Most of the time on these pages when I’m talking about Social Business it seems I’m quoting someone from IBM (see 2012 interviews with Jeff Schick and Ethan McCarty). Well, given the supreme importance of this topic, I’m happy to report I caught up with Jeremy Epstein, VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, a company that will be sharing its expertise with attendees at this week’s Social Media World Forum. Jeremy offers a clear road map for companies looking to take social global.
Drew: There are a lot of definitions of social business out there. What’s yours?
It is when you are fully engaged in conversations to establish meaningful relationships with your customers, prospects, and community. There are three criteria that must be met:
- No conversation is left behind, no matter if you are getting 10, 100, 1000, or 10,000 messages a day
- You add meaningful value when you speak. Each interaction results in your customer feeling like you care more about them this time than in the last interaction.
- The business speaks with one voice at all times, so the customer always knows that it is your business engaging with her in the way you want her to be treated.
Drew: What role does Sprinklr play in helping companies become a social business?
Well, first off, I should be clear that we only play this role for very large companies. Over 80% of our clients have $1 billion in revenue and we’re designed specifically for their unique needs. We’re not designed for SMB or solo practitioners. We provide a SaaS platform and related services to make the 3 criteria I shared above possible across teams, functions such as Marketing, Sales, PR, Corporate Communications, HR, etc, geographies, and division. As you know, social touches every single part of the organization. It’s not constrained to one part such as Marketing, so enterprises require one comprehensive platform to help all of these disparate teams coordinate in an effective, fast, and secure way. That’s where we come in. We enable large brands to be social at scale.
Drew: Can you walk me an example of a client that has used your service to become a social business?
While I would love for Sprinklr to take all the credit, we’re just a piece of the puzzle, working with some of the largest, most innovative social companies out there, so let me share one from a very large, global electronics company that wanted to roll out a social strategy in 70 countries.
All told, this is global social media deployment that ran to a cost tens of millions of dollars. It had 5 key steps. Here’s what they did:
- Built a complete a strategy map outlining the business objectives and the social activities to get there.
- Outlined the roles and responsibilities at the corporate, regional, and local levels.
- Set up an operations plan that covered things like rules of conduct, best practices, and policies for sunsetting/deactivations of accounts.
- Created an online brand style guide.
- Set up a reporting infrastructure and taxonomy so they knew which social and which business metrics would matter.
All of this led to an RFP where Sprinklr was chosen as the company to power the global social infrastructure.What we did then is take all of the requirements, roles, policies, brand elements, and reporting templates and customize our platform for them, so they could quickly execute their plan. You can see the full story here.
Drew: Looking at your own marketing, what role does social play for Sprinklr?
It’s the primary way that we identify and cultivate our prospects. We are obsessive about the three criteria of the social business. We also measure the effectiveness of our social content religiously, optimizing it by audience, channel, and more. We’re not quite there yet, but we’re on the road to making sure that Social is baked into everything we do.
Drew: Do think there will be a new title next year like Chief Social Business Officer and is this even a good idea?
Yes, there probably will be and it could be a great idea. Or a lousy one. If the company appoints a CSBO (there, I’ve already done the acronym, so it must be legit!) and the rest of the exec team says “oh, great, I don’t have to worry about social,” then it will fail.
However, if the CSBO becomes the driving force for integrating social as a cultural shift supported by the right people, processes, and technology, then it will work. Either way, it’s temporary.
Drew: Looking ahead to next year, do you anticipate any new challenges for marketers in social?
Absolutely. A few of them.
- What happens when Engagement Works: If you are successful in creating conversation with your audience, at some point, you are going to have a volume of messages that you can’t manage, but people expect a response. What do you do do then? This is the challenge of scale.
- Cross-function and cross-division collaboration becomes mandatory: Marketers will have to be more agile in working with others outside of their area in order to quickly come together and address customer concerns.
- Connection Social profile data to existing CRM data: It’s going to be critical to connect the two worlds. We’re advising clients to mimic the taxonomy of the CRM system in the Social Media Management System. Once you do that, when the time for the integration happens, you’ll be ready.
- Measurement and Impact: The same conversation about the ROI of Social will occur. Some of the innovators, however, are figuring it out.
Drew: Finally, what kinds of trends are you seeing (through your data) that marketers can capitalize on next year?
One trend we’re seeing is the investment in “Upskilling of employees”—training people to participate in the conversation economy in a way that will help, not hurt the brand. This gives marketers force multipliers in terms of achieveing their objectives through their co-workers as brand ambassadors.
Another is in LinkedIn for b2b marketing. We recently became one of the first four social media management partners for LinkedIn and our clients are very excited about exploring how to use it for b2B relationship building and lead gen..through a comprehensive platform, so they can compare apples:apples. We’ve been very impressed by the LinkedIn partnership and think you’re going to see them start to break the perception that there are the “big 3 of Twitter, FB, and YouTube” and then the rest. Global templates with local empowerment for App development.
We’re seeing marketers have a much larger range of tools at their disposal as global teams set up templates for social apps. My suggestion would be to become familiar with the concepts of Social app development and their capabilities. Even if you don’t know how to build one, you’ll benefit from understanding that. Some practitioners will become quite savvy at drag/drop app dev and drive meaningful results from them.