Beyond The Boardroom: The Evolution Of Social In The Enterprise 

I believe in the importance of leveraging social data to impact your organisation’s marketing efforts. In order to prove to other C-levels just how useful social data can be, a chief marketing officer (CMO) needs to be data-driven, regularly gathering data from social platforms and converting it into actionable insights.

The next generation of social in the enterprise is here, blending social data with other business and third-party data – cross-pollinating for richer insight.  With this in mind, we’re hedging our bets on a new power position within the enterprise that will drive home that last point: the social consumer and market insights (CMI) professional.

It’s still critical to use social data for marketing efforts; to track campaigns, check in on brand health, and uncover new audiences, to name a few specific examples.  In fact, it’s such a successful tactic that as business needs evolve, the added value of sharing insight from social data across other departments becomes more obvious.

Social CMI derived from the work of market research and consumer insights teams are designed to support every team in the enterprise – including customer service, product development, human resources and other areas beyond marketing.  The traditional practice of centralising the role of social monitoring within one department – usually marketing – has progressed.

The social CMI professional is pioneering advanced customer journey propositions that don’t just meet the needs of prospective customers, but exceed and anticipate them as well.  The insights gleaned by the social CMI professional go considerably deeper than traditional monitoring for marketing.

These insights from advanced data analytics are revelatory breakthroughs, not just minor findings affecting one department.  This new data is working in tandem with the conventional, and frankly siloed, methods of hunting for and gathering information about consumers – including passive social listening, traditional surveys and focus groups.

The social CMI professional is responsible for taking a 360-degree approach to collecting this data and more, then blending it, offering a more holistic look at the Voice of the Customer.  It doesn’t stop with one or two sets of data.  Nuanced and highly-curated consumer market insights extraction can be mined by intelligently analysing blended data from a brand’s customer-relationship management (CRM) software, in-store sales, search data, web traffic, weather data, social data and so much more.  It’s all about identifying your business objectives, your customer needs, and using the right blend of data to find real actionable insights that can lead to real business results.

Today’s market research directors and VPs of consumer insights are so much more than their titles.  They need to be social CMI professionals because they have important responsibilities – it’s an ambitious role; high-level and demanding, with the potential for strong business impact.  Reaching far outside the walls of marketing.

The use of social data for collecting consumer insights unearths the raw Voice of the Customer , providing organisations with a deeper understanding of the market from a holistic level.

The wealth of unsolicited, unfiltered conversations reveals not only which brands and products consumers and communities are talking about, but can also uncover their other interests and passions, demographics like location and profession, social metrics and sentiment data that can be used to unlock an overview of almost any topic.

Long gone are the days of assumption and guesswork.  The power is in the data, and the data is an incredibly affordable and easy method that’s just within our reach.

When you look at both “traditional” market research methods and “new,” there are some important considerations for marketers:

Social data empowers businesses to be nimble and smart; the continuous nature of social media and the flexibility social listening and analytics offers, allows brands to identify trends and jump on opportunities before the competition;

Surveys are critical, but they aren’t enough; consumer insights and marketing teams are blending traditional market research data with social data to confirm and assess campaign effectiveness, brand reputation, and more;

Social CMI reaches far beyond the marketing and consumer insights teams; from investor relations, employee influencer activation, and even product development.

Social consumer and market insights offer value to many areas across the enterprise.  It’s not just another marketing “angle”, believe me.  Within product research and development, social data around consumers’ conversations can inform opportunities for product innovation, alert stakeholders about service issues, and offer a direct line into the feature updates consumers want and need.

The area of market research that social CMI is applied to can be incredibly niche.  Social data is key for researchers to unlock rich insights quickly without having to conduct a survey or contact consumers directly.

It’s cost-effective and directly taps into the psyche of the consumer, helping brands embrace the necessity of truly understanding their customers and prospective users on an individual and complete level.

A successful social CMI professional must be influential across all business units. Whether your title is market research director or VP of consumer insights, it’s high time your organisation recognises your role as instrumental to flagship initiatives with a proven track-record of impact on business.

At the end of the day, the social CMI professional equips organisations with insights that allow functions across the business drive better results and meet market needs more intelligently.

You hold the social CMI power.