Tag Archives: strategy

Look Who’s Talking Now: Tips to Develop or Improve Your Online Presence

All organizations have an online presence, regardless if its image is based on intentional effort or user creations (reviews, recommendations, etc.). Even random mom and pop shops have some online presence, as today’s society is starting to utilize the power of speech via the internet, giving great weight to consumer experiences.

It is critical that organizations are aware of their online presence, so that they can minimize negative talk, or help develop and sustain a good image.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

I’ve wrote before about my favourite web presence tracking site, SocialMention, where keywords can be searched for amongst a substantial size of social media platforms. However, if you’ve used this listening tool and discovered your own organizations online presence, you may wonder where to go from there. I have yet to elaborate on steps subsequent to either improving, or developing an online presence—which is critical. Therefore, I have decided to dive into his hefty subject now.

No One’s Talking—Lets Start a Buzz!

If your online presence is minimal and you want to encourage online conversation try some of the following techniques:

Develop a Blog to create credible/expert talk on your product/services

Engage in Search Engine Optimization (See my previous post “How Do You Spell Findability? S-E-O.”)

Create a corporate social media accounts (Make sure your chosen platforms have the ability to engage or capture your desired target market.)

People Are Talking, But It’s Not What I Want To Hear!

If people are saying negative things about your organization, it is worthwhile to determine the source of problem.

Is it the quality of the service or product? The follow up procedures such as customer service? Or the pre-purchase activities, such as payment options or online accessibility?

Once you figure out what the source of the problem is, you have to find a suitable solution. This solution will differ depending on the issue, but one thing remains constant; communication. Be honest and transparent in your communication efforts with your consumers. Acknowledge their complaints and make it clear you’re looking into a solution (Of course this means you DO have to find a viable solution).

Analyze Then Strategize

Overall, in developing and improving your online presence, you need to have a strategy for your online tactics. It is my best advice to develop a well-rounded marketing strategy that is specific to your online efforts. Start off with a basic SWOT analysis, mix in your budget constraints and determine your overall goals. Feasible online marketing additions or improvements will be the end result of a successful analysis of your current and desired situation.

I hope this post has given all your marketers out there a little boost to look into your brands online image and take my advice to get ahead of the game by listening, understanding and making adjustments.

Bibliography

123rf. (n.d.). Red Dice With Words Inspect Analyze Learn On Faces. Retrieved 2012, from 123rf: http://www.123rf.com/photo_9259496_red-dice-with-words-inspect-analyze-learn-on-faces.html

Miller, M. (2011). The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana: Que Publishing.

Nuanced Media. (n.d.). Reviews Image: How Important are Online Customer Reviews. Retrieved 2012, from Nuanced Media: http://nuancedmedia.com/how-important-are-online-customer-reviews/

Ovsyannykov. (2012, February 02). Thumbs Down Image: Do Negative Reviews Really Hurt You? Retrieved 2012, from Design You Trust: http://designyoutrust.com/2012/02/02/do-negative-reviews-really-hurt-you/

123rf. (n.d.). Red Dice With Words Inspect Analyze Learn On Faces. Retrieved 2012, from 123rf: http://www.123rf.com/photo_9259496_red-dice-with-words-inspect-analyze-learn-on-faces.html

Miller, M. (2011). The Ultimate Web Marketing Guide. Indianapolis, Indiana: Que Publishing.

Nuanced Media. (n.d.). Reviews Image: How Important are Online Customer Reviews. Retrieved 2012, from Nuanced Media: http://nuancedmedia.com/how-important-are-online-customer-reviews/

Ovsyannykov. (2012, February 02). Thumbs Down Image: Do Negative Reviews Really Hurt You? Retrieved 2012, from Design You Trust: http://designyoutrust.com/2012/02/02/do-negative-reviews-really-hurt-you/

Social Mention. (n.d.). Social Mention. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from Social Mention: http://www.socialmention.com/

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6 Elements That Make Planning a Breeze!

I recently was introduced to a wonderful template tool that aids in developing marketing communication plans. This tool was developed in the 1990’s by Paul R. Smith and is called the SOSTAC model, which is actually an acronym for the 6 components needing analysis. I’m currently utilizing this tool in a course I’m taking and have found it truly helpful in organizing my thoughts. I also find that it helps in ensuring that I don’t leave out any critical aspects to my analysis.

So how about I take you through a detailed description of each abbreviated letter and the components required for analysis… Okay? Okay!

The Nitty Gritty

S is for Situational Analysis

This element of the SOSTAC model requires the individual to look at the current situation in detail. This varies depending on the topic at hand. In terms of a marketing plan, one would consider information such as the current source of revenues, existing competitors, and any processes and policies that are in place.

O is for Objectives

The Objectives element is fairly straightforward in the sense that the individual must put in to words concrete goals that are desired.

S is for Strategy

Strategy is one of the most important components of the SOSTAC model; it’s the meat of the meal. This deals with the overall means for getting to the desired objectives. It is likely that this section of the analysis (along with the next) will be the most time consuming.

T is for Tactics

The element of Tactic ties in with Strategy, as it better outlines what particular moves need to be made to carry on the defined strategy. Here we define what tools will be utilized.

A is for Action

After figuring out what we want to do and how we are going to do it, it’s a given that we need to define who is going be the one responsible for getting it done. Assigning tasks, roles and responsibilities is the basis for this section.

C is for Control

After all is said and done, we need to be able to measure how success our plan was in the first place. That’s where the element of Control comes in. Here we define how we will measure success, through the utilization of various metrics.

Illustrating the SOSTAC Model

Now that you have a basic understanding of the components, take a look at this diagram that illustrates the common way in which to present a SOSTAC model.

