The Importance of Technology Tools for Social Engagement
Everyone is seeking brand cut-through yet automation usually results in people being bombarded and blasted rather than being provided with relevant insight and assistance. Amidst all the tools for sales and marketing, which ones are right for you? The most important thing to focus on is social listening and social engagement but this migraine-inducing infographic from Scott Brinker at chiefmartec.com shows the overwhelming scale of choice that befuddles many.
I believe that the key to delivering best Customer eXperience (CX) is to adopt a mash-up of technologies to listen and engage with potential and existing customers but the choice is bewildering. There are 43 categories in the infographic above and they include social media, mobile marketing, video marketing, content marketing, CRM, sales enablement, email, SEO… all offering a cornucopia of choice.
I sat down and discussed the importance of technology tools for social engagement with Adam Fraser, founder of social media technology specialist EchoJunction, and he told me which five he uses to great effect with his clients. His wisdom will help you navigate the sea of choice to decide what’s right for your social sales and marketing efforts. Here is Adam’s opinion about the plethora of sales and marketing tools and how they can be harnessed.
There are a few issues worthy of note about the MarTech landscape report:
- We now live in the world of the API and web services – all software companies now pretty much have to “play nicely” with partners/potential competitors alike, hence opening up their platforms for integration and development purposes.
- A number of niche, specialist tools now exist across a wide range of marketing technology areas.
- One tool is unlikely to suffice for all of your marketing software needs; integration between a variety of tools is a likely outcome – think “mash-up” not ‘marketing ERP’ when developing the technology solution that is right for your business.
- Maintaining “one version of the truth” and “one view of the customer” are key overarching objectives – don’t allow data silos to form, meaning different departments would be acting on different data pools/views of the customer
- Strategic planning your technology architecture is critical: don’t rush out to procure a range of tools without thinking about your overarching data integrity, security and governance needs.
- No question – the worlds of the CMO and CIO are converging. The marketer of today needs to be familiar with blueprints, roadmaps, cloud solutions and data architecture. Familiarity with technology and analytics are now table stakes for marketers.
Even within the social media marketing sector (a single sub-sector in the visual above), a broad and deep range of options exists. To help make some sense of this, I segment the enterprise social media software market (at a high level) along with functional lines as follows:
- Social listening tools such as Brandwatch, Netbase, Radian 6 and Sysomos.
- Social customer service tools such as Conversocial, Lithium, and SparkCentral.
- Social reporting and analytics tools such as Simply Measured and Social Bakers.
- Social publishing tools such as Buffer, CoSchedule, and Postplanner.
- End to end social media technology platforms (which can perform all of the above) such as Tracx, Spinklr, Sendible, and Hootsuite.
Of course, there are many more segments, particularly in the tactical social media marketing execution area. Yes, even the social media software sector arguably needs its own segmentation and infographic! At a high level, the choice comes down to ‘best of breed’ verticals connected to each other via API integration and an ‘end-to-end’ platform for all of your social media needs. With either approach, integration to a CRM system is likely to make sense to ensure that critical one view of the customer is facilitated.
Which approach and software solutions are right for your business? That of course depends. Start with the business problem you are trying to solve, develop your marketing strategy, and create specific IT requirements; then (and only then) think about the technology solutions you need to facilitate your strategic plan. Too often I see people jumping to a “shiny new toy” before they know what business or marketing objective they are trying to achieve. This is the cart before the horse.
The choice can certainly seem overwhelming for digital marketers but with the right approach and strategic planning, these marketing software tools can be a great facilitator and accelerator for your business and marketing operational needs.
Useful insights above from Adam Fraser: I also asked him about which social tools he prefers. Here’s his answer: Brandwatch for social listening; Conversocial for customer service; Simply Measured for social analytics; and Marketo for lead scoring, nurturing and drip marketing. As an end-to-end tool, he likes Tracx which does a bit of everything and also content scheduling to multiple social platforms. There are many other excellent tools other than these but after much research, these are the ones Adam has identified as enterprise capable, high-quality offerings in this space which cover the vast majority of use cases.