Posts Tagged ‘profitability’

CMO: Time for Social Programs with Provable Profits

Just Published!  Social IMC – Social Strategies with Bottom-line ROI

While there are many books talking about engaging people on social media like Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, LinkedIn and hundreds more, all describe the return you will get in general terms.  Usually, the discussion first informs you social ROI [return on investment] doesn’t exist as a financial calculation but, instead, rests on the influence and intangible benefits you receive from social engagement; however, nothing could be further from the truth.   The key to social success is to stop focusing on specific site strategies and, instead, focus on engaging your highest value markets and build strong, measurable, 1-to-1 relationships with them.  That is the goal of Social IMC – Social Strategies with Bottom-line ROI.

How it started

I teach social and mobile marketing at Northwestern University.   About 9 years ago, one of my graduate students who worked at a major retail company said that while she understood the power of social media, she could not justify staff because she could not prove the bottom-line impact of a social strategy.  She asked me the question which plagues many companies…”What is the profit impact of developing a social strategy”.  While I did not have a good answer for her, it started me on a mission to find the social strategies which drive profitable, measurable social programs.  In talking with CEOs and CMOs across the world, I found 3 strategies companies were using and – good news – 2 had proven bottom-line impacts.  In other words, these 2 strategies link your social investment to your sales and marketing systems.  These strategies allow you to grow market share and increase the lifetime value of your high value markets using KPIs, relationship funnels, and the same metrics you use to justify and measure all of your business metrics.  Social IMC shows you how to use social to achieve provable business results.

What’s in the book

Many books focus on the theories behind the use of social media and mobile applications in marketing—but this is not one of them. Social IMC provides strategies based on proven business models that have produced real-world results.  Each strategy has been taught, tested, and developed by the author himself, and all are thoroughly explained in an easy-to-follow format that includes references to exemplary businesses from around the world. By the time you finish reading this book, you will be able to identify which strategy is best to use for each of your company’s high-value markets.  You will know what steps you need to take to successfully design, develop, deploy—and maintain—your business’ social and mobile approach.  A veritable “how-to” guide for using social and mobile technologies to propel business profit and growth, Social IMC is sure to appeal to business leaders and entrepreneurs worldwide. The strategies discussed in the text have been proven effective in a wide variety of models, including both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations and companies targeting businesses or consumers on international, national, local, and hyper-local scales.

Special Introductionary Offer

It’s time for you to develop KPI driven, 1-to-1 relationships with your high value customers using proven social strategies.  Learn what IBM, the NorthFace, American Express, ONE.org and companies throughout the world are learning about developing bottom-line driven social strategies.  Get a copy of the new book Social IMC available on Amazon.  Click here for a special $5 off discount!

 

Randy Hlavac

 

Randy Hlavac teaches social and mobile market at Northwestern University in Chicago IL.  He is also CEO of Marketing Synergy, Inc – a consulting company helping companies develop their social and integrated marketing strategies and tactics.  His new book – Social IMC – shows companies how to best design, develop, deploy, justify and measure their social marketing and mobile marketing programs.  It add business metrics and proven strategies to your social marketing programs.  Randy can be found on Twitter @randyhlavac

 

Social Marketing and Social Media are not the same!

This is my first of two blog articles.  This one will cover the misconceptions of social media and social marketing.  The next will discuss how to transform your social programs into measurable, testable & more successful marketing programs.

I teach social marketing in the graduate and undergraduate marketing programs in the Medill IMC College at Northwestern.  While there are thousands of pundits who recommend marketing on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, LinkedIn or the thousands of other social sites, we have found this is the wrong way to go.   It’s not successful to focus on these social channels but to focus on marketing using social media.  In other words, it’s focusing on marketing – not media.

Most companies are “lost” in social media

In a 2011 survey by Marketing Sherpa, they surveyed over 3000 B2B and B2C marketing managers and found over 80% of them have no way of measuring the bottom line impact of their social marketing programs.  They can measure growth in friends, re-tweets, thumbs up or whatever, but they cannot show these activities are actually increasing the profits of the company.  They cannot determine if these social visitors are customers they already have, prospects they would like to develop, or just other low potential prospects.  Furthermore, if they are customers, they cannot tell if the social interactions strengthen the relationship and, if they do, by how much.  Social marketing today is primarily done on “faith and hope”…which is not a very good way to run a company.

