Social Media – Now What?

The following scenario is playing out today in B2B and B2C companies across the world.

CMOs and Marketing Managers have spent the past 3-4 years in adopting and integrating social media tools and techniques into their marketing efforts. They have hired new skill sets, replaced old patterns of spending and behavior, and invested in new technology and tools. And they are keeping a wary eye on new technologies and potential risks to their buyer’s behavior…i.e., is Amazon’s Fire Phone a game changer?

Yet, generally speaking, for many companies their market share and market positioning hasn’t changed. Sure, the #8 and #9 competitors may have merged and are now #4 and the #2 and #3 competitors swapped places, but in total the number of competitors and their respective slices of the pie are roughly where they were 5 years ago.

Why? Because almost everyone has integrated the same tools, techniques, processes and plans. The differences between the top 3-5 companies in a B2B or B2C market is minimal in the way they identify, track and engage their target markets. It is the rare “shooting star” that has captured and maintained market share and revenue due to their unique social media efforts.

So, after turning the ship and answering new questions; “What is the ROI of our Marketing efforts?” “Why aren’t the leads given to sales more targeted?” etc., etc., CMOs and Marketing Mangers are faced with a new question, “Why haven’t our social media efforts been more successful (code for why haven’t we gained market share and revenue)?”

The answer lies in the underlying fundamental of each company. What is the distinctive difference that sets you apart from your competitors? What is your value add, and have you communicated it well to your target market? The rise of the empowered buyer, using the internet to gain knowledge before making a purchase only changes the way in which a company must communicate. It doesn’t change why a company is different, more attractive, lower cost, or a better fit for the buyer. These attributes are inherent in the product, the company and the image that it projects.

When everyone is using the same devices and procedures to reach the same target market, it is not surprising that relative positioning hasn’t changed significantly. Going forward, CMOs and Marketing Mangers must:

     • Focus more on distinctive competencies than SEO, click thru-rates, followers, likes, and other social media metrics

     • Understand what channel works best in communicating with their target market, and strive to be recognized as the leader in that channel

     • Push the Product Planning team(s) to introduce newer products that fit the changing needs of the target and related markets

     • Make sure that their Marketing Mix meets the needs of today’s buyers and most importantly their target market

What the past 3-4 years have taught us is that changes in buyer behavior and Marketing communications happen quickly. While today’s CMOs and Marketing Managers must be flexible to adopt to change, they must also continue to emphasize those fundamental elements that make their product(s) different from their competitors.

RHM 6/24/14

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