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5 Tips For Mobile Video

Journalism.co.uk

Mobile and video are two buzzwords of digital journalism from recent years, but there were initial doubts over whether they could be combined successfully.

As screen sizes have grown and internet connectivity improved, the concept is no longer in question.

Mobile was the focus at last week’s Online News Association event in London, and Cameron Church, director of digital video company Stream Foundations and previously of Brightcove, discussed his work in helping news publishers make the most out of their video offering, especially on mobile.

He shared his thoughts and advice on the subject.

‘You are not your audience’

“Unless you sit there and click play a million times a day or week,” said Church, “you’re not going to be the one that gets to choose what works or doesn’t work.”

While producers or journalists may sit in their cosy, stationary editing suite or at a desk, the audience is out watching video on the move.

Editors still need to “empower creative spirit,” he said, “but rein them in a little bit because they have to get back into real connection” with serving their audience.

Continue Reading…

The New York Times on Social Media: Not About the ‘Hyperbole’

American Journalism Review

Michael Roston has a clear vision of what makes a good social media editor — and it’s not about driving empty clicks back to a website.

It’s really about knowing how to publish true things on the Internet. To put it simply, a great social media editor needs what every journalist needs: a “strong editorial judgment,” he said.

“That’s what everyone on our team shares: we all have a sense of how not to blow things out of proportion and not to get ahead of journalists and editors,” said Roston, a senior staff editor on the New York Times’ social media desk. “It’s very important to know what we’re actually reporting and when we can’t say more or exaggerate things and get into the kind of hyperbole that you might see on other social media platforms, where they’re just trying to get people to click through to content.

“For us, it’s very important that we focus on delivering what the news actually is.”

Roston and his team are responsible for distributing the Times’ content on its Twitter account, with 15.5 million followers, and its Facebook page, with almost 9.3 million likes. He recently spoke with AJR about the team’s strategy. The following is an edited Q & A.

American Journalism Review: In a January Nieman Lab articleyou talked about the Times’ social media desk joining a new department. Explain some of the changes your desk has gone through.

Michael Roston: The social media desk of the Times, for many years, was hosted under the interactive news desk. The idea was that we were the leading technology enterprise in the newsroom, so we needed to work closely with developers and interactive news, who build a lot of the really cool things you might see on the Times website.

The changes made around the Times newsroom indicate that, rather than working hand in hand with the technology providers, it makes more sense if we’re working hand in hand with the people who generate analytics for the newsroom, so we can understand who is coming to us, and who’s reading what kind of stories and when they’re reading them. We’re also working more with the SEO team that’s been built within the newsroom. These teams of people have all been put under one group so we can work together more seamlessly.

We’ve always had a very strong relationship with the people who ran the Facebook page, but we’ve recently just formalized the relationship. So now they work in the newsroom, just like the rest of the social media team.

Continue Reading… 

Ethernet Switch Market Increased 3.8% Year-Over-Year in Fourth Quarter of 2014

IDC PMS4colorversion no shadow Ethernet Switch Market Increased 3.8% Year Over Year in Fourth Quarter of 2014

The worldwide Ethernet switch market (Layer 2/3) revenues reached a record $6.2 billion in the fourth quarter of 2014 (4Q14), representing an increase of 3.8% year over year and 3.6% over the previous quarter. For the full year 2014, the market expanded by 3.9% over 2013. Meanwhile, the worldwide total router market reversed recent year-over-year declines, growing 2.5% year over year and 5.6% sequentially. However, the router market contracted -0.6% for the full year 2014, according to the preliminary results published in the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Ethernet Switch Trackerand the Worldwide Quarterly Router Tracker.

From a geographic perspective, the 4Q14 results saw a break in recent trends with the Ethernet switch market seeing its highest growth in Latin America, which increased at a strong 13.8% year over year and 24.4% on a sequential basis. The Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region also performed well, growing 7.0% year over year and 8.8% sequentially. North America grew more modestly at 2.5% year over year, while contracting -1.8% sequentially. On the other hand, the Asia/Pacific region, including Japan (APJ), was essentially flat year over year (increasing 0.7%), but was more in line with global results sequentially (up 4.1%).

