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1 Z. Katona, M. Savary (2014), University of California, Berkeley/Haas School of Business: Mærsk Line: B2B Social Media – “It’s Communication, Not Marketing” (p.7) Firstly, the most important factor that led Maersk Line to achieve success of social media was that the brand started to see it as a way of communication as opposed to marketing. As B2B companies market themselves to businesses, many perceive the content as being boring or useless. At that time, many B2B companies were reluctant to the idea of having a social media presence. However, Wichmann believed it could be an interesting idea for the brand. Having previous experience, Wichmann took the challenge and started to build a unique strategy which was focusing on telling stories from the inside and onboarding the employees. This was a crucial key driver for the company’s success as by doing this Maersk Line added a human touch to the brand. Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 3 Secondly, another key driver was the fact that the brand’s social media content was focusing on transparent but engaging topics about the culture of the organization while also sharing photos with the brand’s environment and ships. Whereas the posts remained professional, Wichmann added a playful approach which made Maersk Line’s presence and voice more consistent and visually engaging. The firm used transparency in its strategy by “telling all the stories, even the negative ones”. Therefore, the brand succeeded to properly handle and manage all the possible crises that could impact the good reputation of the organization. Thirdly, one more important key driver was Wichmann’s “buy-in explorative approach” to attract the audience based on flexibility and spontaneity. As Wichmann had the full support of the management team, the decision-making process was faster. Hence, his social media proposal was approved within a week. Furthermore, an additional key driver can be considered the fact that Maersk Line decided to firstly launch on Facebook as it is the channel with the most active users. Being the first mover within the conservative industry of container shipping, the brand had a competitive advantage over their competitors. Wichmann considered the different purposes of the different social media platforms and strategically created a suitable approach for each channel. For instance, as LinkedIn is a more corporate platform the brand used it to share business-related news and to interact with customers in groups and forums. As Facebook is a less formal channel, the firm used it to both onboard the employees and engage with the audience through visuals and interesting stories. Last but not least, the final key driver is connected to Wichmann’s strategy of keeping the social media costs down. In the first year, Maersk Line succeeded to gather 600,000 Facebook fans and 20,000 on Twitter by only spending $ 100,000. All in all, the social media efforts helped the firm not only to save money in terms of customer service, but also had a great impact on the culture of the organization by guiding employees towards a sharing environment. To sum up, we believe that Maersk Line was so successful in social media as they were the first ones to swift from the traditional paradigm of B2B social media marketing. They succeeded to create a strategy that was targeting an authentic interaction with customers. The developed strategy had four main emphasis: on communication, customer service, sales and internal usage, by making the brand approachable and giving it a personal identity. In a nutshell, the strategy that led to Maersk Line’s social media success was aimed at getting closer to the customer while trying to increase employee engagement, develop higher brand awareness, keep the costs down and create a positive brand image. Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 4 2. How do you think Maersk Line’s competitors will react to the company’s success in social media? In order to determine how their competitors will react to Maersk Line’s success on Social Media, we decided to first have a look at how Maersk Line initially thought about SoMe themselves. In the start, Jonathan Wichmann’s plan to go social was faced with extensive criticism, both from inside the company and also from externals. The general perception at that time was that Maersk Line, as a traditional container shipping company, was not considered “fancy” enough to be successful on Social Networks. Phrases like “we’re boring”, “no one’s going to like us”, “who will support us”, and so on were predominant amongst employees and industry experts. Simply put, there was a lack of belief in Social Media having the potential to add value to Maersk Line. However, Wichmann and his team pushed through, and were in fact supported by senior management. Consequently, they were given free hands and even a budget to set up and work on campaigns. The fact that the decision makers at Maersk Line, despite the scepticism, were open minded and willing to experiment paid off, and in the end turned out to be a crucial factor for the success. Given this development we believe that, in the short-run, Maersk Line’s competitor’s will be surprised and meet the success with the same kind of doubt and scepticism as the majority of Maersk Line’s employees initially. They might argue that Social Media is not the right thing for this industry, but rather a nice tool for small businesses to brand themselves and promote their products and services. In a similar vein, the opposing group and many of our classmates argued that they don’t agree with our opinion that, in fact, Maersk Line’s Social Media activities create real value. They criticised that utilizing Social Media