Category Archives: Project Management

Twitter Usage – The Eircome Case Study (KPIs)

In this weeks class we talked about Twitter usage for companies and used Eircom as an example as one of their marketing strategies KPI.

Companies are relying more often on the use of Twitter as a customer services tool, it is used to connect with their customers, beneficial for branding and brand loyalty, easier and more common to get feedback from customers about their product or services, it is a free marketing tool and help increase sales. It is also good for sharing company news with your customers and share promotions and offers. Tweets might go viral, therefore creating awareness and is an easy way to spy on competitors.

Background: Eircom is Ireland’s largest telecommunications company controlling over 60% of the fixed line telephony market and 47.5% of the country’s 1.66m broadband subscriptions. Its subsidiaries Meteor and eMobile are both significant players in the mobile communications market.”

Eircom wants to show customers that they listen and respond to them promptly and personally, helping the firm to understand their needs. Their Twitter presence is part of the social media strategy within the organisation. Eircom has integrated their social channels into its marketing and content calendars. Eircom has assigned staff members to monitor social networking sites such as Twitter in order to track and address negative comments and queries made about and to the company.  The social media customer care team consists of four full-time agents, who monitor and respond  in social conversations across all their platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Boards.ie) on a daily basis.

Eircom’s team that are in charge of monitoring social media, are generally working  for queries from 9:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday, these opening times were arranged based on feedback and demand but are very flexible towards this as Twitter is always on. The social media customer care team have various KPIs to measure their impact, progress and also ensuring a constistent customer service.

The firm has created a self-help centre for their customers and are also working on Youtube videos with tutorials. If a customer is unable to get the response they required  through their self-help centre, then they are put into a new category and will be looked after by their tech support team.  The agents in charge of their Twitter account must address to all responses within 20-30 minutes for each query received. They have realised that 70% of customers who have had interaction with them in the digital world have not contacted their call centres.

  • The @eircom’s team deals with approximately 75 queries and escalations per week through around 320 tweets and direct messages.
  • They use and track all their shortened links for the self-help tutorials and FAQs generate an average of 250 click-thrus to their support forum and website on a weekly basis.
  • They receive an average of 1,200 visits per week on their forums.
  • And a  further 150 queries get resolved on Boards.ie, also on a weekly basis.
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Online Media Monitoring

We received a visit from Stephen O’Leary, founder of O’Leary Analytics, this is an online media monitoring and analysis company, so if businesses want to know what is being said about their company, themselves, an event and competitors in the online media this is the place to go!

Stephen first explained to us what his previous work was and how he ended up founding O’Leary Analytics. He was first working for a company that sold software and he provided training for the clients, these clients tended to forget part of their training, lacked enough time to monitor their own media or found it too complicated. They requested that Stephen would look after this for them.

Stephen mentioned the process behind monitoring and explained the importance of keeping track on what’s happening on  blogs, forums, news sites and, of course, all major social networks. He explained how companies can make a difference when they listen to what their customer say and not only provide answers but also realise the improvements they can make. The objective is to find a way to change the negative comments by some  into a positive. Stephen emphasised that companies need to be actively responsive to criticism.

Brian McFadden superquinn sausagesAfter talking about collecting data, he also talked about what is the best data to analyse, how to find out who is a companies biggest influencer  and how wide their reach is. An example for this was about Superquinn sausages and how Brian McFadden generated a lot of buzz in a day by saying that the Irish community in Australia need their sausages. This message was re tweeted 91 times and the amount of people talking about it peaked greatly.

In addition to this, Stephen mentioned that almost everything can be measured, even sentiment analysis can be generated, but in Ireland this can be difficult as people tend to be a bit cynical when making comments online.

Stephen recommended a series of websites that can facilitate online media monitoring:

Generating PR for yourself using Earned Media

Screen-Shot-2012-03-08-at-11.46.59-AM

Having coverage in the newspapers is good, but after the day is finished the publication is gone, therefore it is important that this coverage is available online too. By listening and researching online conversations and spotting key influencers, creating interesting content and interacting with customers and other relevant people in the online world, a company can effectively enhance their business though online PR and achieve growth. Measuring these activities is possible and as a consequence businesses can benefit from Earned Media.

