At her session at ClickZ Live San Francisco, IBM's social business strategist discussed the ways in which several brands have excelled at engagement.
In May 2011, a 3-year-old girl named Lily wrote a letter to Sainsbury’s, a British supermarket chain, about its Tiger Bread. Lily felt that with its spotted crust, Giraffe Bread would be a more appropriate name. After the store manager wrote back, Lily’s mother put the letter on Facebook and it promptly went viral.
"Because of one little girl, a thoughtful supermarket manager, and 150,000 Facebook likes, a major retail brand rebranded a product," said IBM’s Michelle Killebrew at her ClickZ Live San Francisco session, "Connect, Engage, Collaborate: Building and Sustaining an Audience in a Social World."
Killebrew, the program director of IBM’s social business strategy and solutions, highlighted the importance of social media engagement, noting that 80 percent of people are willing to give their personal information to a brand they trust.
"Marketers have always been responsible for knowing their customers, but it’s a very rapidly changing landscape," she said. "Now, they need to not only know them as individuals, but in context: what device they’re using and what they want to do."
According to the CMO Club’s most recent study, most of the things marketers plan to focus on improving during 2015 are related to engagement. Citing specific brands, Killebrew discussed several ways marketers can become more engaged, including:
Killebrew’s insights were helpful to attendees like Joe Ward, an account executive at ScribbleLive, a content engagement platform based in Toronto. "A lot of the stuff Michelle talked about is very relevant to what I’m hearing customers talk about," he said.
Another attendee, Joshua Walters, is the marketing manager at Sensidyne, a Florida company that provides products in the manufacturing and infrastructure industries.
"We’re B2B, but not just B2B — we’re selling to engineers who just don’t have social engagement with our products," he says. "Trying to give them content they would share is a challenge."
Walters is still challenged on how to engage his notoriously left-brained customers; his main takeaway from the session was how important it is to keep working on it.
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Before joining the ClickZ team, Mike O'Brien was a reporter for newspapers in Brooklyn and Eugene, Oregon, where he earned a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Oregon. Having also worked in newspaper sales, Mike enjoys writing about marketing and advertising much more than selling it.
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