McKinsey – social media critical issue for business leaders


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With the announcement of the Neilsen McKinsey Joint Venture NM Incite, the global managing director of McKinsey, Dominic Barton, said: “Social media is an increasingly critical issue for business leaders and an area of untapped opportunity for many of our clients. This joint venture will equip institutions with real-time insights to help their leaders drive better results”.

I guess that statement just might be the last nail in the coffin of the “passing fad” brigade of social media for business doubters!

So where in particular does McKinsey see social media providing insights? They mention three in the press release:

  1. measuring and improving marketing effectiveness,
  2. product-launch optimisation and
  3. customer service experience.

It’s interesting, and perhaps insightful given the access they have to the C-level of the world’s leading corporations, that those are the areas of the highest initial priority. Well I guess we can’t be certain that they are really the most important areas, they may just be the most saleable areas, but at least we can say that of all the choices available to McKinsey these are the areas which most interested them for their corporate clients right now.

Presumably, for we lesser mortals, we should take heed and shape some of our own social media expertise into these themes which McKinsey has kindly hummed for us?

To wrap up, the JV and the firmness of the proclamations about social media and big business surely represent some kind of a tipping point? Dominic Barton goes on to say:

Senior executives of global companies instinctively recognize the possibilities of incorporating social media insight and capability into their organizations. They simply need help to make it a reality.

Aside #1: I find it refreshing that “innovation” wasn’t thrown up as the catch-all for solving the ills of a corporation in the new realm of social media.

Aside #2: Interestingly Dominic Barton has a very thin social web presence, from what my googling turned up, or didn’t turn up as it happened.

Aside #3: Most amazingly @servantofchaos predicted this outcome 4 years ago!!!

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Walter Adamson
I help firms create optimal customer experiences by integrating social data, teams & processes with enterprise systems. The much vaunted 360-view of the customer can be a bottomless pit without a clear data strategy. I help you deliver a greatly improved customer experience starting with a "45-degree" view of the customer, fully utilising social data analytics. I clarify your objectives and what data you need to service them, and guide you to operationalise "social at scale" to consistently deliver valuable customer experience at every social touch point.


  1. Nice post, but isn’t social media an example of innovation in customer interactions?

    Unfortunately, innovation is often viewed as bringing a new/improved product or service to market. But there are lots of ways to innovate: to improve the customer experience, improve processes, cut costs.

  2. Bob, yes agree, that’s why I put “innovation” in quotes which I mean to be the type of “innovation” insisted upon by the “innovation industry”, often centred on “creativity” and the like and in the case of social media as spruked by the agencies. Business innovation is what you are talking about, as I read it, and I agree.

    Walter Adamson @g2m
    Certified Social Media Consultant
    Melbourne, Australia
    My social spaces and places:


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