Press Release, the story about your product and service:

  • Include keywords.
  • Send to a media list such as www.irishpressreleases.ie.
  • Use RSS buttons as it helps distribute the word.
  • Use Photos: this is very important to include in your Press Release.

How to generating Online PR:

  • Look at blogs and reviews, find out what bloggers can benefit your business if they talk about your product or service. People trust those blogs they follow and they trust reviews from previous costumers, send a product as a tool for a review that benefits readers. Knowing what is said about you is important as this will strongly influence future leads. Blog posts are a great way to generate awareness and improve SEO. Tip: Identify Bloggers using http://www.dublinblog.ie.
  • Attending a press event that’s of relevance to blogger’s audience is a good way to contact new people.
  • Creating Digital Media Kits, make sure it includes all the basic information about your company, mission statement, products and services, samples, statistics relevant to your products and industry, etc. Tip: using Dropbox to share documents and photos for free can make it cost effective.
  • Having a websites and make sure that all earned media as well as paid media will link back to your owned media. It is important that people link back to your own content and having a website where people can find out more  is expected.
  • Social media releases: Whether you are writing a press release for traditional or social media, if your audience doesn’t find the content informative, useful or helpful, it will most likely fail.
  • Flickr is a social media networking tool for PR, because it is always visual it is good for branding. You can share photos but also posters, charts etc.
  • Developing relationships (Tweetup and Meetups): A tweetup is an event where people who Twitter come together to meet in person,  like finally putting a name to a face, these events are a great opportunity to connect with the people in your network and share more than just 140 characters at a time. A Meetup Group is a local community of people in which a group hosts meetups and are face to face meetings that happen in real life between members.
  • SlideShare presentations and e-books, companies try to get publicity and earned media via writing an e-books by getting people to sign up to newsletter.
  • Like other media: Liking posts and pages, sharing content, subscribing to blogs, following others, joining groups are great ways to contact other people. Engagement is key in this, get as involved as possible.
  • Flashmobs, some consider it a “dead strategy,” I don’t know about that but for sure it has been overused.
  • Online contests: Social Media contests have gained popularity and can be a powerful tool for spreading a brand’s message. Digital marketers are finding that social media is great for holding online contests that increase awareness and engagement for consumer brands.
  • Using podcasts, this involves recording a digital file that can be distributed online.
  • And finally, use IAB measurement guidelines.

Earned Media

This week’s class covered earned media, also refered to as free media. This consists in publicity gained through non-advertising promotional efforts through things like press releases, PR agencies, contacting journalists and placing stories with news outlets.

It is considered free media for some because it also consists on worth of mouth as customers become the advertising channel. Third party recommendations from friends and contacts are more credible and transparent than paid opportunities.

How to gain “Earned Media”?

  • When a business creates interesting content (owned media) on their blog, those blog posts are much more likely to be shared by your readers, becoming earned media.
  • Same thing applies when messages are used on social media channels such as Twitter (with retweets) and Facebook (share button).
  • This is a great tool for SEO. While the search engines love fresh content but more than that it is much more efficient when the content is being shared constantly, so the more times your owned media is shared, Liked, retweeted and posted the more valuable it becomes. Without owned media becoming earned media, the content created is not as valuable for SEO as it could be.
  • Generating “PR” or “getting coverage,” people still trust what it gets broadcast or published by traditional media.
  • Contacting high profile bloggers to write about the brand, service, product, etc.

One of the challenged of Earned Media is that once the content is available for the audience, businesses are no longer in complete control of their content. Much like social networking, earned media places the power of your brand in the hands of your consumers.

Monitoring Earned Media:

  • Using TweetDeck allows you to monitor Twitter activity and follow up on any mentions and interactions related to the business.
  • Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your queries.
  • O’Leary Analytics they focused on monitoring brands mentions in online publications, quantify and qualify the results of your PR efforts, nationally and internationally.
  • Blog Statt. Blogger and WordPress provide a measuring tool as well.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI)

KPI CartoonKey Performance Indicators (KPI), also known as Key Success Indicators (KSI), help businesses define and measure progress toward their goals. These must be quantifiable measurements in which results define the success of the business strategy (based on the business priorities).

