We can establish trust and educate customers by sharing our knowledge and expertise through meaningful content, relevant research, and industry know-how.
MEDIA 7: You have been identified, three times, as one of the most powerful women in mobile advertising! Can you please take us through your professional journey?
MONICA HO: I started my career during a major transformation in marketing - from traditional to digital - and throughout my professional journey, I have found myself drawn to opportunities where I could help marketers keep pace with shifts in customer demand and advancements in technology. I started as a marketing analyst, and later, got into digital sales with an agency where I was able to work hand-in-hand with brands who are making the difficult move to digital marketing and advertising. I spent ten years on the agency side, during which I launched “The Local Search Study,” and formed the digital arm of the agency. I then moved on to a start-up, leveraging mobile-location data. Again, I saw the opportunity to educate marketers on this shift to mobile, and how to effectively transition, partly through a study called “Mobile Path to Purchase,” which ran annually from 2012-2016.
In 2018, I decided to join SOCi, as I again saw a shift with brands lagging on consumer usage and not fully taking advantage of social media’s ability to reach and engage customers through local conversations and community. After a year, we launched what has become the Localized Marketing Benchmark Report, which through tangible and actionable data, has served as an invaluable asset in helping multi-location marketers fully understand how digital marketing optimization can drive real-world results. My journey at SOCi has seen me wearing many hats across the spectrum of marketing activities. But at the core, my professional purpose remains to empower marketers to leverage their digital marketing toolbox to scale and adapt amidst an ever-shifting landscape.
M7: Capterra recognized SOCi as one of the top 20 social media and review management software of 2020. What has been the strategy behind achieving such prestigious recognition?
MH: At SOCi, we listen to our customers and truly understand their business. Though we work with multi-location businesses, each comes with a unique set of goals, opportunities, and challenges. Our customer success and sales teams spend a lot of time and attention on our customers so that we can be a true marketing partner rather than just a mere technology provider. This customer feedback loop and partnership starts from day one and is an indispensable resource for our development teams. SOCi provides customers with customizable solutions and we improve our products as they scale and grow by listening.
Local marketers can adapt content and messaging to fit their local market, which increases engagement with customers and collaboration with corporate marketing teams.
M7: How does SOCi smoothen the multi-location marketing process for their clients?
MH: Multi-location marketers must establish a local presence for their business locations by leveraging locally-driven communication channels to reach the specific communities they serve. However, managing localization, at scale, across hundreds or thousands of locations is nearly impossible. SOCi empowers enterprises to drive local engagement and adoption while ensuring an on-brand experience across all digital touchpoints along the consumer journey for every location served. In addition to the corporate-level oversight and control, local teams, franchise owners, and marketing groups also can contribute and collaborate with corporate marketing departments. This allows companies to approach localized marketing at scale with more agility, flexibility, and customization. Local marketers can adapt content and messaging to fit their local market, which increases engagement with customers and collaboration with corporate marketing teams.
M7: What strategic marketing initiatives have you taken recently that have helped you boost sales for SOCi?
MH: Customized audits of prospects’ marketing efforts and ROI analyses executed through high-value digital experiences, like our Worksheets & Wine events. During these events, we explore the “how-to” for measuring localized marketing ROI followed by a wine tasting with a celebrity sommelier. Prospects walk away being able to better understand the value being driven by local search, local ratings, local reviews, and more social efforts through the creation of ROI worksheets for each of these areas of digital marketing. We’ve found it to be more effective to show prospects the return on investment they would have with SOCi rather than just telling them what SOCi does.
Our customer success and sales teams spend a lot of time and attention on our customers so that we can be a true marketing partner rather than just a mere technology provider.
M7: What are your preferred marketing channels, given your target customers?
MH: We put a lot of weight on thought leadership and content distribution, as well as events. Earned media is our top priority as a method to share the expertise, knowledge, and capabilities of SOCi and our amazing team. It serves to establish our authority and credentials and as an amazing demand generation tool. Since we play in a highly competitive space, it is imperative that customers feel confident in SOCi. We can establish trust and educate customers by sharing our knowledge and expertise through meaningful content, relevant research, and industry know-how.
M7: According to you, how should start-ups approach their branding that establishes credibility, expertise, and experience?
MH: Establish a brand through thought leadership, especially if you are a cutting edge or future technology. Start ups are not big enough and do not have the reputation or budgets to make an immediate impact without first providing authority, offering something of value, or showing expertise that impacts their industry. Expertise establishes and makes a brand from that knowledge and market leadership.