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Selling laptops is a tough business these days. Not only has the PC industry been slumping, with a record seven quarters of consecutive decreases in sales, only one vendor has actually been growing — and not it’s not Apple.

But in a recent campaign, Sony mixed modern big data, social media analytics, and old-school marketing such as direct mail email marketing — and generated 300 percent more sales than control groups.

“The goal is to drive sales,” Sony’s head of direct marketing in the U.S. Jeremy Lyons told me. “The key challenge is: What’s the best way to connect with the best advocates of your brands?”

Business on a laptopTo do that, Sony turned to Pursway, a social media analytics company that takes your database of clients and “socializes” it, finding the connections, seeking out those who have strong social networks, and finding those who have the capability to influence others’ purchases.

The results were fairly impressive.

In a test campaign to part of Sony’s database of existing clients who were identified by Pursway’s social influencer data as noninfluencers, each 100 purchases only generated nine additional friend purchases. The part of the campaign, however, that was directed at existing clients who were identified as social media influencers was much more viral.

Each 100 influencers who bought, influenced other purchases by an impressive 44 friends. And each 100 influencers who did not buy still influenced eight friend purchases. Summing that up, each 100 influencers, whether they buy or not, influence 26 additional purchases.

“It’s a good start,” Lyons, who is still experimenting with different options and offers. “Using the Pursway tech, we did better at getting to people who drive one or two other purchases.”

In other words, better at making buying viral.

That works, Pursway says, by matching your customer data with social data that identifies each of your customer’s 10 to 25 closet contacts. Then, importantly, Pursway analyzes social transactions in that group of close friends and relatives — and overlays actual transaction data — to pinpoint the 8 percent to 25 percent of people who are “topic-based influencers.” These are people who are leaders in their social circles, who others look to for buying advice.

Then it’s simply a matter of aligning your marketing to focus significantly on influencers.

When they buy, others will too — up to 44 percent of them.


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