“Despite precipitous price erosion, 10Gb Ethernet is the primary growth driver of the Ethernet switching market, with 40Gb Ethernet growing in stature quickly, as datacenters seek greater capacity to deliver a feverishly proliferating ecosystem of enterprise and cloud applications,” said Rohit Mehra, Vice President, Network Infrastructure at IDC. “The 1Gb Ethernet market remains important to the enterprise campus network, although price declines will potentially challenge market growth.”

10Gb Ethernet switch (Layer 2/3) revenue increased 5.2% year over year to reach $2.3 billion while 10Gb Ethernet switch port shipments grew a robust 24.4% year over year to reach nearly 6.8 million ports shipped in 4Q14 as average selling prices continue to fall. 40Gb Ethernet continues to rapidly grow as a stand-alone segment and now accounts for more than $520 million in revenue per quarter with year-over-year growth of more than 100%. 10Gb and 40Gb Ethernet continue to be the primary drivers of the overall Ethernet switch market.

 

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Is There A Profitable Market For Local Tech News?

Simon Owens Blog

If you’re a member of the Washington, DC tech scene and frequent its various happy hours and networking events, you may have recently noticed a new addition to the crowd, a woman named Lalita Clozel. Clozel, a 2013 University of Pennsylvania grad who moved to DC to intern for outlets like the LA Times and OpenSecrets.org, was hired last fall by Technical.ly, a Philadelphia-based company that specializes in producing local tech news coverage. The DC version of the site launched late last year, and right now a major facet of her job is attending these events “just to meet people and have them aware of what Technical.ly DC is trying to do here. It’s the same for any reporter starting out with their beat; you get your stories by hanging out with people and hearing their conversations.”

Though no business venture is guaranteed to work, Technical.ly by now has ample experience in entering new local markets, and its playbook for DC will closely mirror its entries into Philly, Baltimore, Brooklyn, and Delaware. The bootstrapped company has become adept at setting up shop in a city and positioning itself as a central information hub around which local tech companies clamor for coverage, recruit talent, and attend industry events. While national tech publications ranging from Wired to TechCrunch have thrived for years, Technical.ly is attempting to answer whether local tech industries — particularly in cities outside Silicon Valley — can support news outlets launched specifically to cover them. So far the answer seems to be yes.

Technical.ly is a company that was born out of the Great Recession, and by that I mean it was launched, in part, because its three co-founders couldn’t find journalism jobs after graduating college. Sean Blanda, Christopher Wink, and Brian James Kirk were all attending Temple University and worked on the school newspaper together. “I found there were these really interesting tech stories locally in Philly, and there wasn’t anyone writing about some of the topics,” Kirk told me in a phone interview. “Business coverage from newspapers was mostly focused on the big companies and most tech coverage was self-reported from the community, either on Twitter or blogs.”

Continue Reading… 

 

How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

IDG Connect 0811 How to Promote your Business Away from the Internet

Marc Michaels is Director of Behaviour and Planning at the GIG at DST. As a marketing professional and procurement expert with extensive experience, Marc has become a champion for marketing communications for 28 years. As Director of Direct and Relationship Marketing and Evaluation at the COI, he managed a team of 50 professionals delivering hundreds of high profile government behaviour change campaigns involving direct mail, door drops, e-mail, contact centre and fulfilment, household distribution, field marketing, customer relationship management and campaign evaluation across all major COI clients. Now at the GIG at DST Marc now provides ‘end to end’ consultancy across strategy development, planning, implementation and evaluation. 

Marc is a life-time Fellow of the Institute of Direct Marketing and industry speaker. His extensive experience in marketing has provided Marc with a unique stance. He believes wholeheartedly that marketing doesn’t just have to be digital.

In a tough economic climate where competition is rife it can be difficult to generate business exposure. From large businesses to SMEs, companies are constantly trying to market themselves better. Often this will be through the multitude of emerging digital channels that have opened up a wealth of opportunity for the savvy marketer. Channels like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, to name only three, have made it easier and less expensive for businesses to promote themselves, if they have the skills and time to exploit them. However, whilst these new and flashy channels may look attractive and appear cheaper, it is important not to be seduced by them exclusively. Too many marketers are too quick to abandon physical marketing, perhaps because these particular methods are seen as outdated or untrendy compared to an eye-grabbing Vine or promoted Facebook post. Relying solely on social channels exclusively is flawed. Even within our continually and rapidly evolving digital world, offline solutions can still be right for your business.

