you'll be glad to hear that the webcast will be available On-Demand starting later today (12/14/12). And any of you who'd like to listen to a quick but informative podcast with Brian - can listen to that here.

Some of you may still be left with questions about how to get from point A to point B and even more confused than when you started thinking about this new world of Digital Darwinism. The post below, grabbed from an abundance of great thought leadership prose on Brian's blog may help you frame the path you need to start walking sooner versus later to stay off of the endangered species list. 

As you explore your path forward, please keep Oracle in mind - we do offer a wide range of solutions to help your organization optimize the engagement for your customers, employees and partners.



The Path from a Social Brand to a Social Business

Brian Solis

Originally posted May 2, 2012

I’ve been a long-time supporter of MediaTemple’s (MT)Residence program along with Gary Vaynerchuk, Neil Patel, and many others whom I respect. I wanted to share my “7 questions to answer to become a social business” with you here..

Social Media is pervasive and is becoming the new normal in corporate marketing. Brands who get this right are starting to build their own media networks rich with customer connections numbering in the millions. Right now, Coca-Cola has over 34 million fans on Facebook, but they’re hardly alone. Disney follows just behind with 29 million fans, Starbucks boasts 25 million, and Oreo, Red Bull, and Converse play host to over 20 million fans. If we were to look at other networks such as Twitter and Youtube, we would see a recurring theme. People are connecting en masse with the businesses they support and new media represents the ability to cultivate consumer relationships in ways not possible with traditional earned or paid media.

Sounds great right? This might sound abrupt, but the truth is that we’re hardly realizing the potential of what lies before us. Everything begins with understanding not just how other brands are marketing themselves in social media, but also seeing what they’re not doing and envisioning what’s possible.

We’re already approaching the first of many crossroads that new media will present. Do we take the path of a social brand or that of a social business? What’s the difference? A social brand is just that, a business that is remodeling or retrofitting its existing marketing practices to new media. A social business is something altogether different as it embraces introspection and extrospection to reevaluate internal and external processes, systems, and opportunities to transform into a living, breathing entity that adapts to market conditions and opportunities.

It’s a tough decision to make right now especially at a time when all we read about is how much success many businesses are finding without having to answer this very question. With all of the newfound success in social networks, the truth is that we’re only just beginning to learn what’s possible and that’s where you come in. When compared to the investment in time and resources across the board, social media represents only a small part of the mix. But with your help, that’s all about to change.

The CMO Survey, an organization that disseminates the opinions of top marketers in order to predict the future of markets, recently published a report that gave credence to the fact that social media is taking off. One of the most profound takeaways from the report was this gem; “The “like button” [in Facebook] packs more customer-acquisition punch than other demand-generating activities.” With insights like this, it’s easy to see why the race to social is becoming heated.

The report also highlighted exactly where social fits in the marketing mix today and as you can see, despite all of the hype, it’s not a dominant focus yet. As of August 2011, the percentage of overall marketing budgets dedicated to social media hovered at around 7%. However, in 2012 the investment in social media will climb to 10%. And, in five years, social media is expected to represent almost 18% of the total marketing budget. Think about that for a moment. In 2016, social media will only represent 18%?

Queue the sound of a record scratching here. With businesses finding success in social networks, why are businesses failing to realize the true opportunity brought forth by the ability to listen to, connect with, and engage with customers? While there’s value in earning views, driving traffic, and building connections through the 3F’s (friends, fans and followers), success isn’t just defined simply by what really amounts to low-hanging fruit.

The truth is that businesses cannot measure what it is they don’t know to value. As a result, innovation in new engagement initiatives is stifled because we’re applying dated or inflexible frameworks to new paradigms. Social media isn’t owned by marketing, but instead the entire organization. This changes everything and makes your role so much more important. It’s up to you to learn how to think outside of the proverbial social media box to see what others don’t, the ability to improve customers experiences through the evolution of a social brand into a social business. Doing so will translate customer insights from what they do and don’t share in social networks into better products, services, and processes.

See, customers want something more from their favorite businesses than creative campaigns, viral content, and everyday dialogue in social networks. Customers want to be heard and they want to know that you’re listening. How businesses use social media must remind them that they’re more than just an audience, consumer, or a conduit to “trigger” a desired social effect.

Herein lies both the challenge and opportunity of social media. It’s bigger than marketing. It’s also bigger than customer service. It’s about building relationships with customers that improve experiences and more importantly, teaches businesses how to re-imagine products and internal processes to better adapt to potential crises and seize new opportunities.

