Getting the business on board with social strategy

It's important to secure executive buy-in when trying to utilise digital marketing channels.

Katy Keim, CMO of Lithiu Technologies
Katy Keim, CMO of Lithiu Technologies

Social media isn’t just a way of engaging with consumers, it’s also a facilitator in changing the way you do business, Fox Sports head of social media and digital marketing claims.

Speaking on a panel at Mumbrella360 on the age of extreme customer expectations, Chris Gross said social is both an exciting but difficult thing to successfully implement across an organisation.

“The hard part is translating across to the business that taking this holistic approach requires investment and time,” he claimed.

Gross said it’s vital to position social as a customer care solution that if done right, saves money. The brand element of social, meanwhile, requires a business discussion about growth and future potential, he said.

“Ultimately, what we have there is net profitability with our future potential, and that equals something interesting. That’s a conversation I can go have with my CFO seriously and talk about investment for,” said Gross.

Fellow panellist and Lithium CMO, Katy Keim, said companies will often ask after the fact if the data or results from social and digital channels can be measured.

“The salient point is that you shouldn't be doing this unless you can measure it, and in a way that is valued by the c-suite and that saves you money,” she told the audience. It is particularly important to share how the organisation can capitalise on social technology in order to drive profit.

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“Moving from a high-cost contact centre channel to digital channels can save $10 million. That is a conversation people want to have with you,” Keim said. “We have expected the business to adapt to our changed vernacular as opposed to adapting our strategy to the language they already understand. We need to change the approach so that businesses can understand and relate to the power of social media technologies and platforms.”

When discussing strategy, Leim also said it’s best to articulate the key points around the customer, as opposed to social and digital, which are just channels. “Frame it in the context of the customer and you have your attention from senior executives,” she advised.

Any attempt to become a social business will impact several different areas of the organisation and strategy cannot be siloed, Gross said.

“You’ve got customer operations, product people, marketing and comms, sales and technology, all being impacted,” he said. “We need to be looking at this from a holistic standpoint, not just a social brand perspective.”

Keim said marketers also need to be prepared to negotiate current expenditure and make changes, as outdated methods are draining resources that could be used more efficiently elsewhere. As an example, she referred to research on customer call centres, which cost $300bn globally yet are a last resort channel for 60 per cent of Australian consumers.

“Based on call centre technologies and advertising, I guarantee there are buckets of money you spend on areas in your organisations that are outdated,” Keim said. “Look at where you and take projects online by really cutting historical spend on outdated things, and test what your customers want.”

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“We have expected the business to adapt to our changed vernacular as opposed to adapting our strategy to the language that they already understand,” says Keim. “We need to change the approach so that businesses can understand and relate to the power of social media technologies and platforms.”

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