Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace: a process

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Your entity owns an existing community of customers and stakeholders. OR, your entity wants to build such a community. In addition, a core aspect of your business model appears to be up-selling these stakeholders to a variety of solutions your organization also owns. The challenge before you is to refine this model where it currently functions and then expand the model across the world. The following document outlines the exact process to be performed by The Socializers for you in achieving this goal.

RESULTS:
The most immediate action we can take for your organization: Audit and Analysis phases. The result of these phases will be:

1. Insights into problems and opportunities in your competitive marketplace AND in your current customer base.
2. Activation of further community building efforts, up-sell strategies and “how to make this thing run more efficiently” would emerge from these insights.

EXAMPLES:

As an example, let us say that your goal is to up-sell 100% of the stakeholders in your communities into one of your alternative offerings. Our work would show you where this is not happening, why it is not happening and how to make it happen. In addition, we can work with you to realize this 100%.

As a second example, let us say your goal is to discover alternative opportunities for up-selling your current stakeholders and want an audit of their public conversations as part of a planning process. We would deliver to you a system for staying on top of “the conversation” in your communities. The insights from these conversations would point towards add’l up-sell opportunities.

A PROCESS FOR COMPETITIVE RESEARCH, CUSTOMER RESEARCH AND CONTENT DEVELOPMENT:
An ideal sequence for discovering a community of influencers around a specific market niche and developing a related editorial calendar & media plan is as follows:

1. Gather the latest industry trade publications for your niche(s) and read these cover to cover. Discover these trade publications by interviewing a leader in the industry and through research.

2. Note down vendors, service providers, advertisers, authors, journalists, and products currently targeting your niche(s).

3. Look within these publications for a Top 100 list of companies, individuals and products/services (specifically targeting your niche(s), again).

4. Create a spreadsheet of these trade publications and Top 100 lists.

5. Discover the Twitter accounts of these Top 100 and other thought-leaders discovered in the trade publications. An easy way to do this is to type the name of the influencer + Twitter into Google. Or search in the Twitter search field. You can also go the websites of these entities and see if there is a Twitter link at the website.

6. Use a solution that delivers a spreadsheet of all followers of a specific Twitter user, such as Simply Measured or Social Bro. We will download the followers of every influencer we have identified in this initial research phase.

7. Use the Sort function in Excel to sort the list of followers by Klout or Kred.

8. Create a 2nd copy and sort by Listed.

9. Use the Filter function in Excel to further narrow these sheets by specific industry-related keywords within the Description (Bio) column.

10. Use the Filter function in Excel to narrow by Location.

11. Combine the filtered results from whatever setting is important to your research question from each sheet into one “Master” Excel workbook.

12. Rank the entities in this workbook by Klout/Kred AND by Listed to indicate global awareness and influence scoring.

13. Ideally, we will narrow this massive Master list to 1000 core influencers. Now, we will download the Simply Measured Klout Audience Analysis for every single one of these influencers (thought-leaders). Go through the exact same Sorting and Filtering process and combine into a second Master list (this will be much larger). Now we will have two concentric rings of influence we are able to connect to through content-marketing, direct-marketing or other selling strategies.

14. Take this work further by creating a data-set called “The Core List” in which we reveal core information for each of the 1000 core influencers: their bio from LinkedIn, all of their social links (find these through their Klout profile and further research, their top 100 influential followers within that specific market niche and their contact info (phone, email, address).

15. Now we are ready to study this core list and know who is leading the conversation in our market niche. Take the time we need to listen to each influencer and jot down observations on what they are saying and working on. Use a leading social monitoring tool, such as Brandwatch, Radian6 or Sysomos to augment your listening. Also, use SpotRight and Reunify technology to glean deep insight AND flesh out the very large prospect lists we develop.

16. Create a list of 10-20 questions for the top 1000 influencers in “The Core List” and send this to them via email. This is our focus group/survey for the market niche and will give you invaluable insight. (Ideally, we are looking for the key products, hooks and trends in what is guiding the stakeholders’ buying habits. We want to hook every single one of these stakeholders who HAVE NOT bought from us yet).

17. Create a two-page executive summary for leadership on our observations. Add, as an appendix, all of the data organized by location, relevant social links discovered via listening, and metrics/statistics for the industry. This report, if concisely written and properly documented using best-practice research techniques, will be THE most comprehensive ever done on social influencers guiding the buying choices of your niche(s). NOTE: numerous studies show that 70% of the buyer’s decision process is done through online and peer-to-peer research currently. We are studying what these stakeholders are looking at and where they are congregating…who is influencing them.

18. Upon discussing this report with leadership, create an Editorial Calendar with channel-specific ideas related to the industry. This Editorial Calendar ought to include specific marketing actions, online & offline channels for marketing and industry-specific publications in which to publish material.

19. In addition, create a Media Plan for targeting regions, online channels and audience sizes. This plan will inform our media spend.

20. Create ALL of the recommended content pieces (these content pieces are delivered into the social streams of our influencers and by direct contact on a daily and even hourly basis, so as to saturate our market with smart, insightful content “hooks”. We want to rule the content space. NOTE: many of these pieces will come through our brand ambassadors and influential allies).

21. Metrics on performance will be secured through online metric measurement tools.

22. Our success in the process above will inform how we utilize more sophisticated social graph technologies that we have access to. These technologies hover over complete national databases rich with data on our customer. We want to only use these tools AFTER performing the steps above so that our costs are kept down and so that efficiency is forefront.

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