are you building strong customer relations or is it just social media hype?

For marketers, the hit series Mad Men may inspire nostalgia for a time and it was a relatively long time when marketing mediums were limited to a handful of channels: print, broad- casting, outdoor, and direct.

Today, new channels seem to arrive every time we blink. Remember, MySpace and Friendster were at one time big news. Now Facebook and Twitter absorb all our attention. Add in Google+, Foursquare and Pinterest. Hold tight, something is coming tomorrow?

In a social media landscape that shifts by the minute, one thing is certain: some channels will fall by the wayside, others will rise to take their place. Marketers, therefore, can’t waste energy simply chasing channels. Instead, they must create an agile, consistent process for sustaining customer dialog. This process must include:

• Methods for tracking customer interactions and capturing insights from individuals and segments, regardless of channel.

• Strategies for experimentation that identify the most effective channels and justify further investment.

• Systems that coordinate marketing efforts across social media and traditional channels.

Practiced in isolation, social media tactics fail to deliver all of their potential value. Without appropriate planning, you lose the ability to see which efforts drive web traffic and conversions. The impact of influencers on friends and followers cannot be measured and individual and aggregate customer behaviors, rich with marketing potential, vanish.

The alternative is a change of mindset that integrates social media into a broad, interactive marketing strategy that works across both social and traditional channels. An effective, cross-channel structure enables you to:

• Improve customer awareness by creating rich profiles on individual customer behaviors, drawing data from social media interactions – such as likes/dislikes, interests and brand disposition – and from traditional marketing efforts, such as response rates, recency, etc.

• Centralize decision making to match the most appropriate offers to customers, based on their profiles, and segment audiences based on both social and demographic data, to target the most favorable opportunities.

• Execute across channels, allowing, for example, a fan page visit to trigger a relevant email or even a direct mail piece.

Moving to consistent, interactive marketing strategies begins with a change in thinking, but doesn’t end there. In order to achieve your marketing goals, your strategy needs the support of tightly integrated technology solutions that can help you assemble all of your communications components into one measurable, effective whole.

These solutions enable customer awareness by:

• Drawing data from multiple channels – Tweets, Facebook fans, ad clickthroughs, site traffic, blog links, email and direct mail responses, etc. – to compile a comprehen- sive profile of customer behavior, interests and attitudes.

• Measuring how individuals interact with your brand by deploying cookies, instrument widgets and tracking codes that capture all their interactions.

• Creating both aggregate and individual social analytics that help you identify the most favorable targets for offers and messages.

In addition, your solution must be able to translate that customer awareness into effective decisions about marketing messages and offers by:

• Coordinating effective decision-making that matches customers to marketing offers and campaigns based on their profiles and behaviors.

• Identifying the influencers and opinion leaders who merit special attention and, possibly, a greater share of your marketing spend.

Finally, the solution must enable cross-channel execution, delivering these highly personalized messages to your audience by:

• Facilitating execution in traditional channels like email and direct mail based on social insights. Today’s new interactive forums open important opportunities to listen to, learn from, and engage with your customers. But to fully realize social media’s strengths, marketers must feed what they learn – the new social media data they acquire – into the decision-making processes they already have. By integrating all marketing efforts, marketers can turn social media insights into more relevant marketing tactics in both traditional and digital channels.

• Executing one-to-one campaigns in social channels with capabilities like personalized offers in social widgets and social sharing links for emails and web offers.

• Providing seamless, closed-loop campaigns that trigger new messages and offers based on known preferences and recent activities.

Today’s new interactive forums open important opportunities to listen to, learn from, and engage with your customers. But to fully realize social media’s strengths, marketers must feed what they learn into the decision-making processes they already have. By integrating all marketing efforts, marketers can turn social media insights into more relevant marketing tactics in both traditional and digital channels.

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13 thoughts on “are you building strong customer relations or is it just social media hype?

  1. Thanks for writing this article! A lot of people think that marketing is just doing some posting around social media. Very few use tracking and nurturing of leads, but then they complaint about the results. Marketing is a little more complex than this without being complicated.

    • Thanks for the read and comment Fabrizio. Yes, agree there are many who claim to be “marketers” who really have little understanding of the marketing concept.

  2. It bugs me no end that people think that Social Media is a quick fix to cure all their marketing problems and then slam it as a channel when they don’t get results over night.

    An integrated marketing strategy is what is needed and patience to let it roll out so that you can monitor and tweak it along the way.

    Great post – thanks for sharing you thoughts – you are right on the money!

  3. This is a great article and very comprehensive, I will not repeat what people around me think about social media (either it is from the devil or the cure for everything). Social media has become an integrated part of any marketing business plan, and without constant monitoring, analyzing and adapting you might as well open your window and throw out your money.

    Thanks, Randy, for a most insightful post.

  4. Agree and strange how some thoughts appear to be universal. I hadn’t read your blog yet and I wrote today about the influx of egos in small business.

    • always comes down to the relationship and nothing happens until the sale, so you better be selling yourself! Thanks Martha, means much for you to read and take the time to comment…

  5. This message requires repeating and repeating as so many small business owners and sales professional have used social media as another self promotion channel. Marketing is not selling.

    Leanne Hoagland-Smith

    • in theroy i agree that marketing is not selling, but it is in my mind the “oracle” of the process. Face it you are selling with every interaction you make, right?

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