Check out his tips here… 

 

Customer Experience Tops Asia/Pacific CMOs’ Investment Agenda

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 Customer Experience Tops Asia/Pacific CMOs Investment Agenda

Singapore and Hong Kong, February 16, 2015 – International Data Corporation (IDC) announces today that this year customer experience will become the number one customer-related priority for organizations in Asia Pacific (excluding Japan) or APEJ. However, the CMO and CIO will need to partner and align their goals to guarantee success.

“Today, being first to market, having the lowest price, or being the best does not necessarily help. Businesses need to be agile and give customers what they want 24/7. Customers may buy your products or services, but what keeps them coming back is the experience,” says Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Senior Program Manager, Big Data, Analytics, Enterprise Applications & Social Lead IDC Asia/Pacific.

He advises marketers to become savvier about the business, data, and customers to address the “empowered buyer” needs. CMOs are expected to lead the enterprise transformation around customer experience. In fact, IDC Asia/Pacific CMO Barometer shows that 31% of CMO roles are expanding to include customer experience and support.

Jimenez notes, “The CMO role is evolving to incorporate new responsibilities. In other regions, we have seen organizations completely replacing this role with a Customer Experience Head.”

There is no denying there has been a lot of hype around customer experience and many organizations still struggle with the concept, since there are many moving pieces and intangibles. However, customer experience is far from being just today’s buzzword; it is a top priority for CMOs in 2015.

“If you are not already thinking about this then you are not listening to your customers. The idea of delivering greater experiences is not new; but what is different now is that organizations are increasingly focused on ensuring these initiatives are tracked and are using metrics that are closely aligned to the business,” says Jimenez.

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Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Story

ResearchLogoBLACK no 2nd IDG Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Story

By Jen Garofalo,

Many years ago in my old neighborhood, a woman around my age moved into the small apartment on the second floor of the house next door. We gradually got to know each other, and one day the obligatory question about what we each do for a living came up. I explained that I work in market research and gave her a few standard lines about my job that I typically reserve for these types of situations. Then I paused, waiting for her to jump in and tell me about herself.

“I’m a professional storyteller,” she said. I blinked. Wait, what?
Did she just say she’s a storyteller?

I was intrigued.  “Oh, are you a writer then?”  I asked.  “No, not exactly,” she said. “It’s oral story telling. I visit area schools and I tell my stories to the kids. The stories are factual and have been compiled by my family over many generations, but I try and tailor them to make them relevant for the kids and the issues they’re facing – for example, overcoming fears or dealing with bullies.”

Well, I thought to myself, a storyteller! How cool is that? That’s miles apart from what I do in the office every day.

After some thought though, I realized that what I do really isn’t so wildly different. As a market researcher, my job is also to help tell stories; stories about brands, to be more specific. A typical client’s goal – much like my storyteller friend – is to connect with their target audience and to be as relevant as possible to the world that audience lives in and works in every day. In other words, find out whaStoryTeller Using Custom Market Research to Tell Your Brand’s Storyt issues their target audience is facing, and tell their brand’s story in a way that will make sense to that audience.

Market research, when done well, can be a very useful tool in the storytelling process. Like most storytellers, when beginning a new project I start off in search of answers. I want to know about your brand. Why was it created? What is your brand’s mission? What problems will your brand help to solve? I also want to know about your target audience. Who are they? What are they trying to accomplish? What are their most pressing challenges?

Maybe you can answer this first line of questioning pretty easily. But in some cases, as with a new brand or entry into a new market, that might not be so. Broad-based industry research, market segmentation and customer or prospect surveys can help you learn more about your audience’s needs, so you can better understand where you need to focus the most time and energy.

All good stories follow a pattern – you get to know the characters and their history, you learn about their intentions and motives. Once you have that information, the story picks up momentum and things chug along pretty well. But then – plot twist! –unexpected challenges arise. There’s a conflict. For a brand, this could be a bold move on the part of a competitor, a new development in the industry, a data security breach, or a change in popular trends or opinions. Now we get to the climax of the story. How will your brand respond to this conflict? How will your customers respond? You’re making decisions in real time, and you need information fast. Custom research can be a valuable tool in times of change or crisis. Understanding emerging market trends, as well as customer mindsets and strategies, can help your brand respond appropriately to change and come out looking like a hero. Producing content fueled by third-party market research contributes to the image of your brand as a thought leader and a voice of authority and reason in uncertain times.

