CEO/CMO Perspectives on Deriving Intelligence from B2B Social Media

The Southern California Business Marketing Association (SoCal BMA) put on yet another stellar event this week. This event featured speaker Jacques Pavlenyi of IBM in a Part 2 of B2B Social Media and its impact on business leaders — and business in general.  Pavlenyi tied this topic into the recent CEO and CMO studies that IBM conducts on a regular basis — to provide some very interesting perspectives on how social media is impacting B2B marketers, and some of the challenges involved with the onslaught of data coming from social channels.  You may remember my post  reviewing Part 1 of this 2-part Executive Roundtable Series back in August.  Well, Part 2 was just as brilliant!

Pavlenyi is an excellent speaker and is so very passionate about his topic.  Here are some of the key takeaways that I noted from Part 2.  Most of my “aha” moments in Part 2 came from the two studies.  All of these studies are available (for no charge) from IBM. I highly recommend downloading them.  They are really interesting.

IBM Institute for Business Value 2012 CEO Study(1709 CEO’s surveyed across geography, industries) — points of interest:

  • Out-performing CEO’s embrace flatter, more open business structures and excel at executing tough change.
  • CEO’s who excel do so by creating economic value by engaging customers as individuals.  They accomplish this by ensuring better access to data, insight and then translating those findings into action.
  • Out-performing organizations are twice as good at deriving value from data — and understand that this is the key to engaging customers as individuals.
  • High performing organizations let big data: 1) reveal the customer you never knew, (2) lets them listen to the customers lavishly, (3) helps them to respond with focus and (4) helps them to be where their customers expect them to be (from a social media perspective).

IBM Institute for Business Value 2011 CMO Study (1700 CMO’s surveyed across geographies and industries) — points of interest:

  • CMO’s are increasingly challenged by having more data and having to use technologies that their kids use to track it. They also have less time than ever to solve the problems associated with this (average CMO tenure is < 3 years).
  • An overwhelming number of CMO’s are under-prepared for (1) the data explosion, (2) the amount of data from social media, (3) shifting channel device choices (mobile), and (4) shifting demographics.
  • Over-performing CMO’s deliver value to empowered customers, foster lasting connections (transactional relationships no longer will cut it), and they have a focus on capturing value and measuring results.

From my viewpoint, these two studies present an interesting conundrum that is taking place within organizations today.   Successful CEO’s seem to understand the importance of being able to capture, analyze and measure data from all channels — then use the intelligence gleaned from it to treat customers as individuals, as opposed to markets and/or simple transactions.  Many CMO’s, however, seem to be so overwhelmed by the barrage of data from all of the different channels and so underwhelmed by the measurement tools, that it is hard for them to make this actually happen.  And this is impacting their customer relationships — as well as their longevity at their companies.


To better support these harried CMO’s, Pavlenyi pointed out that companies like IBM, Marketo, Hubspot and Salesforce/Radian6 are creating tools to help with this.  These companies support efforts to decipher, integrate and translate all of this rich data into actionable steps.  These tools better support the large amount of data derived from social media channels — the very data that allows us to understand so much more about our customers (interests, opinions, behaviors)  than any simple B2B marketing database.  There are still many free applications available that track parts of this data — but in order to get to what these over-performing CEO’s require, you need a tool that is going to help you integrate and understand the data so that you can use it to better communicate with customers.

Pavlenyi wrapped up his conversation on these two studies  by making a really important point: Because of social media, every person in an organization is now involved in creating and shaping the corporate character and furthering the development of the brand.  And Marketing leads the charge by:

  • Managing the brand reputation
  • Enhancing the engagement of all customers
  • Expanding data collection and analytics by working across business silos for the benefit of the customer. 

Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI) has been the general focus of CMOs. While the focus obviously needs to be there, it needs to be combined with a focus on the customer experience.  I know — easier said than done when you are running around with your hair on fire trying to get campaigns out the door.  Luckily, with the increasing numbers of tools (in all price ranges), there is definite hope on the horizon for managing the avalanche of data available to us from social media  — and all — marketing channels.

Kudos to the SoCal BMA for putting on another great event!  And kudos to Jacques Pavlenyi for another great — and insightful — presentation.  I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!


3 Responses

  1. Nancy as you point out, thanks to social media there is a greater potential for an organization to develop its brand, and in the process foster goodwill and customer loyalty, which can translate into a greater Return on Marketing Investment. Thank you for bringing to our attention the complexity of leveraging social media insights from a B2B perspective for the purpose of positively impacting customer relationships and in doing so enhancing the bottom line.

    • Thanks for your comment! This topic is so pertinent for all marketers today. If you’re interested, Marketing Sherpa also did a great webinar on similar subject matter last week — and I believe the playback is on their website. The title of the webinar is “Stop Wasting Time and Money on Social Media.” It was lead by Matt Bailey — who presented really interesting ideas on how to figure out where businesses should be based upon where their customers hang out. Really great!

  2. That’s tricky. If he can’t claim your daughter, and he has no children of his own,
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    name on them, you should be able to claim the expense
    and give him the money- or however you two work it out.

    . . I would suggest calling a tax company like H&R Block, that’s a question they can answer over the phone for free. Good Luck and I hope it all works out.

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