We’re all being told that we can’t get away from social media marketing as a marketing strategy for success. People that do not leap on the bandwagon are being considered to be Luddites, avoiding necessary technological change, the stuff of the future. However, while some companies have experienced some successes with social media others have failed, wasting time and money. This has led many to question whether it is a viable approach and to wonder: is there a science behind social media marketing? IBM has been researching this and thinks it has some of the answers, which it published in a white paper in 2013.
One of the findings isn’t so great of a step away from traditional marketing. In strategic marketing theory it is understood that the marketer should understand the customer in as much detail as possible. That’s equally true when it comes to social media marketing. Indeed, as IBM explains:
“The more comprehensive the profile, the greater your ability to craft a successful marketing programme and the more personal your personalized offers can be.”
This shouldn’t be news to any experienced and knowledgeable marketer. It’s a well-established fact that understanding customers well means having a better idea of what they want and being better able to convert them into sales. Tools within social media can help with this, providing a clearer picture of customers and helping to more carefully target the most appropriate customers for a particular business. This allows organizations to be better able to offer discounts, coupons or sales that are more likely to bring the customer on board with the products or services.
According to IBM social media tools bring about the opportunity to enhance customer profiles. It is possible for customers to be segmented in a manner that is richer than in the past, and by understanding customers in greater depth, organizations can micro-target them with product offers they are more likely to be interested in, securing better results for the business. This information can also be used to analyse campaign performance more effectively and to “foster deeper, more mutually beneficial customer relationships,” according to IBM. Ultimately the goal of all of this is to be able to monetize social media and drive campaigns that are more individualised to achieve greater results. Social media, according to IBM facilitates all of this by allowing a greater understanding to be obtained about individual consumer preferences.
IBM has worked to develop tools that can help to drive all of this for organisations It has developed “IBM Social Media Analytics” and these tools help, describes IBM with:
“Making sense of the vast outpouring of comment and opinion on social networking websites.”
The tool is analytical in nature and is scalable. IBM argues that it has the ability to analyse “billions of blog posts and hundreds and thousands of forums and discussion groups.” It is able to take this information and pull out helpful trends or patterns relating to the products and services that organisations offer. This is clearly vastly more efficient than a human being scrolling through comments every day and trying to find themes and patterns in what is being said. Such an approach would be flawed because it would be hard for the person to find all of the comments in the first place and make sure that they were included, and because such a manual approach would be time consuming and subjective in nature. This tool helps organisations to understand the conversations that are being had about them, at least, so argues IBM.
The company has also produced IBM SPSS Modeller and IBM SPSS Text Analytics for Surveys. These tools offer data mining to build predictive models which also help marketers to be able to uncover patterns and themes. These tools also help by enabling marketers to model the different possible business outcomes of different scenarios. This enables the mitigation of risk and the ability to take advantage of opportunities. The Analytics for Surveys tool also helps with better understanding responses that are given to open ended questions to better comprehend customers and what they want. As well as these handy tools, there is also the IBM Unica Campaign tool, designed to help organisations to better to be able to build campaigns and understand their success levels. Meanwhile, IBM Coremetrics helps to convert website customers into repeat purchasers. All in all, IBM has a range of tools designed to help with all of the difficult challenges that social media marketers face, while adding science into the equation through excellence in technology.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.