Phone-based text messages and social media Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter are changing how companies interact with consumers.

ExactTarget gathering showcases social media
By Tom Spalding and Erika D. Smith
Posted: September 15, 2010

Phone-based text messages and social media Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter are changing how companies interact with consumers.

This was evident Tuesday at ExactTarget’s tech conference, where executives rolled out the company’s new “Interactive Marketing Hub,” software that powers all forms of interactive marketing in real time across e-mail, mobile and social sites.

“In the last decade, e-mail has been the workhorse of communication,” said Scott Dorsey, CEO of ExactTarget, the 700-employee Downtown Indianapolis company sponsoring the three-day private gathering at the Marriott Downtown.

“Marketing is shifting in a more fundamental way,” Dorsey told the crowd. “With social media, mobile, websites, everything has changed.”

ExactTarget’s “Interactive Marketing Hub” will give users a Web-based, real-time “dashboard” of all comments made about a particular company on the Internet. The software also helps clients create and keep track of targeted marketing campaigns using social media, creating an integrated approach rather than different silos.

A Nielsen study showed that of all U.S. Internet users, e-mail usage dropped from 11.5 percent of their computer time spent in a day in June 2009 to 8.3 percent this June. Social network usage rose to 22.7 percent from 15.8 percent in the same period.

Richard Branson, a serial entrepreneur, commercial space travel proponent and the chairman of Virgin Group, said during a speech at the conference that social media can help customers interact with each other and the brand and create a better experience.

A food-deprived customer on a Virgin flight, he said, used a Twitter app to complain about being hungry instead of pushing the flight attendant button. The company was monitoring conversations, and the ground crew conveyed the message to the air crew, which helped the passenger.

“Conversations can change the world one moment at a time, one person at a time,” Branson said.

Also speaking at the conference is Dick Costolo, chief operating officer of Twitter, who delivers a Thursday lunchtime keynote address on how marketers can use the social site to drive business for clients.

ExactTarget, a privately held company that had considered going public a few years ago, built a business as experts at communicating with lists of e-mail users who have chosen to receive electronic ads, news and deals from ExactTarget’s clients. The company also helps its clients get their messages out on Facebook and Twitter.

But consumers “have a megaphone,” Dorsey said, and that’s only going to increase. “Embracing the fact that consumers have a voice is imperative.”

2 Responses to “Phone-based text messages and social media Web sites such as Facebook and Twitter are changing how companies interact with consumers.”

  1. September 16, 2010 at 8:36 am

    I like leaving comments on people’s blogs. I was amazed when I started commenting that it really did start to drive traffic back to my site and, more importantly, started to establish relationships with people. It’s a lot of fun and there are amazing people out there to meet.

    • December 28, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      I would think you would get more feedback if the comment you left were more specific tot he blog you are leaving it on, but I figured maybe you have data that shows otherwise? I would not be surprised if my above theory is wrong…

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