There is one big difference between a brand’s story and the kinds of stories that my friend tells. A brand’s story never ends, it’s always evolving. It’s a continuous cycle of learning about and connecting with the people who need your brand right now, in this moment – of discovering who those people are and what their needs are today.

Here are some ways in which custom market research can help you along that journey:

Continue reading… 

 

IDC’s 10 Predictions for CMOs for 2015

IDC PMS4colorversion 1 IDCs 10 Predictions for CMOs for 2015

By, Kathleen Schaub

What does IDC predict for tech CMOs and their teams in 2015 and beyond?

Sunrise%2B1 IDCs 10 Predictions for CMOs for 2015

Our recent report IDC FutureScape: Worldwide CMO / Customer Experience 2015 Predictionshighlights insight and perspective on long-term industry trends along with new themes that may be on the horizon. Here’s a summary.

1: 25% of High-Tech CMOs Will Be Replaced Every Year Through 2018
There are two dominant drivers behind the increased CMO turnover over the past two years. One driver centers on the cycle of new product innovations, new companies, and new CMO jobs. The second (but equal) driver centers around the required “fit” for a new CMO in the today’s tumultuous environment and the short supply of CMOs with transformational skill sets.

Guidance: Everyone in the C-Suite needs to “get” modern marketing to make the CMO successful.

2: By 2017, 25% of Marketing Organizations Will Solve Critical Skill Gaps by Deploying Centers of Excellence
The speed of marketing transformation and the increased expectations on marketing have left every marketing organization in need of updating its skill sets. In the coming years, CMOs will not only have to recruit and train talent but also create organizational structures that amplify and share best practices. Leading marketing organizations will become masters of the centers of excellence (CoE).

Guidance: Get out of your traditional silos and collaborate.

3: By 2017, 15% of B2B Companies Will Use More Than 20 Data Sources to Personalize a High-Value Customer Journey
Personalization requires a lot of data. CMOs do not suffer from a lack of data — quite the contrary. Today’s marketer has dozens, if not hundreds, of sources available. However, companies lack the time, expertise, and financial and technical resources to collect data, secure it, integrate it, deliver it, and dig through it to create actionable insights. This situation is poised for dramatic change.

Guidance: One of your new mantras must be – “do it for the data”.

4: By 2018, One in Three Marketing Organizations Will Deliver Compelling Content to All Stages of the Buyer’s Journey
CMOs reported to IDC that “building out content marketing as an organizational competency” was their #2 priority (ROI was #1). Content marketing is what companies must do when self-sufficient buyers won’t talk to sales people. While it’s easy to do content marketing; it’s hard to do content marketing well. The most progressive marketing organizations leverage marketing technology and data to develop a buyer-centric content strategy.

Guidance: Remember that it’s the buyer’s journey – not your journey for the buyer.

5: In 2015, Only One in Five Companies Will Retool to Reach LOB Buyers and Outperform Those Selling Exclusively to IT
IDC research shows that line-of-business (LOB) buyers control an average of 61% of the total IT spend. LOB buyers are harder to market to and are even more self-sufficient than technical buyers. To succeed with this new buyer, tech CMOs must move more quickly to digital, incorporate social, broaden the types of content, and enable the sales team to maximize their limited time in front of the customer.

Guidance: Worry less about how much video is in your plan and worry more about your message.

6: By 2016, 50% of Large High-Tech Marketing Organizations Will Create In-House Agencies
Advertising agencies have been slow to recognize the pervasive nature of digital. While many digital agencies exist and many have been acquired by the global holding companies, these interactive services typically managed as just another part of the portfolio of services the agency offers. Modern marketing practitioners realize that digital is now in the DNA of everything they do and are ahead of their agencies.

Guidance: Don’t wait. Take the lead.

Continue reading… 

 

What’s your content “type”?

IDG GlobalSolutions Color Whats your content type?

Jason Gorud – Vice President – IDC/IDG

I am not a thought leader.

