Experience Management Blog

Don’t BE the Conversation, JOIN the Conversation


marketing funnel

To most, social networks refer to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and all those Phone, Web, and app-enabled tools that help us communicate. But in reality, social networks are really nothing more than groups of individuals connected by some commonality: relationships, beliefs, profession, or purpose.

Before the internet and the World Wide Web, these interactions took place in person at school, work, church, and conferences. The emergence of social media has transformed one of the oldest characteristics of humanity: our desire to make personal connections. Modern technologies have revolutionized the way we exchange ideas, share information, and solve even the most challenging problems — reshaping research and marketing cooperation along the way.

Understanding the complexity of this is critical for success in the years to follow. Here are a few steps businesses can take:


A Strong Foundation: The Role of Infrastructure in Building Social Relationships


paypal sonja broze social infrastructure


 This post originally appeared as a guest post for PayPal Forward.

When you think of a home, you think of time spent with loved ones and all the memories held under one roof. You rarely think about the materials that hold the house together — the foundation that makes it possible to have a home.

The same applies to social. You rarely think about the systems in place to make all those tweets, shares, and conversations possible. You overlook the role of infrastructure in building and maintaining relationships.

But the reality is: “without an infrastructure, you’re just not social,” says Sonja Broze, Head of Social Relationship Infrastructure at PayPal.


#DearCongress: Social Media Should Be Your Friend During the Shutdown


zoo closed during government shutdown


Federal social media sites have been eerily quiet since the government shutdown began on October 1, 2013. The Smithsonian, National Zoo, NASA, and many other government-funded organizations have informed their social media followers that until the shutdown ends, they won’t be tweeting, Instagraming, or posting on Facebook.

Talk about a major #fail.


Join us Oct 14 at Real-Time Marketing Lab


Real-time Marketing is here to stay and hopefully people will stop whining about it pretty soon. In the mean time marketers, innovators, and thinkers on real-time will all be meeting up in New York City on October 14th at Real-Time Marketing Lab to see the latest technology and discuss the latest efforts at making real-time marketing a reality.

Dachis Group will be there, and our CTO Erik Huddleston will be on stage demonstrating how our solutions solve real-time marketing for brands and agencies.

We hope you can join us. See you there!

Real-Time Marketing Lab


Stop Whining About Real-Time Marketing and The Problem With A Lot of Marketing Punditry


There’s been a whole lot of complaining lately about real-time marketing. Is real-time marketing a predatory weed? Does real-time marketing inherently suck? We don’t think so.

In fact, we are building tools to make real-time marketing real and easy for brands and agencies everywhere. So the question is, are the cynical pundits right? Are the real-time marketing innovators wrong? Real-time marketing is a real, and very exciting, new tactic and our CEO, Jeff Dachis, is in AdAge today exploring that exact question.

To begin it’s important to understand where the real-time marketing furor came from:

Let’s start by breaking down the rapid rise and quick turnaround of sentiment toward real-time marketing. As we all know, the inflection point for the real-time marketing conversation was Oreo’s Tweet from the Super Bowl. The moment, the brand, and the content all aligned in a perfect storm to earn a massive response and make Oreo look awesome. Marketers got very excited and many began to discuss the possibility of having their own Oreo-moments.

We also acknowledge that a lot of real-time marketing is really not that great.

But as we’ve watched brands attempt to replicate that success at the Royal Wedding, Grammys, and Oscars, it’s become apparent that most of the attempts have been ill conceived and just generally lame. The reason is actually pretty simple: these me-too efforts at creating an Oreo-moment are not actually real-time marketing. Brands are basically just inserting an ad into broad cultural conversation and hoping to catch lightning in a bottle. And yes, most of it sucks.

But despite all this, there is absolutely no question that the macro trends driving real-time marketing are very real and represent a huge opportunity for brands. This is the latest stage in an evolution toward engagement marketing that every brand needs to master:

The trends driving real-time marketing are very real and are rooted in massive changes in human behavior that marketers need to start grappling with. At its earliest stages this change manifested as second-screen viewing of television shows (where people Tweet their friends while they watch Top Chef or Nascar). But it has rapidly become something else entirely: people are no longer just second screen viewing, they are second screen living.  As a result, every single moment in our society is now accompanied by a river of real-time social activity generated by tens of millions of smartphone-wielding global citizens.

This doesn’t mean that real-time marketing is easy, or even remotely figured out. But it does mean that we are in the midst of a rapid evolution where experimentation and innovation are critical. And that’s where the problem with the punditry comes in.

The levels of cynicism associated with real-time marketing are remarkable. People seem to get a great deal of satisfaction from jumping all over brands that attempt timely marketing, and then fail to capture the levels of engagement they desire. Why?

