Summary of Lecture 1 – 13/08/2012

On August 13, we commenced the new trimester (technically lasts for just 5 weeks) at ESSEC Singapore campus. I delivered my first lecture on social media marketing to 42 ESSEC students who have come from France and one NTU student, who is a Singaporean.

I have not yet decided whether I will make my slides public. However, the syllabus is available for download from here. I had asked students to read up three articles before coming to the class. I am not sure whether anyone read it. Anyway, the highlights from the session are as follows:

1) The course is divided into thee broad segments. First segment focuses on the most critical strategy aspect. The second segment involves implementation of that strategy, and the third segment is about monitoring and measuring the social media effectiveness.

2) Under the strategy aspect, I introduced 5 Cs of social media marketing. I will write a separate blog post about this. The 5 Cs are community, conversations, channels, content, and collaboration (or cocreation). Like all the marketers, I believe in “know your customer” mantra. In social media, I would say “know your community.” I chalked out a vague mapping between 4 Ps of marketing (product, price, promotion, and place) and 5 Cs of social media marketing. there is no clear cut mapping, which indicates that social media marketing is a distinct concept.

3) I discussed two readings, one from McKinsey Quarterly and the other from MIT Sloan Management Review (see the syllabus for the titles). McKinsey article makes an argument that marketers should use consumer purchase decision process (information gathering, evaluation, purchase, experience, brand advocacy, and bonding with the brand) as various touch points. Depending on what you want to do with social media–monitor, respond, amplify, and lead–marketers should use different responses. For example, brand monitoring can be done at all the six stages in the consumer decision journey. Various social media analytics services are available and should be used for such purposes. Monitoring also includes early warning systems, which should reduce or eliminate the impact of a crisis situation. After a customer experiences the product, turns into an advocate, and creates a bond with the brand, marketers could lead engagement by involving the customer into decision making process. For example, the customer could provide rich feedback to improve the experience, or even to design a new product. Starbucks has been running such a co-creation experiment for some time now.

4) The second article talks about how to convince CEOs of large companies to adopt “Enterprise 2.0”. Such a social media effort requires engaging with employees internally and customers, suppliers, and developers externally. The article identifies several impediments to adoption of Enterprise 2.0. The ones that I have personally come across involve threat of competitor espionage due to the exposure of vital information in a public forum. The second important hindrance is the legal issues involved in sharing of information. For example, what if the information that the firm releases breaches some contracts with another party? The article, which is in the form of an interview, lays down five potential solutions to these problems. First, you could explain the CEO that by creating an online community of the employees and developers, the firm could unleash a vast amount of information to be used by the firm. Second, social media create a large number of weak ties, which have great usefulness (this is based on Mark Granovetter’s seminal paper [PDF]). Third, point out to the CEO that the demographics are changing fast (“look at your kids, big fella!”). The consumer usage of technology has dramatically shifted. Fourth, listen to all the objections, fears, and counterarguments from various company executives. Then prepare a proposal grounded in research, case studies, etc. to mitigate these concerns. In other words, don’t hard sell and remember that “Talk is cheap.” Finally, take a note that in many cases the middle management, rather than the top management, is the one opposing Enterprise 2.0. Therefore emphasize to them that the social media is not going to challenge existing internal hierarchy. The decision making will still remain with the few. However, Enterprise 2.0 will ensure that the input is coming from many.

5) We didn’t have time to go over Deloitte sponsored Tribalization of Business study (note- there is a typo in the syllabus). The study has some nice charts explaining the social media usage across different firm sizes. It is instructional to see the studies from 2008, 2009, and 2010 to observe the shift.

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