Are marketers becoming more like drivers and less like spectators?

This morning I had coffee with Tejas Dixit of Market Dialogues who showed me Junction, his new SaaS social media management solution.

Junction is designed to help small and medium sized businesses plan, execute, and manage their social media initiatives effectively. Unlike many social media management solutions which offer publishing to social media accounts, monitoring conversations, and analytics as independent solutions, or as siloed components, Junction tightly integrates and dashboards all three.

I’ve noticed that a major stumbling block of many social media management solutions is that the feedback they offer about the success (or lack thereof) of social media efforts can be difficult to act on. Even when publishing, monitoring, and analytics are available under the same login, the gap between action and feedback can be wide enough to leave a major hurdle in the path of social media marketers. Meanwhile, the level of complexity conveyed by analytics tools can leave marketers, and the people they are accountable to, bewildered.

Junction seeks to solve this problem by providing, right alongside their publishing tools, analytics dashboards  that are optimized specifically for marketers. The idea is that marketers can be more effective when they get immediate feedback about their marketing efforts and have a connected context in which to make decisions. The experience is intended to be more like a racecar driver with a hands-on feel of the car and track and less like a spectator who can only imagine what it’s like on the track.

The linchpin of Junction is a scoring algorithm which allows marketers to get immediate feedback about whether marketing initiatives are “moving the needle” from their brand’s perspective, and how. Marketers can gauge the effectiveness of their efforts on three composite scales—awareness, community, and engagement—which they choose from depending upon what they hope to accomplish via a particular initiative. Dashboards show daily changes in these scores, generated by applying analytics to the monitoring data for each initiative.

Junction is also equipped with valuable tools like the ability to compare between time ranges, industry benchmarking, a way to view and prioritize conversations and respond directly from the dashboard, and my personal favorite, an ROI component which shows the running ratio of desired results to marketing spend on any initiative. The complete package should also help social media marketers justify the value of their efforts within the total marketing program.

Junction is currently available as a beta release—those who are interested can ask for a trial. A white-label solution for agencies is also available, Tejas tells me, with additional features and a good level of customization.

To compare Juction with other approaches in this space (there is no clear leader at this point), I encourage you read a recent overview of 5 leading solutions for small-medium businesses by Angela West on PCWorld.com, including HootSuite, VerticalResponse Social, Sprout Social, Sendible, and Postling.

What tools are you using?

What features are you looking for, but haven’t found?

What are the biggest challenges you’d like to see solved?

Please add your comments, below.

Disclosure: I was introduced to Tejas through a friend, and have no financial connections to Tejas or Junction—or to our mutual friend.

Photo credit: By Glen Duncombe [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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