The following is an excerpt form my recently published Red Paper, "Socialize the Enterprise." Which you can get here. Maybe you can relate. I hope you find it useful.
The CMO's Dilemma
After 18 months of experimentation in social media, the CMO of a global FMCG (fast moving consumer goods company) had high hopes for the latest social media program from his brand team. This time, he thought, they had cracked the social media code. They went to their traditional agency partners, they called in the social media gurus. The media companies offered innovative paid placements in social networks. The digital team designed a clever Facebook application, and the PR team reached out to some high-traffic bloggers.
The brand team felt they had the tactics to transform their traditional marketing campaign into a social media campaign. But, with no real way to measure the impact of blog posts, Tweets or the limited use of the Facebook app, it just seemed like a lot of work to generate modest engagement online. Where was the ROI in that? The six month campaign was coming to a close, the CMO was disappointed – depressed even. He wanted something bigger, something that reminded him of ….mass media.
Sure, most of their social media stabs seemed exciting when they launched – destined for headlines in AdAge or Campaign - but as far as he could tell, they had not made the slightest business impact. He wanted “full social.” He wanted people recommending the products to their peers for whatever reason and building a direct relationship with the brand. He realized that they had simply ported traditional marketing over to a social platform. His group was filled with smart people; he couldn’t have been the only one to see these problems. Yet different teams were repeating the same mistakes. Clearly, there was no way to learn and share best practices throughout the organization.
Budget time wasn’t far off, and he knew he’d see plenty of line items for social media spending. How could he wrap that up into a budget he could stand behind?
This is the CMO’s Dilemma.
Solving the Dilemma
Were our well-intentioned CMO to have approached social media with a strategic eye, he would never have tried pinning it to the back of a traditional campaign. Instead, he and his brand team would have put “social” at the heart of the entire marketing and communications effort. Pundits have been evangelizing the power of social media for close to a decade. Consumers get it. The rate of marketplace adoption of social media and word of mouth around the globe is faster than anyone could have predicted. Facebook crested 500 million users in 4 years. Zynga is growing at twice the rate.
Companies, by contrast, have lagged behind their customers, but they are learning that embracing this platform is not optional. Whether you are a global FMCG, an automobile manufacturer, financial services company or a B2B technology leader, no one can afford to hesitate. At the same time tactical, unconnected experiments will not vault the brand forward. Integrating social media into the marketing and communications functions implies a deep transformation not just of marketing but customer service, product development and even the way the enterprise benchmarks success.
Now is the time for a more strategic use of social media that puts generating authentic, positive word of mouth at the heart of marcom efforts. "strategic" means combining short and long term goals, fully integrated across disciplines (the hardest part) and adding scale. A common measurement models give the team the data to understand what is working and what is not, turning every tactical experiment into a strategic move forward.