Category Archives: Marketing

Social Media Marketing Still Generating Interest

Social Media Marketing by Rosaura OchoaIs interest in social media marketing waning, as reported by some researchers and pundits? The short answer is no. Using some creative code written for the R statistical analysis software program as highlighted in a blog entitled “Visualizing Wikipedia search statistics with R”, a graph documenting the number of daily searches for the term “Social Media Marketing” via Wikipedia is developed and presented below.

Wikipedia Search Traffic for Social Media Marketing

The results are interesting from a couple of perspectives. First, little to no search traffic on Wikipedia exists for Social Media Marketing (SMM) prior to the third quarter of 2008. Next, growth in the number of searches for the term SMM approximates a linear trendline with a positive slope for the period beginning with the third quarter of 2008 through the end of 2010. And finally, although the number of searches on Wikipedia for SMM in 2011 does not exhibit consistent growth, it is not declining either.

Additional research is needed in order to correlate the spikes in SMM search activity with events that may have caused these anomalies. More spikes are noticeable in 2011 than in any other time period. Overall, evidence suggests that interest in SMM is stable at about 1,000 searches per day. And, if you’re an optimist, based on the results for the past couple of weeks, interest in SMM may be entering another growth phase.

Do you think that interest in Social Media Marketing has peaked?


Critical Success Factors and the Impact of New Media

New Media by New Media DaysThis post originally appeared in Social Media Marketing Magazine, Issue 1, Number 5

One of the hidden gems of the marketing research community is the Social Science Research Network (SSRN). With a tagline of “Tomorrow’s Research Today,” SSRN serves as a repository for academic research in progress and is “devoted to the rapid worldwide dissemination of social science research.”

Top business schools, economic departments, law schools, and entrepreneurship research and policy centers are represented on SSRN. Registration for full access to SSRN is free, as are many of the articles and abstracts available on the site (some access to research is fee-based).

As an advocate of all things open source, in my opinion, this repository represents the best option for the rapid diffusion of knowledge globally. If interested, you can follow SSRN on Twitter.

The two academic marketing research articles reviewed in this issue of Social Media Marketing Magazine are:

Implementing Effective Social Media Marketing Campaigns

Heckadon does a good job of documenting and describing ten critical success factors (CSFs) for creating and implementing effective social media marketing campaigns. Don’t let the fact that this is a master of arts thesis discourage you from downloading this research—it is easy to read. The research may best be characterized as a descriptive analysis of social media marketing best practices.

After an extensive review of the literature, Heckadon proposes and justifies these ten CSFs:

  • Having a social media marketing strategy
  • Integrating the social media marketing strategy into the broader marketing strategy
  • Social media optimization
  • Creating a community
  • Encouraging user content creation and feedback
  • Being open and honest
  • Keeping content fresh and relevant
  • Making the user feel special
  • Identifying with a cause
  • Measuring social media marketing performance

The results of the research are neither earth shattering nor unknown. The value of this thesis is the extensive literature review and justification provided for each of the ten CSFs.

The Impact of New Media on Customer Relationships

Hennig-Thurau et al. contend that the rise of new media is disruptive enough to warrant a shift in marketing thinking. The authors offer a new conceptual framework for explaining the changing relationship between companies and consumers. The real value in the article, however, lies in the key research implications. Hennig-Thurau et al. provide a logical and pragmatic “roadmap” of the important research questions yet to be answered.

The authors identify ten new media phenomena (new multimedia services, digital consumer articulation, consumers as retailers, online social communities, shopping bots, search bots, mobile technologies, recommendation systems, peer-to-peer networks and piracy, and online auctions), summarize the existing literature, and provide multiple research questions for each.

Although some of the new media phenomena identified are hardly new, the article offers an interesting perspective wrapped in a new framework, using a pinball analogy. If for nothing else, the authors should be commended for using old school gaming to describe new school media and its impact on customer relationships.


Both articles provide social media marketers with in-depth literature reviews and though-provoking CSFs for operating in a rapidly changing marketing environment. And both identify ten “game changers,” albeit from different perspectives.

As marketing researchers, our job is to turn these literature reviews into actionable research and to disseminate the results via SSRN or this column. Can we count on you?


Generating Prophets: 141 Inbound Marketing Certified Students

Inbound Marketing UniversityAs business school educators, our job is to adequately prepare our students to enter the workforce. Likewise, we want our graduates to make positive contributions to their organizations and to distinguish themselves as valued employees. The problem is, as discussed before, business schools in general and marketing departments in particular have been slow to embrace the social/mobile marketing era. In many regards, we are struggling to catch up with current marketing theories and practices.

Fortunately, HubSpot offers support to business professors who seek to integrate social media marketing into their curriculum. HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing University training and certification delivers curriculum materials designed to provide your students with a foundation on which to build.

This past academic year, in response to student demand, the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Charlton College of Business Department of Management and Marketing incorporated IMU training and certification into two undergraduate courses and one MBA course. We’re proud to report that between the three classes, 141 students successfully earned IMU certification (3 with honors distinction). In our opinion, IMU certification provides added value and external verification of basic competence in social media marketing. And, coupled with their diploma from our AACSB-accredited business program, IMU certification provides our graduates with a competitive advantage when searching for marketing jobs within the Boston-Providence region. Here are three lessons learned:

1) Not Every Student will “Get It”

Perhaps we overestimated the technical prowess of our students, but not every student enrolled in the courses understood the utility of earning IMU certification or possessed the basic technical understanding necessary to earn certification. MBA students were more successful, in general, than were undergraduate students in successfully passing the IMU certification exam. Overall, 83 percent of all students in the three classes earned IMU certification. In the MBA class, the pass rate was 97 percent.

2) Make it Worth The Effort

Students pursuing IMU certification take 16 modules (offered free by HubSpot) and a 50 question multiple choice exam (offered free by HubSpot). Those who pass the exam with a score of 76 or higher receive designation from HubSpot as an Inbound Marketing Certified Professional (free, including a printable/frame-worthy certificate). Although HubSpot’s free training and certification is a brilliant content marketing strategy, students need to be motivated to do the work and to pass the exam. We did this by counting certification as an exam score within the overall point system of the class. Thus, the impact on the final grade for those students who didn’t pass the certification exam was negative.

3) Make it “Hands-on”

Learning by doing is powerful. The difference between understanding theory and being able to apply theory is vast. Require students to work on their social media skills. Make them blog, develop professional LinkedIn profiles, participate actively on Twitter, clean up their Facebook page, develop a video resume and focus on personal branding via social media. Convince them that investing in personal branding is an investment in their future.

We’re proud of the 32 MBA students and 109 undergraduate students who earned IMU certification as part of their marketing curriculum this past academic year. We’re confident that they’re well prepared to enter the workforce and to make a positive contribution to the businesses fortunate enough to hire them. We know that they will distinguish themselves as social media savvy marketing executives able to compete with anyone.

How can we be certain? Our graduates have already distinguished themselves as innovators and leaders in social media marketing from coast-to-coast (Boston to San Francisco). This batch of new graduates, building on the success of and with the support of their predecessors, is well positioned to make an immediate impact.

Do yourself a favor. When hiring new marketing talent, ask them about their experience in social media marketing. Ask them to provide verification of their prowess in inbound marketing. Ask them for their IMU certification. And when they provide it, ask them about the excellent marketing education that they received from the Charlton College of Business.

Congratulations to the first 141 inbound marketing certified students to graduate from our business school. The future of marketing is in your hands.