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11 Strategic Issues Facing CIOs in 2015

When we talk about digital transformation here at Perficient, we are often talking about big data, cloud, mobile and social.

 
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In a recent Forbes article titled “CIO Lessons Learned: My Approach To The Top 10 Strategic Issues Of 2015“, Mark Sunday of Oracle says, “the CIO must be adept at understanding and responding to business requirements, executing on technology projects, and supporting customers in new and better ways.”

We couldn’t agree more. Sunday then outlines 11 strategic issues that CIOs are facing in 2015, and digital transformation has a lot to do with them. I’ve summarized each of his 11 points here: Read the rest of this post »

Lessons from 2014: How to get more clicks on Facebook.

Merry Christmas!  As I have some time off at the end of the year, I’m looking back at information I have gathered in my reading list that I find interesting.  I came across the article We tested all the best advice to get more clicks on Facebook. Here’s what worked by Kevan Lee at Buffer’s Social blog.  As I re-read the article I had a funny feeling that I’d commented before on posts by Kevan Lee.  Sure enough, I found two other blogs posts from this year that contained information from Kevan.

What is intriguing to me about this article is that Buffer used a very methodical approach to testing each of their theories.  Too often I see companies just try things without really following a good scientific methodology.

First Buffer started with a baseline of how their Facebook page performed.  This is critical because you can’t measure what works without having a baseline.

Here are the seven techniques Kevan used to see which were the best at getting users to click on a Facebook post:

  1. Post to Facebook at non-peak times
  2. Post more frequently to Facebook – six times per day
  3. Post less frequently to Facebook – once per day
  4. Ask questions in the updates
  5. Change the style of the update
  6. Post only link updates
  7. Post different types of images with the links

That seems like a pretty good list of techniques. I won’t go through the results for each test here – you can read through Kevan’s blog post for the details.  However, here is an example of the results from the first test – posting at non peak times:

Source: https://blog.bufferapp.com/facebook-marketing

Here they found a big increase in clicks at 11:00 pm, even though they were posting less frequently at this time.  Very interesting.

Here are the three techniques that worked the best for Buffer:

  • Share link posts
  • Share in the evenings
  • Create a main image/graphic for your post

Of course this is data only for Facebook for Buffer.  You should follow a similar test regime to see what works best for you on Facebook and other social media sites.

Lessons from 2014: The Problem with Sentiment Analysis

As we wind down 2014, I’m taking a look back at some items in my reading list and bringing forward the ones I found important from a learning standpoint.  The article The Problem with Sentiment Analysis by Sarah Kessler at Fast Company in November 2014 qualifies as one of those “aha” articles.

Analyzing social media has been a hot topic in the past couple of years.  Ms. Keller points out that during the 2012 presidential election season USA Today had a daily story about President Obama’s “sentiment” score versus Mitt Romney’s score.  The score was calculated by analyzing social media posts about each candidate.  In theory, the analysis could show which candidate is getting more positive comments versus negative comments.  And, in theory again, this could tell us about public opinion for each candidate.

However, Ms. Keller interviewed Marc Smith who pointed out that this type of sentiment analysis is inherently flawed.  Marc Smith is a sociologist who specializes in the social organization of online communities.  He went so far as to say about the USA Today stories that “This is remarkably poor data. That this is borderline criminal.”  As Keenan Thompson says in Saturday Night Live, “What up with that?”

Tight Crowd Pattern Graph: NodeXL Graph Gallery

Mr. Smith argues that this type of sentiment analysis only reveals which group of supporters “shouted” the loudest that day. It really tells us nothing about public opinion of either candidate.