When it comes down to it, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Foursquare, are all channels for listening, learning, and engaging. It’s what you do within each channel that builds a community around your brand. And, at the end of the day, the value of the community you build counts for everything. It’s important to understand that we cannot assume that these networks simply exist for people to lineup for our marketing messages or promotional campaigns. Nor can we assume that they’re reeling in anticipation for simple dialogue. They want value. They want recognition. They want access to exclusive information and offers. They need direction, answers and resolution.

What we’re talking about here is the multidimensional makeup of consumers and how a one-sided approach to social media forces the needs for social media to expand beyond traditional marketing to socialize the various departments, lines of business, and functions to engage based on the nature of the situation or opportunity.

In the same CMO study, it was revealed that marketers believe that social media has a long way to go toward integrating into the overall company strategy. On a scale of 1-7, with one being “not integrated at all” and seven being “very integrated,” 22% chose “one.” Critical functions such as service, HR, sales, R&D, product marketing and development, IR, CSR, etc. are either not engaged or are operating social media within a silo disconnected from other efforts or possibilities. The problem is that customers don’t view a company by silo, instead they see one company, one brand, and their experience in social media forms an impression that eventually contributes to their view of your brand.

The first step here is to understand business priorities and objectives to assess how social media can be additive in achieving these goals. Additionally, surveying the landscape to determine other areas of interest as its specifically related to your business.

• Are customers seeking help or direction?

• Who are your most valuable customers and what are they sharing?

• How can you use social media to acquire and retain customers?

- What ideas are circulating and how can you harness user generated activity and content to innovate or adapt to better meet the needs of customers?

- How can you broaden a single customer view to recognize the varying needs of customers and how your organization can organize around each circumstance?

- What insights exist based on how consumers are interacting with one another? How can this intelligence inform marketing, service, products and other important business initiatives?

- How can your business extend their current efforts to deliver better customer experiences and in turn more effectively unit internal collaboration and communication?

Customer demands far exceed the capabilities of the marketing department. While creating a social brand is a necessary endeavor, building a social business is an investment in customer relevance now and over time. Beyond relevance, a social business fosters a culture of change that unites employees and customers and sets a foundation for meaningful and beneficial relationships. Innovation, communication, and creativity are the natural byproducts of engagement and transformation. As a social brand, we are competing for the moment. As a social business, we are competing the future in all that we do today.

Monday Dec 10, 2012

This is the End of Business as Usual...

This week, we'll be hosting our last Social Business Thought Leader Series Webcast for 2012. Our featured guest this week will be Brian Solis of Altimeter Group. As we've been going through the preparations for Brian's webcast, it became very clear that an hour's time is barely scraping the surface of the depth of Brian's insights and analysis. Accordingly, in the spirit of sharing Brian's perspective for all of our readers, we'll be featuring guest posts all this week pulled from Brian's larger collection of blog postings on his own website. If you like what you've read here this week, we highly recommend digging deeper into his tome of wisdom.

Guest Post by Brian Solis, Analyst, Altimeter Group as originally featured on his site with the minor change of the video addition at the beginning of the post.



This is the End of Business as Usual and 
the Beginning of a New Era of Relevance
 - Brian Solis, Principal Analyst, Altimeter Group 

The Times They Are A-Changin’

Come gather ’round people
Wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You’ll be drenched to the bone
If your time to you
Is worth savin’
Then you better start swimmin’
Or you’ll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin’.

- Bob Dylan

I’m sure you are wondering why I chose lyrics to open this article. If you skimmed through them, stop here for a moment. Go back through the Dylan’s words and take your time. Carefully read, and feel, what it is he’s saying and savor the moment to connect the meaning of his words to the challenges you face today.

His message is as important and true today as it was when they were first written in 1964. The tide is indeed once again turning. And even though the 60s now live in the history books, right here, right now, Dylan is telling us once again that this is our time to not only sink or swim, but to do something amazing.

This is your time. This is our time. But, these times are different and what comes next is difficult to grasp. How people communicate. How people learn and share. How people make decisions. Everything is different now. Think about this…you’re reading this article because it was sent to you via email. Yet more people spend their online time in social networks than they do in email. Duh. According to Nielsen, of the total time spent online 22.5% are connecting and communicating in social networks. To put that in perspective, the time spent in the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube is greater than online gaming at 9.8%, email at 7.6% and search at 4%.

Imagine for a moment if you and I were connected to one another in Facebook, which just so happens to be the largest social network in the world. How big? Well, Facebook is the size today of the entire Internet in 2004. There are over 1 billion people friending, Liking, commenting, sharing, and engaging in Facebook…that’s roughly 12% of the world’s population.

Twitter has over 200 million users.

Ever hear of tumblr? More time is spent on this popular microblogging community than Twitter.

