Since all of Europe and South America takes a vacation today, I spent an extra 15 minutes reading the economic news. The back of today’s New York Times Business Day section has an advertisement by a great company that offers software to enable Marketing to ‘manage social engagement.’ Think about that for a minute. The company and the product do not matter here - it is a terrific company and as to the product: it is not a part of the point we should explore (they have super products). The point is: isn’t expecting Marketing to own “Social Engagement” in your company a bit like hoping that Emperor Nero would be responsible for guest relations down in the holding pens at the Colosseum? It was not his forte – he had an empire to run. And managing social engagement should not be solely Marketing’s remit.
The AMA defines marketing as, “…the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.’ That is absolutely a full time job and then some. Going from responsibility for the valued offers to responsibility that every aspect of the customer engagement is pulled off in the right way, on the right channel, with the corresponding level of customer satisfaction is a bit like Operation Market Garden in World War Two. There was a fantastic but overly ambitious attempt to outflank the enemy army, and when it became clear, even before the operation began that it was impossible, a British Lieutenant-General quipped, “I think we may be going a bridge too far.”
An alternative approach to managing social engagement that we are observing amongst our clients is to form and maintain a team drawn from IT, Customer Support/Service, Marketing and Corporate Communications. This is a dream team. No group understands better how to elicit the true customer experience than Customer Service and/or Corporate Communications. And IT is central for a whole range of topics like privacy, compliance, security and scalability of solutions. And Marketing is the brains behind offers. Together, this team is in a great position to move beyond the siloed approach that customer engagement – social or otherwise – belongs to a single department.
Are you seeing it differently? Is marketing the rightful owner of social engagement? Coming from a ‘customer support’ and customer experience background, I could be off base in advocating a cross-function team approach - so share your experiences.