Internet of Things (IoT) Marketing Battle
Introduction to IBM and Microsoft IoT
Social media marketing is more of a subtle art than an exact science and big brands often make the mistake of comparing it with traditional marketing. You cannot have an “if you build it they will come” approach. We see this with comparing the effectiveness of two giants, IBM and Microsoft in the IoT space. Although just a three-month sample, looking at marketing activities between these two IoT market leaders, we see a winner. There is a clear distinction between how IBM and Microsoft promote their IoT products and services to the market.
In a recent Forrester Wave report looking at the top IoT software platforms (published November 2016), both IBM and Microsoft were identified as leaders. This analysis looked at these two market leaders to understand how effective their marketing efforts have been in this space. Specifically, social listening and analytics tactics were used to assess Q1 2017 (Jan., Feb., and Mar.) performance of these two IoT vendors, to understand:
- Share of Voice and social media reach
- Overall marketing effectiveness (what worked)
- Top Post comparison
- Top Media comparison
- Top Author comparison
- Influencer marketing and engagement strategy
Followers and Page Likes Comparison
When comparing IBM and Microsoft’s IoT social presence, IBM has the edge with 6,628 Facebook Page Likes and 68.2K Twitter Followers, compared to Microsoft’s 2,289 Facebook Page Likes and 41.5K Twitter Followers.
Twitter was the highest conversation channel represented for both IBM and Microsoft in Q1 of 2017. There were over 134K posts that mentioned IBM IoT compared to over 54K posts mentioning Microsoft IoT. IBM significantly outperformed Microsoft with Engagements (12,205 compared to 275). There was a low conversation count identified for both brands on Facebook.
Looking at a high-level social metrics view comparing IBM and Microsoft’s IoT efforts, IBM (71% share) significantly outperformed Microsoft (29% share). IBM saw a peak in conversation the week of February 13th with their announcement of the IBM Watson IoT Headquarters in Munich. IBM also realized a higher Passion Intensity index compared to Microsoft. Interestingly, Microsoft IoT conversation netted a higher negative tone compared to IBM.
Looking at the Passion Intensity Index of these two brands, IBM IoT saw a very strong Brand Passion Index with a score of 96 compared to Microsoft IoT Passion Intensity Index of 75. Top emotions identified with IBM, include: Great, Excited, Proud, and Happy.
Looking at the top terms and hashtags used by each brand, “MicrosoftCorporation” was frequently used within the Microsoft IoT conversation. Whereas, “Watson” and “IBMInterconnect” were frequently used within the IBM IoT conversation. Terms like BigData, Cloud, and Security were used more with IBM compared to Microsoft. IBM also used “Recruiting” terms as part of their IoT conversation. Note: Use related industry terms and hashtags to increase the reach of your primary term.
A couple of key events drove IBM’s conversation for Q1, 2017. On February 15th, IBM announced the opening of their IBM Watson IoT Headquarters in Munich. IBM successfully leveraged several promotional materials for this announcement including a wonderful video highlighting the opening.
We see other excellent examples of IBM using video effectively in their IoT marketing efforts. On January 26th, IBM Japan posted a video that demonstrated Bluemix with Watson, Blockchain, and IoT technologies. This single video was viewed over 37K times and shared over 100 times.
We see IBM using video across multiple channels effectively as well. In the below Twitter post, IBM used video and an industry influencer to increase their IoT presence.
Compare this to Microsoft’s IoT historical trend and top posts. Microsoft relied on traditional news outlets and social posting to promote their IoT brand. Although a steady conversation trend, nothing of significance to note from Microsoft’s IoT marketing efforts for the quarter.
When comparing how IBM and Microsoft are leveraging key influencers, IBM again has a clear advantage. The top 3 influencers that engaged in the IBM IoT conversation had a combined Follower base of 280K+. This creates a great opportunity for IBM. Note: Marketers should “listen” and engage, promote, converse with key Influencers to further promote their own brand.
We see another great example of influencer marketing from IBM on the below Facebook post where Rebecca Jarvis, Chief Business, Technology, & Economics Correspondent interviews IBM Watson at CES. This interview has been viewed over 13K times and shared over 175 times. This is a very strategic influencer outreach by IBM as Rebecca has over 200K Followers on Facebook.
Marketing professionals are beginning to realize that social interactions with online users with large followings can be tremendously beneficial. We see this with IBM’s IoT marketing efforts. IBM was very effective in leveraging key industry influencers to promote their IoT offering.
Influencer marketing has become top of mind for many marketing professionals. In a recent survey of 100 marketing professionals in the US, nearly a third (32 percent) consider influencer marketing an essential part of their strategy. Furthermore, 40 percent found more success by working with influential social media users than through traditional ad campaigns.
Along with influencer marketing, we found that IBM successfully created and promoted an assortment of compelling video content. Whether it’s video on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Youtube, marketing professionals should be thinking about how best to incorporate video into their marketing mix. In a 2016 survey of over 5,000 marketers, a significant 60% of marketers use video in their marketing and 73% plan on increasing their use of video. The single most important strategy in content marketing today is video.
So, what did we learn? The question surrounding social media marketing today is not whether you are doing it, but rather how effective you are at doing it. Most of us marketers have moved beyond the traditional vanity metrics of a number of likes and shares (if you haven’t, you should), to analyzing what’s important with your marketing efforts. We see from this analysis that using social analytics tactics, we can identify key drivers of successful marketing campaigns. We can also understand where our own brand stacks up against our greatest rivals.
Author: Evan Escobedo, VP and GM iWeSocial, firstname.lastname@example.org