A few weeks ago I wrote about some of the business problems or challenges that exist with social media ROI. Today I want to address some of the technology challenges. Keep in mind that I’m not a very technical person so if you have something you want to add or contribute to the post please let me know. Note, we are mainly talking about enterprise size clients.
There are many companies that have a solid online presence, in fact many of these companies have hundreds of thousands of online connections, but the trouble is being able to understand how to bring the value of those customers down to a dollar amount. Let’s say you have an individual that is following your company on twitter, he tweets back and forth with your company several times and then 3 months later makes a purchase. Does that company know that the twitter interaction had anything to do with the customers purchase decision? Most likely not. The same is true of any other social media channel. How can companies track consumer behavior on social networks over an extended period of time and that map that back to a purchase? Unfortunately we are all also at the mercy of what information these social networks choose to expose via APIs.
Data and analytics
Most enterprise companies act as if they are dozens of smaller companies all rolled into one. At any given time a company is working with multiple agencies and data platforms that are all tracking and measuring their own target metrics. It’s not like you can just want into an organization such as IBM and say “give me all your data please” and they will just hand it over to you, that’s just not going to happen. So, the challenge here is to develop technology solutions that can allow various analytics and data platforms to communicate with one another and extrapolate the most relevant information. Large companies do this all the time and usually hire specialist companies to build data models for them that can handle this process. A solid understanding of ROI is really going to come into fruition when you are able to integrate company analytics, CRM, sales information, and business survey information. All of these data and analytics points need to communicate with one other, the challenge is making them do so.
Making sense of the data
Although not as complex as actually being able to aggregate the data, making sense of it is still a difficult task. Imagine you have a list of sales data, CRM data, tweets, retweets, wall postings, website traffic, conversion rates, business survey data, and dozens of other variables all complied into a giant spread sheet. Now you need to begin assigning value to each one of the variables in order to develop something that makes sense. It’s important to have someone that understand enterprise analytics and data as well as technology. Making sense of the data can be a tedious process but once you have the data you can start developing some amazing things. For example, what if you knew that on average people interact with your company 4x on twitter before they purchase or if the purchase cycle for your twitter followers was 2x shorter than the purchase cycle for your facebook fans? Getting insight into these areas will really help you understand where to focus your efforts.
There are a few other challenges that are sure to arise from trying to tackle the technology problems such as budgeting, how much a technology solution cost to develop? Well, that depends on what analytics and data solutions you are currently using and if you already have any technology solutions in place that allow them to communicate with one another. As you can see, developing technology solutions is not an easy task, it definitely takes work to get done but it should be a very rewarding endeavor as this should also help your company understand the value of marketing investments as well as the value from social media.
Business and technology solutions are the two areas that are trying to tackle over at Chess Media Group. Have anything else to add?