I will not pretend to be one.

What you are about to read is not thought leadership. It’s just something worth thinking about.

My current role gives me access to some of the most interesting, influential, technology in the B2B space. More importantly, it puts me in touch with the marketing professionals and media agencies that sit at the forefront of the promotion of these wonderful solutions. Having had the chance to meet so many brilliant people I consider myself blessed. I am continually amazed by the tactics, strategies and little “tricks” employed by individuals and firms alike as they go about their business of building brand, pipeline and awareness for their respective companies.

My firm is often called into an organization in an advisory capacity to help groups understand a myriad of market complexities faced by tech firm executives; market share, vertical trends, new market entry strategy, channel ecosystem challenges are just a few of the areas where we attempt impart insight and actionable advice.

I have noticed that the aspirational goal of nearly every marketing professional I speak with is to position their firm as a “thought leader”. Almost with out exception the meetings I have with my clients, irrespective of the solution being covered, will meander into familiar territory: a chat about how to ensure their firm is seen as the“thought leader” in the [insert any tech solution here] space. Whether it’s OpenStack, smart cities, Software Defined Networks, mobile devices, printer ink, or cat toys everyone is zealously certain their message (and by extension firm, people and solutions) should, nay MUST, carry within it the holy seed of true THOUGHT LEADERINESS ( hmmmmmmm #ThoughtLeaderiness??? ).

In fairness, some do accomplish this goal, but most do not. Just like good and evil, smart and dumb, beautiful and ugly, Bert and Ernie, normal me and me being terse are mutually exclusive, yet co-dependent opposites, so too is though leadership content and the mundane. In each case one must exist in order to define the other.

So how do tech (actually you could replace tech with ANY) companies establish this coveted pre-eminence in the market’s collective brain? Why through effective content marketing of course! Thought leadership doesn’t simply descend from heaven in the form of an omnipotent alpha-Geek imparting the one, true path to CIOs by doling out wisdom via a series of arcane, magical gestures and select speaking engagements. If only it were that simple and TED talks that productive.

We’ve all heard that content is king. I disagree.

“Content” is this gigantic, nebulous, unchained beast to which all marketers have all become addicted.

Ladies and gentlemen, all you fans of irony in general, I give you the Ouroboros of marketing! King Content is king because we are told it’s king!

Content is not a monarchy, it is a meritocracy where only the best shall rule. Sadly content creation is out of control.

Don’t believe me? As far back as 2010 Eric Schmidt estimated humans created, every two days, as much content (information) as we had from the dawn of civilization until 2003. That was five years ago! Granted this is all content for allpurposes, but you get the point. And since the tech landscape hasn’t gotten simpler, and the range of personas buying solutions continues to expand outside of the CIO’s office, you can bet tech marketers haven’t slowed down in their Sisyphean attempt to keep prospective buyers abreast of the best [insert tech solution here]in the market. On a personal level, one of my clients told me their firm generated over 3,000 pieces of unique content last quarter alone. When I asked why I was told (verbatim): “We want to be the thought leaders in this space.”

So if you want a super-stressed, time and attention span deficient, self-educating, hyper-connected, socially plugged-in customer to actually read and react to your message, you’d best chain this beast. He’s not reading 3,000 pieces. You’re lucky if he reads three. Ask yourself: what am I releasing into the market and for what purpose? Is it worth the time, money and effort to get CONTENT X into the mainstream (and track it’s effectiveness)?

Here’s a handy little chart to help evaluate content types. I call it the Jason’s-Self-Evident-Quadrant-for-Content-Analysis, or the slightly more sexy version for the content cognoscenti the JSEQfCA . It just rolls off the tongue.

01c5ef6 Whats your content type?

NOISE: Do you produce a lot of content filled with jargon, buzzwords, aphorisms and techno-speak? Are your corporate videos super slick, produced by an agency rep that’s trying to channel his or her inner Fellini? Congratulations, you have produced Noise. Of all 4 types, this adds the least value to the market. It is neither informative nor interesting. No one intentionally creates Noise just like I don’t intentionally try and annoy my partner. It just happens. You start out trying to get a compelling message to the market and the next minute you’re being rather aggressively told to stop watching reruns of Escape to River Cottage and take the dog down (NOW) to go pee. This type of content is often created with the assumption that what is being released into the market builds brand. It usually doesn’t.

