IT and marketing ‘must end feud’

Companies must call a truce on the age-old war between IT and marketing if they are to make the most of social media, with marketing crafting the message and IT advising on how to deliver it.
That is according to data from Accenture’s newly released Social Media Engagement Manager software, which measures activity and engagement on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
In many companies, for instance, the person representing the firm on social media has little training or guidance, and puts out posts as and when it suits them. By using data mining to analyse the results from earlier messages, Accenture claims it can now advise on the best format to reach a target audience, when they are most active and how to stimulate a response.
Social media engagement techniques are still in their infancy, said Kelly Dempski, director of Accenture Technology Labs, the equivalent to website analytics a decade ago. He claims much closer co-operation between chief information officers and chief marketing officers is needed to make modern social media strategies work.
He also claims Internet users are much less likely to respond to broadcast marketing, rather than via social networking engagement – provided it is done properly. “When you take a traditional media item, like a link to a Superbowl commercial, then feedback from TV viewers is very high, so the cost of the ad is high. But if that ad is posted on social media then response rates are much lower than if you asked readers a simple question. We still have the mindset that the stuff we understand is broadcast media, which shouts at you, but people like to talk and engage online.”
Applications have proved the most effective form of analytics tool. With Facebook, very few potential customers make their profile public, and even if someone is a fan of your page there is still limited information that can be gathered. But if the user allows an application access to their account, then the data that can be harvested is very rich, he said.
At the same time the costs of using social media are very low, and this allows companies to reach a broad range of people and engage them without major spending on traditional media campaigns. If done correctly, social network marketing can be highly effective, he said, and people generally didn’t find it invasive.
“There are a lot of headlines about Facebook and privacy, but half a billion people don’t seem to care,” Dempski explained. “There’s a vast difference between the buzz about social networking privacy and what people actually do.”

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