Continuing with an article I posted earlier on this week, I found additional poignant information on the importance of data collection and analysis from social media in the IBM study From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study. The study interviewed over 1,700 IBM Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), spanning 19 industries and 64 countries. This study was conducted as part of a larger C-suite Studies initiative that has spanned the past seven years.
Here at MavenSocial, we have been declaring from every rooftop the importance of Data and Relationships. Now you must be wondering, how do the two connect? Very simply, companies need to shift their focus from strict data collection and analysis to data collection for the purpose of building relationships.
Building formidable relationships with one’s consumer base is important for every company looking to increase sales (who isn’t!) and the key to this interaction is social media. Jeannette Schmitteckert, Head of Marketing and Public Relations at Bardusch GmbH & Co. KG explains that “we have to increase customer loyalty. The digital technologies represent an important channel with which to interact with clients and attract them to our service.”
How do we create consumer loyalty?
Through creating authentic connections with consumers. Social media provides the platform connecting with a brand’s consumers.
The Marketing Funnel has Changed:
The traditional marketing funnel is no longer sufficient when assessing consumer assessment and interaction with the brand. The marketing funnel ends at the completion of the sale, thus missing consumer interactions with the brand after the fact.
With the outdated marketing funnel, once the consumer makes their purchase, the sales cycle is complete. David C. Edelman explains in his Harvard Business Review article on Branding in the Digital Age: You’re Spending Your Money in all the Wrong Places that in the age of digital, consumers are using social media to induce an open-ended relationship with the brand, sharing
their experience online across multiple platforms.
The IBM study stresses that outperforming organizations have already made this change, and are using far more data throughout the entire consumer lifecycle than their underperforming counterparts. They explain that the differences are specifically apparent in two phases: “phases devoted to stimulating awareness and desire, and building advocacy after the sale.”
Part of building a strong relationship with consumers is creating and enforcing a strong corporate culture. Social media and the Internet have opened the information floodgates. Now more than ever, consumers are privy to information on employee treatment, product manufacturing processes, environment policies and follow-through, executive pay, and treatment of retirees and suppliers. This type of knowledge can affect purchasing decisions. With the rate of information moving faster than light-speed, it’s important that companies implement and enforce transparent governance policies.
What a company stands for is as important as what it sells.
Data collection for the purpose of creating relationships with consumers is the most important aspect of a company’s marketing and sales strategy. Here at MavenSocial, we use WhiteFire Social software to
- Identify and track the economic impact of influencers on your brand
- Generate traffic and social lift
- Generate quick SEO landing pages for A/B testing
- Create and manage Facebook contests
We use this data to help companies create online and Facebook campaigns, where companies are able to track relationships and understand what drives people to share brand information with their community.
Data collection for the purpose of building relationships through social media is the way of the future – are you plugged in?
Changing Tides: How Companies are Realizing the Importance of Social Media Influencers and Data Collection
Recently I came across a study IBM, From Stretched to Strengthened – Insights from the Global Chief Marketing Officer Study. The study interviewed over 1,700 IBM Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs), spanning 19 industries and 64 countries. This study was conducted as part of a larger C-suite Studies initiative that has spanned the past seven years.
I’m floored by this study because it reiterates what we have been doing at MavenSocial for years now. We have understood the importance of social media and its affect on brands. A brand’s online social media presence can make or break a company. Many
companies fail to understand the importance of social media, and continue to only engage in traditional forms of marketing, such as direct mail, television, and magazine ads.
The Future: It’s About Data
The goal of every company and brand should be to connect with, and enter the social media realm. In this realm they need to be equipped with proper analytics that recognizes preferences, trends, and patterns across all touch points.
The IBM study shared that they should re-prioritize their investments to analyze digital channels, such as blogs, tweets, social networks, peer reviews and consumer-generated content. All of this is done so that the company has access to “customer’s honest, unmediated views, values, and expectations”.
Paired with powerful social media data and metrics from our WhiteFire Social software, blogging team, and interactive Facebook campaign, MavenSocial can track the life of any brand’s campaign from start to finish. As I have shared before, we are able to identify and track the campaign’s social media influencers, allowing the brand to connect with the influencer and cement their positive brand messaging throughout the life of the campaign and generations after.
The IBM study also shared that market and technology factors are the two most powerful external forces affecting the organization today. With the top four challenges being the “explosion of data, social media, the proliferation of channels and devices, and shifting consumer demographics”. It is imperative that companies have streamlined social media strategy and data analysis software that will ensure brand awareness cross-pollination.
It’s About Relationships:
Customer loyalty is best cultivated online. Social media allows the brand to create a personal experience for the consumer. Platforms such as Facebook allow companies to share brand information on someone’s personal space. Between comments from friends, and pictures of your sister’s new baby, when someone likes a brand’s Facebook Page they have direct access to that individual’s newsfeed.
A telecommunications CMO in Japan explains that the social media space needs to be understood by companies as they attempt to connect with, and increase customer loyalty. He explains “loyalty and customer satisfaction are critical because advocates online provide you will immeasurably valuable free marketing”.
IBM has 3 top priorities for managing the shift towards digital technologies:
1) Enhance customer loyalty/advocacy – 63%
2) Design experience for table/mobile apps – 57%
3) Use social media as a key engagement channel – 56%
This shift will demand that company’s stay on top of their social media strategy and strive to identify the best and the brightest in the social media analytics industry. The next few years will see an unparalleled increase in innovation, where customers will continue to demand brand transparency and best practices.
Consumer Motivation: Self-Serving
Motivation for many people is completely self-serving; it is about time that we accepted this fact and worked with it, instead of denying or rationalizing it. 70% of the CMOs interviewed in the IBM study, believed that people “Like” a Facebook page to “get information, express an opinion and feel connected to their brand”. In actuality, people like the page because they want to know W.I.I.F.M., or what’s in it for me? The top reasons that consumers give for following a company is “getting discounts (61%)” and “making purchases” (55%). Only 33% of followers connect with company’s via social media to “feel connected”.
Ann Glover, the CMO of ING Insurance U.S. sums it up nicely when she says “Customers today have more control and influence with the brand than ever. We need to make sure it’s give and take – a two-sided conversation, with both parties having responsibilities in the interaction.”