Are You Building a Social-Ready Marketing Organization?


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Are you friending, linking, tweeting and blogging? Social media is driving a wave of human interaction around the world. In fact, I find myself approaching the triple 3K mark on twitter; 3,000 tweets, 3,000 followers and 3,000 connections. Those are fairly low numbers when compared to many avid twitter users; although high enough to rank in the top one percent of users, at least according to Twitter Grader . But what does it all mean? Do social media sites encourage people to concentrate on their number of connections rather than build actual relationships? Is social media best used by individuals; or will it really change the way organizations engage their customers? And what about the ROI; is the return on relationships something that can (or should) be measured?

Some marketer’s are still eager to list the reasons why they don’t believe in social media platforms.

It’s for self-promoters or the unemployed.
• It’s for teenagers.
• It’s just over-sharing too much trivial babble.
• It doesn’t directly drive sales leads.
• I can’t control the marketing message.
• There is no measurable ROI.

While all those may be true in some cases, you’re not doing your organization any favors by dismissing the game changing power behind the new social media applications. At a high-level social media marketing is about influencing the customer experience by engaging in dialogue with the customer in order to build a trusted relationship over time. The customer experience refers to all touch points people have from the moment they are aware of a need until they have fulfilled the need or reached a certain goal. To make the social-ready transformation an organization may need to adopt a new mindset. Most transformations involve strategy, technology and processes and a social media transformation is no different in that respect.

1. Strategy: How well does your social media plan support your overall marketing strategy?

2. Technology: Do you have the technology and infrastructure to support your social media goals and objectives?

3. Processes: Do you have the operational processes in place to support your social media goals and objectives?

In the last few months we’ve noticed that many organizations tend to fall in the following broad categories as it relates to the key transformation areas above:

The Broadcaster:
The Broadcaster is typically focused on one way communications and is most comfortable in the traditional media world of mass marketing. Leveraging typical “push marketing” tools and tactics the Broadcaster pushes their product towards the audience which may or may not be aware of it. The Broadcaster largely focuses on the features of their product or service and seeks a direct response from the mass audience. Often times the Broadcaster is focused on a short-term strategy that involves a specific event or time-based campaign (Christmas deals, Back-to-School, etc).

The Listener:
The Listener tends to focus on push marketing tactics; but also considers customer feedback. The Listener may have customer listening posts established in the form of brand monitoring initiatives, although those initiatives may be fairly informal.

The Conversationalist:
The Conversationalist is more in the “pull marketing” camp. The Conversationalist is typically interested in interacting with their target market at a deeper level of engagement through tighter relevance, content and stronger brand identification. The Conversationalist is focused on the development of trust and perceived value.

The Community Builder:
The Community Builder is fully in the pull marketing camp. The Community Builder looks for ways to engage their customers and prospects in two-way conversations, and is comfortable with the concepts of user created content and co-creation. The Community Builder is focused on influencing and involving vs. educating and controlling their audience.

Building a social-ready organization is an on-going journey. And that journey as well as an organizations position on the social media continuum is determined by several factors, including; overall marketing strategy, desired customer experience, business model, and the competitive environment. Social media isn’t going away so you need to set a course that’s right for your corporate goals and objectives.

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Alan See
Alan See is Principal and Chief Marketing Officer of CMO Temps, LLC. He is the American Marketing Association Marketer of the Year for Content Marketing and recognized as one of the "Top 50 Most Influential CMO's on Social Media" by Forbes. Alan is an active blogger and frequent presenter on topics that help organizations develop marketing strategies and sales initiatives to power profitable growth. Alan holds BBA and MBA degrees from Abilene Christian University.


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