‘Chief Listeners’ Use Technology to Track, Sort Company Mentions
Relatively New Role Is Becoming More Commonplace in Major Marketing Companies
by Irina Slutsky
Published: August 30, 2010
“[...] the CLO’s job is one of “broad listening” – as Dell has such a deep penetration globally in so many different markets.
“Our chief listener is critical to making sure the right people in the organization are aware of what the conversations on the web are saying about us, so that relevant people in the business can connect with customers,”
Unlike many social-media jobs, this position is very inward-facing. She’s listening to Dell customers and consumers and giving all the intel to her Dell colleagues internally.
[...] ”Dell has been listening for four years and created a position called ‘Listening Czar’ two years ago.
[...] said their companies were driving innovation through customer feedback. [...]“
I couldn’t agree more with Kathleen Schaub‘s post ‘Eight skills for tomorrows marketers’ at the GroupEffects Marketing Blog from November 9, 2009. However, I’m with Keith who commented on her blog that the title should read ‘Eight Skills for Today’s Marketers’:
“[...] Marketing’s most interesting new roles require skills from non-traditional disciplines.
For your next marketing hire, consider people experienced in the following areas:
1) Sales Skills: Now that 100% of B2B buyers repeatedly touch the web (both vendor’s sites and those of 3rd parties) throughout the buying process, marketing must stay active from “cold to close”. No more filling the top of the funnel and passing leads off to sales. Tony Jaros, VP of Research from Sirius Decisions asks a radical question – why is the web still in Corporate Marketing? No longer just a corporate brochure, the web is central to revenue generation. IDC’s CMO Advisory Practice says that some leading organizations (Intel, for example) are hiring CMO’s with sales backgrounds. With new organizational structures such as Demand Centers and with pressure for better sales enablement taking center stage, people with working knowledge of sales AND marketing are golden. All marketers should learn about selling.
2) Social Media Skills: It’s no secret that social media dramatically changes the buyer-seller-influencer dynamic. But only those actively participating in social media tangibly appreciate the differences between old-style one-way media conversations and the group interactivity.
3) Influencer Marketing Skills: Advocacy and relationship roles such as AR, PR, developer relations, customer advocacy, community managers and evangelists continue to move beyond traditional boundaries and broaden their role to more types of influencers. Influencer50 has identified 24 types (Barbara French lists them here).
4) Journalism/ Storytelling Skills: With buyers getting the majority of their information from the web and with sales enablement increasing in priority, there’s no end to the need for juicy, targeted content. David Meerman Scott suggests that wehire trained journalists. Our customer segments and our eco-systems would be their “beat” – listening for stories, mashing them with our messages and placing fresh, relevant, content within the conversation.
5) Process Design Skills: Marketing automation is just beginning to penetrate its market. Forrester says it’s less than 5% adopted. As anyone who has been part of a re-engineering effort can attest, it’s not the automation that increases productivity. It’s the process changes that automation enables and enforces. Deploying marketing automation will require skills such as process modeling, project management, the ability to train and manage change, as well as ease with technology.
6) Data/ Analytics Skills: Technology captures and makes available enormous amounts of data about buyer and seller behavior. What does it all mean? Two of the most valuable uses of data are the ability to reveal a buyer’s “digital body language“, as Eloqua’s Steven Woods’ new book discusses, as well as the ability to closely link marketing performance to business performance. Real data about customer behavior and real ties to revenue promise marketing leadership a bigger seat at the executive table.
7) Design Thinking Skills: CEO’s want to know, “how can I make my company more innovative?” In addition to R&D, marketing would be a natural place to source talent. In his new book, Change by Design, Tim Brown, CEO of design shop IDEO, talks about how leading companies are tapping into right-brain tricks that those schooled in the arts practice, such as brainstorming, role-playing and scenario-building (see his TED talks here).
8) Domain Expertise: Customers don’t care about our products. They care about themselves and their problems. Building a bridge between our products and the customer’s care-abouts requires knowledge of both realms.”
