Tag Archives: Business process

Marketing Research Mindset: Stop Debating ‘Social’

Yes, look here for answers

Is it research or something else? Social media, Business Intelligence, Customer Relationship Management, Online Communities and Marketing Research (MR) – all are ways to listen and understand customers.

My guess is that MR is filled with the most angst amidst some sort of identity crisis in relation to social media.  Witness this recent piece in Research Magazine:

The survey of marketers, conducted for the IAB by research agency Opinion Matters, found that the most common use of social media was to drive awareness and consideration of a brand, as well as engagement and advocacy. 60% of the firms surveyed said they were using social media for research purposes, but when asked where social media fits in their organisation (selecting all answers that applied from a total of six), only 12% chose research, compared to 73% who chose marketing, 33% who chose PR/communications and 20% who chose ‘other’.

No wonder there is angst. MR isn’t really seen as delivering value when in comes to social media. If you get a migrane just thinking about social media, consider the following possible remedies:

1. Social Media won’t go away but respondents have: While people are giving up land lines and don’t like getting unsolicited mail, they’re opting to express opinion on the Internet in a pure, organic way. Partner with an online monitoring firm and create a new social science.

2. Stop hiring more MR professionals: Instead, hire people who understand the digital space. Marketing Technologists speak to ways in which applications enable the marketing process and the customer experience. Innovate.

3. Clients are buying-in to marketing research online (MROCs) and owned media platforms: In order to deliver incremental perceived value – business insights or new ideas – you must play in the right sandbox when it comes to customer listening.

4. Stop acting like an accounting function : It’s the job of the MR professional to guide the CMO and others, in a brand or customer management role, to see the way forward. Focus on what’s in the cloud and drive the next big idea. Act in real-time.

5. If you try to prove ROI you will die: Ask yourself, how many things does an enterprise do without having to justify with ROI? Do marketing, strategy, HR and finance have to deliver ROI to justify their existence? MR needs to focus on business benefits as the way of knitting together social media across the enterprise. Be the Voice of the Customer.

Leadership is the best way to overcome angst and clears the way for taking ownership. No one will fault you for that.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

The Media Prism: Earned, Paid and Owned

In a recent post by Brian Solis, “Why Brands are Becoming Media“, there was reference to a grid developed by Forrester that attempts to define a new way to segment media channels or ‘customer touchpoints’:

The above is a fine represention as it brings a high level order to this complex new media mix. As a CRM and Marketing Technology professional I believe in being focused on business process with a  view to implementation. Here is my ‘managerial’ grid:

Clearly the media landscape is changing continuously and many more iterations will develop as we move along the maturity curve. At this point, it’s not so much a matter of what is right or wrong, rather, what works best for each of us as we look through the multi-faceted media prism.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

The Portable Brand: Take Your Bank With You

Forrester’s Latest on CRM Trends:Opinion

Forrester Research has recently released it’s 2010  perspective on CRM. William Band, the lead analyst, prefaces the report by asking “As the economy recovers, what are the key trends that will drive customer relationship management (CRM) strategies and technology adoption in 2010?”

Here are my own observations on some of Forrester’s 11 key trends:

Trend #1) Companies return to investing in their most important asset — customers: This should never stop but credit to those who realize the importance of this vital asset. By re-orienting the enterprise back to the customer, companies will be able to sense and response to emerging wants and needs in period of tremendous upheaval in the marketplace. Various aspects of the web that affect the way consumers shop for and purchase will translate in to changes across all customer-facing touchpoints of the enterprise and filter back to the supply chain.

Trend #4) Social CRM hype reaches a crescendo, but projects remain in pilot mode: Makes sense as sCRM technology has outpaced the CMO’s ability to absorb and understand the business utility of a wide variety of applications.  For example, FourSquare, while it has intriguing possiblities for retailers, is only at the stage where some (mainly coffee shops) are offering discounts on product. Companies, such as Ford Motor Company, have seen promising results with viral campaigns, notably a significant number of pre-orders in the US market for the soon-to-be-launched Fiesta.  At the other end of the spectrum, few companies have been able to derive clear benefits from Social Networks such as Facebook, other than having a web presence. 

