The Coming Convergence of Social Media and Customer Experience

Julie Hopkins, Research Director at Gartner, joins the Social Pros Podcast for the last podcast of 2014 to discuss the growth of and competition for budget in digital marketing, the rise of the generalist, and the incredible shift in customer expectations in social media.

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Full Episode Details

Research and Insight

Julie Hopkins is part of a team at Gartner called the Gartner for Marketing Leaders Group. As a leader in the field of information technology research, Gartner formed Julie’s group a couple of years ago, recognizing that digital marketing is an area of increasing importance (more on that in Holy Social!).

Julie and her team publish research at a high level and then drill down to contextualize it for each company they work with. They help digital marketers answer key questions, like best practices, tools, tactics, and technology investment.

Social media is no longer just about marketing; it’s also about the customer experience. How can companies evaluate and match customer expectations in this environment? Should a company pour resources into real time interactions and customer service? Julie tells her clients that they need to do more than competitive benchmarking in their field.

“Pay attention to the brands and the organizations that are interacting with your customers, [the brands] that are completely outside of your category. Because they’re setting the standard for how people expect to interact going forward…The standard for engagement is not being set by your prior relationship with that customer.”

With this new focus on the customer journey, Julie predicts the role of the generalist will be on the rise—someone who can look across all channels and recognize what needs to be turned up and down, and “if you put them together as an orchestra, when they all best fire in support of an objective.”

Social Media Number of the Week: 585 Million

Our social media number of the week is brought to you by UPS, which came out with the amazing little video about a four-year-old named Carson who is UPS’s biggest fan. It is cute as cute can be and a wonderful bit of commercial content marketing as part of their broader Wishes Delivered campaign.

Back to the number, UPS is estimating the delivery of 585 million packages in December. That’s just UPS; that does not include FedEx or the US Postal Service. At such a large scale for the holidays, it’s interesting to see the Uber-X-like scenario that takes place. You get folks in Budget trucks or their own personal vehicles coming up to your door in plain clothes to deliver your packages. We would prefer our delivery personnel to be very well-branded, but at such a high volume, it’s no wonder they have to pull out all the stops.

As you ponder that staggering number, when you see your UPS or your FedEx or your US Postal Service folks around delivering packages, please thank them; they are doing a yeoman’s job. Treat them with the best that you have, because they are working extremely, extremely hard.

Holy Social!

Bloomberg published an article estimating digital ad spending will match TV spending in 2019! According to Magna Global, IPG’s media research unit, at $163 billion, digital expenditures will reach 30 percent of ad spending in 2015. In four years, it will rise to 38 percent, matching TV’s proportion.

This shift is occurring earlier than previously forecasted, all due to the rise of the smart screen. People are looking at their phones and tablets rather than at their TVs. It’s exciting to see this change take place after TV has been the top medium for ad space since 1999, and continues to have such a mental stronghold over media buyers. Regardless of how much budgets continue to grow, the fight for that budget is going to remain intense.

See you next week!

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