Social CRM: Top priority for CMOs

Updated: April 13, 2010

But in spite of this clear opportunity, marketers have not allocated time or resources for engaging customers over Social Media channels. According to a survey of 124 chief marketing officers by The CMO Club and Hill & Knowlton, more than four out of five (84 percent) chief marketing officers (CMOs) allocate less than ten percent of their budgets to experimenting through social media and non-traditional communications channels, with more than half (55 percent) allocating just five percent or less. To the question "Does your brand have a web 2.0 communications policy?" almost half said either they don't have or are currently developing one. Only 14% CMOs said that they were "proactive" about creating external brand advocates and leveraging them (detailed findings of the survey here).

In another study by Weber Shandwick for evaluating how effectively Fortune 100 companies used Twitter to its full potential as an engagement platform, it was found that "for the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. Many of their Twitter accounts did not appear to listen to or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts and event information. This falls short of the opportunity that Twitter offers as a valuable communications channel and strategic social network."

Results of a study by Burson-Marsteller on Fortune 100's use of key Social Media Tools and another study on Use of Social Media tools by CEOs of Fortune 100 companies are equally disappointing.

Findings of studies referred above clearly indicate that even large companies don't get it when it comes to Social Media. Marketers are not having their eyes and ears on Social Media channels that are going to drive their business going forward.

It is very important that all senior executives (and especially the CMOs) start taking Social Media initiatives seriously. They should lead from the front when it comes to use of Social Media, as survival and growth of their business rests on how effectively they leverage emerging tech tools. As a first step in this direction, I strongly recommend that CMOs should:

  • Have a Twitter account and start using it for communicating with customers and general public
  • Monitor discussion regarding their company or brands on Social Media channels and if there are any legitimate issues, take it up with respective execs and make sure that they are resolved
  • Should use feedback gained from Social Media channels and ask right questions during review meetings. This will send out clear message down the chain that senior execs are listening to customers on Social Media and line managers or customer support staff will be more responsive to handling customer issues via Social channels.
  • Set up a Social Media Task force that will advise them on how to quickly adapt and integrate their marketing operations into emerging Social web applications
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