Trend #5) Customer service embraces real-time methods: This is a huge opportunity as it will generate two clear deliverables for the business case – reduce costs of customer service delivery and drive down cycle time to problem resolution. This trend falls in the category of ‘quick hit’ as it takes little effort to set up extension of the customer service function on Twitter and conversation can take place in real time. Additionally, it has the potential to offload contact centre traffic and deliver the added beneft of broadening the customer’s touchpoint options for contacting the enterprise for service/product queries.

Trend #8) Mobile CRM becomes a must-have capability: This may be the jewel in the crown. Not surprisingly, the travel industry has been quick to embrace this technology, as it has been at the forefront of self-serve for some time re. airline check-in kiosk at the airport, via desktop or mobile device. Hilton Hotels, for example, has rolled out mobile apps that enable guests to manage their reservation status remotely, use the GPS function to search for hotels, order special services while en route or check their frequent stay points balance while travelling. I call this “being able to take your brand with you anywhere you go” CRM.

Trend #10) Scrutiny of business cases remains intense: As it should. With some much in front of the CMO these days, the range of possibilities is intensely confusing. I believe that this is one of the main obstacles to adoption, early or otherwise, as too many people advocate one technology solution over another without providing the necessary guidance to client companies. What is needed are clear strategy and process roadmaps with an eye to benefits and outcomes rather than an obsessive (and futile) focus on ROI. Until such time, piloting projects will remain the order of the day rather implementing cross-enterprise processes and technologies that support the business transformation.

Thanks to the Forrester team for prompting this dialogue on CRM.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensCRM

Social Networks: The New Outsourcing Frontier

Kiosk by ISDA Design Winner Toshihiro Fujimura

It occured to me recently that one of the biggest opportunities for CRM consulting resides in the domain of social media platforms. Ten years ago, in the salad days of CRM process consulting, much of the focus was on customer service response via call centres. These were also the early days of multi-channel customer service whereby web and telephone were becoming integrated into the customer service experience.

For example, if you had were a member of the Starwood (eg. Sheraton, W, Westin, Four Points) Preferred Guest program, you could contact Starwood customer service via their web site. If you had a query regarding missing frequent stay points, you could use the ‘Call Me’ feature which, via the web site, prompted an almost instantaneous telephone call from a Starwood customer service representative (CSR). Once points were remitted, a refresh of the Starwood website would immediately reflect the customer’s updated account balance.

Social networks like Twitter and Facebook now present new opportunities for customer service that drive both engagement and reduce operating costs. For example, since the Twitter application is free, customers could have their own dedicated account (within a closed network to ensure customer privacy), in order to deal with relatively simple transactions such as routine account queries. CSR’s in turn, could send out special offers. One example might be to offer a promotional rate to customers that have booked into a recently opened hotel. Another might be to provide additional points via Twitter for a guest that has reached a milestone upon checking out (reaching clip level for Marriott Silver status), via a mobile application.

It used to be said that the cost of sending a sales rep out to make an in-person call was about $500 per meeting. With telephone, the cost of a transaction went to $10 per call. With the web, this was down to less than a dollar. Social media platforms: close to zero.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia

Branding: Accenture & Tiger Woods Redux

This ad for Accenture featuring Tiger Woods re-appeared a month ago in a story about endorsements.  A few things came to mind.

As a golfer, I have often found myself facing a test similar to the one Tiger Woods is pictured facing here. In Tiger’s case, given the level at which he performs at the game of golf, this particular problem is usually solved. No need to mention what the likely outcome would have been in my case, other than picking up my ball and taking a penalty stroke.

The other idea that came to mind is that some challenges can be addressed using a number of options. In golf, much of the solution is based on calculated risk relative to reward. ‘Calculated’ is the operative since skill set and environmental factors play into the range of outcomes.

In the context of branding, what if you’re an advertiser that has heavily banked on a star, especially one that is the ultimate embodiment of what the brand stands for? Accenture is a company that is about High Performance. Delivered. It is a company with over 170,000 employees worldwide that provides professional services to some of the world’s largest and most successful companies. Accenture hires the best talent it can find. Tiger Woods is the best and the most talented of our age.  A perfect and risk-free fit in terms of co-branding Tiger Woods Inc. and Accenture.