Better understand what marketing is and you can create an effective social marketing strategy

 When I teach social marketing, I “force” the grad students to discuss – in great detail – the IMC marketing model.  While I will not make you do it, I use the model to establish the following points:

  • The IMC marketing model starts with a high value market –  For success, you must connect by targeting each market with the products, services, messages, and information they find important.  And each market has a different message.  If you don’t start with markets, you will not have success in your social [or any other] program.
  • Messages and Channels must be the ones preferred by the high value target market – These two elements must be selected and built to the desires and preferences of the high value target market.  Don’t offer the right product with the right message: forget it.  Offer it in a channel they don’t use [like direct mail for younger people]: forget it.  They must align.
  • Success occurs in the overlap of the 3 circles – This is where the ‘magic’ happens.  You must have all three synchronized [integrated?] to have a successful program.

In addition to having marketing programs which are built on the IMC marketing model, each of your marketing programs – including your social marketing programs – must meet several other criteria.  They must be:

  • Significant – they must produce significant bottom-line results for senior management to consider and fund them
  • Able to be replicated – our marketing programs must allow marketers to re-use the strategy to further grow market share
  • Testable – we need to be able to test and learn on every aspect of our marketing program
  • Customer-centric – they must acknowledge the customer relationship and grow it from first order to last.

Why is this important?  We must have social programs which meet these marketing essential criteria.  How do we do that?  We must not focus on Facebook or Twitter or whatever and focus on how to make social a marketing weapon for our company.  And, to do that, we need to better understand what social is…and it’s a lot more than Facebook and Twitter.

What makes social unique?

In my new book – Social IMC [to be published soon] – there are three concepts often misunderstood by marketers.  Better understand these three concepts and you can develop a strategy to build a social program with ROI [bottom-line impact]. 

1.      Social Networks are different than social communities

Social networks are sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others.  They consist of individuals who are discussing everything “under the sun”.  There are people talking about every topic, every company, and everything else.  Marketers often start with these social networking sites because it is intuitive potential markets are there and it is easy to get started.  You can create a Facebook site in minutes and be attracting followers a few minutes later.  Simple, easy, and wrong.

Social networks are great places to talk to everyone but not for marketing.  Because marketing requires you to give a targeted message it means you must 1] understand who they are, 2] have a way to address their needs, and 3] be able to talk with them in a controlled way.  NONE of these attributes is available on Facebook or other social networking sites.  As you meaningfully talk to one person, others with different interests “go away”.  You cannot make a sale here.  HOWEVER, you can use these social networks to segment and engage key high value markets…provided you take them somewhere where you can talk to them in a controlled conversation.

Social communities are PRIVATE sites [you must register with them] that are discussion specific topics.  These are generally self-formed by community members and are focused on key topics of interest to the community.  If you want to see some social communities, take a look at the American Express Members Project or Ridgid Tool’s plumbing forum.  This type of system – a private community – is a key to using social media successfully.  These types of community systems are places where people discuss their needs and wants and look for experts to help them address them.  If you become a trusted expert in a high value community, you can “be there” when they are ready to buy.

2.     Social Communities exist on many levels

  While many marketers focus their social strategies on Facebook and Twitter, these are very small sites when you look at social media worldwide.   The key is to understand EVERY social community engages on multiple levels.  They do cruise on Facebook, Twitter & LinkedIn to hook up with others like them.  They use News and Bookmarking sites to get more focused on their passions and needs.  Bloggers are often thought leaders and trusted experts within a community.  While communities to write articles, they also use video [and you should to] to present ideas and responses.  Finally, the biggest place they dwell is in private communities.  As you build a social marketing strategy, you need to engage your high value markets WHEREVER they are in the social “cloud”.

3.     Private Sites dwarf Social Networks

The most common misunderstanding is social networks are the “place to be” in social.  While you do need to be visible on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks, these are to respond to questions and show different markets places where you are addressing their specific needs.  I think of social networks like an inbound telecenter.  The telecenter takes calls in the order they come in and attempts to address the questions of the caller.  The same is true for social networks.

Think marketing strategies not social sites strategies

This lays the foundation of what makes social marketing different from social media strategies.  Before the last ‘installment’ of this two part blog, think about the following questions:

  1. What are your high value markets?
  2. What types of non-social media do they read or consume?
  3. What type of social sites are they likely to use?

We will address the importance of these questions in the last ½ of this social marketing blog.

 

  Randy Hlavac is CEO and founder of Marketing Synergy Inc – an integrated and social marketing company located in Naperville IL.  Founded in 1990, Marketing Synergy works with companies to build measurable, highly profitable marketing programs and the database and analytical systems to drive them.  Randy works with B2B and B2C organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms.  In addition to Marketing Synergy, Randy has been a Lecturer Professor of Integrated and Social Marketing at Northwestern’s Medill IMC program for the last 21 years.  His graduate and undergraduate courses focus on the development of high impact Social IMC marketing programs and many of the course “graduates” work in social marketing today.  Dialog with Randy on Twitter @randyhlavac or discuss social issues with this hash tag #NUSocialIMC.  Randy can also be reached through his company website.

