Social media has evolved substantially over the last five years and has proved itself to be an effective tool that improves the customer experience as well as lead generation.
At an ITEXPO Austin 2012 session “Supporting the Social CMO” this afternoon, expert panelists discussed how social media is affecting CMOs.
“There is a shift in the way the CMO connects with customers and employees and use that insight to develop better programs,” said Tony Busa of Benbria Corporation.
As someone who works directly with CMOs, Busa sees that they have similar and dissimilar ways in which they use social media. Still, all CMOs are using it to better connect with customers in order to capture more customer insight. This in turn, Busa says, drives sales and customer retention.
The concept of social engagement has created cultural feedback for organizations where this customer insight and feedback is a necessary part of achieving corporate objectives and satisfying customers.
“CMOs need to be where their customers are,” said Chris Ballan of IBM.
These days, customers are much smarter, more engaged and more able to get information on companies, services, and products. So, this is driving the way that we must engage with customers.
“Companies need to understand how to engage in this social media environment,” said Ballan. “There needs to be back and forth value with the customers.”
Although the way CMOs utilize social media really depends on the sector, according to Wes Durow of Sonus Networks, which is a major challenge CMOs face when it comes to social. “It’s kind of a casual medium where you can make a lot of mistakes. You have to have a structure of what you want to achieve through the medium,” he explained.
In order to keep perspective, marketers develop a clear message that is relevant and resonant for customers. Social can be tied into support that ultimately drives customer satisfaction. “So, any CMO that sees social media as only a branding effort will not be in that chair very long,” said Durow.
More and more, we are seeing how social networking tools can be put to good use in the CMOs office. They can then learn a lot about their customers and their brand from social media, and in turn, redo the marketing operations to solicit ideas and accelerate business.
Durow said, “Social media is a great way for CMOs to create a bunch of voices for your company to interact with current and potential customers.”
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