#SESCHI: Marketers Must React Effectively to Social and Data

Nick Burcher, author of Paid, Owned, Earned: Maximizing Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World, kicked off the final day of SES Chicago with a great keynote on Joining the Dots: Maximizing Marketing Returns in a Socially Connected World. Burcher is head of social media for Europe, Middle East and Africa at global media agency MediaCom.

Burcher said that the traditional model of communication — the Shannon-Weaver model — is a model where a message is sent from sender to receiver and then a feedback loop goes from receiver to sender. However, in a social media connected world, that model isn’t as clear-cut anymore.

When watching hashtags on Twitter as well as Google Trends, it is easy to see how things like television shows are influencing what people search for and tweet. When Homeland had an episode with “Tower of David,” there was a huge spike in search traffic for that particular search term and you can continue to see spikes for it later, as it played in other countries or reruns. Breaking Bad had over two million tweets with #breakingbad just in September alone.

The trend of “screaming goats” started with people uploading short clips showing that not all goats make the traditional bleating sound usually associated with them and that goats often sound like humans. Someone put together a compilation video of many of these clips and had millions of views on YouTube. It also spawned many things like “Taylor Swift goat edition,” which replaced Swift’s, “Oh,” with a goat instead. And while the Taylor Swift one is the most popular, Bon Jovi, Justin Bieber, Whitney Houston and more all had fans give them the same “goat edition” treatment on YouTube.

Personalization is something that is playing a much bigger role now that we have the ability to send different messages to different people who meet various criteria.

Burcher says that traditional focus groups are still useful, but social media is bringing it to the next level. Through social listening, brands and companies are learning things they never thought to ask for before.

With marketing now, data analysis is becoming more and more important. You need to identify several key areas and see its impact. Identify the key issues, the venues where the discussion is happening, the content being consumed, the key voices, the key times and the conversions/sales/ROI. All of this equals an improved marketing strategy for brands and businesses.

Burcher also believes it is important for people to identify the different types of media and how to use them. Paid media covers television and offline ads, display ads, pay per click, social ads and native ads. Owned media includes website, social channels and pages and apps. Earned media includes things like reviews, shares/likes/comments, blog posts and editorial content. All content strategy should feature a mix of all three types, but what many don’t realize is that paid media gives boosts to both owned and earned channels. He likens it to creating ripples — it is the aftereffects that give you the boost.

Using hashtags and calls to action when creating content are important. Burcher uses the example of #royalbaby. When CNN tweeted about it, they had a call to action that promoted themselves: “What’s behind America’s love affair with Kate and Will? Use #CNNTV and watch for your tweet on CNN. #royalwedding.”

Burcher says that all marketers should focus more on creating great content.

“Do smaller amounts of great stuff rather than a larger amount of average,” he says.

There is a great appeal with native advertising currently. It is non-interruptive, since it doesn’t stop users from doing whatever it was they were doing. It is usually relevant, as it promotes brand content that is aligned with users’ interests. And it is visually integrated, sympathetic to the environment and its creative can be turned around quickly.

Burcher also brings up the ability to spot trends and events and subsequently market them. When the power went out at the Super Bowl, it took only four minutes for the first promoted tweet to appear for [power outage]. That is someone thinking on their toes and getting it out there immediately while it is current and trending, he says.

As Burcher wraps up his keynote, he reminds the audience of several important takeaways. Social and data is in everything and marketers must learn how to use and react to them effectively. He reminds people to not be too focused on details. You want to have a helicopter view so you can see the bigger picture and an overall view of all your marketing efforts, rather than becoming hyper focused on something small that is a mere piece of the larger puzzle. And, finally, the more connected your business is, the better. Marketers should think of it as a closed chain loop — all the pieces are interconnected and together create effective marketing. But you also want that chain to include lots of smaller links rather than making the mistake of just having a few larger ones instead, he adds.

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