Twitter to screen using Uppear powered by Pocketstop used at Celebrate Uptown event
May 17, 2013
Twitter to screen received the most traction and beat out
both Instagram and Foursquare with the most interaction
Twitter to screen was the centerpiece of this years Celebrate Uptown event in Uptown Dallas where Pocketstop unveiled version 2.0 of the companies Interactive Screen Services product called Uppear. Using Uppear, people can connect and engage with any size screen at any event. The service could even be used at a bar, restaurant of any other place that has a screen to provide some nice, interactive content and to entice people to Tweet, Check in or photograph and share their experience. The product is in PREVIEW, which means it is not open for general use but, it can be implemented by contacting Pocketstop directly. Here is how the Twitter to screen service was specifically used at the event.
Twitter to screen was a big hit at this year’s event. Last year, the crowd didn’t interact with the Twitter to screen that much. The reasons were two-fold. First, the Twitter to screen wasn’t near the stage; we were nestled at the back of the venue just behind the food trucks. We also speculated that the crowd wasn’t used to using Twitter or Twitter to screen. Second, it was hard to see and it wasn’t as visually appealing as this year’s display.
Here’s what the Twitter to screen looked like last year. Notice how the Twitter to screen Tweets display one at a time, in a row, horizontally across the screen.
Here are some Twitter to screen pics from this year’s event. As you can see, each Tweet is displayed on the screen, one at a time along with the person’s avatar. The screen is now a responsive design and provides some visually appealing transitions to the next slide (see Uppear Product Update blog post for more info.).
Here’s a video of what the Twitter to screen looked like.
For more information on the event and how Instagram along with Foursquare check ins were used as well, click here. If you would like to use Uppear at your bar, restaurant, business or event, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interactive Screen Services using Twitter, Instagram and Foursquare powered by Pocketstop
May 10, 2013
Interactive Screen Services version 2.0
Unveiled at Celebrate Uptown 2013 in Dallas, TX
Pocketstop used this years Celebrate Uptown event in Uptown Dallas to unveil version 2.0 of the companies Interactive Screen Services product called Uppear. Using Uppear, people can connect and engage with any size screen at any event. The service could even be used at a bar, restaurant of any other place that has a screen to provide some nice, interactive content and to entice people to Tweet, Check in or photograph and share their experience. The product is in PREVIEW, which means it is not open for general use but, it can be implemented by contacting Pocketstop directly. Here is how the service was specifically used at the event.
Interactive Screen Service – Twitter Display
Using the hashtag #CelebrateUptown, we were able to listen, filter and grab Tweets from the internet. A Pocketstop employee was then able to moderate the Tweets that appeared on the screen through a web-based application called Uppear Powered by Pocketstop. Once published, the Tweet appeared in a rotating format on a 12’ by 9’ GoVision screen. Here is what it looked like on the actual screen.
Interactive Screen Services – Instagram Display
During the event, attendees were given the opportunity to post their pictures on the 12’ by 9’ GoVision screen. Using the hashtag #CelebrateUptown, we were able to listen, filter and grab Instagram photos from the internet. A Pocketstop employee was then able to moderate the photos that appeared on the screen. Here is what that looked like.
Interactive Screen Services – Foursquare Check in display
Event paticpants who checked into the event on Foursqaure were given the opportunity to see their picture / avatar and comment on the 12’ by 9’ GoVision screen. In order to do this, we used the venue ID # for Celebrate Uptown. A Pocketstop employee was then able to moderate the check ins that appeared on the screen. Here is what that looked like.
Here is some video of Interactive Screen Services at play.
Wanna use Interactive Screen Services at your next event or in your bar or restaurant. If so, contact Pocketstop today!
Product Update: Interactive Screen Services (Uppear) now in PREVIEW
As of May 10th 2013, Uppear version 2.0 is available in PREVIEW mode.
Using Uppear, people can connect and engage with any size screen at any event. The service could even be used at a bar, restaurant of any other place that has a screen to provide some nice, interactive content and to entice people to Tweet, Check in or photograph and share their experience.
Here are the recent enhancements to the product.
Single area for all moderation
Added additional screen transitions / rotations
Added next slide timing for transition
Custom CSS enhancements
Added additional Themes
Added Call-to-Action (CTA) slide with timing
Here is what the Look & Feel section of the Admin area looks like.
Pocketstop leverages Windows 8 and tablet devices to build Social CRM application for consumers
April 1, 2013
Dallas firm specializes in Enterprise Social CRM programs
integrated with the Point of Sale (POS)
(April 1, 2013) (Dallas, TX) — Dallas-based Pocketstop is a digital marketing firm that specializes in Enterprise Social CRM and Loyalty. Seeing the need for a Social CRM application that can be used by people to find their friends, family and co-workers on various Social Media channels, with just a few pieces of information or BREADCRUMBS, Pocketstop has decided to extend the functionality of their platform for consumer use.
