Posts Tagged ‘Social Media’

The Shopper EconomyThere is a new economic model – one that rewards the consumer for behaving a certain way that has far-reaching repercussions for your brand online. Companies that understand this new method of currency, value, and reward can reap the benefits of higher recall and increased consumer loyalty. Liz Crawford provides an analysis of this new model in The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency. With 20 years of experience as a brand manager and consultant focused on strategic innovation, Liz is uniquely qualified to identify this new shopper behavior-driven economic phenomenon. In anticipation of our Shopper Economy webinar next week, we sat down with Liz for some Q and A.

Your book, The Shopper Economy, describes an emerging economy where behavior is currency. What led you to investigate this topic?
I thought it was fascinating that digital technology, especially mobile technology, was enabling new kinds of transactions between buyers and sellers.  In addition to shoppers purchasing brands, brands were purchasing shopper behavior.  I believe this is a relatively new phenomenon.

In the book, I try to make clear that I am not referring to a conventional buy-more-get-more promotion.  And I don’t mean a deferred discount, like a cents-off-next-purchase.

Instead, I am pointing out a new dynamic where a shopper can actually earn value in exchange for one of four behaviors: paying attention, participating, advocating, or committing.  None of these behaviors directly involve purchase. The shopper can earn value by simply behaving.

This earned value can come in various forms – Shopkick Kicks, Facebook Credits, miles, points, etc. You will notice that this value is digital scrip (not straightforward fiat currency in most cases). The digital scrip is currency in that it is – 1. recorded,  2. stored and banked, and 3. redeemable at the discretion of the shopper, across channels. Shoppers can aggregate all manner of scrip in a clearinghouse website like This website allows shoppers to exchange hundreds of forms of scrip for fiat currency (dollars and cents), which may be deposited into a Paypal account.

Which industries are leading the way in understanding this new activity-based marketplace?
At this point, I believe that retailers are leading the way, along with financial services.

Retailers who are rewarding behavior are reaping the benefits.  There are various platforms which effectively use shopper participation to drive traffic and conversion.  These platforms include: , , among others. These are platforms, which shoppers download onto their smartphones as apps.

American Express, of course, is a leader in the area. Their points system is both the granddaddy of digital scrip, as well as the continued frontrunner. One of the big reasons for their massive success is their extensive network of partners.  Shoppers who acquire points can redeem them in virtually any way they please, including simply using points to supplement/replace payments at a digital point of sale ( I believe that with Google Wallet or ISIS type technologies, we will see frictionless, fungible exchanges of scrip with fiat currency, for everything. This really opens the door to the Shopper Economy.

How can small businesses take advantage of the concepts in The Shopper Economy?
Many smaller or independent retailers can begin to experiment with incenting behaviors by signing up with one of the platforms already mentioned (Checkpoints, Shopkick, SCVNGR, etc).  These mechanisms are used by hundreds of local merchants to drive traffic. In some cases the rewards are simply deferred discounts, like Foursquare rewards (“free coffee next visit” for example).  In other cases, the earned value is scrip which is redeemable at the discretion of the shopper.

For small business, advocacy is an important behavior to reward. Groupon and Living Social both reward shopper-to-shopper advocacy, and of course are used extensively by local merchants, like salons and restaurants.

In this new economy where shopper behaviors create units of value, how can marketers quantify a specific value to a shopper behavior?
This is a detailed subject.  The book devotes a chapter on valuation for each of the four shopper behaviors.  Some behaviors like Attention and Participation should be evaluated in comparison to more traditional communication and promotional expenditures, respectively.  So, if a shopper is watching an ad in exchange for scrip, does that shopper score higher on recall and persuasion scores?  It is the effectiveness of these efforts that need to be assessed. It is a trade-off of investment dollars.

The same evaluation process can be used to assess Participation programs.  For example, how effective is a SCVNGR game at driving store traffic, in comparison to other efforts?  This will help a business owner optimize marketing investments.  Participation also usually has a conversion component. That will help with understanding the financial return of the program.

The book also cites specific formulae to quantify some behaviors such as Advocacy.

What does the future look like in the shopper economy?
Shoppers will become increasingly sophisticated in understanding the worth of their labor.  This means that they will evaluate transactions with brands and retailers with a sharper eye to their own advantage.

For more insights from Liz Crawford, be sure to attend next week’s free Awareness webinar: The Shopper Economy. You can also download chapter 1 of The Shopper Economy: The New Way to Achieve Marketplace Success by Turning Behavior into Currency.

