Jun 11, 2014

Baseline metrics CEOs need for online brand oversight

Baseline metrics CEOs need for online brand oversight
BY Peggy Nordeen

B2B | Data Science | SFBJ

Reprinted from South Florida Business Journal.

Great CEOs have a vision of their companies’ futures based on understanding the needs and desires of their stakeholders and customers. Today’s business leaders also need a clear understanding, not only of the future, but the precarious position of their brands today, even moment by moment, online.

Gone are the days when “the marketing department” was solely responsible for “the ad campaign” and annual customer perception benchmarks. What happens online affects the bottom-line numbers of companies – often sooner than later – and CEO oversight is critical.

There are many online metrics available, and too many for a single CEO or even the C-suite to monitor on their own. However, a CEO can demand that baseline dashboards be established for critical online monitoring of the company’s brand or brands. And, when the baseline numbers flag a problem, the CEO can exercise the power to “fix it.”

While many baselines can be established, three of the most important center on the company website or mobile website performance, social media engagement and online reputation.

Mobile website performance

Critical metrics today on your website include not only the performance of the traditional computer desktop design but also of your mobile website design. If your mobile website is not performing – whether that’s gathering customer data or converting sales, as well as your traditional desktop design – that foretells a problem in the future.

Mobile usage is outpacing desktop usage at a phenomenal rate in most industries, so a poorly performing mobile site can impact your sales and share of market even more tomorrow than it is today. Do you need to “fix it” with a responsive design or better e-commerce application?

Social media engagement

Social media engagement is truly the new customer service metric. The ratio of customer online messaging versus your company or brand’s response messaging – whether tweets, posts or blog comments – is a strong indicator of your social media prowess.

If your customers’ messages surpass your company staff engagement, you may need to “fix it” with message maps that empower your staff to know how to respond appropriately and frequently.

Online reputation ratings

It is often said that the “new ad” online is the “review” and your review rating. Of course, there are the typical product reviews, which are sometimes easier to measure and deal with than the commentary on blogs, tweets and posts.

There are reputation management software tools that scour the web for “sentiment” reflected in the words used to talk about your brand, and then rank your hourly, daily and weekly sentiment online. And, there are publishing tools that allow censorship of extreme and unreasonable criticism on your website or blog.

Better yet, there are techniques and technologies to get happy customers to stop in their tracks and tell the world about their experience with your brand. And, of course, there are Google rankings and specific industry review sites monitoring how your brand stacks up to the competition.