What if you could easily find and organize your friends, family and co-workers across multiple Social Media channels all from a single interface? So, instead of simply following someone on Facebook, you could simultaneously find them on Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare. This is the essence of BREADCRUMS. Now, imagine using the power of this single portal to listen for information and categories that are important to you and tag content. This is the essence of the BREADCRUMBS Social CRM application for consumers, powered by Windows 8.
Pocketstop’s BREADCRUMBS Social CRM application for consumers, powered by Windows 8.
“Windows 8 and tablet devices allow us to create applications that enhance people’s lives. Moreover, Windows 8 applications are immersive and engaging. The Modern Style UI with its live tiles and box-like symmetry lends itself beautifully to applications like BREADCRUMBS. For these reasons, it is the obvious choice for companies that want to build really cool apps that serve a purpose,” said Brian Teague, Pocketstop, Chief Technology Evangelist
Your friends, family and co-workers are talking, checking in, liking things, posting images etc… on a daily basis. They are telling us about what interests them. Listening in across so many channels can be daunting! With Pocketstop’s BREADCRUMBS Social CRM application for consumers, you can get a 360 degree of your network and better understand what drives it, all in one place.
Version 1 of the application will be made available for download in the Windows 8 Store sometime during the 2nd quarter of 2013.
Pocketstop migrates Social CRM and Loyalty platform to Microsoft Windows Azure and launches mobile, social and digital loyalty program
February 8, 2013
Dallas firm specializes in Enterprise Social CRM
programs integrated with the Point of Sale (POS)
(February 12, 2013) (Dallas, TX) — Dallas-based Pocketstop is a digital marketing firm that specializes in Enterprise Social CRMand Loyalty. The company has evolved from a start-up company that ran text-message marketing campaigns into a platform and services company that aggregates mobile, social and digital media into one, centralized, Social CRM data warehouse that customers can use to create Loyalty programs.
Having worked with Microsoft Corp.’s BizSpark program in its start-up days, Pocketstop is now extending its relationship with Microsoft into the cloud. Pocketstop is launching its first Enterprise Social CRM and Loyalty program on the Windows Azure cloud platform.
“Windows Azure provides the performance, speed, scalability, flexibility, reliability and ease of management that we need in order to provide true enterprise class services to our customers. Windows Azure allows us to focus more time on developing our applications and less time on the infrastructure supporting them,” stated Adam Anderly, Pocketstop CTO
“By taking advantage of the global Windows Azure cloud platform, Pocketstop has positioned itself to focus on its primary business of serving customers,” said Karri Alexion-Tiernan, director, Windows Azure Marketing, Microsoft. “We’re excited that Pocketstop is working with Windows Azure to help customers grow and innovate at a rapid pace.”
As one can imagine, all of the data collected and generated by Social CRM and Loyalty programs can put an enormous strain on traditional IT infrastructure. To solve for this, Pocketstop moved its Social CRM and Loyalty platform into the Windows Azure cloud computing environment. With Windows Azure, Pocketstop has access to virtually unlimited bandwidth, storage and compute hours, running in multiple data centers, spread throughout the world. Not only is Windows Azure a perfect fit for cloud computing but, it is the perfect fit for companies working with Big Data. By allowing Pocketstop to easily access cloud storage, SQL Server 2012, SharePoint and Hadoop on Windows Azure, the platform has everything it needs to let customers collect, manage and synthesize large amounts of structured and unstructured data.
“Windows Azure not only provides a cloud based computing platform from which to host applications, but Windows Azure itself has built-in functionality that other computing environments don’t have. Microsoft is truly focused on supporting the developer and making it easier on those of us who build and maintain applications,” stated Anderly.
Recently, Pocketstop, in conjunction with Ticketsoft, a company specializing in providing premiere end-to-end technology solutions for the movie industry, deployed the Loyalty solution for Starplex Cinemas, which operates 23 movie theaters throughout the United States. To do this, Pocketstop integrated with the Ticketsoft POS system to track movie ticket purchases. The Ticketsoft transactional data is then applied to Pocketstop’s Loyalty system where the data is synthesized into points that users can redeem like currency. There’s even an Admin interface that allows Starplex personnel to manage the program, as well as a user interface that allows customers to see their point totals.
“The open nature of our software allows third parties to extend the functionality of our enterprise systems for the benefit of our customers. Pocketstop’s use of our application programming interface (API) to create a custom Loyalty solution for Starplex Cinemas provides a great add-on option for movie theater exhibitors,” said Philip Wood, President, Ticketsoft
What’s next for Enterprise Social CRM? Contact Pocketstop to find out.
