Richard Fouts

A member of the Gartner Blog Network

Richard Fouts
Research Vice President
2 years at Gartner
23 years IT industry

Richard Fouts guides digital marketers on best practices for evaluating and deploying emerging digital marketing techniques to ensure marketers make fully informed decisions about their marketing investments. With extensive experience in brand management and marketing communications ... Read Full Bio

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Stop Creating Social Media Strategies: An Open Letter to Digital Marketers Everywhere

by Richard Fouts  |  December 12, 2012  |  4 Comments

Dear digital marketers,

This letter is especially for those of you who are lined up in my inquiry queue with the question, “Why isn’t my CEO buying my social media strategy?” It’s simple. The CEO cares about his/her strategy first, not yours.  For example:

Is your CEO focused on growth?  If your organization’s growth strategy for example, focuses on acquiring new customers in new markets -  show your CEO how social media tactics can raise awareness (and generate qualified leads) in target sectors where you’re not known. Social media doesn’t replace your current brand awareness plan, but it sure as heck offers some great tactics to help it along (that don’t cost a lot of money).

Do you want to retain more customers? If you’re like most organizations, an improvement in retention is always a welcome change. Why?  One famous study from the US  Chamber of Commerce shows that a 2% increase in retention is the equivalent of a 10% reduction in costs. Socially-enabled customer communities offer great tactics for adding value to customers (that encourage them to stay). You should also check out Jenny Sussin’s research on this topic)

Do you want to be more competitive?  By offering products that are more relevant than your competitor? And – do you want to take those products to market faster? The social web is a giant focus group that is always on, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It’s ready to give you insight into the products your customers are ready and willing to buy (at a premium, if you get them to market fast enough). Show your CEO which of your social media tactics inform the product road map – often more quickly than traditional techniques (that cost a lot more money and take a lot more time).

Do you want to compete on service? Show the CEO how the social web, particularly blogging and microblogging, can extend your service strategy.  Share success stories like @ComcastCares. Social media doesn’t supplant a good customer service organization by any means, but it offers tactics that help you better serve your customers while showing them that you care. Social media tactics have also been successful at turning customer complaints into positive PR opportunities.

Do you want to sell to customers as markets of one?   Check out Andrew Frank’s post on this topic. This powerful tactic, initiated by Peppers and Rogers a couple of decades ago, was instrumental in a recent presidential election where social networks played a huge role. Were Bill Clinton running today, the banner in his campaign headquarters would likely read: It’s about the data, stupid.

I could crawl through your entire business strategy, but hopefully you get the picture. If you tell your social media story within the framework of your CEO’s goals, vision, and passions – I promise you’ll initiate some good conversation (which in itself, illustrates what social media is all about).

If you agree (or not), let’s talk. Leave me a comment and I’ll respond in 2013.

4 Comments »

Category: Digital Marketing Marketing Strategy     Tags:

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sign in with | Open Knowledge   December 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    [...] If your organization’s growth strategy for example, focuses on acquiring new customers in new markets – show your CEO how social media tactics can raise awareness (and generate qualified leads) in target sectors where you’re not known.More By Richard Fouts [...]

  • 2 Stop Creating Social Media Strategies: An Open Letter to Digital … « SOCIAL MEDIA BUSINESS STRATEGY   December 15, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    [...] on blogs.gartner.com Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

  • 3 OJEIKERE   January 23, 2013 at 7:16 am

    Well you have a point Richard.However what if your CEO prefers to increase customer base,in a new market while expecting different approach to them all.(particularly using Facebook,LinkedIn/twitter.

  • 4 http://wifibooster.com.my/   June 30, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Everything is very open with a very clear description of the challenges.

    It was definitely informative. Your website is useful.
    Thank you for sharing!

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