Category Archives: Social Media

Why should clients come to you every time?

Eight reasons really.

  1. Because you are strongly interested in and deeply care about solving clients’ problem, and not interested merely in selling your product or service and making the quarterly targets
  2. Because you put real expert people in front of the clients and not a call center number, which if the client calls, often generates a mediocre experience
  3. Because you have the expertise, you have the experience, you hire smart people and you have long term commitment to the business you are in
  4. Because you are eager to share your expertise and expertise with the client proactively; one of the ways to do this can be publishing a lot of online content such as blogs, videos, frameworks, methodologies, case studies of past success, white papers for future ideas, etc. and make all this content available on social media channels
  5. Because your pricing is realistic and you are willing to sample some stuff initially, so that the clients know that you seriously want their business
  6. Because your solutions and recommendations are realistic, based on insights from data analytics, actionable, and innovative and most importantly, help clients in gaining a competitive edge
  7. Because you want to develop long term sustainable relationship with the clients and co-create value in the long run, thus leading to creation of wealth
  8. Last but not the least, because you keep your promises and only make those which you can keep
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How can saleforce.com make the Marketing Cloud (Radian6 and Buddy Media) more valuable?

Simple. By bundling these tools with consultative inputs and actionable insights generated by real people, who are knowledgeable, have domain expertise and who deeply care about solving client’s problems.

I read this – Salesforce.com Laying Off Radian6 Employees As Buddy Media Shows $20 Million Net Loss, and didn’t feel good about it. So, here are my two cents to SFDC.

I work in the social media monitoring and analysis space and I understand the pain. The real art in this space is to bridge the gap between the analytics seen on the dashboard and the action that marketing team or the agency should take. There lies the problem and that’s what the client is willing to pay for (I do this stuff daily!)

Listening tools such as Radian6 and engagement tools such as Buddy Media, are exactly those. Tools. They are convenient and wonderful. But they tell you what you ask them or they do what you tell them. Tools rarely offer insights or direction. Insights and direction are the things successful marketing teams do differently. Are these tools going to ever offer competitive advantage? Remember, client’s competition can also buy them at the same price.

So, where is the different? The difference is in what marketing teams do with these tools. That is where SFDC may find it worth to invest.

Tools plus people will achieve the following:

  • Build analytics and interpret analytics, know the truth and tell the truth and generate insights (The “what” part.)
  • Based on the insights, understand what needs to be done, i.e. make the insights actionable (The “so what” part.)
  • Suggest action, or better yet, do it for the client i.e. make decisions, run campaigns and ship (The “now what” part.)

The above three points constitute the entire story. If any element is missing, the story is incomplete. As I see it, the third piece may be missing in the Marketing Cloud story.

Anyone listening?

A big disclaimer : These are my personal views and they do not represent the views of my employer.

 

Actionable analytics: A blended approach to consultative problem solving

When it comes to digital or social media analytics, companies often take two distinct approaches: quantitative analytics and qualitative analytics. Various analytics software products provide quantitative analysis and these are in abundance in the market. Qualitative analytics is expensive and rarely standard. Each in isolation isn’t sufficient to solve business problems. Hence a blended approach is needed which can be called “consulting with analytics”. (I tried blending the two to form something like “conalytics” but that didn’t sound right.)

Quantitative analytics products: These are based on the approach of automating the analytics process. Typically the assumptions here are: the data is too big to analyze, the data discovery, extraction and indexing process is tedious, generating an output will take time etc. These are all realistic challenges which companies solve using automated tools and technologies. The analytics products here may include counting software (those which count keywords and phrases, links to your blogs, web traffics, no of clicks, click-through rates, conversions, likes, dislikes, views, etc.).

Although there can be advance levels of counting such as establishing funnels, understanding responses to various web-page designs, comparing campaigns on various platforms and what not, counting in itself is not analytics. These software usually do insufficient justice to the qualitative aspect of data or user behavior. Advance textual analytics software or natural language process systems also address those issues based on pre-developed taxonomies and ontologies but their accuracy is a significant obstacle and however advanced they claim to be, these rarely match human intuition.

Qualitative analytics services: What machines cannot do, human beings have to do. No machine can understand and interpret data better than a trained human mind. Such an offering can be based on number of hours billed, number of resources employed, their skill set, location of work etc. Human analysts read through the data, qualitatively interpret and analyze it, categorize it, tag it and consolidate findings. Such approach is best to determine qualitative analytics such as conversation themes, product preferences, reasons for liking and disliking, trends, opinions, recommendations, views on features and comparative analytics etc. The biggest issue here is scalability. Although highly accurate and of a high quality, such analytics output cannot be scaled.

Hence the blended approach: quantitative and qualitative analytics together to produce a coherent meaningful analytics output.

Qualitative analytics + quantitative analytics + consulting skills

Qualitative analytics + quantitative analytics + consulting skills

Even with this there is no guarantee that actionable insights will be evident from the analytics. For effective problem solving and providing meaningful actionable insights, far more is needed; correct diagnosis of the problem, domain expertise, learning from historic examples, experience in solution design, understanding of the macro environment and ability to mobilize resources and implement solutions. In short, consulting skills are needed. Those, only human being can do.

If you want to solve business problems based on analytics, don’t just buy software or hire or rent people. Find a vendor that does it all; provides analytics software, provides human analytics services and provides actionable solutions.

Digital and Social Media Marketing – Strategic Framework: Introduction

Digital and Social Media Marketing – Strategic Framework

More often than not, digital marketers or social media marketing managers tend to chase their next successful campaign. There is ample advice on the web around campaign management. Typically, such content address tactical issues such as how to initiate a digital or social media campaign, how to optimize it, how to improve click-through rates, how to perform better on conversions, which analytics tools to use, how to integrate multiple campaigns into one platform etc. If you find often find yourselves consuming such advice, there is a good chance that you manage such digital initiatives for your employer or you work at an agency that manages them for clients.

This series of blog posts is for companies or managers how haven’t aren’t there yet. Which direction would you take if you are starting from scratch? Which factors would you consider if you are asked to set up digital marketing at a company? Below is a framework that direction to think about this.

In upcoming blog posts, I will elaborate on both strategic as well as tactical aspects of this framework. I will also present another framework aimed at providing direction towards establishing a self-sustaining unit that creates value.

The most significant value proposition of this model is that it envisions the measurable parameters right from the beginning. The problem I am trying to solve it simple; never lose the sight of the “measurable”. What gets measured gets done. What gets done gets rewarded.

Digital and Social Media Marketing Strategic Framework

Digital and Social Media Marketing Strategic Framework