Social CRM / Big Data in the News: Princess Kate Middleton is Expecting a Baby
December 4, 2012
Kate Middleton and husband William are expecting their first child and the world is breathless! Will this save us from the fiscal cliff, as one homeless person’s cardboard sign stated in New York City? Will the future king or queen be able to remove that darn sword in the stone? And what, pray tell, does this have to do with Social CRM / Big Data? As it turns out, plenty.
First, it boggles the mind how seemingly normal, sedate and supposedly sensible people – especially journalists – get positively giddy when there is even a tiny morsel of news about the British monarchy. However, when this news concerns a royal baby, exclamation points come by the dozen and even Kim Kardashian, well-known for her subtle intelligence, had an articulate comment (“Aw! A baby! So cute!”).
In a story reporting the impending visit from the royal stork, the Associated Press offered a trenchant observation about the weird fascination that Americans have about the family that maintains their position in society the old fashion way – by Divine Right. “When Americans proudly declared their independence, they swore off sovereign kings and queens forever, yet several centuries later they find themselves drawn to the royals’ pomp and pageantry, embracing the more colorful aspects of a system whose substance they had eagerly overthrown.”
The Situation is Pregnant with Opportunity – For Marketers
In the context of this impending blessed event for Kate and William, it’s a good time to consider what Social CRM / Big Data can mean for the multibillion dollar market surrounding new mommies. The diversity of products and services that are impacted by a new baby in a family is much greater than baby bottles, blankets and strollers.
There are literally dozens of industries that benefit from families adding a new child or two to the brood and each of them should consider the advantages of use Social CRM / Big Data to understand and benefit from this market. Companies that manufacture and sell baby product are obvious, but what about financial services? Kate‘s not worried about paying for her baby’s college education, but ever other normal parent is.
How about real estate companies (this old house is too small), do-it-yourself retailers such as Home Depot and Lowes (let’s turn that garage into a nursery), automotive retailers (time for a more sensible car or even one of those soccer mom vans), health and fitness products and services (how’s mom going to get back into shape), pharmaceuticals (the baby’s sick) and the list goes on and on. Each of these industries has a stake in the health and well-being of new moms and growing families. So, what should they be doing to take advantage of this opportunity?
What Can Be Learned From Amazon
For many years, online retailer Amazon has tapped into Big Data to power its recommendation engine. Billions of dollars of profit have been earned by this retail behemoth because it understands that Big Data informs buying decisions. Collecting, storing and synthesizing Social CRM / Big Data in one repository allows data to become actionable information and it allows any industry – whether it targets new moms or heavy machinery buyers – to listen to their customers, effectively message these prospects and (with enough data) predict consumer behavior.
As evidence of the power of Social CRM / Big Data, BMO Capital Markets recently announced that companies will spend $50 billion on advanced, Big Data analytics platforms this year. This financial group understands that Big Data can transform business, but only when it is simplified (via analytics) and strategically employed in all phases of the enterprise.
New moms are especially sensitive to the social, mobile and digital channels tracked by Social CRM / Big Data. There are several good reasons for this.
Because she is a “new” mom, she is eager to do the right things in caring for this cuddly but vulnerable infant. This is an archetype of a consumer who will search out digital solutions about pre-natal information and post birth care. She’s also busy, so the convenience of mobile channels is of great benefit. Plus, she has a beautiful new child and who doesn’t want to share pictures and experiences about this little bundle of joy on social networks such as Facebook?
Marketing management of the industries noted above, can use Social CRM / Big Data to help new mothers successfully transverse the labyrinth of care giving and social sharing. One important part of this endeavor involves the proper gathering, storage and synthesizing of this data from thousands or millions of new mothers and then building strategies that predict what future moms might be interested in. Data that can enable companies to predict behavior is the holy grail of Social CRM / Big Data.
Place Your Bets
Whether you think the news about the royal baby is fascinating or foolish, we all wish the best for the couple and their new addition. They seem to be reasonably nice young people and at the very least, this pregnancy has taught those of us who never attended medical school the meaning of hyperemesis gravidarum.
Not only that, but this event has given the supermarket tabloids a much-needed shot in the headlines and given gamblers something else to do. As is often the case in Great Britain when there is some doubt about pending circumstances – outcomes of soccer games or whether the sun will rise tomorrow – there is a wagering line on the gender and potential name of the royal babe.
I like Arthur if it’s a boy and Diana if it’s a girl.
Social CRM/Big Data in the News: How it can be Cyber Monday Every Day
November 27, 2012
To the surprise of no one, Social CRM/Big Data tactics have helped retailers that rely on ecommerce to claw their way into the “black” again this year. In fact, the line between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” has completely disappeared and both retailers and consumers are basking in the glow of the shopping frenzy. Doors were busting at all hours – in both bricks and mortar stores and cyberspace – and anyone who happened to be in the way was in danger of being trampled!