“In 2009 we saw exponential growth of social media. According to Nielsen Online, Twitter alone grew 1,382% year-over-year in February, [...] In 2010, social media will get even more popular, more mobile, and more exclusive — at least, that’s my guess. What are the near-term trends [...]:
1. Social media begins to look less social
With groups, lists and niche networks becoming more popular, networks could begin to feel more “exclusive.” Not everyone can fit on someone’s newly created Twitter list and as networks begin to fill with noise, it’s likely that user behavior such as “hiding” the hyperactive updaters that appear in your Facebook news feed may become more common. Perhaps it’s not actually less social, but it might seem that way as we all come to terms with getting value out of our networks — while filtering out the clutter.
2. Corporations look to scale
There are relatively few big companies that have scaled social initiatives beyond one-off marketing or communications initiatives. Best Buy’s Twelpforce leverages hundreds of employees who provide customer support on Twitter. The employees are managed through a custom built system that keeps track of who participates. This is a sign of things to come over the next year as more companies look to uncover cost savings or serve customers more effectively through leveraging social technology.
3. Social business becomes serious play
Relatively new networks such as Foursquare are touted for the focus on making networked activity local and mobile. However, it also has a game-like quality to it which brings out the competitor in the user. Participants are incentivized and rewarded through higher participation levels. And push technology is there to remind you that your friends are one step away from stealing your coveted “mayorship.” As businesses look to incentivize activity within their internal or external networks, they may include carrots that encourage a bit of friendly competition.
4. Your company will have a social media policy (and it might actually be enforced)
If the company you work for doesn’t already have a social media policy in place with specific rules of engagement across multiple networks, it just might in the next year. From how to conduct yourself as an employee to what’s considered competition, it’s likely that you’ll see something formalized about how the company views social media and your participation in it.
5. Mobile becomes a social media lifeline
With approximately 70 percent of organizations banning social networks and, simultaneously, sales of smartphones on the rise, it’s likely that employees will seek to feed their social media addictions on their mobile devices. What used to be cigarette breaks could turn into “social media breaks” as long as there is a clear signal and IT isn’t looking. As a result, we may see more and/or better mobile versions of our favorite social drug of choice.
6. Sharing no longer means e-mail
The New York Times iPhone application recently added sharing functionality which allows a user to easily broadcast an article across networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Many websites already support this functionality, but it’s likely that we will see an increase in user behavior as it becomes more mainstream for people to share with networks what they used to do with e-mail lists. And content providers will be all too happy to help them distribute any way they choose.
David Armano [@armano] is part of the founding team at Dachis Group, an Austin based consultancy delivering social business design services. He is both an active practitioner and thinker in the worlds of digital marketing, experience design, and the social web. [...]“
Comment by Daniel:
“One thing you missed, David: People will use lifestreaming platforms to add more context to their content. For instance, you may post that you’re eating a hamburger via Twitter — alas, the dreaded “what I ate” tweet — but if you were to use a lifestream platform such as Brightkite or Foursquare, you can add dimension to your content so it actually helps others.
But this is one part of lifestreaming. The other, you see, is aggregation ['Don't waste time with visiting twitter.com or blogs - Aggregate everything via rss'].
Look for companies to develop storystreaming platforms that enable brands — and individuals — to stream in content from the social web. Since content curation is a key part of this, look for this year’s “killer app” to be a tool that enables power users (brand managers, agencies, community managers, etc.) to fine-tune the content that gets pulled in. [...]“
Comment by Jason:
“Social media will become more global in 2010.
With Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter all gear up on their language translation capabilities, we will see an interesting growth of international users on all these platforms.
Social media will become an increasingly important medium for global brands to market toward oversea consumers. It will be interesting to see how multi-national brand managers can tap into rich social data and engagement oversea without having to leave the corporate headquarter.”
David Armano’s response to comments:
“Seems that the most common, high value use of social media mechanisms is to bypass bad operating designs (service models).”
