June 7th, 2012 by Sten Franke
As soon as a McKinsey-study names big data, digital marketing / social media, and cloud computing as megatrends, it will be recognized among most old economy enterprises. A recent investigation by the consulting firm concludes that most C-level executives see foremost three key trends in the digital business:
- Big data and an appropriate analysis of the data
- Digital marketing and corresponding social media tools
- Usage of new platforms like cloud computing and other mobile offers
The expectancies to these three mega trends are high. For instance a third of the questioned believe, via the mentioned trends operational revenue can be increased by more than 10 percent. Managers of privately held businesses expect an even bigger growth potential than their colleagues at companies or publicly held organizations. 39 percent of the “privates” see a growth of over 10 percent thanks to the three above defined trends. At public decision-makers this figure is only 24 percent.
How strong the pressure in these trends is can be seen by the fact that more than half of the respondents said, at least two of the three trends are among the top ten of their strategic business objectives in the coming years. The digital marketing, as well as big data, already belongs to top 3 priorities at 25 percent of all companies.
It may be interesting, whether the planned investigations can cope with the reputed reality. A mere 25 percent of the interviewed declare that more than 3 percent of the company budget is allocated to the digital business. For 29 percent this value only is 0.9 percent.
Tantalizing: A third considers the planned investments as sufficient. However, a half is speaking of too little financial resources.
The actual benefit businesses want to extract out of the three mega trends are – logically – widely varied. E.g. in the big data sector 49 percent state they will focus on customer insights. In digital marketing predominantly it is about further integrating consumers in the field of social media.
At the end of a highly appealing study the authors give an outlook: They see numerous challenges enterprises will have to face. „Also required is a new approach to managing talent by utilizing flexible team structures, engaging outside collaborators, and increasing corporate tolerance for failure.“
Based on my experience and variable discussions I had with executives of companies, brands, and agencies I assess the situation of Germany’s market as follows:
- More than 95% of the businesses will lag behind these mega trends, although the topics have gained awareness in the top management. Most of the times their relevance is being rated down, although. Owing to a lack of know-how they are not being approached or rather realized consequently. The jeopardy especially for exporting companies is very high, as they, first, disregard the chance to strengthen their leading position in the market, and second, risk to lose ground to direct, more innovative contenders in the global competition.
- The budgets for digital marketing have increased the past years, although far away of what would have been necessary to comply with the altered patterns of media usage of consumers. Established B2C-brands bet on modeling tools to fathom budget allocation best, although the tools often miss the input of social media data. When it comes to the creative realization, in my view too often the antique sender-receiver principle is being applied. A good bit of the digital budget is allotted to further development and launch of websites, while the initiation of branded communities in social networks is neglected. Too little significance is given to the important community management.
- Sure, big data is a hype topic in the media, but yet hasn’t arrived in the daily business. First tries to mount and interpret the massive data treasure can be identified, mostly in the US, where intern data are combined with consumer insights generated in social media, and so increasing the efficiency and output of campaigns. In Germany many companies still are in search of an argumentation to conduct a first professional social media analysis, above all against the background of identifying emerging crises. To get access to the nuggets – the customer insights – more than monitoring of keywords is needed. High analytical and technological competence, considerable comprehension of how consumers think nowadays, and which marketing tools deliver best leads is what it takes.
Conclusion: Indeed, most businesses will have a hard time building the required know-how, and the appropriate structures, in an acceptable time frame. That’s why top management will buy the competences externally. Ergo, service and solution providers in the above mentioned sectors may look forward to above average raising budgets in the coming years.
April 3rd, 2012 by Sten Franke
In the social web the boss can make a difference. According to a study by Brandfog the social media perception of a brand is influenced positively, when the CEO engages on Twitter, Facebook & Co. personally. 78% of those questioned hold the opinion that it has positive consequences for the business, when the chief hits the keyboard of his computer or the touchpad of his smartphone. 71% reckon that it improves the brand image, and another 64% are convinced that the business in question is perceived as more transparent, when the manager facebooks or twitters.
