Weapons of Mass Discussion: Enterprise Social Media
Author: Town Hall On-Demand
Though IT and marketing have long been separated in most organizations, CIOs and Chief Marketing Officers need to come together on enterprise social media. CRM and other software platforms can now be used as “Weapons of Mass Discussion,” and smart companies will use the social media capabilities to gain competitive advantage. CSC’s research arm, the Leading Edge Forum, is bringing together client experts from IT, marketing and data for an insightful Town Hall.
- Neil Blakesley, VP of Marketing at BT Global Services
- Jim DiMarzio, CIO at Mazda North American Operations
- Frank Cutitta, Research Associate, Leading Edge Forum
- Jeff Caruso, Senior Managing Editor, CSC
Where “Mad Men” Meets “Math Men”
IT and marketing have long operated separately in most organizations, but technologies like enterprise social media are redrawing lines of responsibility. Today’s CRM systems can be used as “weapons of mass discussion” to create new levels of customer connection and engagement. CSC’s Town Hall meeting series recently discussed how smart companies will leverage these capabilities to gain a competitive advantage.
“New centers of gravity are emerging. Marketing is one. Big Data is another. Companies are taking together all the information they’re collecting to try to make sense of it from an analytical point of view,” says Frank Cutitta, a research associate with CSC’s Leading Edge Forum.
There are a several themes arising from these changes. Cutitta says IT departments feel marginalized as new as-a-service applications and infrastructure allow other groups to build “shadow IT” capabilities inexpensively and with few approvals.
“Meanwhile, the evolving discipline of Big Data and analytic sciences is having a similar effect on marketing departments, drawing resources and taking on tasks that previously would have fallen under marketing responsibilities,” he says.
The dynamics of change are driven by the new skills required to implement analytical tools. “You need double- and triple-deep skills. It isn’t enough to be marketing and technology, you have this whole new analytics area coming in,” Cutitta says. “This is where ‘Mad Men’ meets ‘Math Men.’”
Mining for Success
Companies that are making the effort to develop these blended systems are finding success. Neil Blakesley, VP of marketing at BT Global Services, says an internally developed social enterprise application is helping them build profiles on decision makers and companies that illuminate opportunities and influencers in an organization.
“Our system looks at those people we believe can sign a check large enough to warrant our attention. We score those individuals on a ranking system that rates their level of influence and how they feel about us. Having scored all those relationships, we found we were adding 45% more contacts on our major accounts than we currently got,” Blakesley says.
Having mapped out a more complete set of contacts, BT had to determine how to understand them at a deeper level. Blakesley says the system then began mining data repositories to build more insights on those companies and individuals.
“We had insights feeds running three times a day looking for information on the individual, their organization, the announcements they make, their financial reports,” he says. “The ability for the sales team to go to one place for a single source of truth - on the opportunities with the customer, the current services they have and where our competition is embedded - has been a real benefit to our sales team.”
Blakesley also says that what BT has learned during this process has helped them hire more effectively. “Today we’re writing the profiles of the type of salespeople we want. ‘What industry knowledge do they have?’ and ‘What type of personality would best match the client company’s?’ Two of three traditional hires we made recently didn’t last six months. One has done particularly well. The three people we recruited on the profile method are all still there and two are currently well over target.”
Cutitta says that sounds familiar. “There’s the illusion in our business that because someone can use social media they can develop a social media strategy. But as Jim [DiMarzio, CIO of Mazda North American Operations], can tell you, just because I know how to drive a car doesn’t mean I know how to manufacture a car.”
Ongoing change is causing budgets and resources to shift within and between departments. At Mazda, the change is happening within groups. “One shift is the marketing money being spent is going more toward digital than traditional media. The latest investments we’ve made have been digital first, and we’ve seen a faster ramp-up of customers than we do with traditional media,” DiMarzio says.
Cutitta says the growing emphasis on data science will inevitably cause budgets to shift. “I think there’s a gravitational pull of more money being spent on marketing technology as opposed to pure IT. Because of the hype curve for Big Data, analytics and predictive behavior, we’re seeing all those things pull away from marketing and IT for new data science organizations which might have their own budgets. That could be cannibalizing marketing and IT because neither of those have a deep skill set in that,” he says.
Waking Up to New Realities
DiMarzio says the task of aligning the interests of IT and marketing is not a rapid process. “A few years ago we built data warehouses for all the major business areas, putting in data that they wanted to use. Then we realized about a year ago, we now have five separate departments all doing their own analysis,” DiMarzio says.
“We’re struggling to change the way people do business, and it’s not just the corporate culture. We deal with over 600 independent franchise dealers, many of them doing their own thing. I’m sure many are familiar with this story, but we found in our digital marketing that we were bidding against some of our own dealers for specific keywords. So we’re still a work in progress,” he says.
Blakesley says change came to BT when a new social media-savvy CEO took over the reins. “He blogs two or three times a week, he has his own communities. His actions felt like we were given permission to act on what we knew we had to do. You could see it in true corporate style. As soon as people could see what the CEO was up to, they wanted to do it.”
DiMarzio says that senior managers become aware of the need to harness social enterprise tools through watching their own children and grandchildren. “They all have kids who are doing nothing but texting and Facebook,” he says. “They were smart enough to realize that we have the second youngest buyer in the industry. The results are starting to come in. The last two launches we did digital before we did any other media, and the results have been great. They’re seeing the value now.”