Friday Wrap #17: Marketing Cloud, Facebook email ads, mobile in emerging markets, and more2012-09-21
Image (c) CanStockLet’s wrap the week with a look at some of the stories that crossed my news feeds over the last seven days. In case you’re interested, I collect the items from which I choose Friday Wrap items in a link blog at linksfromshel.tumblr.com.
Salesforce fires a shot across the bow of SMMS providers
I was lucky enough to be in the audience yesterday for the introduction of Salesforce’s new product, Marketing Cloud. Based on the demo, I believe Marketing Cloud has just taken the top spot among Social Media Management Software (SMMS) companies like Sprinklr and Expion. By integrating the services of acquisitions Buddy Media and Radian 6 into basic CRM functionality, and adding a host of other features, Salesforce has created as powerful a tool as I’ve ever seen for central control of enterprise-wide social media efforts. As Tim Peterson explains in an Adweek piece, “Marketers can use Radian6’s social listening tools to gauge what their customers are interested in and then use Buddy Media’s offerings to act on those insights.” The cloud-based service focuses on six distinct aspects of social media management: social listening, content development and deployment, engagement, social advertising, workflow and automation, and social measurement. “Marketers can see what their customers are interested in or saying about them, create social posts or apps that apply those insights and buy ads when they want to extend the reach of that content, particularly after tracking positive ROI,” Peterson writes. The interface looks like a social channel’s news feed, displaying updates from members of the team as well as updates generated by the software itself to notify users of milestones and other important information. While large businesses won’t mind the $5,000/month entry-level price tag, it could be problematic for mid-sized businesses. Demos are accessible from the Salesforce.com website.
Facebook sneaks its own announcement into Dreamforce keynote
One of the speakers at the Marketing Cloud keynote (see item above) was Facebook’s ad chief, David Fischer, who (along with Ford Motor Company’s Scott Monty) set up the importance of what Marketing Cloud can do. In his remarks, though, Fischer also formally announced “Customer Audience” ads at Facebook. The program allows marketers to taarget ads to lists of email addresses. According to a TechCrunch report, “A hotel company like Starwood has email addresses of its customers and could target ‘Come stay at the luxurious St. Regis’ to high-end customers who’ve stayed there before, while targeting ‘Find cheap hotels nearby’ to those who’ve stayed at its low-budget brands. That means more sales and more loyalty for advertisers, and more revenue for Facebook.” John Constine writes, “Custom audience targeted ads will be much more relevant than ads just targeted to a business fan’s or some biographical demographic. They can reach people who a business is sure purchased its products before, or that haven’t thanks to exclusionary targeting.”
Another reason to design for mobile first
I am increasingly advising clients and audiences to think about mobile first. The mobile train is rolling downhill, the brakes are burned out and there’s no way to stop it or slow it down. The shift to mobile means far more than shrinking content to fit a smaller screen. The heart of a smart mobile strategy is based on understanding the context of how people use their phones and tablets (that is, when, where, why and with whom). If the local adoption of mobile isn’t enough to convince you that communication and marketing strategies should start with mobility, consider a report from All Things D that shows mobile use in emerging markets already surpasses desktop Internet access. In China and India, for example, “the mobile browser is a critical channel that connects peple to the internet in ways that the PC browser never did,” writes Yongfu Yu, chairman and CEO of UCWeb. “For many people, it is their only connection point to the Internet—take Indonesia, for example, where linking its thousands of islands by a fixed nationwide network was prohibitively expensive, so they prioritized the build-out of a mobile network.” Yu points out that the number of cellphones worldwide outnumber computers by a factor of nearly 6. And, he points out, while apps are a craze, “they will never replace (mobile) browsers,” which are poised for advances to accommodate the growing uses to which people are putting their phones.
