Addressing Top CEO Priorities through Social Media Marketing and Metrics


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Presented at the August 21 2012 Business Marketing Association's Southern California Chapter meeting. The world is changing - becoming more social, even in traditionally conservative B2B. B2B marketing is maturing, with social leading to more measurable successes. But taking b2b social media marketing to the next level is easier than you might think. This presentation hopes to help you:

-- Understand how to better align social media marketing with key strategic initiatives
-- Learn how to focus on the social metrics that matter
-- See applicable examples of real b2b social media marketing benefits

These views are my own and do not represent those of my employer.

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  • Thanks, Luz, for that great introduction. This is my first time presenting to this audience, and presenting this content, so I look forward to your feedback and questions. Please, this is an interactive discussion, so feel free to ask questions at any time. No need to wait for the end of the session.
  • I want to talk really about 3 things today. First, I think it's important to set the stage. There are a lot of changes in technologies and organizational behaviors that are having a major impact on the way business to business behaves. Secondly, these changes are also having a profound impact on how business-to-business firms market to, sell to, and support their target customer segments. I'll spend a little more time focusing on what changes I've seen in the industry as a whole, and with my own experiences at IBM. Finally, I want to synthesize the understanding of those changes into a discussion of the right actions to take to best take advantage of these opportunities. Change always opens up new opportunities if you are bold enough to take the right action.
  • If you're like most B2B marketers, social media may not be new but it's still giving us plenty of reasons for midnight sweats. It's a truism that B2B firms tend to be more conservative and driven by logical, less by emotional, decision-making criteria. So it should come as no surprise that B2B firms tend to rapidly shift conversations from the open promise of applying social media to business, to the risks, challenges, and need to tie activities to measurable results. And reasonable business leaders should be asking their teams the scary questions that do surround social media in the enterprise: Will we lose control of our Brand? Will PR disasters befall us? Is all that activity going to actually yield something I really care about: higher revenues, lower costs, new customers? Less lost customers?
  • One of the first ways I like to approach social business, or social media applied to business, is a very simple fact: Social isn't new. Business has ALWAYS been done with people you trust. In particular, business-to-business firms, as they generally rely on fewer customers for their revenues than B2C, have oriented themselves to build trust – through strong face-to-face sales organizations, deep technical service teams, customer support systems. These teams know through experience that building trust requires ongoing social interactions, small and large. What is changing is the technology surrounding the way we interact with each other. The need to be social is the same, but the way were are social isn't.
  • The world we live in today is very different from the world of just a few years ago. IBM calls this “building a smarter planet”. It's how technology, globalization, and the emergence of complex “systems of systems” have effectively altered the game for good. But perhaps most remarkable of all has been the application of these technologies to people rather than just business processes. The previous wave of the internet evolved business from browsing to buying, from the internet as “brochure-ware” to real transactions. As a result, today many markets have shifted 50% – some as high as 90% – of their sales to online. The next wave is about applying social technologies, delivered through smartphones and cloud-based services, to further shift business behavior from superficial “liking” to real transformation in organizational structures and business behavior. This transformation is being driven by 3 key trends. The first is the “Instrumentation” of people. Smartphones have put unprecedented power in people's hands, providing anytime anywhere access to unlimited information. The second is the meteoric rise of social technology, which now accounts for 22 percent of people's time spent online and is fundamentally changing HOW we interact. The third is the sheer amount of data these 2 trends generate. The emergence of social analytics and “Big Data” allow organizations to tap into the wisdom of crowd, to learn from interactions and association, and even anticipate future behaviors.
  • As a result of these macro trends, the way we get things done in business is changing. The way we buy things, as consumers, as business purchasing agents, is increasingly influenced by peers and the social graph's perception of the target Brand. Word of mouth – through online conversations – has retaken the lead in what influences us most in a purchase decision. How we create is also impacted. These trends allow research and development teams, product managers, designers and other creatives to tap into a much wider network to glean insights, connect with experts, and synthesize those interactions more quickly into new products and services. These trends are have a deep impact on the way we work. When we can collaborate essentially anytime, anywhere, existing organizational structures and cultures, essentially unchanged from a time when vertical command-and-control and information hoarding were means to success, are being pressured to become more open, more collaborative, and more horizontal.
