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.
May 2nd, 2012 by Sten Franke
A literally beautiful mapping and monitoring tool for Twitter: Mentionmapp. Professionals will hardly take it seriously. Nevertheless it looks damn cool and is fun to web and marketing experts – at least for the moment.
Vancouver-based Mentionmapp does one thing alone: It designs a graphic out of the tweets, replys, and retweets of a twitter profile. This way a visual overview of your personal micro-blogging communication is generated. Well done: When clicking on another twitter-user in your map, his 140 character communication is shown.
Contrary to many similar offerings not only your own personal twitter account can be analyzed and picturized, Mentionmapp also draws each different twitter account you wish. Justin Bieber, Ashton Kutcher, Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, you just need to type their twitter account into the search field, and the tool draws their twitter maps. This function can be quite useful to monitoring professionals, who want to get a glimpse on their competitors.
Mentionmapp still is in Beta status, but a demanded business for long. It already has been acquired by OverInteractive Media Inc. The Vision of the Canadians: „Take information beyond columns and rows, graphs and charts and create engaging interactive data stories.“
When they succeed in living up to their vision, we can look forward to many more great tools!
March 2nd, 2012 by Mathias Buerk
We are honoured to interview Lon Safko (@lonsafko) in today’s Friday5. He invented “the first computer to save a human life” (Steve Jobs) and numerous other software and hardware solutions for the physically challenged. 18 of his inventions and more than 30.000 papers are in the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. Furthermore he is the author of “The Social Media Bible” that ranked #1 in both marketing and business on Amazon, and is available in four languages. Moreover, Lon Safko founded 14 successful companies.
1. Which 5 recent numbers in social media impressed you most?
1) Of course the number of Facebook members always impresses me, especially as they approach their 1 billionth member.
2) Myspace is still out there and growing with over 200 million members.
3) Twitters is still going strong with their 106 million users and active use.
4) It’s China that surprises me. Their Qzone has 190 million members and RenRen with 170 million members. This surprises me because Facebook is still banned and doesn’t compete, and they also have 1.3 billion people! I would have thought their two largest social networks would have larger memberships.
5) Lastly, the number of people calling themselves “social media gurus”.
2. Social Media Trends – which is the “next big thing” in your opinion?
It’s what my next book is about, “The Fusion Media Bible”. If you are still calling yourself a “Social Media Expert” then you’re announcing to the world that you have been left behind. Fusion Marketing is the next step that brings our 6,000 years of traditional marketing, the exciting digital marketing tools of the Internet, and social media together, and fully integrates them into one seamless tool set that will accomplish every goal you set. Fusion Marketing is about looking at all of your campaigns, conversion strategies, tools and tactics as one integrated marketing strategy. If you have a V.P. of social media, then why don’t you have a V.P. of billboards? Traditional, Digital, and Social Media is all just media; technology that allows us to communicate with our customers.
3. Will mobile use change social media?
It already has. The Nielsen Company announced in 2011 that for the first time in history the number of televisions in America dropped from 98% to 96%. We are rapidly moving to mobile for our news, television show, movies, and social connections. The rest of the world is driving this phenomenon as most of the world’s population cannot afford a desktop, a laptop, a tablet, and broadband, but they can afford one smartphone. Smartphone marketing is growing exponentially and smart marketers today have to embrace mobile.
4. Will Google+ challenge facebook seriously?
I think so. This is reminiscent of the Apple vs. Windows battle of the 80’s and 90’s. When you have $24 billion in contextual advertising at stake, there will be war. Both Google and Facebook have been knocking off each others features / benefits for the past three years. This also part of a trend where the technologies are also integrating such as Google Hangouts Skype like video chat and Twitter like chat. When you have the kind of budgets that Google and Facebook have, you can afford to reverse engineer the best features of each others platform. This is only the beginning of the battle.
5. Social Commerce – what do you expect in the future?
Absolutely! We’ve seen the power of “reviews” and “Others who have purchased this has also purchased these…” what technically isn’t social commerce, but it was the beginning and heavily influences purchases. We will see more NFC (Near Filed Communication” or “Tap-&-Go” payment systems. Again, Europe is way ahead of of implementing NFC than the U.S. The smartphone will someday replace the credit card much the same way the credit card replaced the personal check.
February 21st, 2012 by Sten Franke
ROI measurement will soon be crucial to any social media marketing strategy and analysis. In my opinion, the most recent study conducted by King Fish Media leads only to this conclusion.