Once being asked after it, 82% answered that it is “important” or even “very important” when the CEO engages in social media. A particularly astonishing result of the study furthermore is that a CEO, who is representing the interests of his enterprise on Twitter or Facebook, increases the trust of his employees in the respective business. At least that is the persuasion of 82%.
Nevertheless it is of major difference, whether the boss twitters, comments, and posts personally or has entrusted it to an external agency. At least a current Swiss study by Zurich-based Bernet PR proves once again that authenticity generally is one of the most important currencies in the social web. “This only works with the personal voice”, Micheal Walther writes. “It is possible to depute concepts, strategies, and programming, on your own you should speak.” In the beginning it would suffice, if a spokesperson or a close colleague would do the talk.
German chancellor Angela Merkel and her spokesman Steffen Seibert constitute a good example. Since the former ZDF journalist twitters, she is – at least perceived – closer to the citizen.
In the end – at least in businesses – it always is about sales and profit. Here, again, a CEO can assert improvements. The study by Brandfog concludes that around 77% of the questioned buy a brand’s or business’ commodities, whose marketing team engages in conversations with the consumers about their own products.
Having read these results, we ask ourselves: Which CEO of a enterprise twitters personally? Not many, that’s for sure! Although it is apparent which huge potential almost all businesses leave untouched.
>>CEOs and Top Executives on Twitter:
April 21st, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
There it goes; Twitter has become a substantially relevant PR tool. Hence, within only few months a number of brands have experienced, how fast a crisis can spread – thanks to this channel of the 140 characters. The American painkillers Motrin had encountered the anger and resentment of few well networked moms. The E-Commerce Gigant Amazon had to experience a hacker attack over Easter, which erased literature offers regarding gay and lesbian themes. And last but not least, the Domino’s pizza delivery service has its share of experience in regard to the short distasteful video of two employees on YouTube. The three cases show that even in the U.S Twitter has definitely become more and more relevant for company’s communication. Yet, how could these three companies avoid the big disaster to their reputation before it even started? Maybe these three tips below can help a little:
Only listening does not suffice
Important is also knowing, who talks about the brand in Twitter, and how badly he/she speaks about the brand and the corresponding company. Therefore, the following few priorities should stand out in foreground:
Priority No. 1 has to be the people who make up the majority of your brand’s customers. And that will be the question for Domino’s as it plots the best plan of response: The pizza chain needs to know not only how many people saw the video but who those people are and how likely they are to be current customers.
A monitoring is not only a quantitative analysis of the relevant brands mentions, but it’s also about the qualitative analysis like the segmentation and the creation of user’s typologies. Only a qualitative analysis ensures an effective potential crisis analysis. Thereby, it’s not only decisive, how often a tweet or retweet comes out but it’s also important, whether the tweet fits into my target group or not.
Don’t hide uncertainty – Transparency is a must
Companies should engage themselves in the discussions with quick and fast manner towards the emerging crisis in Twitter&Co. even if the companies do not actually know, what is happening, just like in the case with Amazon deleting the whole product groups. A short PR statement would only ignite more fire to the unfavorable situation. A transparent answer in Amazon’s case would be to inform users that the mistakes are not known yet and people in charged are doing everything in their power to resolve the problems. Through this kind of behavior, one shows that critical voices in Twitter are being taken seriously and that one does react to the voiced sentiments. This kind of strategy can smooth the situation and best example for it: the action taken by Scott Monty after a notice of one of the Ford fan’s communities:
Monty logged onto Twitter and asked people to hold off: there was “more to the story.” That slowed down commentary. A little later he added, there was counterfeiting of Ford trademark properties involved. That froze the conversation and bought him some time.
“Some time,” in a PR crisis a few years ago used to translate into about four days. Times change. Monty figured he had bought Ford a few hours.
The above example show that through the announcement of the brand alone of something is being done in respect to the circumstances can definitely slow the spread of crisis significantly down.
