Gilt Grants Discounts Based On "Influence" -- Does This Have Staying Power?

Gilt Groupe recently ran a promotion with Klout in which it offered tiered discounts based on a person’s influence score (see the screenshot below). Members of Klout Perks received a discount for Gilt purchases based on their Klout score; the higher the member’s influence score, the higher the discount.

Gilt’s primary objective with the promotion was to build brand awareness through word of mouth and acquire new customers.  It will be interesting to see how the program performs for Gilt in terms of first-time purchases, long-term customer behaviors, and ROI.

This promotion got me thinking about the potential uses of influence scores for marketing purposes.  I’ve blogged about these scoring methodologies before and believe that we’re still feeling our way through their construction, relevancy, and value.  But I do see at least two general use cases forming.  In addition to incorporating them into analyses for customer insights, marketers can use influence scores — either home-grown or externally derived — to:

  • Identify influentials who can help create awareness. Marketers can seek to create word of mouth by reaching out to people deemed to be “influential” (let’s debate that another day) through services like BzzAgent, Klout, PeerIndex, Swaylo, and others.  In the Gilt example, the most influential people are provided an outsized incentive in the form of higher discounts.
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Are You Absolutely Sure You're Doing Enough With Social?

I (Lori Wizdo) have just put the finishing touches on the content for tomorrow's (Wednesday, March 28 at 10am PT/1pm ET)  interactive webinar, Socialize Your Lead To Revenue Process.   B2B marketers (even tech marketers) are not sure their buyers are really engaged in social media for business purpose.  We'll see Forrester research that proves they are. We'll discuss how social marketing can address the issues I am hearing, over and over again, in client inquiries:

"How can we increase inbound?"....  "How can we increase conversions?" ... "How can we shorten nurturing cycles?"  And, most importantly, "Is social worth it?"

Despite the doubts and uncertainties, tech marketers plan to increase spending on social media for L2RM in 2012: 43% plan to increase social media spend for lead origination; 41% for lead nurturing.  Tomorrow's webinar hopes to give some very pragmatic advice to help you jumpstart or scale-up your social marketing program.

If you can join us, you can register here.

Time To Shift B2B Social Media Marketing Focus From The "Media" To The "Social"

As marketers, we think of ourselves as social. So why is it that almost 50% of B2B marketers surveyed say that they primarily use social media as just another channel to push messages to their target market?

And those are the ones who are attempting to use social media for demand generation. There are still many who are not. One marketer I talked with recently believes that social media is only useful for marketing to consumers and the gimmicks that B2C marketers use would never work for B2B. To some extent that's true, but B2B and B2C marketing are both about people-to-people communications and eliciting emotional responses, which social is perfect for doing.

I was giving a presentation to a marketing team a few weeks ago, and one of the senior folks in the room said that his buyers are too old, too senior, and too busy to be on Facebook. But we were able to show him that his demographic of buyers does use social media when learning about solutions the company sells. Forrester's B2B Social Technographics data shows that business decision-makers use social media for business purposes, and when it comes to creating content and sharing opinions, they do it more for business than personal reasons.

Social media can be harnessed for generating demand, but you have to recognize how it's different from your other channels and use it differently. 

  • Social media is about relationships, so it requires you to engage in two-way conversations and participate consistently.
  • Social media is real time, so you need to be monitoring the conversations and taking action on them in real time.
  • Social media enhances and amplifies other channels, so it cannot be used in a silo.
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Listening Must Evolve Into Social Intelligence

Why do companies "listen" to social media? In short, they listen to learn and improve the business. Marketers use social listening to improve their campaigns and build customer relationships. Customer support teams listen so they can fix problems. PR teams listen to put out fires before they spread. Researchers listen to drive innovation. In this sense, listening isn't a social media strategy; listening is a data collection component of a business strategy. We "listen" as a means to drive action.

But that's not really the case, is it? Most companies I speak with know that listening is important - it seems that nearly all companies know the classic social mantra, "start by listening" - but years into their social strategies, they're still counting the number of Facebook fans or tracking for brand mentions. They're listening, not acting. It's 2012, and we're still passively - without purpose - collecting social media.

This rant comes as the result of two milestones: 1) the two year anniversary of our first research introducing social intelligence and 2) the week in which Google and Adobe double down on the social pieces of their analytics offerings. Although I'd love to spend an entire post talking about the past two years of social intelligence, it took Google and Adobe to inspire me to talk about today's market instead.

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Of Mad Men And Market Insights Professionals

So, I’m off to the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) re:Think 2012conference next week. This started me “rethinking” how advertising has changed over the decades, and what that means for market insights professionals.

Back when I was born, advertising was a no-brainer. TV. If you could afford it. Only 3 channels to choose from so the “marketing mix model” was not really complicated. Did you need a lot of research to optimize your advertising? Hmmm, with all eyeballs tuned to you, research-optimized content probably was not as important as it is today (for a trip down memory lane, click here).

Fast-forward a few decades and customer choices have exploded. Has TV been killed by the Facebook star? Should you invest more in Google Adworks than traditional media column inches? If you do venture into social media, in which of the 1,000s of sites do you find your customers? And are they your best customers, i.e. the ones you really want to attract? It’s like playing Find Waldo, except that Waldo is a fickle consumer who keeps moving around.

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Latin Americans’ Love Affair With Social Extends To Mobile Phones

In 2009, we started the Latin American Technographics® product to understand how emerging Latin American markets like Brazil and Mexico are adopting and using technology. During this time, we have seen some very cool findings with respect to social media and social tools. We found that:

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SoLoMo Or So Not Yet?

Are you thinking about SoLoMo yet?  My clients definitely are, and I haven’t been surprised by the number of questions I’m getting about it considering that 86% of US online adults engage in social media and 2/3 of online Generation Y fall into the SuperConnected category of Mobile Technographics®. But what does SoLoMo really mean?

It’s a concept that brings together social, local, and mobile media — and it’s intriguing to marketers because incorporating social engagement, local targeting, and the mobile customer into a single program seems like it should lead to especially creative and effective engagement. But I’ve been researching this topic over the past couple of months and I have a couple of concerns:  

  • First, the way we talk about SoLoMo puts too much focus on the technology and easily lets marketers slip back into technology-first strategies driven by trends rather than audience insights.   
  • Second,  SoLoMo programs often take the form of a check-in offer today. This can certainly be an effective marketing tactic for retailers and brands with brick-and-mortar presences. But isn't there something SoLoMo can offer other brands?
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Social Media Can't Predict Super Tuesday

A few weeks back, I wrote a post denouncing the idea of predicting the Super Bowl using social data. I had some fun pointing out the questionable research practices behind using consumer opinion to "predict" the outcome of a sporting event. One key issue I argued was that in sports, the public opinion has no influence over the event outcome. But what about using consumer opinions to predict a political election? This can work, right?

USA Today has an article running in parallel with Super Tuesday, aptly asking that same question: Can Social media Predict Election Outcomes? If my post's title wasn't enough of a spoiler, if you read that piece, you'll find a few quotes from me speaking out against the concept. Because, although predicting an election using online opinions is a much more plausible concept than predicting a football game, it's not going to work. And here's why:

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