Category Archives: Analytics

Looking Back and Looking Forward

In review of 2008, I thought Twitter had already arrived.  In reflecting back on 2009, I didn’t expect Twitter to continue to grow with such fervor in 2009, but then again I never expected Oprah to jump on board either.  I don’t know if Twitter will maintain it’s growth, but I can emphatically say that micro-blogging is here to stay.

As social media and mobile continued to evolve (FourSquare) in 2009, 2010 has changed the talk from should we embrace to new communication tools to how we can deploy them for enterprise.  App development is moving full steam ahead and useful ones like Evernote and Jott are sure to provide more value to businesses and consumers alike.

Many analyts think 2010 will be the Year of Social ROI.  I’ve been working on metrics and analytics this past year and with the belt-straps becoming tighter at companies, ROI is becoming more directly embedded in marketing decisions.  This is good news for data junkies as they will be in high demand.  In reality though, there is more to social media than a simple dollar value return. Customer service, branding, product development and other functions within a company will find more value in social media as it matures.

Transparency will also continue to be crucial for successful social media programs but many bigger companies continue to struggle with this.  Between layers of bureaucracy and legal approval, use of social media has been watered down to say the least.  This year, I expect more companies to adopt social media policies that give corporations a more authentic voice.  Common sense prevails, hurray!

I’m excited about 2010.  We are still in the infancy of digital marketing and new ways of communicating are sure to provide great opportunities for entrepreneurs and marketers.

Avoid Enemies of Change

Companies that spot trends early on and get transform their business focus at the right time are in the minority.  Why do some companies have blinders on when accessing trends?  A company’s very success is often what holds them back from seizing opportunities.  The mindset of leaders is crucial to combating this enemy of change.

We tend to be creatures of our past; our experience shapes what we believe and our perception of reality.  In sum, everyone is biased.  Our history and success are strong sources of our bias.  What often sets good leaders apart from leaders who miss opportunities is colored vision.  Good leaders see beyond their bias and spot trends that may be disparate from their past experience.

Automatically assuming something based on bias can handcuff you from changing direction to capitalize on a fruitful opportunity.  To combat bias and gain clarity, I recommend organizations use numbers and metrics to quantify trends and dispel bias that doesn’t mesh with the trends.

Avoid the enemies of change. Put your history and success in your back pocket while assessing your reality.  Use an unbiased view to ensure you can see trends as they really are and find opportunities that you may have missed before.

Five Nuggets from the Internet Summit

The Internet Summit was last week in Raleigh, NC and I want to share with you five nuggets I took away from the panel sessions I attended.

1) Blogging is Not Dead
Didn’t really think blogging was dead, but I guess with a few bloggers ditching blogging for micro-blogging some were wondering where the blog fits in.  The take-away is that blogs should be a hub for your online marketing initiatives.  For B2B folks, they’re great for thought-leadership positioning too.

2) Search Marketers Start with Google
Google AdWords is easy to use and on the platform where more than 60% of search traffic resides.  Unless you know your audience is on Yahoo/Bing, or your budget is significantly lacking, Google is where you want to start. One other theme around search marketing is that it can also be used effectively for branding purposes.

3) Analytics are Increasingly Important
Think measurement first. Tie your business goals with analytics (read: reverse engineer the goal to the measurement).  Include KPIs as part of budget discussion.

4) Email Marketers use Best Practices
Be relevant (know your audience)
Think holistically (where does email fit into your overall marketing campaign)
Segment and personalize emails (this ties back into relevance)

5) Twitter is Versatile
Great for monitoring brand (customer service) and as a content distribution medium. Expectations are that niche providers like Yammer and the like will start gaining popularity in 2010.

What do you think?  Did the Internet Summit 09 get it right?

Social Media Tool from StumbleUpon is

Tim Ferris of 4-Hour-Work-Week fame has been collaborating with StumbleUpon (a favorite time suck pastime of mine) to create a new social media management tool,

StumbleUpon Toolbar
Image via Wikipedia

From the looks of it, we are in for a real treat. promises to save you lots of time in your social media management routine and help improve your traffic too!

Tim Ferriss points out how in this StumbleUpon juiced blog post.  Here’s why he thinks could become the hub of your social media empire.