What I found really interesting is Mr. Smith’s work on how crowds form around a topic on social media in six different shapes:

  • Polarized crowd in which two groups form and rarely interact with each other.  This is akin to the political sentiment described above.  The Obama crowd did their thing and the Romney crowd did theirs independently.
  • Tight crowd where a small group of people cluster around a conference.  The image in this post shows a tight crowd pattern.
  • Brand cluster in which people talk about a brand, but rarely interact with each other in the crowd
  • Community cluster where multiple small groups form
  • Broadcast network in which many people connect with a media outlet, but not with each other
  • Support network where something like a service center connects with lots of people, but those people don’t really interact with each other.

According to Mr. Smith, looking at the shape of the network lets you see that not all social media posts can be treated the same.  He argues that you should report on the size, volume and content of each major cluster over time.

This makes a lot of sense to me.  If you are measuring sentiment for a particular brand, event or anything else, you should be interested in how the network aligns with your goals.  Say you are hosting a conference – you’d want to see the social network form into a “tight crowd” pattern.  If it doesn’t then something is probably not working right.  Likewise if you are a brand and see the “brand cluster” pattern emerge, you may want to take steps to encourage your followers to interact more with each other, if that is a goal.

If you are involved in sentiment analysis or any social media analysis, I encourage you to follow the links here and take a look at Marc Smith’s research in this area.  Let me know what you think.

A Day in the Life of a Social Media Manager

In the BufferSocial blog, Kevan Lee posted an article for Social Media Managers.  The post takes a look a “typical” social media manager’s day and breaks down that day into many different activities, represented in the info graphic here.   

Mr. Lee also provides several different views on how other people spend their days managing social media.  One person, Finola Howard, manages to compress all her daily activities into just one hour per day. Her tasks include:

  • Use SocialOomph to figure out which new twitter followers to accept
  • Measure which posts are performing the best so you can take advantage of them
  • Schedule tweets and posts for the day.  She uses Buffer for this, other use tools like Hootsuite.
  • Find content
  • Respond to others
  • Monitor engagement of fans and followers

In general, the post identifies 12 tasks of a social media manager.  The twelve tasks are shown here and the article does a great job of explaining each of them.

If you manage social networking within your company, say using IBM Connections, Yammer, Jive or others, you should also pay attention to the tasks.  Each of these 12 tasks apply to internal as well as external social managers.

In addition, Mr. Lee provides a series of checklists for the social media manager.  These lists come from places like Mindbrew Creative, HeroX, Hootsuite and others.  Even by itself, the various checklists are well worth your time to understand.

Overall, A day in the Life of a Social Media Manager is extremely valuable and full of great information.

Adobe Summit: The Convergence of Search and Social

Marc Blinder, Director of Social Marketing at Adobe and Jon Beeston, Director of New Product Innovation at Adobe presented on the trend of search and social convering.  Twitter is a great example of that where we share but also search.

Theme: Search and Social platforms are converging – which  means successful marketers musth have one unified team with one set of data.

Key takeaways from this session

  1. Connect: facebook to offline experience. feed the metadata
  2. Bring: search and social teogher. People, process, and technology
  3. Expect: social SEM data unification and all our war among Google, facebook, and twitter for ad dollars

2013

Paid, owned, and earned are converging.  Look at facebook where you can have your owned pages, people who like you and you also buy ads. They might even be on the same page.  Google search results even shows paid and owned assets together, especially with Google + and it’s continuing growth.

2014

Quote: “There’s no free lunch”

Quote: It could be argued from a consumer point of view that the better the search engine is the fewer advertisement  you will need. (Google)

Note that they followed that with a picture of a Google results page with TONS of ads.

