TechBytes with Brad Fay, Chief Commercial Officer, Engagement Labs

Brad Fay, Chief Commercial Officer, Engagement Labs

Brad Fay
Chief Commercial Officer, Engagement Labs

According to Engagement Labs, most retailers see Amazon as the benchmark to outperform, and some of them are actually managing to do it. To better understand the state of flux in e-commerce and how Amazon continues to do better than the rest of the pack in retail and e-commerce, we spoke to Brad Fay, Chief Commercial Officer, Engagement Labs.

What are the core tenets of the technology driving TotalSocial reporting?

The underlying premise of TotalSocial is the proven fact that consumers’ purchases are influenced greatly by the people around them and that marketers need a technology-driven platform that makes it possible to measure and manage social influence. That influence is not limited to social media channels but rather includes both offline and online conversation. Engagement Labs has demonstrated that 19% of all consumer purchases, on average, are driven by social influence, with about half of that influence happening in social media, and the other half related to face-to-face conversations. TotalSocial is the only data and analytics platform that measures both the online and offline conversations of consumers, with predictive analytics that link conversation to business outcomes.

What does Amazon do better than other ecommerce companies?

Amazon dominates conversations related to retail and shopping. They are particularly good at giving consumers simple but compelling topics to share with each other. Free shipping and easy merchandise returns are great examples of this. Through Amazon Prime, they have successfully created a strong relationship with their consumers, as well.

Is social conversation the ultimate channel to expand audience reach, especially in retail?

Social conversation is a key component and often works in tandem with paid and owned media. It expands the reach of advertising and marketing by giving marketers access to the friends and family of the people exposed directly to advertising. We find that about 30% of the impact of paid advertising occurs because the ad sparked a conversation that led to a purchase. But the impact of social is more than expanded reach. Peer-to-peer conversation is the most persuasive form of marketing because it comes from an independent person who is trusted. Expanded reach and persuasion are both key advantages for marketers who adopt a social marketing strategy.

What is the current state of Social Selling? What tools and technologies do you offer to marketers in this area?

What we do is probably best described as social marketing, which has a proven tie to sales. We are an organization that helps marketers tap the power of social media and offline conversations to generate awareness and purchase intent for their brands. Our TotalSocial data platform is particularly effective at separating the signal from the noise of social media—making sure that clients are focusing on the conversations that really matter. We also provide specific guidance on how best to drive the conversations that will drive sales, including optimizing messaging, targeting, channel strategy, and benchmarking performance versus a brand’s competitive set. TotalSocial is the only data and analytics platform in the social ecosystem that combines online and offline data (with a ten-year database) and incorporates predictive analytics.

What areas of engagement should marketers and retail teams focus on to improve marketing campaigns?

There are three key components for marketers and retail teams to focus on. The first revolves around the marketing message. The key to driving engagement is having a compelling and talkworthy message: Something simple, unique, and memorable that people will want to share with other people. It may be related to a brand’s “founding” story, or its values, or to a compelling new or unique offering. Second is identifying the right target: Consumers most likely to share content, online and offline, are not always the same as the people who are sought out for advice and recommendations. The third is knowing the channels that drive conversation – digital, TV, radio, in-store, email, print, and social media are all channels that can drive people to share and motivate them to talk with family, friends, colleagues at work and anyone in their social network.

How do you see growth in Data Science and AI/ML technologies influencing more refined brand-audience conversation analytics?

We have a unique set of sophisticated tools to connect consumer conversations to business outcomes. We have built powerful predictive analytics, powered by Artificial Intelligence, which demonstrates that TotalSocial metrics predict sales up to 8 weeks in advance of purchase. We have demonstrated that a 10% increase in TotalSocial metrics lead to a 2.6% increase in sales, underscoring that tens of millions in incremental revenue can be unleashed by putting the power of social influence to work. AI/ML is also deployed to provide diagnostics to our clients that are linked to the predictive analytics, uncovering the playbook that clients can deploy in real time to maximize their social influence.

Thanks for chatting with us, Brad.
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