A lot more goes into developing a targeted brand strategy these days than a couple brilliant ad guys brainstorming in a room based on their personal opinions of the brand.
In fact, if I may devolve into a quick mention of Sunday night's half-season finale of Mad Men, all the episodes this season have centered around issues raised by the big IBM super-computer recently installed into Sterling Cooper & Partners.
(The giant monolith was even enough to drive poor Ginsberg into full-fledged paranoid schizophrenia, which caused the most hilarious and disturbing nipple accident to ever air on TV, but I digress.)
But even as the TV ad men of the late 60s are worried the computer will threaten their livelihood, we know in retrospect that it's a combination of creative brilliance and solid research that will win the day.
With the rise of big data and social networks that collect demographic data points on Internet users every second they are on the web, there are so many more opportunities for marketers to get their hands on useful information that will help them target consumers more effectively.
Facebook collects and stores approximately 500 times more data a day than the New York Stock Exchange, and Twitter stores at least 12 times more data each day than the NYSE. But the problem is that more data isn't always better. It's never a substitute for relevant data.
The new Social Media Marketing Industry Report from Social Media Examiner is out and it has a couple of really interesting facts along this line that seem almost contradictory.
- 66% of marketers are seeing lead generation benefits By spending as little as 6 hours per week on social media.
- More than 50% of marketers who've been using social media for at least 3 years report it has helped them improve sales.
- More than 50% who spend 6 or more hours per week using social media for business also report improved sales.
- 74% of those who spend 40+ hours earn new business through their efforts.
- 50% of all marketers say social media has not helped them improve sales.
- 37% of marketers say they are able to measure the ROI of their social media activities, up only 11% from last year.
The report states that "this may be because they lack the needed tools to track sales," but I'll submit that it also may be because marketers lack the needed tools to track social media. 85% of the marketers polled said they didn't feel like they knew which social media management tools were the best.
Brands need a tool that will scour the web, collect the most relevant data, and bring it back in a way that can be understood by the brand. What could be more valuable than a listening tool that does just that? It will be the road map you use for every marketing decision going forward and will help you visualize realtime changes in the way your brand and campaigns are perceived.
Collecting and analyzing social media and online data is ground zero for developing a brand strategy. People don't act differently in the virtual world than they do in the real world when it comes to brand loyalty and making purchase decisions. Social media monitoring can help you identify potential brand ambassadors and give you the language they are already using so you can engage them strategically.
Utilize social data and creative concurrently and you'll be a lot closer to realizing the holy grail of social media ROI because you'll have familiar metrics already developed.
Images: AdAge, Houston Chronicle, Social Media Examiner