in this case would not have a significant, measurable impact on the company’s bottom line. And while that claim might be valid when thinking in terms of direct, quantifiable results, it certainly is not when taking into consideration indirect factors. In fact, whereas the primary objective of using SoMe for B2C companies might be increasing brand awareness, this does not necessarily hold true for B2C companies, and especially not in the case of Maersk. Rather, what really makes a difference here is the impact on employer branding. By giving their employees a platform to share their experiences at work (e.g. captains, staff) and Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 5 establishing them as thought leaders and industry experts (managers, strategists), they not only market themselves to potential employees, but place the brand in the minds of future talents. Even though the case states that Maersk sold containers via Social Media, this only is a side-effect, and should by no means serve as the primary point of discussion. Therefore, in order to stay competitive in the long-run, we believe that Maersk Line’s competitors will be forced to act. And while not necessarily all of them will try to revolutionize today’s Social Media landscape with all inspiring content, they will at least thoroughly analyse what constituted the success of Maersk, and what they can do to find a way to utilize Social Media for their own success. After all, it is a cost-effective way to build relationships and efficiently interact with various stakeholders. What has been disregarded by the majority of our classmates in the post-presentation discussion is that the world becomes increasingly digitalized, and that a successful Social Media strategy results in much more than Likes and Comments. From our perspective, in the case of Maersk Line, employer branding, industry insights and press coverage are the real benefits to consider, just to name a few. Hence, to summarize our answer to question 2, we think that Maersk Line’s competitors will be surprised and sceptical in the start, and gradually realize the potential and importance of Social Media. Eventually, they will set up their own teams and invest in the field, not to sell containers, but to remain competitive or even innovate on less obvious, but equally important dimensions. 3. What are the challenges facing Maersk Line in social media going forward?3.1 Targeting the right audience By the last quarter of 2013, Maersk Line was active in the most popular social media channels. In fact, it was 10 different platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Vimeo, Flickr, Pinterest, Tumblr and Instagram. These platforms were classified from the least to the most corporate and segmented by their 4 audiences: fans, customers, employees and experts. In 2012, after the conducted survey with Maersk Line’s customers and non-customers, the company achieved a better perspective of audiences on each platform and how these groups Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 6 want to connect with the company. For instance, LinkedIn is positioned as the most corporate platform and its main function is to reach Maersk Line’s customers and experts. To put in other words, the followers of Maersk Line in LinkedIn are mainly professionals of the same or similar industry who want to interact with Maersk Line by exchanging opinions and even co-creating products with the company. For this reason, Maersk Line treats this audience respectively: uploads business-related articles, creates and interacts in private groups of specific interests. By contrast, Instagram is the least business-like and fully visual platform, that gives an opportunity to create the content to its followers. To sum up, these examples show that different audiences engage in different platforms and a company should always consider that in their communication. Being present on numerous channels can make it difficult for a brand to personalize its content for a precise audience. Hence, Maersk Line is challenging themselves not to become repetitive, implement innovative tools to improve communication on social media and provide relevant content to its audiences. 3.2 Emerging social media channels Nowadays technological innovation increases rapidly which usually makes it difficult for business professionals to keep abreast of arising platforms on Internet. Firstly, it is needed to evaluate which platform is worth the company’s time and effort. Consequently, Maersk Line has to face the same challenge if they want to stay close to their followers via social media channels. In this case it all comes down to one element – the audience. Nevertheless, sometimes it is possible to shape a specific audience if a platform is exploit wisely. Consider Snapchat as an example. In brief, Snapchat is perfect for real-time marketing because it can give the audience direct access to live events from any place and time. However, Facebook and Instagram also provide such features. The first print screen (Exhibit 2) illustrates a live streaming Facebook post, and the second one is its repost from LinkedIn (Exhibit 3). Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 7 Figure 1: The Print Screen of Live Event on “Facebook”/ Figure 2: The Print Screen of the Reposted Live Event on “LinkedIn” Since Maersk Line was not active on Snapchat (by the presented time), the method of sharing a live event on different platforms could serve as a testing which audience is more interested in such posts and what content is the most favourable. Moreover, a well-done analysis might show if Snapchat is effective in capturing new audience. Thus, Maersk Line has two ways of building a presence on a platform: they could wait for a particular channel to become more popular, learn from other company’s activities on a platform and then safely engage in it; or become an early adopter, have much less competition and gain an unique audience. 