How Social Media Has Put Your Brand in the Customer's Hands

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Key Takeaways
​What? Marketing is no longer about what you have to say about your brand, it's what the customer has to say about you.

So what? The rise of social media has put customers in control of brands and their overall experience.

Now what? To learn new marketing strategies for a customer-first world, download, "The Customer-First Future of Marketing."

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Brought to you by: Sprinklr

Learn how companies like Microsoft, LVMH, and IBM are approaching marketing strategy and digital transformation in a new, Un-Enterprise world.

Until recently, marketing followed an established formula: Create a clever message, broadcast it widely, and watch it spread. As traditional channels evolved and new channels arrived, we adapted this formula, but our approach to marketing by and large stayed consistent over time.

Then along came social media, and something interesting happened.

As IBM’s Chief Marketing Officer Michelle Peluso puts it, “People now have rich digital lives on top of their physical lives. We as a brand need to be able to be present in the moment. In this new world, timeliness, agility and humanity are critical.”

Social media, unlike any other channel, is fueling marketing transformation. The rise of social media has caused existing hierarchies between marketing departments and customers to dissolve. The frequency of interactions between the two has increased, as customers have come to expect resolution in near real time across a rapidly expanding number of touch points.

A New World of Business

More than 2 billion people around the world are talking directly to brands and connecting directly with each other through social networks. These conversations, which are happening with or without you, can have a significant impact on your brand.

“The internet has reconnected human beings in a way that they weren’t connected before, and it’s giving consumers unlimited choice,” says Ian Rogers, chief digital officer of LVMH.

In the absence of marketing hierarchies, we have entered an un-enterprise world. Processes and policies that were once assets are becoming liabilities. Brands can no longer rely on traditional formulas and speak unfettered from an elevated platform to a faceless, relatively impassive audience. A massive leveling of the playing field has taken place as social and digital media are creating a new generation of connected and empowered customers. Marketing transformation is firmly underway, and enterprises that choose to ignore this reality do so at their own peril.

Customers Are in Control

The sheer magnitude of the social media audience alone is changing the marketing ecosystem, prompting organizations to shift budgets from print and broadcast to digital programs. But the size of the social media audience pales in power next to its game-changing behaviors.

“We’re moving from a world where marketing is hyper-efficient, to a world where quality is hyper-efficient because the customer’s voice is so loud,” says Rogers. “Quality trumps marketing at this point in time. The definition of local has also fundamentally changed. Local used to mean close to me and within proximity. Today it has an international meaning -- groups of people around the world are gathering around shared interests.”

Even more significantly than talking directly to brands, consumers now talk to each other en masse. After every experience with a brand, they’re talking about their interactions, sharing with close friends, then sharing with millions around the globe through social. There are 100 million reviews on Yelp alone -- each drawing other customers toward a business or sending them away.

“What customers are saying on social is what they’re saying to the rld,” says Doug Palmer, principal at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “It’s a conversation that’s taking place about you -- whether it be your brand or your product -- and you’re not leading the conversation.”

The collective jolt of customer-to-customer conversations can be felt all the way to an enterprise’s bottom line.

Experience Is the New Marketing

The predictable marketing funnel has been replaced by a complex and nebulous entity -- a marketing cosmos, if you will -- filled with thousands of brands and billions of customers. And just like in space, each body has its own gravitational force.

A brand in this environment can draw in customers with an advertisement. Another brand counters that magnetism with its own campaign. Simultaneously, independently and massively -- customers exert their own influence. A happy customer can pull thousands of people toward a brand. A detractor can keep them from getting close. These changing dynamics are constantly at work.

Marketing is no longer about what brands have to say about themselves, the old model. It is what customers say about brands that truly shifts the balance. What customers choose to say is shaped by one key factor: their experience, the sum of how they feel across each interaction with a brand. Managing that experience completely, consistently and successfully is now the primary marketing challenge. In an un-enterprise world, the customer’s experience is all that matters.

To learn new marketing strategies for a customer-first world, download, "The Customer-First Future of Marketing.

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Author Bio:
<p>Sprinklr is a social media management platform (SMM) that provides digital transformation solutions for enterprise businesses, with a focus on customer-first.</p>
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