  • Social will become more like search and search will become more social.  As social becomes more like search, you will pay for it in some form or fashion.
  • Search is improving within facebook and users are starting to use the natural search.  The results are like a combination of Yelp and Bing
  • Point, you should search for your company or product to see if the results look good or if you need some work.
  • Google Hummingbird search uses natural language processing.  They actually followed facebook on this
    • Google is trying to tie in Google+ as much as they can.  There’s a lot of
  • Twitter has marketing events but it will depend on real time interactions and key words. You social guys should be talking to your search team.
  • Look at all the reviews on facebook.  Although there seems to be some major rate inflation.  It could become the best way to find a restaurant.
    • Note that Google moved their reviews to Google plus so you’ve got something similar going on.
  • The clunky: three results for Thornbury Castle on the facebook search right now.  It needs some cleanup.
    • natural language search on facebook is still a bit clunky
  • Stalker: Can now search for divorced women over 30 years old. (Creepy)
    • Or divorced women who like a specific tv shows
    • key learning, watch out what you like. It will come back to you.
  • Political implications: Femen is illegal in Tunisia but it’s a piece of cake to find people who like Femen in Tunisia.

How to improve your search and your social?

  • Update your metadata
  • use checkin to your locations
  • encourage offline customers to go mobile with likes, checkins, and recommendations
  • Great idea: everyone checks in when they upload a picture.   So put something photo worthy in it.
  • Don’t forget stickers like rate us on trip advisor, etc.
  • It will be easy to get yourself to the top of a list by checking in a fair amount.
  • Be careful and remember that Facebook is still working on this. Graph search isn’t even available on mobile.
    • It’s early in the game. They’ve got a lot to do. they just had to index 1 trillion pieces of content.  So something has to slide
  • Publish at least one per day on Google+
    • Find something to push out once a day to get decent looking results.
  • use Google + social to put content in display advertising in Google ad network
  • Twitter strategy
    • Conversation analytics
    • keyword strategy
    • creative development
    • bid optimization
    • Looks a lot like search ad strategy doesn’t it……….

Integrate Search and Social

You need to evolve your approach.

  • Disparate teams with social, search etc need to come together.  Adobe uses a hub and spoke framework
    • Other options for approach include centralized, distributed, and holistic
    • Don’t just use a PR agency for your social. Become social yourselves
  • Inconsistent KPI’s need a common framework across teams
    • and if you aren’t doing a good job tracking then start.  You need analytics and key measurements
  • Siloed tracking and report becomes common tracking and reports
    • Common tracking will push you to channel optimization
    • Which will push your towards attributions.
    • Which will lead you to media mix modeling
    • It must become unified between social and search.  Of course, that’s the whole point of campaign management services.
  • Volume, sentiment need to become something that proves value to the business
  • In evolving, define what you want to do. Recognize the role of social in YOUR organization
    • PR and communications?
    • Marketing and ecommerce?
      • Search probably belongs mostly in this bucket.
    • Customer service and support?
    • Product innovation?

The ultimate aim is to get to the right mix of search, ads, email, and social media.  Doing that depends on how well you converge it all.

 

CMO and CIO Need to Work Together

We’ve been reading and commenting about CMOs and CIOs lately (for example, see Is There a Blurring Line Between CIO and CMO?).  With the maturing of Customer Experience Platforms (CXP or CXM) and Marketing Automation, the interplay between marketing and technology is rapidly growing.

Virginia Backaitis published today at CMSWire an article titled Hey CMO! Hey CIO! Work Together or Lose Everything. She argues, as we have done here at Perficient, that CMOs and CIOs need to be in lockstep when it Gartner Digital Marketing Transit Mapcomes to digital strategy and customer engagement.

Ms Backaitis shows an image from Gartner showing a Digital Transit Map – a hypothetical map of how all the technologies, marketing teams, and everyone are connected. The map is complicated because there are so many different technologies and people involved.

Here are a couple of her tips to get starting working better together.  You can read the article on CMSWire for the rest of the tips.

  1. Look at your business processes. Imagine them with the customer at the center of everything you do. Literally. Walk a mile in your customer’s shoes.
  2. Look at what it’s like to do business with your company. Ask: is it easy? Is it satisfying? Learn the customer’s journey first-hand.

I think many CMOs and CIOs realize that they must work together, but of course there are many who resist.

What is your response to Digital Disruptors?

