This is the fifth in a series of blog posts exploring Social Business.
- Hands up who has bought a house without getting a survey first?
- OK, who has bought a washing machine without checking the specification?
- Finally, who has made a sales call without knowing anything about the prospect?
My point here is that you need information and understanding before you can make an informed decision about the direction of something. The more you know, the better prepared you can be.
The same applies to marketing.
The “Spray & Pray” approach no longer works. Today, it’s all about relevance. We’ve seen this with direct mail, e-mail marketing and telemarketing. Each of these channels originally started as a percentage game: hit as many people as you can in the hope of getting a small number of responses. Over the years, however, this approach exhausted the audience, and now successful campaigns within these channels are those that are targeted and relevant.
Social media is no different: yes, it’s new, exciting and largely untapped; and yes, 46% of people access their social network every day; but in reality it’s a just different channel – the customers are the same.
So the same logic applies.
So what can you learn from social-data insight? Well, you’d be surprised.
To help explain this, I should first give a Reader’s Digest version of the history of database marketing.
Once upon a time, customer databases were insular, collecting information that was either part of the transaction process or in response to a request, e.g. What is your date of birth? They allowed marketers to understand the customers’ relationship with their products and engage with them accordingly.
We then moved on; compiled data from multiple sources such as organisations, government bodies and so on. These can be used for demographic profiling to help you understand more about your customers and prospects through relationships elsewhere.
Typically, traditional demographics are based on location, on the assumption that you and your postcode neighbour are the same type of people.
We now have social networks. These weren’t initially designed to be a marketer’s friend, but due to the massive take-up around the globe (one in nine people alive are on a social network), they are proving to be a rich source of new information on customers and prospects.
The thing is, this information has been given, not requested.
Meaning that it has no particular bias.
The same can’t be said for the information gathered for those competitions that require you to answer questions with a view to winning a shiny new widget. Who is going to be honest and say the product is rubbish if they think it will mess up their chance of winning?
The trick now is to listen to what your customers aren’t telling you.
This data is new, powerful and constantly updating.
For example, want to know how far someone tends to travel to events?
What other interests do they have outside your relationship with them?
Which brands would be good affiliates?
Have they changed jobs, moved house?
Are they sport fanatics? Football? Which team?
Are they party animals?
The answers to the questions above aren’t the sort of things we would necessarily know. However, through the inherently dynamic style of social media, we have this information instantly. Social DNA can be derived, so to speak.
BUT (and it’s a big but) this data is not freely available. It needs to be earned. Through relevance and trust. The user must authorise the sharing of their social data with you.
So you need to consider why a user would authorise this. This is the marketing challenge, and to be blogged about at a later date. Once a strategy has been devised for the incentivisation, the use of Facebook’s Connect functionality (for example) opens up this new world of information.
Each one of the three generations of marketing data is useful in its own right, but blending them can prove extremely powerful, by making the unknowns known, and enhancing the marketer’s knowledge of the customers.
Now, hands up who wants to know more about their customers and their social DNA?
Contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
So, now you have powerful insight on your customer, but what about understanding the brand connection? In next week’s blog, we’ll discuss the brand relationship.