KPI’s are useful because they reduce the number of decisions that are based solely on instinct or gut feel and make decisions based on objectivity and facts. These quantify the achievement of goals by setting, monitoring and measuring against a target. As businesses grow, it becomes harder to stick to the important achievements that are requered. KPI’s also allow brands to focus on facts when things get out of control.

ICE

One of the problems with KPI’s is that instead of identifying the information that’s needed and subsequently design the most appropriate indicators to assess performance, people often use the ‘ICE’ approach: Identify everything that is easy to measure and count, Collect and report the data on everything that is easy to measure and count and finally End up scratching your head thinking “What the heck are we going to do with all this performance data stuff.

It is recommended to focus on three or four measures that are essential to the business reaching its goals. It is important to keep the number of KPI’s small to prevent distraction. A common mistake is to measure everything when the goal is to measure just one thing that will lead to achieving the successful goal.

To sum up, KPI’s are achievable through the following steps:

  • Be specific: pertaining to the goal of the brand.
  • Make it measurable: for the brand to analise its progress.
  • Make the goals achievable and realistic.
  • Be relevant when directly linking the business and metrics.
  • Consider Time Frame: placing goal achievement in a certain time frame.

Consumer Behaviour Measurement

This week’s class was about measuring customer behaviour. This is very important for marketeers, as it lets them know what the consumer’s wants and needs are and how they behave.

Understanding consumer behaviour is essential to the development of marketing strategies. Companies need to be able to analyse  where, when, why and how consumers buy.

So how does measurement work? current technology helps to analyse activity across a variety of digital platforms and systems to quantify consumer behaviour online, analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, media, word of mouth, etc. Often measurement fails due to lack of resources, budget and not knowing what exactly what needs to be measured.

A marketer needs to first identify his target consumers and understand their lifestyles, psychologies, income, spending capabilities, mentalities so they can be offered the right product/service. Marketeers must also take into account their age group, geographical location, lifestyle and social status.

Consumer Research Methods: Market research is often needed to guarantee that we produce what customers really want and not what we think they want. There are two types of research that can be carried out:

  • Primary Research: Primary Research refers to a research methodology where marketers interact with consumers directly and collect as much information as they can. This information is generally gathered through surveys (online surveys are frequently used in Ireland), questionnaires, feedback on-site or forms, social media (also used greatly by marketers in Ireland), mobile analytics, interviews etc.
  • Secondary Research: Secondary Research often refers to relying on information which has been collected by others at some point of time (Data bases and Website logs).

Tools to Measure Reach and Audiences: 

  • Google Analytics: Lets users measure sales and conversions and gives insights into how visitors use  a site, how they arrived, and how to keep them coming back.
  • Web-logs: Works as a web analytics software, server log file from a web server, and based on the values contained within it produces indicators about who, when, and how a web server is visited.
  • Alexa.com: Provides free web-metrics it shows successful sites on the web by keyword, category, or country. It also offers analytics for competitive analysis, benchmarking, market research, or business development.
  • Using Internet Audience Measurement such as Irelandmetrix.ie.
  • Depending on how your company or brand is engaging in social media, there may be other metrics that should be factored into audience engagement. The additional metrics will likely come from the various social media channels that are outside of the ones listed above. These could include Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, Diggs, StumbleUpon likes, LinkedIn group activity or followers, social bookmarks, etc.

Digital Project Management: The Iron Triangle

Titanic Project Iron TriangleIn last week’s class we talked about Digital Project Management and why projects can fail. The Iron Triangle is a very important feature to consider when developing a new project as this will determine the success it will have.

The objective of the Iron Triangle is that you can pick or constrain only two of these three factors. If all three factors have to be met, then the quality of the web project will be sacrificed. In other words, if the three constraints are out of balance with each other at the beginning of the project, then one or more of them must change or the quality of the project will be affected due to meeting the constraints and cutting corners.

