Tag Archives: ‘Thomas Brown’

Social Media Benchmark

I was one of about 250 marketers that attended the Chartered Institute of Marketing‘s launch of the Social Media Benchmark research at Bloomberg’s impressive offices in Finsbury Square this week.

This is the latest in a number of excellent research studies launched by the Chartered Institute of Marketing in recent years, led by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights at CIM.

Assembling an impressive panel of senior players from LinkedIn, YouTube and Skype, and hosted by Manus Cranny from Bloomberg TV, the audience were given a double-act walk through of the top-level findings by Thomas and Tara Beard-Knowland from ASI, Ipsos Mori.

The full report is due out in a few weeks but here are some of the headline statistics:

  • 80% of marketers know they need a social media strategy, yet only 7% are tracking the results
  • In 40-50% of businesses, marketing did not own the official channel for Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn (PR team seemed the other most common owner)
  • The number of marketers that rated their social media activities as ‘not at all effective’ was spread across a range: 24% (Twitter) 33% (Facebook) 37% (LinkedIn) 44% (YouTube).
  • Whilst about half of businesses surveyed planned to invest in training their current people to improve social media skills and competencies in 2012, about a quarter had no plans at all.

I look forward to poring over the detail when the report is published, but I left the event thinking that survey respondents are either:

  1. still in complete denial/ignorance of the importance of measuring the effectiveness of the tools they are using, and why (I believe this a broader issue than social media), OR
  2. they are unashamedly still in experimental mode, adopting the Google approach of “test and iterate” mentioned by Thomas in his closing summary

It’s hard to say for sure without the detailed findings, but I suspect there’s a bit of both.

However, with a social media landscape that continues to evolve and change almost daily, the important thing is that the CIM is leading the debate from centre stage.

Thank you and well done.

Should marketers act like they own the business?

I’ve been in marketing for over a dozen years now in a number of different B2B sectors and businesses. One of the constant challenges throughout my career to date has been the variability in how marketing is perceived by ‘the business’ (the collective noun that marketers often use to describe non-marketing stakeholders and decision makers).

 More often than not, when perceptions are negative, it’s down to the fact that the marketing function has failed to demonstrate and communicate the value created through its efforts. Often, there is no direct alignment to the business strategy and objectives.

This isn’t a new problem, and I can’t say I’ve not been guilty of this at times in my own career, but the scale of the challenge is as high as it has ever been.

A recent CIM/Deloitte survey revealed that a mere 7% of respondents ‘always set KPIs clearly for each initiative’, and only [maybe the same?] 7% ‘always set clear accountabilities for objectives’. 

By my maths, this means that a staggering 93% of Marketers must be hoping for the best when embarking on marketing programmes. If we don’t know what to expect and we don’t know who’s responsible for success or failure, it is no surprise that marketing teams sometimes struggle to articulate the value they create.

Is acting like you own the business the answer?

So, should Marketers think (and act) more like shareholders when developing marketing programmes? I believe so. If you think (and act) as if you owned the company you work for, and imagined it was your money you’re investing in marketing, would you sign off on the investment?

Here are three ways that marketers can demonstrate they are thinking (and acting) like the owners of the business when building and implementing their marketing plans:  

1) Aligning marketing objectives to business strategy will help to tangibly demonstrate the value you are adding to the business. This isn’t easy (only 37% of organisations ‘think their business strategy is clearly translated into marketing objectives’ according to the CIM/Deloitte survey) but it shouldn’t stop us trying.   

2) Define truly SMART objectives that demonstrate the clear line of sight between business strategy and marketing strategy. Set the right metrics and make sure you take accountability for achieving them.

3) Communicate your plans and progress in the context of how it is supporting the achievement of the business strategy.  Keep communication open and two-way. Tell the broader business what you are doing, how it is going, and gather feedback from functions that are critical in the achievement of your objectives (sales, finance, operations etc). Repeat.

I’m keen to hear your views on this. What are the benefits and drawbacks of thinking like a shareholder? What are the challenges of adopting such a mindset?

Digital- hype or high potential?

I was delighted to be asked to join a panel discussion on a recent CIM Webcast earlier this month entitled “Digital- what hasn’t happened yet- the shape of digital to come?’

Moderated by Thomas Brown, Head of Insights for CIM, the panel consisted of Mark Stuart, Head of Research for CIM, Mark Inskip, Digital Director EMEA, Accenture, and myself in the guise of a B2B Marketing practitioner.

The webcast can be accessed from this link, hosted by Thomson Reuters http://tinyurl.com/33xpsvq.

Whilst there’s no doubt that the online environment will continue to evolve at pace, there are some basic questions that any business needs to ask itself before embarking on a digital engagement programme:

1. Do I have a detailed profile of my ‘ideal’ customer[s]? 

If not, build one and make it personal- give them a name and refer to them in internal meetings and agency briefings.

2. Do I understand the media consumption habits of my ideal customer?

Do I know what they read, where they read it, and how they read it? Are they online? How much, and for what purpose? Which sites and/or social networking platforms do they use, and why?

3. Does my product/service really lend itself to using these new channels for communication and engagement with my target audience?

 I love this cartoon by Tom Fishburne http://tinyurl.com/39m5t9v which I believe should be compulsory viewing for everyone thinking about embarking on a social media journey.

This by no means exhaustive, but unless you answer ‘yes’ to every question, you should stop and reconsider.