Social Data for Successful Mobile Marketing

Social Data for Successful Mobile Marketing

(Originally posted in Adotas)

Do you remember the days of browsing a bookstore or library for your next read? You’d head to your favorite section and get lost for hours before settling on a book. Now, personalized tools such as Amazon’s recommendation system have reduced this search to a few seconds. Both consumers and marketers can admire Amazon’s ability to instantly lead a customer to the perfect book based on his or her preferences. Although the algorithms that power these systems are amazing, the magic is in how personalized recommendations make consumers feel. Amazon makes a transaction with a machine feel personal. When consumers feel like someone — or something, in this case — knows and cares about their interests, they will become loyal customers who keep coming back for that personal touch. Amazon is paving the way for a more user-driven brand experience, and with brands such as Netflix following suit, marketers can no longer rely on deceptive qualitative data alone to make campaign decisions.

Marketers need to get data on their customers, and the best way to do this is through the platforms they’re constantly using: mobile devices.

Marketers need to get data on their customers, and the best way to do this is through the platforms they’re constantly using: mobile devices.

Meet Consumers Where They Are

Mobile usage now accounts for 60 percent of consumers’ digital time, according to a 2014 comScore report. And app usage accounts for most mobile engagement, taking up seven out of every eight minutes of media consumption on mobile devices. With the explosion of mobile usage, marketers can now reach consumers wherever they are and deliver the Amazon-like personalized recommendations that they expect. But many marketers who are flocking to mobile are making the mistake of bombarding consumers with irrelevant messages. This information overload makes capturing — and keeping — customer attention a constant challenge.

To compete on Amazon’s level of personalization, marketers must be able to track their customers’ behavior on mobile. By tapping into this rich trove of psychographic data, marketers can rise above the noise and get the right information to the right customer at the right time.

Leverage Social Analytics for Campaigns

You’re familiar with the customer persona method of defining your target audience. You can also create mobile profiles to craft highly personalized campaigns. The easiest way to do this is through social analytics tools. Consumers are less guarded on social platforms than they are in formal surveys or focus groups. By harnessing social data, you can see your audience in real time — while at the grocery store, in the living room, or on an outdoor adventure — and collect important psychographic data.

By analyzing this data, you’re much more likely to get an accurate and unbiased picture of your audience’s interests, values, personality traits, and purchase intentions. If you combine this with quantitative data, you can craft a mobile campaign that will reach the exact people who will love your product or service. Choose the metrics that are most important to your mobile campaign, such as the number of social followers or video downloads. Continue researching and tweaking the campaign until it heads in the right direction. Psychographic analysis is still a work in progress, especially on the social front, but brands that jump in now will end up on top.

It’s a new age for marketers. Consumers are smart enough to know when they’re the targets of marketing efforts, and they don’t always like it. Take the time to get to know them personally and offer a precise solution at the right moment. You’ll earn the enduring trust of the people who matter most to your business.

What Volkswagen Can Teach You About Values-Based Marketing

What Volkswagen Can Teach You About Values-Based Marketing

(originally published in Entrepreneur.com)

Some of this year’s Super Bowl commercials focused on tugging at viewers’ heartstrings, challenging stereotypes and trying to make the world a better place — and for good reason. Some companies know that to build an enduring business, they should stand by core values.

Few companies are quite as adept at maintaining and communicating their values as Volkswagen. Beginning in the 1930s, Volkswagen (whose name literally means “people’s car” in German) aimed to empower the everyman to own and drive a car. This idea was radically nonconformist in an age when companies only produced luxury cars for the elite. But VW’s message of inclusivity and openness to change resonated with consumers.

Few companies are quite as adept at maintaining and communicating their values as Volkswagen.

Because Volkswagen has held on to those values for decades, it has built a passionate following. Now three of the top 10 bestselling cars of all time, according to AutoGuide.com, are VWs. Some of the manufacturer’s classic models — the Beetle and the Type 2 bus — have become icons. (People still love features like odd heater handles on the floor, the clatter and rattle of the air-cooled engine and the aesthetic in these cars that virtually everyone could afford to buy.)

Although models have changed throughout the years, VW has remained focused on “progress” and “defying convention” and these values have served the company well.

A strong brand message can communicate your company’s values, differentiate it from competitors’ and make your target audience take notice. Here are some tips for establishing values that resonate with your target audience:

1. Determine your values as a founder.

Figure out where your values lie so you can build a brand that will always be in alignment. Are you resistant to change or determined to save the world one person at a time? What you stand for as an entrepreneur and your organization’s brand message will determine which consumers connect with the company.

L.L.Bean was founded on traditionalism and transparency while In-N-Out Burger is rooted in uncompromised quality and consistency. These brands have maintained loyal followings by standing by these values.

2. Analyze the target market’s leanings.

Even though your market can encompass different audiences, determine the core values the majority of your audience holds dear. If that majority’s preferences are out of alignment with your company’s values, pick a different market. Don’t compromise your company’s values just to fit in.

VW strayed too far from its audience’s core values when in 2004 it released the Phaeton, a premium model. Sales were so low the company abandoned the model in the United States in 2006.

3. Team up with those with similar values.

Maintain a cohesive team and minimize turnover by only hiring people who share your core values. For instance, if you’re the type of person who wants to reward employees for their attitude and work but hires people who just want to climb the corporate ladder, they won’t be a good long-term fit.