Adjacent to each element, place each of your associative bullet points.By utilizing this way of organizing your SOSTAC model, you create a standardized, self-explanatory outline of your plan.

You can use this model for more than developing a marketing plan. In fact, you can use it for various types of plans, whether it aid in your professional or personal development .If you’ve found yourself able to give a detailed perspective of each of these categories, then you will have produced a great analysis on whatever topic you desire. I hope you all find this tool as useful as I did… Happy planning!

Bibliography

Adams, B. (2011, June 22). SEO within the SOSTAC® strategy framework. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from State of Search: http://www.stateofsearch.com/seo-within-the-sostac-strategy-framework/

Business Services Agency Ltd. (2012). Developing a Marketing Communciations Plan using the SOSTAC Model: Planning Guide. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from BSA Marketing: http://www.bsamarketing.com/downloads/sostac.pdf

Predrag Putic. (2007). Chess Pieces Image. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from Canadian Chess Academy: http://www3.webng.com/chessteacherno1/

Smith, P. R. (2009). SOSTAC® Planning System. Retrieved March 11, 2012, from Paul R. Smith: http://www.prsmith.org/sostac.html

The Art of Listening: Colgate vs. Crest

To get a greater understanding of online marketing tactics, I decided to focus in on two comparable brands, Colgate and Crest. In doing so, I used listening devices and spied on online activities pertaining to the two comparable brands.
First and foremost, I wanted to get a feel for consumer perceptions on each brand. I used expotv.com to get an idea of the average rating for products of each brand and to take a look into some of the common reviews.

Colgate User Perceptions:
Average rating of 5/5
Mild flavouring
Great value
Gel Whitening options
Contains triclosan

Crest User Perceptions: 
Average rating of 5/5
Tastes good
Various flavour options
Many whitening options that work
Contains fluoride

Findings
Both brands are doing a lot in the advertising sector, with loads of coupons and deals being publicized daily through various online sites. In all of my listening searches, I used the keywords “Colgate toothpaste”, or “Crest toothpaste”, rather than just the brand name. This was done to avoid counting unrelated products.

1.       Twitter

The Colgate account is very timely in replies and seems to take complaints well, from what I’ve witnessed. However, content is less unique and personable, giving a more generic, automated feel. Within 9 hours of following Colgate, they were following me.

The Crest corporate account is extremely personable. They reply to many user complaints and comments in a timely and enthusiastic manner. However, they have yet to follow me.

2.       SocialMention

First off, I must comment that SocialMention is such an awesome site for finding statistics about a multitude of themes in real life time. It is honestly astounding how well this site tracks valuable metrics for marketers! I compared Colgate and Crest statistics on social mentions by analysing the statistics at the exact same moment in time.

According to SocialMentions, Colgate is talked about approximately every 39 minutes. Of these mentions, overwhelming amounts are neutral comments. However, in comparing the good and the bad, the positive comments outweigh the negative, 135 to 24 (6:1 sentiment). Many of the mentions are taken from multiple sites, conveying that Colgate has social leverage amongst many fields. Additionally, it was found that there is a 7% chance that Colgate will be mentioned in social media, and 26% chance that people who are talking about Colgate will repeatedly do so.

A new mention for Crest happens every 29 minutes, most of which are neutral. There are 223 positive comments to the 26 negative ones (9:1 sentiment). Overwhelming amount of twitter mentions. Additionally, it was found that there is an 8% chance that Crest will be mentioned in social media, and 42% chance that people who are talking about Crest will repeatedly do so.

3.       Facebook

Colgate’s Facebook page was set up well, with many interactive outlets. They displayed pictures, videos and continuous updates. However, much of the updated content seemed to be auto-generated, as it wasn’t very applicable to the brand. The company offered free samples to those who `liked` the page, however, many people were posting comments complaining about not receiving these samples. At the time of my search, Coalgate had 47,558 likes and 928 people talking about the brand.

Crest’s Facebook page is not very impressive in content. I did have issues viewing the page at first, as it apparently is not compatible with
secure browsers. However, the page did acquire 107,798 likes. Additionally, 1,070 people were talking about Crest at the time of my search.

4.       Ice Rocket

Using IceRocket, I was able to search for each brand’s appearance in blogs. The results were very close, with Colgate appearing in an average of 37.23 posts per day and Crest appearing in an average of 35.1 posts per day.

Summary
It is apparent that both Colgate and Crest are leading brands in the toothpaste market. Both are highly comparable and capture large portions of the market. However, according to the listening devices I employed, it appears that Crest had a greater consumer sentiment.

I used Twitter, Facebook, SocialMentions and IceRocket as listening devices. They each provided me with relevant and more importantly, unique statistics on each of the brands. These listening devices were all fee and extremely useful, which is why it is necessary for companies to take advantage of such tools. There are more specific and greater detailed programs that cost money that can also aid in monitoring ones online company activity, yet using the
free tools it a great start.

I think it’s important that companies begin using free tools to monitor their progress. It’s from this initial information that they can discover their objectives and needs. If greater information is required, then why not ante up for a little extra?

Strategy Analysis
If I were to enter the toothpaste market, I would have a pretty hard time capturing market share as it seems to be an Oligopoly. There are only a few competitors in this market, making entry slightly difficult.

However, with the market structure aside, I would definitely take advantage of many of the tools that Colgate and Crest have already obtained. Contrastingly, I would put more emphasize on my Facebook page, as the two companies seem to have issues with their page content, recency and relevance (Crest more than Colgate).

Website References

www.icerocket.com

www.socialmention.com

www.expotv.com

www.facebook.com/#!/ColgateSmile

www.facebook.com/#!/Crest

www.twitter.com/#!/ColgateSmile

www.twitter.com/#!/Crest