YOUR ACTION: Lazy marketing. Stop making this all together. How can you tell it’s noise? If you redact logos and any reference to your company in it and a 3rd party has no idea who the content refers to or what action he or she is meant to take after consuming it, then you have Noise.

FACT SHEET: Do you dig tech specs? Is feature/functionality your particular area of strength? Enjoy commissioning 20 page white papers on why your solution performs better than your competitors in a test environment? You’ve got Fact Sheet content! Please note that while this is quite useful to many IT decision makers, and can be quite important in the short-listing process, it does very little to engage the reader. It’s the content equivalent of eating a Clif Bar. Oh sure it has nutrients and keeps you going, but no one ever uttered the phrase “Damn, that was a delicious Clif Bar”. Fact Sheet content educates on specs, but does little to provide the reader with context vis-a-vis the problem your solution addresses. For some reason tech marketers love handing this type of content out at industry events.

YOUR ACTION: Important stuff but use it sparingly and never in lead gen or brand building campaigns. This content is best supplied as an “upon request” item. How do you recognize Fact Sheet content? If you hand it to someone not in your industry and they come away utterly dazed and confused, but when presented to an expert they say something like “oh X is .05 nanoseconds faster than Y? Neat!” you have Fact Sheet content.

FAST FOOD: We’ve all eaten McDonalds. Admit it. You have. Once in a while it’s the meal of choice because it’s cheap, easily procured, comes with a toy in some cases, and quickly consumed. It’s (possibly) a little tastier than a Clif Bar but you won’t ever fondly look back on “the best McDonalds ever” that inspired you to eat all the items on the menu because it’s just so forgettable. “Snackable” content such as infographics, “gamified” content, Tweets, this article I’m writing, and the like fall into this category. It will keep the consumer engaged for a short period of time, is great for building awareness, and is excellent for driving potential clients to more “dense” content. Unfortunately it lacks gravitas and usually won’t get people thinking of you as the guru in any field.

YOUR ACTION: This stuff is easy to crank out, easy to burn through, is great if you need to go wide and want your message shared socially. Understand that it does very little to affect a purchasing decision the further down the funnel you go, but it does grab attention. And just like McD’s builds item after item repurposing the same basic materials – really how different is a Big Mac from a Quarter Pounder with Cheese- crafting this content using source material from, for example, Fact Sheet content is a great way to “compound”, improve ROMI and create message cohesion. It works best in social media and ad campaigns. How do you know if you have Fast Food on your hands? If you read it and your response is “Ok cool… So?”

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP: You don’t tell the market you’re a thought leader, it tells you. In a recent study my firm completed comprising of nearly 300 CIOs in AP, we found that outside of security and compliance, a whopping 69% of respondents viewed the driving of profitable revenue via innovation as their chief responsibility. For your content and firm to be viewed as “thought leader worthy”, you must speak to this mind-set. Great content doesn’t talk tech or product or market leadership, it speaks about enabling possibilities. It fearlessly sees around corners and inspires new perspectives. People want to buy from thought leaders. They want to work for thought leaders. They want to partner with thought leaders.

I’ve spent a lot of time discussing content form factor with respect to “types” but Thought Leader content can come in all shapes and sizes so there is no formulaic approach. What you say is more important than how you say it.

YOUR ACTION: This is tough. You can’t simply will this stuff into being any more than I could convince the students at my high school that I was cool back in the day. Stupid Northwood HS class of ’89… I digress. This is where you need to fundamentally begin applying the less-is-more approach to your broader content strategy. Focus and refine. Here’s a little trick: try having someone NOT in your industry interact with your content. See how they react. The ability to inspire the uninitiated is often a good litmus test.

So in closing I wish you all good luck in your pursuit of creating amazing content! #ThoughtLeaderiness!

B2B Social Media: “You’re going the wrong way!”

