You do the influencing, the technology helps you identify and connect with the individuals who matter to your customers -- current and future. As Gary Lee, CEO mBLAST, said in a recent conversation with me, the firm's services are easy to use, affordable, and can make you a better marketer.
Good bye Lone Ranger, hello Connector. The place where a marketer's time is best invested is with her customers.
Making you a better marketer involves your permission. The company offers a software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite of tools to support operating in an increasingly complex digital environment. One where 2 billion voices are producing a constant stream of data and information.
"Influencer" is not a new concept
Whether you've been in public relations, brand management, or demand generation, you've worked for a long time on influencing third parties like the press, the media, the analyst community -- indeed in many B2B environments this is still the case.
The challenge is to sift through the myriad voices out there, and fingure out who and what matters to your organization. Discovering those voices and not spamming the rest with an unwanted message is key to signal -- and connection.
It kind of reminds me of the sives during the gold rush. Except for influence is a renewable resource.
Why integrate a tool
In essence, doing it manually, or throwing more people at the problem is not going to be sustainable long term. However, not all tools are created equal. Many of the free ones, for example, not to pick on anyone, solve generic problems. Who has generic problems?
Gary and mBLAST have a few basic rules for discovering and engaging those voice that matter to you:
- there needs to be topical relevance for your market
- popularity is not an indication of influence, just raw potential
- influencers have authority they earned by delivering on substance
- beware of ego systems, they don't provide an accurate measurement of influence
What mPACT tracks
The software helps you chart raw potential and measures who is doing what in the market you care about based upon keywords and terms you provide. Then, it tracks what portion of talk becomes action, the authority piece.
Influence is plotted on a chart and ranked based upon a series of variables assigned by you. The screen grab you see up there is for the mobile industry based on keywords Gary used. It shows the influencers against these keywords for the mobile industry, and you can see in the table below that it also shows the rank for each company I am tracking as part of the setup as well.
100% of mPACT is driven by keywords.
You define the market segment you are seeking by keywords you have identified for that segment. (e.g., Mobile, Apps, Smartphone, 3G, etc.). Then you can also define the companies, or brands, or product names you wish to further filter for your business and competitors.
This too is driven by keywords you define. This makes it very flexible. And since the starting point is # 1 outlined above (topical relevancy matters a lot), the software first finds the voices that match against the keywords in the market segment.
This finds the voices that are talking about the market you care about. The sub-filters find who is also talking about your company and competitors. This is fairly logical. Today, marketing does it manually (or using Google, Yahoo, etc.).
You may be tracking the mobile market, and having a sense of who writes about what companies and technologies is useful competitive intelligence. Is a particular blogger or journalist with a engaged readership writing more about your competitors? Time to reach out and talk to understand why.
What does the software automate?
- listening to what is going on
- measuring which matters
- compare conversations
- go back and repeat
It mines the data 24/7.
Conversation Agent's Take
As marketers seek to maximize their budget investments, it will be increasingly important to gain insights into who is truly connected or has the potential to tip connections on their behalf in their markets. The current conversation around influence is very generic. Marketers on the client side cannot afford to go down the generic path anymore. mPACT will help deliver relevancy at a very reasonable incremental cost.
Agencies and consultancies have a couple of options: they can either go down the road of proprietary tool development, or they will need to partner/adopt a software robust enough out of the box to allow for an additional layer of intelligence delivered with their strategy. Test drive mPACT and compare notes with other software you have used.
[click on the image to enlarge]
This is my inaugural post on a new series on technology. I created a Twitter list a while back with apps and technology, so I could start following new releases and information. Let me know if I missed anything, and I'll add it in.
During SxSW this coming week, I plan to learn about three technologies that help solve different problems for marketers, so stay tuned for my in depth reviews here. I will look at the benefits for both agencies and clients.