Why CMOs need a customer-first social strategy

Ragy Thomas
CEO & Founder
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Recently, I called a popular airline to change my flight. I was put on hold, listened to outdated hold music for more than five minutes and was passed around from one representative to another. No matter how many times this happens to me, it’s always frustrating. And it’s not only with airlines – this happens with banks, clothing stores, entertainment venues, and more. 

I’m not the only one frustrated by this process. Every customer has a powerful voice, and they’re using it on social. The strength of customer to customer conversations can make or break today’s businesses. This is a challenge for entire organizations, especially the CMO.

CMOs are under immense pressure to lead their teams through this new, uncharted landscape. According to a survey by Deloitte, 80% of CMOs are sensing increased expectations and 82% believe they need to personally acquire new skills.

The Problem Plaguing CMOs

Think of the average global organization: thousands of employees, hundreds of communication channels, and just as many business silos. Now think of how customers view that same global company. They see only one brand, and they demand to be recognized as a unique individual across the company. This is the challenge facing all enterprises: how do you give your customers a consistent experience when you’re plagued by silos?

The solution isn’t simple. It will require reimagining your entire front office – your sales, your marketing, your customer care, really any customer-facing aspect of your company.

After working with thousands of C-Suite executives, I’ve found the following three steps to be best practices for CMOs looking to put customers at the center of their social strategy:

1. Understand the New Expectations of Social Savvy Customers

In order to provide a holistic experience for customers, CMOs need to meet their expectations – whatever, wherever, and whenever those are. This means continuing to deliver experiences on traditional channels, but also meeting customers on the newer ones.

Customers have come to expect responses in near real time – across a rapidly expanding number of touchpoints. Today, providing a great experience across all touchpoints is how CMOs help brands build their reputation, more so than the quality of their product, their pricing, or any advertisement that they run.

2. Create a Plan for Transforming Your Organization

Becoming a customer-first marketer can’t just be achieved with a new piece of software. It has to be a mindset transformation, organizational transformation, and technology transformation. It requires a completely new way of thinking, focused on looking at the world from the perspective of a customer, not a brand.

One of a CMO’s main objectives should be to build a seamless and scalable process for interacting with customers. A CMO could be creating large volumes of content, but is this content actually adding value for customers? Is it shaping the perception of the CMO’s brand? Is it aligned with business goals and able to increase ROI? These are all questions a CMO should ask when developing a customer-first strategy.

3. Reimagine Your Technologies to Sustain that Transformation

Many CMOs are using a number of point solutions that have been cobbled together to keep up with customer demands. They’re disconnected, they’re all over the place, and they don’t play well with one another. A CMO can continue to cobble away, but these tools will always be disjointed.

The solution is consolidating all social, mobile and digital technologies on one unified platform designed to improve experiences at every single customer-facing touchpoint.

With every customer-facing team collaborating and serving customers in a unified environment, CMOs can manage new expectations at scale, deliver human and intuitive experiences and build advocacy for their brand.

Conclusion
Eighty-nine percent of companies now compete primarily on the basis of customer experience. And yet only 1% of organizations delivered “excellent” customer experiences last year. Change is clearly far overdue. It’s up to CMOs to lead their companies confidently into this new world of customer-first marketing in order to survive through tomorrow’s challenges.

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12th Sep 2017 21:34

I totally agree, Ragy. This is a constant discussion both in and out of the workplace. My friends, family, and myself are more likely to engage with brands that are customer-centric. More specifically, my brand loyalty lies with companies dedicated to their customer service and individualization. With more and more channels of communication everyday, being connected to your customers is necessary to stay competitive. Thanks for the great read!

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