Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

SEC Social Business Framework

October 21st, 2010

Beyond social media and marketing, Social Business is really about internal and external customer experience –a cross-functional responsibility of the entire organization.  To help executives wrap their arms around the key pieces that can be augmented through social efforts, the Social Executive Council (SEC) created the Social Business Framework. This framework is designed to help organizations understand how to align, manage, and bring cohesion to business objectives, company activities, and social solutions. In essence, this framework “operationalizes” social business in a manner that modularizes its components into company-relevant pieces that can then be utilized to build a social roadmap of strategic and tactical steps that facilitate implementation.

This framework also helps executives visually understand the complexities associated with a successful social program, as well as gain clarity on the:

  • Multidimensional benefits of an enterprise-wide social enablement program.
  • The structured business gains when implementing a social communication layer that allows free flow of ideas and reporting.
  • Limiting results gained when assigning social activities to one silo-ed department and/or junior marketing/public relations associate.
  • Opportunity costs of not participating in this program from a financial, efficiency and productivity perspective.

The SEC is an active forum for senior executives to collaborate and adapt the Social Business Framework to their own organization. The impact is too large and too overwhelming to do it alone —the SEC and this framework are here to facilitate the process and help our members gain social market leadership.

Social Business Investment Should be 20% of Corporate Budgets

October 8th, 2010
What?? Are you crazy?
But when you consider social business is really about customer experience; you also realize that customer experience is really an crass-functional, organization wide responsibility. Social media has lowered the cost of communications, opened up the levels of transparency in business that we have never seen. Organizations cannot just assign it to marketing and go about their business. The impact is too large and too overwhelming.
We have seen a tremendous number of CIO and CMO’s tell us that they are struggling with the amount of information being generated in their organizations and they see it growing exponentially. VP’s of HR are seeing the way potential employees engage with organizations changing. Sales and partner organizations are trying to deal with the amount of noise and the speed of change. All of this has impact on our organizations and eventually, we believe, market valuations. Every function is trying to adapt to the speed of change and the amount of information now being readily available due to social media. Social business is not going to work if it is seen as a siloed functional initiative.
We have seen the similar evolution in other technologies; ERP and the Web where the evolution of the market, technologies, and business processes were silo-ed and eventually evolved into cohesive platforms. We are seeing the similar evolution in Social Business with the disruption being as impactful as many of the technologies disruptions that we have seen in the last few decades.
We are seeing at the project level where “social” projects are really 80% traditional and 20% social, but the sequencing, priority, and objectives look radically different.
If the customer experience is fundamentally going to change from the “over-automated” to a semi-automated, more personalized model, then your business systems and processes, even your people are going to have to adapt. 20% may be too little, but with a 3-5 year plan and systemic and consistent innovation; companies will be positioned to succeed.
The alternatives would be to look at the 62, all market leaders, of the Fortune 100 companies that got caught and replaced on the list of the Fortune’s biggest companies. They got caught flat-footed, or too invested in their business models to adapt to the web. Competitors caught them from behind and grew much faster. Many aren’t even around today.
This is why the SEC is so valuable. The exchange of ideas with other business drivers, the collaboration around why, what, and how… and a small enough pond to enable all of us to see the real “best in class” partners to help us deliver within our organizations.

“What?? Are you crazy?”  Ok, when you pick yourself off of the floor, consider the following….

How much do you spend on customer relationships? No just CRM, not just marketing, but all of the systems, processes, and people to support customers. If you are like most companies, you are spending probably 90% related to customers in some way. If the customer experience changes radically, 20% may not be enough.

But when you consider social business is really about customer experience; you also realize that customer experience is really an crass-functional, organization wide responsibility. Social media has lowered the cost of communications, opened up the levels of transparency in business that we have never seen. Organizations cannot just assign it to marketing and go about their business. The impact is too large and too overwhelming.

We have seen a tremendous number of CIO and CMO’s tell us that they are struggling with the amount of information being generated in their organizations and they see it growing exponentially. VP’s of HR are seeing the way potential employees engage with organizations changing. Sales and partner organizations are trying to deal with the amount of noise and the speed of change. All of this has impact on our organizations and eventually, we believe, market valuations. Every function is trying to adapt to the speed of change and the amount of information now being readily available due to social media. Social business is not going to work if it is seen as a siloed functional initiative.

