I recently attended The CMO Club Summit in NYC. I’m not a CMO (yet), but I was there as a representative of Social2B and we were a sponsor of the event. Having the opportunity to listen to the presenters and be a part of the round table discussions was extremely valuable. Even more valuable was the networking. Getting down to a personal level and hearing the issues that CMOs face has changed the way I think about social marketing.
In today’s economy, the job of a CMO has become increasingly difficult. A few years ago, a CMO could lay out a social media campaign that included online advertising, paid bloggers as ambassadors, and huge giveaways. The CMO worked closely with an social media marketing agency to help make the campaign happen.
You’re probably thinking… this still goes on in today’s economy. CMOs still lay out social media campaigns and still work closely with agencies.
Yes. They do. But the key ingredient missing from those early campaigns was tangible results. Those campaigns weren’t necessarily results driven. Beyond growing the fan base… CMOs and agencies alike weren’t sure what else to expect. It was a new frontier and all that was important was to be the first one there.
Now, nearly every company is there. Digital property is scarce and whether they are using it or not, companies are forced to start developing a digital foot print. In this economy, CMOs can’t simply lay out a plan and hope that it works. Facebook “likes” are not sales and acquiring followers on Twitter doesn’t necessarily help the bottom line.
The biggest challenge that CMOs face is justifying the spending on a social media or digital campaign. The results have to be there in order to get the funding approved. How does a CMO correlate their digital marketing effort to the ROI? The expectations have never been higher. Luckily, with these challenges, solutions are being developed.
Software companies, developers, and even guys still living in their mom’s basement, have been hard at work making tools to aid the CMO. Many of these tools are initially free and give some really amazing insights. Tools like PeerIndex to measure the influence of an individual or company in the social space. Tools to follow a Twitter conversation and detail the impact like Tweet Reach. And measurement tools like SocialReport that will “listen” to sentiment about a company and get down to a granular level so that customer’s social behavior can be tracked and understood. The list goes on and on.
Partnering with the right people to utilize these tools is the next step in the CMOs plan. They must choose partners that will best read the data and create a social media solution that will ultimately impact the bottom line. A strategic partner won’t rely on social alone to try and show a ROI. They will utilize SEO and SEM. They will integrate social profiles and properties for maximum exposure. A strategic partner will be innovative in their ideas, yet have a way to back up the results through efficient reporting. And they’ll continue to grow the community surrounding the brand while giving the current audience a call to action.
Today’s CMO faces a great challenge, but they aren’t alone. The tools are available. The partnerships are out there and the customers in the social media community are eager to be a part of the new marketing frontier.