3.3 Estimating a value Considering a budget, J. Wichmann from Maersk Line together with his team “hardly spent any money”. As a matter of fact, in 2012 they spent $100,000 and had 600,000 Facebook fans. However, in J. Wichmann’s opinion, “focusing on metrics such as followers or fans shouldn’t be the main goal” and these numbers could mean a lot of casual fans. Regarding J. Wichmann, employee engagement, customer insights and innovation creates the bottom line in social media but it is an arduous task to measure these aspects. Therefore, new methods of evaluation should be adapted like Wichmann’s formula for measuring engagement on Facebook: on the basis of 10 latest posts – number of likes + (number of comments)*2 + (number of shares)*4 . Another challenging matter in estimating the value is the difficulty of cross-platform attribution. Nowadays, consumers use a range of different devices for various tasks, from Google on the phone to e-mails on the personal computer. Thus, it is a challenge to evaluate which touch point influenced a customer to an ultimate purchase. Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 8 4. What should Maersk Line do next? What areas should the company focus on and why? 4.1 October 2013 Before examining what should Maersk Line do next, it is worth to remind a proposal that Wichmann left behind. The proposal suggested to enlarge the social media team and rapidly increase and transfer the budget from outdated forms of advertising into major strategic social media platforms and expenses for monitoring tools. At the time of the proposal, there was also an increasing pressure from the marketing department to integrate activities. 4.2 Keeping It from the Inside and Flexible At this point, it does not make sense for Maersk Line to go out and reach for the help of an external agency to conduct their social media strategy. Wichmann already proved that Maersk Line can do it independently from other company as they possess the experience and the expertise needed for upcoming challenges. Keeping the social media operation under its own cape also means higher flexibility and therefore also higher impact on the target groups. Incorporation of the social media team within the marketing department might cause potential damage to this flexibility and the independency that the social media team operated with. However, certain coordination of both divisions might be beneficial for the next strategy of Maersk. 4.3 Expanding the Social Media Team Assuming that Maersk Line wants to move things forward by intensifying more the social media efforts, the firm should start by seeking new talented colleagues to join the team. The responsibilities and agenda should be divided among several specialised roles. Wichmann’s proposal mentioned a need for 1 FTE Social Media Manager, 1 FTE Community Manager, 1 FTE Social Media Lead and Social Collaboration Agent and Customer Communications Manager, 0.5 FTE each. 4.4 Efficiency in the Budget The fact that Maersk Line only spent $100,000 in the first year of their social media effort proves once again the competence and efficiency of Wichmann and his team. Strategic and Tactical Tools for E-Business 9 The proposal called for a tripling of the total budget by shifting expenses from web banner advertising, print advertising and sponsorships. This would allow Maersk Line to spend more on intensifying advertising and content creation efforts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and cover the costs of new employees in the social media team and other expenses such as expanding to Asian and new emerging social media channels or costs related to monitoring tools 4.5 Social Media Monitoring Tools In addition to more traditional tools that monitor behaviour and metrics, Maersk Line might also follow the footsteps of Dell which came up with the Social Command Listening Centre that allowed them to monitor brand mentions across social media platforms. With such solution, the firm could track trends and potential opportunities, contribute more to the brand awareness and top-of-mind while creating a vivid presence and voice. 4.6 Return on Investment Wichmann claimed that whereas the calculated Return on Investment was 1,500 per cent, it was also hard to quantify it due to too many factors such as: employee engagement, customer insights and ideas from shipping experts. Nevertheless, this calculation was based on various studies and the methodology was not mentioned. Maersk Line has been successful in building employee engagement and developing brand awareness, but it is not certain how successful was Maersk Line’s strategy in generating leads and sales. A reasonable strategy would be to maximize efforts on the most business relevant platforms such as LinkedIn and generate content that will encourage customer conversation and attract clients. 4.7 Generate Leads Through Valuable Content According to Wichmann’s findings from the conducted survey in 2012, LinkedIn is the platform “where the customers want to interact with us”, indicating that LinkedIn is the platform with the greatest potential for business. 

To utilize the potential, Maersk Line should produce and publish technical insights, information on industry best practices and other valuable content that is useful for possible customers. They might recognize the economic value proposition of working with Maersk Line and then the sales team should address them with tailor-made solutions to optimize their shipping processes and bring costs down. 

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