We have seen the similar evolution in other technologies; ERP and the Web where the evolution of the market, technologies, and business processes were silo-ed and eventually evolved into cohesive platforms. We are seeing the similar evolution in Social Business with the disruption being as impactful as many of the technologies disruptions that we have seen in the last few decades.

We are even seeing it at the project level where “social” projects are really 80% traditional and 20% social, but the sequencing, priority, and objectives look radically different.

If the customer experience is fundamentally going to change from the “over-automated” to a semi-automated, more personalized model, then your business systems and processes; even your people are going to have to adapt. 20% may be too little, but with a 3-5 year plan and systemic and consistent innovation; companies will be positioned to succeed.

The alternatives would be to look at the 62 companies during 1989-99, all market leaders, of the Fortune 100 companies that got caught and replaced on the list of the Fortune’s biggest companies. They got caught flat-footed, or too invested in their business models to adapt to the web. Competitors caught them from behind and grew much faster. Many aren’t even around today.

Trouble Justifying the Social Business Impact to Organization

October 4th, 2010

If you are like most business executives, you are struggling to justify the value of all this social business stuff in your heads let alone across the table from the rest of the management team. Don’t get me wrong, there are folks getting some good wins from the social media marketing on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.; but we all know that mainstream business isn’t buying the “build it and they will come” in a recessionary economy. Most senior executives bought the farm on the “web” and realize that much of the hype needs to settle before setting sail on the good ship “social business”.

All true… however, justification is the least of your problems. See, the customer isn’t waiting for your organization to figure it out. The problem for your organization is that the customers are still figuring out what the social business impact is on their buying process and how that will translate to their customer experience and perceived value. The savvy ones are already leveraging the social technologies to become “smarter” and to club the crap out of brands that provide crappy service. But, this is still in the realm of anecdotal. When buyers punish a major brand with rapid market share loss, then we will all wake up to real value of social business. The problem is that it may take your organization a while to do something about it.

I don’t think behavior changes well based upon fear. I believe that change comes from real desire of the perceived benefits. Let me share the opportunity side of this equation. Social business, if done right, has the potential to bring large numbers of customer opportunities at a fraction of the cost of traditional customer acquisition. You have the ability to significantly lower costs throughout the customer delivery process, and drive a huge impact to the bottom line in terms of organizational productivity. The web gave a huge boost to organizations. Remember how many administrative assistants used to run around organizations?

Here are some of the areas of impact as examples:

  • Customer Acquisition - if your cost of customer acquisition via traditional marketing run in the $XXX per customer, we can assume that number is based upon a large number of false leads along with a large number of abandoned ones along with the fact your staff can only handle Y amount of leads comfortably. The challenge is that you cannot figure out who is a shopper who will lead to a buyer versus a browser who will lead to nowhere fast. The problem is we can’t tell which is which. We also assume that we can’t, but what if we could? What if they were encouraged to self-identify? What if we spent very little money until they did? Would your marketing and customer acquisition costs become much more streamlined?
  • Distribution Channels- there are only a few real reasons to partner with a distribution channel; 1. cost of acquisition can be much lower because they already have a relationship and 2. see #1. So, the problem most organizations have with channels is that they are inefficient and not aligned with our mission. They carry multiple products (many of their own) and don’t have the same level of training and expertise as our own. For many channel organizations, the partners still bring more sales and better market positioning. Many organizations are struggling on how to drive more leads through channels, convert at a higher rate, and train their people to do better. A little fix could go a long way to producing better channels. Social has the opportunity to build better channels if done correctly; better, faster, cheaper, and easier.
  • Customer Experience – Conventional wisdom is that it is less expensive to maintain customers than to acquire new ones. Unfortunately, for many organizations they do such a mediocre job of managing the customer experience, you have to wonder. I suspect that 20% of calls into a call center account for 50% of the costs. When a customer gets off the script, there isn’t a computer system smart enough in the world to solve that problem. However, what if you could go to a semi-automated system that could cost 20% of your costs? What if you could improve the customer experience at the same time? What if you didn’t require them to log into your website or sit on hold for 20 minutes? I know the customers are saying “bring it on.”
  • Organizational Collaboration- a lot of organizations are trying to make themselves more productive – say just 5% savings in resources has a huge boost to profits and market value. Unfortunately, many organizations are trying to work harder by doing what they are doing a little more efficiently. But, the fix isn’t do what we are doing better, but rather starting with “why are we doing it?” Many of our current business systems are designed to make the organization scalable, but not necessarily make the customer experience better for the users or the customers. If your systems are 5-10 years old, much of the latest generation of business systems are rethinking the idea of collaboration. Many of the latest business systems have moved to reuse-able, re-purpose-able components that enable users to assemble solutions in real-time based upon their needs. Social business systems; social networks and online community applications have the ability to allow organizations to bring the right information to people based upon their needs, not a generic web template. How much time is spent looking for information or the right people who know an answer? How many business processes have been broken by a frustrated customer? How many exceptions do you have to allow?
  • Hiring and Maintaining the Right People -Anyone who has gone through a hiring process lately knows that the recruiting process is broken; job boards, applicant tracking systems, deluge of resume cramming recruiters, managed service providers, resume services, etc. all are seeing the commoditization of the hiring process. When did hiring the right people become a commodity? When we move away from getting our people to find and connect with the right employees to protecting their time from the volume of crappy candidates; you know that the systems are broken. Used to be that hiring was a competitive advantage and that hiring the right people was seen as a “must do”, now seen as a luxury. What if we could screen out the masses and allow our people time with the right potential hires? What if we could empower our employees to bring in other people who share their values and work ethic? What if we got the organizations to support employees the right way by empowering them as individuals and not “risks” and “costs.”

