5 Ways to Help Your Data Geek Help You

Help Your Data Geek Help You

The spreadsheet junkie. The numbers fanatic. The data geek. More and more marketing departments have one—or plan to get one soon. Not only do data geeks know all kinds of interesting facts (for instance, that “data” is plural, whereas “datum” is singular), but when your metrics aren’t making sense and your eyes start glazing over, they will patiently set things right. But even for a data geek life in the land of numbers is not always roses and peach cobbler. Requests come in from across the organization, and sometimes data geeks get overwhelmed and grumpy.

5 Tips for Treating Your Data Geek Right
(and becoming a little more efficient in the process)

1. Be specific.

Let’s say you need a customer list pulled so you can send a targeted email. You ask your data geek for exactly that, but to your astonishment, you’re met with a stankface. Why? Data geeks can’t read minds. Before you ask them for something, figure out what it is you want. Specify the parameters for your list, for instance customers from France who purchased Product A in the past 6 months, but don’t own Product B. Feel free to make it complicated. Data geeks love complicated. Also be sure to list the fields you’d like to see included. You’ll likely get more fields than you asked for, but it’s good to know what you absolutely need.

2. Learn to fish.

To paraphrase an old proverb, “Teach a man to fish, blah blah blah”. Well, don’t just wait for the fish to come to you, learn how to catch some yourself. A few of the tools your data geek uses, like Google Analytics or Marketo, are probably available to you as well—and don’t require you to have a degree in data science to use. Ask your data geek for a demo—and take some notes. The next time you need that data, you’ll know exactly what to do; you’ll get the report faster and your data geek has one less thing on his or her plate. That’s what I like to call a win-win.

3. When you’re in a hole, stop digging.

There are bound to be times when your spreadsheet doesn’t come out right. Columns aren’t adding up, percentages are way off. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with trying to fix things on your own; in fact, data geeks encourage it. Sometimes, however, trying to fix things yourself can make things worse in the process. If you want to try and fix it yourself, save the sheet as a new file and experiment away. If you find that you’ve dug yourself too deep a hole, you now have an instant escape hatch.

4. Share victories with the team.

It’s certainly true that data geeks are a different breed, but they’re still human. They like to know when something they provided helps achieve the desired goal. They like to be acknowledged for helping you exceed your projected outcome. The ironic part is that since data geeks live in data and metrics, they’ll probably already know your campaign was a success. Sharing your wins can benefit both your team and the data geek as well. Next time a similar project comes up for your or a team member replicating the data-pull will be easier than writing one from scratch.

5. Bring beer.

Have a problem that requires a sit-down-and-talk-it-through meeting with your data geek? Protip: data geeks like beer. Bring some bottles—you’ll likely figure things out faster and have more fun in the process.

Working with mountains of data can be hard. It occasionally feels like being in the middle of a cornfield with no clear path to the exit. Use the preceding tips to throw your data geek a lifeline. Trust me, your data will flow like a nice, creamy Milk Stout.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences

 

 

During a recent #MarketingMinds chat, participants spoke of the differences between engaging on Facebook compared to Twitter. Although touched upon in the chat, we feel this deserves its own dedicated post. After all, if we know how engagement differs between the two most widely used social media platforms, we know how to adapt our social media strategy to accommodate.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #1
Storytelling vs. Short bursts of Information

Facebook’s unlimited character updates make it the perfect channel for brand storytelling. Storytelling is important to feed into our social media strategy as our audience is more likely to buy if we nurture and flirt with them throughout each stage of the purchase funnel. We recently published a post on how flirting is one secret towards a successful social media strategy. When thought of like this, if we storm in and ask if a person would like to go out on a date before engaging they will find us creepy… and nobody likes a creep! The same principles apply to marketing. Facebook is so successful from a sales point of view because it’s the perfect channel for long conversations.

Twitter on the other hand is for short bursts of information. Sheena Cox, Key Account Manager at Meltwater explains, “Whilst all social media content has to tap into the here and now, Twitter is the Usain Bolt of social media channels. 140 characters is the fastest way to spread the word. Whereas Facebook content tends to keep conversations going for longer.” Due to the 140 character limit, we tend to see brands directing the audience to other sites rather than focusing communication purely on the platform. Don’t be afraid to share third party content on Twitter. The hashtag feature is often used by the audience as a social discovery mechanism to follow industry news; therefore our audience expects to see third party content to engage with.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #2
Evergreen vs. Real-time content

There’s a real weigh-up between real-time content and timeliness between the two social media channels and we must consider this in our social media strategy. Twitter is often thought of as a news outlet due to the real time nature of the platform. We tend to see shorter but more frequent posts on Twitter, with users and brands often providing a running commentary on situations (take Dunkin Donuts’s #DunkinReplay campaign for example). Consequently, the lifespan of engagement with content on Twitter is shorter. For those wanting to post evergreen content, consider Facebook as the medium as it is the outlet for on-going conversations, as Sheena Cox mentions.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #3
‘Real Life Friends’ vs. Connecting with Strangers

Our Facebooks are typically full of people we’ve met. Whether it’s an old school friend, a family member or somebody we met travelling and made a deal to keep in touch with (we all know how that turns out!). Twitter, however, is less about ‘real life’ friendships. It’s perfectly normal for users to connect with strangers. This makes Twitter a great platform to build influencer relationships. There’s a hefty list of reasons why our social media strategy should aim to connect with industry influencers. Find out more about this here, here or here.