The marketing agency King Fish Media found that, up to now not even half of all businesses measure the ROI of their Social Media campaigns, although for long there are already Social Media Intelligence or Monitoring tools which can easily analyze Return on Investment – like ethority’s gridmaster. In addition to these tools, the free ethority Social Media ROI Calculator may be used.
A third of the businesses that have calculated the ROI of their campaigns stated that their measures have had the expected impact. For 13 percent the results even exceeded all expectations.
Now, these businesses are particularly interesting because they are the future. Analysts of King Fish Media revealed that 29% of the surveyed companies need to show a positive ROI to receive their Social Media Budget next year.
The most important findings of the study were:
1. Social Media ROI tracking will become much more relevant in the future because half of the surveyed companies still do not conduct ROI analyses.
2. It can be predicted, however, that more than the current 29 percent need to develop an appropriate ROI to be able to plan with respective budgets for future campaigns.
3. The time of social media success being determined only by the number of fans, friends or followers or by rule of thumb will pass.
And this is just as well, because everybody profits from a reasonable ROI measurement strategy and analysis: Users, because campaigns are specially tailored to their needs, and businesses, because they can use their budget more efficiently.
February 27th, 2011 by Sten Franke
Social media users see “Black Swan” as Best Picture, Darren Aronofsky as Best Director, Natalie Portman as Best Actress in a Leading Role and Jeff Bridges as Best Actor in a Leading Role.
ethority has analyzed over 40,000 user opinions relating to the Oscar nominations in forums, blogs and on Twitter with the help of its Web-Monitoring Software Technology. The most interesting question for the research team was: Which of the nominated films and stars are being most heavily discussed in English and German language social media channels? Who are the hottest candidates for the Academy Awards in user-generated media?
The results of the study provided a few surprises. According to social media users, the films are running neck and neck. The differences between Black Swan (17%), True Grit (14%) and Inception (13%) are so small that we will be waiting with bated breath until the envelope is finally opened on Sunday night. The picture is clearer for Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, with 31% of all posts, is significantly ahead of David Fincher (23%) and David O’Russel (18%) – according to the users, we at least know that the winner’s name begins with the letter “D”.
Things are even closer in the race for Best Actor: Jeff Bridges holds a lead over James Franco (both 24%) of only a few hundred posts. Jesse Eisenberg is only 4% behind. By far the clear favorite amongst film bloggers and commentators for Best Actress is Natalie Portman with 45% of all posts. Anette Bening (17%) and Michelle Williams (15%) can’t even make out the leader’s tutu from that distance.
Sten Franke, founder and CEO of ethority comments: “As a film buff and enthusiast, I would have expected The King’s Speech to have been discussed far more strongly and to have stood higher in the users’ favor. But at the end of the day, we are only showing what the community thinks. The Academy has the final say! We’re keeping our fingers crossed.“
The core of social media lies in the interaction with the target group. Automated social media monitoring offers the possibility to identify what users think about a film, a brand or a company. Users utilize the social web to air their views and opinions honestly, without any sugarcoating.
“Monday will mean going into the office early after a long Oscar night.” Adds Benedikt Köhler, COO of ethority. “We will want to compare our own generated data with the Academy results as quickly as possible and see how buzz developed during the Oscar night. The results will, of course, be available to read in our blog.”
About ethority: ethority GmbH & Co.KG as a Social Media Specialist is one of the leading providers of social media monitoring, strategy consulting, marketing, branding and market research in the field of social media. Ethority has been working successfully with large German and international businesses for more than 10 years. The company’s client base includes global and online brands and medium-sized companies in the field of B2C and B2B who are looked after by the more than 50-strong ethority team based in Hamburg, Munich and Atlanta.
March 24th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
Social media marketing only works when a user gets a real added value through his/her engagement. This means: The interaction with brands in user generated channels must result in a measureable ROI for users, as to achieve successful marketing in this area. Thereby, in his latest post – Tom Smith opts for a change in perspectives regarding this matter. It’s not about the added value of social media for companies but instead it’s more about the added value of big brands’ social media activities for users. Smith derives eight advantages for consumers through social media marketing:
1. Social media can transcend the “black box brand” of the past into a transparent dialog partner. Social media enables user a peek behind the scenes of a brand.
2. Social media differentiates bad products from good ones. Thanks to social media, it’s easier for users to get information about specific products before buying decisions are made.
3. Social media is the perfect channel for customer service. Comcast, Dell and Southwest are few of the best examples. The basic for brands should be to actively present themselves where the target group is, as to always be there for the costumers.
4. Social media allows users to take part in product innovation. The keyword is crowdsourcing for the creation of better products. Tchibo, Dell and Procter & Gamble show how companies can involve consumers in product development.