Social business isn’t about social media. Just like the web wasn’t really about HTML. The real value is in the humanization of business. Social is about swinging the pendulum back towards the center. We automated our businesses for growth and efficiency, but we gutted the hearts right out of them. Nothing I described above is new in business, but is impossible in large businesses today. Or at least not consistently and beyond the exceptional; ie the employee who goes out of his/her way to satisfy a customer, a colleague who stays late to help you find the right information, the hiring manager who connects with a seemingly unqualified candidate, but who has the intangibles they need.

I am not into squishy business feel-goods, but I do believe that the social technologies will humanize business and I do believe that the organizations that can leverage these technologies to improve the customer, partner, and employee experiences effectively on an efficient basis will receive tremendous market opportunities.

We saw that 62 of the top 100 businesses get caught and passed from behind in a 10 year span from 1989 to 1999 in large part due to the web’s disruptive impact in distributing information more efficiently. I believe that we are in the current 10 year cycle that will see similar impact with the ability for the web to deliver better collaboration experiences at a fundamentally lower cost of delivery than traditional means. Those who can leverage these technologies to lower the costs of transactions and relationships will receive higher market share and valuations.

Call it “feel-good with an edge.”

10 Ways Marketers Quickly Kill Online Social Relationships

May 25th, 2010
  1. Invite me to your local social networking events that are completely across town & send me a different invite every day
  2. Invite me to Mafia Wars, Farmville, Star Wars, and any number of games on Facebook. If you are the 428th person to invite me, what makes you think I will join now. For the record, I am not an online sim type game player, I am a news junkie (business and politics), send me that stuff. Better yet, ask me what I am interested in…
  3. Just because we are connected on a social network does not make us friends. Not sure that even classifies as acquaintances. Etiquette rules still apply.
  4. No matter how many times you spam me with your special of the week or forwarded tweet, I will not think better of you.
  5. I delete canned spam messages in my inbox from people that I don’t know or don’t recognize. I can’t keep up, gave up. Even if from social media sites…
  6. No, I won’t connect to you on Facebook if you send me a cold introduction from countries that are possible sources of terrorists or identify theft suspect.
  7. Inviting me to the “latest” social media platform from a canned system generated email is so 2005.
  8. Not having a clear way to delete my profile from said type platforms is even worse
  9. Just because you have 200,000 fans on your corporate facebook page does not mean that your customer service has improved.
  10. No, I don’t generally connect to corporate twitter accounts unless I have a real reason to connect. Even if I do, doesn’t mean that I am a loyal customer.

I will throw in some freebies – No matter how many emails your email marketing system sends me, I will NEVER have a relationship with the system. You may be able to catch my interest, you may be able to even get me to buy something, but we will never have a relationship. Relationships involve emotions, systems involve information and data. See the disconnect?

