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EMC integrates social to drive engagement

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EMC's go-to-market strategy is customer engagement. Social media certainly can help with engagement, but only when integrated into other marketing efforts, according to Todd Forsythe, VP-global marketing at EMC. To that end, the company has embraced social, making it part of everything the technology company is doing. The process started, Forsythe said, on the organizational chart. Today, EMC has a social team, but it has also embedded a “social champion” into each product marketing department. “Instead of having a separate team, we're embedding social strategy with media planning and community planning along with analytics. This gives us a blended strategy that helps us better assess and analyze our efforts,” he said. It also helped the company create several new marketing initiatives including virtual social product launches, a social listening command center and a series of promoted tweets that far exceed EMC's current banner ad performance, according to Forsythe. “We launch the product socially and then conduct a simulcast broadcast of the launch. We have moderated Q&As,” he said. Social launches are publicized via Facebook ads, promoted tweets, email and links off its main site. The social launches augment traditional product launches, he said, and make use of the social listening command center—part of an automated lead-routing system. When the command center sees a relevant conversation on one of the EMC social platforms, the lead is routed to a social selling team within the telesales department. While most of these conversations are very early on in the sales cycle, they are still worth putting into the funnel—in this case, Salesforce.com. Since February, EMC has conducted more than 40 virtual product launches. One such launch—for its VF Cache—took place in February. The event was held in a small venue, but was broadcast worldwide. It was promoted via email, promoted tweets, a Facebook game, Facebook ads and mentions throughout EMC's own community network. The event made use of social selling, with five subject matter experts from product management engaged in an online Q&A with the audience via the community network. That launch received 19,000 views as of July 1. “That conversation and community becomes evergreen,” Forsythe said. “Compare that to a typical product launch that has 50 to 100 people in the room—you can see how social amplifies everything.” The majority of the 19,000 viewers came from the EMC online community, but they also came from promoted tweets and Facebook ads. Going forward, EMC will have better insight into its social platforms since it is currently developing social analytics. They will take advantage of a new big data science lab that's being built on EMC technology. “This year, we're pulling all enterprise data together. ... Next year, we'll filter social conversations through language processing and [merge] the relevant social conversations with that transactional data,” Forsythe said.
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