5. User decides if he/she wants to interact with brands. In classical online marketing, users didn’t have the power of choice to decline massive brand messaging.
6. Social media efforts of big brands are the prerequisites for a free of charge usage of Facebook&Co. However, for a continuous availability and development of social media platforms developers need the money, which would come from a booked and well-planned marketing campaign of big brands.
8. Brands in social media are alive through users. One way or another, users’ conversations about brands would take place, regardless of whether brands are choosing to be actively engaged or not.
In the end, it’s quite evident: Social media marketing i.e. active brands in social media offer users a real numerable added value. It starts with transparency through direct customer service and the power of choice, where users can decide for themselves whether they want to be exposed to brand messaging: users benefit obviously from this 2.0 brand communication. This user’s ROI is the key indicator for the success of a brand in user generated media. Brands communication in social media ignites two-way added value, both for users and brands. This applies only, if marketers abide to above mentioned added values. Hence, keywords like transparency and authenticity should be the core focus.
March 13th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
Even for companies in B2C area, it’s quite evident that social media serves as a very efficient communication channel in the area of marketing and company’s communication. However, what about the use of social media in the area of B2B? Does a digital and interactive dialog with decision-makers i.e. buyers in user generated media make any sense at all? In regard to this question, Forrester published a survey with quite astounding results. Josh Bernoff described one particular result as followed:
91% of these technology decision-makers were Spectators — the highest number I’ve ever seen in a Social Technographics Profile. This means you can count on the fact that your buyers are reading blogs, watching user generated videos, and participating in other social media. Note that 69% of them said they were using this technology for business purposes.
Why should the communication behavior of private consumers change? Even buyers in companies use user generated channels just like private persons. Sure, the results of Forrester’s survey are referring only to buyers’ behavior from technological sector, but these findings are actually also a good indicator for the global development. A successful and modern B2B marketing should be able to adjust to the shift of media use. But, how should marketers act in B2B area? Just like in every starting process of social media strategy, a detailed market analysis is also needed in B2B:
• Conducting research to understand more about a prospect’s or client’s “buying desires.”
• Finding decision makers for certain products and services.
• Extracting names from a given community for lead generation.
• Getting answers to questions, reaching out to other experts.
• Finding joint-venture marketing partners and creating various “cooperative opportunities.”
Such analysis of target group, multipliers and brands relevant themes can only be the first step to take for the B2B marketers in social media. Besides consumer insights, a well founded Netnographic can also show the way into the relevant communities. Why shouldn’t companies use it? It is certainly advisable for companies to get into direct dialog in user generated platforms with their respective target company i.e. with the person in charge.
For example, it would offer the possibility for a wood processing manufacturer to be active in a carpenter forum. At the same time, it’s not about switching on banners, but foremost it’s about getting into direct dialog with carpenters about daily requirements of wood processing etc. With such dialog, the company can also manage their existing customers in the sense of digital CRM in respective platforms. In the end, a B2B company must implement their brands in user generated platforms to get into dialog with target group. Just like in B2C, such action would convey the brand image and awareness of buyers in respective company. Thus, the improvement of the two mentioned parameters could lead to a sustainable customer loyalty as well as new customers.
Besides the improvement of brand image and awareness, could a good B2B strategy in the area of user generated media actually boost innovation leadership of the company in the respective segment? Well, e.g. A blog – in which employees can classify branch news, comment and even describe the market development and trends – could actually provide strategic benefit for the company. Let us assume, that the results of Forrester survey in regards to the use of social media for company’s buying decisions in the technological area also meet the requirements of other branches, then a corporate weblog, podcast or video channel can be the perfect channel to underline the innovation leadership. Eventually, an image as innovation leader can leave traceable impacts on buying decisions of other companies.
It’s quite obvious that marketing in social media doesn’t exclusively apply only to B2C marketing. Even buyers in companies are increasingly using user generated media to inform themselves before making buying decisions. U.S companies such as Intel, Chevron and Millerwelds show, how it could work, and as shown by the case of Westaflex, German companies are also active in this matter. This development evidently shows that in the area of B2B marketing social media is already being used. Hence, the area of user generated media belongs as well to a fixed part of marketing mix for B2B marketing area. Justin Hitt is right, as he says:
Social media is something I added to my existing mix, in some ways it does it better (saving time, money, resources).