Why is it so important to try and bury a new set of marketing tactics mere months into their existence?. We’ve barely defined real-time marketing, let alone mastered it. There are a lot of cheap page views to be had in cynically trashing a new marketing tactic. But if you are seriously arguing that brand content is going to be less social, less timely, less aligned to what is interesting right now to a brand’s advocates – then you really ought to take your ball and go home. As Jeff points out:

For now, brands have to start somewhere. If that means building a war room and attempting some stunt during the Grammy’s then so be it. But to all the pundits out there that lambast marketers for trying something new, something that is most definitely revolutionary, please recognize that just because some early attempts at real-time marketing are weak, it doesn’t mean that this isn’t a massive opportunity for modern marketers to be more relevant, more engaging, and to build brands in a whole new way.

The brands that figure this out, will be much better positioned for the future than their competitors. They will have sped up the metabolism of their business from today’s month-long planning cycles and adapted to a world of rapid timely engagement. They will have acquired the technology to see the trends their brand advocates care about and join those trends in a consistent, engaging manner. As Jeff says:

Real-time marketing is the future. So please stop whining, and let’s get on with the hard work of figuring out how to do it well.

You can check out the whole article on AdAge here or if you want to learn more about real-time marketing, grab the whitepaper below.

Download: Real-Time Marketing Explained

The Total Digital Experience


digital world

This post originally appeared as a guest post for Pivot. You can read it here.

When will social TV take off?

Is 3D printing part of “the total digital experience”?

Does the fact that I can use my mobile device at Coors Field to order food service, post the pic of my family at the game to the Jumbotron, and use the stadium Wi-Fi to simultaneously post to Facebook  — as well as my mom’s digital picture frame — mean “the total digital experience” has arrived? (more…)

10 Reasons to Earn More Brand Advocacy


This article was prepared collaboratively by authors from the Social Business Council – a free community for social business practitioners. Want to join the Council? Learn more here.  

There is a growing list of ways companies can benefit from customer advocacy; the business case for an advocacy program has never been more compelling.  The goal of this post is to:

  1. offer a primer on the benefits of customer advocacy, and
  2. give those familiar with advocacy a tool to evangelize those efforts within their firm.

The benefits of customer advocacy that are covered in this paper are covered deeply enough to provide a macro view of advocacy and why companies should seriously consider a program for themselves.

10 Reasons to Activate Brand Advocates and Grow Brand Advocacy

1) Decrease Marketing Costs

The amplification that advocates offer brands is much larger than that of a typical fan. This means that investing media spend on advocates will give a company the biggest bang for its buck. If a marketing team has a total impressions target they want to hit, investing in advocates can be the most efficient way to get there.

2) Drive Revenue

Earned media produced by advocates sees higher conversion rates than a company’s paid efforts. According to Ad Age, conversion rates could increase by five-hundred percent, because influencers and experts are perceived as being more credible than the brands themselves. Edelman’s “Trust Barometer” said that CEOs were the second least trusted source of information in 2013, second only to government officials. An “academic or expert” was the most credible source of information two years in a row.

The amplification advocates offer brands is orders of magnitude larger than that of a typical fan.

3) Manage a Brand’s Reputation

It has never been easier for a single consumer to damage a brand’s image. Photos and commentary can spread across the internet unchecked. Goodwill that took decades to build can be torn down in minutes. Brands have responded to this threat by equipping their social media and public relations teams with listening tools like Radian 6. These tools are good at notifying the user when and where their company name is mentioned, but social media and PR teams only have so much bandwidth to answer disgruntled customers. This is where advocates can help. A social media team of four can scale their brand’s reputation efforts to thousands of individuals if they empower their advocates.

4) Use Real Time Customer Feedback

Advocates are passionate about their brands, and if their brand lets them
down, advocates will speak up. This feedback is critical. Without it a brand may unknowingly continue to underperform. With instant feedback a brand can put the breaks on whatever they’re doing wrong and use the feedback as guidance on how to improve.

5) Make Customer Support Collaborative

Questions about a product or service can pop up anytime and anywhere. With a strong advocacy program, where advocates are knowledgeable about the product, they may be able field the questions before they hit the customer contact center. Many customer advocates enjoy answering questions. Sometimes they like to show their mastery of the product or service, and sometimes they answer questions out of altruism. Whatever the reason, the brand benefits immensely.

6) Retain Customers

If activated and appreciated, advocates are less likely to switch brands. This is intuitive, as the more emotionally invested one is in a brand, the greater the “switching cost” is to go elsewhere. There is quantitative evidence to back this up. The Harris study2 research showed that “76% of brand advocates said they were more likely to repurchase [from a brand] after recommending [that] brand or product.”

7) Co-Develop a Product

If advocates are empowered to do so, they will tell a brand what they want it to produce next. LEGO is a pioneer in this area. In 2006 LEGO co- developed a new product in conjunction with its 40,000 strong “Adult Fans of LEGO” community. The new product, MINDSTORMS NXT, was a huge success. Since then, co-development has been standard practice at LEGO.

8) Crowdsource Content

Community managers and social media teams are constantly scrambling to come up with engaging, unique content to push out to the market. Asking advocates to post/share their own content can serve as an great addition to the content calendar. Advocates love interacting with their brands; campaigns that give them a channel to do so can be highly effective in generating earned media and unique content.

