By Mark Kersteen - June 18th, 2015

We’ve been at the Corporate Social Media Summit New York this week, where social leaders from a range of brand came together to discuss the most pressing issues affecting social. Below we've collected just a few of the dozens of incredible insights that have been shared onstage.

From the conversations at the summit, one thing has become very clear: the customer owns social. Across industries, across departments, across countries and cultures, the story is the same. We are in the midst of a massive shift, and customers have unprecedented control over the shape of your business.

This shouldn’t be an enormous surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention. However, the extent to and speed at which things have changed might be.

No longer just your marketing or your social media, your customers’ wants and needs are changing every part of the business. Data, financial, legal, communications, HR—nothing is off limits.

In light of these changes, our speakers have had some fantastic insight into how their own businesses are being affected, and what they’re doing to succeed amidst this customer-centric revolution.

1) Social is in its Third Wave

Sid Banerjee, CEO and Co-Founder of Clarabridge, neatly laid out social’s evolution over the last nine years in CSM NY’s opening keynote, ‘Social Media as a Foundation for Long-Term Growth’

“Social has had three lifetimes. First, it was a means to measure buzz and to try to start conversations. The second wave was pairing more cohesive strategy with social, and using it for PR and marketing. Now in the third wave, we’re using social as a way to build customer intimacy, loyalty, and engagement. To do this, you have to be able to find the right content for your audience, organize it, separate out all the noise from the signal, and then respond to the right people with the right message.”

This means that social is no longer just a tool to use, or a platform to prioritize—it’s more like an entire language you use just to speak with and understand your customers. In this light, social isn’t something that can be siloed, it’s a medium that can inform every part of your business.

2) Social can (and Should) Shape Your Marketing

Jen Dominiquini, Chief Marketing and Client Experience Officer at BBVA Compass, gave an excellent example of this process in action.

As the official bank of the NBA, BBVA partnered with American Express to launch the first-ever NBA affiliate card. Aware of the massive untapped audience they had at their disposal, they used social and listening to find out what fans needed, and how their needs differed from one another’s. The used them to test concepts for their TV commercial, and came to the final slogan, “If NBA is your passion, this is your card.”

BBVA then tested different value propositions over social, and used listening around specific ambassadors (such as Kevin Durant) to shape their involvement in the campaign. Their fans shaped every aspect of the initiative, and because of that, they got what they asked for. Not only was this great for customer satisfaction, but it was far more efficient because customers helped with the groundwork.

Eight years ago, a plan like this would have been unfeasible, but social has made it not just possible—it made it easy.

3) Social is Driving Collaboration

Much of the discussion has also revolved around the internal changes customers are driving in their organizations across the board.

While marketing and social care departments have normally had their own share social and a requisite budget, the value of sharing that unified view of the customer is driving consolidation. According to independent research done on behalf of Clarabridge, a majority of funding for social goes to the marketing department, though 50 to 60 percent of that is pooled with social care groups.

This increased investment, coupled with the cross-departmental benefits of understanding your customer on social, means there’s more sharing of people and technology across departments, driving them closer together.

As Josh March, CEO of Conversocial, put it: “Social media is a catalyst that forces people to work more closely together.

4) And Silos are Holding You Back

According to Jeff Pundyk, Vice-President of Global Integrated Content Solutions at The Economist, a study of over 500 marketing leaders told them that customers would own the customer experience end-to-end in three to five years.

However, when they did a similar study among consumers, they found that their most common frustrations arose from the disconnects created by internal silos. To use an example from Mindy Stockfield, Senior Vice-President of Consumer Marketing for MTV, this could be something as simple as going to Bed Bath & Beyond and finding out your online coupons won’t be honored in-store. In Mindy’s case, once she was told this, she left the store and bought the products on Amazon instead.

As Jeff described, “Silos are legacy holdovers. Siloing off departments used the make things easier, but they don’t reflect the way the world works now. The funnel that drove them no longer exists.”

Keeping your internal structures the same might be easy, but it’s also driving away customers.



The Corporate Social Media Summit New York 2015

June 2015, New York

With over 50 expert speakers (including 15 CMOs and CCOs) from the world’s most social brands, and 300+ of your corporate peers in attendance, #CSMNY offers unrivaled learning, networking and benchmarking opportunities. It is truly THE social media event of year.

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