February 25th, 2009 by Mo
Original Article by David Nelles
What kind of myths in the context of social media marketing are actually NOT out there? Starting with the notion that social media marketing is for free, up to lack of measurability in this area. Often, one hears from marketers about the use of social media for the company’s benefits, which fit into the myths. I’ve summarized the Top 4 Myths in the area of social media marketing:
Myth #1: Social Media Marketing is cheap, if not free.
True is, social media tools are in most cases free for users. One can set up a free Wordpress Weblog, sign up for Twiter Account, and use Digg for social bookmarking or create a group in Facebook. However, it is essential for companies in social media to interact and get into dialogs with their customers in these free platforms. Meaning, companies must create a proper concept to begin with, and then integrate this concept into the existing company’s communications strategy. Thus, these efforts are tied to time and money. For example, a big advertising campaign in social media can cost up to six figures.
Myth #2: Social Media Marketing guarantees instant success.
Yes, it’s true; sometimes one can achieve huge marketing success in social media within the shortest period. One needs only one thing: Luck. Basically, time factor counts the most in the area of social media, since a sustainable and authentic dialog with consumers does not happen overnight. Marketers should not expect an immediate success of social media activities: corporate Twitter with more than 1000 followers or corporate weblog shows 15,000 unique users daily.
Myth #3: We do it best in-house.
If names like Robert Scoble or Jeremiah Oywang belong to circle of employees, then this argument could be justified. Otherwise such intern social media experts are really hard to come by in German big companies – of course with few exceptions. Thus, German companies do rely on support from external specialists for the concept and implementation of social media activities. Until companies enclose the first Heads of Social Media, like Scott Monty, as connector between marketing and company’s communication, more time would certainly be required.
Myth #4: Success in Social Media Marketing is not measurable.
If one takes the classical parameters of online marketing as scale, then this myth is reality. The success measurement of performance based marketing strategy doesn’t fit in the area of social media. But this doesn’t automatically mean that the success of social media is therefore immeasurable. A successful marketing in the realm of user generated media lies not in leads and sales, but in brand awareness and brand reputation. Meaning, the performance success of social media can be seen in conversation’s participation in weblogs, forums, communities and Twitter about brands as well as the tonality of statements.
January 15th, 2009 by Sten Franke
At first glance, it seems quite obvious – for the company in the area of social media – who is actually in charge of the communication with the consumers. Thereby, both marketers and communicators execs are the ones, who stand out the most, since it is after all their tasks to provide the market with powerful brands and brand’s messages. However, this presumption is only true on first sight. The old classical types of marketers are unfortunately loved to talk but seldom do they listen. Well in the era of social media, this good old push campaign without any feedback channels is definitely out. Social media leads marketers in an entirely new and different communication environment. Here, companies, brands and consumers are on the same level and they correspond respectively to one another – a two way conversation as to speak. This mutual both ways of influence means that marketing and company’s communication should pursue an authentic dialog with consumers, and yet marketers are often having troubles to do just that.
With swift and strong changes regarding the usage of media by target groups, decisions maker should ultimately break away – better soon than later- from the deep rooted belief that only marketing department and company’s communication of one’s company are the ones who should communicate with the outside world. A good networking products developer can definitely generate high coverage and more attention by using social media, compared to only just few ads campaigns. Foremost, decisions maker should take this fact as a chance instead of a threat. As foretold by Charlene Li concerning the year 2009:
everybody becomes a marketer…their front line workers will go about quietly, unobtrusively interacting with customers, partners, and other employees within their social networks. Examples like @comcastcares Frank Eliason or “Nuts About Southwest” blogger Gordon Guillory (who is a mechanical engineer) point to the democratization of social media within the enterprise.
Probably they are employers, who do actually help the company in getting the message out there in a really “social” way – e.g. like Guillory from Southwest. Rohit Bhargava affirms also the good possibility of Charlene Li’s way of thinking for brands and companies in the area of social media.
Find a way to embrace your accidental spokespeople. In the social media era, anyone can be a spokesperson for your brand, from regular employees to passionate customers. Find a way that your brand can connect with these voices and amplify them.
Rohit goes even a step further with his proposal; maybe marketers should consider using their own target group as multipliers.
It’s not of importance, whether it’s done by a networking or passionate consumer or even just a single employer. The marketing success for the companies will surely sky rocket in user generated channels through this kind of activities. Thus, an authentic communication with consumers is actually generated and well perceived. It’s not a real alternative for companies to not communicate with consumers online out of fear for losing control of their brand’s message. Brands communication does take place in social media and it gets even stronger and more intense. Hence, no companies can afford to ignore a direct and authentic consumer dialog. Nothing is worst then not taking part in a public discussion of one’s own brands.