Incorporating Listening into Social Marketing for Increased Customer Connections

On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Drew Neisser asks CMO of NetBase Solutions, Paige Leidig, the top questions surrounding social listening and analytics. With over 80% of tweets mentioning brands and the social media analytics industry being a $2.7 billion operation, it’s critical to know how listening can increase your customer connections.

Drew and Paige dive into social listening to give you and your business the best chance to hone your target market and utilize the best marketing channels possible. You’ll also discover how artificial intelligence in the form of Natural Language Processing can revolutionize your metadata processing.

The toughest challenges and biggest surprises encountered in social marketing are covered in this episode. You also don’t want to miss Paige’s top tips for CMOs in 2018.

This conversation is sure to provide critical social listening insights, so be sure to listen (click here to listen now).

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What You’ll Learn

  • [1:40] Drew introduces this episode’s guest – Paige Leidig, CMO of NetBase Solutions
  • [3:00] What is social listening and social analytics?
  • [8:15] Paige shares a great example of social listening information used in revolutionary ways
  • [10:12] The main three marketing channels most brands utilize
  • [12:13] What is the state of the art technique for social listening?
  • [15:36] How can you differentiate your competitive advantage via social listening?
  • [16:59] Natural language processing (NLP) – Artificial intelligence to moderate meta social media data
  • [20:52] Top areas marketers miss while listening to customers
  • [23:49] Paige shares additional example stories on why social listening is critical
  • [28:19] How changing your message for your target market can increase sales and customer engagement
  • [33:35] Why customer stories are of utmost importance in B2B marketing
  • [36:33] Paige’s tips for CMOs moving forward into 2018
  • [38:00] Common surprises encountered when entering into social listening

The practical benefits of incorporating listening into your social marketing strategies

The premise behind social listening is aggregating all public data that’s published on millions of social media platforms and analyzing it to provide key insights into your industry. There are multitudes of practical benefits to social listening, including having the availability to quickly change marketing techniques if the listening offers new feedback on how the market is reacting to a campaign. It enables your company to create content that adds value to the market and encourages high-level digital connections with your customers. Microsoft and Apple are only two examples of top-tier companies utilizing social listening in their marketing strategies and their successes are demonstrated across the board. To hear their full stories be sure to give this episode a listen.

The top three channels used in marketing and how new technology can improve the data analysis process

Paige walks Drew through the main three channels that brands utilize on this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite. The company’s own channel is the most obvious, followed by partnered content channels. But the most valuable channel is through earned content – where people are talking about your brand/content and the signature characteristics that they find interesting and applicable. The best insights come from this channel alone. In order to analyze all of the data that comes through the earned channel, companies should utilize a new form of artificial intelligence called Natural Language Processing or NLP. It automatically sifts through millions of posts, images, and videos to determine the main themes and sentiments of the messages. This data is analyzed across dozens of languages in real time and offers critically important insights into your social marketing strategies. You don’t want to miss this conversation, so be sure to listen to the full audio.

Top social listening tips for CMOs and how to avoid the biggest mistake in marketing analysis

If social listening is done correctly, your company has the opportunity to see huge progress made in your marketing campaigns. As 2018 approaches, Paige encourages other CMOs to be spending 80% of the marketing budget on digital marketing and to move beyond demographic marketing into psychographic marketing. He shares with Drew the biggest mistake to avoid in social listening, which is using false metrics derived from your own channel to drive marketing campaigns. There’s a whole world of opportunity that exists in your earned channel, you just have to be infinitely curious about your customers. You can’t afford to miss these applicable lessons from Drew and Paige so be sure to listen to this engaging episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite.

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Brand Building For Company Differentiation and Workplace Fulfillment

Drew’s guest on this episode, Juliette Rizkallah, has an MBA from Harvard University and over 20 years of marketing and cybersecurity experience. As the CMO for SailPoint, she has linked the idea of identity management to cybersecurity and built a brand that is synonymous with excellence.

In this conversation, she and Drew offer your company the best tactics for brand building, how to differentiate your company from competitors, and why branding is important for employee buy-in and workplace fulfillment. Juliette believes that going beyond “FUD – fear, uncertainty, and doubt factor” marketing leads to customer empowerment and a solid foundation for your company to stand on for many years to come.