It’s time marketers stop collecting data for data’s sake and start it for culling insights. That’s where social analytics comes in. Social analytics is the evolving business discipline that studies social media metrics to help marketers use the findings to drive business intelligence. If you’re new to this, have no fear. Look to the 15 influencers listed below for guidance on the topic. They can help you get started or finesse your approach. Here are the Top Social and Web Analytics Experts to follow (in alphabetical order):


Gary Angel, president of Semphonic.  Recipient of the Digital Analytics Association’s Award for Excellence as the Most Influential Industry Contributor.

Don’t miss: 3 Paths to Digital Optimization: Zen and the Art of Enterprise Analytics

Key Takeaway: To get the greatest value from analytics, you need an integrated approach.


Connie Bensen, Senior digital strategist at Dell

Don’t miss: Best Practices for Social Media Monitoring ROI

Key Takeaway: Great tips on how to avoid spam and noise: add exclusion criteria to your searches.


Keith Burtis, co-founder of MeasureMob

Don’t miss: Getting Started in Analytics From Tape Measure to #Measure

Key Takeaway: Three resources to get you started with analytics.


Alistair Croll, principal analyst for Bitcurrent, contributing author to Web Operations, Complete Web Monitoring and Managing Bandwidth.

Don’t miss: Writings: December 2011/January 2012

Key Takeaway: A sampling of Alistair’s thinking, including 2012 trends and how companies should think about big data.


Susan Etlinger, industry analyst at Altimeter Group

Don’t miss: Research Report: A Framework for Social Analytics

Key Takeaway: Measure your company’s performance against the Social Media Measurement Compass.


Nathan Gilliatt, principal at Social Target, co-founder at AnalyticsCamp, founder at

Don’t miss: Applying Intelligence and Analytics to Online Statements

Key Takeaway: Insightful matrix of Intelligence/Analytics plotted against Fact/ Opinion


Taulbee Jackson, CEO and president of Raidious

Don’t miss: Social Media Analytics – AMA Michiana

Key Takeaway: At the end of the day, you are trying to determine ‘how good is the content?’


Avinash Kaushik, digital marketing evangelist at Google and author of Web Analytics 2.0 and Web Analytics: An Hour A Day

Don’t miss: Beginner’s Guide to Web Data Analysis: Ten Steps to Love & Success

Key Takeaway: An excellent getting started guide to web analytics.


John Lovett, senior partner at Web Analytics Demystified Inc, author of Social Media Metrics Secrets

Don’t miss: You’re Using the Wrong Social Media Metrics

Key Takeaway: Understand corporate goals, align business objectives, tie metrics to measures of success and then define operational tactics.


Jonas Klit Nielsen, CEO and founder of Mindjumpers

Don’t miss: Executive Series: Listening on Social Media is about Insight Management and Analyzing Data

Key Takeaway: Listen first to relevant conversations, then break down the data to relevant insights.


Katie D. Paine, CEO & founder of KD Paine & Partners; author of Measure What Matters

Don’t miss: KDPaine’s How-To-Get-Good-Data Checklist

Key Takeaways: Both humans and computers make mistakes, so check your data regularly.


Eric Peterson, CEO and founder of Web Analytics Demystified Inc., author of Web Analytics Demystified, Web Site Measurement Hacks and The Big Book of Key Performance Indicators

Don’t miss: Finally! Standards Come to Web Analytics

Key Takeaway: Google Analytics has become the de facto standard for web analytics.


Sean Power, data scientist at Cheezburger; contributing author to Web Operations, and Complete Web Monitoring

Don’t miss: Complete Web Monitoring, (O’Reilly, 2009)

Key Takeaway: Learn everything from why, what and how to implement measurement in your organization.


Jim Sterne, founder of eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit and the Digital Analytics Association and author of Social Media Metrics: How to Measure and Optimize Your Marketing Investment

Don’t miss: eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summits

Takeaway: Learn from Jim in person at a summit near you.


Marshall Sponder, senior analyst and founder of and author of Social Media Analytics: Effective Tools for Building, Interpreting, and Using Metrics

Don’t miss: Lack of Processes (or the Wrong Processes) biggest problem in Social Media Reporting and ROI

Key Takeaway: You need a standard process for measurement.



To learn more about what social analytics and how you can approach it, consult with our new position paper Social Analytics for Marketing and Sales Effectiveness.

Let’s hear it from you, marketers: Did we list all your top analytics gurus? Did we miss anyone who deserves to be included? Sound off on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and on Pinterest.

State of Social Media Marketing 2012We are excited to share our annual report on the State of Social Media Marketing – Top Areas For Social Marketing Investment and Biggest Social Marketing Challenges in 2012. The team at Awareness connected with 320 marketers from a cross-section of industries, company sizes and levels of social marketing experience.  Our annual State of Social Media Marketing report comes with insights from those leading the efforts at the C-level and those who manage the social marketing function within their organizations, as well as a number of business leaders who are helping to bridge the social gap within their enterprises.