A new twist in the Chick-fil-A dustup
For a while, the controversy initiated by Chick-fil-A’s founder and CEO when he spoke openly in an interview about his company’s financial support for anti-gay rights organizations created an us-them dynamic. Gay rights supporters boycotted the chain while those opposed to gay marriage supported the chain with their business. Now, however, it seems that Chick-fil-A has agreed to end its support for those organizations. A variety of sources indicate that the company is about to publish an internal memo to instruct employees and managers to “treat everyone with honor” regardless of race, creed or sexual orientation, according to a PRNEwser report. Patrick Coffee notes that no official statement has been produced by the company, and wonders, “Will the Chick-fil-A non-profit WinShape Foundations truly stop ‘supporting organizations with political agendas?’” But a number of organizations insist their negotiations with the company have led to just that result. Stay tuned.
Answers increasingly come from social instead of search
There is no understating the continued importance of optimizing content for search. What that means in terms of execution, however, continues to evolve as people increasingly find the answers they’re looking for in social venues instead of search engines. By way of example, the number of searches conducted among the top search engines by UK residents reached 2.21 billion through August, a decline of 100 million searches. Visits in August alone were down 40 million from a year earlier. When Experian Hitwise—which provides the data—was asked by Paid Content‘s Robert Andrews if increased reliance on social media had anything to do with the decline in traditional searches, the answer was, “Absolutely…The key thing here is the growing significance of social networks as a source of traffic to websites. Search is still the number-one source of traffic, but social networks are growing as people increasingly navigate around the web via recommendations from Twitter, Facebook, etc.”
Another cautionary tale about social campaigns
McDonald’s had to scramble over unanticipated uses to which people put a few of its hashtag campaigns. The fast food giant isn’t alone. Companies continue to launch campaigns that invite the crowd to contribute, only to find the campaign appropriated by people with alternative agendas. Now, an upscale supermarket chain in the U.K. is learning the same lesson. Waitrose set the hashtag #waitrosereasons and asked its Twitter followers to complete the sentence, “I shop at Waitrose because…” While the contributions weren’t critical of sustainability efforts or health issues, like those experienced by other companies, they were far afield from what the company was hoping for. According to an Ad Age report, the campaign “bypassed the supermarket’s fans and found its way into the tweets of those who wanted to bring the posh people’s supermarket down to size with some traditionally class-based British humor.”
- I shop at Waitrose because there are ample spaces for one’s chauffeur to park in
- I shop at Waitrose because it makes me feel important and I absolutely detest being surrounded by poor people
- I shop at Waitrose but re-pack it in Tesco bags so the rest of the estate doesn’t know I won the Euromillions
- I shop at Waitrose because I once heard a 6yr old boy in the shop say “Daddy does Lego have a ‘t’ at the end, like Merlot?”
- I shop at Waitrose because the butler’s on holiday.
- I shop at Waitrose because everyone on our estate does. Even the gamekeepers.
In the wake of recent criticisms of the new map tool on the iPhone 5, someone posted this tweet: “I shop at Waitrose because I used Apple Maps to get to my nearest Sainsburys.” (You can see all the entries here.
Waitrose handled it well, though, tweeeting its thanks and noting, “We really did enjoy the genuine and funny replies. Thanks for making us smile.” Another response said, “Thanks for all the genuine and funny #waitrosereasons tweeets. We always like to hear what you think and enjoyed reading most of them.”
While one response said he shops at Waitrose because “I’m a social media commentator working on a rather pedestrian critique of the #WaitroseReasons fail for my blog,” others consider it a success. On The Wall, Gordon MacMillan writes that Waitrose’s response has helped it avoid trouble: “Full marks to Waitrose for holding its nerve and coming out on top. More than anything the campaign should help grow the supermarket’s quite small Twitter following (just 31,140) and Facebook fans (71,001) where it gets plenty of good engagement.” The lesson: Think through how a campaign could go south but if you still get unintended consequences, don’t panic. Instead, consider how you can turn the unexpected response to your advantage.
Twitter’s enhanced profiles could be a boon for businesses
Twitter has introduced “header photos,” allowing customers to further customize their pages (within the limits of Twitter’s layout restrictions). While the feature lets anyone enhance their Twitter page appearance, C|Net argues that the real benefit will accrue to businesses. “Today’s Twitter changes relegate more screen space to the account owner, with the hope that customers—ahem, regular users—will be more willing to follow brands like they would a real person,” writes Andrew Nusca. You can learn how to set up your new Twitter profile page in a ste-by-step guide from Hubspot.