On this insightful episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Drew and Juliette tackle some of the biggest challenges for new CMOs and discuss how to handle one of the biggest obstacles in any workplace – ensuring top executives buy into a marketing initiative.

Juliette has some exciting ideas to share with you, so be sure to listen (click here to listen now).

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What You’ll Learn

  • [1:22] Drew introduces the guest for this episode, Juliette Rizkallah, CMO of Sailpoint
  • [2:30] How marketing influenced SailPoint’s recent growth in sales
  • [5:26] The human element of data breaches
  • [6:47] Juliette discusses the mission and strategy of SailPoint
  • [8:05] How do customers emotionally buy into SailPoint?
  • [11:46] What is branding?
  • [13:20] How Juliette is helping SailPoint cut through the competition through branding
  • [18:23] One great effort that Juliette did with SailPoint to differentiate the company
  • [20:54] How to handle a competitor copying your branding efforts, and what that means for your company
  • [27:02] Slow branding is better than fast branding = builds a better foundation
  • [30:00] The biggest challenge as a new CMO who is building a new program
  • [33:00] Advice for fellow marketing professionals
  • [35:33] Drew’s summary of the episode  

How SailPoint built a brand that ultimately increased sales and moved away from FUD tactics

When Juliette joined SailPoint two years ago, their existing branding efforts were not linking the impact of identity management to cybersecurity. She led the efforts that brought SailPoint back to their mission and core values, which “gives enterprises the power to grow, expand and innovate, securely and confidently via innovation, integrity, impact, and individuals.” SailPoint moved away from relying on FUD techniques to incite fear in their customers and demonstrated to them the “power of identity.” Juliette explains that by empowering your IT team and taking away the minutia of cybersecurity work, they are better equipped to focus on company growth – which leads to great fulfillment. These combined efforts led to an exponential growth in sales, increased customer satisfaction, and improved company culture and morale. You can learn how to make these benefits come to fruition at your company if you listen to Juliette’s full story on this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite.

So a competitor copies your branding efforts? What’s next?

After the intense branding process, SailPoint was faced with a large competitor copying their efforts – unfortunately, a common problem in B2B environments. Drew and Juliette discuss the emotional discovery and how SailPoint turned a potential conflict into a reflective exercise. She explains that while the competitor copied SailPoint’s tagline, they could not capture what made SailPoint an exceptional and unique company. Simply changing color schemes and logos does not bring about real change, and clinging to that mindset got Juliette’s team and SailPoint through the challenge. She encourages other CMOs to accept the issue, move past it, and know that those who go through the long process of building a brand will ultimately find more success than those who simply copy the work of others.

Slow branding is better than fast branding, and why a firm foundation is critical to company success and workplace fulfillment

Throughout this episode, a common theme of Drew and Juliette’s conversation is that “slow branding is better than fast branding.” When she began the process of building a brand at SailPoint it was ten months later before real internal and external change was recognized. “We decided to do it well rather than fast,” Juliette explains, and she recognizes that this mindset can be challenging with sales teams, marketing qualified leads, and executive boards looming. This process can excite employees and refresh the ideas behind why the company exists and why employees have dedicated time to its efforts. You can implement her same problem-solving techniques at your company and build a branding platform that you can use for many years to come. Be sure to listen to this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite to take advantage of Juliette and Drew’s CMO experience and learn why effective branding can differentiate your unique company from the rest.

Connect With Juliette Rizkallah:

Resources & People Mentioned

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54: Story-Driven Content Marketing That Drives Leads

In her role as CMO of Tungsten Network – a leading global supply chain enabler – Connie O’Brien has taken on a huge task: she’s spearheading the first content marketing campaign for the company in a very long time, and she’s focusing on friction to do it.

How so? Through the collaborative efforts of a handful of agencies, including Renegade, it was discovered that one of the main places the accounts payable process experiences difficulties is through the friction that exists in the systems and processes involved. So the team Connie assembled set out to discover, from customers and prospects alike, where the key points of friction were and what could be done to smooth out those problems. THAT positioned Tungsten to custom-tailor solutions to the exact problems the marketplace was experiencing.

This conversation is a quick but deep dive into the process the team at Tungsten spearheaded to discover what customers really felt about the frustrations they were experiencing in their accounts payable process, address those concerns effectively, then use content marketing to get the word out about those solutions.

