Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Social listening is crucial to your marketing strategy

Social listening is emerging as one of the most decision relevant tools of modern marketing. Listening is as important as managing and monitoring a brand. It allows you to listen to what your customers are saying and then jumping in at the right time to add insight, advice, answer questions and provide better customer support.

As brands go social, they develop a real personality. Your customers create that personality by sharing what they thing about you. Listening gives you a chance to hear what they are saying - what do they like and dislike, value or miss, what would they like changed about you and your competition. It helps you see what makes you stand out from competition. Its more insightful than what you will ever hope to hear in a FGD. Ever.

It also gives you a chance to understand the type of people discussing you. They might not be the people who you target. Listening to their point of view will give you a fresh perspective.

Customers who talk about you are not always the girls who are in love with you but is most likely to be your wife - someone who knows you intimately, morning bad breath and all. She is likely to voice your flaws, just as your wife would to her circle of friends, if you consistently forgot to put the bathroom seat down or forgot to get her a present on her birthday. But that's a bloody good thing!

From an unattended customer complaint to a faulty motor part, there can be a hundred reasons for our consumers to go online and let others know their grievances. Social media listening offers you the chance for timely intervention. You can immediately respond by saying sorry and offering a solution. Customers are forgiving. By this act, not only will you manage to nip all further negative conversations but will also hopefully convert a disgruntled customer to a happy one. A damage control response will show your brand as a transparent personality - a trait you cannot afford to miss in this socially connected world.

To quote Jasmine Jaume, social media is like a giant focus group. Except that participants are not being prompted with questions - they are expressing their own opinions, in their own environment and often. By not including social media listening as a part of your marketing toolkit, you are perhaps giving up a great chance to collect information crucial to your business decisions.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Content strategy or content marketing?

Off late, I have been reading about a lot of discussions and debates about the difference between content strategy and content marketing. While a lot of people use the terms interchangeably, some think that there is a difference in the 2 terms. I belong to the second group of people.

Content strategy has everything to do with a plan regarding content creation, delivery and effectiveness measurement of useful and usable content. When writing a content strategy it is important to answer the following questions:

1. Why are you creating content

2. What will you create

3. How will you create it

4. Where will you create it

5. When will you create it

6. Who will create it

7. Who will you create it for

8. How will you make it discoverable

9. How will you measure the effectiveness

Once you have a fix on these answers, you will have a strategy or a plan in place.

Content marketing, on the other hand, is the usage of content as a marketing tool. It is the  process of communicating relevant messages to specific target audiences with the objective to inform, educate and persuade through content that the audience would like to engage with. I am tempted to say that your TV ad is an example of content marketing. But it would be wrong to say so as in the digital world, content is not product or service centric. It is consumer centric and is crafted around what your audience needs, what information do they find useful and what do they care about.

To craft your content strategy, you need to keep an eye on your marketing goal to answer the whats, wheres and hows. But to use content as an effective marketing tool, you need to understand your consumers and know what's relevant for them and what will drive them to do what's good for your brand.