While pundits have hailed the days immediately following Thanksgiving and the Monday following this period as prime time for Christmas shopping, trends suggest that shoppers might not be following the script. With ecommerce enabled smartphones, tablets and old-fashion websites supported by the promotional clout of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Four Square and other media, consumers can comparison shop and buy 24/7. Therefore, savvy retailers are using Social CRM/Big Data tactics to leverage the holiday shopping period to build brand loyalty and predicting consumer behavior every day of the year.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
The people who keep track of this kind of data – companies such as comScore and others – estimate that ecommerce spending on the Friday after Thanksgiving surpassed $1 billion for the first time in history. This represents a 25 percent increase over last year and the momentum continued in the days that followed.
Online media publication, Media Post, reported on the Tuesday following Cyber Monday, when this blog is being posted, that for the holiday season to date, $13.7 billion had been spend online, marking a 16 percent increase over last year. Even on Thanksgiving Day, where rabid Christmas shoppers have heretofore spent the day in a tryptophan stupor, achieved a 32 percent increase to approximately $633 million in online sales.
Retail industry media point to digital content and subscriptions as leading the charge as the top growing online retail product categories (up 29 percent over last year) with the huge increase in the number of consumers using smartphones, tablets and e-readers driving demand for these gadgets and digital books, audio and video content that fill them.
Other mainstays in this ecommerce stampede are toys (up 27 percent), consumer packaged goods (up 23 percent), video games and accessories (up 18 percent) and consumer electronics (up 18 percent). The apparel and accessories category, which has always enjoyed strong preference for bricks and mortar shoppers on Black Friday, was the top category for online sales representing one-quarter of all dollars spent!
Grab the Smartphone and Let’s Go Shopping
Mobile is one of the critical elements of a Social CRM/Big Data marketing strategy and it’s clear that holiday shoppers have discovered the convenience of smartphones and tablets. Trade publication Mobile Commerce Daily reported that 24 percent of consumers used a mobile device to visit a retailer’s website over Thanksgiving and Black Friday. Interestingly, “it appears that tablets – in particular the iPad – were significant drivers of online sales over the holiday weekend. Smartphones, on the other hand, provided significant traffic drivers and invaluable in-store shopping tools.”
Smart retailers will learn from this research and plan year-round strategies accordingly. For example, the price comparison app PriceGrabber reported that smartphone use is growing faster – up an amazing 3,288 percent – than tablets which had an astounding, but still smaller increase of only 1,027 percent. However, tablet owners consistently spent more per order than smartphones and desktop users and tablet users viewed approximately two more pages per visit than smartphone users and converted at a rate of 3.5 higher than smartphone users (source: Branding Brand).
A report from research organization Skava found that on 7 percent of the top 100 online retailers have tablet optimized websites while 95 percent are optimized for smartphones. If this search and conversion data is accurate, retailers should immediately put resources behind tablet optimization. Since tablet users spend more than smartphone users, retailers with poorly optimized tablets are leaving millions of dollars on the cyber table!
There’s also the consideration of which tablet drives more revenue. Every retail research organization agrees that the Apple iPad was one of the biggest factors in driving mobile shopping and commerce over the biggest shopping weekend and Monday of the year. Mobile Commerce Daily noted that “the iPad dominated tablet traffic with an 88.3 percent share distantly followed by Nook (Barnes and Noble) with 3.1 percent, Amazon Kindle 2.4 percent and Samsung Galaxy with 1.8 percent.”
The big Social CRM/Big Data takeaway from these reports lies in the unequivocal clout of mobile media. Smartphones and tablets are no longer just cool toys. They have become the main point of consumer/retailer interaction. Building an opt-in text database by using digitally delivered coupons and other incentives should be at the top of the list for any retailer – consumer goods, food and services – who wants to be around for next year’s Black Friday.
Another important Social CRM/Big Data lesson that can be gleaned from this year’s spend-fest involves the requirement for retailers to coordinate all media – mobile, digital, social and traditional media. For this to occur, they must gather and store information from these disparate media in one, actionable database.
The social network promotions must be coordinated with the mobile texting coupon promotions and these must enhance the web, print and broadcast tactics. This can only occur if all consumer data, from all media, are gathered and stored in one repository and then acted upon in a manner that is consistent with past consumer preference trends. This is the primary reason that Social CRM is a retailer’s most powerful weapon.
Another important take-away from this year’s holiday shopping experience involves predicting human behavior. It’s no coincidence that that the most successful consumer products companies such as Apple and Amazon (with its Kindle) had sufficient quantities of their products available for shoppers who were in the mood for buying before, during and after Thanksgiving Day. They accurately predicted this demand because they had gathered vast amounts of consumer spending data.
