Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to unknown.
In all fields of business, there are varying levels of sophistication. The small business owner juggles bookkeeping, rent, vendors and customers and, if he is lucky, has time left over to take his original business plan one step further via Marketing and Sales activities. The medium and enterprise level businesses have a responsibility to analyze their markets through best-practice business intelligence and innovate. Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to unknown. The open seas that enterprise-level businesses chart require captains and admirals who can judge when and how to take such risk.
New technologies aid such leaders in their future plans. The most important members of the team in this respect are the SCOUTS. In the world of social media marketing, the scouts are social intelligence providers. It is the responsibility of these scouts to discover the VERY BEST sources of intelligence in a specific vertical or world region. It is important to note that social media monitoring tools come in all shapes and sizes with varying angles on what is and is not important.
The least sophisticated customer of social intelligence signs up for one or two free or low-priced tools and develops guidance straight from data posted within these tools. Trusting the charts, sentiment ratings and influence scoring, he heads out into the social fabric of the Internet and connects with his customer through a specific social graph. Within two weeks, due to this intelligence, his Facebook company page has gathered upwards of 1500 followers due to a targeted ad campaign and he has sold 500 units of his product. One or two major influencers (a national Magazine or a large regional newspaper) picks up on the product, reviews it and he makes even more sales. Within two months of listening to his customer, he has set up a booth at no less than two major trade shows and is now being wooed to a B2B relationship by a large retail chain. Twelve months later, he has sold his product concept, designs and plans to a global brand for seven million dollars and takes some time off on the coast of Italy to reflect.
The medium and enterprise-level customer goes much further in their requirement. This customer of social monitoring intelligence wants his provider to develop insights and recommendations from the masses of data that come through a WOMMA-ethics-level tool…that is, a tool that has total, or near, access to firehoses from “walled-gardens” like Facebook or the giant Amazonian rivers of Twitter. He then wants that provider to write up a brand booklet complete with a few neat charts and a storyline of how the brand may utilize the current climate for maximum growth.
To go further, the Business Unit Manager of the marketing agency working with this enterprise-level customer wants the intelligence provider to produce a few infographics, even featuring Montage style real-time feeds for the Brand Manager to witness the immense flow of data that has been analyzed. But not too many feeds, maybe two or three.
Along with this infographic, the Business Unit Manager from the agency provides the Brand Manager with a comprehensive business plan that charts the growth of the brand over the coming year, its relative competitive weaknesses and advantages (SWOT style or another scenario planner) and a few preliminary creative mock-ups of the customer-facing solution. For internal business solutions, the Business Unit Manager recommends a few choice third-party vendors to come alongside the team for sCRM, a possible re-vamping of how collaboration takes place in the organization and re-vitalized, efficient HR.
The happy Brand Manager gets to go to her Marketing Manager and GM and show off a plan for her brand(s) that will elevate business by a nice percentage, decrease overall internal costs, address any outstanding PR and Customer-Service related issues and foster a glowing relationship with the community in her region through a customer-centric ad/marketing campaign. And, due to the entire solution being driven through social business, she has decreased the ad spend by 60%, saving money in the process. Time for a Google-style raise, boss?
For an important new study on Customer Intelligence Trends 2011, see the following Forrester Report: ”At the same time, the demand for insight — not just data — in real time creates a challenge but also a huge opportunity to extend the value of Customer Intelligence throughout the enterprise. Leading CI professionals who evolve and adapt to these trends will quickly find themselves at the nexus of the business.” ~from Customer Intelligence Trends To Watch In 2011 (http://bit.ly/customer_intelligence_trends_2011)