  • IBM interviewed hundreds of CEO from many industries, including a large number of B2B companies. Unsurprisingly, many of the CEOs were directly concerned with these macro trends' impact on their businesses. CEOs see definite changes in how their customers are buying. Virtually ALL CEOs said getting closer to their customer is a top priority. CEOs also see how these trends impact the way they innovate. How fast can they come up with the right new or refreshed product to capture rapidly-shifting customer demand? CEOs are looking to develop creativity as a core competency, regardless of the industry they're in, in order to better handle this trend. And finally CEOs also see the opportunity for a wholesale transformation in the way their employees work: with other employees, with partners, and with other stakeholders. The vast majority of CEOs are going to spend a great deal of time cultivating the skills and creative capabilities of their workforce to take advantage of the next wave of unforseen opportunties. All of this is a real opportunity for B2B marketers to lead their organizations. But with that opportunity comes added pressure to perform. I'll focus the rest of my presentation on that specific imperative, and specifically refresh ourselves on how B2B customer relationships are impacted by social media for business.
  • So yes, marketing is changing. In the generally more conservative and benefits-driven world of B2B marketing, the convergence of rapidly innovating social technologies, the proliferation of smart phones, and the enormous amount of data being generated by all this social activity, can appear ominous. But as with all transformational shifts, bold marketers can either view the scene with dread, or with an eye to taking advantage of new opportunities to leap out of danger and ahead of their competition. To paraphrase a hunter's parable: I don't have to run faster than the birds chasing me. I only have to run faster than the other runners who are also being chased.
  • The first step to running fast is knowing what direction to run in. There is an increasing body of evidence from such sources as emarketer, informationweek, BtoB Magazine, Marketing Sherpa, and many more that show consistent changes in the way business buyers look for product and vendor information. This recent study by B2B Marketer for B2B buyers in the UK shows that while traditional offline information sources still are important, they have in the past few years rapidly given way to online sources. Newer social media may not – on the surface – have the same importance as a vendor website, which is still the #1 resource for product informatio. But it should bear noting that the #2 source, online searches, is increasingly and deeply impacted by a vendor's success (or lack thereof) in social media visibility. Just look at Google's recent changes to its algorithm to factor more recent and social content. In other words, a successful search engine optimization strategy is increasingly reliant on not just improving your website, but your online social presence and earned media as well.
  • And those same online sources showed fast year-to-year increases in importance to the survey respondents. What's also interesting to note in the growth rates is that almost ALL information sources grew in importance faster than they shrank in importance. This argues for a more complex landscape where B2B buyers rely on an increasingly mixed source of information for decision-making. This in turn argues for B2B marketers to better understand how social media specifically impacts the decision-making of their chosen market segments' decision-makers.
  • B2B marketers are definitely responding to these macro trends, as well as the increased pressure from their own CEOs. The good news is that many have already created not just 1 social media marketer, but a fully staffed department. Unfortunately, assigning resources isn't enough. Half of those same B2Bs that have assigned social media marketing staff aren't event bothering to formally track their efforts, let alone do more sophisticated analysis that is aligned to their organizations' Key Performance Indicators. As a result, a majority of B2B firms are therefore actually ignoring social feedback because “they don't know what they don't know” due to poor or non-existent processes.
  • But the benefits for those who do put effort into process and measurement is clear. As IBM has worked with a wide range of clients, patterns have emerged around how businesses become more social: more engaged, transparent and nimble. When social media technologies are applied to deepening client relationships, there are measurable benefits related to the marketing and customer service functions within an organization. In particular, when organizations spend more time LISTENING, they can see real, measurable benefits from awareness, conversion of prospects into leads, and increased revenues. It's not just IBM's experience. The data you see here comes from a McKinsey survey.
  • It's not just the traditional marketing and sales functions that benefit from this enhanced customer engagement. If you look beyond the “new customer” revenue – the traditional pipeline – side of the equation, we also see significant benefits in customer support and service. By applying not just public social media to these functions, but also opening up internal social collaboration to support and service teams, measurable benefits include faster problem resolution and reduced service and support costs. Most B2B firms live and die with a small number of customers, moreso than B2C, B2B firms MUST be able to hold onto the few customers they have and grow their lifetime value. Application of social technologies to this function is often a key path to initial B2B social deployment and proof of viability.
  • I would like to turn my attention to some of the specific benefits and lessons learned that have been realized in my own experiences with social media marketing at IBM. They might be useful in helping you develop your own path to not just implementing a more effective social media marketing strategy, but to becoming a more social business overall.
