The value of such a quote is for some managers marginal and for others massive when using it to explain the transformation of the business into a digital community-centric company or brand. Take it for what it is, and for what it’s worth for you, or let’s discuss it.
For this year the quote will be about social business strategy…
Just before you start asking… By “business freestlye”, I address all departments in your company (like marketing, sales, customer service, HR, or other) that are responsible for planning, using, handling, and organizing the business tactics and strategy around the brand, product line or service offering of business relevance.
PS: If you do it right, your workforce will freak out like the guy in this post. Believe me…!
Most professors might answer in a diplomatic manner: “There is always two sides of the coin!” Smart bloggers love to look into the future and prefer outlooks to reviews. However, those always rely on findings and insights which bring them to life in the end.
So, I have dared to head for an outlook in 2015, into the future of web strategy. As many managers are not quite familiar with the term “web strategy”, let me define it our way. In 2012, we have often realized that there is quite some misunderstanding what web strategy really means:
“Web Strategy translates the organisational targets and values in roadmaps for the top management and their teams in terms of all generated and doable business processes via the Web. Web Strategy creates a picture of the future of client communication which connects the networking trends of the Internet and the tools of modern web development with the individual business tactics of a cooperation in order to develop a superior company vision. ©The Strategy Web GmbH 2012″
Bearing this in mind, I have written a blog post that defines a futuristic view on some new job titles. It shall illustrate which old job roles might become critical as well as which new challenges arise in companies when changing or restructuring organisational frameworks in companies. So, let me define some new job roles that clever managers should be thinking about. Each top management should be thinking carefully whether or not they will need one of these job roles in their company. I am quite sure that these job roles will become important in the future on web strategy.
And don’t be surprised when I give those job roles kind of a hierarchy. The formula behind it is quite simple…Knowledge x Data x Content x Culture x Clients = Company Success
a.) Corporate Knowledge Officer
The main challenge for any HR department is to tie the pearls of the corporate value chain long-term. These employees are the knowledge of the company, the pillars of productivity. If one of those pillars leaves the company behind, the person takes the knowledge with them, and often all of their knowledge gets lost. But what if employees understand that the feeding hand of a company offers less pension protection by 2025? What if by 2020, Millennials, the generation that will make up almost 50% of the global workforce, will deny the traditional workplace mentality and start making their knowldge available more on a project basis? What if knowledge workers stop working for one company but prefer to share their knowldge in a “buy-my-brain” mode?
Leaders who believe in Social Business, those who want to secure knowledge and make it “always-on” available shall consider the position of a Corporate Knowledge Officer. They are game changers for analysts, market researchers and leading consulting corporations.
b.) Corporate Data Scientist
The world speaks Big Data. Buzzword or biz value? There were not many words you could hear in 2012 at web events, where “web stategy” still often is a foreign word. Why Big Data rules? Well, just look at how much data is being generated in 60-Minuten on the web, or how fast reactions and conversations evolve. That’s why data is becoming a challenge for the whole value chain of the company. However, which business is able to accomplish a job role which is said to become one of the sexiest in the future according to Harvard Business Review? Where is this person located in the excel sheets of businesses that unites the capabilities of a logician, explorer and mathematician in one person? There are not many avalaible yet. Corporate Data Scientists are those brains who know how to turn the process of 0 and 1 upside down in order to draw some conclusions for new content and values.
Leaders that don’t want to stop at data mining or business intelligence processes should figure out the value of the Corporate Data Scientist. They are challengers for PR and marketing decision makers who need to prove their credibility by showing facts to their CEOs.
c.) Corporate Content Officer
Content forms data. The problem? Content is the weakest production department of companies. In most cases PR experts or publishing houses have taken over the content production. Although most media companies are struggling themselves with unique content generation. But who is meant to do the content research? Who is able to write and schedule stories? Who can prioritize, aggregate and curate content? And where will companies find the publishing expertise to become a media company? If content marketing is the future, who will pioneer on the path from PR and marketing to the journalistic hybrid of corporate publishing and community management in the company?
