Dear CMOs, Wake up to Social Media challenge

In my previous post titled What is Social CRM and why it is important, I have highlighted the phenomenal growth in number of Social Media users and importance of engaging customers through Social Media for building trust and brand loyalty.

Given statistically significant correlation between social media engagement and financial performance metrics – revenue and profit, one would expect CMOs to be busy making elaborate plans about engaging customers through Social Media, Right? WRONG!

According to a survey of 124 chief marketing officers by The CMO Club and Hill & Knowlton, more than four out of five (84 percent) chief marketing officers (CMOs) allocate less than ten percent of their budgets to experimenting through social media and non-traditional communications channels, with more than half (55 percent) allocating just five percent or less.

To the question “Does your brand have a web 2.0 communications policy?” almost half said either they don’t have or are currently developing one. Only 14% CMOs said that they were “proactive” about creating external brand advocates and leveraging them (detailed findings of the survey here).

This lack of involvement on the part of CMOs contradicts with the growth of Social Media, not only in terms of users but time spent on it as well (see excellent post by Brian Solis on growth stats).

In another study by Weber Shandwick for evaluating how effectively Fortune 100 companies used Twitter to its full potential as an engagement platform, it was found that “for the majority of Fortune 100 companies, Twitter remains a missed opportunity. Many of their Twitter accounts did not appear to listen to or engage with their readers, instead offering a one-way broadcast of press releases, company blog posts and event information. This falls short of the opportunity that Twitter offers as a valuable communications channel and strategic social network.”

As per findings of two studies quoted above, we can see a major “disconnect” given the phenomenal growth in Social Media usage on one hand and lack of involvement of CMOs on the other. CMOs need to wake up to Social Media challenge NOW and lead from front, else they risk falling far behind other brands, not only in their industry, but across customers’ general online experience.

What do you think? What should CMOs do to engage their customers through Social Media for building Trust and Loyalty?

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