Marketing

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Does Your Company Seem Socially Irresponsible?

Public perceptions of corporate irresponsibility are shaped in subjective, yet predictable, ways. “People like tidy stories with a clear villain,” write Nathan T. Washburn of Thunderbird School of Global Management and Donald Lange of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University. “We lose interest when there are too many factors, extra complexity or too much ambiguity.” That means that powerful negative images can be hard to respond to.

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Nonprofits Get More from Social Media with Metrics

In a Q&A, author and consultant Beth Kanter explains the special challenges nonprofits have in taking advantage of social media. In her book Measuring the Networked Nonprofit, Kanter and co-author Katie Delahaye Paine write, “Affecting social change is, of course, the ultimate goal for non-profit organizations. But you can’t get to any destination without a road map and some signposts along the way. Measurement is your map, and metrics are your signposts.”

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Turning a “No Comment” Company into a Social Media Advocate

Danish shipping and energy company Maersk Group had nearly 100 years of history as a strong, silent type before corporate brand manager Anna Granholm-Brun came along. In a conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review’s Robert Berkman, Granholm-Brun explains how the company has shifted from one end of the transparency spectrum to the other, why there’s so much value in a good story and what it took to sell social to company executives.

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Should You Punish or Reward Current Customers?

Should you offer your best prices to new customers or existing ones? Recent research suggests that the answer depends on customers’ shopping flexibility and the degree to which customers’ value varies. When consumer preferences are highly fluid and the highest-value customers are much more valuable than others, then companies should reward their best existing customers. But if either of those characteristics is not in place, companies should offer their best prices to new customers.

Image courtesy of Flickr user trialsanderrors.
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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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Image courtesy of Flickr user PhotKing ♛.
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One Size Does Not Fit All in Social Media

How can corporations get more value from their use of social media? They can start by paying attention to research into developmental psychology, argues Boston College’s Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane. Understanding why people use social media differently at different ages can provide considerable insight for corporations that want to interact with customers.

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Capturing the Value of Synchronized Innovation

How can companies coordinate their product development efforts? Research by Jason P. Davis (MIT Sloan School of Management) shows that synchronization can take three forms: proactive planning with partner organizations; reactive action to signals by other companies; or combining these two in a hybrid. Each approach has its own implementation costs and challenges. Moreover, the network of relationships that already exist within an industry affects how quickly synchrony emerges.

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The Executive’s Role in Social Business

A majority of respondents to a survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte say that their companies’ social capabilities are at an early stage of developing social capabilities. However, executives are increasingly recognizing the value of social business to their organizations, and a majority of C-suite respondents believe that social business represents an opportunity to fundamentally change the way work gets done.

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Analyzing Performance in Service Organizations

We can’t always trust our intuition about how employees will perform. Intuition can be misleading, or just plain wrong. So a growing number of savvy service businesses have investigated the use of a sophisticated linear programming technique called DEA, or data envelopment analysis. Authors H. David Sherman and Joe Zhu, who call DEA “balanced benchmarking,” write that the technique helps companies locate best practices not visible through other management methodologies.

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How to Drive Customer Satisfaction

There are six significant drivers of customer satisfaction for companies to pay attention to: adaptability, commitment to customers, connection with other customers, product assortment, easy transactions and appealing environment. A Trader Joe’s grocery store, for instance, carries about 4,000 items, compared to 50,000 in a typical store. Less is better: Items are chosen to match the demographic and psychographic profiles of Trader Joe’s customers, and provide the assortment customers want.

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How Companies Can Move Past a Trough of Disillusionment in Social Business

Dion Hinchcliffe, Chief Strategy Officer of The Dachis Group and co-author with Peter Kim of Social Business by Design (Jossey-Bass, 2012) says some companies are facing a “trough of disillusionment” with social business, but that this is normal, and there are strategies a company can take to move forward and become a more fully enabled social business. Among these are building social media literacy, integrating existing initiatives, and connecting social tools to how work gets done.

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Competing in the Age of Omnichannel Retailing

Recent technology advances in mobile computing and augmented reality are blurring the boundaries between traditional and Internet retailing, enabling retailers to interact with consumers through multiple touch points and expose them to a rich blend of offline sensory information and online content. In response to these changes, retailers and their supply-chain partners will need to rethink their competitive strategies.

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Ray Wang Surveys the Evolution of Social Business

Ray Wang has been a highly respected analyst of social business in enterprises for years. Here he discusses how social business evolves in more socially developed businesses, which uses are growing, and how social business is changing the future of work. He lays out the specific signposts that a business can look for as becomes a more fully socially enabled enterprise.

Dr Ed Tucker, VP Janssen Research & Development, a Johnson & Johnson company

How Pharmaceuticals Can Avoid the Side Effects of Social Media

In a highly regulated area like pharmaceuticals, companies need to tread carefully when it comes to dealing directly with customers via social media. In this interview, Dr. Ed Tucker of Janssen Research & Development LLC, a Johnson and Johnson company, explains how social media platforms offer benefits, but also describes the requirements and obligations firms in his industry must comply with when it comes to patient safety reporting, privacy, and other sensitive matters.

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CMOs Using Social Data to Flex Their Muscle

Recent studies show that CMOs are highly involved and supportive of the use of social media for their function, and are enthusiastic about its potential role it may play throughout the entire business as well. This strong and growing relationship between CMOs and social media data may be leading to a growing influence and strength among CMOs in the C-suite and throughout the enterprise.

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How Starbucks Has Gone Digital

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 15 min 

Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman and chief information officer Curt Garner explain how they collaborate closely. The two constantly seek to improve customer experience through technology and to unify marketing efforts across channels. Their partnership has forged a fast-paced rollout of new digital efforts, from faster payment processing to mobile ordering, across Starbucks’ 17,000 stores.

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Why Managing Consumer Privacy Can Be an Opportunity

How many privacy policy updates does your credit card company send you each year? Companies often “manage privacy” and “keep consumers informed” by drafting their privacy policies as broadly as possible and consider their job done if they change the policy 10 times a year to fit with changing practices. However, managing privacy should not be seen by businesses as a burden. Instead, it can be a valuable way to generate and maintain a good relationship with your customers.

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The Myth About Viral Marketing

The idea that messages go “viral” and diffuse through social networks is now a given in corporate marketing and the culture. But recent research suggests that the term “viral” marketing does not describe what happens most often online. In fact, true viral diffusion is rare, according to Sharad Goel, a senior researcher at Microsoft Research. For marketers, this research suggests that it may be time to abandon the idea that viral marketing will frequently lead to, say, tenfold organic growth.

Image courtesy of Flickr user BenLucier.

Optimizing Your Digital Business Model

A company’s digital business model describes how the enterprise interacts digitally with its customers to generate value. If you lack a good digital business model, your customers may leave you behind. This article presents a framework to help enterprises compete digitally with three capabilities: their content, customer experience and platform. The framework is illustrated with case studies of top performers like Amazon, Apple, LexisNexis and USAA and results from an effective practices survey.

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What Do Senior Managers Really Want to Know About Social Media?

A study by the Conference Board and the Rock Center for Corporate Governance at Stanford University analyzed social media usage by senior executives and board members. Its findings offer insights as to why senior staff bring in a consultant or expert to educate staff. A total of 32% of those surveyed said they had done so and explained the reasons why. Many did so to learn about LinkedIn; others wanted to learn about using social media for promotion, developing rules, communication and more.

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