In an Orwellian scenario where customers are bombarded with increasing noise on a daily basis, the results are in and there seems little ambiguity – click through rates (CTRs) on a campaign conducted by a leading media company in North America clearly show that the CTR for campaigns executed on social channels were 2.5x that for email. Furthermore, the leads generated from social channels had 5x the velocity through the pipeline resulting in faster time to revenue.

As I mentioned in our new year’s day blog, our goal for 2014 was to help our customers find more and better leads on social. In this way, they could drive faster time to revenue AND make meaningful use of social media instead of waving their hands about ‘vanity metrics’ such as likes and impressions. We have completed a very successful early access program with customers such as IT World Canada and Pyramid Analytics, amongst others. Based on the success of our early customers, we have publicly launched the solution earlier this month.

So how do we define ‘success’? Being the boring old enterprise software guys we are, we are extremely cynical of anything other than hard metrics. Here’s how IT World Canada has started seeing success in their initial foray into social demand generation.

IT World Canada, a publisher for 30 years, has reinvented itself as a digital media company focusing on content driven lead generation. They are recognized as the clear leader in serving technology executives such as CIOs and CSOs. Increasingly, however, purchasing decisions are made by line of business executives; IT World Canada has been actively focused on line of business users and developing new communities of interest in the digital space.

One of their current programs is aimed at chief marketing officers (CMOs), who are playing a very important role in technology purchasing decisions. They have known that CMOs were present on social channels, but needed a way to rapidly identify, engage and nurture them in a systematic and scalable manner. The new Canadian law that severely restricts email marketing (CASL) makes reaching new audiences a tremendous challenge.

Using NextPrinciples’ Social Marketing Automation (SMA) solution, they easily set up online trackers with their own filter words and criteria to scan the social web for activity that identified relevant leads; these leads were then scored using IT World’s demographic and behavioral criteria. Leads generated using NextPrinciples flow back into SugarCRM, IT World Canada’s installed CRM solution for nurturing efforts.

IT World Canada saw three quick, measurable results:

1. Growth in social audience: Starting a new following aimed at CMOs, they experienced a 11% increase in social audience, with a formidable average Klout score and the highest level of engagement they have seen – this is directly attributable to the quality of leads generated on social channels.

2. Higher click through rates: early tests show an increase of 252% in click through rates compared to email nurturing – this is directly attributable to lead analytics and personalized content

3. Increased Lead velocity: a 500% increase in lead velocity compared to traditional methods. In the past, a three-touch-point drip campaign on traditional channels like email would have taken 15 days. With SMA the three touches were completed in just three days.

You can read the full press release here or watch Jim Love of IT World Canada speak about social marketing automation.

We are excited to see that the numbers prove, without a doubt, our initial hypothesis about the measurable impact that our solution would have on enhancing our customers’ demand generation processes. It is possible to utilize social media in a ‘meaningful’ manner that gives other channels such as email a run for their money!