The point is that the landscape for communication and all that’s affected by human interaction is profoundly different than how you and I learned, shared or talked to one another yesterday. This transformation is only becoming more pervasive and, it’s not going back.

Survival of the Fitting

But social media is just one of the channels we can use to reach people. I must be honest. I’m as much a part of tomorrow as I am of yesteryear. It’s why I spend all of my time researching the evolution of media and its impact on business and culture. Because of you, I share everything I learn in newsletters, emails, blogs, Youtube videos, and also traditional books. I’m dedicated to helping everyone not only understand, but grasp the change that’s before you.

Technologies such as social, mobile, virtual, augmented, et al compel us adapt our story and value proposition and extend our reach to be part of communities we don’t realize exist.

The people who will keep you in business or running tomorrow are the very people you’re not reaching today. Before you continue to read on, allow me to clarify my point of view. My inspiration for writing this is to help you augment, not necessarily replace, the programs you’re running today. We must still reach those whom matter to us in the ways they prefer to be engaged. To reach what I call the connected consumer of Geneeration-C we must too reach them in the ways they wish to be engaged. And in all of my work, how they connect, talk to one another, influence others, and make decisions are not at all like the traditional consumers of the past. Nor are they merely the kids…the Millennial.

Connected consumers are representative across every age group and demographic.

As you can see, use of social networks, media sharing sites, microblogs, blogs, etc. equally span across Gen Y, Gen X, and Baby Boomers. The DNA of connected customers is indiscriminant of age or any other demographic for that matter. This is more about psychographics, the linkage of people through common interests (than it is their age, gender, education, nationality or level of income. Once someone is introduced to the marvels of connectedness, the sensation becomes a contagion. It touches and affects everyone. And, that’s why this isn’t going anywhere but normalcy.

Social networking isn’t just about telling people what you’re doing. Nor is it just about generic, meaningless conversation. Today’s connected consumer is incredibly influential. They’re connected to hundreds and even thousands of other like-minded people. What they experiences, what they support, it’s shared throughout these networks and as information travels, it shapes and steers impressions, decisions, and experiences of others.

For example, if we revisit the Nielsen research, we get an idea of just how big this is becoming. 75% spend heavily on music. How does that translate to the arts? I’d imagine the number is equally impressive. If 53% follow their favorite brand or organization, imagine what’s possible. Just like this email list that connects us, connections in social networks are powerful. The difference is however, that people spend more time in social networks than they do in email.

Everything begins with an understanding of the “5 W’s and H.E.” – Who, What, When, Where, How, and to What Extent? The data that comes back tells you which networks are important to the people you’re trying to reach, how they connect, what they share, what they value, and how to connect with them.

From there, your next steps are to create a community strategy that extends your mission, vision, and value and it align it with the interests, behavior, and values of those you wish to reach and galvanize.

To help, I’ve prepared an action list for you, otherwise known as the 10 Steps Toward New Relevance:

1. Answer why you should engage in social networks and why anyone would want to engage with you

2. Observe what brings them together and define how you can add value to the conversation

3. Identify the influential voices that matter to your world, recognize what’s important to them, and find a way to start a dialogue that can foster a meaningful and mutually beneficial relationship

4. Study the best practices of not just organizations like yours, but also those who are successfully reaching the type of people you’re trying to reach – it’s benching marking against competitors and benchmarking against undefined opportunities

5. Translate all you’ve learned into a convincing presentation written to demonstrate tangible opportunity to your executive board, make the case through numbers, trends, data, insights – understanding they have no idea what’s going on out there and you are both the scout and the navigator (start with a recommended pilot so everyone can learn together)

6. Listen to what they’re saying and develop a process to learn from activity and adapt to interests and steer engagement based on insights

7. Recognize how they use social media and innovate based on what you observe to captivate their attention

8. Align your objectives with their objectives. If you’re unsure of what they’re looking for…ask

9. Invest in the development of content, engagement

10. Build a community, invest in values, spark meaningful dialogue, and offer tangible value…the kind of value they can’t get anywhere else. Take advantage of the medium and the opportunity!

The reality is that we live and compete in a perpetual era of Digital Darwinism, the evolution of consumer behavior when society and technology evolve faster than our ability to adapt. This is why it’s our time to alter our course. We must connect with those who are defining the future of engagement, commerce, business, and how the arts are appreciated and supported.

Even though it is the end of business as usual, it is the beginning of a new age of opportunity. The consumer revolution is already underway, and the question is: How do you better understand the role you play in this production as a connected or social consumer as well as business professional?

Again, this is your time to define a new era of engagement and relevance.

