Marketing directors in many organisations are soon expected to spend more money on technology than their CIOs and IT directors, with social media monitoring and engagement platforms likely to be among the major drivers of IT spending over the next five years.
Research from Gartner that forecasts chief marketing officers (CMOs) will be outspending CIOs on technology by 2017. The reason for this is that CMOs are increasingly empowered to take control of their own IT needs and budgets in a world of cloud and data-driven computing.
Nowhere is this shift more apparent than in the social media monitoring and engagement space, where marketers are ramping up their investments in tools to automate processes and to gather data to stay in front of the changing needs of their customers, says Sousa. With the amount of customer information marketers are now managing from social media, it has become a business application in its own right.
Marketing was traditionally at the bottom of IT’s to-do list in the face of competing priorities from finance, operations, manufacturing, distribution and other departments. But the rise of digital channels and the growing volume of data they produce mean that marketing is every bit as technology driven as any other part of the business.”
The real-time nature of social media, the volume of data it produces and its impact on a wide range of service, sales and marketing processes and systems mean that it is likely to emerge as one of the key spending priorities for CMOs and marketing directors in the years to come.
Businesses must find ways to live up to customer expectations of real-time service and quickly route feedback internally to different departments in their organisations. And they must also gather data from social media to analyse it, learn from it and create a more complete picture of their customers, says Sousa. This includes uncovering sales leads, discovering advocates, understanding social influence, tracking sentiment, and more. In addition, marketers need to be able to leverage data to optimise social media campaigns content and make informed ad buying decisions.
With social media rapidly becoming one of the fastest-growing channels for customer care, acquisition and retention, it is now central part of the business that touches multiple applications and departments. We are seeing a shift as marketers try to unify social media with other business applications and use its data to drive more successful business outcomes.
The movement among marketing departments is towards software as a service and cloud services and applications that allow them to manage social listening, content, engagement, advertising and measurement through a single interface. Known as a ‘marketing cloud,’ such a solution includes elements such social analytics and monitoring tools, measurement tools and tools to manage workflow and engagement with customers.