Like many technology disruptions in the past ten years, social media represents the ability to differentiate the experiences of your current and future customers. However, most organizations that embraced the promise of social early on have seen little ROI and have frankly put social in the marketing technologist quiver as just another tactic with a baseline level of priority and effort.
This de-emphasis of social business will result in some firms seeing true disruption in their industry as new entrants and competitors embrace and evolve their social business goals and methods alongside other marketing technology practices.
At the Martech Boston conference, Forrester analyst Sheryl Pattek stated that four market dynamics are key to becoming customer obsessed, namely:
Transformation of the Customer Experience
Embracing the Mobile Mindshift
Becoming a Digital Disruptor, and
Turning Big Data into Business Insights
One theme influenced by all of these dynamics is the Social Moment - the moment organizations realize that social is mainstream and integral to business success.
Social will be part of your customer experience transformation in the next decade, as your customers have already chosen to interact without boundaries in this medium. Social is mobile as most of your next generation customers are ‘phone or tablet first’ users. Social media is a digital disruptor and holds the promise of deepening its influence on your business. And, social data is not well captured or understood and finding a structure to gain insights can lead to measurable gains.
Many firms hesitate to take the needed next steps with social media due to a lack of internal skills to evolve their social business program. Firms are immature in their understanding of social listening and monitoring, training employees to have judgment in social interactions and analyzing and synthesizing the social data to develop actionable insights. In fact, many firms are either frozen in inaction or paralyzed at the onramp to their social program due to the lack of return on the investment.
Much like the principles of agile that are permeating not just IT, but processes across the organization, social should be embraced as a practice without an end state. Social business must be viewed by organizations as an evolving skill set that will see changes in technologies, employee skills and processes.
By embracing social business, organizations have an opportunity to differentiate themselves as well as disrupt firms that lag behind.