Social is the “New” Customer Experience

April 1st, 2010 by Matthew Rosenhaft Leave a reply »

A friend of mine and I have been emailing about the value of “social media”. Like most skeptics, the conversation is that social media is just a marketing channel. From the skeptic’s perspective, social media is about twitter, linkedin, facebook, youtube, etc. If viewed from that perspective, he is right. Social media doesn’t rise to the top of the priority list. Although consumer products’ budgets are migrating to social media, most of those budgets are creative advertising, games, promotions, etc. Directors of Marketing Communications worry about those budgets, CMOs worry about market share, valuation, new product innovation, sales and channels, etc.

Well and good, but there is a “but”…

In my opinion, CMOs need to “get the impact of social on the enterprise” as it is one of the most critical disruptions that we have seen in the last 15 years. We lived through the web disruption, this will be equally as disruptive. My friend is right that CMO’s don’t get fired or hired for “social media”, but they will get fired or hired for performance; which is going to be impacted on their ability to leverage “social” in their customer lifecycles.

Our consulting business is about socially enabling the enterprise, in particular, the end-to-end customer lifecycle. Lead generation over public social networks is only a small part of it. Customer retention rates, churn rates, customer satisfaction, referrals, etc. are all a part of the customer experience. We are seeing a fundamental change in the way customers (B-to-B, B-to-C, Channels) expect to interact. Social CRM is the first step, but it needs to be more strategic, cross-functional and impactful to reach its full potential.

We are seeing the set plays that Marketing used to call FAIL faster because they aren’t fluid enough to react to the dynamic flow of information. By the way, it isn’t only CMOs… CIOs are hungry for how to manage, VPs of HR, VPs of Sales, Channels, etc. Yes, I see CMOs getting churned much faster if they don’t perform, but because they can’t figure out how to leverage social strategy to compete. Social Market Leaders will become Market Share leaders.

As an example, we gone into several large companies recently and recommended  in the initial meeting that they change their sales and marketing strategy based upon the social market research that we then present to them. All outside, public information.

We are not playing “gotcha” with them, we are showing how Social is the “New” Customer Experience. Buyers are approaching the buying research, selection, and validation process is now very different because of social media. Not about the technology or “chatting with friends”, but about business impact.

Not only did they listen to us, but it validated their perceptions in the market as to the challenges they were seeing. By the way, these aren’t leading edge, consumer internet software companies, but  ”Old School” brick and mortar B-to-B companies…

Interestingly enough, we started with a good number of skeptics at the start of the meetings. We were brought in by executive sponsors; who wanted to get the rest of their executive teams around the need for a  “social media” plan, but their teams didn’t realize how strategic this could become.

You know that you are in a disruption when the pace of change feels overwhelming. Information is just pouring over the wall and you are trying to keep up. We were there with the last major disruption with the world wide web in the mid-90′s. Small companies were figuring out how to leverage the web to drive massive growth, much of it at the expense of larger companies that were caught looking at the web with distain or disbelief.

Don’t be THAT person!!!! if you don’t understand, there are many free and/or paid resources to get educated. Doesn’t mean that you throw out your existing business model and “kamikaze” your marketing resources into social media, but at least have a social marketing plan with a roadmap, milestones, budget, and performance measurement.

Matthew Rosenhaft

Matthew is a Social Marketing Executive and is co-founder of Social Gastronomy, LLC and the Social Executive Council. Prior to founding Social Gastronomy, Matthew has over 18 years’ experience as an executive in marketing, product management, and sales. Matthew has an extensive background in the SaaS Software, Social Media, Mobile, IT Services, and Telecom industries. He has prior entrepreneurial experience as a founder and executive in several early-stage venture-backed technology companies, as well as, holds several US patents for a mobile marketing technology. Matthew is a prominent blogger and regular industry speaker on social marketing and strategy topics. Matthew’s blog can be found at www.socialgastronomy.com/blog. For more information on Matthew, you can check out his LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/rosenhaft or contact him directly at mrosenhaft@socialgastronomy.com.

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