Archive for the ‘ business strategy ’ Category

How To Really Measure ROI of Social Communications

Social-media-for-public-relations1reduzidoToday I came across a whitepaper from Bazaarvoice, a leading social commerce solutions company. The report is called “Real ROI From Social In 5 Steps,” and provides a great set of options for decision makers trying to find a clearer value from social communications. In this post I’ll outline a few of the steps they provided, as well as a few of my own.

Follow the Money!

If you’re proactive in creating your social programs at the outset of a new campaign, you will be able to establish separate channel benchmarks. With data collected from these benchmarks, you’ll be able to compare A sales from your B direct marketing campaign against X sales from your Y Facebook campaign. It’s simple enough in theory, but many projects often consider adding social media only after heavy investment (of both time and money) into an existing campaign.

The facts support the importance of social for online shopping. Seventy-four percent of shoppers rely on social networks to guide their purchase decisions, hoping to see what others are experiencing with your product or service. Shopping has always been social; the Internet just offers a means to make it easier than ever. If you’re tracking conversions as a result of social campaigns and comparing them to traditional sales, you can measure ROI.

Use Content That Encourages Consumers To Buy

This is a basic idea that will probably take time to figure out; whether it’s a video, a funny meme created using your product or a very popular photograph of your product, publish the content that you know your consumers will find valuable. This could be new uses for the product that a consumer may not have considered, an informative demo that shows how your product works, or a super sexy, high-res photo of your product in action. The more skin you have in the social experience game, the more likely your consumers are to look at your product and drive your ROI.

Promote The Product As Your Consumers Promote It

There’s a reason what we’re talking about is called “social” media. Most consumers, depending on what your product is, love to show off their purchase and exhibit the unique and interesting ways they enjoy it. By fostering this sort of engagement and celebrating it when it happens, your customers will feel that your product is genuinely valuable. This could be as simple as thanking consumers when they share content with you, but is even more apparent when you utilize the content they’ve created.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers use search engines to help with product research when considering a purchase, so the more content you have out there convincing them to buy your product, the better off you’ll be.

Use Multiple Paths to Show ROI

Given the many variables you’re left to consider with any social strategy, focusing your efforts where they will give the greatest bang for your buck is key. For sales, this means having a hand at every point in the shopper’s journey, from research to retail. When you feel that you have a firm grip on your customers’ journeys, there is a simple formula you can use to determine the results:

Real return from social =
increase in transactions
x increase in revenue per transaction
+ total savings from decrease in product returns

If you followed the first point in this article, you should have a solid baseline to measure your social campaign against an average period of business. Combining the three variables in the equation above, you’re given a monetary value of your ROI that you can use to map the traffic from social channels to purchase paths.

References:
“Real ROI From Social In 5 Steps,” Bazaarvoice, April 2012
http://www.bazaarvoice.com/research-and-insight/white-papers/Real-ROI-from-social-in-5-steps.html

“Gartner Says Majority of Consumers Rely on Social Networks to Guide Purchase Decisions,” Gartner, July 2010
http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1409213

“How We Shop in 2010: Habits and Motivations of Consumers,” eConsultancy, July 2010
http://econsultancy.com/us/reports/habits-and-motivations-of-consumers

Images:
Wikimedia Commons

Advertisements

Internet Killed the Salesperson?

In a day and age where an increasing amount of business is being conducted online, many industries are finding themselves unable to cope with the costs associated with implementing internet business strategies. The troubles have been clear for many industries including newspapers, textbook publishers, record companies, etc.

In a recent blog post mentioned by one of my professors, automakers have noted a decrease in the auto sales among Generation Y consumers. Some believe this drop has been caused by the popularity of social media, apparently creating an ease in friends’ connecting and carpooling to various locations together. They also note teens’ and twenty-somethings’ increased desire for electronics and other goods, which often tie up their income. Just as the rest of the nation, however, Generation Y is being hit hard by this “Great Recession.” With jobs being lost, hours being cut and tuition costs on the rise, many of us are being forced to cut back and simply cannot afford the costs associated with acquiring a car.

The internet does, however, create a new medium that sales personnel must utilize in order to maximize sales. Generation Y consumers are a unique segment. In order to create a lasting marketing campaign among this target it is essential to use cutting edge tools, such as those available through online and mobile APIs (Application Program Interface) that can be tied into brand value.

One of my personal favorites is Foursquare, a popular new app that combines GPS, reviews and ratings to provide you with a snapshot of what your friends are up to tonight. Upon arriving at a new destination, users can “check-in” to that location — be it a gas station, a restaurant, a theater, a nightclub and so on. Users can leave tips on this location’s home page, invite friends to attend, and post their check-ins to Facebook and Twitter. Upon checking into Sergio’s, for example, Luis E. would recommend you try the pollo empanizado! It’s free brand support such as this that is truly exciting in terms of marketing potential.

So while some industries might complain that the internet is driving away business, in reality I believe consumers are simply looking for more interactivity. For example, as newspapers are struggling to stay alive it’s not as if people simply don’t pay attention to the news anymore; they’re just going online to view it for free and at their own leisure from any computer, smart phone or laptop. The internet isn’t killing sales — it’s simply changing the way companies must approach it.

References:
“Carmakers’ next problem: Generation Y”
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39970363/ns/business-autos

“E-Marketing for Sensible Folk”
http://e-marketingforsensiblefolk.blogspot.com

“Application Programming Interface”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Api

Foursquare
http://foursquare.com/about
http://foursquare.com/venue/11751

Image:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Texting.jpg

Mapping Out Business Success

In a marketplace that is constantly evolving, how do you ensure success? How do you keep up with demand? How do you keep track of industry trends?

Business planning is a simple prospect – establish a set of criteria that will allow your organization to create a road map of where you’d like your business to grow and dominate the competition. However, many organizations fail to plan their decisions in this manner and soon find themselves stuck in a hole, with mediocrity crushing down on them. In order to excel in any industry, here are some focal points  believe any company should pay close attention to.

Customer Service: When it comes right down to it, a core function of business is to provide a product or service. Without proper utilization of customer service skills with consumers as well as suppliers and partners, it is difficult to maintain steady financial development. The latest trend, of course, is social media. Companies use social media to interact with their customers on a personal level, and find out what trends they’re looking for or shying away from. Research is now showing that use of social media drives face-to-face interactions. When customers interact with your brand outside of a sales atmosphere, it can humanize your marketing efforts in a way that allows for much more effective campaigns.

Quantify!: Another simple concept that is often overlooked, quantifying goals and progress can allow an organization the ability to understand exactly where they stand, and more importantly, present that data to others. Shareholders, donors, investors and often time customers themselves all need to know precisely where their funds are being used. If you can’t definitively disprove the image that any money invested in your company or project goes under your grandmother’s mattress, then it’s time to rethink your business plan! Get out there, conduct marketing research, create new findings and see what your customers are saying. If you back up all decisions with quantifiable objectives, it will be much easier to complete them on time.

What are some other points you believe are key to maintaining success?

References:
“New Research Dispels Interactive Marketing Myths…”
http://www.exacttarget.com/company/news/Article-View/ArticleId/432/New-Research-Dispels…

“Social Media Humanization”
http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/2010/10/06/social-media-humanization

Image:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Nederlands_verkeersbord_L6.svg