The reason for this collection of data seems obvious, but is often lost on other retailers. These companies constantly track consumer purchases in terms of demographics, psychographics, location of sales and myriad other factors. They use this Big Data to plan effective cross-promotions, just-in-time inventory and media placement to reach the maximum number of potential buyers and the best possible times.
When this information is known, effective loyalty programs can be developed to make the next sale easier to make and accurate predictions on likely prospects for future sales can be made. These are textbook Social CRM/Big Data tactics.
As we hope is evident, the tremendous success of retailers on Black Friday and Cyber Monday don’t have to be limited to the day after Thanksgiving or the Monday when we all go back to work. When Social CRM/Big Data techniques and tools are used, consumers can be treated with the respect that they expect and deserve and companies that want to sell them products can effectively deliver meaningful information on a timely basis. It’s one of those win/win situations that we hear so much about.
Now, if someone can just figure out how to keep our co-workers from spending hours online during the work day ordering holiday gifts instead of returning emails and making sales calls, everyone will be happy!
Social CRM/Big Data in the News: How to Avoid Tumbling off the Fiscal Cliff
November 13, 2012
What in the name of Armageddon does the so-called “fiscal cliff” (over which the U.S. government is rumored to plunge in 2013) have to do with Social CRM/Big Data? As it turns out, quite a bit. First, a little background is in order about this much ballyhooed fiscal cliff and why some believe we are about to tumble headlong into oblivion. Then, we’ll look at what this means to businesses.
Why Reducing the Deficit is Leading to the Fiscal Cliff
The phrase “fiscal cliff” refers to the simultaneous spending cuts and tax increases that are slated to take place at the end of 2012. In addition, provisions that limit the reach of the Alternative Minimum Tax (income taxes) and cut payroll taxes are also scheduled to expire at the end of this year.
Just to make matters worse and encourage the political pundits into apoplexy, automatic spending cuts, as per the language laid out in the Budget Control Act of 2011, are also currently planned for the 2013 fiscal year. While this should rightfully drive the governmental budgetary wonks crazy, many otherwise calm, cool and collected business people are worried that this combination of actions will plunge the most powerful government on planet earth over this mythical cliff, thereby causing another recession.
Since recently the U.S. economy has been dependent on fiscal stimulus – see automotive industry, banking and investment industry bailouts – many economists, while happy that the tax increases and spending cuts would reduce the size of the national deficit, feel as though the sudden changes would plunge the country into another recession. It is for this reason that many elected officials want to avoid the “fiscal cliff” that is currently looming in the distance.
Staring Into the Abyss
While it is perfectly reasonable to be worried about the prospects for the fragile U.S. economy if the government falls off this fiscal cliff, the odds are pretty good that cooler heads will prevail – among both political parties – at the last possible second. One is reminded of the lyrics of the song by musical group Dawes: “When My Time Comes.”
You can judge all the world on sparkle that you think it lacks.
Yes, you can stare into the abyss, but its staring right back.
The fact is, many industries and the companies that comprise them have already fallen over the fiscal cliff or are standing on a banana peel and teetering very close to the edge. Some of these industries and companies include:
Airlines (Have you taken any plane trips, just for fun, lately?)
Companies that make and sell supersized fast food products (Sales down for the first time at McDonalds and the mayor of New York is demonizing supersized portions)
Manufacturers of large, low-gas mileage vehicles (Anybody thinking of buying a Hummer?)
Traditional newspaper publishers (With critically low levels of cash, some such as the N.O. Times Picayune are publishing only 3 times a week)
Traditional book publishers (Big publishers are merging with other big ones to survive)
Big box retailers (BestBuy, JC Penny both report sales declines)
High fructose corn syrup producers (nutrition experts blame this substance for everything but typhoid fever)
Big box video rental retailers (Blockbuster is in the tank)
Single-purpose gadgets (Blackberry is hanging by a thread)
And, as they say, the list goes on and on.
The companies in these industries have been buffeted by advances in technology, hammered by a struggling economy and, in the case of processed food companies, beaten down by weather patterns such as the long-term drought. However, each of the categories, have been guilty of another cardinal sin and this transgression has forced them to line up next to the U.S. government on the edge of the fiscal cliff. They have failed to systematically listen to their customers and make strategic changes to products and engagement with these people – their customers. They’ve failed to properly use the powerful tools – made possible by the amazing advancements in social, mobile and digital media – Social CRM/Big Data.
Advances in technology or changes in customer preferences can be a company’s best friend or worst enemy. When Apple, or Amazon Kindle introduce a new tablet which is capable of downloading and presenting hundreds of newspapers, books and magazines, those large, expensive printing presses and the people who run them at the New York Times, HarperCollins and People magazine go from asset to liability overnight.