Prior to SU.PR (pronounced “super”), I had to use for updating Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn at the same time, for basic analytics like click-through, scattered tools for viewing retweets, and nothing allowed me to schedule tweets well.

It was all a serious pain in the ass.

Enter, which allows him to:

– Get suggestions for optimal posting times: get more traffic per post
– Schedule as many tweets or posts as I want, for any time
– See my click-throughs in real-time
– Post to Twitter and Facebook at the same time, with more platforms in the pipeline
– Use my own short URL (i.e. instead of someone else’s branding

This is all really great stuff that will save a ton of time for social media content developers and publishers.  It remains to be seen whether the traffic for content improves, but the analytics that are included in are what really get me geeked about trying it out.

The built-in analytics make this tool especially sweet for marketers not already using  Deploying measurable social media content should help improve your case for including more social media investments in your organization.

Now it’s just a matter of when this service will be available to everyone.  In the meantime, follow the StumbleUpon Twitter profile and keep your eye out for a claim code tweet for your own account.
After trying it out, while potentially great for the reasons listed above, has framing issues that some might remember from the Digg toolbar.  This framing issue wreaks havoc on getting accurate analytics and can be a real pain to use when comparing traffic from visits.  Another issue I’ve had is with the scheduled Twitter posting being significantly delayed. 

What do you think?  Is going to change the way you manage your social media content?

Marketing Metrics

Metrics are becoming more important than ever to verify what works and how to outlay your budget.  Are you using metrics to drive your marketing decisions?

To do so you need measurable data.  Every program you run should be defined by metrics that are quantifiable.  Generally, these metrics should be measured against benchmarks in both your industry and your company.

Lead Generation

For example, metrics from an email campaign I run with the goal of generating qualified leads will tell me many things.  I’ll know the email rental list’s open, click-to-open, and response rates.  But more importantly, I’ll learn what my qualified prospect lives based on which list they came from.

Further, knowing a list’s propensity for qualified leads (measured by metrics like their budget to buy, time-frame to buy, and ability to make the decision to buy) will not only help me focus on the right target customer through other mediums as well, but will also allow me to create a better product since I’ll better understand their specific needs.

Track Marketing Metrics

Keep track of your programs’ success and failures.  With each campaign you’ll equip yourself with the knowledge to improve your marketing effectiveness.  Marketing efforts that can show solid quantifiable returns on investment make budgeting for future efforts even more fruitful than the first go around.

The Marketing Metrics Process

To recap:  Set measurable goals, track your effectiveness, find what works, learn about your customer, increase budget for proven strategies that reach qualified prospects, repeat!

Why Executives Resist Social Media

There are many trends executives resist while plodding along successfully following the status quo.  While it’s understandable for some hesitation in jumping in on “next big thing,” understanding the motivation for that resistance is crucial to making better decisions.

The most recent trend is social media.  Social Media is big.  Millions of people communicate on social networks, blogs, and other social media platforms everyday and it’s evolving in ways that impact businesses as well as consumers.

Executive Motivation

Derived from Steve Borch/David McClellen's Framework

Steve Borch’s article gave me a another perspective of why many executive’s aren’t as interested in social media as others who are jumping on-board in a big way.

Famed Harvard psychologist David McClellen’s personality assessment broke an individuals needs into three basic categories.  Achievement, Affiliation, Power (which was intended to mean influence).

When looking at motivation profile of an executive, one can see why social media doesn’t seem like a place many executives would need to be. Most executives, while not adverse to affiliating with others, are typically more strongly oriented toward achievement and influence.

Social media fanatics, I would argue have much higher affiliation needs than executives.  So convincing a person with high affiliation needs to check out or even embrace social media is easy.  Executives are often different.  Therefore, focusing on the non-affiliation virtues of of social media is key to their acceptance.

There are many other reasons to embrace social media, but many still fear taking the plunge.  If you do take the plunge, my advice is simple, be authentic and persistent.  Social Media isn’t the holy grail for marketers, it’s a means to have a conversation with the world.   So jump in the conversation and start communicating with customers, employees, competitors, and potential customers in real time.  Share, listen, interact, and repeat.