The Economist Intelligence Unit in cooperation with the IBM Institute for Business Value recently published a white paper entitled “Today’s CMO: Innovating or Following” which suggests that no, CMOs do not believe that they need to actively participate in social media in order for them to be effective. “Few CMOs say they themselves need, for example, an aptitude for…social media expertise (16%) to be successful over the next three to five years.” That percentage is “especially low against the number who value creative thinking (47 percent) and leadership ability (41%). This suggests that CMOs don’t expect to need hands-on expertise in digital and data-driven tools and techniques, even as they acknowledge the skills needed for their organization to be competitive in the future are already in short supply.”
The paper, a pre-cursor to the IBM Global Chief Marketing Office (CMO) Study to be published later this year, is based on a survey of nearly 300 executives to guide the selection of issues confronting senior marketers in today’s complex business environment. The feedback will help direct the focus of the larger study in which 1,000 CMOs throughout the world will be interviewed.
Chris Stutzman, principle analyst serving CMOs at Forrester, disagrees. “Some say the chief executive or CMO doesn’t need to use Twitter or have a blog. But I disagree. They do need to get involved with something in social media. Marketers who don’t participate in the new technology that consumers adopt will never learn how to capitalize on it,” as reported in a MarketingWeek (UK) article entitled “Gambling on the future….”
We all know the story of Best Buy’s CMO Barry Judge and his organization’s success with Twelpforce which has helped turn the brand into a customer-satisfying, employee-motivating and PR-generating machine, according to Drew Neisser in Fast Company. Judge personally has 19,000 followers on Twitter and has led the social media transformation in the company.
And yet, according to a Business Insider report by Mark Fidelman, of the Fortune 100 CMOs and CCOs, only 15 of the 143 executives have active Twitter accounts. Worse, 15% of them have a net zero social footprint (meaning no social activity). The report references a survey by the MarketingSherpa team indicating that social media budgets are expected to increase in 53% of the organizations surveyed, and according to eMarketer, spending will be up 55% over the $1.99 billion advertisers devoted to social networks in 2010, rising by a further 27.7% next year to reach nearly $4 billion.
Fidelman says, “That’s a tremendous amount of money to be spent by marketing and communications chiefs. However, if the Fortune 100 are any indication, the investment in social is being led by a group of people that have remarkably little personal experience in social media and social networks. Does that make sense?”
There’s a terrific infographic sidebar with the report showcasing the top 20 social CMOs. Interestingly, Judge is ranked at #8. It’s an impressive list, but needs to grow.