Leaders who see conversations as an opportunity and understand the sense of integrated communities in websites will evaluate the position of Corporate Content Officers. They are the media coaches and editors-in-chief of businesses who bring all company departments to produce content for their special business area.
d.) Chief Culture Officer
The modern development in content and data generation as well as a new understatement for knowledge management is walking on the stage of change management. A stage that Grant McCracken featured in his book. Employees need to find the deeper sense in the evolution of new platforms in business processes. Employees need to understand the complete benefit of tools and tactics before they will be forced to make use of them. Especially, for those employees who do not like email communication but shall start working with communication streams and updates all of a sudden. Stream-Working is a culture of openness and transparency which is not everybody’s friend. And sometimes the best lighthouses might not embrace those changes.
Leaders who know about the challenges of working with multiple project platforms will appreciate the additional benefit of a Chief Culture Officer. This job role will be the prolonged arm of the management team, the “personified culture geek” and at the same time working very close with the HR team.
e.) Chief Customer Officer
Customer change the rules of the game via open communication, praise and critic. What was top-down is now bottom-up. Customers are kings. A sentence that made people cry some years ago. Today, the 3R’s of the social customer -Rating, Review, Recommendation- make managers and leaders start crying. They let whole revenue streams start shaking at times. Those managers who get their experience from digital conversations with customers, who appreciate when data becomes content, and who create a culture of cooperation and collaboration, then you live and breathe the values of empathy that customers are longing for. Then companies create the right fascination for brands, products and their own company.
Leaders who accept the community of customers as the ecosystem of perception, and who believe in brand advocates, critics and moaners as equal process partners will think about integrating a Chief Customer Officer as an institution that is meant to drive business growth. They will be game changers for sales people and customer service employees.
Never before have I spoken about and discussed so much about new job definitions and job roles in my life like in 2012. On congresses as a moderator, on B2B events as speaker, or as a rebellious start-up panelist.
Will one or some of these job roles become reality? You decide…
Social Business still far away for companies? B2B Execs see Social Media reputation as a corporate blind spot
Is Social Media really so far behind in the mindset of executives, especially in B2B? Well, according to the Zeno’s Digital Readiness Survey conducted by Harris Interactive it is. The poll asked 300 U.S. corporate executives of various industries and titles of VP or higher, including C-suite executives (primarily B2B) with annual revenues of at least $1 billion. The study comes to a conclusion that surprises us: Many executives fail to consider Social Media reputation when making business decisions. Over one-third of executives (36%) stated that the CEO of their company does not care or cares little about the company’s reputation in Social Media.
Although many companies out there like us advice the leading management how to work with Social Media and how to turn the company into a Social Business, the findings show that still 10% of organizations do not take any action at all to engage with audiences online to address a damaging article or Social Media post. And when it claims that managers would at least take some action to respond to an online crisis, it tells me that Social Media is still not a hotspot for companies and brands.
The main findings of the survey…
- B2B executives (43%) say their CEO largely ignores their company’s online reputation (B2C only 30%) when making business-decisions.
- B2B executives are slower in response. Only 45% of business executives see their company can respond to a negative online post within 24 hours (B2C 63%)
- B2B executives are twice as likely (13%) to say that their firm would not engage an audience online at all to defend their reputation (B2C 6%)
- Executives in larger firms (10,000 employees+) are more likely to say their CEO always or sometimes considers their company’s Social Media reputation versus those in smaller companies (71% versus 55%).
- Executives in smaller firms ignore Social Media reputation when considered business decision-making more than larger firms (45% versus 29%)
“Given the explosive growth of today’s digital platforms, the Zeno Digital Readiness Survey shows a much larger percentage of companies than one would expect turning a blind eye to valuable customer views and insights. (…) These businesses, regardless of sector, risk serious reputational damage, as well as miss out on important stakeholder feedback, when they ignore social media conversations about their companies and their industries.” Mark Shadle, Managing Director, Zeno Corporate Practise
The study claims that Social Media is a “corporate reputation blind spot,” especially for B2B companies. From our work in 2012 we can only agree with these findings. Although this is surprising when considering that Social Media accounts for almost 25% of people’s time spent online, and that consumers allow companies and brands a response time of 60 minutes for customer service. Companies that don’t want to ignore their online reputation, meaning their business community from clients to partners to employees, should think about the 5Cs of Social Business and how to turn their companies around in order not to put their business reputation at risk.
Some weeks ago, we have written about the importance to be fast on response time on Social Media platforms. We made clear, based on some research by Convince & Convert, that companies need to react in not more than 60 seconds on complaints, customer enquiries and questions that appear on company’s and brands’ social platforms.
