From the primordial soup of Marketing where it nested, evolved and sprang forth, social for business has now found its legs and is expanding into new terrains such as Human Resources, Sales, Procurement, and Customer Service. So with social growing more expansive, the question arises, who in the socially enabled enterprise is going to run “social”?
A panel of experts addressed that very thing in a recent Social Media Today webinar. The impressive number of attendees illustrated how such internal relationships are on a lot of minds these days.
But while we obsess over internal structures and processes, one little fact often gets overlooked. The customer couldn’t care less. They’re defining how they want to engage, and they have no regard for your various departments. To them, the brand is the brand, and they want results when they reach out. Our job is to adapt.
Oracle VP of Product Strategy Erika Brookes says we can’t look at social as a marketing-only problem. It’s permeating every aspect of the CX, something that has to be acknowledged across the top. Leadership first has to be exposed to the problem, otherwise a shift in strategy or structure is a hard sell.
Frank Eliason, Director of Global Social Media at Citi, agrees we’re entering a more holistic, customer-first era the C-suite must recognize. Different departments have different cultures, so a great deal depends on a leader at the top instilling the customer-first culture. We have to get better at upward management so execs know the reality of the brand’s customer experience.
Customers First Culture Principal Carol Borghesi says the executive suite can’t be exempt from CX accountability. She points out that a) it’s hard to get them to admit they don’t know something, and b) they’re focused on details unrelated to customers, almost shielded from the customer’s voice. “They have to stick their noses in the dog dish.”
Brookes says marketers were the ones thinking through driving the value proposition across all channels, and we still see most budgets coming from the marketing side. But we’re also starting to see conversations between the CMO and CIO. The CMO is spending more on tech, taking advantage of disruptive consumer tech. Today we’re seeing marketing and IT working together in that effort.
Borghesi reminds us social didn’t invent customer feedback, it just cranked up the volume. Budgets must shift so the buyer’s experience matches what’s presented by marketing. You’ll get caught if it doesn’t. The dangerous gaps are in the relationships between silos. Every function in the company should understand the relationship between what they do and how it relates to customers.
Eliason says companies love to say they listen, but they don’t. We’re in a relationship-driven economy, and that should start well above Customer Service where it resides today.
Brookes suggests marketers and CX people look for base hits that tell the story about how experience affects brand loyalty. CMO tenures are getting longer thanks to platforms that show some measure of ROI. But to maximize data across the organization, marketers need IT and other enterprise functions.
The “who’s in charge” question will likely vary from company to company, but Brookes says social must connect with overall business strategy, which requires leadership across process, tech and content using external and internal collaboration.