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7 worthwhile ways to profile your audience online 0

Posted on April 13, 2014 by Rob Petersen



Audience Profiling

How well do you know your audience? Here are some ways to know them a lot better.

An online audience profile is a set of data that defines your ideal customers.

It reflects actual behaviors so it’s real, quantified and recent. To put across your message to the right people in the most effective way, audience profiles are worth knowing and doing for your business. They’re not hard to do, but it’s not the data, it’s what you do with it.

Here are 7 ways to do online audience profiling with examples, illustrations and specific benefits for your business.

  • ROLES: If audiences for your business have diverse needs, Roles are an effective way to profile. For example, with an academic institution like NYU (below), audience needs are very different depending on whether your audience is undergraduate students, graduate students or people pursuing continuing education. On a website, Roles are usually called out with specific navigation tabs so each group has structured content and user experiences specific to their needs. When “tasks” like register or apply are established for each profile, the content and user experience can be measured, quantified and improved.

Audience Profiles Roles

  • BUYER PERSONAS: To empathize with your audience and understand their needs, consider developing a Buyer Persona, a hypothetical person representing an important class of visitors to your site. HubSpot offers a free template for developing Personas. The benefits to a business are Buyer Personas help construct a relevant and effective conversion experience. If your audience is “Busy Moms,” you can see how answering the questions in the example below helps better address her needs and actions.

Buyer Personas

  • VISITOR ENGAGEMENT: Any business can profile their audience through their website analytic tool. Look in the Audience section of Google Analytics. Establish Segments like people who view 3 or more pages or stay on your site for 3 or more minutes or new vs returning visitors. Track this group monthly and see how this more “engaged” group finds your site, what content they view and when they take actions.

Audience Profiling Visitor Engagement

  • KEYWORDS AND KEYWORD TRENDS: According to Forrester, 54% of people find a website by first typing their unmet need in the query box of a search engine. The keywords that attract your audience are an effective way to profile. From a previous posts, here are 10 Keyword Tools you can use for your website. My favorites, for audience profiling, are the Google Keyword Planner and Google Trends. They tell what is the search volume and if it is increasing of decreasing. For example, since this is a digital marketing blog, I’m interested in knowing the marketing areas that reflect the interests of this audience. What are they? See for yourself.


  • TECHNOGRAPHICS: With the rise of social media, Technographics classifies people according to how they use social technologies. There are seven segments to a Technographic audience. The segments reflect an “empowered” audience and the fact that, although only a small number of people in a community may be active participants, they can have great influence over others. Technographics are a benefit to a business likely to be heavily influence by reviews and recommendations. Since 78% of us trust peer recommendations and only 14% trust advertising, Technographic profiling makes sense for an increasing number of businesses. Here’s a tool from Forrester to define and create the seven segments for your audience. Try it out for yourself.

  • ADVOCATES: 92% of us trust Advocates according to Zuberance. Advocates tend to be highly satisfied customers. They are loyal, helpful, generally aren’t motivated by incentives are represent a sustainable marketing force. To find advocates in your industry, consider profiling by the Authority Score from Technorati. It measures a site’s standing and influence in the blogosphere by calculating the number of other site’s that have linked into it within the last six months. It’s a good way to find and profile advocates in your industry.

Technorati Authority Score

  • SENTIMENT:  If the use of language, text or linguistics to define the polarity of your audience is important, there are ways to look at what your audience is saying about your business online to profile based on sentiment. A couple of tools  available are Topsy and Social Searcher. The sentiment metric that Topsy provides is also rather advanced. Not only are users able to see the overall score, but the score is tempered based around overall Twitter sentiment at the time. Topsy adjusts the sentiment score based on the overall Twitter environment.

Topsy Sentiment Score

These are some of the ways you can profile your audience.

Mike Moran and I teach Social Media and Internet Audience Profiling at the University of California. You can also learn from my offering, Social Media Listening and Online Audience Profiling, Ask me about it.

Did these ways convince you of the value of online audience profiling for your business? Which one would have the greatest benefit to your business?

