Are CMO's Tracking Social Media and WOM? |

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Are CMO's Tracking Social Media and WOM?


Posted by on January 26, 2009

tracking-social-media-and-wom

We all know that social media and word of mouth marketing is great and powerful, but if you’re not measuring it or tracking it correctly then how do you know it’s working?  PPC for example is very easy to track and measure.  You are given clear stats as to what you put in and how much you got out.  Things aren’t as black and white with social media and word of mouth, but that doesn’t mean that companies should not be tracking or monitoring it.

According to a recent Adage article:

“The survey of 400 executives found that 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word-of-mouth; 59% don’t compensate any employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction; and only 30% rated their companies highly in their ability to handle or resolve customer complaints.”

Apparently one of the greatest challenges for marketing executives when it comes to social media and WOM is ownership.  There are a lot of departments that now have a stake in social media and WOM, we’re talking about everyone from the PR department to the HR department.  Everyone now has some say and some for of ownership and accountability.  Perhaps companies need their own social media marketing department?

Perhaps there is a serious gap in education but I don’t understand how companies are having trouble monitoring positive and/or negative WOM.  Google Alerts, techrigy, radian6, etc. are all tools that are designed for exactly this purpose; to track and monitor brand and competitor conversations online.  Here’s a whole list of free online brand monitoring tools and here is a list of important social media metrics that companies should be looking at it.

Perhaps the issue is that we are focusing too much on tools and methodology and less on the creative aspect of social media and WOM.  I’m a firm believe that it’s great to know the tools and techniques out there, but that’s now what drives successful WOM or social media campaigns.  In order to succeed you have to be clever and you have to be creative.

There is clearly a problem here, what do you think it is and how do we solve it?

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  • http://www.radian6.com Amber Naslund

    Hi Jacob,

    I think you touched on a few of the issues that are plaguing companies trying to get their arms around social media and WOM strategies; part of it may be that these have always been more qualitative/subjective areas of business – sentiment, brand equity, loyalty – and the idea of these concepts in line with more “traditional” metrics is troublesome.

    There's also a very real aspect of “what now?” once a company gets started paying close attention to these areas (and you know how passionately I believe they need to be paying attention). Once you've got this influx of information and feedback, you're charged with refining your business practices to respond to what you learn, and that can be daunting for many executives who are simply trying to make what they're already doing fit into the hours they have.

    It's an evolving discussion, and on the positive side, I'm so grateful that articles like the one in AdAge and follow-on posts like yours continue to raise the discussion. The more we talk and the more we share about what's working and not, the more confidence we'll be able to give to businesses of all sizes.

    Thanks for continuing the discussion, and for the mention of Radian6.

    Best,
    Amber Naslund
    Director of Community | Radian6
    @AmberCadabra

  • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

    Those stats are alarming, but not surprising. I've worked for several large companies who can barely get their internals stats under control (and sometimes have no idea what those stats actually mean). It's a difficult thing when you don't have the right people in place who can drill down through the numbers and make them mean something. It's even harder to get the right people to do something about it.

    This is definitely something that needs to be discussed and explored, and the more I think about companies needing their own social media group the more I think that's a great solution, but getting the other departments to work with a new entity like that would be a challange for anyone.

    Great post and thanks for the stats and recap of the article.

  • http://www.thelovablerogue.co.uk The Lovable Rogue

    Hey Jacob,
    It has been a while since I last commented here, so I thought I would offer my thoughts on the subject! As an aside, I am still dubious of whether the social media warrants its own business unit. Whilst I agree entirely that there should be employees whose roles specifically revolve around the ongoing implementation and monitoring of the social media, I still think that these individuals should fall within the Marketing and PR department. To disassociate the messages conveyed through the social media from those messages conveyed through the more traditional media would more than likely result in messages becoming mixed. This could result in brand messages becoming confused.

    With regards to your comments concerning measurement though, I couldn't agree more. It is inexcusable that firms are failing to monitor this data. Admittedly, the data is not as obvious as is the case with PPC campaigns, however it is there. I am reading a fantastic book called the Numerati at the moment. In it, Stephen Baker emphasises that each of our actions can be given a numerical value from which our actions can be both predicted and influenced. As I see it, these principles apply to both brand perceptions and word of mouth. Whilst some organisations are using this data to influence such things as our work efficiency, others should be examining the data to establish perceptions of the brand. Organisations should devise innovative, albeit transparent solutions for obtaining this data, using it to generate an insight into their customer's mindset. As I see it, this is one of the major challenges for which brands need to develop a solution.

    TLR

  • http://www.shuaism.com Josh Peters

    Those stats are alarming, but not surprising. I've worked for several large companies who can barely get their internals stats under control (and sometimes have no idea what those stats actually mean). It's a difficult thing when you don't have the right people in place who can drill down through the numbers and make them mean something. It's even harder to get the right people to do something about it.

    This is definitely something that needs to be discussed and explored, and the more I think about companies needing their own social media group the more I think that's a great solution, but getting the other departments to work with a new entity like that would be a challange for anyone.

    Great post and thanks for the stats and recap of the article.

  • http://www.thelovablerogue.co.uk The Lovable Rogue

    Hey Jacob,
    It has been a while since I last commented here, so I thought I would offer my thoughts on the subject! As an aside, I am still dubious of whether the social media warrants its own business unit. Whilst I agree entirely that there should be employees whose roles specifically revolve around the ongoing implementation and monitoring of the social media, I still think that these individuals should fall within the Marketing and PR department. To disassociate the messages conveyed through the social media from those messages conveyed through the more traditional media would more than likely result in messages becoming mixed. This could result in brand messages becoming confused.

    With regards to your comments concerning measurement though, I couldn't agree more. It is inexcusable that firms are failing to monitor this data. Admittedly, the data is not as obvious as is the case with PPC campaigns, however it is there. I am reading a fantastic book called the Numerati at the moment. In it, Stephen Baker emphasises that each of our actions can be given a numerical value from which our actions can be both predicted and influenced. As I see it, these principles apply to both brand perceptions and word of mouth. Whilst some organisations are using this data to influence such things as our work efficiency, others should be examining the data to establish perceptions of the brand. Organisations should devise innovative, albeit transparent solutions for obtaining this data, using it to generate an insight into their customer's mindset. As I see it, this is one of the major challenges for which brands need to develop a solution.

    TLR


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