When enough moms discover Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter and begin posting negative content about high fructose corn syrup in soft drinks or the effects of supersized fast food on the obesity of their children, the industries that spawn these products are painted with a very broad and negative brush. However, these actions can be predicted and ameliorated with enough data, tools to understand this Big Data and tactics to deliver messages that are counter-arguments.
While Social CRM/Big Data can’t help all of these industries and companies from tumbling over the fiscal cliff, it can help every company, and perhaps even the federal government, understand the concerns of their customers, engage them with compelling dialog and keep them away from the big fall. Here are just some of the ways that Social CRM/Big Data can help companies avoid the abyss.
Social CRM/Big Data programs enable companies to use social, mobile and digital media to efficiently “listen” to the needs, concerns and wants of current and prospective customers and build a large, useable repository of this critical data.
Digital, mobile and social media can be deployed in a manner that is consistent with the customer preferences. Wasting time and promotional funds on expensive and broad-based mass media is eliminated or at least reduced when Social CRM/Big Data tactics are used.
With enough customer insights, gleaned from Social CRM/Big Data campaigns, the company’s products can be modified or scrapped altogether to meet changing customer demands. Following this line of thinking, the daily newspapers and monthly magazines will then realize that they are in the content aggregation and delivery business but NOT necessarily in the business of delivering this content via ink-on-paper.
Ailing companies can also use Social CRM/Big Data to amass enough pertinent data to be able to predict the actions of potential customers and use the knowledge to avoid expensive mistakes on new products and services that have no hope of success.
Can Business and Government Avoid the Fiscal Cliff?
Industries that are on the brink of the fiscal cliff and the companies that comprise these groups don’t have to stare into the abyss. They can adapt to a quickly changing marketplace. By truly listening to their prospects and customers, making tweaks and even wholesale changes to their products and marketing and then communicating the benefits of these goods and services via the social, digital, mobile or traditional media that they – the customers – prefer, companies can move away from the cliff. This is a textbook example of Social CRM/Big Data tactics.
Is it possible for the highly politicized branches of the U.S. federal government to use these Social CRM/Big Data strategies? Perhaps. However, it will require all concerned to be logical (which is typically a challenge in political environments), collaborative and to seek the greater good rather than short-term political gains.
Social CRM/Big Data in the News: Barack Obama’s Re-election Tied to Efficient Use of Big Data
November 7, 2012
Social CRM/Big Data played a critical role in the re-election of Barack Obama. In order to understand how and why this happened, it’s important to understand what Social CRM means. At its core, Social CRM/Big Data is customer relationship management system which uses social, mobile and digital channels to keep track of and respond to the needs and wants of an organization’s existing or prospective customers or supporters.
Businesses have used some form of CRM for many years, but it has only been in the past few years that digital, mobile and social media have had sufficient penetration that enabled them to be used to listen and respond to customers. The “trick” in this complicated calculus is to understand both the listening and the responding sides of this equation.
President-elect Obama surrounded himself with a team of Social CRM/Big Data experts and they used these mobile, social and digital tools in: (a) the identification of likely supporters in key electoral college states (e.g. Ohio, Pennsylvania, Nevada), (b) the timely messaging of these supporters and Obama leaning prospects and (c) turning them out on an early voting and election day ground game that would have made Patton proud.
The Candidates Spent Campaign Funds Differently
The lede on any post-election analysis/stories will likely involve the record setting expenditures of both candidates. While the numbers have not been tallied at the time of this writing, it is safe to say that total collective expenditures of the Romney and Obama camps will be north of $2 billion, which makes it the most expensive campaign in the history of the United States. Unlike most previous campaigns, both Romney and Obama seemed to have plenty of cash to spend and their choices on allocation of these budgets will likely be analyzed by future candidates for many years to come.
Most of these campaign dollars went to broadcast media – specifically network and local television spots – that reached parts of the country that held large pockets of Electoral College voters. The Electoral College, often described as a byzantine relic of the early days of the country, consists of electors who are supposed (but are not legally obligated) to vote for the candidate who received the majority of votes in their state. The magic number for any candidate is 270 Electoral College votes.
Both candidates purchased as much TV spot inventory as was available in Electoral College rich areas that pollsters said were still in play on elections day. The unfortunate citizens of the states of Ohio, Florida, Nevada, Colorado and Virginia were inundated with TV ads – usually of the negative variety – from both camps. However, the manner that the two candidates allocated their budgets in the realm of Social CRM/Big Data media is telling indeed.
