Use Social Data to Guide Your Mobile Strategy05.09.2011
Use data to pinpoint yourContact Us
mobile strategy and guide
the future of your business.
By now, most companies are already well aware there is value to be found through participation in social media and mobile marketing. These are hardly separate initiatives, however — in fact, they’re quickly becoming inextricably linked.
Consider this: More than 70% of the world’s population has a mobile phone, including nine out of every 10 people in America. And 91% of mobile users use their device to socialize — compared to 79% of desktop users of social media. It’s clear that in many cases, social media and mobile usage have converged and are catalyzing each other’s growth.
Whether they know it or not, companies are heading full steam into this convergence. In a year’s time, many will post wins and find significant successes — a select number will change the entire game and watch their competition fall away. Still others may be the unwitting victims of this changing landscape.
What determines their success will be how adept they are at using social data.
Social data encompasses a wealth of information you can gather, analyze, and take action on.
Whenever your customers participate in social media, they broadcast a vast amount of information to the web. The most perceptible part of this information — called social data — is its content: what people are tweeting, liking, and posting.
It’s standard practice for companies to analyze content on social channels: to detect and respond to customer complaints, for example, or to track competitor and product mentions and attempt to sway individual customers to their brand through direct offers. Some forward-looking companies also maintain two-way social channels that create transparency between their business and their customers. Many companies also analyze social connections in order to prioritize customers based on value, influence, and other factors.
These tactics, however, only break the surface of available social data, of which there is a staggering amount.
To make social data work for you, first you must recognize that it includes more than what users actively say. In fact, it’s every single field of information they’ve added to all their outward-facing social channels — e.g., their age, their education level, their marriage status, and plenty more. In addition, metadata — such as timestamps and geo-location — is often attached to every burst of information.
Now expand your scope to include your users’ social connections and all their outward data, and you soon have a vast amount of actionable information about your audience — and of course, your competitors’ audiences.
Companies already are reaping the rewards of intelligent social-data mining.
Take any business problem. You know you can solve it if only you had data point A, data point B, and data point C. Find those data points by combining your newly acquired store of social data with your larger mix of business, financial, and other corporate data. Now you can construct virtual models that show how a certain business decision affects a very specific customer target, moving them to act, to buy, or to switch brand preference.
The key, however, isn’t in supplying target audiences with offers, but to use the model to inform the way you do business. Here’s an example:
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis wanted to boost sales of its over-the-counter cold and flu product, Theraflu. More than a marketing play, they realized a sales increase would be propelled by stronger geographical focus on product manufacturing and distribution. Accordingly, the company collected geo-tagged consumer status updates from Twitter, filtered by users who complained about flu symptoms. The Theraflu team created a model from that data, enabling them to detect short-term geographical trends of flu outbreaks — and make critical revenue-driving business decisions regarding supply-chain management and product pricing.
The longevity of your mobile investment hinges on the flexibility of your mobile strategy.
Companies are rushing to invest in mobile marketing. Many will be swayed by the allure of mobile apps, which certainly have their place; however, when they don’t — a common danger posed by poor planning — they result in a minimal or slow ROI. Because for some companies, a mobile-optimized corporate website is the wisest investment. For others, mobile advertising will deliver the greatest return. The right strategy is essential. Here, a four-figure investment could return six figures — or vice-versa.
To guide your mobile strategy, consult your social-data model. How do your customers and prospects use their mobile devices? Do they use them to connect with friends? Is their mobile device more frequently used for business purposes? Do they research and, predictably, purchase products and services through their mobile devices? How does their behavior fit with your business goals and your offerings?
And the final — and most important — piece to consider here is: What’s on the horizon?
How will your customers and prospects be using their mobile devices next year? What about in five years? Don’t assume that the way people use mobile devices today will be the same in the future; don’t base your decisions on a strategy that assumes little to no change in mobile technology or habits. Anything can happen in the mobile space. Here, the greatest predictor for success will be who can see the furthest ahead in order to react to the unpredictable. Social data is the roadmap.
Use data to pinpoint your mobile strategy and guide the future of your business.