Welcome

Welcome to Mind Your Metrics, a blog featuring marketing observations and speculations.  As my background will attest, my love of marketing centers around online marketing, however, my interest in all marketing forms is well developed.  My hope is to one day recruit the likes of some of my friends and colleagues in various industries to contribute their perspective to this blog to further round out coverage on such a giant and broad topic.

If you’d like to get to know me a bit better, have a look at my biography.

I love feedback, so please chime in.  Like parenting, investing in the stock market, or being an auto mechanic, ideas come in shades of intensity.  I won’t always post a brainstorm of hurricane strength, but I will do my best not to waste time with ideas that:

  • lack creativity
  • don’t offer some measure of positive motivation
  • bear little to no insight into the mentality of a market, marketer or customer

Hope you enjoy!

Cheers,
Darren

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Measure Your Social Metrics

Social networks are vital to locating customers following the baby boom generation.  Have a look at the results from a end of year survey conducted by Statistic Brain.

How are you measuring your success?  Did you set goals before you got started and revise along the way?  It’s never too late to start.  Which social networks are you focusing on?  Here’s a list of the top 200 networks.  For a more refined list, these are networks with at least 100 million active users. 

What are we looking for when we talk about social metrics?  I like to think of recordable actions.  Here are some examples: A Facebook ‘like’, ‘share’ or ‘tag’, a Twitter ‘mention’ and ‘retweet’.  This is really no different than looking at your website statistics such as page views.  These are all examples of recordable actions.  

There are many tools available right now for marketing professionals to track social metrics.  Klout, TwitterCounter, HootSuite, Facebook Insights.  For more tools, check out this article from Smallbiztrends.com.  Using Google Analytics for your website?  Here’s an article that explains how to set up an advanced segment to track traffic from social media sites by Socialmediaexaminer.com.

Now that you’ve identified where your social activity is winning and losing, what now?  Research is the answer.  For example, when you have a spike in recordable actions, you should research to explain why.  What was it about that event, whether a post or comment, etc. that caused increased engagement with your audience.  

How can you recover from a social blunder?  Obviously, a negative engagement is a problem but you can make it a challenge to overcome.  Let’s say you posted on Facebook and the comments are coming in very negative.  At this point, the wave is beginning to crest.  You can start paddling, or you can get crushed.  Divorce yourself from the original post.  Defending it isn’t an option, at least not if the reaction is truly negative and has any merit.  Listen to the feedback.  Get inside the minds of your audience.  Figure out what would look heroic to them at this point.  It’s likely a turnabout from where you started but it will earn respect and could even become a success story as customers who are shocked by your change of heart feel compelled to share it with others.

This post clearly is just scratching the surface.  Your comments are always welcome and it would be great if you shared about a tool or metric that really helps your business understand the impact of social activity.

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First Look: Genome from Yahoo!

Yahoo! may have it’s hands full with Dan Loeb of Third Point, whose recent success has triggered Scott Thompson’s exit as CEO and removed three board members, but life rolls on with the release of Genome.  For more on the corporate governance story, keep reading.

At Internet Week New York (https://www.internetweekny.com/), Yahoo!, announced Genome (www.genomeplatform.com), an online advertising solution that combines Yahoo! data with interclick’s third party data and advertisers’ first party data along with a premium media footprint to provide marketers with a complete, custom audience solution. Due to be released in July 2012, Genome is the culmination of the display ad agreement between Microsoft and AOL as well as the acquisition of interclick (http://www.interclick.com/), which Yahoo! acquired in December 2011, to create a next generation audience buying solution with greater targeting and personalization capabilities.

Designed to leverage data to improve ROI to advertisers, Genome provides marketers with a holistic view of consumers. Genome delivers the largest set of aggregated data and empowers marketers by showing which data is the most valuable to use and where to use it. By providing a 3D view of consumers and the media needed to enable marketers to capitalize on the best possible outcomes.

Genome combines the best of the technology, data, analytics and media from Yahoo! and interclick; from Yahoo! — premium media and unmatched user data with proven targeting capabilities– and interclick — unified technology stack, third-party data partnerships and expertise in analytics and audiences. Genome’s proprietary data valuation platform can ingest and combine Yahoo! user data, marketer’s CRM data, and third-party data sources to create the most optimal audience combinations at scale. Genome delivers outstanding insight by implementing “always on” integrations with over 25 third-party data partners and combining that with Yahoo!’s proprietary search, registrations, and behavioral user data. In addition, Genome can integrate custom CRM databases and combine it with Genome’s data to create the most optimal audience combinations at scale. Genome delivers far more than access to data; recommending, managing, exploring, and creating targeted audiences to meet every marketing need, with the utmost efficiency.

“Marketers have asked us for a solution that capitalizes on our vast data and our answer to that is Genome,” said Rich Riley, EVP, Americas Region, Yahoo!. “With Genome, we can help marketers transform consumer information and insights into actionable online media executions that enable them to attain the right context and audiences.”

By leveraging this wide lens into audiences, Genome knows more about who customers are, what they are into the most, and builds a custom program that fits any marketing need with maximum performance.