Facebook vs. Twitter: Social Media Strategy Differences #4
Knowing the Different Peak Engagement Times

When building a social media strategy, it’s important to consider the best optimal time and day to post. As mentioned in a previous Meltwater blog, engagement for our own target audience occurs at different times. According to Fannit, Twitter engagement goes up by 30% on weekends, with the most optimised times being 1pm-3pm. For Facebook, we can use Meltwater’s Likealyzer.com to analyse whether our post timings are successful; here’s an example of Marks and Spencer.

Once we know the best time to post, we can use social media monitoring tools, such as Meltwater’s Media Intelligence platform, to schedule posts to ensure we don’t miss the best time slot for engagement and set up our social media strategy to flourish.

#MarketingMinds Chat Insights- Competitive Analysis

 

Last week in the #MarketingMinds chat, professionals gathered on @meltwater to discuss competitive analysis; from what it is, to what it involves and what to avoid when constructing one. Here are the key themes from the discussion.

Q1. What do we mean by “competitive analysis?”

@Sea_Lyon and @SFerika describe a competitive analysis as research into our current and potential competitors that is conducted to identify our/ their secret sauce. @c0Sabrina feels that a competitive analysis is a great way to see what’s working for our competitors so that we can learn from their mistakes and protect our brand reputation. @bestcapetownSA adds that a competitive analysis can also help us anticipate how our competitors may respond to our next move, therefore helping us to decide strategies with hard reasoning.

@simonlp points out that a competitive analysis search should not only be carried out on our traditional competitors. Indirect competition can come from different sectors, but at the end of the day we’re both after the same consumers’ disposable income. For example, cinema brands are also competing with restaurants for consumer leisure spend.

Q2. Competitive analysis is important because ___

@sameerjawle states that a competitive analysis is ground zero of all plans and future strategies. As @bestcapetownSA puts it, we wouldn’t climb Mount Everest without a map, right? Well we can’t steer a business without market insights directing us. Without conducting a competitive analysis, we’re operating in a vacuum and no successful marketing strategy operates in a vacuum. Meltwater knows this oh too well, hence our tagline- Outside Insights.

“Marketing is a Zero-Sum Game. In order to get attention, you have to take attention away from somewhere else.”
@AgentPalmer

To have a clear understanding of our USP and brand positioning, we must know our strengths in relation to others. Such awareness arrives from a competitive analysis and can help us with differentiating our message and focusing on creating a competitive advantage.

Q3. What’s your one top tip for creating a competitive analysis plan?

@micadam’s top tip is to compare apples with apples to ensure our competitive analysis is as quantifiable as possible as this makes benchmarking easier. @bestcapetownSA proposes the use of Meltwater to track and benchmark competitors. Meltwater’s Media Intelligence platform can help monitor our brand against a number of metrics, but more on that later.

@Animatedgiff explains that understanding the audience and how they react to our competition is crucial. By analysing our competitor’s sentiment we’re able to see who is coming off most positively in the press or social. With the help of conversation clouds we’re able to see key trends and filter by sentiment so that we can pinpoint exactly what it is that is influencing a brands sentiment.

@ItisSG’s top tip is to use competitive analysis to monitor the smaller companies our competitors are buying. Moreover, by keeping an eye out for trends in recruitment we also know where/ what investment is being fed into so that we can gage future plans. Meanwhile, @aliya_Hshah’s competitive analysis top tip is offering customers a personalised branding strategy based on insights the analysis offers.

*Beware!* As @c0Sabrina points out, a competitive analysis does not mean competitive mimicry. We must refrain from copying; this only harms brand credibility and authenticity. Instead, we must look at competition and think ‘how can we do it better’, rather than the same!

Q4. What metrics do you use to compare your company against competition?

@simonlp and @ThinkSEM state that we should avoid benchmarking fan/ followers as this can distract stakeholders from what really matters, ROI, something that fan following cannot guarantee. Instead, we should be measuring engagement, as @c0Sabrina proposes, along with quality of content and post frequency. Meanwhile, @bestcapetownSA suggests we measure customer retention and acquisition, especially for high volume and low touch businesses, for example the FMCG industry.

Check out the benchmarking search on Meltwater’s homepage and compare a brand against their top rival. The Benchmark dashboard analyses reach, engagement, sentiment and audience metrics to provide a thorough competitive analysis. Here’s an example of Apple vs. Dell.

Q5. How often do you benchmark against competition, is this often enough?

