Recently Renee DeCoskey started a series of Expert Interviews.
I was honored to be included with such social media rock stars as Margie Claymen and Suzanne Vara and hope it gives you some insight into my background and current thinking on social media.
1. How did you get your start in the industry?
I started in client service for the Nielsen company. They were called A.C. Nielsen back then and my job was to service and sell additional information services, applications and consulting to clients such as Wrigley Gum, Sargento Cheese, Helene Curtis, Rite Aid, Pathmark, Kroger and others. I was frustrated with the support I was receiving “in the field” from marketing so I followed my frustration into a Field Marketing role supporting the same team I came from. I moved into product management, product development and corporate marketing roles before leaving to run marketing for 2 smaller firms. I joined SAP to run digital and social marketing and now drive integrated marketing communications for one of our cloud-based computing solutions.
2. What is the biggest challenge facing your industry?
I think the biggest challenge facing software companies is the amount of disruption in the world of business. The growth in the amount of information companies must store, manage and process, referred to as “Big data,” is causing companies’ IT infrastructures to strain. On the other side, end users and decision makers are being impacted by the major forces of a new empowered mobile and social workforce and the implications of data moving to the cloud. Today, we store our friends, photos, music and resumes in the cloud and companies are increasingly doing the same with their mission critical information. For me, this represents a huge opportunity for marketers who are in the leading edge of being able to help our companies take advantage of these major trends in business. We know how to analyze large volumes of data. We understand how to engage customers in the new digital landscape capable with mobile and social applications and we understand the implications of easy access to data anytime from anywhere inherent in the cloud.
3. What is the method to your blogging success? What inspires your blogs?
I am inspired by my colleagues both inside the company and by the many friends I have made on social channels. I truly believe that social media is just the technical term for a revolution taking place in business (the socialization and personalization of business) that is putting the customer truly in charge. They decide when, how and where to consume information and engage with brands. This is what inspires my writing. On the more functional side, I try to write consistently twice a week. I try to focus on my audience. I allow myself to be human (mistakes, silliness, imperfect grammar). I try to respond to every comment and I thank everyone who Retweets my articles. I am also really open to hearing what my audience wants – both from analytics and also from direct feedback.
4. What do you think is the future of social media?
I think the future of social media is that it will become completely integrated into everything we do. In the future, social business activity will be assumed. Social strategy will be just business strategy. Employees will engage directly with customers. Customers will engage directly with product designers and managers. CEO’s will be the Chief Social Officers. Marketing’s role will shift more towards understanding buyer needs, to meeting those needs with the right content strategy and marketing mix. I also think we will continue to see the line between personal and business data blur and blend.
5. What advice would you give to someone who is just starting out?
My advice to someone just starting out is to focus relentlessly on serving customers. To me, this mindset will set apart those who win and those who don’t in the future business. I would advise aspiring professionals to be themselves, to be authentic, to nurture their relationships for the long terms but also be careful. I can’t imagine growing up in a world where everything is recorded!