  • Once we've aligned our social media marketing goals to our core business strategy, only then do we actually go out and determine what we're going to listen for and measure. We start with breaking out the insights we want to gain from social media marketing measurement into a few key categories. For Customer Care and Support Insights, we look for metrics that will help us manage brand reputation/sentiment and respond to requests, and to measure how well we are at p romoting networking among employees and non-IBM Brand advocates. For Market Ecosystem Insights, we look for ways to measure how well we manage brand reputation/sentiment and respond to requests. How well we g ather needs of stakeholders. How we measure success with influencers, monitor and respond to them. How we Track messaging adoption and viral reach to new markets. And how we identify organic hot topics and trends in product requests. For General Marketplace Insights, we look for opportunities to determine new messaging topics and emerging market. We try to identify new people and venues of influence for outreach. We look for competitive threats, including potential acquisition, strengths, weaknesses, and opportunties. We want to benchmark penetration gains in competitive share of voice, and be able to respond to attacks and misinformation. And most of all, identify new sales leads. For Influencer Insights, we want to understand how media, analysts, business partners, customers, IBMers and other stakeholders influence preference for our products and services. We want to measure success of social enablement and advocacy programs. And we look to rovide recommendations for improving influence
  • Only after aligning the metrics to specific business drivers do we then design the listening system. Our selected business strategy dictates that IBM look at the marketplace's discussions that shape belief in the complex product and service areas we choose to participate in. Bwcause of this complexity and the wide breadth of IBM offerings, it's important for IBM to leverage tools that include: Robust mulit-faceted search on product- and service-related terms Multi-dimensional sentiment analysis Contextual affinity relationships to key points of analysis Related and relevant topic association above and beyond what you initially search and analyze This analysis incorporates diverse and multiple source areas – from facebook, to billions of discussion boards, to Twitter to forums, newsgroups, blogs, and traditional paid and earned online media.
  • Once we have the listening program structure outlined, the actual metrics now come into play. My experience at IBM, along with a lot of reading on the subject, quickly turns up a very long list of potential metrics to use. These metrics can be categorized in many ways, of course. We have measurements for awareness, click-through, traffic, advocacy, sales, and much much more. With so many metrics, it's easy to get sidetracked, like a magpie enamored by the latest “shiny object”. That is why I make a differentiation at IBM between measurement, metric and objective. Aligning to objectives is only the start. And you skip a step if you jump directly from those objectives to measurements. In my experience you need a middle step: you need to translate objectives into metrics before determining what measurements you need. That translation from Objective to Metric to Measurement is necessary because after you're done measuring, you must be able to communicate your results in the language of business, not social media marketing. Without that rosetta stone, your CFO or COO or VP of Sales won't understand – nor fully support – your efforts.
  • Yeah, it just got scary again. You're awash in measurements. You're drowning in analysis paralysis. You're unsuccessfully trying to stave off disaster but your business peers don't understand what you're saying.
  • All these metrics don't have to give you the frights. As I said before, focus is key. If you focus on those activities that are directly related to your business strategy, the right measurements reveal themselves. The right metrics fall into place. And the right language comes into focus. It's all about avoiding that classic mistake of “doing what you can measure”. It should be “measure what you should do”, and if you can't measure it, do what's right for the business and figure out the right metrics when they become available.
  • If you have good data driven focus, then insights just come out naturally. Here's a good example. One of the key objectives for my part of the business was increasing the percentage of leads coming from online vs. traditional marketing tactics. The metrics were two-fold: increase the amount of “convertible” traffic to our registrable content, and improve our search engine optimization to account for increased importance of earned media over vendor websites. From that alignment of metrics to objectives, and experimenting with the resources available to us, the measurements fell quickly into place. These 4 in particular rose to the top. The next step was to set a benchmark. We quickly realized the measurements were much better when looking at changes over time, than snapshots in time. As we started tracking results over time, the measurements quickly told us what parts of the strategy were working and what needed help. It also showed differences in short-term vs. longer-term trends as well (was the change just a temporary blip or something more sustainable?).
  • Another objective was improving our competitive positioning. The metric was competitive share of voice and share of participation. The measurements looked, albeit imperfectly, at change in membership in selected online communities where ours and our competitors' products were discussed. Over time we could see the positive impact of our efforts, as well as areas of improvement. For example, we saw that the participation of IBM subject matter experts in LinkedIn groups. Twitter and Online communities was improving our position relative to Competitor A. But our efforts in Facebook and YouTube showed our competitors were growing faster than we were, highlighting areas for improvement.
  • And if you let the objectives determine metrics, and metrics determine measurement, surprising insights can appear. Continuing on our objective of increasing the relative percentage of leads coming from online, I did an analysis of referral traffic from selected social media sites to Surprisingly, wikipedia was by far the most imporant referral site, followed by Slideshare. NEITHER of these sites were part of the original social media marketing strategy, but instead were supported through barebones, ad hoc efforts. Clearly, spending much more time improving my division's posture on those sites would yield more benefits, and perhaps we should divert resources from other social sites.
