Prioritizing the social media platform to reach target audiences

Prioritizing the social media platform to reach target audiences

By Elisabeth Deckon on November 3rd, 2011

Michaela Kraft, marketing management at Philips Speech Processing, met with us to discuss her company’s recent social media initiative.

Dodge: Tell us a bit about Philips’ history, your current business model and the challenges you face.
Kraft: Philips Speech Processing, with its headquarters in Vienna, Austria is the worldwide market leader in the professional dictation market and the only company to design and manufacture a comprehensive range of digital dictation solutions as well as analog dictation products. Currently, the company employs around 170 people worldwide. It is our goal to strengthen the #1 position in the professional digital dictation market. We strive to bring superior quality and sophisticated technology to the digital dictation market, thus providing “advanced solutions that work”. We drive new trends in the speech processing market, which is why we are constantly observing new technological developments and investigating their ability to bring real benefits for the different customers and end-users. The continuous evolution of our solution portfolio (hardware, software & services) for the digital dictation and voice capturing market is the foundation to strengthening our leading position. Outperforming market growth in our key countries and the entrance and growth in new markets is our first priority. We are proactively managing the migration from analog to digital dictation as well as from products to services and solutions.

Dodge: You recently began to leverage social media in conjunction with media relations outreach. Can you tell us a bit about that process and why you decided to make social media a priority?

Kraft: We recently switched from pure distribution to a reseller model which requires two-step communication to reach our end users. By leveraging social media, we’re able to communicate with all of our target audiences – dealers, end users and journalists – through one platform. Our goal is to ultimately increase brand awareness, drive website traffic and generate awareness of new technology/products that are available. Unlike other media platforms that provide exposure for a limited amount of time – advertising for example – social media enables consistent communication. We have the ability to push new messages out on a daily basis and encourage folks to engage in our topics.

Dodge: Many of our clients are either using social media (blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.), or seriously considering it. Can you tell us about Philips’ approach to social media and the benefits of using it? How do you see social media playing a bigger role in your communications with clients and prospects?
Kraft: We’re in a niche market so our messages are very targeted. The ability to link different parties together, the dealers, end users, journalists, and everyone else who is out there looking for information is a huge benefit. It’s also creating a pull for us. We’re creating conversations and getting end users talking. It’s happening more and more via our LinkedIn groups. End users are coming together and talking about topics that impact us. It’s not about selling anything. It’s really about getting the message across.

Dodge: To others considering social media, what key takeaways would you share?
Kraft: You have to be patient – nothing happens overnight. Also, you can only throw out a statement. If you believe you can control everything that is going on in social media and what is being said, you’re for sure wrong. That’s where less experienced people typically falter. They don’t think about a long term strategy or goal. People that don’t think in those terms and view it as a selling tool are simply going to lose.

Dodge: What has it been like working with an agency to help you strategically execute communications outreach?
Kraft: From my perspective, to have someone involved that not only understands our business and industry, but also brings an outside view and new ideas about what is possible and what can be done is a huge advantage. Dodge has a broader view of things than what we have and is constantly helping us identify unique ways to communicate our message. Your experience and what you do in other markets really benefits us. It’s the partnership that makes it successful. If we tried to execute something like this internally, we’d only have our company’s perspective which, in most cases, can be very narrow minded.