More than 1700 CEOs in 64 Countries are Fumbling in the Dark with Social Media [INFOGRAPHIC]


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Is Your CEO “Drinking from the Fire Hose”?

Fumbling in the dark about social media

Source: photodune

IBM’s fifth biennial Global CEO Study involved interviews with 1709 CEOs across 18 industries (B2C and B2B) in 64 countries. The consensus based on this study says that in the next 5 years social media will become the second most important way to engage customers. And what is the most important way? Not online marketing, not telemarketing, not channel partners—face-to-face, in person communications. That’s it; there isn’t, and in my opinion, there never can be a substitute for the good old fashioned, “look your customer in the eye” strategy.

It is true that social media offers multiple access points for gathering data about your customers and prospects, competition, industry trends and consumer insights. The problem is, most organizations have an overwhelming amount of data on hand and don’t really know how to use it or what to do with it. The CEO of an insurance company in Hong Kong has a very apt description of the situation; he says “…it feels like you’re drinking from a fire hose“. In my experience, this is the sentiment of senior executives in several large and medium sized B2B organizations. These companies have allowed themselves to be swept up in the wave of marketing automation and the mesmerizing charm of social media. They are fumbling in the dark trying to garner return on their investments and obviously, not getting any significant help from the sellers of these so-called advanced automation solutions or the social media platform specialists.

Another CEO in Switzerland heading a life-sciences company says, “We are all scared to death about social media within our industry. We want to start with it. But we’re all just looking at each other, and nothing material is happening.” And it won’t! Unless there is a cohesive strategy that integrates social media, mobile marketing and automation into a well-thought out plan where immediacy and consistency are both equally important. Whether it is mobile, social or other online channels, all of these offer greater connectivity with the customer. Unfortunately, connectivity is not equal to engagement. Engagement only happens when there is value—meaningful, relevant value that is tailored to the individual buyer’s needs rather than manufactured in bulk with a cookie-cutter for the entire marketplace.

Click here or the image below to see an interesting Infographic about what a majority of today’s CEOs think about social media based on the results of the IBM study.

Customer Engagement is all about Offering Unique Experiences

It’s what makes a Ladurée ‘macaron’ the only one of its kind!

laduree-macaronsA walk down the Champs Élysées in Paris is truly what it promises to be—the most beautiful walk in the world. Having done that a few times in the past, I was looking for something more when I was there last month. And I found it—I found what made my experience of Champs Élysées one that is unique to me. Try this when you are there—buy a box of macarons from Ladurée; (it costs about 12 Euros) and believe me, you have never tasted anything quite like this before. Their recipe is 150 years old. Enjoy the world’s finest ‘macarons’ as you walk down the world’s most beautiful avenue! You will never make another trip to Paris and return without Ladurée macarons.


Take a lesson from that about engagement. When you integrate multi-channel customer experiences to create a positive, unique experience that makes your brand stand out, you have a winning strategy. You need no longer fear reams of data, sophisticated automation solutions, glamorous social media platforms and geek gizmos of the mobile revolution. Find a balance, know your customers, offer them incredible value and at every stage, look back to survey the B2B demand generation landscape you are creating. Where there is customer mindshare and engagement, leads and sales will follow.

How can your B2B organization make the customer experience unique? What strategies have worked for you? Feel free to share on my blog.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Louis Foong
Louis Foong is the founder and CEO of The ALEA Group Inc., one of North America's most innovative B2B demand generation specialists. With more than three decades of experience in the field, Louis is a thought leader on trends, best practices and issues concerning marketing and lead generation. Louis' astute sense of marketing and sales along with a clear vision of the evolving lead generation landscape has proved beneficial to numerous organizations, both small and large.


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