A three-stage strategy to build the marketing command center

By: Artis Birzins


In many organizations, it takes too long for analysts to prepare reports. They may even become outdated by the time of delivery. Some marketing leaders, brand managers and customer-focused professionals collaborate with IT to adopt command centers so they can monitor and manage social media buzz, metrics and customer issues in real time. Visualizations provide deep-dive analytics in large screens on walls, transforming the team’s work style and helping the marketing organization become more agile and responsive. Some big-name companies that have recently implemented marketing command centers include Philips, Nike, Nestle Waters, MasterCard and Marriott.

If you’re up for starting such a project, think of command center implementation in multiple stages. This approach allows access to some functionality now while setting a road map for more advanced capabilities in the future. These three strategies are key points of interest on the road to marketing command center success.

1. Engage social listening

Social listening centered on both owned and earned media is crucial to building an effective command center. This includes examining commentary surrounding a company’s brand, products, search keywords and top executives on platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Social listening can determine who’s in control of the message, how traditional media like TV advertisements drive buzz and which key influencers to keep an eye on.

This strategy also empowers you to shape your own social footprint and authority. You can analyze location- or language-based data shown on heat maps and consider how you can use social media to generate new leads into customer relationship management (CRM). Customers often use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to ask questions or complain about problems. Through the command center, the team can see these issues and route them for resolution. When people write blogs about your products, a command center can identify that material and put it to use in customer care. Plus, by ensuring the information you need is always on hand, a command center aids in crisis management and enables real-time response.

2. Deploy media and campaign performance

Available CRM and social engagement packages can be key application components in command center architecture. Depending on your product, you might focus solely on social listening and interaction. But a marketing team may also want to monitor and adjust their paid media metrics in real time. Monitoring may involve a paid campaign performance over a variety of channels and platforms. Based on your needs, some of the service integrations to look for include Adobe Site Catalyst, DoubleClick, AdWords, Facebook and Twitter.

Website analytics include e-commerce, and metrics such as page visits, paid versus organic traffic, tunnel analysis, visit sources and session duration can be displayed on command center dashboards. Key performance indicators like click through rate, cost per click and cost per page view can also be helpful contributors to your mission.

3. Create a cognitive command center

Adding artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities such as IBM Watson’s APIs to your tool belt can help you create a cognitive command center. Watson’s Natural Language Classifier makes use of deep learning to classify short phrases into appropriate classes for further analysis. Adding a dialogue service from an AI source can enable conversations with users, answer questions and provide recommendations based on internal and external data such as weather.

Check out this conversation with Watson demonstrated during the IBM Amplify 2016 conference. The demo displays how AI support includes voice, chat, image analysis and visualization capabilities on screen — all of which can be embedded into a command center experience to enhance marketing.

While seeing visualizations of Twitter and Facebook conversations can be helpful, it may not meet the full needs of your team. Consider transforming your command center to enable more advanced scenarios around paid-media performance monitoring. Adding cognitive capabilities to your marketing command center can further enhance your overall experience and the project’s value to your organization.

Image credit: iStock

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About The Author

Artis Birzins

Senior Architect, IBM Japan

From start-up while at school to corporate ventures, from coding of a mobile app to software innovation, Artis Birzins spent many years in global business, entrepreneurship and technology. Artis is keen in connecting the dots among people, organizations and latest technology to enable complex enterprises as well as consumer markets for success and making the... Read more