Digital Marketing Expenditures Tell the Tale
The Federal Election Commission filing, reported by the publication “Politico” noted that the campaign for President Obama spent more than $47 million for online advertising and marketing, compared to $4.7 million by Governor Romney. This represents a substantial difference in priorities, given that both men had ample budgets to do pretty much whatever they wanted to do.
This digital component is an important tactic in any Social CRM/Big Data strategy and clearly the Obama camp felt it was about 10 times more important than Romney’s team. However, the volume of money is not the complete story. Every business person knows that “about 50% of all advertising (even digital advertising) is wasted” which is folksy way of saying that savvy targeting of the best online media and tactics is more important that flooding cyberspace with a huge volume of un-targeted messages.
The Obama campaign used search, key-word advertising and other digital media such as targeted banner ads with good precision, particularly after each of the Presidential debates. Several third-party companies, which were not associated with either campaign, noted that the Obama campaign responded to media references to “wins” and “losses” after the debates with paid-search ads and compelling landing page that supported his points. This is a classic Social CRM/Big Data strategy and the Romney camp did not take advantage of this tactic.
Search agency Rosetta, offered some post-election analysis of the keyword paid search ads before and after the debates and noted that neither candidate used as many key-words as they could have but Obama did a better job, particularly in the key Electoral state of Ohio. In this state, the search company noted that Romney held 3% coverage and Obama had 41% coverage.
Both candidates had plenty of resources, but Obama chose to place his in this very specific digital realm and respond to specific issues raised by the voters after the debates. So, if the voter Googled a search query that was tied to the key words that Obama had bought, a specific digital display ad would pop up.
Businesses can also take a cue from how the two camps dealt with bidding on competitive brand terms. Both candidates had a strategy in place to deal with searches from voters about the other side’s stances. Romney bid on Obama-related terms about 35% of the time and Obama bid on Romney-related terms about 17% of the time.
The lesson here is one that search marketers try and share with their business clients. The prices are higher and the conversion rates are lower when the bidding is for competitive brands, because people who are buying paper towels or presidential candidates have a brand preference and it is very difficult to get them to change brands. Thus, most of the money bid on these competitive terms was likely ill-spent.
As late as the Monday before Election Day, social, mobile and digital media experts were predicting an Obama victory based on his allocation of budgets to these media. During the campaign, it was reported that President Obama was averaging between $4,400 and $13,100 daily on Google search ads, compared to Governor Romney’s $3,400 to $6,300 daily spend. The Obama camp also spent considerably more of its budget on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter than did the Romney team. Website visitors to the Romney website were estimated to be 2.6 million versus Obama who had 8.6 million visitors. Romney got 28,579 YouTube subscribers and Obama got 257,471 subscribers. On Twitter, Obama was a tweeting machine. He had 21.7 million Twitter followers and Romney had 1.6 million. There is an obvious disparity between the two candidates social media presence.
Even the weather proved to favor Obama’s campaign. During Hurricane Sandy, when most of the populous Northeastern states were without electricity, and therefore were not susceptible to TV advertising, Obama appeared to take a page out of the Social CRM/Big Data playbook using mobile tactics to energize voters, many of whom were sitting in the dark at home waiting for the power to come on. Although many mobile advertising specialists noted that neither candidate took advantage of all of the aspects of mobile marketing, Obama seemed to do better than Romney, particularly in using the Social CRM/Big Data tactic to turn out the pro-Obama voters on Election Day in critical states such as Ohio.
What Else Happened?
In a U.S. presidential campaign, there are many factors that determine the outcome, many of which have little to do with Social CRM/Big Data. For example, there were big gaps between the two candidates among women voters, Hispanic voters and white male voters. Plus, the positive earned media that Obama received after Hurricane Sandy was a powerful image of the leader of the country working with local officials to help those in need and this was no doubt on the minds of many when they went to the polls. One could argue that these other factors were exploited/enhanced by Obama’s use of Social CRM/Big Data.
However, the positive effect of Social CRM/Big Data was much more dramatic than the percentage of the budget it received and this will not be lost on future campaigns. Mobile, digital and social media are relatively new tools for candidates involved in electoral politics and by the time the next Presidential campaign rolls around, there will likely be more digitally-based media that have not even been invented yet.
Social CRM/Big Data in the News: Marketing Lessons Learned from Hurricane Sandy
October 30, 2012
Social CRM/Big Data tactics are normally used to help businesses understand their customers and drive revenues However, when a major storm hits one of the most populated and most digitally plugged-in areas in the world – the cities in the northeastern United States – and disrupts even the most basic services such as power and public transit, it can have other uses such as response and rescue. Hurricane Sandy and her aftermath is also proving to be an excellent testing ground for companies that want to build loyalty that will stay in effect long after the water has been pumped out of the subway tunnels.