Exercise precautions and build your own Twitter community
This basic doesn’t only apply for Twitter but it applies as well for the whole area of social media. In case of a crisis, a strong brand community can be a life insurance for the brand.
Strong, emotional brands that have built up years of consumer goodwill seem to be more insulated from long-term hurt. Few consumers judged much-loved Whole Foods when its CEO was caught posting comments on financial sites under a fake name. Another consumer darling, JetBlue, has recovered valiantly from its Valentine’s Day massacre, which left passengers stranded on board on a runway for eight hours.
It appears quite advantageous for brands alone, out of the perspectives of crisis prevention to build a strong community around its brand. An authentic and long lasting dialog with users, and tying customers emotionally to the brand will make sustainable damage of brand reputation very unlikely. Furthermore, a big brand community i.e. a big Twitter followers guarantees a real sense of hearing in the target group of user generated channels. At least, Domino’s Pizza now understood how essential own Twitter community can be.
March 4th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
We’ve talked a lot about varying possibilities of dialogs between users and brands by ways of blogs, Twitter streams or branded community in big social networks. Hence, the importance of direct and authentic dialog was often mentioned in regard to building brand reputation and brand awareness. After all, all these platforms have one thing in common; the buying decisions take place at those platforms, but sales are mainly to be found elsewhere. Yet, how does the dialog work between consumers and brands in social shopping platforms such as Amazon or in other product review portals such as Dooyoo or HolidayCheck? Is it necessary for companies to be engaged actively in those platforms? The answer is easy: Yes, even here marketing execs should be active. Product recommendations and buying decisions in Amazon&Co occur in a pretty concrete and concentrated way. Hence, it is highly recommendable for companies in the area of B2C to use these platforms as potential communication channels for a concrete and direct dialog with users. Furthermore, company’s communication execs should take notice of important rules in regard to the communication between users and brands in these surroundings. On his blog post, Todd Defren summarizes quite reasonable rules of communication for product review platforms:
Rule #2: Listen to consumers. Just like each activity in social media, the dialog begins on these platforms with continuous monitoring of the relevant channels. It’s about getting a general view and afterwards to communicate more efficiently with the product reviewers.
Rule #3: Always play with open cards. Companies should always act in an open manner, meaning they should never pretend to be “just another user”. Users of these platforms wish for an open communication with the person in charge of the brands. If companies take this rule to heart, a sustainable dialog between users and companies would be accomplished.
Rule #4: Willingness for a real user dialog. Even if a negative or positive customer feedback exists: a dialog must take place. Therefore, companies should engage courteously and effectively to all comments made by users – be it good or bad comments.
Rule #5: Handling negative feedback in a constructive way. Companies should be cooperative in handling critical feedback. They should show that they do listen to consumers and thus, try to provide the best solutions. If the critics are too personal and false, companies must not react too defensive and ignorant, instead they should comment in a short and prompt way but not getting too deep into discussion.
Rule #6: The best defense is not offence. If company’s communicator rates a comment as harming the company’s business; it is advisable not to force the hosting platform to remove it. Such action would rather lead to higher waves of attention and it won’t do any good for marketers to be on the bad side with hosting platform. Furthermore, it would only leave bad impression on potential brand evangelists.
Rule #7: Rewarding positive feedback with a thank you. Communication in this area does not only mean to respond only to negative comments, but also to the positive feedbacks. By responding to positive comments, marketers could bind consumers/users more strongly to brands. By means of positive communication between users and brands, an important step is certainly achieved in establishing continuous brands relation.
Review platforms and social shopping platforms do belong for certain to a very important element of a social media marketing strategy. In social media platforms marketers are so closed on sales process then elsewhere. Hence, it is quite essential to offer users in those platforms the possibility of an authentic direct dialog with respected brands. Thereby, company’s execs must pay head to be open and direct in their communications and they should respond to negative critics constructively, or in a deescalated way.