How to Avoid the "No-Ad-Dollars CMO Blues"
A link to an interesting article in AdAge was in my early morning Twitter feed, courtesy of George Dearing by way of Kate Brodock. The article relayed the findings of a study of 400 CMOs that revealed that few feel they are effectively tracking social media or word of mouth.
"For all the talk about listening to consumers, few marketers think their companies are doing so effectively and even fewer are monitoring what people say about their brands in social media," according to a new survey by the CMO Council.
The survey of 400 executives found that 56% said their companies have no programs to track or propagate positive word-of-mouth; 59% don't compensate any employees based on improvements in customer loyalty or satisfaction; and only 30% rated their companies highly in their ability to handle or resolve customer complaints.
Few have a system in place
Despite all the hype about social media, only "16% of respondents said their companies have any routine system in place for monitoring what people are saying about them or their brands online. "
This was very interesting, especially when you think about how much CMOs have had to adjust their game plans over the past six months and well into 2009 due to the economy. Given their pressured charters to effect major change very fast and, often, to rebrand a company, CMOs typically rely very heavily on flashy advertising campaigns and events, as well as PR and direct marketing. A major weapon in their arsenal -- print, radio and television advertising -- is severely reduced for most and off the table entirely for others. Even the less costly marketing vehicles have been curtailed and are under additional pressure to show ROI quickly. One would think, therefore, that focus on the alternative channels of social media would be well underway, as this can provide a cost effective replacement for some of the pricier marketing methods that have to be sidelined at the moment.
The Ad Age article noted that even a big consumer brand like P&G is at a fairly early stage of evaluating social media as a way to gather great feedback from their customers and tap into word of mouth views and issues about their products.
Interestingly, a number of the technology BtoB CMOs we work with are moving rapidly to embrace social media as a way to get closer to their customers and combine these channels with their highest return marketing programs (that thankfully includes PR) to ride through the downturn. Perhaps tech savvy is giving these marketers a leg up on these new approaches which will serve them well. At the very least, they won't be downloading the "No-Ad-Dollars CMO Blues" to their iPods.