By Chris Boorman
The social media revolution is here, and it looks set to stay. Social media is changing the world that we live and work in. Indeed, social web developments have accelerated the rate at which information is shared and influence takes hold. Consumers are now using social networking to help shape the world’s events and culture. We’ve been taught new ways to communicate and collaborate through interactive features on the likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and increasingly applications such as Salesforce.com are becoming more and more of collaboration and communications tools.
So, as our evolution into a digitally-savvy nation takes hold, how can modern marketers ensure that they are capitalising on it, and further their understanding of how customers are interacting with their brand? Planning their strategies carefully with a clear and focused scientific mind is the first place to start. It’s time to tool up, analyse all data, deliver a 360 degree view of their customers’ digital footprint and leave no data behind. Monitoring sentiment and extending customer understanding beyond the enterprise to social networks is an essential part of this. Ultimately, marketers need to help their organisations become social enterprises or these companies will be left behind with their customers choosing more dynamic and engaging customers to partner with.
Social networks have created a new realm for the world of marketing to interact with and pull in data on customers and prospects. As a result, social networks are becoming more widely accepted within enterprises. Now most companies are experimenting with social media strategies, but it’s worth bearing in mind that the social data found on these networks is different to anything else businesses will have come up against in the past.
The kind of consumer information found on social networking sites can provide crucial insight into an organisation’s influencers – those who may not yet be a customer in their own right, but are influencing sales amongst others. Customer influencers should be sought out and targeted, given that they are the ones that sway the purchasing decisions of those around them.
Marketing departments are now looking at how to pull the mass of social data available out there into their enterprises in order to understand more about their customers. Tapping into social networks enables them to look at the interactional data that reveals who their clients are, what they like to do, what relationships they have, and with whom. All these things give a competitive edge, enabling companies to better understand their customers and deliver a superior service as a result.
It doesn’t just stop at gathering information though. Existing technology like Master Data Management (MDM) has a vital part to play in giving that information real value, transforming it into a useful format, so that it can be integrated into existing CRM systems, and filtered for relevance.
The speed of social means everything happens faster. However, rather than fearing this shift, marketers must use it to their advantage; stay closer to customers, connect to them and engage with them in new ways.
In today’s socially-driven world, there’s a real opportunity for businesses to drive greater value from their customers’ social data and gain further insight from their marketing activities. The companies that will be most successful in the future will be those that recognise the need to use social media channels to engage with their customers and formulate a clear strategy for engaging with them wherever they are.
About the author
Chris Boorman is responsible for Informatica‘s global voice to the market, which includes corporate, partner and field marketing. He is also responsible for technical and sales enablement through Informatica University. A strong advocate of social media, he leads Informatica’s voice into social networks and is a visionary and proponent of helping customers leverage social networks for their competitive advantage. He joined Informatica in 2007 with more than 20 years of international marketing leadership experience at enterprise software category leaders, including SDL, salesforce.com, Veritas and Oracle Corporation. Most recently, he was chief marketing officer at SDL, a leading global information management enterprise software vendor offering language translation technology and services.
Informatica Corporation (Nasdaq:INFA) is the world’s number one independent provider of data integration software. Organizations around the world rely on Informatica for maximizing return on data to drive their top business imperatives. Worldwide, nearly 5,000 enterprises depend on Informatica to fully leverage their information assets residing on-premise, in the Cloud and across social networks.