The same rule applies for potential company partners. No matter how talented the applicant or valuable the potential partner, if someone doesn’t align with what your brand stands for, you don’t want him or her representing your company.

4. Monitor the market regularly.

During every stage of your business, keep an eye out for trends among members of your target audience. Are they staying consistent or changing? Staying up-to-date will let you adjust production or marketing accordingly.

In the early days, Apple’s branding was extremely nonconformist. But as the company captured a sizeable portion of the computer market, it became more focused on products that looked good and made people look good while using them.

VW’s core values have remained the same but it has branched out to create vehicles and messaging aimed at  at more conservative (the Passat) and safety-focused consumers (Jetta) and environmentally minded individuals (the e-Golf and Jetta Hybrid).

Throughout the years, Volkswagen has proved that designing a company around thoughtful values, effectively communicating them to a target audience and maintaining them over time can drive long-term brand loyalty and growth. So take a page from the VW playbook and prioritize your startup’s brand values.

Be a Person, Not a Brand

Be a Person, Not a Brand

(Originally published in Social Media Explorer)

Social media thrives on one thing: accessibility. Whether it’s seeing the biggest stars’ daily routines or scoring the scoop from a trusted reporter, people want to feel in touch and informed — down to the second. Your Twitter followers want all of these things from your brand. But they want something else, too: They want to know you’re human.

That’s why an automated Twitter response is such a disappointment for your followers. It tells them your brand is unavailable, or worse, “too big to care.” But there’s a better way to keep your followers engaged and excited, as well as give them a taste of your brand’s more personal side: Treat Twitter as a place for humor, play, and experimentation — in real time.

 

Marketing Lab

Risk and Reward

Personifying your brand is important because it helps you build a personality, not just a brand voice. And the first step toward building a personality is universal: finding a sense of humor. That’s exactly why Twitter fans love wacky jokes and clever retorts from brands they follow. Here’s a great example: Someone tweeted a snarky barb at Smart Car, criticizing its flagship product. So what did Smart Car do? It tweeted back an informative infographic and a witty reply. This seems risky, right? But it actually hit the mark perfectly — and scored media kudos as one of the “funniest replies from a brand yet.”

A quick look at Smart Car’s followers would show that this move isn’t as dangerous as it seems: The car brand’s fans are daring, they like to break convention, and they loathe “corporate speak.” This retort was spur-of-the-moment, smart, and real, which means it’s a perfect fit — even though it seems off-the-cuff. (Imagine what might have happened if Smart Car’s comeback had been scripted instead: “We’re sorry you feel that way. How can we help?” It would have been a disaster.)

Rules of the Game

There’s a clear strategy at work here: Be spontaneous but informed. But, like any bold move, the risk should be calculated, authentic, and, most importantly, true to your fans. So how can big brands balance those three traits without incurring too much risk on a public social platform? Here are a few ideas:

  • Make your partners — or even your competitors — look good. Losers try to discredit their rivals and end up discrediting themselves. What if Microsoft complimented Google instead of running its infamous “Scroogled” campaign? Brands should use Twitter to expand their audience and engage new people, not alienate the ones who already follow them.
  • Know your audience. If you have a lot of engaged, vocal followers who like more wholesome, conservative brands, you’re better off staying on the safe side. Be nice, like Coca-Cola, which answers every tweet with a “thanks.” But if your brand is more daring, like Red Bull or Virgin Airlines, you can push the limits instead. (DiGiorno’s “cheeky” commentary during “The Sound of Music” is a great example.)
  • Get your timing right. We’ve all seen these infamous tweets, like Kim Kardashian’s ill-timed product promotion in the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado. These mistakes might be understandable to marketing executives, but they’re absolutely mystifying (and that much more tone-deaf) to Twitter users. Be careful about what you respond to — and when you’re responding, too.

Educated Experimentation

You can achieve this fun, playful engagement across all kinds of media, but some are far riskier to your brand — and your budget — than others. Here’s an example: TV is expensive, and it involves planning, testing, and round after round of review. And that means that, on TV, being “wacky” is a bigger gamble than ever.

Twitter, on the other hand, is fast and low-risk, which makes it perfect for “testing” new voices and ideas. Why? It is low-cost, low-effort, and, unless you’re attracting the wrong kind of media attention, has a pretty short memory. There’s also a wealth of social information for you to access, so you can tailor your experimental tweets to fit your followers.

Start with a solid analysis of your brand’s target audience. Some of the limits and guardrails that you’ll create for your Twitter presence are intuitive; other times, you’ll have to rely on data to tell you where your followers’ interests lie. Crunching numbers on what they care about, what they’re listening to, and what they’re watching will give you key insights into what’s likely to trigger a laugh or a retweet — and make a lasting impression. And the more data you have to inform your social worldview, the better your off-the-cuff tweets will be — and the better response you’ll get from your followers.

After all, Twitter is made for play, not work. And that’s why you should make your followers feel like they’re connecting with a person, not a brand representative. Don’t be afraid to experiment and engage your followers in new, innovative ways — and have a little fun doing it, too.

About Mattr

Segment your audience in hours — not weeks or months — all without asking questions. Craft campaigns and products that appeal to their personalities and unique interests.