NYU professor Dr. Paul Horn famously said “Innovation occurs at the intersection of invention and insights.” In today’s climate of rapid decision-cycles, successful marketing is as much about discipline as it is vision. The challenge throughout the process – conceptualization, architecting, development, and launch – is staying true to the insights that originally revealed the business opportunity: Branding & Awareness, Interest & Consideration, Advertising, and Loyalty.
Branding & Awareness
While it is commonly accepted that a brand is defined by what its customers think and feel about it, a company’s positioning is an area where a marketing group can exert more influence. Social data takes the guesswork out of creating a positioning strategy enabling marketing professionals to know what your customers are saying about you when you are out of the room, allowing you to rapidly identify the variables and characteristics that carry the most weight with a target market.
Data-driven marketing, led by the consumer as represented in social data, allows for quicker decisions without surrendering control. In fact, it’s the data that liberates the decisions from debating potential strategies to focusing on executing what the consumer wants.
Interest & Consideration
Understanding how your consumer signals purchase intent can be straightforward, but capitalizing on it is something else entirely. Without a clear understanding of how to attribute conversions, many marketing professionals use a “let’s see what sticks” approach through test and learn budgets. This approach is designed to reveal some data to be able to make a decision but rarely does it lead to the best plan because gut based decisions drove the test and learn investments. In the era of big-data marketing, gut-based decisions are quickly becoming antiquated.
Social data enables a two-pronged approach to uncovering what drives purchase behavior. First, marketing professionals can begin to move beyond basic demographics and begin to identify real life consumer segments that move the needle for their brand and represent actual consumer behaviors. These hyper focused segments are often counterintuitive and exert influence over larger and broader consumer segments. As a group these highly responsive consumers can be a better proxy for purchase intent. Secondly, social analytics categorizes the conversation themes that most resonate with buyers. Understanding what will stimulate consumer behavior empowers marketing professionals to graduate from test and learn approaches to optimizing for maximum impact on consideration.
Companies that advertise in today’s fragmented media landscape understand that it’s an all-out war for the attention of the consumer. In the past advertisers could rely on reach and frequency to capture a target demographic with their message. The increase in advertising options brings with it more complex media consumption patterns by the target consumer. Exacerbated by the challenge, brands are left wondering how to evolve advertising strategies.
The advertising industry celebrates the campaigns that appear to catch lightning in a bottle and then holds them up as models for everyone to try and replicate. Most of these campaigns are truly extraordinary not just for what they achieve, but how they inadvertently reached such heights. Rather than mimic these heralded brands, mainstream marketing professionals can use social data to discover the right blend of creative and media choices to achieve the minimal effective amount of spend. Social Data can guide marketers to find the right message or right media mix by allowing marketers to avoid risk and swiftly find the areas where to concentrate. The greatest opportunity lies in the ability to marry intuition and data into creative and media decisions.
Loyalty marketing has three simple levers: grow share of wallet, drive down cost per sale, and grow average transaction amount. Consumers have moved to find more value from the companies they choose to buy from and as a result companies have been forced to replace eroding margins with volume. While some companies like Amazon measure success in transactions, others know that brand sentiment is a more accurate indicator of future success.
For executives, clemency lies in value creation for consumers. Driving value can be done through innovation, but can also be done with reinvention. New value propositions and new differentiators are required for new economies with new competitors. Real-time consumer data can deliver brands from a position of exposure to one of stability while building profitable customer relationships.
Marketers want to solve real problems for the businesses they work for and real-time data is proving to be a valuable resource that boosts performance. As brands evolve to meet the needs of today’s connected consumer and incorporate real-time consumer data into everyday decision making, their ability to achieve efficiencies will advance exponentially. After all, the promise of the social enterprise isn’t about managing customer relations, but learning how to move in-sync with the customer, knowing their every need and delivering on it.
Jason Kapler is Director of Marketing at Networked Insights, a social media analytics company and technology partner to leading brands and networks. With more than 10 years’ experience in generating demand for technology companies, he has been able to successfully develop marketing programs that harnesses the inherent power of the Internet and deliver results. Jason is passionate about sharing how companies can use social media to their advantage to stay in-sync with consumer trends and uncover real-time insights.