IDG Global Solutions

By, Jason Gorud

One of my favourite movies is Planes, Trains and Automobiles. In it two mismatched travel companions are forced to endure each other and suffer through a series of unfortunate incidents as they attempt to make their way home for Thanksgiving dinner. In one scene, the two protagonists are on a snowy freeway late at night driving the “wrong way”. While they are on the right path directionally (homeward bound), they are literally driving into oncoming traffic. A concerned couple on the opposite side of the freeway starts screaming “You’re going the wrong way!” Not comprehending what they couple is trying to tell them John Candy assumes the couple is drunk and cynically asks Steve Martin “How do they know where we are going?”

This scene feels a little like what we see on a macro level from the increased push by B2B marketers into social media. Everyone has a goal(s) in mind, everyone seems to be heading towards that goal. Much like in the movie, the problem is one born not so much out of ignorance, but through a series of misaligned choices.

It’s only when we look at the unquestioning adoption of certain social media effectiveness metrics that marketers have been lead to believe are gospel and then examine the corresponding strategies being built on those metrics, that we start to see why some companies are heading down the “wrong way”.

When my firm asks our customers what they expect from a broad social media strategy we often get the following vanilla answers:

  1. Enhance brand awareness
  2. Cost reduction (on marketing spend)
  3. Improve customer experience
  4. Enable innovation (this is more ‘vanilla-swirl’ as not all companies state this as a goal)
  5. Increase revenue

No ‘shockers’ on this list and I have ranked them in order of immediate achievability (the ranking is just my humble opinion). Rather unfortunately many of the clients I speak with state enhancing brand awareness as their initial objective when the discussion starts but only really want to talk about getting to ‘increased revenue’ as fast as possible. Unsurprisingly, very few can articulate how they will map their strategy to achieving revenue growth – they just know they must!

As the conversation continues, cost reduction is quickly reclassified; this isn’t a goal, it’s the a priori reason to use social media. “It’s free” they say, “and once people start sharing and retweeting, our promotional costs will just naturally fall. Hooray!”

Improved customer service and enabling innovation are both brushed aside as many simply pay lip service to “listening” as a way to address these goals. Further marginalization occurs due to the fact that most marketers don’t have personal KPIs tied to these activities.

From there we quickly get to the topic they really want to talk about: how can I generate more leads from social media (i.e increase revenue)?

So rather than view the new “IT” thing in marketing as vehicle to enhance existing programs and achieve those goals, many marketers look at social media as a stand alone initiative. This view essentially forces most to apply metrics they feel should link directly to achieving specific KPI’s attached to more traditional objectives like market share, NPS or new customer acquisition.

And here’s where the initiative ultimately begins to fail and the “social media thing” starts to feel like a whole lotta hype.

In 2014, Gallup released findings from a poll they ran that showed less than 40% of its respondents felt social media had any bearing on their decision to buy a product. I’m sure this is disheartening to marketers; companies in the US spent over $5B on social media advertising! Seeing as how only 5% responded that it “strongly” influenced their buying decision, you have to wonder how anyone is tracking ROMI against this channel.

It’s a fool’s errand to attempt to question a consumer on his or her personal buyer’s journey as it pertains to their response to specific marketing tactics, but the findings are telling nonetheless: Assuming your social media program is going to immediately net you new buyers and bigger wins is risky – especially in the B2B space. You simply cannot rely on the usual metrics people apply to social media activities to gauge overall effectiveness.

The biggest problem we see in the B2B space is this: rather than crafting a strategy that leverages the data that comes out of a well defined social strategy to achieve their goals, businesses are hoping that social and it’s impact on their content marketing strategy will simply net them wins. Consequently the metrics being deployed are not only too simplistic, they aren’t in anyway “linkable” back to executive level goals like revenue generation.

The many successful marketers we speak to have reached this conclusion:

Social media enables success; hyper-attention to social media ‘success metrics’ does not.

If you want social media to work for your firm quickly look at adopting the following mindset:

  • See it for what it is; a component of your marketing strategy that enables and enhances, not something tto be treated as a stand alone initiative.
  • Patience is key.
  • Move beyond measuring social media’s impact on your business via metrics that offer no real insight: page views, followers, shares, retweets, likes,etc.
  • Use the activity and resultant data from social media initiatives to form what we call customer-centric outputs.

So now you’re very likely thinking or shouting to no one in particular “Jason! Oh mighty king of useless jargon, what do you mean by customer-centric outputs?” Right?