Here are some interesting findings and insights that are contained in this report from our CEO, Brian Zanghi.

2012: The Year of Growing Social Marketing Maturity

Social marketing is entering a stage of maturity and with it, savvy, socially-oriented businesses are starting to embrace social as part of their companies’ DNA.  This transition comes with an understanding that siloed approaches to social marketing are not effective, and a realization that scale with social marketing comes with the adoption of new organizational structures, processes and technology infrastructure that can help the enterprise scale and optimize in a continuous fashion. Expect that in 2012 focus will shift to active social media management for increased lead generation and sales.

C-level Involvement with Social Marketing

We were excited with the response levels from C-level executives (39% of respondents) and the information they shared.  Top-of-mind for executives and senior managers is ROI, integration of social with lead generation and sales, and expansion of social presence and reach. It is clear that the C-level wants more proof before they allocate additional organizational resources to social marketing.  This is why only 8% of our respondents reported 2011 budgets of over $50,000 per year, with 12% of the organizations reporting teams of 5+ social marketers.  At the same time, executives need to realize that to give their social marketing initiatives a chance, they need to invest accordingly in the effort.  Our prediction is that to resolve the cost-benefit conundrum in 2012, executives will start to adopt new processes and technologies that will not only help them scale the effort, but get the data that clearly links to ROI.

The Right Social Marketing Infrastructure

Social marketing maturity will increasingly be defined next year as the practice of adopting new processes and technologies that will help the enterprise scale their initiatives.  2012 will see savvy social businesses moving beyond the “let’s allocate a few people resources to social” mentality to incorporating robust social media management platforms. These platform will provide the ability to monitor and analyze social conversations, while creating effective response and content mechanisms to increase customer engagement and ultimately sales. Our industry is reaching this maturity tipping point – 78% of marketers reported monitoring social media channels for mentions of their brand at least a few times a week, while 62% reported monitoring industry conversations with the same frequency. Although 19% of surveyed marketers reported using a social media management platform, these are the leaders who will be reaping the most benefit from their efforts.

Expanded Use of New Social Marketing Platforms

Experienced social marketers report that they plan increased usage of social marketing platforms beyond the Big Three (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to include: Blogs (91%) YouTube (86%), foursquare (59%), SlideShare (43%), Flickr (50%), and Tumblr (30%). Driven by increasingly fragmented user consumption habits, companies clearly see the need to expanded social presence that will allow them to follow and engage their prospects and customers on multiple channels and networks.  This proliferation of channels and the corresponding need to successfully engage in all of them will make the job of social marketers increasingly more complex. This, in turn, will necessitate the adoption of robust tools to manage presence, monitor and report on activity, and tie efforts to the organizational bottom line.

The State of Social Media Marketing report contains additional insights on top social marketing investment areas, top challenges for 2012, top social media platforms used today, the role of LinkedIn in reaching the C-suite, along with a fun section on the top news and analysis resources marketers use to stay on top of the latest and greatest in our industry. For full, free access to the State of Social Media Marketing report, click here. If you would like to be included in the survey for next year’s report, click here. You can also access the 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions, to hear from marketing strategists David Meerman Scott, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Paul Gillin, CC Chapman, and Steve Rubel what 2012 has in store for us.

We welcome your thoughts, reactions and feedback.  Let us know how the insights and findings presented in the State of Social Media Marketing report will help shape your thinking in 2012.  Don’t hesitate to ask us the tough questions – as we embark on 2012, we promise to continue to provide deeper dives into best practices, successes, and notable trends to help you, social marketers, do more and do better.

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Six Tenets of Social BehaviorOne of the aspects I enjoy most about my job at Awareness is the ability to hear and share insights about the future of social marketing and to connect with inspiring thought leaders such as Errol Apostolopoulos, head of innovation at Optaros, an e-commerce solution provider focused on innovated experiences for leading retailers and brands such as Rue La La, Puma, and Macy’s. Optaros is focused on social commerce innovations that create new closed-loop experience for increased revenues, along with back-office enablement of services to improve product information and management efficiencies.

On the social innovation front, Errol and his team spend a lot of time helping leading brands and retailers tap into social connections to drive new business. I chatted with Errol on the lessons learned from his work and the emerging best practices in social commerce that transcend the boundaries of commerce and can be applied to all social marketing efforts and industries.

