By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
Top Ten Highlights from the 2011 IBM Global CMO Study that PR Strategists Must Pay Attention to
My dear friends and peers in the PR space, congratulations on establishing yourself on social channels, but are you ready to start focusing on actual ROI now? Have you set specific goals on your 2012 digital efforts? Are you measuring social media and analyzing data in a way that makes sense to your CMO or C-Suite? 2009-2011 has been what I call the honeymoon period for social media but moving forward, if we don’t get better at setting the right social KPI’s in place and measuring against those KPI’s, we might find ourselves in a maze of digital conversations that don’t mean much to the upper management. The 2011 IBM Global CMO Study http://ibm.com/cmostudy is a must-read to understand the digital challenges facing us as we try to tie social media efforts to bottom-line growth. Here are my top-ten reminders or rather wake up calls for us PR strategists from the IBM study:
1. The empowered customer is now in control of the business relationship.
2. Delivering customer value is paramount — and an organization’s behavior is as important as the products and services it provides.
3. The pressure to be accountable to the business is not just a symptom of hard times, but a permanent shift that requires new approaches, tools and skills.
4. While 82 percent say they plan to increase their use of social media over the next three to five years, only 26 percent are currently tracking blogs to shape their marketing strategies.
5. Approximately 90 percent of all the real-time information being created today is unstructured data. CMOs who successfully harness this new source of insight will be in a strong position to increase revenues, reinvent their customer relationships and build new brand value.
6. 63 percent of CMOs believe return on investment (ROI) on marketing spend will be the most important measure of their success by 2015. However, only 44 percent feel fully prepared to be held accountable for marketing ROI.
7. More than ever, CMOs recognize they now need to quantify the value they bring to the business, be it from investing in advertising, new technologies or any other activity.
8. Most CMOs, though, report using data primarily to segment and sell, not to generate awareness or stimulate interest.
9. More than half of all CMOs think social media is a key channel for engaging with customers. However, engaging with customers is not just about communicating with them. It’s also about helping them enjoy the products and services they’ve bought, with the intention of building customer loyalty.
10. Four-fifths of respondents plan to use customer analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), social media and mobile applications more extensively over the next three to five years.
The one message that was loud and clear through the IBM study is that the sooner we start treating customers as “individuals” and not “transactions” while we interact with them on social channels, the faster we can convert them to be brand loyalists. This is somewhat hard for traditional marketers and PR strategists to understand and my message to them is, “Wake up to reality. Spend more of your time on personalizing your brand and leaving a trail of positive WOM than on superbowl ad campaigns.”