How to Attract the Social Consumer

A new global IBM study of Midmarket Chief Marketing Officers (CMOs) revealed that building and sustaining brand loyalty is the top concern for today’s midmarket CMOs, yet 72 percent do not feel sufficiently prepared to effectively build this loyalty. 

Additionally, 70 percent of midmarket CMOs are concerned about data explosion, as they are tasked with making sense of highly complex information generated constantly from a variety of sources such as consumer blogs, tweets, mobile texts and videos.

Today’s CMOs need to be prepared to deal with an empowered consumer who is impacting brands instantly on Twitter, Facebook and other social channels. 61 percent of midmarket CMOs are struggling with how to manage the impact of social media will have on their marketing function.

[ Also Read: Seven Serious UX Flaws on Facebook

Many CMOs today are focused primarily on understanding market segments versus understanding the individual consumer in order to shape marketing strategies. Fewer than 50 percent of midmarket CMOs are taking the time to understand and evaluate the impact of consumer generated reviews, blogs and third party rankings on their brands.

The proliferation of social media and mobile devices is creating a new breed of consumers who are digitally savvy and able to quickly compare and evaluate which products and services they want to buy.

Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, yet 62 percent of midmarket CMOs report being underprepared to deal with the proliferation of channels and devices. This increase in the mobile shopping trend further increases marketing challenges, complicates data collection and analysis, and threatens both customer service and customer retention.

[ Also Read: Mobile Retail Traffic to Surge in Holiday Season ]

Like their peers in larger organizations, midmarket CMOs are also being held more financially accountable to their organizations to produce business outcomes at a faster pace. 

The study also revealed that while midmarket CMOs believe ROI on marketing dollars spent will be the most important measuring stick for determining success of their business by 2015, the study noted 72 percent of CMOs are underprepared to manage the plummeting level of brand loyalty.

Aside from current economic conditions, there’s an even bigger factor impacting brand loyalty.  Innovations in technology and the spread of social networking have provided buyers with new tools for discovering, comparing, evaluating, choosing and experiencing brands.

[ Also Read: Five Social Media Myths Debunked

With the growth of social networks and a need for transparency, trust and personal exchanges between the consumer and the marketplace are now forming the cornerstone of small and midsize marketing efforts.

Everyday consumers are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data with 90 percent of the world’s data created in the last two years alone. Savvy marketers are gaining insight from social media and incorporating it into their strategies. 

The key is predicting what consumers will want and then adapting marketing strategies to give them the right product when, where, and at what price they want it.

Today, retailers are embracing technologies such as analytics to make sense of massive amounts of data consumers are generating every single second to effectively target the individual consumer and enhance the shopping experience, says the IBM study released today, Nov. 16.

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Rakesh Raman