Category: Social Media/Networking
If you had to guess, do you think C-suite executives get social media? According to a global survey, CEOs get social, but CMOs are failing to implement. That’s a major internal disconnect in securing loyal brand advocates.
IBM's Peter Korsten said the culprits to blame are marketing managers. "They know they need to change, but don't really want to change."
An IBM survey of C-suite executives showed that marketers are still relying on mostly aggregate data and traditional market research to support sales. Only 16 percent were using social.
Yet CEOs believe that social is now the most important channel.
In a Social Media Today discussion, Peter Kim, part of the management team at DachisGroup calls this effect – "the unfortunate middle" Blame is laid at the feet of middle management too entrenched to change what they're doing rather than engaging in a new and sometimes bumpy course that social offers with vast rewards.
Kim, a leading analyst on social business, cites the announcement and sudden death of Qwikster (a briefly lived venture that engendered nothing but consumer ill will for Netflix) as a cautious case study. "If they had only listened to their customers," Kim said.
Indeed, the social element of consumer feedback – based on Kim and Korsten's observations – is that many brands aren't paying attention. If you're not reading consumer reviews of products, for example, that very important feedback may not be funneled to the ears and eyes of company decision makers.
The IBM report found that 68 percent of Chief Marketing Officers reported that they felt underprepared to manage social media, coming in second on their list of concerns just under data management. Worse, most CMOs pay attention to markets rather than individuals. Only 48 percent reported that customer reviews were a key source of information.
What are the remaining barriers since we know big brands (and small businesses) can harness social successfully?
Seventy-two percent of CMOs cited "cost" and another 61 percent cited a "lack of ROI certainty." Most likely those barriers will translate into bad purchasing decisions when it comes to vendors and social media strategists, leading to a less likelihood that marketing will move aggressively ahead instead of lagging woefully behind.
As IBM points out, "organizations can no longer afford to write a blank check for their marketing initiatives."
Doing so without being strategic is really a spending money without purpose – similar to state agencies and government units that "spend down" just so they can ask for the same pot of money again the next fiscal year. Spending without strategy has consequences – lost customers, disgruntled employees and poor outcomes.
One of the successful case studies in the IBM report cites Kraft Food, a company that was able to make Oreo the best-selling cookie in China. After testing prototypes, reformulating and trying out new packaging, they finally went to digital. The company tapped NBA star Yao Ming, offered young consumers a chance to compete online in a "twist, lick and dunk" contest, and created an online diary for participants using the popular QZone social network.
More than 40 million user-generated "Oreo Moments" were shared online and now the Oreo rules.
So how are CMOs coping with case studies like this one? They're turning to external experts for lead management, customer and data analytics, direct or relationship marketing – and (drum roll) social.
Here are the "tough questions" marketing specialists need to consider from the report:
1. How do your marketing tactics and investments work in sync to create and grow a pervasive and innovative total customer relationship?
2. What steps are you taking to connect customer insights with product and service development, and to stimulate your customers to become better brand or company advocates?
3. How are you collaborating with your C-level peers to activate your "corporate character" across all touch points and experiences?
4. How are you measuring or analyzing the results of your initiatives and communicating them to advance you marketing function’s credibility and accountability?
5. What are you doing to enrich the skills mix in the marketing function and build technical, financial and digital acumen?
6. In what ways are you personally investing to broaden your capabilities?
The survey of 1,734 executives in 19 industries and 64 countries conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value should be a wake-up call for CMOs, who need to invest and commit to social—whether they start small or go big.
Just be strategic.
Kyle Communications is a media strategy firm with more than 30 awards from peer groups for media, PR and social marketing campaigns. Read what our clients have to say about our work and join the conversation with us on Twitter @KyleComm or on Facebook.
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