Now, a recent study of some of the biggest brands in the U.S., like Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Visa or Starbucks shows that providing a top standard of customer support on Twitter is not really as fantastic as it seems. Although some readings of all those good posts about these brands and their Social Media efforts might assume the companies do whatever they can in Social Business terms.
In the study, four Software Advice employees used their personal Twitter accounts to address customer service tweets to 14 consumer brands in seven industries – McDonalds, Starbucks (Fast Food), Coca Cola, Pepsi (Soft Drinks), Visa, Mastercard (Credit Cards), Wells Fargo, Bank Of America (Banking), Walmart, Home Depot (Retail), Apple*, HP (Consumer Tech), Gillette and Colgate (Personal Care).
They sent each brand’s Twitter account one tweet per weekday for four consecutive weeks, from “Urgent, to Positive/Negative, or questions about FAQ or technical issue. Then, brands were evaluated on their average response time and rate. See the results in the following infographic…
Many companies and brands are asking themselves (and us): “How fast do we have to give some feedback or answer when somebody is pinging us on Facebook, Twitter and the likes?” Or: Do we have to give some feedback on the weekends? And the answers we have heard were quite astonishing. Many managers in companies still think they have got a day or two to reply to their customers – whether they are speaking with them on email or on one of their realtime streams. Many test we have done so far, have shown us that most companies don’t react at all, some not on weekends, and some after one or two days. Be sure, if you offer your clients a realtime channel, they will use it – and they don’t care if the problem comes up on a weekend or not.
In a recent research by Convince and Convert we can find some clean answer now: 42% of the respondents expect an answer in the first 60 minutes! What comes even worse for companies: 57% want the some reaction time no matter what time of day it is or whether it is a Saturday or Sunday. In total, 67% expect some response by companies in the someday.
Still, many companies don’t have the right resources to satisfy their customers Social Media expectations. And there are many reasons for it: not enough resources, lack in modern process management or lack in technical establishment. Some companies started mentioning their opening hours in the info or biography fields which kind of makes sense and becomes a state-of-the-art workaround for the interim period until companies understand what a full-fledged social business with proper community management means. And this definitely goes away from the “9-to-5″ workplace we know from our fathers.
The main challenge for companies and brands is to find out what the deeper demand of the status update, the comment, the review or a rating is. Remember the 3R’s? In the end, what we have learned years ago, is that people want to have the feeling someone is taking care of them immediately. This does not essentially say that companies or brands have to supply the best possible answer or solution. Many managers have still not understood the fine difference between these topics.
What we would like to know is: Do 60 minutes feedback time make sense? Should we try to be more patient as users? Is a quick feedback really that important if our lives are not depending on it? You give the answer…
It is always exciting watching the results from the latest contradictory studies and infographics on corporate Social Media these days popping up here and there. While one company claims businesses adopt Social Media not fast enough, the other shows the opposite truth.
Last week DOMO, a Social Media analytics service company, came to the conclusion that 70% of Fortune 500 CEOs cannot be found on any Social Media or social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest. However, another infographic by MBA Programs states the intense evolution of Social Media in corporate business.
The results of the DOMO study states that only 7.6% of CEO’s can be made out on Facebook, Twitter & Co. Isn’t this kind of scary bearing in mind that Social Media is here to stay?! How can CEOs understand the shift in the world of their buyers when they are not paying attention to the three reasons why Millennials are redefining the purchase behavior of today?
Is it not the best argument that the average number of followers for Fortune 500 CEOs with Twitter accounts is 33,250? We would be glad to have that figure!
The only shame of the report is that it has no depth in the argumentation why the CEOs are not to be found on those social platforms. Do they not believe in it? Are they not convinced of the ROI it might provide, although 45% of Execs see the positive impact on business? Do they not have the time for it? Many guesses…
“The primary reason you have to be social is because that is where your customer lives. Even if you are not leveraging it to close business and interact with your customers, you have to spend enough time online to at least understand the shift in the world.” Josh, James, Founder, Domo.
The MBA programs infographic shows that 94% of corporate business are embracing Social Media these days. Even more, 85% also mention the positive impact it has on their business… and if it is just more exposure which can be assumed to be the main reason in many companies why they use Social Media.
