Marketers need to adopt a more operational mindset to cope with social

Lithium VP also announces research that shows most Australians do not trust advertising but do trust peer online reviews and forums

The role of marketing is increasingly being driven by what happens with the customer after they have purchased a product, and CMOs must take more responsibility as a result.

That’s the view of Lithium vice-president of social strategy, Dave Evans, who spoke at today’s Forrester Summit for Marketing and Strategy Professionals in Sydney about how social is changing the way individuals engage with brands, and why more organisations need to strengthen their social customer experience strategies.

His presentation also touched on Lithium’s new Australian consumer research released today, which found 28 per cent of Australians don’t trust advertising at all. In contrast, 63 per cent trust online product reviews, 60 per cent trust like-minded peer-to-peer communities, and 43 per cent trust social networks.

The research was based on a poll done in Australia by Harris Poll in May among more than 1000 consumers between 18 and 64 years of age.

When questioned about the role CMOs must assume in social strategy leadership, Evans told attendees it was inevitable that marketers deal with the ramifications of customers communicating about their products and services through these new public digital channels.

In particular, he noted the impact post-purchase social conversations have had on the consideration process for other potential customers.

“All this social stuff interrupts the marketing process and buyer journey marketers have set in place,” Evans said. “The savvy marketing person therefore is now moving over into operations.”

The thing that drives conversations in social is not the sale itself, but how the consumer utilises those products afterwards, Evans continued.

“Marketers are finding themselves in the middle of those operations [issues] and they have to start taking ownership of those conversations,” he said. “The reality of consumer expectations today has shifted that job.”

Related: Fox Sports shows sports fans the love with social engagement

Evans also commented on the traditional approach to advertising versus the new two-way dynamic consumers expect to engage in with brands today.

“As advertisers, we have been used to getting to interrupt you in personal or key moments of your life,” he said. “Now as a consumer armed with social channels that are mine, or that I can at least participate in, I have the ability to interrupt your brand. And I am looking for the assurance that you are listening and are as happy to be interrupted as I am by you.”

Among Evans’ key tips for a strong social media strategy are to be the messenger, listen and respond to customers through social networks, give customers a place to connect and share information, review your historical spend mix and reinvest in social, and make a commitment to change.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu

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