The 3 challenges all social CMI professionals face (and how to overcome them)

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conquer_meeting_mountain_261757853-ss-1920Fact: Social insights offer value to many areas across the enterprise.

This fact indicates the need for a dedicated social consumer market insights professional (social CMI) within the enterprise. In my previous article, I outlined the shift of this relatively new position from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” in order to achieve higher business goals.

The incredible impact social data has on marketing efforts (traditionally what it has been used for) is shifting to support every team outside of the boardroom — including customer service, product development, human resources and beyond. But this powerful role does not come without its challenges. This article in our series will explore three of the hurdles faced by social CMI professionals and tips to managing them.

Getting executive buy-in

The social CMI professional equips organizations with insights that allow functions across the business to drive better results and meet market needs more intelligently. This matters to the C-suite. But until the folks in the boardroom recognize this role as instrumental and impactful on the bottom line, it might be a tough sell.

It’s an ambitious role — high-level and demanding, with the potential for a strong business impact that requires a specific skill set. So how do you get executive buy-in?

Provide solid, tangible proof.

We recently sat down with CMI leaders from some of the world’s biggest brands and agencies, and everyone agreed: Based on the experience within their organizations, the use of social data for collecting consumer insights proves invaluable for uncovering the unfiltered voice of the customer. This asset provides organizations with a deeper understanding of the market from a holistic level.

Sharing data around growth and success stories that tie directly back to the role of the social CMI professional can help the board and top executives understand why now is the time to take a chance on adding the position.

Proving the value of social insights across the enterprise

Previously, we discussed the importance of the social CMO and how social insights proved its ROI as it related to the marketing world. The social CMI professional marks the evolution of this success.

Based on the key learnings from leveraging social data to drive marketing initiatives, it’s clear that social data is ready for prime time. Providing examples of the impact this data had on marketing based on real experiences is key to helping break down the walls that have long existed between departments.

Educate disparate departments about the power of social data, and how it opens up a world of unprompted, detailed consumer opinions, needs and motivations for needle-moving results. Along with education, it’s vital to understand the social acumen of these disparate department heads.

Tailor your messaging around social to address varying levels of understanding to get social beginners excited.

Extracting real insights from social noise

The social landscape is a vast sea of data, and social CMI professionals strive to realize actionable insights from this information that can drive business decisions and impact ROI.

Before diving into any data set, identify and articulate specific goals that will serve to drive research efforts. By executing this first essential step of the research process, your team will be able to procure more precise, valuable data and weed out information that is irrelevant to the project.

Determine a question to answer that will help your company understand a customer’s wants and needs and how the business can address those needs — whether it’s in customer service or product development. Make sure that this information is what stakeholders are looking for to ensure it will be useful to them and further strengthen executive buy-in.

Second, determine the role that social data can play within all other marketing tool kits. When can it replace other methods or be directly integrated? Blending social CMI with traditional research methods is key to discovering insights, and the combination can make it far more powerful.

Use social data to inform primary research or add context to existing information. For example, anonymous surveys can be used to gather sensitive information that may be too private for consumers to share on social.

When layered with sentiment data from social, it gives researchers a deeper level of understanding. Social data can also be paired with CRM (customer relationship management) data to enhance information and provide even more insights on an existing database.

As the socially savvy CMI professional role emerges and gains credibility within organizations and in different industries, new challenges will arise. Social CMI professionals will be accountable for proving the value of social research and will need to demonstrate its benefits.

However, the proof is in the pudding. Social insights can positively impact every team within the organization and be used to make powerful business decisions beyond marketing departments.

Now it’s a matter of getting everyone on board and turning those social insights into real, tangible action.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

About The Author

Will McInnes is CMO of social intelligence platform Brandwatch. His passion is social data and how it can shape industries, policies, research and innovation. He’s also a board member of the Big Boulder Initiative, whose mission is to establish the foundation for the long-term success of the social data industry. Previously Will co-founded and ran NixonMcInnes, a consultancy which pioneered in early social media marketing and went on to change how more than 30 major corporations, charities and governmental departments behave, particularly in response to social and digital. He authored Culture Shock, a 21st-century handbook for business with an average review of 4.5 stars on Amazon and was a TEDx speaker in 2011.


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