Watch for social media to lead the digital marketing pack in 2010. That’s the word from Forbes writer Jeremiah Owyang who recently attended the Forbes CMO Summit. Owyang also cautions that effective marketers will 999929_petrona_towers_9incorporate social media with other digital efforts. For example, e-mail providers such as Silverpop and Responsys are using the power of social networks to expand the reach of e-mail. If one e-mail recipient shares a message with Facebook contacts, more people become aware of the campaign without additional cost.  Similarly, search engine powerhouses Google and Microsoft are “promising to integrate tweets in search results.”

These kinds of changes make brands more visible than ever before. While some of this visibility can be driven by the marketer, other visibility will be out of the marketer’s control. The best way to guard a good reputation is to “maintain community platforms or brand-monitoring solutions” which rarely cost more than $100,000 a year in real cash outlay. The soft costs such as educating staff members to take on new roles and establishing new internal processes may not even require immediate cash outlays.

Before a company gets started on a pragmatic social marketing approach, Owyang recommends a review of three strategic steps:

  • Consider updating customer profile data with ‘socialgraphics’ – ‘ information about social media behavior of customers.
  • Assign specific staff members to enable to the social networking process and coordinate the effort among business units.
  • Marketing departments may expand their boundaries to share best practices and resources with product development and other customer touch-points to improve the customer experience.

These strategies are likely to improve an organization’s social networking outcomes. Owyang advises CMOs to “approach social marketing as a culture shift within a corporation and align the proper resources” all of which should result in long-term brand loyalty and higher sales.

[Source:  Owyang, Jeremiah. “CMOs: Consumers Are Connected,” Forbes, 11.20.09]