In October 2011, IBM released a marketing study titled “From Stretched to Strengthened” based on interviews with more than 1,700 Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) globally.
At a very high level, the findings reflect the social customer’s shift to online, social and mobile buying trends that IBM has identified through its Smarter Commerce initiative and proves that today’s CMO has a pivotal role in determining how companies react to industry trends.
The study also revealed that the majority CMOs do not feel prepared to deal with the high level of business complexity currently in today’s marketplace, largely due to the growing influence of the social customer and their increased connectivity. Of the 13 key market factors, social media (68%) was just behind data explosion (71%) as a factor that CMOs are least prepared to deal with.
(1) Deliver value to empowered customers – the social customer is now in control of the business relationship. It’s time they get something in return.
(2) Foster lasting connections – delivering customer (partners/employees) value is paramount; and an organization’s behavior behind the firewall and externally is just as important as the products and services it provides to customers.
(3) Capture value and measure results – the pressure to be accountable for business results is not just a symptom of the struggling economy, but a permanent shift that requires new approaches, measures and skills.
But … What About Social Business?
What’s unclear about this study is whether CMOs are preparing themselves for social business transformation. The study doesn’t mention “social business” nor does it mention many internal initiatives that make up a social business. What’s interesting is that if 68% are not prepared for social media from an external marketing perspective, it’s a safe assumption that the percentage skyrockets if asked about social governance, collaboration, global scalability and all the other facets that makeup a social business. It’s either that or they are highly prepared.
This begs the question of social business transformation. Does this responsibility fall with the CMO? Or is it the responsibility of the CEO, CIO or another member of the executive staff? A similar study last year by Altimeter Group provides some insights on social business priorities (below). The difference is that the below data comes from employees at the manager or director level (I am assuming). In either case, 2012 will surely shed some light on business priorities and organizational readiness that will consider social business transformation.