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Making the Strategic Social Leap

Posted on 8.27.2013

Advancing from Analytics to Business Opps

:: By Richard Pasewark, CEO of Visible Technologies ::

For years, marketing directors have asked themselves the same three burning questions:

How can we make our next product leapfrog the competition?

How can we innovate product development cycles to quickly leverage the latest consumer-driven trends?

How can we quickly shift advertising spend to make sure it is targeted at the audiences with greatest potential?

For each of these decisions to be deciphered marketers must understand consumer-generated data and trends quickly – more importantly, through uncovering these answers and insights marketers are able to drive their marketing activities forward.

While some people still view social media as an untested sandbox, which offers interesting reports and light analytics, others have come to realize the power it holds to engage brands directly with their customers. Social media analytics has quickly moved past the basic social media measurement to leverage real-time insights that yield tangible results. With the information gleaned, companies are making decisions surrounding marketing and customer support initiatives helping to plan, spend, measure, interact and deliver results in a more efficient manner.

Consumers Are Speaking – Listen and Learn!

About two years ago, a major automotive company wanted to evaluate conversations about their new in-dash telematics product by analyzing social sentiment. Through social analytics they determined there was significant positive commentary about this particular system. More importantly, 35 percent of those conversations were taking place in social channels, blogs and electronics forums that spun to a much younger demographic. This information told them that the target demographic perceived this as a differentiated technology, based on the sheer volume of conversations, the relevance and reach of these sites, and how the conversation contained key themes and topics related to the product.

Based on this information they made the decision to switch media spend to these youthful sites and away from the traditional automotive forums. By focusing some of their new car marketing on these sites, featuring specific car models, they obtained visibility in front of a key demographic.

To this day, the company continues to measure new product launches and inform their global marketing spend and allocation across a wide variety of languages and markets.

Product Launched. What Next?

Social analytics allows brands to evaluate and engage with their branded community forums with a holistic perspective. Brand managers can take advantage of the available data during product launches to compare certain figures and create a better idea of where that launch is heading – positive or negative. Within two weeks, brands can see what areas of the marketing launch program are working and what they should quickly consider modifying – a process that took up to six months to accomplish just a couple years ago.

Interestingly, the analytics driving these management decisions are the same ones motivating specific comments, posts and threads to the representatives in the branded community marketing program. Brands looking at this information are able to see conversations from an individual whose persona indicates that he or she is a decision maker, a Fortune 500 company with 10,000 users, and/or if they are interested in the technology. This allows brand managers the ability to target and refine the expert interaction, which is one of the most powerful capabilities for marketers.

Identifying the Next Big Thing

Overall, product managers’ goals are to launch and have a big win, like identifying a market space where there is an unmet need. Last year, through the work of social insights, one of the largest consumer brands found an unfulfilled consumer need showing many consumers using certain hair care products in a novel way. The consumers had the perception that using certain hair care products in a different combination would produce more luxurious results. These insights suggested that the brand launch new products to meet this need. The brand used the social media data to drive field and product testing, integrate the analysis with this testing, validate the results with qualitative research and then launch the new product. By listening to customers and taking action on what they heard, the brand’s new product has seen incredible sales results, proving that social is driving tangible revenue.

Winning with Speed and Insights

All of these brands could have gone the traditional route to get these results, but it would have taken years. Simply put, social media analysis and engagement platforms uncover relevant consumer feedback and behavior more efficiently.

Any company can leverage this technology; it doesn’t take thousands of employees or millions of dollars – just the insight to understand where social intelligence fits into their brand’s marketing ecosystem.

About the Author

Richard Pasewark is the CEO of Visible Technologies®, the industry leader in advanced social intelligence and engagement for innovative enterprises and agencies around the globe. He views the social media landscape from an enterprise marketing perspective – leveraging his experience working with some of the most innovative brands and advertising agencies in the world. This background helps identify ways clients can generate value and results via social intelligence software and services; and provides the inspiration on the next generation of solutions that help marketing leadership prove results and ROI. He brings over two decades of experience as a business leader, strategist, and software visionary for industry icons such as Quark, Adobe, and EDS.

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