CGT’s readers rank the top five technology companies that provide software/services for managing and monitoring internal and external social media communications/engagement.
The consumer goods marketing landscape has changed dramaticallly due to the influence of social media channels. This year, we added a Social Media category to our survey, which pinpoints five technology providers that are helping companies measure, monitor, react and perhaps even influence social media engagement with their consumers. Don Scheibenreif, vice president, Industries Research, Manufacturing - Consumer Experience, Gartner Inc., makes recommendations for navigating this new territory.
Will technology investments in this area pick up as social interactions with consumers continue to explode?
Scheibenreif: We definitely expect investments in social media, from marketing to collaboration to analytics, to increase over time among consumer goods companies. According to Gartner research, social is the No. 2 channel priority in 2013, and it is contained in three of the top five tactical investment priorities in 2013. Those tactical priorities include: Establish a community on social network sites, enhance your brand’s e-commerce site, with content and social media, and enhance my organization’s web site with a social community. Each of these priorities represents opportunities for consumer goods companies to test and learn.
This is the first time we’ve polled the CG audience about their technology providers in this area. Is the outcome what you would expect? Are there any surprises?
Scheibenreif: The top five vendors selected by CGT’s readers are very familiar to Gartner. Our Magic Quadrant report for Social CRM Application features Salesforce.com (Leader) and Oracle (Challenger). Our Magic Quadrant for Customer Service Contact Centers features Astute (Niche) and Oracle (Leader). SAS Institute and Adobe Systems appear in our Magic Quadrant for CRM Multi-channel Campaign Management in the Leader and Visionary quadrants respectively. All of these vendors have increased investments in social applications in response to market opportunity.
How can consumer goods firms leverage insights from social media interactions to strengthen retail partnerships?
Scheibenreif: With any social effort, have a clear purpose from the beginning. The best and most practical way consumer goods companies can leverage social analytics to enhance relationships with retailers is to integrate social media insight in the category management process. What is key here is having the right listening mechanisms along your consumer’s path to purchase. In the pre-shop experience, what chatter is generated from a YouTube commercial or an online campaign that can tell you about interest in a product prior to purchase? How can something, like electronic coupons shared via social networks, reveal the strength of an offer and likelihood to redeem inside the store? In the post-shop process, can insight from product reviews or comments on your Facebook page or web site inform your next campaign or promotion? Above all, be clear what you are listening for, and then have a plan on how to use the insights. Be sure to push the vendors listed to help you do this.
Customer Experience Leader: Salesforce.com
“There are massive, global shifts taking place in marketing due to social media. Unilever has fully embraced this social transformation and a partner, like Buddy Media, now Salesforce Marketing Cloud, empowers us to scale our social programs globally and across many brands. This is incredibly valuable.”
— Babs Rangaiah, VP, Global Media Innovation, Unilever
SMB Market Leader: Adobe Systems
”While 75 percent of SMBs think social media is integral to their business strategy, only 28 percent say that they can determine its impact. Adobe Social, released in September 2012, helps turn your social marketing efforts into measurable business results.”
— eConsultancy & Adobe Quarterly Digital Index: managing & measuring social