Product Marketing Rule #9: Make Your CFO a Social Media Fan

42 Rules of Product Marketing Facebook

Product Marketing Rule #9 from the best-selling book, 42 Rules of Product Marketing, was written by Paul Dunay, Chief Marketing Officer, Networked Insights

Social media definitely pays off, but you’ve got to focus on the approach not the tools.

Social Media has hit the mainstream but the concern on every product marketer’s mind has been how to justify the ROI, especially at budgettime.  The financial decision-makers might harbor unspoken thoughts like,  “We spend big bucks on those developers, customer support and sales engineering people.  Why are you wasting the company’s money giving them geek toys when they should be doing real work for us?”

If you’re concerned about social media cost justification, you’re not alone.

A recent Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) survey[i] found that only 20% of CMO’s felt social media produced measurable ROI and 62% hoped it may someday.  If CMO’s lacked ROI confidence, then just imagine what a CFO or CEO survey might have told us!

Social media definitely pays off, but you’ve got to focus on the approach, not the tools. The classic product marketing approach to social media is treating it like just another broadcast media channel by posting press releases, events, videos, etc. and expecting instant results.  That’s a good start, but the results you need to justify your efforts will come by taking a holistic company approach.

Here are some real-life examples. I am sure you can find others when you start thinking this way.

Improved Customer Support

Avaya found that social customer support is a powerful way to reduce customer churn and increase retention rates. Listening for a customer issue, responding and solving their problem in minutes using social media provides an “exceptional customer experience” which unlocks the beauty of social media in sharing stories of great customer service travel far and wide.

Collaborate with your customers

I don’t care whether you own a community or your rent one from a provider like LinkedIn Groups –a community is a great place to create a social experience with your customers. B2B marketers often host bi-annual advisory boards or user group meetings and these are just screaming for a way to keep them connected via a tool like on online community. A recent Jive report of over 2000 customers showed outstanding results. Lower costs, more revenue – a perfect combination!

  • Users
    • Generated 32% more ideas
    • Sent 27% less email
    • Found answers to questions 32% faster
  • Employees
    • Spent 42% more time communicating with customers, which led to
      better retention rate
  • Results:
    • Support calls dropped 28% (Lower costs!)
    • Sales to new customers jumped 27% (More revenue!)

In summary, social media consists of a powerful set of tools that yields strong bottom-line results for your company, but you need to take a holistic approach and not treat it like just another broadcast media.

Marketing Sherpa   Source: 2011 Marketing
Sherpa Social Marketing Benchmark Survey

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