We dealt with the “Why Am I Here” fac­tor in my last blog to explain the pres­ence in your social space of brands of every type and size. My expla­na­tion was sim­ple. It is because you are there. How­ever, there is a lit­tle more to it than that so I will spend some time devel­op­ing the “why fac­tor” a lit­tle more as a segue into the “what we do” fac­tor. Yes, we are engaged in a Why, What, Who, When, Where, and How exer­cise. It is a lit­tle peek at the machin­ery of mar­ket­ing in action, a brief glimpse.

Let us talk about dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing as a whole for a moment. As promised, we will do it with an image.

Seven Phases DM

It is arguable whether there are three, five, seven, or more phases of the mar­ket­ing process but we have to start some­where. I choose to start here. Intu­ition would sug­gest that what we are going to talk about in this arti­cle fits in stage 6, Social Mar­ket­ing. It does not. Social enable­ment is all about rela­tion­ship man­age­ment. This dis­cus­sion is part of stage 5, Cus­tomer Rela­tion­ship Man­age­ment (CRM). Social enable­ment strat­egy is about har­ness­ing mar­ket­place inter­est and per­cep­tions so that the brand can develop a way to encour­age mar­ket aware­ness, loy­alty, and buy­ing behav­ior by sim­ply engag­ing you in your social space and talk­ing to you, answer­ing ques­tions for you, and point­ing you to places on the web where you can find your own answers. One crit­i­cal mis­take that brands make is that they try to change as social media out­lets come and go. Chang­ing plat­forms should not change the strat­egy, though. Social enable­ment cares first about lis­ten­ing to the cus­tomer and becom­ing immersed in their real­ity, prob­lems, chal­lenges, and per­cep­tions. Only then can the brand go about the chang­ing dynam­ics of cus­tomer opin­ions and per­cep­tions as dis­cussed in every­day con­ver­sa­tions. This process is dynamic and ever-changing. It is the unstruc­tured data of what you say that we care about in the social enable­ment game. Let us dig a lit­tle deeper into the CRM stage to see where this is leading.

CRM Deconstruct

Under­ly­ing every phase of dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing is the machin­ery that makes it work. CRM is no dif­fer­ent and the graphic above gives you a glimpse of what goes on there. For our pur­poses here, we will focus on the unstruc­tured data of the social enable­ment effort, but never lose sight of the fact that the gears of that machine mesh with the gears of other efforts within CRM. The col­lec­tion of unstruc­tured and semi­struc­tured data is a com­plex task that involves fol­low­ing a struc­tured and repeat­able process. This process refine­ment is where the value of Big Data is best lever­aged and refined. If you think back to my first arti­cle, we are talk­ing about bil­lions of peo­ple talk­ing and shar­ing opin­ions and per­cep­tions in the social space. We are col­lect­ing the data, pro­cess­ing it, and devel­op­ing mar­ket­ing insights from all that.

Social Enablement Process

We will talk more about the social engage­ment plat­form and what goes on there in the next post. Let me give the “how we do this” issue a rest and leave you with a final thought. This thought is an hon­est expan­sion of the “why do we do this” issue. You, the con­sumer, have impacted the mar­ket­ing process sig­nif­i­cantly with what we call user-generated con­tent (UGC). For a decade now, since the rise of search and social engines, brand-generated con­tent has had to com­pete with and com­ple­ment what B2B and B2C con­sumers are dis­cussing online. Social enable­ment is a way to seize the oppor­tu­nity to hear what you think in real time, mon­i­tor con­ver­sa­tions and trends closely, and respond in real time. We also use the insight to improve brand-generated con­tent and make it more rel­e­vant to you, the con­sumer. The com­plex­ity of doing that is the chal­lenge and oppor­tu­nity of every dig­i­tal mar­keter today. Within that com­plex­ity is a need to develop a mar­ket­ing sim­plic­ity that makes you real­ize that the brand and the con­sumer are in a con­stant exchange of mes­sages, per­cep­tions, and responses.