Marketing Strategy

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Valuing Influentials Means More than Just Counting Connections

New research shows that marketers who want to determine the value of a particular online influencer need to look beyond just the size of a person’s network connections. Zsolt Katona, assistant professor at the Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, found that the value of an influencer depends on underlying factors in the network structure of that individual with the target set of consumers. Specifically, Katona found that people who provide sole influence over consumers are the most valuable.

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The Gap Between the Vision for Marketing and Reality

The growing number of chief marketing executives reflects the increasing importance companies attach to marketing. Yet the average tenure of a chief marketing officer (CMO) is three and a half years, well below that of the typical CEO. Both the prevalence of the CMO position and its precariousness give rise to the question,“Has marketing realized the vision to which its adherents have long aspired?” This article asks if that question is an important one — and where marketing goes from here.

Mark Yolton, senior vice president of SAP Communities & Social Media

SAP: Using Social Media for Building, Selling and Supporting

SAP runs a 10-years old, online community network that has more than a million unique visitors a month. Mark Yolton, senior vice president of SAP Communities & Social Media, tells how his company is using social media for “outside-in” market insight and as a mechanism to immediately tell the world about its new products.

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Enhancing Relationships With Customers Through Online Brand Communities

Online brand communities can bring customers closer to a brand, generate “buzz” and enhance brand loyalty. Yet, important as online brand communities are to consumer markets, little is known about the role they play in consumer decision-making. Although the popularity of online brand communities as a means of gathering pre- and post-purchase information continues to grow, knowledge about how to effectively manage those conversations remains scant.

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The Perils of Social Coupon Campaigns

Social coupons have become a popular form of marketing promotion. Businesses such as restaurants, car washes and dry cleaners pitch coupon discounts through Internet sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial in hopes of attracting a new crop of customers. But a poorly designed coupon campaign can do serious harm to a business’s profit margin. While the coupons can generate value for customers and the social coupon service providers themselves, they can lead businesses into a thicket of problems.

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Collaborating With Customer Communities: Lessons From the Lego Group

Customer-oriented companies pride themselves on understanding the marketplace and integrating the best ideas into future products. But what would it be like if you found that you had hundreds, if not thousands, of knowledgeable users ready and eager to spend nights and weekends acting as extensions of your research and development department? For the Lego Group, the Danish maker of children’s creative construction toys, this close bond with the user community is not a pipe dream but a reality.

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What Sells CEOs on Social Networking

In 2006, MIT Sloan’s Andrew McAfee coined the term “Enterprise 2.0″ as shorthand for collaboration and sharing tools would mean for enterprises. In a recent interview with MIT Sloan Management Review, McAfee looks back at the past six years and reveals what he’s learned about the triggers that generate CEO interest in social networking, what he misread and why the idea of controlling information flows is becoming obsolete.

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Discounting Do’s and Don’ts

Marketers cannot avoid discounted sales, and consumers have come to expect them. The average shopping mall, grocery store or online shop is littered with discounted products: Tide detergent is 10% off; books are sold with free shipping; Nike sneakers are buy-one, get-one-free.

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