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Dell Defines Social Media ROI: An Interview With Rishi Dave

  |  September 13, 2011   |  Comments

Specific examples of how a successful company is using social media to its advantage. Part two in a two-part series.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Rishi Dave, executive director of online marketing for Dell's Public and Large Enterprise Business Unit. In this two-part column, you can get some insights on tech and B2B social media marketing. Please click here to see part one for the first half of the interview. Here is some more wisdom from Rishi:

HG: How do you encourage people to engage in actions that benefit Dell (follow, fan, share, click, buy, etc.)? Can you give specific examples?

RD: Sure:

  1. Incenting employees to create content is one thing: you can put hard metrics in their performance plans or propose a little friendly competition and the promise of something appealing. But incenting people outside your company can be a challenge. This requires companies to build brand loyalty - something Dell accomplished with its creation of CAP days. Dell's Customer Advisory Panel (CAP days) takes some of Dell's greatest supporters, as well as some of Dell's biggest critics, and brings them together to hash out what's working, what people like, and what they think Dell must improve upon. This breeds brand loyalty that goes far beyond a simple "like" or "share." While we realize this is a large-scale project and that not every company is capable of constructing something similar, the underlying goal can still be accomplished in much smaller ways.
  2. Providing great thought leadership content on a regular and highly frequent basis encourages people to connect with us to get access to the content in their streams. Our Enterprise Efficiency and Tech Center communities do a great job of keeping customers engaged with great content.

HG: How do you think social media marketing drives revenue or saves money for Dell? Can you give specific examples?

RD:Sure, here are a few:

  1. A McKinsey study recently found that 69 percent of surveyed companies gained measureable business benefits from social media, including product innovation, more effective marketing spend, lower cost, and higher revenues.
  2. Social media drives people to our purchase process on our website. Social content on our website increases the number of people who convert to revenue.
  3. Online customer support and communities reduces the number of people calling into our call centers.
  4. B2B communities allow people to get access to experts to push them down the purchase funnel.

HG: How do you measure the success of your social media marketing - what are some of your main metrics/KPIs? Can you give specific examples?

RD:The whole point of your social media efforts is to address pragmatically fundamental business goals. You need quantifiable insight into how online engagement with customers can improve the key value drivers of your business.

  1. We look at the links between customer behavior in social media and revenue both off and online (which I mentioned earlier).
  2. We also look at the impact on costs (in customer support, for example), loyalty, product innovation (by incorporating social feedback in product roadmaps), and brand reputation.
  3. One relevant metric is the Net Promoter Score (NPS), which measures the loyalty of your customer base and lets you identify opportunities for increasing your overall brand health. It also enables you to recognize how you can enhance your customers' perceptions of (and loyalty to) your company.

HG: Are there any tips you can give our readers that would add to the success of their social media programs?

RD:Sure, here are a few:

  1. Content is king. Ultimately, unless you have great content that you are providing on a regular and frequent basis and supporting the conversation around it, it will not matter that you are using a particular social property/channel.
  2. Conversations on the social web affect every aspect of your business, offering new opportunities to gain invaluable insight into your customers' needs, perceptions, and wants. With the right tools and processes, you have the ability to hear virtually everything that's said about you anywhere on the social web. And with the right processes in place, you also have the ability to ensure that the relevant people in your businesses receive feedback and connect with customers directly. But you're missing tremendous opportunities if you don't go beyond these tactical efforts. No matter how well executed these initiatives are, your social media strategy won't really pay off unless you start thinking in a blue-sky way.

HG: Is there anything you would like to add about social media that has not been covered in my questions?

RD: The business impact of social media is real and tangible, and translates into a positive impact on a company's bottom line. Social media gives you unprecedented opportunities to build communities and establish loyalty among these people. At the most basic level, the combination of engagement, empathy, and creativity gives you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change your business from the inside out.

A huge special thank you to Rishi for giving his time to all of us and please comment and share this column to spread Rishi's wisdom!

If you want to hear more from Rishi, you can follow him on Twitter @rishiatdell or check out his blog at www.rishidave.com.



Harry Gold

As founder and CEO of Overdrive, Harry Gold is the architect and conductor behind the company's ROI-driven programs. His primary mission is to create innovative marketing programs based on real-world success and to ensure the marketing and technology practices that drive those successes are continually institutionalized into the culture and methods of the agency. What excites him is the knowledge that Overdrive's collaborative environment has created a company of online media, SEM, and online behavioral experts who drive success for the clients and companies they serve. Overdrive serves a diverse base of B2B and B2C clients that demand a high level of accountability and ROI from their online programs and campaigns.

Harry started his career in 1995 when he founded online marketing firm Interactive Promotions, serving such clients as Microsoft, "The Financial Times," the Hard Rock Cafe, and the City of Boston. Since then, he has been at the forefront of online branding and channel creation, developing successful Web and search engine-based marketing programs for various agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Harry is a frequent lecturer on SEM and online media for The New England Direct Marketing Association; Ad Club; the University of Massachusetts, Boston; Harvard University; and Boston University.

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