So in the spirit of #ThoughtLeaderiness I give you the Jason’s-Blocks-of-Simple-yet-Difficult-Social-Media-Outputs. It’s more commonly referred to as the JBoSyDSO(note to the fellas: The ladies love them some JBoSyDSO so drop it into conversation the next time you’re out at the club looking to make a great first impression – pronounced just like it’s spelled by the way):

07009d9 B2B Social Media: Youre going the wrong way!

To enable an output-based program you have to be patient. The value of the “outputs” only grow over time. As data aggregates, the ability to conduct longitudinal studies grows; insight into regions, verticals, companies and even individuals becomes so much more rich – and with this your ability to make intelligent choices in marketing, sales and product development improves.

And this is the difficulty many firms have: patience and willingness to make basic investments in the systems that enable an effective strategy. I won’t spend time on specifics of tools out there as the topic is myriad, but solution types can broken into 5 basic categories: monitoring, management, engagement, analytics and influencer. We can save this subject for another time…

Let’s briefly cover the outputs which are unique in nature but overlap frequently:

CUSTOMER SEGMENTATION: Can be used to analyze the nature of conversations by individuals or groups. Practically speaking, discussions mentioning company name can be linked to brand awareness, while posts where specific product, tech specs or attributes are being discussed can be used to identify an individual as a prospective buyer worth nurturing, or an account worth exploring. Highly active individuals can more easily be clustered as Hi-Po targets with corresponding tailored marketing strategies.

COMPETITIVE AWARENESS: Useful when monitoring competitive product launch announcements to determine sentiment versus your offerings. Also allows for competitor campaign countermeasures – especially when said campaigns involve FUD or otherwise unfriendly information being used against your firm.

CAMPAIGN CURRENCY: A great way to garner near real-time insight into the effectiveness of media and marketing initiatives. Not only does it provide you with the ‘what-is & what-isn’t’ working feedback, you also gain the ability to monitor conversations as they evolve vis-a-vis brand comparison enabling you to improve on future campaigns. Properly utilizing this information enables companies to more adroitly tweak messaging to meet customer interests as they change throughout the lifecycle of their initiatives.

FOCUS GROUPS: This is kind of a no-brainer. From a psychological stand point, people in general don’t always give the most honest of feed back with respect to brands, campaigns or products when put in a room with a bunch of strangers. Plus conducting these on-site groups is expensive and a pain in the backside. The impersonal nature of the web however is a different story, it allows for much larger sample sizes and ensures that feedback (data) is more easily archived and used in a far more scientific manner.

Proper deployment of these ‘outputs’ with social media acting as the engine driving them allows for the identification of tangible metrics and actionable data with respect to the aforementioned 5 goals:

  1. Brand sentiment, buzz and growth are, as mentioned, the most immediate and directly affected by nearly any campaign; your ability to influence and enhance are greatly magnified via social channels.
  2. As campaigns and initiatives are now being more accurately monitored via live feed back, tweaks can be made to eliminate spend on inefficiencies. Very expectedly, through comparative study over time, firms begin to see content distribution costs decline as a result of shares, retweets and the like.
  3. Customer feedback – both solicited and unsolicited – can be viewed across multiple products, channels and regions; services can be proactively deployed (and communicated) to a broader audience before larger problems arise; specific individuals can be quickly identified for a more personal touch.
  4. Based on trends and aggregate voice, combined with competitive intelligence, companies can quickly respond to market needs from a product perspective, inform key demographics of their “Next Big Thing” should they so desire, and use inputs from the corresponding feedback to improve product/service enhancements as they are occurring.
  5. Whitespace accounts, high-potential buyers and at risk customers are more quickly identified and addressed.

It is therefore advisable that the traditional social media metrics be used versus the outputs on an individual basis, not in trying to create direct correlations to the goals one seeks to achieve. Companies are best served by endeavoring to create more tangible links (KPIs) from the outputs to those goals instead. By doing this your social media initiatives will net far more benefit to your organization as a whole.

So in closing, be patient, stay focused on your outputs and not the minutiae of the metrics. By moving away from gauging success based purely on tactical, easily counted data points, and redirecting your energy to building outputs that link to your goals, you will right your “vehicle” and start driving on the correct side of the road.

Spoiler alert: They make it home for Thanksgiving dinner.