Katy Keim is the Chief Marketing Officer at Lithium Technologies. She is a frequent contributor in the Social CRM Matters blog.
Life in technology marketing—social media marketing especially—is as challenging as it is exciting. Exciting because it’s constantly emerging, challenging because we market solutions to problems marketers barely have begun to tackle yet.
Our job is not to follow the market, it’s to lead it. We need to show our customers where the problems lie, where opportunities for social business advantage await, and how to seize them.
Here at Lithium we know the value brands reap when engaging their customers via social media. Every day, we see how brands like Sephora, AT&T, National Instruments and giffgaff connect with their social customers to build brand loyalty, reduce support costs, build revenue and drive product innovation.
But we also know that plenty of brands haven’t taken advantage of all the valuable opportunities social media afford. Not quite yet.
So we set out to discover precisely where the best opportunities are today, right now, for brands to get ahead through social media. So we teamed up with CMO Council to compare consumer expectations and brand practices when they connect online.
We surveyed over 1,000 consumers and 120 senior marketers at well-known brands. The gaps between what consumers want and what brands currently offer exposed several key opportunities for brands to gain social advantage in 2012.
The bottom line findings were in line with what we at Lithium already know—that consumers want more from brands online. But we were able to hone in very specifically on where consumer appetites for brand engagement online are going unmet and so identify where the greatest opportunities for social business advantage lie in 2012.
We know they’ll get there. The ROI question has been settled: Yes, you can get value with social. Leading social brands are out there every day, building enormous brand value through social media, driving real costs savings and gaining real competitive advantage. Yet they still remain in the minority.
Which means this is a unique time for marketers. There has never been—and very likely never be—a better time for brands to build value and differentiate through social media. Opportunities will only shrink in the years to come as more brands inevitably become more social.
Today, along with the CMO Council, we jointly released the survey findings in a full report: Variance in the Social Brand Experience along with an accompanying infograph, Four Ways to Narrow the Gap in the Digital Divide.
I’m very interested in what marketers think about the research, what they think about their own social practice and what specific challenges they face in becoming more social. Join me in conversation about it on our Facebook page.
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