Although, we have a different approach und understanding as to how to correctly do Social Business, we can today understand the base motives. Time, money, people and policies are the corporate hurdles. If you look at them, then you know why they manage Social Media in the traditional advertising, marketing and PR manner. It is not surprising that Facebook is the favorite tool for most companies (92%). I bet you can find many examples where they do not reply to customers.
The reason? Social Media is not used and understood as a customer service tool. Most companies (and often their management teams) don’t want to believe in conversation as being the catalyst for making business. And sometimes it is uncomfortable to give feedback to some critical words. Although there might be found the next generation of their brand advocates. But only bright CEOs will figure that out…
Is Social Media really going corporate? What is your view why CEOs of corporates don’t embrace Social Media? Why do they hide away?
In the last weeks, I came across the same issue in many meetings with clients. Social consumers increase their use of Social Media and social networks to state their opinion about a company, brand or service. Sometimes to rate the way companies make use of Social Media, or how they engage with them in campaigns or branded social hubs. Sometimes to complain about incredible customer service, or the quality of products. Sometimes just to link or share some content piece that attracted their attention.
The input described above by consumers can be summarized under the 3R’s: ratings, reviews and recommendations. These 3 R’s will challenge companies and brands in the future. Companies know that they have to find a way to deal with all the content published, as well as to establish ways to make use of it in the context of their business.
Years ago, we would have seen ratings on Amazon, eBay or rating platforms Ciao. Today, there are external and internal rating opportunities for customers. Most modern content management systems have implemented rating systems. Content and shopping pages have their 5-star systems, percentage scales or „thumbs-up-and-down“ to evaluate the quality of the content or product provided. Facebook, Twitter and other social sharing buttons act in the same way, reach out and distribute ratings to a wider audience to name just some options the social consumer has here.
While the chance to find yourself as a brand in a Twitterstorm was low in the past, the tables have turned. Companies like H&M, Motrin or BMW have become victims of reviews in the last years. Whether through crowdsourcing or blogging, reviews could leverage or damage your business success in a day’s time. The question remains the same for brands. Most consumers don’t differentiate between the trusted and personal reviews. In which reviews can they trust, what not, and what could end in a brand nightmare? The list of review sites is long, the one of personal blogs, social networking accounts, etc. even longer, and getting intense the more people review their personal views. And then, organizations have to bear in mind that 97% of purchase decisions are based on digital experiences.
Probably, the most dynamic part of the 3R’s is the recommendations part. In social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, LinkedIn) people hint, share and forward quick opinions about a film, a hotel or a show in minutes – and forget about it. Companies and brands need to take a position on these recommendations, or clear up the damage as best as they can. Well, if they find them and have the processes, people and resources in place to react. Some recommendations are still in the stealth mode as of semantic detection issues, or as they are only shared within the social graph of a person. And some recommendations are not even recommendations. They get catalyzed through social banner opportunities with Googe Plus buttons inside Google ads or via recommended people of the personal social graph in Facebook ads. And some will stay invisible for brands – most offline spoken words.
The challenge for companies in the future will be to educate social consumers on their way to social purchase. Social consumers often don’t pay attention to who said what, their gender, habits, age and preferences. Customers tend to be affected by a negative scale although it may be positive. 97% is not 100%, 4 start is not 5 star, the last opinion that was the only one negative, and so on. Most consumers don’t check who or how many people have rated the hotel on tripadvisor or booking.com. So, what is better? One rating in the 100% range, or 5 ratings getting 95%? A review where companies can react and improve the quality of their service? Or a recommendation that they could use as a statement to their blog? In my eyes, we will need to have seal of quality buttons that tell people to be aware of the fact that the 3 R’s are a good orientation for quality but not the final truth. And marketers should think about the best alternative to straigthen and strengthen their brands whatever effective the 3 R’s might be for their business.
Would you agree…?
Some weeks ago, I have written about the changing world of mobile payment and how the future could look like. Some major players in the world want a world without cash and Google does so, too. They announced their Android app Google Wallet some months ago which could easily replace the credit cards in the future if people will trust and rely on the power of one of the major internet players. And in times where mobile commerce is taking more market share from desktops, it is not a surpriusing approach to think about the future payment methods.