Connie’s brilliance is obvious in this conversation, as is her humility and desire to give credit where credit is due – to her team. Enjoy.

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What You’ll Learn

  • [0:30] Urban gardening and content marketing: both require experimentation & work
  • [2:54] Who is Connie O’Brien?
  • [8:43] What Tungsten Networks does and what got them onto their current content marketing approach
  • [12:18] Engaging employees as advocates for the company on social media
  • [14:56] The decision to talk to customers in an unfiltered way
  • [17:32] The creation of the Friction Finder customer feedback and diagnostic tool
  • [19:51] How Connie manages a multi-agency team for content marketing
  • [23:10] Integrating storytelling into her content marketing strategy
  • [25:03] The difficulty of measuring the value of the campaign effectively
  • [28:23] The primary lessons Connie has learned: Listen & Watch Results
  • [30:02] A quick summary of what Tungsten did and the results so far

It’s not easy to get unfiltered feedback from customers or prospects, but Tungsten Network figured out a way to do it.

One of the primary things that enables effective customer analysis is the power of an honest answer from the end user. Those kinds of answers aren’t easy to get because not only do people simply want to be “nice” when asked direct questions about service and satisfaction, they also can’t always remember the details of their frustrations on the spot. That’s why Tungsten Network went about it a different way – by creating a free tool that offered real value to people they wanted to hear from, whether they were customers or not. It’s called the Friction Finder, and in less than 2 minutes it allows you to assess the extent of the friction in your accounts payable process and provides actionable insights into what you can do about it. That saves you time, money, and eliminates a lot of stress. Find out more by hearing Connie’s description of how Tungsten’s extended team came up with the idea, how they implemented it, and the kind of results it’s provided.

The “official” social media marketing your company is doing may not be enough. Here’s how Connie O’Brien engaged employees to compound the company’s efforts

When you stop to think about the way social media marketing works you’ll quickly realize it’s about a couple of things: compelling content, shared broadly. Each of those has its own challenges, but the broad sharing feels like something you as a CMO or marketing leader can’t really control. Or is it? Connie O’Brien realized that some of her best advocates for the company’s new campaign were the people working on it – her employees. In this conversation, Connie shares how employee involvement on social media helped the campaign’s reach and how she was able to get them to buy-in and be involved. As a result, the company’s ability to do effective customer analysis was increased dramatically. You don’t want to miss this part of the conversation.

Managing a multi-agency team effectively in order to reach the goal of better customer analysis is tricky business

As part of the team that came alongside Tungsten Network to build the Friction Finder content marketing campaign, we here at Renegade saw first-hand what it takes to manage a multi-agency team, and Connie O’Brien did so beautifully. During this conversation, she admitted the challenge but also pointed out that it’s much easier when you work alongside true professionals who know their piece of the puzzle backward and forwards. The end result? Tungsten was able to do the kind of customer analysis needed to create the solutions their prospects needed, and sales are climbing. Listen to the entire conversation. There’s a little bit of something for every company that’s looking to up its content marketing game.

Connect With Connie:

Resources & People Mentioned

Connect with Drew

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53: Happy Holidays, Now Do Something!

‘Tis the season to be jolly! As much as we cherish renegade thinking, family comes first. There’s nothing better than spending time with loved ones during the holiday season, especially when you can get the kids involved in the fun. Michele Fino of talks about some terrific activities your family can do to bond for good causes during this special time of year – or any time of year for that matter. You can listen to the mini episode here.

Remember to take those renegade thinking caps off when your family gathers around the dinner table. Instead, try using those outside-the-box thinking skills to come up with some neat games and activities everybody can play. From all of us here at Renegade Thinkers Unite, Happy Holidays!

Episode 52: Preparing for the 2018 CES

If you’ve ever attended Consumer Electronics Show (CES) then you know it is a beast of a show with more than 4,000 exhibiting companies and covering the 2.6 million square feet of exhibit space is next to impossible especially as you are fighting through crowds of 170,000+. It might sound too overwhelming but having attended regularly since 1988 and as a marketer hoping to spot trends, I can assure you it is always worth the trouble. Inevitably, I leave CES with some new ideas, at least one new friend and a dousing of Vegas silliness.

