With growing importance of customer connect online and the proliferation of tools and technologies around social media, the marketing department should up its coordination with IT for more effective social media drive.
The way enterprises exploit social media is changing and is no more a quiet task happening at the corner of an organisation. Instead, social media is getting enterprise-wide today making inroads across departments. In fact, enterprises that operate social media at a strategic level with advanced tools connecting multiple community platforms are likely to get more benefits than those who employ it as just another channel to connect with their audience.
We spoke with people from both marketing and IT to know the current state of affairs and what’s it they are looking forward to as they move to social maturity curve.
Not purely a marketing task, nor an IT skill
No, says IT managers, CIOs, and even marketing heads. ‘Marketing needs to work hand-in-hand with IT to ensure business opportunities are met,’ says Anshul Gupta, who heads marketing for a US based IT Software and Solutions firm. Social media practice in an organization is no longer restricted to its marketing function today.
With the evolution of social technologies and tools, marketing team needs technology folks to work together to devise policies and processes around its effective implementation, says Anshul.
The tone is echoed from the CIO of Shalimar paints, Ashok Jade. ‘IT's involvement is a must for the effective implementation of social media initiatives, says Ashok. Marketing guys at times think that going through IT takes time. However, things are changing and IT is getting more and more enmeshed into social activities to ensure technologies and tools being used are right, environment they are working is secure, adds Ashok.
IT can greatly add value to social activities
The sense that we got from the CIOs, and marketing heads is that IT should up its involvement in their enterprise social media initiatives. There are many reasons why social conversation should be beefed up with IT’s intervention.
Social conversation pose challenges and many of them fall into IT's purview is one. Plus, security is another big reason to seek IT support. Risk of virus and malware, loss of control over corporate content, etc are likely to crop up anytime. Data integration is an important task if you want to get insights from information collated through social media channels which can only happen with IT expertise.
Additionally, given the proliferation of tools and evolution of technologies around social media, IT can increasingly help select and implement the right tools, while business units can continue to be involved in using these technologies.
Marketing and IT folks all for Tech intervention
Marketing department owns social media in Oberoi Groups, but IT is a part of the overall social connects, says Assistant Vice President - Corporate IT, The Oberoi Group. ‘Social media engines are very IT intensive and needs an analytical bent of mind from IT stand point; IT can certainly add lot of value but as a process I still feel this should remain with marketing,’ he adds.
ShopClues.com actively uses big-data analytics for drawing inferences around the social behavior of their customers and tailor the messaging accordingly to connect better with their audience. This obviously can't happen without IT team's support. “The IT department must coordinate with the social media team in order to monitor and analyze social conversations. While the social media team can drive the content, the IT department can aid in devising intelligent mechanisms for customer outreach and engagement,’ says Radhika G Aggarwal, CMO, ShopClues.com.
‘We recently embarked on our social media journey where both marketing and IT department work closely,’ says Shankar Subramanian, VP, Shalimar Paints.
IT can also draft and execute proper security policy for social media initiatives, argues Ashok of Shalimar paints. IT can help ensure compliance and regulation. ‘As most of the data being captured from Internet, digital data regulations need to be reviewed carefully and respective processes to be deployed like intimating customers before collecting data, enforcing T&C before start of data collection, so on. This becomes more critical if you are integrating social media through company websites,’ says Ashok.
The CTO of Quest Informatics Dinesh Singh believes that IT team’s intervention can regale any social media initiatives. 'IT can help social media integrate with any of the existing system for automatic exchanging of information through API,' says Dinesh.
Vikas Sachdeva, the CIO of Health Care at Home India, finds many ways IT can deliver value to social efforts. From integration with back-office systems to track conversions, to smart targeting and re-targeting of audience through multiple online and offline campaigns, IT can add value to the social efforts,' says Vikas.
Additionally, marketing initiatives like social media monitoring, social media analytics, database management, CRM integration, etc. are some of the key areas where the modern marketers have to rely on their IT folks for finding out the right solution, says the marketing head of the US software and solutions firm, Anshul Gupta.
By and large, online social initiatives of enterprises across industry verticals are governed by marketing people barring a section who outsource it and those who do it as joint effort. However, both marketing and IT strongly believe more IT intervention would make it effective for businesses to gain from their social endeavors.
Which department owns social media in your organisation? Marketing, PR/Communication, Marketing and IT or a Third Party?