Many payments are done via credit or debit cards these days, smartphones have become our shopping companion. And while I have mentioned the future of loyalty cards merging with Social Media more than a year ago, many people already combine their loyalty cards and their cedit card provider. Now, just imagine you could also pay all your shopping products with one simple app?! Tap, pay, go – next shop, next purchase! No little snippets of paper for each payment. And, all out of one hand… (at least for those of you who want to give Google access to all your data)…
Adzag has published a nice video which illustrates the future of mobile wallet payment…
By 2015 mobile web access will outpace desktop access according to IDC’s latest mobile research. The future of mobile payment –whether through Google or some other company- seems to be not far away if you look at the different ways of mobile payment options today. Techcrunch doubts the NFC hype though and we will see what the future brings. Nevertheless, it is much easier if you imagine that every shopping activity you do, generates one business contact card with customer service details for you on every purchase. The digital wallets are not far away anymore and they could make our lives much easier. Don’t you think…?
Although companies get flooded with information concerning the benefits of marketing automation, the topic is still “not self-explanatory” to most marketers. The majority of B2B companies understand the general benefit in principle. Nevertheless, only a few are using marketing automation yet (7-10%). It seems that marketing automation is a sleeping star…
Still, the market for marketing automation is growing as you can figure out from the numbers below. Not surprising. The solution providersfor marketing automation proclaim an increase in lead generation and explain companies how easy it is to manage the sales lead funnel. And generating leads is what drives the B2B world around…
- 110 vendors are seeling products and solutions in the marketing automation space
- 81% of best-in-class companies see the benefit in closing deals faster
- 76% of marketing decision makers see generation of high-qualified leads as the biggest challenge
- 64% of them have neither an internal nor external process to manage marketing automation
- 36% use marketing automation for lead nurturing
- 451% increase in qualified leads get businesses that use marketing automation for lead nurturing
- 47% more closed werde generated via lead nurturing generiert
- 10% use marketing automation to follow up later in the buying cycle
The statistics illustrate the power of marketing automation and what it could do to lead generation. However, when companies use marketing automation, only 25% use the full potential of marketing automation. It has become a “must have” in the marketing departments, at least of enterprises. If small and medium-sized companies use marketing automation or their a pre-sales/telemarketing to leverage their marketing and thus sales potential would be an eye-opening statistic in these terms. In many cases, time and resources hinder most companies from diving deeper into the potential of marketing automation and thus their brand content, the context in which it appears, and the community that talks about their business, products and services. The approach that I came across the last three years was an outsourced solution to service providers like agencies, publishers or software providers. And the main challenge of lead generation and nurturing is to align marketing, sales and customer service for a more efficient web strategy.
Would you agree that marketing automation is still a sleeping marketing star for lead generation…?
When you do Social Media marketing seminars and trainings (and I have done many in the last 24 months), most of the times marketers want to know everything around Facebook and Twitter (maybe Google Plus these days). However, according to the Pivot Conference that released their study “The Rise of the Social Consumer”, with the response of 230 brand managers, executives, and marketing professionals yesterday, some new hypes from marketers can be seen. Just check out the platforms that marketers are planning to invest in…
Although the big players on the market dominate at present, the next wave is already approaching marketers mindset. YouTube, LinkedIn, Foursquare and Zynga have made their popularity in the Social Media market and might get the future attention of the marketers. The second column shows an increase of those four platforms between 13-26% which obviously have some good business value if seen from the right customer service and customer relationship management spot.
For B2B companies LinkedIn got some great assets, not only with their special groups. YouTube is some higly underated platform in my eyes. It can be used for different visual aspects in B2B, but also viral topics and campaign opportunities in B2C. If restaurants, service providers or entertainment brands want to head for local promotions, Foursquare (and Gowalla in some areas – also 5% increase forecasted) offers some fantastic buzz potential. Whether Zynga is really so powerful for marketers to promote their offerings, needs to be seen and proved in the future. I would rather recomment and elaborate on reward advertising models.
The study also showed that 84% of brands encourage user involvement with social advertisement campaigns. This is interesting as very often the perception of marketers was that people don’t really see the ads next to their streams. The intention of marketers why they invest in Social Media advertising is manyfold…
Over half of respondents of the study (see full report) said they were shifting money away from other forms of marketing towards Social Media. 23% of respondents even stated that social advertising delivers a greater ROI than other forms of advertising. Although this sounds great, the strategic approach to every social advertising and Social Media engagement needs to be double-checked. The development of the results need to be aligned with the expectations and targets set before the Social Media activity started. At least if they don’t want to lack business credibility in front of their bosses…