Yes. Yes. Yes. Social service design possibly? The signs are here, this will probably get traction in the next year in a more formalized way. Again, Twelpforce is an early indicator.
Jason, Global is a good point.
Other themes here that I think would emerge is the popularity of anything that can support the real time Web or as we call “dynamic signals” As Daniel eludes to , storytelling in a real time Web becomes storystreaming. Brands and content providers will have tremendous opportunities here if leadership can persuade the lawyers.
And most definitely social commerce. I already know of a few players planning these initiatives.”
Comment by Loraine Antrim:
“One trend in social media as we approach 2010 is that the “media” aspect will increase dramatically. Video is exploding on the web; more and more blogs include links to video content and as mobile devices expand the use of video, we will see even more video content in all aspects of social media. Also, the idea of “Social” will take second seat to corporations’ use of social media, but the real trend is the increase of SMBs who will start to use social media as a strategy for attraction and retention of customers. [...]“
I describe myself as a media guy who turned B2B tech marketer as traditional media dies. It started when I wrote my masters thesis about the question who needed television channels anymore with high definition YouTube and hulu.com like sites around. Later I gave up my own [static] website in favor of a blog and LinkedIn, Twitter & Facebook streams.
I don’t have a TV set, don’t listen to radio nor do I have subscriptions of any print media. These days I even search via Google less often than I search Twitter’s real-time stream for certain key words or click on links in the stream Facebook puts together from all my “friends”.
2007 – Me too
3 years later the social element if the internet showed just how powerful the voice of the people really is. The TV was [for] the first time no longer the primary source of information, and newspapers are struggling to survive.
Everyone wanted to create their own little world, and connect it with their friends. But 2007 was also the turning point for the traditional websites. It was once the most important change, but now people compared the traditional websites to newspapers – a static and passive form of information. We wanted active information. We wanted to be a part of it, not just looking at it.
The blogs also started to get in trouble. Just as TV had eliminated radio (because it was better and richer way to give people LIVE information) so are social networks eliminating blogs. A social profile is a more active way for people to share what they care about. Social networks are simply the best tool for the job, and the blogs could not keep up.
2009 – Everything is Social
2 years later, today, the new internet is completely dominating our world. The newspapers are dead in the water, and people are watching less TV than ever. The new king of information is everyone, using social networking tools to connect and communicate.
Even the traditional website is dying from the relentless force of the constant stream of rich information from the social networks.
In the past 210 years we have seen an amazing evolution of information. We could:
- Get information from distant places
- Get it LIVE
- See it LIVE
- Get to decide when to see something, and what to see
- Allow us to take part, and comment.
- Publish our own information
- …and in 2009… be the information.
But 2009 is also going to be the start of the next revolution. Because everything we know is about to change.
The first and most dramatic change is the concept of Social News. Social news is quickly taking over our need for staying up-to-date with what goes on in the world. News is no longer being reported by journalists, now it comes from everyone. And it is being reported directly from the source to you – bypassing the traditional media channels. [...]
But social news is much more than that. It is increasingly about getting news directly from the people who [make] it. Instead of having a journalist reporting what some analyst are saying, you hear it from the analyst [...]. Social news is about getting news from the source, directly, and unfiltered.
A new wave of entertainment is emerging [...], one dominated by the games, video and audio streams. Instead of tuning into a TV channel, you decide what to see and when to see it. We are no longer subscribing to a channel, where someone else decides what you can see. You decide and control everything about the experience.
And a new concept in the form of targeted information is slowly emerging. We are already seeing an increasing number of services on mobile phones, where you can get information for the area that you are in. E.g. instead of showing all the restaurants in the world, you will only get a list of the restaurants in your area.
This is something that is going to explode into in the years to come. In the world where we have access to more information that we can consume, getting only the relevant parts is going to be a very important element. And, this will expand far beyond the simple geo-targeting that we see today.