The Three Pillars

Errol started by sharing his philosophy on what makes social marketing successful. In his view, there are three pillars to a full social strategy:

1. Social marketing activities that drive product awareness and traffic;

2. Conversion best practices using tools and tactics along your product catalog experience, such as rating and reviews, that support the consideration stage during the buying cycle; and

3. Social commerce, which is a new way of shopping that takes the social context into account from the get-go.  “Private sales have no search button; it’s a browsing experience that’s built on a time-based  group behavior, exclusive to a shopping club,” explains Errol.

Social Commerce and the Social Internet

Social Commerce and the Social InternetThis entirely new buying experience is built on a social business model. “There is no SEO, there is not the traditional customer acquisition strategy,” he said. It’s all done through viral advocacy and incentives that are driven by the customer membership. Enter the age of the “Second internet, or the social internet.” What Errol is referring to is the “evolution of the awareness that people are interconnected now.” This power can be utilized to do many things. It’s no longer an individual browsing or shopping experience. At first, the Internet gave us the power to research, where Google was the prominent player. It was about the individual researching and getting information, the individual finding out what to buy. To a certain degree, this first push was driven by “the convenience and wealth of information that I now have access to.” This new social movement, with its leader being Facebook, is all about the fact that “we’re connected and aware of each other. It’s not a one-to-one relationship between me and the brand; it’s a whole interconnected group, and our nature to be socially connected now is an experience that drives new ways of behaving,” continued Errol.

The Six Tenats the Drive Social Behavior

Six tenets drive social behavior and social psychology[1], Errol said, and these tenets come into play in varying degrees when people make decisions. These tenets are not only the drivers of social behavior, but, in Errol’s view, also the recipe for success for any social marketing strategy or campaign.

1. Social Proof: We as individuals tend to follow the crowd. Crowd-sourcing businesses that have successful used this principle abound – from music discovery platforms like OurStage to fashion prediction communities such as Krush.

2. Authority: People want to follow an authority, such as a brand, retailer, or an expert. For example, when a well-known designer like Naeem Khan, who has twice dressed Michelle Obama for black-tie state dinners, says feathers are going to be the next new fashion trend, people would have a desire to buy apparel and accessories with feathers.

3. Liking: We’re willing to follow people we like, admire, or find attractive. Look no further than Kim Kardashian’s Twitter followers which are approaching 10 million.

4. Interest: People tend to make decisions that are aligned with their particular self-selection, interest group, or passion point. “If I’m a golf enthusiast, I want to have the latest equipment or the latest gear, because I want the world to know that I’m a golf enthusiast,” explained Errol.

5. Scarcity: Things that are rare have higher value. If there are only five left of a product, “there’s this indication that other people all found it valuable, so it must be.” This is what private sales experiences tap into, said Errol, where “there’s limited inventory and you have to get there quickly or else it’s going to go, because when you arrive there are all these other items that are sold out.”

6. Reciprocity: We have an innate desire to pay it forward, or share and make decisions based on a service, incentive or a group reward provided to us. We are more likely to want to repay that reward. This is the basis of viral advocacy and viral customer acquisition.  If people receive great customer service, they will likely become an advocate of the service. “Zappos is a great example of great customer service,” shared Errol.

Equipped with these six great social behavior insights, I asked Errol how social commerce leaders measure the return on their efforts. “It’s ultimately the same as with any other initiative – it is about revenue, membership, repeat business, and cost of customer acquisition.” Additionally, he recommended connecting and engaging with key influencers, those most likely to influence their group to buy a certain product or service. “Look for the people who are your best brand advocates; measure their ability to spread the word and impact buying behavior with their circle of influence.”

To see the six social behavior tenets at play, look no further than the current two leaders – the private sale and the group buying industries. “The private sale was a $0 industry in 2007 and is now over $3 billion. Rue La La was bought by GSI Commerce within two years for $250 million; Gilt has only been around for four years and has over a billion-dollar valuation,” he said. Group buying players, led by Groupon and LivingSocial, have all been focused on marketing for local businesses, but ultimately, Errol believes, that the experience is going to evolve and “tap into the willingness to get a collective group of people to help either sell product or work together to get a benefit by participating in a particular program or experience.”

Are you the next Rue La La? Have you employed the six social behavior tenets to grow your business?

Pay it forward by commenting on this blog, Twitter: Follow us on Twitter, Facebook at Awareness, Inc., Social Media Marketing Best Practices and Social Media Marketing Mavens pages, and in LinkedIn Social Media Marketing Mavens Group. To learn how successful companies are employing the power of social marketing, download a copy of our free eBook “The Social Marketing Funnel: Driving Business Value with Social Marketing.”

[1] Errol shared that he is a big fan of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and some of the references were derived from that book.

Social Media Marketing by the Numbers.  Infographic via Mashable