Is Ready. Fire. Aim your social media plan? 31 ways to tell 0

Posted on April 07, 2014 by Rob Petersen



Ready. Fire. Aim in social media

  • 83% of marketers indicate social media is important for their business (source: Social Media Examiner)
  • 75% plan to increase their spending in social media this year (source: Wildfire)
  • Only 37% think their Facebook efforts are effective (Social Media Examiner)
  • Only 26% are able to measure their social activities (Social Media Examiner)

These statistics says businesses believe in social media. They are going to invest in it. Yet, results are elusive and, much of the time, don’t meet expectations.

Do businesses believe in social media but jump into it without a plan? Do they Ready. Fire. Aim. Here are 31 ways to tell.

BUILD: What is the social media effort built upon?

  • Build it and they will come is an expectation
  • The plan is to hire interns to do it
  • “We’re in social media. We have a Facebook page” inaugurates the effort
  • “Follow us on…” is a strategy
  • Enabling comments is a question
  • The competition isn’t looked into at the start of the effort
  • Integration with the rest of the marketing effort isn’t considered
  • Your boss asks you to set up a Pinterest page but your audience is male
  • Your boss never asks: “Who do we want to attract, “where do we find them,” or what action should they take?”
  • Your boss asks 6 months after the effort began: “Why are we doing this again?”

ENGAGE: What is the strategy for engagement?

  • “Like us on Facebook” is a traffic-driving strategy
  • Press releases comprise the majority of posts
  • There is no content calendar
  • The content strategy is to post at least 3X a week;  quantity always has the priority
  • The competition isn’t reviewed for learning and insights
  • When someone posts a questionable comment, five people have to call a meeting on what to do
  • You promote your brand more than you say thanks to other

MEASURE: What is the measurement plan?

  • There is no business strategy for social media against which to have a measurement plan
  • There is no measurement plan
  • The measurement plan is only “Vanity Metrics” - Like, Tweets, ReTweets. There is no connection to real business results – leads, conversions, sales
  • Only social media metrics are looked at; there is no integration of measurements from other areas of the marketing mix
  • Progress against the competition isn’t considered
  • There are no “social listening” tools like Topsy, Social Searcher or Booshaka utilized for audience feedback
  • There is no audience segmentation to determine: Advocates, influencers, participants and detractors
  • Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), an actionable scorecard to keep the business strategy on track, are never established; partly, because there is no business strategy

IMPROVE: Where do we go from here?

  • There are no regular meetings to determine learning and look for insights
  • Future content is never determined based on audience needs or feedback
  • The definition of the audience is they “Like” us on Facebook or “Follow” us on Twitter
  • The impact of social media on other areas of the marketing mix is never mentioned
  • Whenever there is a meeting to discuss the social media, no specific actions are taken
  • If there are actions discussed, they are: “we have to get more people to ‘Like’ us on Facebook” and “more ‘Followers’ on Twitter.”
  • Your boss asks again: “Why are we doing this?”

Social media changes marketing from a monologue to a dialogue. That’s a pretty big deal. Although the “media” is very available and low or no cost to use, the “social” part takes carefully planning.

We recommend businesses do Social Listening and Audience Profiling, first. To practice what we preach, we have a program that gets you started to give your business the focus and direction needed. Learn more about it on the sidebar of this website.

Do you think businesses use Ready. Fire. Aim as the social media plan? Do these examples influence you?

12 experts measure the ROI of customer service 1

Posted on March 30, 2014 by Rob Petersen



ROI of customer service

  • It costs 4-6X as much to acquire a new customer as keep a current customer (source: The Times)
  • 80% of a company’s future revenue will come from 20% of its existing customers (source: Gartner)
  • 5% increase in customer retention can increase a company’s profitability by 75% (source: Bain and Co.)

You get the idea. You can’t be in business without putting the customer first.

Customer service is the series of activities that enhance customer satisfaction to keep customers coming back.

Some have argued the quality of customer service has decreased in recent years. That it’s due to lack of understanding and planning at the executive levels on the Return on Investment (ROI) of customer service or, more specifically, Return on Service (ROS).

Do you think so? Here’s how 12 experts measure the ROI of customer service.