  • The Budget: This indicates how much the client is willing to pay or what they can afford for the project.
  • The Features: this indicates the functionality or features that the project requires. Is it possible to build it?
  • The Timeline: This indicates the time you have to complete a project, including related tasks.

Digital Project Management: Why Projects Fail?

Project Management Tree Swing: Funny cartoon, first created in the 1960’s and adapted in 2005, showing how and where projects can go wrong. Project Management Tree Swing

Today we learnt a little bit more about Digital Project Management thanks to our guest speaker Aisling Mc Mahon, Operations Director from Strata3. This is a subject I was looking forward to, and guess what? It’s not easy work! It’s challenging. There is a lot involved in the development of new projects, organisation and communication are the key to success.

In any given project (these can be banners, mobile apps, websites, intranets and the list goes on!) there are a number of factors or steps that need to be defined first before anything else can be addressed, missing one of these and the process could become overwhelming and unachievable. These are:

  • The definition of the project. Find out what they client is looking for, what they expect from this project, what they like and what they don’t like, ask them why and get them to give you examples. In addition to this, there is a lot of research involved about the market audience, similar products, goals, approach to be taken, maintenance, costs and much more for the final proposal.
  • Setting up a budget, specifying the costs for employees, supplies, tools, vendors and other expenses if applicable.
  • Define your resources, how much help with you need? what software technology will you have to acquire?  who will your suppliers be? etc.
  • Define the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved. Communication is vital here, and weekly meetings are recommended to keep every body involved up to date; using a Tracker software can be very helpful as it will not only allow the client to view the status of his project but to also approve or sign off each stage of the project. Every staff member involved can follow the tasks that have been approved, the deadlines and any other relevant information.
  • Setting up the deadlines and timings, how long will each stage take? it is very important to stick to it because not meeting the required deadline could mean that the client will end up paying more or the project’s launch might be compromised.

So far, I probably haven’t said anything that doesn’t seem quite obvious and straightforward but managing and developing a project can present many challenges in regards of deadlines, resources, budgets and people. Following the steps is not an easy job and a good project manager would have an appropriate methodology in place, must be a great communicator and organiser, must be consistent, thinks outside the box and is able to see the whole picture.

So, why do projects fail? why do delays happen? how do you prevent and overcome the obstacles?

  • Lack of Experience: Very important to have the appropriate level of experience. A Project Manager should be able to tackle all the issues and very comfortable in the involvement of various stages of the project. It’s is also important to highlight that suppliers and other staff members have the appropriate qualification and reputation. When a client knows they are meeting an experience team they are most likely going to go ahead with your company/agency.
  • Assumptions: Assuming your client understand what the process will intake is not optional and vice versa. This can lead to misunderstandings. This is the reason why you must document everything accordingly and include as many details as possible.
  • Understanding the Requirements: Understanding what’s going on from day 1, this apply to all parties involved. Otherwise misunderstandings will arise as mentioned above.
  • Expectations and Ambitions: Are these too high? are they achievable? can the clients budget get what they desire? These need to be addressed from the beginning.
  • Content: Someone is responsible for writing down the content, most of the time this is a task for the client, as they know better than anybody else their product or services. Many times clients take too long to deliver this content and delays may occur.
  • The Design Process: Designers might take longer than what you can afford, as a consequence, Developers might be affected and will have to complete complicated tasks in a shorter amount of time.
  • Contingency Planning: Always have a plan B! Expect the unexpected, not everything will go according to plan and a good project manager knows this! Having a plan B can save you time and money.
  • The Client: A client might want features that are not suitable for their goals or they might even want something that is outdated or doesn’t look good, advice them about this and make suggestions of what could be better for them, sometimes you might have to put the extra work to show them there is a better way. A client might also want to change their mind, if you can accommodate their requirements go ahead but make sure you get paid for the work, the client needs to understand that additional changes have a cost.
  • Testing:  Don’t forget to add additional time for testing. Most of the time you will encounter bugs and you will need time to fix them.  This should be done as many times as necessary until no bugs are found.