In the broader context of advertising and marketing, for Accenture to contemplate the wisdom of having aligned with the Tiger Woods brand is irrelevant. In fact, it was a very astute decision, one that has enhanced the profile of Accenture globally.

The real issue is how those who are emotionally vested in these two brands will manage going forward. It’s a true test of character when we are faced with circumstances that test our ethics, morality and beliefs in ways that were previously unforseen.

As it turns out, Accenture has experience little material damage compared to Tiger Woods’ sponsors. Collectively, Nike, AT&T, Tag Heuer and the like have thus far suffered stock market capitalization losses in the order of $12B, excluding foregone sales. Accenture on the other hand, has been impacted by a massive opportunity cost, likely with little or no damage to business or reputation vis-a-vis its customers.

Both parties however are facing different futures, one that is clearly uncertain at this point by virtue of his absence from the world stage.  The other is ready to march on in the true, stoic spirit of the management consultancy, like Jack Nicklaus in a way.

“It’s what you do next” rings so very truly.

– Ted Morris, 4ScreensMedia



The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Social Media Practitioners – Seeing Your Way Through ‘The Cloud’

It’s clearly with respect to Steven Covey’s framework for managing one’s career – The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People that is the focus of this post. You might recall the four quadrants, notably, Covey’s observation that many of us spend too much time with “busy work” and not enough time practicing principle #2 – “beginning with the end in mind”. So here goes:

1. Let’s start with what really matters the most: get out of the Social Media cloud. Online customer conversations about your brand, viral marketing campaigns, and digital media are simply technologies and processes that enable customer to company relationships. This new medium of the Internet adds tremendous complexity to the existing brand ecosystem and requires an informed approach, not rose colored glasses.

2. Understand whether or not your brand or your company should undertake a business strategy that includes the digital medium as a key element of its operations. Bear in mind, for instance, that digital ad spend is a very small slice of a very large pie dominated by broadcast television and other conventional media platforms that work very effectively in building brand awareness and influencing customer behaviour.

3. Take stock of what the company is currently doing about the way in which customer relationships are managed. Begin by understanding whether or not you operate in a B2B, B2C environment and the extent to which your brand and customers are right for a new initiative. For example, if your company sells industrial transformers vs. shampoo how ‘close to the customer’ do you get now?

4. Consider the culture – is your company already ‘customer-centric’? Does the company’s leadership openly discuss the importance of customer relationships? Does the company capture, use and share customer information across the enterprise to make improvements? If not, you’re going to be starting from ground zero, with a low likelihood of any measureable success.

5. Benchmark with other companies that have decided to leverage online customer conversations – what worked, what did not and why? Stay away from self-styled consultants and “social media” experts. The online environment is too nascent for anyone to be a legitimate expert – technologies and applications are in such a state of flux, major changes can take place, in a very short period of time relegating new tools to the trash bin of technological rust buckets.

6.  Understand how much, if anything, is being said about your company or brand. Set up some online conversation monitoring and test out the extent of and quality of online conversation at a basic level, over 3 months. Try a 3-4 monitoring vendors and see if they come up with comparable results based on the same research objectives. Moreover, make sure they have the right capabilities such as separating real conversations from spam, shills, hate groups and imposters (14 year old posting about $60,000 BMWs).

7. Timing is everything. Is your company, winning or losing market share? Does your company have a winning value proposition? Are current product offerings outdated, service delivery faltering and value delivery weak? If so, the ‘wisdom of mobs’ might take your company down an accelerated slippery slope and discourage the organization from re-inventing and undertaking transformational change.

As you can see, these 7 habits are not really about diving into the deep end of the “Social Media” pool. On the contrary, this is really about not getting caught up in the current “cycle of hype” and taking a clear, rational and informed approach to customer relationship management in a digital world. The notion of engaging in customer conversations is as old as the days when commerce was conducted in the village square, so listen and learn, then get into action. – Ted Morris ©4ScreensMedia  www.twitter.com/morristed