Real Terror on the Eve of Halloween
The so-called “Frankenstorm” that traveled up the Atlantic seaboard during the final week of October 2012 got its name from its proximity to Halloween and the fact that many dangerous weather elements – hurricane winds, rain, snow, wind and even the full moon – combined to form one, monstrous storm. Since hurricanes usually slam into warmer coastal areas that typically don’t have the population density as the northeast U.S., the circumstances surrounding this storm held the prospect of much more mayhem than its Category 1 status might suggest.
Hurricane Sandy, with its high winds and drenching rain collided with a strong cold front from Canada and battered the heavily populated northeastern U.S. Even the moon joined forces with the superstorm. The day that this hurricane came on shore was the day of the full moon of October. This astronomical event is also known as the “Hunter’s Moon” and it marks a time when the sun, earth and moon are in a straight line. Because of this, the gravitational effect of the moon is increased.
This phenomenon results in higher tides and this had devastating effects on water surge in the area. The reason for this is simple. When the moon is directly over the water, gravity lifts the water toward the moon, resulting in higher tides. When the wind of the hurricane blows over these tides, the wall of water is blown much higher over the land than normal. This resulted in a high water surge that swamped one Consolidated Edison substation in Manhattan’s East Village, which has never before been flooded, and caused an outage of the underground electrical systems. More than 1 million ConEd customers lost power and most of these will not regain electricity for days.
Mobile is Always On
Reliance on mobile media took a giant step forward as a result of this massive storm. With all of the hoopla surrounding social networks such as Twitter and Facebook, some Social CRM/Big Data practitioners forget about the unique benefits of mobile communication. Mobile has been called the “always on media” and this distinction has proven to be invaluable to pre-storm warnings, aftermath rescue efforts and practical marketing programs for those who are affected by Hurricane Sandy. This is especially true with news and weather websites. More on this later.
During and after the storm, Social CRM/Big Data experts are watching the performance of the mobile media such as mobile websites and SMS texting programs to ensure that the systems can withstand the pressure of dramatic increases in usage. This represents a never-before case study of the effectiveness and performance of mobile communication.
With the power outages that are associated with this storm, where millions of people are without electricity, smartphones are being used to access the web, connect on social media, send and receive texts and communicate with loved one using old fashion telephone function.
Consumers have already begun to rely on their mobile devices for everyday activities such as shopping in record numbers. However during the aftermath of the storm they will be accessing mobile apps such as the Weather Channel app and taking advantage of the temporary lifting of the subscription payment wall from publications such as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. These publications normally charge a fee for their content but chose to make it free to help inform readers who are affected by the storm. While the intent of this action is no doubt altruistic, it is also a brilliant promotional tool to introduce the content of these media to millions of prospective subscribers!
What Happens When Frankenstorm Goes Back to the Laboratory?
It’s interesting to consider what effect Social CRM/Big Data tactics will have after Frankenstorm is just a bad memory. How will customer engagement change with such media such as the Weather Channel, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times? What about the forward-thinking retailers who use Social CRM/Big Data tactics to help consumers find goods and services during and after the storm? Hurricane Sandy might offer another excellent case study for the efficacy of Social CRM/Big Data.
First, here are a few predictions:
Mobile media will be used by millions of new customers and found to be invaluable for emergency situations. This will translate into more mobile penetration post hurricane.
Mobile applications such as the excellent Red Cross app will be emulated by other philanthropic organizations.
Media such as the Weather Channel, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Times will be consumed by hundreds of thousands of new readers, some of whom will choose to pay the fees for this content in the future.
Retailers that use social, mobile and digital media combined with sound Social CRM/Big Data tactics such as tracking customer complaints media habits will earn new customers and increased market share.
Talented citizen journalists who posted about the storm on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks via blogs will establish new followers and some will keep these readers long after the mess of the storm has been cleared.
Smart companies will see this type of stressful situation as a chance to build consumer sampling programs for their products.
What Doesn’t Destroy You Makes You Stronger
Many technology companies are closely watching the effects of Hurricane Sandy on their digital, mobile and social network tools and equipment. The stress that results from emergency situations force companies to build sturdier and more robust equipment and software. However, the people who are involved in the marketing strategy and tactics for consumer products companies, media companies and other categories can also benefit from the lessons of Hurricane Sandy.
Innovative Social CRM/Big Data tactics can help companies “listen” to their customers more effectively, predict what might occur under emergency conditions and communicate with these customers before, during and after the emergency. Because these events of Hurricane Sandy occurred in and around the media center of New York City, the effects of social, mobile and digital media responses – Social CRM/Big Data – will be magnified and communicated worldwide.
Our hopes and prayers are with the people in the affected areas. When the winds and rain die down, let’s put our contributions and our support behind the families who will be rebuilding some of the greatest cities in the world.