2020 – Traditional is dead
In the next 5-10 years, the world of information will change quite a bit. All the traditional forms of information are essentially dead. The traditional printed newspapers no longer exists, television in the form of preset channels is replaced by single shows that you can watch whenever you like. Radio shows [are being] replaced [by] podcasts and vodcasts.
The websites have a much lesser role, as their primary function will be to serve as a hub for all the activities that you do elsewhere. It is the place where people get the raw material for use in other places. And the websites and social networks will merge into one. Your website and blog is your social profile.
Social news, as described previously, is going to be the most important way that people communicate. The traditional journalistic reporting is by now completely replaced getting information directly from the source. Everyone is a potential reporter, but new advances in targeting will eliminate most of the noise. The journalists will turn into editors who, instead of reporting the news, bring it together to give us a bigger picture.
The news stream of the future will be personalized to each individual person, and is constantly adjusting what you see – much the same way as Last.fm is doing today with music.
Everything will incorporate some form of targeting. You will be in control over every single bit of information that flows your way.
In 2010, two new concepts will start to emerge. One of them is intelligent information, where information streams can combine bits from many different news sources. Not just by pulling data, but summarizing it, breaking it apart and extracting the valuable parts.
Instead of reading 5 different articles on the same topic, you will be presented with one, highlighting the vital point of interest.
The world information is also going to be available almost everywhere. The concept of having to get the paper, sit in front of your TV, or look at your computer, will be long gone. Information will not be something you have to get. It comes to you, wherever you are, in whatever situation you happen to be in.
In the same way, information will not be something you ‘consume’ a certain times – like you did with prime-time on TVs. The information stream will be a natural part of every second of your life. It is not something you get, it is something you have.
The static and controlled forms of information that we see today will soon be a thing of the past.
Ask yourself. Are you still trying to get journalists to write about your products? Are you still making websites? Is your social networking strategy to ‘get a Facebook Page’?
Are you making yourself a natural part of people’s stream of information?”
With this great thought I would like to hand it over to Chris Brogan (@chrisbrogan) and April Dunford (@aprildunford) with the blog post “What Marketers can Learn from Chris Brogan’s ‘Next Media Company’” from rocketwatcher.com:
“Chris Brogan is a social media marketing smarty-pants. There are a lot of folks out there (in marketing especially) that bill themselves as “Social Media Experts” because, like, they use Facebook a lot, but Chris, my friends is the real deal. If you don’t read his blog you should and following him on Twitter is great because he interacts with everyone.
His latest post “The Next Media Company” is a must-read for anyone thinking about what social media means for traditional media and communications in general and that mean YOU, dear marketing readers. In it he outlines a set of characteristics that he believes the next generation of media companies should have. Here are a few points I have picked out that I think are really important for marketers to think about:
- Stories are points in time, but won’t end at publication. (Edits, updates, extensions are next.)
- Media cannot stick to one form. Text, photos, video, music, audio, animation, etc are a flow.
- Everything must be portable and mobile-ready. (Mobile devices need to evolve here, too).
- Everything must have collaborative opportunities. If I write about a restaurant, you should have wikified access to add to the article directly.
- Contributors come in many shapes: onstaff, partner (how pros like TechCrunch link to Washington Post), guest (for love and glory only), and conversational come right to mind. Who else?
- Collaboration rules. Why should I pick the next cover? Why should my picture of the car crash be the best?
- Everything is modular and linkable. Everything is fluid. Meaning, if I want the publication to be a business periodical, then I don’t want to have to read a piece about sports.
Now go back and think about your company website, your marketing materials, your customer facing information in any form. How much of that is interactive/collaborative/fluid? How much of your customer facing communications crosses media types? How much of it is mobile-ready? Is all of your customer-facing content being created inside the organization? Do you make your customers read a bunch of stuff that isn’t relevant to them, just to get at the bits that are? Do you collaborate with your customers?
If you are in marketing, you are in the communications business and the way we are communicating is changing, in my opinion, for the better. The next great marketing company is going to be thinking a lot about the same things the next media company is thinking about.”