The challenge is that many organizations have lost sight of the fact that, although they have tons of customers, even tens of millions, buyer behavior has to involve both emotion and intellect. Creative marketing does not create passionate buyers. Just because Apple or Google creates great ads does not mean that I will run out and buy the product. You need great product; you need some compelling value proposition beyond just a presence or brand recall. How are you going to rise above the noise?

You ever see an ad campaign that was started 10 years ago and was a hit that is so now over-done that you pray that it dies a slow death? You wish you could just reach out to the VP of Marketing and the AD team and beg them to try something different. A couple of keys there… Despite recall there is negative brand equity and an extreme desire to talk to someone to explain what they are doing wrong in alienating the market. Faceless corporate entity that has stopped listening and focused on “branding”.

Just because you create a great Facebook page does not mean that fans will flock to your site and you will be written up in the Marketer’s Hall of Fame. Not that I am sure there is even one to begin one… How does Facebook posts tie back to brand strategy let alone revenue or corporate objectives. You may have a plan, but if it isn’t evident, it isn’t working…. And don’t get me started on how Twitter isn’t a marketing strategy…. … or that it isn’t a plan if I can’t read it…

Remember Fields of Dreams – “Build it and they will come….” – the real miracle isn’t that they had ghost players in the field, but rather that they built a baseball field in the middle of Iowa and people showed up, even after compelling visions…

It is like going to a Consumer Electronics Show -like tradeshow (125,000 attendees and 1000+ booths) and you have a 10X10 booth in the back. How are you going to get people to come to your booth? If you try the tried and true approach of branded shaped squeeze toys like you neighbor selling electronic, remote control dogs over there, you might as well go home. You don’t have the budget to hire Aerosmith to rock out in your booth, and you don’t have a bevy of massage tables to give free massages. How are you going to get attention and build sufficient traffic to get your percentage?

The reality is that social media is a tradeshow or conference in the sky. Human nature is human nature online or offline, it is the same. Rules of engagement and extent of connection are different, but the core interactions and motivations are the same.

You have to establish relationship, understand motivations, build momentum, give value before asking, establish trust, support their buying process, and be relevant to their needs. Oh, and make sure that you are high enough on their priority list so they pay attention. The rest is about etiquette, influence, and value….

Building A Social Marketing Business Case – Part 1 – Definitions

April 22nd, 2010

This multi-part series will provide information on social marketing and answer the following questions:

  • What is it? (I already can hear, not another buzz word….)
  • Why is a new definition required beyond Social Media, Social Networking, Social CRM, or Web 2.0 Marketing? (gotcha there)
  • So what? Why should I worry about this? Hint: Revenue Generation and Customer Referrals (I assume this would be important to you)
  • What does a Social Marketing strategy look like?
  • What does a Social Marketing Roadmap look like for this?
  • How do I leverage what I am already doing?
  • How do I build a Social Marketing Business Case?
  • How do I measure Social Marketing?

Now that I got the major questions out of the way, let move next into the definitions;

Social Marketing – The re-orientation of traditional marketing to reflect the new post-digital, network relationship oriented, and influencer-driven social interactions. Social Marketing leverages a multi-channel, multi-directional approach towards building relationships with a transition away from the structured Marketing roles of product management, product marketing, marketing communications, public relations, channel marketing, sales support. Instead, marketing is reoriented around enabling the key interactions that support the buying process.

Social Media – Basically, you have the social networks that you participate and the online communities that you own which are built into your corporate website. See my post on Social Media is Like Fishing for more details. Social Media is changing buyer behavior, coming more fluid, and marketing must adjust the model to to support the reflected changes. See my post on the Changing Role of the CMO for further explanation. Read more

Online Communities – communities of interest built upon a foundation of Web 2.0 social networking tools; profile, blog, wiki, social bookmarking, calendaring, media sharing, etc that enable the user to interact with other users and content through the website. See my post on Online Community Blueprint for more details.

Post-Digital - If everything is becoming digital, why does digital matter? The buyer doesn’t really care if the interaction is on the web, they just want to get what they need. A lot of marketing still segments online and offline which creates an artificial barrier to developing a seamless customer experience.