With the 2018 CES right around the corner (Jan 8-11, 2018), I thought it would be helpful and interesting to record a special episode with the legendary tech guru Shelly Palmer.  I first met Shelly back in 2010 (when I wrote about him as the prototypical personal brand on and have spotted his ubiquitous signs at CES ever since. [Blatant unpaid plug — if you are new to CES, have a limited time frame or just want to make sure you don’t miss the big trends while you’re in Vegas, then you’d be wise to sign up for a tour of the show by Shelly and his team at The Palmer Group.]  As for my earlier point about Shelly being interesting to talk to, he didn’t disappoint!

In the podcast, we discuss why he’s excited about this year’s show and why expects to see more evolutionary products than revolutionary ones. We dive into hot topics like drones, cars, VR and AI among others. You’ll also hear Shelly school me on why I’m wrong to call Alexa (Amazon voice activation system) dumb just because she can’t infer the request Dear Evan Hansen from Evan Hansen when a Google search does that handily!  The tech challenge aside, I still think she has some cognitive development work ahead of her!  You can listen to the special episode here.

Here are a few other highlights from the interview:

Drew: What should marketers be paying attention to at this year’s CES?

Shelly: This year at CES, we’re going to have a really good look at integrations between the natural language understanding tools and the physical world. I’m pretty sure you’re going to see a lot of augmented reality because that is the toolset that is most flexible. You need great programming skills but it also yields amazing benefits – everything from a doctor looking into an incubator and seeing a heads-up display of all of the vital signs of the patient to gameplay and 100% of everything in the middle. You’ll see a lot of augmented reality. Drones and machine learning. Drones are now self-flying for the most part and there’s a bunch of companies who have taken to creating machines that not only fly themselves but with either high definition or 4k cameras in them and in some cases 8k cameras in them. And in some cases infrared cameras in them. They’re doing materials processing in the air. They can look at an insurance company like Travelers, who are the number one user of drones in the United States, and put a drone up in the air to look at the exterior damage. They can understand what happened to your roof in the air and file and process your claim without having someone go out to your house. When you think about a hurricane like we’ve had and the ability to quickly process and quickly get people the help they need who are insured, you’ll see a lot of that at CES. A lot of drone companies showing off their ability to have not only self-flying drones, but drones that can carry bigger payloads, can take better cameras with them, and fly in inclement weather or in adverse conditions that you wouldn’t have seen before. The drone story is going to be pretty big.

Drew: What else is going to be big?

Shelly: The cars are going to be out in force – driver assistance of every kind. Autonomy is coming. There’s never a lack of cool cars at CES. It’s more fun than the auto show because for us who are all semi-geeks about the technology, they come and they put their tech foot forward as opposed to their design foot forward or this guy with 500 horsepower or whatever. You’re going to see great TVs, but we haven’t had a year with a bad TV in 20 years. Let me tell you about the TVs. I can tell you I haven’t seen them yet. Let me tell exactly what I’m going to say when I get to stand in front of any TV; it’s bigger. It’s thinner. It’s got a brighter picture, higher dynamic range, wider color gamut, bigger screen, thinner. That’s sort of the joke at CES. It used to be a TV show. Now the TVs just get better.

Drew: Is there anything new that’s coming to CES?  

Shelly: What you will see this year that you haven’t seen so much before is how well integrated the home is becoming. Honestly, it is Alexa’s voice services and all of NLP systems that have caused this. Because if you think about it, when you walk in the house you have to open an app, tap a couple of buttons, open another app, and press a couple more buttons. It’s like, “Oh come on, stop it! I’ll just turn the light switch on.” But now you walk in and you say, “Alexa, lights on. Alexa, daytime scene.” Whatever you want. And boom, the house is set. The value proposition for consumers is so great. Everybody’s jumping on that. Look for integrations in ways you’ve never seen them.

The Power of Crystal Clear Positioning to Turnaround Your Brand

Retail is not exactly rich with turnaround stories these days but that’s exactly what’s happened at Pearle Vision. CMO Doug Zarkin provides a step-by-step review of how the brand has gone from stagnant to revitalized, indicated by same-store sales growth, new store openings and a jump in ranking from >100 to #24 among best franchises to own.