@c0Sabrina and @GTAmissions1 complete a competitive analysis monthly, stating that this is a good amount of time to gather enough data to ensure a comprehensive and reliable snapshot. Whereas @simonlp completes a weekly scan and quarterly deep-dive.

If you have any suggestions for future chat topics drop a comment in the box below or email me at perri.robinson@meltwater.com!

Why we should all be participating in Twitter Chats…

Twitter chats. What are they? Cyber debates around specific themes following designated hashtags; a community of professionals shedding light on topics in a Q&A format. An opportunity that isn’t utilised enough by companies…

Hosting a Twitter chat offers a number of benefits to the host, but also a wide range of advantages for the participants too!

What can participating in Twitter chats do for us?

·         Twitter chats improve credibility around our brand:

Twitter chats provide us with a route to share tips and tricks around a well-defined theme. By participating, we have the opportunity to position ourselves as industry experts and thought leaders. If participants perceive our brand to be knowledgeable, they’re most likely to also think we’re a trustworthy and credible company.

·         Twitter chats improve brand visibility:

By participating in Twitter chats, we will inevitably be followed, retweeted or favourited, that is if our ideas are relevant and insightful! Moreover, other professionals in our industry become exposed to our brand if we participate in Twitter chats via our corporate Twitter handle. Social media monitoring tools, such as Meltwater’s Media Intelligence platform, offer us insight into how many people have seen our brand via brand impression and post click-through metrics so that we can understand the ROI from participating.

·         Twitter chats are fun:

Even if it’s a part of our work day, Twitter chats are always fun! Meltwater’s #MarketingMinds chat takes place on Friday afternoons at 3PM UK time to round up our week doing something that is both entertaining and beneficial. Most participants are laid-back and open to debate and banter, this is the time to create new ties with a large number of people and make friends with industry influencers.

·         Twitter chats can increase our community

Participating in Twitter chats can also help us to increase our following, especially if we build a bond with an influencer as we can piggy back on theirs. Meltwater provides #MarketingMinds chat wrap up blog posts each week detailing key discussions and crediting participants on their ideas. The wrap up blog is often highly shared as chat participants circulate the blog with their community, who share it with theirs and so we see a domino effect.

What not to do in Twitter chats:

·         Be silent! It’s a chat guys, join in and talk! Sure we have great ideas and opinions, but what good is that if we don’t share them? Sharing is caring.

·         Respect others thoughts. Twitter chats are a debate, so be prepared for disagreements. Disagreements don’t necessarily mean that somebody is in the right or wrong, so let others express themselves. Remember why we’re participating in the chat: to have fun, learn and meet new people- not to argue

·         Follow the rules of the chat. For example, in #MarketingMinds, we think it’s best to include the letter A (for answer), followed by the question number when responding to a question. This helps the twitter chat to flow.

Where Does PR Belong in the Marketing Waterfall?

Metrics and the Marketing Waterfall

Marketing is now able to track almost every activity in the buyer’s journey and connect it to revenue. At the 2015 Marketo Marketing Nation Summit that was held last week in San Francisco, I attended session after session on the ins and outs of these metrics. Some of the mind-boggling concepts being discussed include measuring first touch vs multi-touch attribution, marketing influenced pipeline, and the importance of lead flow consistency.

Why were they mind boggling? Because marketing used to be considered a cost-center—a fuzzy department that everyone just assumed would help drive business. We invested in it and kept our fingers crossed that there would be a payoff. However, thanks to the Internet’s ubiquity and its pervasive role in global commerce, this is no longer the case. Marketing has become a revenue-center—and we’ve got the numbers to prove it. Instead of talking about cost-per-lead, marketing can present revenue-per-lead and make a real case for itself around the executive table and when presenting to the board.

The only topic I didn’t hear much about at Marketo’s summit was PR. I left wondering, is it the only discipline within the marketing department that can’t be directly involved in the demand gen marketing waterfall? Marketers can track their influence on SEO and follow website leads throughout their journey to revenue. Same with ebook or whitepaper downloads, webinar registrations, event attendees, and even social media shares through referral traffic. The impact of email marketing and online advertising can also be cleanly tracked back to bookings.

But What About PR?

You’ll notice that I didn’t mention PR in relation to marketing waterfall metrics. Is PR doomed to be left out, or can we fix this? For now PR can monitor all company media mentions; measure owned, earned, and paid media; and see how well each is doing. PR can put together reports showing the quantity of these mentions, assess their quality using online readership data, and zero in on where this activity is happening around the world. PR can use social media as a channel and track some of its impact that way (or is PR now social, that’s a discussion for another day). And PR can compare all of the above to that of the competition, and set realistic share of voice benchmarks as part of their quarterly goals. There are really great tools to help PR do all of this, of course, we even sell one.

As a demand gen marketer, I’d love to be able to measure PR’s impact on website traffic. I recently talked to our head of PR about this. For now we can see what prospects click directly to our website from a link in a brand mention or a company press release. That’s at least a step in the right direction. Maybe one day there will be a way to bring the rest of PR’s impact into the demand gen marketing waterfall!