Social Business ROI – the Emerging Opportunity for the CMO

The purpose of business is to generate revenues or increase profitability. The purpose of social business is the same, converting benefits of a social enterprise such as collaboration, influence, loyalty, engagement, likes, followers, and rich data that allows for better targeting and customer understanding into concrete returns for the corporation.

Gartner predicts that by 2017 the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO. Marketing is increasingly becoming technology-enabled and this means marketing is transforming into a significant technology-enabled buying center. The marketing organization is learning how to use social networks of all types to buy and use data and make sense of big data coming from customer interaction to enhance the customer experience and develop new products.

We are seeing in the social business market the launch and discussion of a plethora of platforms, tools, apps, and tactics that will enable the use of listening tools to help understand, engage, target, motivate, and ultimately convert to customer sales.

Included in the plethora of product announcements last week at the Dreamforce conference was a Data.com tool called Social Key, set to launch in the second half of 2013. Data.com Social Key will harness real-time public social data including social networking sites like Facebook, Klout, Twitter, and YouTube for the most recent and relevant social information and connect it with business context of traditional data (like employer information or a phone number), giving companies the data insights necessary to develop deeper connections with customers.

Facebook’s new Custom Audience ad targeting launched earlier this month allows companies to target ads to users by email, phone number, or user ID if those users have previously opted in to providing that information to the advertiser. Custom Audience targeting helps marketers reach people they may already have a connection with on Facebook. Businesses will be able to submit a text or CSV file of privacy-protected hashed email addresses, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs and have Facebook target those people with a specific ad. One of the new features of Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud is the integration of Facebook’s Custom Audience linking data stored on Salesforce.com with Facebook data for ad targeting.

Enterprise gamification is another trend that leverages the benefits of utilizing incentives and rewards to engage, reward, and motivate sales teams. Many organizations are tapping gamification strategies to increase product sales. In fact, by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify those processes, according to Gartner research.

The next stage of the social business evolution focuses on ROI, not because it is “cool” but for the significant leverage it can have on achieving a wide variety of business objectives as well as selling products. At my company we have developed the Catalysta platform as a tool for sales force activation that engages, motivates, and rewards sales teams. The Catalysta platform has continually demonstrated increased sales and positive ROI for its clients.

The world is innovating around an explosion of new tech-driven communications and social capabilities. Marketing is undergoing its biggest shift in decades and the emerging social business opportunities for the CMO are groundbreaking.

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