  1. “Customer service is not being completely about services, but also as the delivery tools to create company image and customer feelings. And customer feelings are the cornerstone of any successful business.” – Aida Alakbar, TeliaSonera
  2. “It is no longer good enough to simply satisfy your customers or to have a product that works. What will really make the difference is when the customer asks: when I went through that experience, did the provider really engage with me, did they understand my needs, did they think logically about what was best for me? – Jo Causon, CEO of the Institute of Customer Service
  3. “Global companies spend the equivalent of 2% of their marketing budget on actively maintaining relationships with existing customers, while 86% of us have stopped working with a company due to bad customer service – it suddenly all seems to add up.” – Tom Eggemeier, EVP of Global Sales, Genesys
  4. “The overriding factor for consumers will be trust. - a high level of trust will result in a good customer service ROI. Consumers have to trust a supplier to deliver against its promise. Whether that is providing the best price, being available when needed, or getting a response to an inquiry,” - Customer Champions
  5. Once you make an emotional connection with a person, the trust and respect you gain far outweighs the benefit that you get from any form of marketing or advertising efforts. The bottom line is, customer service banks on the long-term ROI. - Evergage
  6. “The rank that consumers assign to a brand relative to the other brands they use predicts share of wallet according to a simple, previously unknown formula, which we’ve named the Wallet Allocation Rule. The essential distinction of the Wallet Allocation Rule is that it takes into account both rank—Is your brand a customer’s first choice? Second?—and the number of brands in the set the consumer uses.” - Timothy L. Keiningham et al, Harvard Business Review
  7. “A simple, practical and intuitive approach  is if a company asks itself, ‘What, specifically, do we want customers to do more of or less of?’ Attitudes (such as satisfaction) and feelings (such as delight) aren’t included – only observable behaviors, such as ‘use our service more often,’ ‘purchase more items on an average visit,’ and ‘return merchandise less frequently.’” – Kinesis
  8. “It’s best to start by understanding the value proposition of your company. For example, do you compete on customer experience, where satisfaction measures are of primary importance, or do you compete on cost, where efficiency and productivity measures are most important?” – Kate Legget, Gardner
  9. “The problem is that there is an inherent conflict – a tradeoff – between a customer’s current-period purchases and her lifetime value.  Businesses are obsessed with short-term results. In sales and marketing terms, it means they are simply eating their own customers, a little at a time.” – Don Peppers, Pepper & Rodgers Group
  10. An organization must be able to make a direct connection to a performance metric. Many times organizations just give the customer what they want. But there is a big difference between what a customer says they want and what drives value ($). To get ROI, you need to focus on value. – Colin Shaw, CEO, Beyond Philosophy
  11. “Stop telling consumers about something they don’t want and will never buy, because eliminating that waste through data to focus on consumers who really care about certain products gives brands a 60% improvement in return on investment.” – Laurie Sullivan, MediaPost
  12. “The payoff of any project can either be a profit increase or cost saving. For most cases and especially customer service improvement initiatives, the payoff is likely to be cost saving, such as reducing staff time spent on a task, improving the quality and driving towards first contact resolution, and avoiding cost associated with errors.” – Etta AuYeung – Customer Service Advantage

For more facts on the value of existing customers, check out the infographic below

Do you think customer service has decreased in recent years? Do you agree with the way these experts measure Customer Service ROI?

Value of Existing Customers

5 reasons analytics is the most coveted marketing skill 0

Posted on March 22, 2014 by Rob Petersen



Iceberg for Analytics

  • 76% of companies believe analytics is a very important skill to have
  • Only 39% believe they have strong analytics talent
  • That’s a gap of 37%  among companies that value analytic skills but don’t have the talent in place (source: Online Marketing Institute)

Analytics is where more companies state they have the biggest talent gap according the OMI Study. The State of Digital Marketing. This is the issue on the surface. But is there a bigger problem that lies beneath?

Analytics is the study of past historical data to research trends and evaluate performance to gain knowledge and effect decisions. The result being to make improvements that create change.

Why do so many companies believe strong analytics solve a problem? Or is this the tip of the iceberg and another issue  lies below the surface?

Here are the 5 real reasons analytics is the most coveted marketing skill (with the facts that back them up).

MAKE BETTER DECISIONS: Analytics gets to better business decisions.

