In recent years, the capabilities of social media have exploded, and its embrace has quickly become a critical part of a successful brand’s organization. Social’s opportunities are boundless, and the ability to connect with fans and potential customers has spurred the need to understand how social is impacting the bottom line.
Social touches nearly every part of business–from how companies connect with consumers to how employees collaborate with each other around the world. Until this disruption occurred, CMOs and CIOs were occupied with their own aspects of the business. The CMO used tried-and-true marketing techniques to drive awareness, leads, and customers, while the CIO was focused on managing a team dedicated to making sure all technical needs were met across the organization. The CMO had little need to understand the technicalities, while the CIO didn’t expend much energy on understanding how the marketing machine worked.
Recently, however, data-driven marketing has become a necessity. This has been propelled by the quick rise of digital marketing and social media. Now CMOs are finding themselves knee-deep in the technology decision process, and the CIO is getting involved in how these new platforms interact with established systems, determining security levels, and more. CIOs and CMOs are coming together to understand how IT-related marketing decisions impact the overall organization. According to B2B Marketing Insider, marketers, on average, spend more than a quarter of their marketing budget on content marketing. How can they ensure they’re getting the biggest bang for their buck?
“The new reality is that the CMO and CIO paths are now intersecting, and data-driven marketing means that technology plays a front-and-center role,” said Roy Jugessur, head of EMEA for Shoutlet. “CMOs and CIOs have come to realize that they must work together to keep up with the demand and stay relevant in this ever-changing landscape.”
In its “Western European Social Media Marketing Forecast, 2012 To 2017” report, Forrester noted increasing social media marketing spending during the next five years will be fueled by “increasing numbers of addressable devices; consumers’ willingness to use them; continued consolidation of the social network landscape in Europe; and growth in the number of Western Europeans who use social networks.” However, the fact remains that adoption is much slower than in other parts of the world–particularly in North America–due to a much slower maturation market, habitual usability by the consumer, and the marketer’s understanding of how to improve the brand-fan relationship. As a result, an important part of the decision-making process comes down to hard numbers. Social marketing ROI is still a challenge for many, but with proper planning and execution, smart CMO-CIO teams can identify areas for investment and, eventually, return.
To get started, brands need to keep in mind the “VSP” of social data:
There’s an incredible amount of social data to be tracked and consumed. According to Mary Meeker’s D11 presentation on Internet trends, social content creation and spend is exploding. Why? Because it’s shaping the human experience. Social users are exposed to more information and experiences, and they’re sharing them. People can’t consume content fast enough. And, consequently, brands can’t capture the data fast enough.
Facebook alone processes 2.5 billion pieces of content, 300 million photos, 2.7 billion Like actions, and more than 500 terabytes of data each day. Twitter processes more than 400 million tweets daily, and according to Meeker’s study, 500-plus million photos are uploaded per day, while 100 hours of video content is uploaded to YouTube per minute. Compare this to less than 20 hours only six years ago. The amount of content being generated and consumed is truly staggering.
With this explosion of content comes an even bigger explosion of data. For the CMO+CIO approach, the volume of content will inform many of the content generation, budget, and technological support decisions that have to be made. But how do you know what to look for? And how do you make sense of it all?
Social data can be broken down into three buckets: high-level, mid-level, and individual-level data.
• High-level is the bird’s eye view of your brand’s impact in the social stratosphere that will help identify your target demographic. Who’s engaging with the brand? What do they generally gravitate to from your social outputs?
• Mid-level is a deeper dive into the data, which highlights interests and social activity of your fan base. This level of segmentation will allow you to define your followers by niche demographics, allowing you to better design targeted social campaigns.
• Individual-level is where you can make the biggest impact from your social data. This segmentation will expose your brand’s biggest fans and who is most likely to evangelize your brand on your behalf. Use this social data to identify and trigger action in these fans in a brand advocacy program.
Because CIOs and CMOs now often tackle decision-making behind social technologies together, it’s important to clearly define the goals for each and map those decisions back to key learnings from social data. Having data underline the working relationship between the CMO and CIO can uncover a few potential opportunities for the overall brand and organization, including:
• Better collaboration: Employees will be able to better communicate with each other and with external audiences (including your social fan base) with IT that supports engagement.
• Improved speed and efficiency: The combination of better collaboration and a clear understanding of social metrics clears the path for social decisions. Having CMOs and CIOs on the same page and with interlocking goals should streamline the speed of social program execution and improve for more efficient processes.
• Informed content strategy: Taking your social data and viewing it from different angles can expose gaps in content and also highlight the areas that are resonating well with your audiences. Take that knowledge and build a strategy that maps back on all levels: high, mid, and individual. Build an advocacy program that identifies your strongest social relationships and encourages action in the form of engagement and sharing. Smart brands also use their brand advocates to help build out their tools and services, giving advocates the opportunity to shape your brand’s story and online identity.
• Better results: Understanding what works for both internal and external communication and applying that knowledge to future programs will better position your brand for success. From a social perspective, knowing which segments respond best to certain promotions and campaigns is a blueprint for better results. It further boosts your social metrics and justifies the spend dedicated to both marketing and IT departments.
Approaching social planning and execution through the eyes of a data-minded CIO-CMO executive team can only improve the way businesses approach and implement social marketing. Making an effort to understand the volume of data and how to segment the captured metrics, and then applying those learnings to take full advantage the social’s potential is the winning formula for proving social return.