Social Business as a Growth Strategy

Jul 20 2012

It’s now common knowledge that to survive in business today means being social. A lot of the buzz on this topic feels like an urgent imperative for brand decision-makers (like it or not) when really, socializing business should be embraced as an exciting and viable strategy not just to survive, but to lean up for growth out of this economy.

Start with a fresh perspective to bring agility and authenticity to your business goals, which means starting at the top. Social business is not a passive change. Executive sponsorship with a clearly communicated vision throughout development, sales and marketing is cited as the first essential in the shift to social.

What business case does the CMO present?

Customers are continually changing. Traditional discrete marketing campaigns are being replaced with short-cycle platforms in a constant feedback loop. Social integration plugs in where customers live and shop. And more importantly, it lets prospects plug into your brand. How to adapt to this new environment?

  • Adopt channels that are relevant to brand identity
  • Engage with your target market on those channels
  • Use listening tools that fill marketing intel to guide each marketing iteration

Customer expectations are real-time. They may not have the patience or interest to wait out a pre-planned marketing campaign that can become stale or irrelevant over a period of time. Social affords brands the asset of opportunistic marketing.

  • Stay within the brand voice (at least from the flagship) and move toward business goals, but punch out a fresh meme based on today’s trends
  • Justify the marketing budget from the bottom up based on actual results and ROI as opposed to the annual “big ask” using plotted out plans without the benefit of ongoing customer insights
  • Bring marketing from the role of campaign organizer to that of revenue generator. Test several primitive ideas then scale up the high-performing strategies based on the results of social measurement. This approach also has the effect of keeping a fresh and current feel to your brand with frequent scrums, or team analysis. Deliver often. Measure. Analyze. Adapt. Repeat.

Diving into a use case scenario, your brand has done some traditional market research and segmentation. Then, rather than making a grab for big budget and a long-tail campaign, the marketing and sales teams collaborate on micro-tactics that cumulatively will achieve business goals for the product launch. Your brand delivers and engages via optimized social media channels, essentially bringing the customer in as a collaborative partner at frequent intervals. Budget is allocated to what’s proving to achieve based on tangible key performance indicators.

Socializing business lays a foundation for collection of “big data,” or a goldmine of intellectual property offering clearer visibility into who your customers are, what they do and don’t like, where they go, what they think, and more. Well-defined personas can be created to resonate in more specific verticals, improving the user experience and sales.

For business leaders thinking about how social applies to the bottom line, consider having a conversation with your CMO to explore where social business can support and propel brand objectives.

How do you see social business used as a growth strategy?

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