Aligning Social Media Insights with Consumer Buying Habits – CMOs Are Missing the Boat

IBM Global CMO Study

IBM has recently released their IBM Global CMO Study for 2011 and once again, social media comes up very high in what CMOs see as an area of concern for the future of their business. Other areas of concern were the data explosion, proliferation of channels and devices and shifting consumer demographics; all of which tie into social media.

The one tidbit I found most interesting in this study was CMOs are still predominantly relying on traditional sources of information such as focus groups and studies that focus on understanding markets rather than individuals. It seems that most are still ignoring what people are saying about them through social channels. Case in point:

  • 26 percent are tracking blogs
  • 42 percent are tracking third-party reviews
  • 48 percent are tracking consumer reviews

In a past blog post, called Consumer Decision Journey in the Digital Age, I highlight a McKinsey & Company study that shows how more and more consumers are using these social channels to make their buying decisions. However, organizations have yet to leverage these tools which can provide crucial insights into how customers and influencers think and behave.

The graph below shows the sources of information CMOs are using to make strategic marketing decisions and as you can see most are paying more attention to markets than individuals. The key sources to understanding individuals (highlighted in yellow) still are ranked relatively low:

It’s quite obvious that CMO’s have not yet aligned their strategies with how consumers are behaving today and aren’t keeping up with the trends in technology.  Therefore, I see a big role for social media going forward and the companies that embrace this trend will be well positioned to be leaders in their industries.


About Jason Sem

I develop strategic direction for social media and digital initiatives; specializing in the integration of digital, social, mobile and off-line channels to engage consumers at all points along consumer’s path-to-purchase.