  • 91% of senior corporate marketers believe that successful brands use customer data to drive marketing decisions (source: Interactive Advertising Bureau/Columbia Business School)
  • 72% of executives believe management decision making is only moderately efficient (source: Economist Intelligence Unit)
  • 56% of executives are concerned about making poor choices because of bad data (EIU)
  • 55% of executive decisions are based on ad hoc consultation instead of corporate metrics (EIU)
  • 25% of executives believes management frequently, or always, gets its decisions wrong (EIU)
  • Less than 10% of of executives receive the information they need (EIU)

ACCOUNTABILITY: Analytics improve accountability

  •  70% of senior executives say they use “what if” scenarios at different budget levels to determine sales and profits  (source: Association of National Advertisers)
  • 39% of senior management views marketing as an expense (ANA)
  • 39% say they are satisfied with marketing’s impact on sales and brand equity (ANA)
  • 38% of senior executives agree marketing and finance share common metrics (ANA)
  • 34% of senior marketing execs say they were satisfied with their agency’s metrics (brand health, copy testing, reach, frequency) (ANA)
  • 20% of senior management feels confident in forecasts of how marketing activities will impact sales (ANA)
  • 19% say they were confident that if they had to cut marketing spend by 10%, they could use metrics and analysis to forecast the impact on sales (ANA)

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS (KPI’S): Analytics help identify the right key metrics to create an actionable scorecard that keeps strategy on track

  • 90% of CFO’s believe the KPI’s they use are reflective of reality but could be improved (source: Pricewaterhouse Coopers)
  • 33% of CFO’s deploy too many KPI’s (more than 20) to be useful
  • 33% don’t deploy enough (less than 5) to be useful (PWC)
  • 33% think their current set of KPI’s is adequate (PWC)
  • 20% plan to produce KPI’s more often (PWC)
  • Only 8% think the quality of their source data is excellent

RETURN ON INVESTMENT (ROI): Analytics determine how effectively the business and financials are being managed.

  • 87% agree capturing and sharing the right data is important to effectively measuring ROI in their own company (IAB/CBS)
  • 57% are not basing their marketing budgets on any ROI analysis (IAB/CBS)
  • 51% say that a lack of sharing customer data within their own organization is a barrier to effectively measuring their marketing ROI (IAB/CBS)
  • Only 43% of organizations are establishing their marketing budgets based on marketing ROI analysis (IAB/CBS)
  • 38% say they were extremely satisfied or very satisfied with their company’s ability to change established marketing strategies and budgets when ROI reports demonstrated they were not effective (ANA)
  • 37% of respondents did not include any mention of financial outcomes when asked to define what “marketing ROI” meant for their own organization (IAB/CBS)
  • Only 8% of companies can determine ROI for their social media spending (source: Econsultancy)

BIG DATA: Analytics gets us ready for Big Data.

  • 90% of the world’s total data has been created just within the past two years (source: IBM)
  • 75% of companies say they will increase investments in Big Data within the next year (source: Avanade)
  • 65% of companies deploy Big Data technology to boost the speed and quality of business decisions (source: CIO)
  • 59% of organizations lack the tools required to manage data from their IT systems (source: Saffron Technologies)
  • 34% of organizations say they have no formal strategy to deal with Big Data (source: Information Week)
  • 5% of companies believe Big Data will “fizzle out after the hype dies down” (source: CIO)
  • 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook each month (source: McKinsey)
  • 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytic skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts will be needed by 2018 to fill jobs in Big Data (McKinsey)

BarnRaisers helps companies use analytics to make improvements and create change.

Digital Analytics, Measurement and ROI are courses I teach in the Digital Marketing Mini-MBA program at Rutgers CMD. Class is in session the week of March 31st.  I also am a co-author of  Strategic Digital Marketing, the ultimate crash course in digital marketing, and wrote the chapter on Measurement and ROI.

Does your company need analytics help? Do these reasons explain to you why analytics is so important to so many companies?





18 reasons to listen before you leap into social media 0

Posted on March 17, 2014 by Rob Petersen




Social Media Listening

  • Among companies that are “very successful” at achieving goals with social media, 47% make extensive use of social analytics
  • Among companies that are “not successful,” 17% use social analytics (source: Marquette Group and Ascend2)

Is there a similarity between companies that listen and achieve success? Decide for yourself. Here are 18 reasons to listen before you leap into social media.