  • Another area we experimented with was seller “homepages”. If the objective was increase leads from online, then it made sense to try an experiment to web-enable our inside sales team to be more social. We set up a test for a specific subset, with the following capabilities... The results were almost immediate and astounding.
  • So my own experience indicates that, by first aligning your social media marketing strategy to your BUSINESS strategy, then aligning measurements to metrics that support those objectives, it was easier than we thought possible to evolve our social media marketing strategy from one of social media ADHD described in a language as arcane as 14 th century alchemy,, to a thoughtful, focused effort that could describe results in the language of the business leadership team. That's what it took to take our social media marketing to the next level.
  • Ultimately it comes down to the management system. Setting objectives, creating tactics, and measuring how well they did is not a one-time affair. It takes dilligence and systemic behavior to get long-lasting results. From annual or quarterly objectives setting, to monthly reporting, to daily briefings, a calendared cadence and management system is critical to taking your efforts beyond the basics. Social media isn't really “free” - for businesses to take advantage of social technologies, concerted efforts and aligned resources are critical for success.
  • Of course, most organizations don't have the same level of resources a global Fortune 100 like IBM has. Luckily there are a lot of great tools available today to help you get started. Many of those tools are no- or low-cost; the real cost is dedicated personnel and time. Most public social media are providing increasingly sophisticated reporting tools, whether Facebook, Google Analytics, or third-party tools like Hoosuite Enterprise and more. When you're ready to graduate to more robust systems, service providers like IBM, Salesforce Radian6, Converseon and many others provide enterprise services that, for a fee, can offload the workload and add additional insights.
  • Addressing Top CEO Priorities through Social Media Marketing and Metrics

    1. 1. Addressing Top CEO Priorities through Social Media Marketing and Metrics Examples of successful social applications Jacques PavlenyiSenior Marketing Manager, IBM Collaboration Solutions BMA SoCal Chapter Event August 21, 2012 @MEDIAMUTT @SOCALBMA
    2. 2. 3 things for today1) The Worldis Changing 2) Marketing is Changing, too 3) Its easier than you think to take it to the next level
    3. 3. The World is Changing(thats scary) Source: If we dont, remember me,
    4. 4. “Social” isnt new Source:
    5. 5. But three forces change HOW we are social Instrumented smartphone shipments now outpace PCs Interconnected social networking accounts for ¼ of all online time Intelligent social data is now over 1 Zettabyte Source: IBM
    6. 6. So people get things done in entirely new waysHow I Buy How I WorkInteracting and Collaborating fromengaging with anywhere at anypeers and the timeBrand How I Create Tapping into a wide variety of insight and expertise Image Source:, #1338212
    7. 7. This means serious business for CEOsHow I Buy How I Work95% of standout 81% of CEOs willorganizations will focus more onfocus more on their peoplesgetting closer to skillsthe customer How I Create Creativity is viewed as the #1 most important leadership quality Sources: Data from 2010 CEO Study, IBM; image from, #1030719
    8. 8. Marketing is changing too(should I be scared?) Source:
    9. 9. Information Sources for UK B2B buyers 2011 Source: Buyersphere Report 2011, B2BMarketing and BaseOne
    10. 10. Information Sources for UK B2B buyers 2011 Source: Buyersphere Report 2011, B2BMarketing and BaseOne
    11. 11. Is B2B marketing changing fast enough? Heres the good news:(1) 38% of B2Bs have 2 - 3 people handling social media marketing 21% have at least 6 people on the job 8% do not have anyone Heres the bad news:(2) 51% of B2B profls do not track social media vs. 22% of B2Cs Of the 49% who did, only 4% performed sentiment analysis 69% ignored social feedback due to lack of processSources: (1) “Study: B2B, B2C companies recognize the need for social media marketing management”, May 9 2012, Brafton Blog, SOCIAL MEDIA NEWS: B2B brands fail to track social media activity, May 17 2012,
    12. 12. What happens when you move ahead Realized benefit - median improvement %Increase effectivenessof awareness(realized by 52% of respondents)Increase revenue(realized by 18% of respondents)Increased effectivenessof conversion(realized by 52% of respondents) Source: “The rise of the networked enterprise. Web 2.0 finds its payday” – McKinsey Global Survey Results, 2010
