Toolbox: Social media, database, CRM, analytics

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SOCIAL MEDIA

How can I best measure my company's social marketing initiatives?

"In a perfect world, your company has its own online community where you have a higher level of control over your members," says Aaron Strout, CMO of social marketing firm Powered Inc. "Owning your own branded community allows you to monitor your customers' behaviors qualitatively, using tools like surveys, and quantitatively through Web and community analytics, such as time on site, forum posts and reviews read."

Through the collection of qualitative and quantitative data, he adds, marketers should be able to measure traditional objectives such as customer engagement, loyalty, willingness to buy and, most importantly, willingness to recommend.

DATABASE

How can I make my data work for me?

"Integrating self-service opportunities on your Web site is a great way to do this," says Sarah Hoddinott, fundraising product manager at Advanced Solutions International. "Your site should not only allow you to view a profile for your audience, but it should also update your CRM system automatically."

As customer expectations increase, it is important to keep up with the times and offer the important community-building, public profile, peer-to-peer opportunities that will engage customers fully in your organization, she adds. "Content management and these fully-integrated, self-service tools are critical to making your data work for you," Hoddinott says. "You no longer have to sit around dreaming of the kind of user-friendly Web sites you want to offer your customers."

CRM

How can I respond to my customers promptly without sacrificing accuracy and personal details?

"Your commitment to consistent, accurate feedback must be reflected by the technology you use," answers Annemarie Pucher, CEO of ISIS Papyrus. "With the right technology, you will be able to deliver an appropriate response without delay and without missing essential background information that may be stored in other document and data-heavy systems across the company."

There are three very important features to help improve an organization's customer experience: better personalization, multichannel consistency and more intelligent interactive and on-demand applications. "Ideally, a company need only implement one solution, with one set of standards, processes and interfaces for print and electronic delivery," Pucher says.

ANALYTICS

How can I better understand my media spend and effectiveness?

"In a multichannel world, it's imperative to understand what contributed to the actual revenue event," replies Bob Fetter, SVP at Pluris Marketing. Two things are critical, he says: You have to ensure that you are capturing all necessary campaign metadata for those channels, and channel results must be integrated as closely as possible to the actual marketing database.

"If you vary components of your offer by channel, say a coupon on your Facebook fan page and an e-mail discount, your campaign metadata must capture those variations and then tie that information back to the individual consumer who saw that promotion," Fetter explains. "This means that you must be able to track offers by offer components, such as price, product and promotion. Real-time response data must then be integrated."

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