Originally written for The National Arts Marketing Project

Connect with Brian via: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook | Google+

---

Note from Michael: If you really like this post above - check out Brian's TEDTalk and his thought process for preparing it in this post:

http://www.briansolis.com/2012/10/tedtalk-reinventing-consumer-capitalism-screw-business-as-usual/



Tuesday Nov 27, 2012

Will Your Brand Survive the Age of Digital Darwinism?

Will your brand survive?

It’s the end of business as usual.  Trends such as the mobile web, social media, gamification and real-time are forcing businesses to rethink the way they operate.  At the same time, people are embracing a new digital culture across ever expanding networks.  Together, these trends have given rise to a new breed of connected consumer, one that is ready to shake the very foundation of business today.  This is the age of Digital Darwinism – where society and technology evolve faster than your ability to adapt.  How well poised is your brand to survive and thrive in this new environment?

Attend this webcast to hear Altimeter Group digital analyst and futurist, Brian Solis, discuss the rise of connected consumerism and learn how brands can survive Digital Darwinism by better understanding customer expectations, disruptive technology, and the new opportunities that arise from them. You will learn:

  • How brands are being redefined in the digital consumer landscape and what they can do to create and steer these experiences
  • Why consumer influence is growing and how businesses can use this to their advantage
  • How to connect with a rising audience through new touchpoints between consumers, brands, and influencers
  • Why you need to create a culture of change to earn trust, influence and significance among today’s connected customers

Register now.

Thursday Oct 04, 2012

Oracle Customer Experience Summit @ OpenWorld

This first-ever Oracle Customer Experience Summit @ OpenWorld kicked off yesterday, bringing together established thought leaders and practitioners in customer experience. The first day saw noted marketing and customer experience thought leader, Seth Godin, take the stage to discuss how rapidly accelerating change and adoption are driving new behaviors and higher expectations in a massively disruptive transformation in which the customer now holds the power. His presentation gave us in-depth insight into this always-connected, always-sharing experience revolution we are witnessing.

If you haven’t yet made it over to the Oracle Customer Experience Summit at The Westin St. Francis and the recently made over Oracle Square (aka Union Square), there’s still time today and tomorrow to network with industry peers and hear best practices from those who have steered their ventures through the disruptive trends of customer experience and have proven, successful strategies to share for driving strategic customer-centric initiatives.

Oracle Square


If you’re interested in learning how Oracle WebCenter helps businesses meet the demands of the customer experience revolution, be sure to check out these sessions at the Oracle Customer Experience Summit later today:

Using the Online Customer Experience to Drive Engagement and Marketing Success

Thursday, Oct 4, 4:15 PM - 5:15 PM - St. Francis - Georgian
Mariam Tariq - Senior Director Product Management, Oracle
Stephen Schleifer - Senior Principal Product Manager, Oracle
Richard Backx - Business IT Architect/Consultant, KPN NL Netco CE Channels Online

The online channel is a critical means of reaching and engaging customers. Online marketing efforts today must be targeted, interactive, and consistent to provide customers with a seamless experience. These efforts must include integrated management of Web, mobile, and social channels—supported by cross-channel customer data and campaigns—and integration with commerce to drive an engaging and differentiated online customer experience. Attend this session to learn how you can use the online channel to increase customer loyalty and drive the success of your marketing initiatives.

Empowering Your Frontline Employees: Sales and Service Enterprise Collaboration

Thursday, Oct 4, 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM - St. Francis - Elizabethan AB
Stephen Fioretti - VP, Product Management, Oracle
Peter Doolan - Group Vice President, Sales Engineering, Oracle
Andrew Kershaw - Sr Director Business Development, Oracle
Marty Marcinczyk - VP Customer Experience Engineering, Comcast

A focus on the employee experience is critical, because it can make or break your customers’ experiences, directly or indirectly. Engaged and empowered frontline employees become your best advocates and inspire your brand champions. This session explores proven approaches and tools, including social collaboration tools, that can help you empower and enable your frontline teams to improve customer and employee experiences.

And before you go, you'll also want to explore the Innovation Tents in Oracle Square which feature leading-edge customer experience demonstrations; attend our customer journey mapping workshop; and learn at sessions focused on innovating differentiated experiences that drive cross-functional alignment.

Monday Oct 01, 2012

Oracle Social @ OpenWorld

 Hi there -  Wanna know what going on at Oracle Open World and Social?

 Here are the hot tips!


 Do you want to see  the Oracle Social Engagement Center in action ?

You can explore the power of social publishing (Vitrue)  and the live social  monitoring (Collective Intellect) of  the Social Buzz around OpenWorld.
Let's see if you appear in the Tweeter stream :-).