Triggers & Passions trump Demographics

Trigger EventIn a recent article, Hubspot’s Sarah Goliger published an article called How to Build Better Personas to Drive Killer Content.  While I love to read Hotspot’s blog as they always present tips on how to improve my blogging, this article – while technically correct – presented steps to developing a clearer perspective of your target market which varied from my experiences at Northwestern and at Marketing Synergy – my social consulting company.

In the article, Hubspot recommended you perform a three step process to build your persona.  They were 1] Segment your markets by demographics, 2]Identify each market’s needs, and 3] develop behavior based profiles.  While this is a time proven methodology used by traditional marketers to develop their target markets,  I have found it less than appealing when develop any type of social marketing plan. 

Demographics have always been useful in traditional marketing because it was some of the best data we had to define our markets.  While we knew demographics were always surrogates for actual motivators, we knew that analysis of age, income, household composition, wealth, life style and other data would produce segments with differentiated purchase behaviors.  While this works when we had little other information and were attempting to segment national markets, social networks and social communities have radically changed our ability to target social markets.

Think Communities, Triggers, and Passions

 Social networks are formed by consumers and businesses based on identified needs and desires.  They form regardless of our marketing and social activities and are created to fulfill some type of need.  While these communities have demographic dimensions, as a marketer I don’t care if a SciFi buff is 17 , 37, or 74.  If I am selling SciFi books and memorabilia, I want to target all SciFi buffs.

Rather than start with demographics, we teach our Northwestern students to think in terms of the “forces” which create social communities – triggers and passions.

Trigger Events are a Key

When you are considering social targets, the first question I recommend you answer is “what triggers a person [consumer or business] to action to begin considering your products and services.   It might be a specific life event – having a baby, getting married, graduating from schoolm etc – or a periodic event – tax time, new years, back to school, etc.  When these relevant trigger events occur, your prospects are likely to seek out community sites and begin search activities which predictable.  Identify where they will go and what they will search for and you can build a social marketing strategy to make them your customers. 

Passions are also important

While trigger events identify when a less interested person will trigger into action to consider your products and services, there are also people who are always in the market.  We call these the passion markets at Northwestern.  People who are passionate about a social topic – fashion, sports, politics, etc – are always looking for the new and trendy.  They are the ones who will tell others about your new products if it really excites them.  In creating our social marketing plans, we focus on the passion markets because these are often the people who are instrumental in taking your products viral.  They are heavily networked, aggressive in giving you their opinions, and active in blogging their point of view to your prospects.  These are the people who will likely read your blog aggressively and tell others about it if they like it.

Things you can do

Here are some recommended actions you can take to develop personas to drive your communications:

  1. Identify your trigger and passion markets – There are statistical ways we can do this but your market experience is often a great place to start.  From your experience, what are the events that trigger prospects to action.
  2. Learn what they do when triggered – Where do they go for expertise?  What search terms do they use?  Who are the influentials in their social space?  At Marketing Synergy, we created the Social EKG to quickly and effectively answer these questions.  If you know where they are going, you can intercept them and make them more likely to consider your solutions to their needs.
  3. Develop your social marketing strategy – Finally, develop a social marketing strategy to “be there” when they are actively seeking solutions.  This strategy should include a mix of social and traditional integrated marketing elements to reach out to influencers, social communities, and social news aggregator sites to show the social community your expertise and ability to address their triggered or passion needs.

By better understanding what moves your prospects to market – regardless of their demographics – you can better develop your communication, blog, and social marketing strategies.  To see more on how this is done, visit my social marketing page.  Also, please sign up for my blog to receive future article on social marketing with bottom line ROI, social monitoring, and social media.

Finally, let me know what you think of this blog article.  Always interested in your comments and views. 

Randy Thumbnail 1Randy Hlavac is CEO and founder of Marketing Synergy Inc – an integrated and social marketing company located in Naperville IL.  Founded in 1990, Marketing Synergy works with companies to build measurable, highly profitable marketing programs and the database and analytical systems to drive them.  Randy works with B2B and B2C organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 100 firms.  In addition to Marketing Synergy, Randy has been a Lecturer Professor of Integrated and Social Marketing at Northwestern’s Medill IMC program for the last 21 years.  His graduate and undergraduate courses focus on the development of high impact Social IMC marketing programs and many of the course “graduates” work in social marketing today.  Dialog with Randy on Twitter @randyhlavac or discuss social issues with this hash tag #NUSocialIMC.  Randy can also be reached through Marketing Synergy website.

 

Reputation

Login