As a recognized leader in developing privacy-enhancing tools for consumers and a member of the NAI and DAA, Yahoo! understands the importance of consumer trust and privacy. Yahoo! provides transparency about their data collection and use practices and extends several tools to empower consumers to manage their experience, such as a global opt-out, Ad Interest Manager for visibility and control over specific interest categories, and is among the first in the world to support ‘Do Not Track’ (http://donottrack.us/).

While Genome certainly sounds like a clear winner in delivering new marketing driven web analytics, time will tell and we look forward to taking it for a test drive when it comes out in July.  There are however a few notable hoops to jump through.

As described in their terms of service (TOS), there are minimum traffic requirements for marketers to maintain eligibility. “Interclick.com reserves the right to terminate Publisher’s relationship with interclick.com immediately should either (a) the number of Impressions delivered by Publisher total less than 4,000 per month, or (b) the unique Click Through rate equals .25% or less for any fourteen (14) consecutive calendar day period, or (c) Publisher’s traffic falls below the threshold established by interclick.com from time to time.”

You should also be aware that, according to the TOS, there are placement limitations. “Creative may NOT be placed on any root URL not specifically approved for membership within the Network. No member will place ads on blank pages, on pages with no content, on top of one another, on non-approved Websites, or in such a fashion that may be deceptive to the visitor. Creative cannot be placed in email messages. Creatives may not be placed on forums, chat rooms, and other entities that the site owner does not have complete control of. In addition, all creative must be placed in such a manner that a majority of visitors will notice the creative.”

If you’re already using Genome, give us your impressions and when we get access, we’ll be sure to let you know ours.

To sum up the aforementioned Yahoo! governance issues, Loeb led a proxy battle to oust board directors Roy Bostock, Patti Hart, Gary Wilson, Arthur Kern and Vyomesh Joshi.  Loeb will become a director along with Third Point nomimees Harry J. Wilson, and Michael J. Wolf.  Thompson’s exit from the company stemmed from Loeb’s discovery that a computer science degree listed among his credentials was in fact false.  Further, Chairman of the Search committee which hired Thompson, was director Hart whose published bios said she held a bachelor’s degree in marketing and economics. Yahoo later clarified that Hart received a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with specialties in marketing and economics, from Illinois State University.

Ross Levinsohn has been named the interim CEO.  Levinsohn is a veteran of the ad world, having forged strong alliances with executives at Madison Avenue agencies that represent the biggest ad spenders.  In a memo to Yahoo’s staff on Sunday, Mr. Levinsohn said “today’s announcements lay to rest the unfortunate and serious distractions surrounding our senior leadership and the composition of our Board going forward.” He added: “In spite of the very bumpy road we’ve traveled, we are achieving genuine and meaningful successes in the marketplace every day and heading in the right direction.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Loeb and the new directors can point Yahoo! in a stronger direction, but at least it appears that the corporate board room and top executive position have been fortified, for now.

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Social Marketing Software

Paying attention to detail is one of the things that helps build confidence. It’s also how you can take advantage of an opportunity, when you notice a detail that gives you an edge.  Maybe it’s a hot selling item at a competitors store, maybe it’s catching a mistake and fixing it quickly.

I found myself paying attention today when my Facebook news feed showed me a contest from the Red Sox where entrants could win an internship to work for the Red Sox.  I wanted to use Facebook to share that post with a friend who had previously applied to the Sox organization.  Oddly enough, the share link didn’t work.  All the other links did.  I could comment on the post so it seemed like my browser and Facebook were working normally.  I looked at the url of the share link and here is what I found:

http://www.facebook.com/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fmlb.socialhub.awarenessnetworks.com%2FfbShare.aspx%3Fhid%3D6a4e584b326f304b7445733d&ref=nf

Now, my initial instinct is to point the finger at Awareness Networks but who knows, maybe the sun was in my browser’s eyes, or the wind whipped Facebook’s hair in front of it’s face. But in any case, the point I want to make is, pay attention, especially to new services involving emerging and changing technology like social media. Your new whiz-bang marketing service may not be keeping up with the changes of the networks or they might be having their own growing pains. In the end though, all you care about is protecting your image and keeping your marketing programs in tact. It pays to keep an eye open.

Want to know more about the Red Sox contest?
Want to know more about Awareness Networks?

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Survey Scoring

The art of surveying is as alluring and detailed as it is mysterious and misleading.

Why a survey?  It’s a terribly important question that can easily be under appreciated.  It would be all too simple to say “the goal is always to improve customer satisfaction” but in fact that’s not necessarily true.  Goals may be internal to the company.  The ‘why’ should therefore inform the ‘how’.  Further, the size and structure of the company, the complexities of the product and service mix, the demographics and many more factors play important roles in the success of a survey.  Keep reading for some references to help sort through these issues.