9) Recruit Top Talent

Social media is a highly effective way of reaching new recruits. Jobvite released a report in May 2011 indicating that 80% of the 600 employers surveyed answered “Yes” to the question, “Do you use social media for recruiting?”3 Unless a firm has a big recruiting budget, it may struggle to noticed. This is where advocates can make a big difference.

10) Source Market Intelligence

A brand’s advocates can be a great source of intelligence on competitors, new products, and disruptive technologies. If a company has taken the time to build a trusting relationship with its advocates, they may find their advocates asking them how they are going to do to counter the competition’s newest product, or how are they going to deal with the latest disruptive technology. As a brand manager, you should have a strategy for dealing with the “unknown unknown.” Listening to your advocates is a great way to go about this.


If advocates are empowered to do so, they will tell a brand what they want it produce next.

It is difficult to put a hard ROI on an advocacy program, however leadership should consider all of the ways advocates can add value to a firm before finalizing their marketing budget. There is a growing body of evidence that shows that firms with advocacy programs out-perform the market in many metrics, including revenue and profitability.

As a brand manager, you should have a strategy for dealing with the “unknown unknown.” Listening to your advocates is a great way to go about this.

About the Authors

PatrickPatrick O’Brien, of Dachis Group, is the community manager for the Social Business Council, a CoP for Social Business professionals. Patrick’s passion lies in driving business value in organizations using Web2.0 technologies. This includes both internal and external social business. He holds degrees from UT Austin and SMU’s Cox School of Business.

Brian BarelaBrian Barela, of Cru Global, has implemented the digital brand re-launch of Cru Global, harmonizing and elevating Cru’s visual identity and brand experience for volunteers and donors, training over 200 local community and brand managers, and aligning corporate executives to integrate digital channels into their global business objectives. Brian has a bachelors from UCLA.

Amy BishopAmy Bishop, of DigitalRelevance, has a passion for marketing and social business. Amy helps organizations improve customer experience and mobilize advocates by breaking down organizational silos, integrating marketing technology with data and maximizing co-created value with stellar content marketing. Amy holds a bachelors degree from Indiana University Bloomington.

Robert RyanRobert Ryan, of StateStreet Corporation, acts as senior consultant in social business design and the implementation of enterprise social media. This includes overarching business strategy, ensuring online collaboration best practice, implementing cross functional partnerships,and employee engagement. Rob holds an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bridgewater State University.

James LaCorteJames Lacorte, of Blue Cross Blue Shield, has over 15 years experience in the internet field, working for start ups to Fortune 500 companies. His strengths include: building and managing online communities, developing social media strategies and sites, content management, implementation of radio/newspaper website, and project management. James holds a bachelors degree in Business Management and Computer Science from Milligan College.

What is the Social Business Council?

The Social Business Council explores the latest topics in social business and social marketing, and provides a place for peers, colleagues, and world-renowned thought leaders to share tips and best practices for the internal and external application of social business.Who is Dachis Group?Dachis Group is a leader in data-driven social marketing solutions.

Utilizing a proprietary big data analytics platform, Dachis Group helps marketers master the most valuable brand marketing channel in the world – the real-time social conversations of their customers.


  1. http://www.slideshare.net/fullscreen/EdelmanInsights/global-deck-2013-edelman-trust-barometer-16086761/6
  2. Harris Poll, June 2009
  3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_recruiting

Manage Your Reputation With Brand Advocacy

Top Candidate: How to Hire in the Social Era


help wanted sign

You see it time and again — the community manager who accidentally tweeted from his personal account at the expense of the business; the viral YouTube video that exposed an employee’s wrongdoing; the marketing idea that went sour quickly after a misunderstood Facebook post.

Some social crises are unavoidable. But, it doesn’t matter how these things happen — the brand is always to blame.

There is a fundamental transformation taking place in the workforce due to the emergence of social technologies. The demand to properly equip your company to handle the impact of social is high. Many businesses have sufficiently responded to this demand on an external level.

But, there has to be an internal shift, as well. This means transforming every traditional aspect of your corporation into a social powerhouse. One department at a time.


Naked in Seattle


Naked in the airport

For the record, this is NOT Jeremy.

I’m a huge fan of Naked Juice. And I travel a lot.

Despite the high prices in airports (shh…don’t tell my CFO), it’s my go-to beverage while in airports.

The other day I was in Seattle.

Waiting for my flight, I spent a good, long time traversing the terminal in favor of my preferred drink.

Couldn’t find a single bottle of Naked.

So, as a passionate advocate, I tweeted them.


How Retailers Can Take Action in a SoLoMo World


shopping cart with digital icons
This post originally appeared as a guest post for Pivot. You can read it here.


We recently wrote about brick-and-mortar retailers in a SoLoMo world, and concluded with the idea that focusing on the consumer is the first step to earning attention, trust, and loyalty. In order to focus on the customer, we need to think of them in the context in which they are making purchases today, and their expectations in a shopping environment that is immediately available at their fingertips.

So, what do consumers expect these days? And what can retailers do about it right now and in the near future?