James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester, discusses the concept of Digital Disruption, and has a book out by the same name. It’s also available in the Kindle Lending Library. I’ve not read it yet, but will post a review in the next few weeks. However the gist of the concept is that the traditional corporate view was that only a few very large companies had the budgets to bring a few disruptive offerings to market. Since around 2010, and the dawn of the “Age of the Customer” barriers to entry have been falling to extremely low levels, which results in more ideas coming to market at a significantly low cost per idea. This is happening in all industries, from automatic to zinc extraction.

digital-disruption-book-3d-200x243I believe key components of Digital Disruption are collaborative and digital experience technologies. They enable disparate groups to initially share and exchange ideas, and by the way, this could include sites like popular blogs or Wikipedia articles. And, they ultimately enable better interaction with a diverse range of customers, and developing an important feedback loop.

A new startup called, called Coin, hopes to disrupt the wallet or purse industry by helping customers lighten their load of credit, debit, membership and store cards. Essentially what they hope to do is consolidate all your cards onto a single “Coin” card and your iPhone. I doubt the wallet industry has seen this coming.

Turns Out Companies Are Investing in Social Media

Google’s Wildfire commissioned a study on the How Brands Staff and Budget With Social.  It’s far too long for me to replicate but here’s a couple nuggets:

SocialDepartments SocialTeam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a lesson here and it’s that social media has become a defacto part of corporate life and interactions with customers.   See the whole info graphic here.

Dreamforce: ExactTarget Marketing Cloud Social Roadmap

Patrick Stokes, VP for Product Management at Salesforce provided highlights of the social roadmap for their Marketing Cloud.  The following are the four areas that are the focus of the roadmap:

  • Publsih
  • Engage
  • Listen
  • Advertise

The social tools in the Marketing Cloud include Radian 6, Buddy Media and Social.com.  These tools are integrated with ExactTarget to provide an overall platform for marketing.  As an example, they are tying Social Advertising available through Social.com into the Journey Map tool in the Marketing Cloud.  You can build a campaign and at the appropriate time trigger a notice to your Social.com participants to kick off

social advertising at the right time.

The social product managers have the following themes on their roadmap:

Emerging Social Networks – this includes enhancing adding integrations for emerging or changing social networks and added functionality for Facebook pages.  Radian 6 is also working to include China social networks (Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo) into the listening and engage areas.

Easier Access to Relevant Data – this includes making the dashboards and consoles easier to use and adding other enhancements to the products.

Finally, Mobile, Mobile, Mobile.  The team is add full capabilities on the mobile platform so you can use your phone to access all the Marketing Cloud tools.

To me the biggest item is mobile access.  Marketers can be on the go and being able to monitor campaigns, publish content and more will be truly valuable to them.

Dreamforce: Marketing Technology Landscape

Brian Andersen (LUMA Partners) and Robin Bordoli (Marketo) gave a great presentation on the Marketing Technology Landscape.  This area is to broad to get into details in one hour, so they presented an overview of the market and then suggested the following three tactics to cope with the vast amount of change going on:

  • Accept that buyers are in control – it used to be that the buyers contacted the seller well in advance of a sale and the sales team took over to convert that buyer into a customer.   Now buyers are waiting until way into the process, so marketers have to have several touch points with potential buyers to move them into and through the sales funnel.
  • Measure Marketing Spend by Revenue Impact – marketers are under pressure to justify their budgets and struggle with matching marketing efforts to business impact.  Robin suggested the best thing for marketers to do is really track and measure their efforts all the way to revenue generation.  Naturally Marketo has tools to help with this.
  • Take an ecosystem perspective – there is no one solution that is going to address all your needs, despite what many vendors will tell you.  There is also no silver bullet.  If you look at the Marketing LUMAscape chart created by LUMA, you will get a sense for the eco system.

To me the marketing technology area is fascinating.  There are so many players and big players have been buying up cool companies to expand their presence.  The portal, content and social technologies that we work with and blog about at Perficient are well represented in this ecosystem.