  • ADVOCATES: One of the most valuable segments to any business or brand is the people who support your cause and recommend you to others. Tools like Technorati (for blogs), Topsy (for Twitter) and Booshaka (for Facebook) can help you find them on social networks.
  • AFFORDABLE RESEARCH: Online audience profiling and listening is probably the most affordable research a company can do. Although it’s worth doing it with someone who knows what to look for and can set up reporting, the data is readily available and most of the listening tools are low cost or free.
  • COMPETITIVE INTELLIGENCE: If you are watching your industry, you can be the first to spot a competitive opportunity or learn from your competitors. You may also discover industry advocates.
  • COMPLAINTS: A posted complaint may also draw out other comments from people with the same concern, which provides an opportunity to reach out to them.
  • COMPLEMENTS: A customer raving on a social network or review site about the experience they just had with a product or with customer service is the online equivalent of offline testimonials. Create a delicio.us account or use another social bookmarking utility and save all of these compliments in a list for future use.
  • CONTENT CREATION: The best way to guide your content marketing is to listen to what consumers are saying and give them information or teach them what they want to hear and learn.
  • CRISIS MANAGEMENT: Social media lets you know about a bad decision and often how to correct it. For example, to keep up with demand, Maker’s Mark reduced the alcohol content so they could mass-produce their product faster. Customers took to Twitter to announce their displeasure. So Maker’s Mark listened.

Maker's Mark Social Medial Listening

    • IMPACT: Social media marketers who listen and do analysis are more informed as to when their efforts have the greatest impact.
    • INFLUENCERS: Different from advocates, influencers gain their power either from the number of times they post on a topic, and the number of people who link to their posts on a topic. Knowing who these influencers are and their opinions of your brands helps you determine who to engage.
    • INTEGRATION: In the Marquette Group and Ascend2 study, “very successful” companies with social media were 6X more likely than “not successful” companies to integrate social listening with other types of marketing.
    • KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS: An actionable scorecard to keep you business strategy on track defines the role of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’). Why did you get into social media? Increase awareness? Improve engagement? Generate more leads? Do better customer service? Pick the social metrics that align with your goals and take actions based are what the KPI’s are telling you.
    • KEYWORDS: The same words and terms used in your overall marketing are very easy to find using HootSuite. In fact, you can share, comment or connect with the person expressing them. Or, you can use to validate whether the keywords you have chosen are the right ones or need to change.
    • REPUTATION MANAGEMENT: The best way to manage our reputation is to listen to what others are saying. Think about including sites like Yelp and Reputation.com in your listening consideration set. A study from UC Berkley showed that an extra half star on Yelp increased the sell out rate for restaurants from 30% to 47%.
    • SEGMENTATION: For any business, there is a wide disparity between best and worst customers. Audience profiling and social media listening helps you set up a more effective segmentation scheme.
    • TARGETING: Your segmentation gives you a better means for targeting. Through social media metrics, you can do this by buyer personas, geography, devices or messaging.
    • TRENDS: Product gain or lose popularity or command greater interest during certain times of the years, days of the week or hours in the day. Make the most of your effort by being there when your audience is most active. Here’s an illustration. Look at the graph below from Google Trends to see how interest in pajamas has changed over the years but always peak every December. If you were in this market, wouldn’t it effect your plans and participation.


    • TRUST: When you know what your audience is saying, brands can instill trust among customers (social media followers), by engaging in constructive discussions and implementing consumer suggestions into your business policy.
    • VIRTUALLY REAL-TIME: The data that you’re getting back is very actionable because so much of it is occurring in real-time.

BarnRasisers has helped companies in a wide variety of categories listen and achieve better results through social media listening and action.  Talk to us or consider the course Mike Moran and Rob Petersen teach at UCI Extension on Social Media and Internet Audience Profiling.

How do you rate your companies success with social media? Do you listen before you leap. Are you ready to start?

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    BarnRaisers is a full service digital marketing consultancy and agency. We build brands with proven relationship principles and ROI for big results that scale.

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