    13. 13. What happens when you move ahead Realized benefit - median improvement %Increase speed of accessto internal experts(realized by 52% of respondents)Increase speed of accessto internal knowledge(realized by 77% of respondents)Reduce externalcommunications expense(realized by 53% of respondents) Source: “The rise of the networked enterprise.Web 2.0 finds its payday” – McKinsey Global Survey Results, 2010
    14. 14. IBMs experience in social marketing and sales Image Source:, #1372169
    15. 15. Listen and Learn the Lingo Objectives Keywords Customer Insights Product- MARKET ECOSYTEM Product and support specific questions (#LotusNotes) Company Insights Company- My Company specific COMPANY Conferences and events (#ibmcloud) Announcements CUSTOMERS COMPETITIVE Competitive insights Competitors (@Oracle) Influencer insights Influencers INFLUENCERS Advocates (@jowyang) Independent Analysts Bloggers and Press Market Insights Neutral terms Product categories (#cloud) Marketing programs
    16. 16. Align your analysis to business strategy Business Drivers Competitive Analysis Corporate Reputation Customer Care Campaign Effectiveness Product Insight Source Areas COMPREHENSIVE SENTIMENT FACEBOOK ANALYSIS  Keyword Search  Dimensional BLOGS  Dimensional Analysis Navigation  Filtering  Drill Through to  Voice DISCUSSION FORUMS Content AFFINITY ANALYTICS EVOLVING TOPICS TWITTER  Relationship  Relevant Topics NEWSGROUPS Tables  Associated Themes  Relationship Matrix  Ranking and Volume  Relationship Graph MULTILINGUAL
    17. 17. After language comes metrics Objective Metric MeasureGenerate Awareness ● Traffic from social ● # of clickthroughs ● Reach and impressions ● # of visits, viewers, impressionsSet the Agenda ● Volume of voice ● # of keyword mentions ● Social assets published ● # of assets ● Views of social assets ● # of visits to assets ● Sentiment ● % positive/negative/neutralBeat the Competition ● Share of Voice ● % of mentions (versus competitors) ● Sentiment ● % positive versus competition ● Competitive Wins ● Competitive winsBuild Advocacy ● External advocates ● # of Champions recruited ● Outcome of activities ● # of influencers reached ● Quality of social activity/influenceIncrease Thought Company SMEs ● ● # of SMEs recruited and activeLeadership and SME social eminence ● ● SME reach, authority, influenceInfluence ● Preference ● Competitive winsDevelop Community Network growth ● ● Growth in # of members ● Engagement ● Comments, responses, likes, mentions ● Community Sentiment ● Ratings, community satisfactionInnovation ● Market Insights ● # of new products, services, processes ● Process improvementsCapture Leads and Earn Web registrations ● ● # of conversions/registrationsRevenue ● Registration conversions ● $ from VLR and Win revenue
    18. 18. Replace fear with focus
    19. 19. From focus comes answers: How am I doing? Trend MtM Change Avg MtM YTDTraffic from social sites to company +8.0% +10.6%siteMembers in company-owner +3.8% +8.0%communitiesSMEs +0.3% +13.8%External advocates +3.1% +3.1%
    20. 20. From focus comes answers: competitive positionSocial Network Change in Membership Change in Membership My Company Competitor ALinkedIn +2.7% +0.0%Facebook +1.4% +7.1%Twitter +3.7% +1.9%YouTube +5.8% +6.4%Communities +9.0% +3.0%
    21. 21. From focus comes answers: top 20 socialnetwork referrals Wikipedia Slideshare Facebook Twitter Blogspot Conduit LinkedIn YouTube StumbleUpon WordPress Others
    22. 22. Another example: IBM social inside sales homepages Setting up social pages for sellersFocus on specific topic: “cloud computing”Twitter and LinkedIn accountsSocial media listening and survival guide“social soundbites”IBM collateral, third-party contentRSS feeds into their email “MyPage” Results? Amazing!7 reps over 6 monthsTwitter followers: 34,000 → 1,300,000 (+38X)LinkedIn direct followers: 535 → 3,500 (+6.5x)200 video chats20 Wins
    23. 23. Its easier thanyou think to takeit to the next level Image Source:
    24. 24. Create a management system that drives datainto insights – and insights into actionDaily Daily briefs w/ top insights and recommended actions Real-time alerts sent for key triggersMonthly Summary report w/ trends on key benchmarks Marketing insights and recommended strategic actionsQuarterly Executive insights dashboard with recommendations Brand Monitor Data mining Crisis response and management system report Opportunities for business transformation
    25. 25. But I dont have an Agency or budget... Free Tools To Get You StartedWhen youre ready for something more comprehensive
    26. 26. Recap1) The World 2) Marketing is 3) Its easieris Changing Changing, too than you think to take it to the next level