In today’s fast-paced digital world, it sometimes seems as if the only way to keep up is to stay one step ahead of the rest. However, this is difficult considering that trends, stories, and topics of interest are known to pop up or change without warning. As a marketer, you must be prepared to respond in the moment in order to ensure your content is where it needs to be; your audience wants timely information and reactions to relevant industry news.
Being able to analyze prospect behavior across social media channels can also give you a leg up on your competition. By understanding the behavior and habits of your audience, you can react and respond to the market and industry appropriately, while keeping your customers’ interests in mind. NetBase is a social media intelligence company offering tools to help marketing and sales professionals monitor, understand, react, engage and publish content by understanding their online conversations.
Lisa Joy Rosner, Chief Marketing Officer at NetBase joined us to share a few thoughts on marketing strategies for producing the right kind of content, which we will also hear in her part of a panel discussion at IMS San Francisco later this month.
What is your role at NetBase?
As CMO, I create all the integrated programs that drive the NetBase brand and demand. I create brand awareness by establishing our company as a thought leader in an extremely crowded market. Through a combination of thought leadership and PR, digital marketing, strategic events, partner programs, and targeting lead generation, I work to drive demand for our salespeople and our partners.
What are some obstacles you’ve had to overcome as CMO when working in the complicated and ever-changing digital marketing landscape?
Digital marketing itself is one of the biggest challenges I face. The market is still nascent, so it’s constantly changing. There are so many different kinds of vendors and there’s confusion in the buyer community because of the vast amount of solution-providers and easily accessible information. This means we really have to differentiate and rise above the noise.
There are also so many different kinds of companies under the social business umbrella offering different solutions. We fit in as a social intelligence provider, so we have to compete for clarity under the big umbrella and then stand out in our own focused category. One strategy I have been employing is to concentrate on vertical solutions and then produce content that is relevant, well-targeted and focused. Because we are in a horizontal industry but offer a combination of vertical and business-case applications, we really have to narrow down where, how and by whom we want to be seen. Right now we are focusing on Consumer Packaged Goods, Retail and Media, and Entertainment and even within those verticals we need to focus.
Another challenge I have is that a lot of our competition resides within larger organizations, which poses a challenge because we can’t necessarily compete with their resources. I have to find scrappier ways to touch my target customers and impact the market. However, these big companies have processes that aren’t as nimble as ours can be, so that enables us to innovate very quickly in comparison. With that said, I am constantly challenged with rising above the noise and differentiating in a crowded market.
With all of the readily available information online and the ease of researching specific topics, do you have any tips for companies trying to improve their content to engage their audiences?
When I joined NetBase, we were in the process of transitioning from selling into science, technology and medical research into the social media research – that is quite a big transition to make; we had to figure out how to establish ourselves within the marketing world, which is so different. Alongside our PR firm, Eastwick Communications, we created “influencer maps”, where we outlined the top 20 most influential and knowledgeable people in our target industry and then built a strategy for engaging each of them. With today’s technology and social media, you can really see who the experts and influencers are, who their followers are and then determine how valuable it would be if they started a conversation with or about you. This is a great way to get your foot in the door of digital. And what’s even better is that you can foster great professional relationships with these influencers – these people are now our advisors, friends, partners and speakers at conferences with us.
Another way to strategize content is not just to market B2B but “B2People”. People are what make up a business, and people are more interested and curious than ever. Your content should really add value to their day. My approach towards marketing is “business marketing to people.” I spend a lot of time understanding what makes people tick, and ways to connect with them intellectually and emotionally. My philosophy is if you educate the customer, the sales will follow.
As I mentioned in the previous question, it is also very important to verticalize your message. Demonstrate that you understand your prospects’ business and their struggles within the industry. When you form that connection and understanding, you add value to their day, build trust and a relationship with them, and eventually they will become your customer.
What will you be talking about as part of your panel discussion at IMS SF?
I will be joined by an amazing group of people to discuss “measuring influence”. We will discuss the dos and don’ts and share our favorite examples of how to do it right. It should be interactive and fun. I’ll be joined by Kevin Akeroyd, SVP, Field Operations, Badgeville, and Alex A.G. Shapiro, Director Communications & Public Affairs, UC Hastings College of the Law.
Can you give us an example of an especially memorable or effective social media campaign you’ve seen in the past few years?
An amazing example of utilizing marketing and social is from Adobe. First of all, they are clear on their audience (marketing executives). They launched a campaign last year centered on discrediting the idea that social media is worthless – you couldn’t miss it. Because of the language they used, it was really in your face, which is an accomplishment in itself considering the cluttered online landscape. Adobe promoted their edgy and strategic message everywhere; it absolutely caught my eye, particularly on LinkedIn. The campaign also led to comprehensive reports, which I thought was very clever. It goes to show that hand in hand, influencer marketing and thought leadership go together.
In terms of what we’ve done at NetBase, last year we launched a campaign at SXSW that ended up winning the 2012 OMMA (Online Media Marketing Association) Award for Integrated Online Campaign. We conducted analysis using our own technology to determine the top 10 things men and women were saying “I want” over social channels, then studied the buzz, sentiment and passion behind the top 10 brands in each category to create a conclusive infographic. Our campaign was based on the phrase “NetBase knows what women want” and we pushed this throughout the entire event – on bright red sponsored staff Tshirts, Twitter, human interactions, postcards, and finally revealing the answer at our presentation.
The campaign was very interactive during the event and we showed real time word clouds of what women vs men were saying they want on big monitors, which also showcased our technology. Our website traffic went up 450% from this. Our infographic went global, was top 10 trending on MSN for two days and reached the hands of thousands in the marketing industry.
For an encore, we surveyed 1000 men and 1000 women asking what they want and publicized the results of the survey vs. social research. The results showed the “in the moment” vs. overarching wants. It is important to realize the difference because as a marketer, you want to find an emotional insight to your audience, and then use surveys to really dive deeper. We used the data from both studies into a series of lead gen and PR campaigns that lasted two whole years and touched 60% of the new customers we won.