Through a number of small but ultimately significant changes like renaming customers to patients, employees to eye care professionals and stores to eye care centers, Pearle Vision has been able to shift the conversation from deals on glasses to professional eye care. Most significantly, Zarkin and company figured out that people who come in for eye exams are far more likely to buy glasses and become repeat customers than those that are just shopping for new glasses.


On this episode of Renegade Thinkers Unite, Zarkin tells Drew Neisser about the methods by which Zarkin and his team embraces customers and keeps them in the fold.

You can listen to the episode here.

These are some of our favorite moments from the episode:

Drew: When you first got to Pearle Vision and recognized the need for a new positioning, how long did you give yourself?

Doug: If you know anything about retail there’s a sense of urgency. I essentially had six months to crack the code. In fact when I joined the company my predecessor actually remained on the team to essentially keep the business going while I was working on crafting the future state. And so within six months we had to find what the brand was going to stand for. We identified that we needed to update the iconography, that we needed to update the store design and we began the journey. But by no means does the journey begin and end in six months — it’s a journey that you have to continually press on every day. 

Drew: So that gives you three months to research and three months to execute. Talk about the positioning that you landed on.

Doug: The positioning became “genuine eye care from your neighborhood doctor” which came about from a philosophy that I learned from my first client-side job at Avon – you have to go out in the field. Any marketer worth his salt knows that a positioning that doesn’t make for great execution is just words on paper. And so looking inward to what we stood for as a brand required me to look outward from the boardroom and get into our locations, talk to our doctors, talk to our franchisees, understand what we really were embodying in a three dimensional way and then bringing that back and looking at what we as a brand could really own. As a brand founded by a doctor, Dr. Stanley Pearle in 1961, we had a heritage that we could stand for – eye care. We needed to do it in a way that was authentic. We wanted to be that brand that owned the neighborhood–that could win the battle for patients at the 5 to 9-mile level. And so every part of ‘genuine eye care from my neighborhood doctor’ means something. It most importantly means the art of sacrifice — there’s a lot of things we couldn’t do.

Drew: Some brands worry about circling back to their founder because it makes them feel old-fashioned. How do you keep your brand from appearing outdated?

Doug: A founder brand has inherently an authenticity to it. Some of the best in class marketers are always looking for that emotional connection point. We’re storytellers. We want to connect with the consumer on an emotional level and present them rational reasons to believe. When you have a founder brand like Pearle, if you actually do what many marketers don’t which is to have the humility to realize that sometimes taking a step forward is taking two steps backward, what you actually have is something that you can build a plan off of. Ralph Lauren is a great example of a founder-led, founder-driven brand. Ralph Lauren has a very distinct look on fashion. When Ralph started to go awry as a brand was when it got away from its DNA. Pearle did the same thing. Dr. Stanley Pearl was not there talking about buy one get one free. Dr. Stanley Pearle’s vision started with that best in class doctor and I see my job really is to a degree getting out of the way and allowing his legacy to continue in a way that’s modern, in a way that’s contemporary, and in a way that resonates. But why fight it? If you have it, embrace it! Leverage it; lead with it. That’s how you win.

Drew: Let’s talk about Pearle’s social media philosophy. What is your execution strategy?

Doug: For us, social media is really an opportunity to continue the conversation. It’s turned actually into one of the most effective platforms for driving exam growth. If you look at the marketing ROI in our category there are few things that are as efficient as search (trademark search as an example). Social media is really up there in terms of efficient ways to drive people to schedule their eye exams. We’re talking about paid. We’ve got a fantastic agency on board, Energy BBDO out of Chicago, who handles our social content for us. The healthy balance between leading the conversation, listening to the conversation, and actually having a conversation. Facebook is not a one-way communication platform. It’s actually an opportunity to do what you and I are doing right now, which is to talk. And so you’ve got to think about that as a dialogue. It’s a tennis match. Not every point in tennis, not every forehand or backhand is a winner. It sets up the next shot. We look at social media as an opportunity to essentially engage our consumer in a tennis match. Sometimes we’re going to win the point; sometimes we’re going to lose the point. Sometimes the points just go on and on and we’re going to wish that it would just end. The respect that we have for social, in particular, Facebook leading that charge, it is one of our strongest marketing platforms.