Originally published on CMO.com
Do you ever wonder how the historians of the age of the CMO will look back on this era?
Speaking with a well-respected analyst at a top-tier firm recently, she said to me “There are two types of CMOs: ‘calculator jockeys’ and ‘scarf wearers.’”
‘Calculator jockeys,’ she explained, are all metrics-driven. They carry around their iPads and can look at every tactical activity down to the nth degree. They love technology and ‘get it.’ ‘Scarf wearers,’ on the other hand, are not data-driven and are not passionate about technology. They navigate on instinct, gut, and feel. Her concern was that neither one alone was good enough for the challenges that social brings to the global enterprise.
Recognizing The Moment
In 1450, when Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, everyone could see that it was a new channel for communication. But not everyone saw that it was a disruptive force that would ultimately lead to the Protestant Reformation and the Age of Enlightenment.
There’s an emerging class of CMOs, like Scott Coleman at DuPont, for example, who recognize that the arrival of social media is a similar moment in business history. And they recognize that being a transformative leader in a transformational age means that you have to be part 'calculator jockey' and part 'scarf wearer.'
The Challenge Of The Moment
Social networking channels have connected consumers at unprecedented scale. Connected consumers have more information and trust each other more than businesses. They control when, where and how they interact with businesses.
These disruptive forces mean that large, complex businesses can and must scale real, social human relationships. Or become irrelevant and fail.
Enterprises now must:
- Move from uni-directional communications to bi-directional conversations at every touchpoint for sales, marketing, customer service, PR, investor relations, partner relations, and HR.
- Collaborate across teams, departments, divisions and locations to see the unified context of the social consumer and speak with a unified brand voice.
- Move from talking about themselves to getting consumers to talk about them.
How Leaders Are Responding
What we’re seeing is an emerging group of innovators among the world’s largest brands around how social lies at the foundation of every function.
These companies are driving the implementation of an enterprise social relationship infrastructure that plugs directly into existing systems (e.g. CRM, CMS) while facilitating the maintenance of a unified context of the social consumer across every touch point (marketing or otherwise).
A social relationship infrastructure comprises all of the capabilities that a large enterprise requires to effectively both do social and to BE social.
To “Do Social,” brands require features such as listening, publishing, social apps, social analytics, governance, workflow, and more. We’ve identified 15 of these. But the key is to make sure that they are integrated with each other. The data and context must transition.
If you identify a tweet with a negative sentiment in your listening module, are you able to answer the questions:
- What is the nature of our relationship with this person? (do we talk all the time or infrequently?
- With whom has she interacted in the past?) who is this person and in which community is she? (blogger, influencer, partner, customer, etc.)
- How quickly are we supposed to respond to this person? And are we meeting these expectations?
- Is this a message to which we must respond or which we can safely ignore?
If not, you don’t have an integrated social relationship infrastructure. And without it, you are not able to deliver a unified brand voice and consistent customer experience at all times - which is precisely what the social customer expects.
It’s the infrastructure (which goes beyond, but naturally supports, the CMO’s function) that enables a unified brand voice across every team, department, division, and location.
This is why you’re seeing Microsoft put over 1000 people on a social relationship infrastructure. In fact, PayPal has named the first everHead of Social Relationship Infrastructure.
It’s also how SAP is able to drive 50 social campaigns per month and track their effectiveness; how Citi was able to improve productivity by 20% in social customer support; how Cisco manages thousands of YouTube videos from hundreds of contributors; and how GM cut social channel response time from 12 hours to 90 minutes.
Will You Be In The CMO History Books?
So, when the history of this era is written, the question about the CMO of today will be: was s/he able to be both a ‘scarf-wearer’ who focused on how people-at scale felt while, at the same time, being a ‘calculator jockey’ who could manage the business and the technology infrastructure to drive business results? Or did s/he not see the transformation that the empowered consumer represented until it was too late?