For example, for large global organizations, keeping it simple may be the most effective use of a survey.  Take the Net Promoter Score, developed by Fred Reichheld, as an example.  This survey asks one question.  How likely would you recommend the company’s product or service to a friend or colleague?  High scoring results are ‘promoters’, low scoring are ‘detractors’, with ‘passives’ in the middle.  After subtracting the % of detractors from promoters, you have a score that tells you how many people enthusiastically endorse your product or service.  Ok, so it’s a barometer of customer satisfaction, but it won’t lead you to the reason for success or failure.  Still, it’s a great first step for a large organization that needs to find ways to zero in on hot and cold areas of the business.  You’ll find case studies and loads of information from their website for more on NPS.

On the other end of the spectrum, it may make sense for highly engaged customers to participate in more complicated and lengthy surveys.  There are of course software companies who use statistical analysis to help you make sense of the results.  MarketSight is one such company that can do that with cross tabular data and which can interface with other software like SPSS and SurveyMonkey to name a couple.

I won’t go into survey design at any length, only because there are lots of websites for assisting with that such as The Survey System, Question Pro, and countless others.

Jumping back to the why informing the how, how will you act on the results?  I am reminded of working for my grandfather’s business and how they treated every customer who walked in the door as the most important person they had ever met.  He had the luxury and the curse of being in a business that did not attract casual shoppers.  These were industrial and commercial customers who needed something, usually right then, but if left alone, would breeze through the store and leave because there was simply too much inventory to easily display and hundreds of thousands of items available by special order.  So they asked every customer “what can I help you find” or “is there something particular you were looking for”.  Then, if they didn’t have it, they would try to find something in the store that would do the job.  As a last resort, they would offer to special order.  But no customer escaped the survey question.  Calls would go on hold if a customer appeared to be leaving the store without a purchase and without being asked what they were looking for.  The business, in it’s infancy, needed to grow to survive, customers were encouraged to talk at length about their needs.  Every time a product was mentioned that wasn’t carried in the store, it was circulated to purchasing.  It didn’t take more than two mentions before that product would find it’s way to the shelves.  Knowledge was as valuable as price and availability.  We kept a directory of people and businesses who performed services we didn’t so that when a customer mentioned needing it, we would respond with one or more potential solutions.  While we didn’t formally have a process for following up with those customers, we often asked returning customers what their experience was like with the referring business.  If it didn’t go well, we made a note of it and sometimes removed the business from our directory.

Best of luck and success in your surveying!

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Successful Facebook Contests

Todd Wasserman, business and marketing editor at Mashable, submitted this post to the American Express Open Forum which details the success of several Facebook contest campaigns.

Takeaways

Here are my takeaways from this post.

  • Build it and they will come. You can use developers to create a unique experience on Facebook where users are empowered with creativity, the power to include their friends and of course, the old standby benefit of being able to win something of perceived value.
  • Standalone will be lonely. You will still need to supplement a Facebook campaign through additional marketing initiatives: blogs, ads, press releases, etc.
  • Keep it simple. An old adage but never more true than today where technology reduces the burden of participation. It should be easy for users to participate. Upload a photo, a video, one click to vote, make one comment, these are all super simple tasks for mainstream Facebook users.
  • Appeal to the ego. Bragging rights, familiar places, interaction with pop icons. These are but a few examples of ego driven motivation factors, especially for young people.

When planning your next Facebook or any other campaign really, remember to make your goals clear, achievable, and trackable.

Wishing you success in every marketing moment!

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Social marketing from the trenches

Why social media?  What’s so special about it?  Is is the ability to create exclusivity among groups of friends, colleagues, customers?  Is it simply a breath of fresh air away from talking on cell phones and being glued to televisions, mixed with a heavy dose of mobility and ease of use?  Maybe it’s the transformation of language into further short hand which speeds up the communication process and buys us precious seconds, to watch more kitten videos or movie trailers.

It’s all of those things and more.  So first, how are you participating in it yourself as a marketer, as a company, as a consumer?  And how are your customers participating?  If you are one those who answer with “I study but I don’t actively engage in it myself”, I’m thinking, at the very least, that you’re missing the nuance between liking a post and actually taking action.  Between following someone or an organization and recommending them to others.  I’m not saying you can’t be effective, I’m saying, you could be more effective.  Isn’t that the ongoing goal of every marketer, to be more and more effective?

As a marketer, being an active participant is key and social media is a red hot trend.  By actively engaging in as many networks as reasonable for your resources (and let’s look at that briefly in a moment), you learn the nuances of the network which include the language, the features, how and when successes are being made.  Your participation builds your reputation and you become a thought leader, a subject matter expert.  Yes, the room is sometimes filled with them, when you’re in a social media conference or when you’re following your peers.  That’s the time to extend the antennae, to listen for the best voices, to ask important questions.  Where do they see the best conversions?  What tools are they using to measure performance?  Where do they go for inspiration?

As you participate, be aware of your voice, be aware of your goals.   While it may be your goal to use a dozen different social networks, ask yourself if you are maximizing your efforts or stretching thin.  It doesn’t usually make sense to sacrifice good content in order to cast a wider net.  Make sure your goals are attainable.  You’ll be glad you did.

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