IBM Connect 2013 Notes: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013

This is another in a series of my notes on IBM Connect 2013. I am very pleased to be back again after the last two years. Here is a summary of my notes for 2012 and 2011. These notes cover the Monday Session: Four Major Trends Shaping Social Business in 2013 and Beyond with Beverly Macy, CEO of Gravity Summit LLC & Huffington Post Columnist; Mark Fidelman, CEO of Evolve! & Forbes.com Columnist; and Sandy Carter, VP, Social Business Sales.  Here is my review of Mark’s new book, Socialized.

Mark said that being precise is hard these days but trends can be seen. Mark reviewed the four trends they will discuss. He then asked Sandy how marketing in the social age is different. She said that IBM sees social moving beyond marketing. For example, one firm is using social to capture ideas from a retiring employees. IBM is leveraging influencers on Twitter and other social media to help with their messages.

Mark asked Beverly if we still need a CIO? She said yes. In fact, the cloud will be bringing more work back into IT. Many companies are having trouble dealing with the idea that social will effect all areas. There is a lot to manage. How will different departments engage with each other? How does a tweet that needs answering get routed to the right people within the enterprise? What are the legal aspects? Are you allowed to tweet about your work on the weekend?

Mark asked Sandy about influence marketing. She said that 20% of your customers influence your other customers and 15% of your employees influence what everyone else thinks about the company. Word of mouth is more trusted than traditional marketing. Over 90% of people trust their friends. She gave the example of Mark as influencer. If she can get him excited about an IBM idea or product, he might tweet to thousands of people.

Mark asked Beverly if firms should get rid of traditional marketing. She said no. Traditional marketing still works. Influencer marketing is an amplifier. Traditional marketing should not be abandoned but still need the influencer marketing.

Sandy said they worked with an investment bank and identified their influencers. They built a relationship with an influencer and got him to recommend their offerings. Beverly said that social has come into traditional marketing like Twitter hashtags on TV ads. Sandy said there are three groups to reach; digital natives, digital immigrants, and those who use traditional means. Now you need to reach all three but over time everyone will be digital natives.

Mark asked Beverly about how big data can help sales. She said that big data have been around a while but what is new is the social data. It provides context to traditional big data. She said that predictive analytics will become much better at focusing sales.

Mark wondered why more people are not on Twitter. Beverly said you still have a lot of non-digital people in sales.  Sandy said that sales analytics can be very useful on Twitter. Sentiment analysis is useful. Are findings a trend or a fad? One European energy drink company saw their image shrink. Michelle Obama had said that energy drinks are a source of childhood obesity. This will be a trend that may last since she has great influence.

The Obama campaign used predictive analytics. They interviewed likely voters and profiled them. The tested messages at the door and on the phone and fine tuned them. They also used influencers. There is much more. Sandy said the Obama campaign used mobile very well and 68% of social is done on mobile.

Beverly said that people do not take smoke breaks any more but they take Facebook breaks on their own smart phone.  She gave the example of a person getting a coupon for a store as they walk pass it. Some people may find this spooky but they can opt out. Others will find it useful.

Sandy said that on a clothes store has an automated tracker on the cloths hanger that says how many people liked the item. In Asia they have pictures of the product on the subways. You can take your phone and take a picture of the product and order it and/or recommend it.

Beverly said there was dating service that would cause your phone to go off when you walked by someone else on the service with a similar profile. They had to turn it off because it caught too many married people who were secretly on the dating service.

Mark told the story about a father who discovered his daughter was pregnant because she was getting baby ads from Target based on their analytics. Sandy said that younger people see less separation between work and their personal life so there will be less issues about privacy. Beverly said security will also get better even as the concerns might decrease.

Sandy said 57% of social business efforts fail because of adoption issues. So they worked with clients to create ten steps to succeed in adoption. Changing culture is one. Another is how to get buy-in. Then how do you sustain engagement? Gamification can help. One company used gamification to bring back customers who had gone to a competitor.

Beverly said the hard part is changing entrenched old school culture to accept social. This is as big as Six Sigma as a transformation.

Mark asked Beverly if most CEOs will need to be social within five years? Beverly said boards will be looking at the digital footprint of candidates to evaluate them. To succeed CEOs will have to become social. They will need help. Beverly said that this can be a role for the CIO and enable them to become more strategic.

Sandy talked about the IBM Social Business Agenda. It includes:

Align organizational goals and culture

Gain social trust

Engage through experiences

Network your business processes

Design for reputation and risk management

Analyze your data

Mark asked what can companies to do with the skill gaps in social? Beverly said it starts with education. They need to become strategic. Companies have to make a commitment. She is concerned that there will be a major skills gap and not enough people with the right skills. Companies are going to start hiring but they may not find enough skilled people. Also, companies will look more at individual’s Klout score to rate them and determine how much service they get.

Mark about what to do with people who say they will not go social. Sandy said that some companies have used gamification to move the resisters. Mark asked about the difference in cultures between IBM and Apple. Beverly compared that Coke has never had a spokesperson and Pepsi is very personality driven. Either strategy can work. Apple is now suffering from being icon driven and the lost of their icon. Sandy said the employees are the best marketers. You need employee engagement to get client engagement. IBM has been very open to letting their employees speak for the firm. I wrote about this issue last year (see Why Apple Needs to be More Like IBM), as did Mark (see Why Every Company Needs To Be More Like IBM And Less Like Apple).

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