Social data and analytics are all the rage these days, but what precisely should companies do with the information they collect? In the case of hotel chain Best Western, the answer was to engage with customers through social media. It partnered with SaaS customer experience management company Medallia to boost TripAdvisor scores for participating properties.

In this Q&A, Michelle de Haaff, Medallia’s vice president of marketing and a self-declared social media junkie, offer their tips for successful social media engagement with customers, advice on how to handle social data and thoughts on ways that mobile is reshaping how brands and consumers interact.

Companies are collecting more data about their customers, but making sense of that data remains a challenge. What are some best practices for marketers who are trying to glean insights from the vast trove of social data available to them?

At the most basic level, you need a system for organizing that data,Michelle de Haaff benchmarks to measure it against and a process for tracking it over time. (read more…)

At any given time, 40% of Americans are planning a move. “Peak” season for buying a new home starts with the Super Bowl in winter and goes through fall. With statistics like that, it’s no surprise that the real-estate space is extremely competitive.

Trulia, a mobile service that helps home buyers find their next house, has enjoyed success in this space. To take things to the next level, Chief Marketing Officer Kira Wampler aimed earlier this year to launch the company’s first ever national campaign. Doing so started with the numbers, she said during a keynote address at the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 conference on Wednesday.

Trulia conducted more than 900 hours of research on more than 2,000 people, including interviews and ridealongs as home buyers looked for houses, to better understand their customers before launching the campaign.

What they discovered is that the average Trulia customer tended to be a female who was slightly more affluent than the average American and had more money to spend on the next home than the average home seeker. (read more…)

Advertising Week covers a range of topics, but potty training may still seem like an unlikely one.

Still, toddlers and diapers were all the buzz as day two of the Mobile Marketing Association’s SM2 conference kicked off on Wednesday.

Melanie Huet of Kimberly-Clark and Dwayne Raupp of Organic discussed the implementation of and lessons learned from the Pull-Ups Time to Potty app, a mobile application that gives parents a way to reward children as they transition out of diapers.

Listening to user feedback was key to the app’s success, Raupp said. Initially, it required parents to scan a Pull-Up diaper to unlock the reward, but users complained that the additional step led to a cumbersome process. Eliminating that requirement led to a simpler app that more consumers used.

Such insights by brands that are embracing and experimenting with mobile featured big at the conference. The first day included sessions on the Internet of Things, real-time mobile marketing and case studies by companies such as Toyota Motors and Dunkin’ Brands on how they are using mobile to improve the customer experience. (read more…)

The CEOs of three major advertising industry associations shared a stage on the second day of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s MIXX Conference, using the occasion to announce a new accountability organization to tackle ad fraud, piracy and malware.

The jointly managed group will have its own board and leadership, and it will be tasked with establishing industry principles and holding companies accountable to them. The goal, according to the IAB’s Randall Rothenberg, is to “weed out ad fraud from the digital supply chain.”

Bob Liodice of the Association of National Advertisers, Nancy Hill of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and Rothenberg also discussed what has been an eight-year partnership among the organizations spanning initiatives. Despite having different agendas and not always seeing eye-to-eye, each emphasized that collaboration is necessary in order to achieve progress on issues ranging from policy to industry standards.

“We woke up and realized we can’t do it alone. (read more…)

Have you ever sat through a keynote address or read a book from a thought leader in your industry and wondered how they achieved their status? If so, you aren’t alone. In fact, we found ourselves asking this question so frequently that we decided to conduct extensive research on the topic. We wondered: What makes these experts so appealing to buyers? How did they rise to their level of fame? What types of benefits are they bringing to their firm?

To answer these questions, we interviewed 130 prominent industry thought leaders — Visible Experts, as we call them. We also surveyed over 1,000 buyers of expert services to get a perspective from the other side of the equation. Our findings proved that these industry stars are even more beneficial to their firms than we originally anticipated.

Over 60% of experts interviewed revealed two key benefits: Brand building, and growth and business development. (read more…)