We've been running a poll in our LinkedIn Group about the best advice that our members could give today's CMO. With headlines still flying around about how the CMO is going to be spending more on tech than his CIO counterpart, and about how CMOs are having to absorb more data than ever before, I thought it might be time to offer some help from our 100K members on LinkedIn, albeit with our tongues somewhat in our cheeks.
Here's the poll:
We've had some terrific comments as well on the poll, and I'm republishing some of the best, with attributions. (I have rearranged the comment stream from its original, and while I have not edited individual comments, there are 70 in total and I have edited these for readers of Social Media Today.)
Glenda Betts • As an effective marketer and communicator today, you have to know a lot more about what tools and data are available. One mistake that some may make is to jump into the many facets of social media without strategic planning and goal-setting for the results you desire. After implementation, then it is important to periodically evaluate what's working to meet your goals and what's not working. Knowing about analytics and other data/trends are beneficial to meauring your outcomes and making tweaks for the best results. The "follow me" online ad technologies of today are amazing. These ads are intuitive, because they track the searches/sites which you visit. The "science" of knowing which days to send an e-mail, post on social media, etc., so that your message is more likely to be read is available. What a technoology-driven world and it's all about "having a conversation with the right person at the right time." Talk on!
Simon Porter • That's a really great poll question. I think it all boils down to what the objects are within the social media channels.
Quite often it seems that social media marketing is referred to as a standard state process when in actuality the way we use it depends largely on what it is we're looking to achieve, whether it be click-throughs to the main site for final purchase, or as a discussion community to better support the organisation's value proposition.
Steve Radick • Olivier Blanchard's blog has some great tips and advice on calcuating ROI - http://thebrandbuilder.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/how-to-publish-a-proper-list-of-social-business-roi-examples/
Malcolm MacGregor • The survey reaffirms the implicit challenge - CMO's along with the enterprise need to rethink themselves to compete in a social and mobile infused world - scheduling media and content consumption requires a new playbook.
CMO's are best served to take steps to rethink and plan out an integrated business and platform model. Few businesses are aligned on audience and content engagement by channel and brand. Getting traction on the challenge requires strategy and planning to step change the enterprise to be able to deliver audience relevant content and the earned media benefits.
New models infused by social insights will ensure that the brand is shared among the right audience who in turn buy the "brand", the brand can now join / facilitate / lead the right conversations for ROI.
Leslie Nuccio • Use social media as a listening tool first to inform your Marketing program, and recognize that the nature of social requires us to morph old monologue marketing principles to a new social dialogue marketing model (For more on that: http://bit.ly/YU5t7E )
Also, fire your ad agency. LOL
The conversation has also sparked a controversy over ROI and social, led by Mark Sullivan. To Mark's question about the ROI of social media, and his belief that it has yet to be proved, there were a number of points and counter-points:
Kaihu Chen • It is not hard to demonstrate some short-term ROIs:
- The sales made through coupon codes, ad banners, call-tracking phone numbers, etc., placed on your social media site.
- Conversion measurements through ad banners on your social media site.
If short-term result is all you care about, then there you have it the ROI measurement you wanted.
If you also care about long-term relationship building and business analytics, then you can measure the following (using the pet product example I mentioned earler):
- You get X number of people per month posting their loving pet photos/videos/stories to your social media site
- You get X number of people per month having their complaints/questions resolved on the site
- You get X number of user activities per month (consuming media, commenting, rate stuff, vote on the polls, etc.) generated on the site
- You get X number of users per month to respond to your survey on your social media site, so you get to know your customers better
- You get web analytics so that you have in-depth understanding of your customers
You can't directly measure the dollar-and-cents ROIs of the above, so you will have to put your own subjective value on the customer good will and business analytics numbers that you get out of these.
Bottom line is that it is certainly possible to measure some kind of ROIs (even if the long-term ROIs could be quite subjective) out of social media. But you must do it first, and then you can get your measurements. Asking to see ROI numbers before doing anything would sound more like a convenient way to say 'no' to new ideas.
Pat Garvey • @Mark - hundreds of billions of dollars have been (and are being) spent on network TV advertising. None of it, as far as I know, has a reliably measurable ROI. But that doesn't stop it from being funded. Old saying in the ad biz: "We know we are wasting half of our ad budget. Problem is, we don't know which half." The world of marketing has never been hitched to the wagon of strict ROI.
CMO's need to pay attention to anything that empowers their consumer. If you are a restaurant or hotel operator, your world changed when Yelp and Trip Advisor came along. Those two site can make or break your business now. Why? Because your reputation is no longer a thing you manage. It is owned and managed by the crowd. You are accountable for the quality and value you deliver. The best thing a CMO can do is make sure the CEO is delivering a product or service that provides real value. Then it's the CMO's turn to use all the tools in the toolbox deliver relevant messages to the right audience.
Kaihu Chen • Not sure why we are having this debate about ROI here, where people seem to be talking past each other. If your company lives and dies by the ROI numbers, then there are plenty of ways to get fairly good ROI numbers out of social media campaigns, and they are certainly more accurate and quicker than, say, printed flyers or TV ads. If you don't believe in those less quantifiable benefits of social media, then just don't include them into your calculation. Arguing about the unquantifiables with pre-conceived opinions will just go nowhere.
Mark Sullivan 5K+ LION • Because ROI is the single best determinant of how much to invest in each marketing strategy. So far no one has given an example of how to scientifically calculate ROI on Social Media investments. Making sure a CMO has the proper tools in place to measure ROI for every dollar spent is the best advice I can give him or her.
Kaihu Chen • What's wrong with the conversion rate and revenue numbers from, say, coupon codes, ad banners, call-tracking phone numbers, referral sites, etc., that you get through your social media campaigns? These are cold hard numbers that you can crank through a spreadsheet to get the type of ROI number that you want.
Pat Garvey • Kaihu, you are so right. But I would argue that any CMO who rigorously applies ROI metrics to all campaigns is destined to fail. Awareness drives sales. We know that. But we don't know how it does, on a granular, dollar by dollar level, in most product categories. Marketing has always been (and always will be, IMO) as much an art as a science. A lot of marketing is based on emotional appeals to consumers. If you limit yourself to campaigns with quantifiable ROI, you have hobbled yourself. And over time, even the channels that work will tend to stop working as you increase investment. In most product categories, the strict number-crunching CMO will not succeed.