Forrester: CMOs Finally 'Get' Social

by , Jan 10, 2013, 3:38 PM
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A new forecast from Forrester predicts that for CMOs, 2013 won’t just be another year of digital’s growing influence in marketing: It will be the year CMOs fully close the divide between digital and conventional marketing, with social principals infusing all their brand efforts. Additionally, writes Corinne Munchbach, an analyst at Forrester, CMOs at consumer-focused companies will grasp that whether tactics are digital or not, they need to drive positive customer experience and interaction with the brand.

The shift comes because even though companies have been investing in digital marketing for years now, there’s finally an understanding that on some level, all marketing is inherently digital. As a result, it says it expects interactive marketing budgets to account for some $50 billion, or 20% of all marketing expenditures.

“Digital disruption moves faster with more power at less cost than any force before it, tearing down boundaries to meet consumers’ needs more fully than we could have ever imagined five years ago,” she writes. “Healthcare providers are challenged by the Jawbone UP and FitBit personal tracking devices; media companies are threatened by Hulu and YouTube; and financial services firms worry about alternative payment and banking platforms, like Square and Simple.”

As a result, CMOs must expand the capabilities of their brands to keep up, or get left behind. “Organizations that harness the power of digitally empowered consumers, innovate the adjacent possible, and embrace digital to extend the benefits of the product or service will be well positioned for success in 2013,” she says.

And increasingly, that means the digital awareness must be bigger than just marketing efforts, seeping into every aspect of the brand experience. “CMOs should move marketing budgets out of channel silos and into new cross-platform teams organized around consumer segments, with experts on the relevant media, channels, and devices for that particular segment.”

That includes giving consumers a visible value, in order to outperform competitors. (The report cites USAA, Burberry and Mercedes as examples of brands that are true to their brand mission, providing rewarding experiences in many channels.)

Finally, she predicts that content marketing, already in use by nearly 90% of business-to-consumer marketers, will continue to grow as  “the logical extension of existing social strategies, creating a more robust set of brand experiences for people to engage with.”

It stems, she writes, from the understanding that to be “remarkable,” a brand must be worth talking and sharing about, citing Red Bull’s extreme success with its Stratos jump as just one example. “Senior marketers will see that bringing together their content marketing and social marketing initiatives is the best way to support branding goals and ultimately positive business outcomes. Social media should be used to strategically achieve three brand building objectives: relationship building, differentiating through an emotional connection by delivering visible value, and nurturing loyal fans.”
That means moving well beyond basic Facebook and retweeting, “to actually focus on how to activate their branded content asset via their social presence.”

6 comments on "Forrester: CMOs Finally 'Get' Social ".

  1. Bobby Isaacson from SocialChorus
    commented on: January 10, 2013 at 10:12 p.m.
    It's here! Social, has truly put the communication power in the hands of consumers. This was particularly prominent at two conferences in Las Vegas this week, CES and the lesser known New Media Expo, featuring a 'Social Business Next' track. Brands cater to connecting consumers and enable them to communicate with and about their products, powered by social media. My favorite excerpt: “Organizations that harness the power of digitally empowered consumers, innovate the adjacent possible, and embrace digital to extend the benefits of the product or service will be well positioned for success in 2013,” Harness the power of social, embrace consumer advocacy and stay evolving!
  2. Kevin Lee from Didit
    commented on: January 11, 2013 at 8:16 a.m.
    The industry must make sure that marketers are given metrics that are valid and predictive of lifts in user perception, brand choice/preference or purchase behavior. Otherwise the industry could suffer a rapid collapse from being sexy to being considered a waste of time. For example, I've witnessed abuses of impression metrics within social that would never fly in display, search or offline media.
  3. Ryan Connors from Appegic
    commented on: January 11, 2013 at 10:01 a.m.
    I feel like I've been in an interesting position evolving with social media. A few years back social was a nice-to-have let the intern do it, whereas now it's a pillar in any serious marketing plans. CMOs recognize the paradigm shift to the connected consumers and the smart CMOs are meeting them where they are. Thanks for sharing Sarah.
  4. Todd Parsons from Aditive, Inc.
    commented on: January 13, 2013 at 6:39 p.m.
    Sarah, it couldn't be said better than "It will be the year CMOs fully close the divide between digital and conventional marketing, with social principals infusing all their brand efforts." I'm not sure that CMO's see social as something that binds all brand efforts rather than just another channel/medium yet, but we're definitely on that track. With this perspective emerging, we'll see innovation beyond the brand strategies Corrine from Forrester calls out. And part of that innovation will be closing the measurement and attribution gaps that @ Kevin rightfully calls out above. Should be a fun year!
  5. Krista Thomas from Krista Thomas
    commented on: January 14, 2013 at 12:21 p.m.
    This will also be the year that CMOs realize that social data gives them virtually everything they need to personalize their approach across all of their marketing & communications efforts. The once, 'only dreamed-of' holy grail of marketing -- the ability to treat people like the unique individuals that they are -- is here & now.
  6. Claudine Bianchi from Axceler
    commented on: January 17, 2013 at 1:57 p.m.
    Same is true for B2B -- we often forget but in B2B we're also dealing with consumers. Social media isn't where it should be in B2B and yet it can have a tremendous impact on product development, customer interaction and satisfaction, and ultimately sales. I am curious if Forrester will address (or if they have already addressed) the B2B perspective.

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