Social Listening: The Marketer’s Dilemma


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What is the key to a successful marketing strategy? At a event in San Francisco last week, CEO Marc Benioff gave his opinion. He asked the audience directly, “are you listening?”

What does ‘listening’ mean from a marketer’s perspective?

Benioff is referring to the idea of discovering the customer conversations occurring on social networks about your company and your competition. It’s also about gaining awareness of what your customer wants, and where they are in the buying cycle.

The exciting announcement of the day was around, which extends social advertising capabilities to reach your customers on these channels. In some ways, is just rebranding part of the Buddy Media technology acquired. But, for those who live and breathe social media everyday, there’s a deeper level of enthusiasm as the ad tool now plugs into the CRM (Salesforce) and the social listening platform (Marketing Cloud).

We’re told over and over again not to treat social media as a silo. We’re told to weave a social strategy seamlessly into existing processes and campaign execution. The problem has been that the technology is not totally there. Even the most forward-leaning marketing teams seem to operate in two capacities according to the two separate sets of tools at their disposal:

  1. Marketing automation platform + CRM
  2. Social listening and publishing platforms

There’s no ‘under one roof’ system for marketers. What major challenge does this pose? The marketer is struggling with incomplete prospect and customer profile data. The traditional business contact (the CRM profile) lacks the ‘social’ data. One reason for the disconnect is that, most often, we attach business emails to our contacts, whose social networks are connected to their personal email addresses.

Why is this important?
Imagine how an individual’s tweet can reveal a pain point that your business can solve. For example, today I noticed a tweet from someone at an industry conference. He expressed a business struggle where Bluewolf provides a clear solution. As any keen marketer would, I RT’d him, posed an engaging question, and shared a link to our solution, encouraging him to “check us out.” I patted myself on the back for delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.

Then, my colleague noticed the tweet, and looked the individual up in our CRM. Low and behold, there’s a sales cycle with the contact at 30%. Wrong message, wrong person, wrong time. If only I had a complete view of the customer, including the social data!

This problem is being addressed, and is an important marker in the evolution. Large marketing automation platforms are also making headway at adding the social view into the core marketing database.

So what’s the solution to this data problem?

  • It may be simple. Start building complete profiles by using social sign-on tools or adding a form field for a Twitter handle across your marketing campaigns.
  • Hire a chief technologist? Gartner finds a chief marketing technologist reporting to the CMO in 70% of marketing organizations today.

Last words of wisdom: An ITSMA study has shown that 58% of marketers have cobbled their technology together without a strategy or plan. There’s an urgent requirement to enable business with ‘listening’ capabilities, and marketing leaders have the capability to attack the opportunity quickly and without much help from IT. But, for however much time you spend exploring the marketing technology landscape, spend twice the amount of time working on the ‘why’ of the initiative and in developing a strategy.

Interested in more in-person discussion around marrying the right strategy with smart technology decisions? Join us, along with Marketo and Salesforce Marketing Cloud, for the Marketing Innovation Forum in Seattle on May 16 for an afternoon of talks and networking.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Natasha Oxenburgh
As a Product Marketing Manager, Natasha Oxenburgh directs marketing strategy for Bluewolf's customer care, marketing, and social business services. Previously, Natasha lead Bluewolf's external social strategy and an internal initiative to drive employee engagement. Prior to Bluewolf, Natasha worked in the United States Peace Corps as a community health worker in both Madagascar and Mali. Follow Natasha on twitter!


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