Recent Social Executive Council Post: Social Effect versus Business Affect

July 8th, 2011 by Judy Leave a reply »

Why are we treating social so differently than the market disruptions that we’ve lived through before? I feel as though I have actually contributed to this problem. I have been evangelizing that social is different. I am now seeing the impact over the past few weeks through my conversations:

  • Why have so many executives asked me how they too can become a “social” subject matter expert? That somehow, by virtue of reading the right blogs, by attending the right events, by getting other SMEs to share their wisdom, they too could become the “guru” within their company or for their clients?
  • Why it is so difficult for smart, experienced senior executives to absorb social as an innovation, as a market transformation?
  • Why are these same senior executives who in the past would clearly lead the charge within their organizations now deferring and abdicating their role in this process?

It wasn’t until I thought back on the past 27 years and what brought me to the dance; to strip away the “social effect” and focus on the “business affect” that I connected the dots. From a relationship perspective in the social markets, I realized that we all need to better orient around the customer; focusing on the needs of the customer, their problems, their challenges, and their opportunities. The discovery process by which we used to engage directly with my customers offline was to get insight about them in order to help understand how we can best serve them. Social should be thought of as a better way to do that.

With the social markets, not only do we have the opportunity to gather this insight from the customers that we know, but we now have the ability to engage with the prospects we don’t yet know, online, in greater numbers, and in a more meaningful way. The more insight that we have on their pain, their education process, who they are reaching out to within their peer networks to get trusted opinions, and how they are validating what they are learning; the more that we can facilitate and affect their willingness to do business with us.

In the past once I had better insight to the needs of the customer, I would always consider economics, at a macro and a micro level. We all get so caught up in the “gee wiz” of social that we lose sight of the economic impact. One conversation with a global company in particular got me thinking about this.

Today they have an engagement model whereby they schedule different types of sequenced, timed outreaches since they don’t know what will resonate and when. They first send an overview, then an invitation to a webinar, a case study, augmented by LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Then they try to work with the other lines of business to make sure that they don’t overlap at the same time. They are operating under an opt-out model. It’s the cost of rejection that they must absorb.

But more importantly, let’s think about this from the target buyer’s perspective. Not only are you asking them to react to everything that you send across the lines of business, but your competitors are doing the same thing, at the same time. We are creating the noise in the market that buyers are discounting. We are diluting the brand equity that we have been trying so hard to build over time.

With social marketing, we now have the ability to understand and build relationships from within the market, co-opting existing networks of our buyers at a much lower cost than traditional marketing by focusing on the cost of attention built upon an opt-in model. With the savings that we can obtain in marketing at a macro level, we will be able to invest into the sales and support relationships with our customers at a micro level.

Relationships and marketing economics are just the first building blocks in how mature businesses must apply social to and within a complex enterprise.

Article by

Judy Mod, Principal of Social Gastronomy, is an executive who specializes in Social Buyer Target Marketing, Network Selling, Social Networking Strategy and Community Adoption, and Enterprise Social Business Programs. Judy has over 25 years in driving top line revenue through global sales, business development, marketing, strategic consulting, strategic alliances/channels/partnerships roles. Judy has an extensive background in B2B with roles in enterprise social networks, technology (consulting services/software/hardware), semiconductor, environmental, chemical/petrochemical/oil & gas, process and manufacturing industries. A recognized early adopter and leader of emerging technologies, Judy is recognized for her ability to merge the needs of organizations with the innovative solutions in the marketplace. Judy is regular speaker on social market leadership, the social enterprise and strategic alliances. Judy serves as the president of the Social Executive Council, the premier organization for senior executives to collaborate on developing enterprise-wide social business strategies. Previously, she served as president of the Southeast US / Latin America chapter of the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals and on the boards of Global EXEC Women, Women in Technology and It’s The Journey. Judy is an ardent fundraiser for Paint Georgia Pink, a 501 © 3 serving the breast cancer community. A graduate of Cleveland State University with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, Judy also holds an MBA from the University of Dallas. For more information on Judy, you can check out her LinkedIn profile at, follow her on Twitter at or contact her directly at

  • Jsanders

    Great article!