Visit us  at Moscone South main entrance (foursquare place)  and meet  the Oracle Social Geeks  , @dankmbp and team.


Are you a  social developer  and want to discover Oracle Social Network (OSN) ?

cool - you can still  join the OSN Developers Challenge , take the OSN technical preview tour and meet our WebCenter evangelists Jake (@theappslab) and @noelportugal.


Do you want to meet the Oracle Social Geeks and have some fun? 


Then join us at the Social Plaza @ Oracle OpenWorld event on Tuesday, October 2, Noon–8:00 p.m. at the  Mint Plaza, Fifth Street between Mission and Market.

cu you all at #oow


Sunday Sep 30, 2012

WebCenter Customer Advisory Board meetings kick off Oracle Open World 2012!

Welcome to OpenWorld! OpenWorld 2012 got underway today with a series of meetings with the members of the WebCenter Customer Advisory Board. Led by the WebCenter Product Management team, these meetings are a great way for the product team and customers to directly interact and discuss real-life business challenges, product details and to discuss upcoming features and functionality.

This year, board members participated in discussions around live demos around product enhancements that will be featured throughout the coming week. Highlights included a variety of new mobile and social solutions, a great new user interface for WebCenter Content plus new Portal and Sites functionality that makes the experience for the everyday user a lot more pleasant.

The day kicked off with Roel Stalman, VP of Product Management, giving a detailed overview of what’s new in WebCenter. Given all the improvements to discuss, this session went over 2 hours! Roel showcased the brand new UI for Content, Portal and Sites. He also gave live demos of the new mobile apps for WebCenter Content, Portal and the Oracle Social Network.  The attendees then broke into sub-groups in order to deep-dive with Product Management for the Portal, Sites, and Content product areas on specific functionality and application integrations.

If you are here in San Francisco this week for OpenWorld, I definitely recommend stopping by the WebCenter area in the Moscone West Exhibition Hall to see some of this new functionality for yourself. And be sure to check out the WebCenter sessions throughout the week as those give us a chance to discuss direction and strategy, answer your questions and get your feedback and ideas.

For those of you could not make it to OpenWorld this year, we miss you! You can stay in touch with what is happening via this blog and by following #oow and #webcenter on Twitter. Additionally, we will be rolling out details on upcoming products and release info over the coming months via this blog and web seminars. Stay tuned!

Friday Sep 07, 2012

Can’t Miss Webinar: The Nine Cs of Customer Engagement

In recent years, we’ve seen social media evolve from a cool but unproven medium to become the foundation of pragmatic social business and a driver of business value.  Yet, with the onset of social media fatigue, time seems to be running out for businesses to make the most out of this important channel for customer engagement. Attend our upcoming webcast to hear industry analyst R “Ray” Wang of Constellation Research explain how to apply the nine Cs of customer engagement. Hosted by Senior Director of Evangelism for Oracle WebCenter, Christian Finn, this webcast promises a lively discussion where you'll learn:

  • How to overcome social media fatigue and make the most of the medium
  • Why engagement is the most critical factor in the age of overexposure
  • The nine pillars of successful customer engagement
This event is part of our Social Business Thought Leaders Webcast Series featuring industry experts with leading perspectives about how social tools, technology, and the changing workplace are affecting businesses today. You can register for upcoming webcasts or view past webcasts on demand here.

Thursday Sep 06, 2012

Oracle's Vision for the Social-Enabled Enterprise

Oracle Executive Strategy Update. Oracle’s Vision for the Social-Enabled Enterprise. Oracle Cloud

Join us for the Webcast.

Mon., Sept. 10, 2012
10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET

Twitter Join the conversation:
#oracle and #socbiz
Mark Hurd

Mark Hurd

President, Oracle

Thomas Kurian

Thomas Kurian

Executive Vice President, Product Development, Oracle

Reggie Bradford

Reggie Bradford

Senior Vice President, Product Development, Oracle

Dear Colleague,

Smart companies are developing social media strategies to engage customers, gain brand insights, and transform employee collaboration and recruitment. Oracle is powering this transformation with the most comprehensive enterprise social platform that lets you:

  • Monitor and engage in social conversations
  • Collect and analyze social data
  • Build and grow brands through social media
  • Integrate enterprisewide social functionality into a single system
  • Create rich social applications

Join Oracle President Mark Hurd and senior Oracle executives to learn more about Oracle’s vision for the social-enabled enterprise.

Register now for this Webcast.

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Oracle WebCenter is the center of engagement for business—powering exceptional experiences for customers, partners, and employees. It connects people, process, and information with the most complete portfolio of portal, Web experience management, content, imaging and collaboration technologies.

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