By Brian Kardon, Chief Marketing Officer at Eloqua
Best-in-class companies have evolved beyond mere participation in social media. They have put a robust marketing technology platform in place that allows them to see how social media activities drive revenue. Social media is earning a seat at the revenue table. It’s called “revenue performance management.”
Social 1.0: Observe
Social 1.0 was all about curiosity. How interesting? What does it mean? What are the risks? Could social media (or “social computing” as my friends at Forrester called it in 2006) really take off?
Social 2.0: Act
Social 2.0 was about companies jumping in: tweeting, blogging, monitoring, and participating across social media platforms. “We should be doing this,” said an anxious CMO. “We will look cool.” “Look how ‘United Breaks Guitars’ or the ‘Comcast Sleeping Tech’ is killing them.” “We need an Old Spice viral idea.” “Hire a bunch of young people, stat!”
Social 3.0: Convert
Well, Social 3.0 is here, and it is about how social media is driving demand generation, adding engaged people to the database, nurturing their interest, and winning business. Yep, social media is driving revenue growth. It has evolved, matured. And it has earned a seat at the revenue table.
As CMO of Eloqua, I get to work with some of the most sophisticated marketing organizations in the world—companies like Adobe, American Express, and Sony. You may think “slow moving” or “bureaucratic.” Well, I can’t speak for everything these companies do, but in the world of social media, they have come to a remarkable place—faster than most would have expected. They have evolved to Social Media 3.0 in record time and are proving how social media drives revenue by:
- Identifying “complaining” customers and resolving those complaints quickly, leading to higher retention rates
- Identifying prospects who are shopping for a solution by their status updates or tweets (e.g., “Looking to switch brokerage account out of [competitor]. Any ideas?”) and responding through direct, helpful communications
Of course, most companies by now have set up processes to monitor the social environment. Best-in-class organizations have taken it to a whole new level by measuring and continuously tracking these people. For example, if someone is shopping in the category, they put them into a highly relevant nurturing program, score their progress, and pass the lead to the sales team at the right time. Then they track whether the prospects close or not, attributing the lead source to social media. In the case of complaining customers, they often put them into “remediation” nurturing programs to win them back. And, of course, they rigorously measure renewal rates of those in the remediation program.
From our experience, the companies that are proving social media’s contribution to revenue have five foundations in place:
- Actively participate in all forms of social media
- Have deployed a robust marketing and sales technology backbone, consisting of a CRM system, marketing automation, and social media monitoring
- Have developed specific processes to deal with “complainers” and “active prospects”
- Continuously measure and optimize the programs
- Routinely report on social media’s contribution to closed business
Welcome to Social Media 3.0! If you are still in 2.0, it’s time to step up!