Do CMOs Really Understand the Value of Twitter?

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on Nov 11, 10 • by • with 3 Comments

November 11th, 2010
By Kent Huffman, Chief Marketing Officer at BearCom Wireless

http://www.smmmagazine.com/blog/2010/11/11/do-cmos-really-understand-the-value-of-twitter/

In a recent blog post on Forbes.com, CMO Club CEO Pete Krainik noted, “Most Chief Marketing Officers see the value of engaging with customers—and the value of engaging them where they hang out, talk, and spend their time.” Pete is surely right about that. But then why are only a very small percentage of CMOs active in the social media world themselves, particularly on Twitter?

I attended the CMO Club’s semiannual CMO Summit in San Francisco last week. Again this year, it was an excellent event and was well attended by a nice cross-section of B2C and B2B Chief Marketing Officers from around the country, representing all different types and sizes of companies and organizations. On the last day of the Summit, I was part of a panel who discussed the business impact of social media and community building, including the most effective social media marketing tools. But surprisingly, I discovered that out of the 80-plus heads of marketing in attendance at the Summit, only 16 who carry the official title of CMO for their organizations are currently active on Twitter:

B2C Chief Marketing Officers:
Tony Wells, CMO at 24 Hour Fitness
Larry Friedberg CMO at Crystal Deodorants
Evan Greene, CMO at The Recording Academy
Jennifer Joyce, CMO at Everest Poker
Dan Marks, CMO at First Tennessee Bank
Alex Romanovich, CMO at EuroSpaClub International

B2B Chief Marketing Officers:
John Dragoon, CMO at Novell
Hope Frank, CMO at Webtrends
Heidi Lorenzen, CMO at GlobalEnglish
Brian Reed, CMO at BoxTone
Dwight Griesman, CMO at Forrester Research
Margaret Molloy, CMO at Velocidi
Brian Kardon, CMO at Eloqua
Me, CMO at BearCom Wireless

B2C/B2B Chief Marketing Officers:
Ted Rubin, CSMO at OpenSky
Sheryl Roth Rogers, CMO at Mom Central Consulting

This is obviously not a scientific study, but two things struck me when reviewing this list: 1) even though there were more B2C CMOs at the Summit than B2B, more B2B CMOs are active on Twitter than their B2C counterparts, and 2) very few “big brands” in either the B2C or B2B world are represented by their CMOs on Twitter. It’s also interesting to note that you can make the same basic observations when reviewing the list of the top CMOs on Twitter that I curate as Co-Publisher for Social Media Marketing Magazine.

So why is that the case? Do most CMOs not understand the value of Twitter and other social media tools? Or do they just not consider them a priority for their careers or their companies?

“Most CMOs barely understand the value of building relationships with customers and giving them a voice, let alone how to navigate and make use of the world of Twitter. Social media marketing to most in the C-suite is still something campaign based, but social media marketing needs to be woven into fabric of all marketing channels, strategically managed from a 360-degree perspective,” said Ted Rubin, Chief Social Marketing Officer at OpenSky and the most-followed CMO on Twitter. “The key here is to convince CMOs to get personally involved in social media by having someone with hands-on knowledge mentor them, so they get first-hand knowledge, build their own personal following, and learn from the ground up. That way, they can properly guide and manage the integration process,” Ted added.

John Dragoon, the Chief Marketing Officer at Novell, noted, “All markets are conversations, and good marketers are embracing new tools to have these conversations. The beauty of social media tools is they allow you to experiment quickly and learn even faster. Active participation is the key to success. And make no mistake—your customers are listening.”

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2 Responses to “Do CMOs Really Understand the Value of Twitter?”

Margaret Molloy says:
November 11, 2010 at 9:55 am
Kent: Great summary. It was indeed an excellent event. Thanks for blazing the trails for many of us CMOs. Your success stories inspire us, too.

Alex Romanovich says:
November 11, 2010 at 10:17 am
Great post. Indeed, when it comes to the actual ‘practicing what you are preaching’ the CMOs fall short. It is important for every brand to have a face and to support the brand with the highest level possible – especially the top marketer level. The clients will always love the fact that they can interact with the ‘chief decision maker’ and will extend the brand value further. Something to look into for many major brands, whose CMOs are still discovering what ‘Twitter’ and Social Media are all about.

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