BusinessNext Social recently released the results of a study showing that only one in five CMOs on the Fortune 100 list are active participants in public social networks. I spoke with Mark Fidelman about the study, as
well as his new book, Socialized! How the World’s Most Successful Businesses Harness the Power of Social.
The members of the list have demonstrated they “understand what it takes to grow and influence their own networks by using new strategies, cutting-edge social media and mobile technologies and compelling content marketing to build highly adaptive, high performance social businesses.”
Here is the list of the top ten:
- General Electric Company’s Beth Comstock (@bethcomstock) CMO and Senior Vice President
- Google, Inc.’s Nikesh Arora (@nikesharora), Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer
- Apple, Inc.’s Philip Schiller (@pschiller), Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing
- IBM’s Jon C. Iwata (@coastw), Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
- SAP’s Jonathan Becker (@jbecher), CMO
- Dell’s Karen Quintos (@KarenDellCMO), CMO
- Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Ken Cohen (@ken_cohen) Vice President of Public and Government Affairs
- Microsoft’s Chris Capossela (@chriscapossela), CMO
- Cisco Systems’ Blair Christie (@BlairChristie), Senior Vice President and CMO, Government Affairs,
- 10. Raytheon’s Pam Wickham ( @PamWickham1) Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications
The entire list of the top 20 can be found on the BusinessNext Social Blog. Despite these leaders, the study also found strong CMO resistance to becoming more social. While the top three have a combined Twitter following of nearly 94,000, 76% of CMOs have no Twitter following. Only 15 executives have at least 100 subscribers on Facebook, and just 12 have Klout scores greater than 30.
Compared to a 2011 CMO study, the more social CMOs have extended their social reach, while the majority remain on the sidelines. These on the sidelines may be sent back to locker room as Mark notes that Gartner Research predicts the CMO will spend more on IT than the CIO by 2017. This investment will contain a large social media component.
I asked Mark about this hesitancy. He said the following.
“The majority of today’s CMOs joined the C-suite long before the ‘Social Age’ by following the traditional marketing playbook. In this scenario, the CMO assumes the “voice of the customer” within the company, based on privileged access to industry analysts and expensive focus groups. Most fail to recognize the massive paradigm shift taking place from brands and traditional media to customers and social communities. They have yet to tap into the ubiquity of useful information from industry thought leaders, analysts, bloggers, etc. on social networks, which makes it possible for any employee to be as knowledgeable as the smartest marketing executive. “
I then asked, what will be the consequences of this inactivity?
“I believe that ignoring the move to social puts your career at risk. I’ll even take this assertion a step further and predict that within 5 years, CMOs will become unemployable (as executives) if they don’t have a social presence. There will simply be too many other executive contenders with larger, more influential communities. For those in positions where communication and influence are key ingredients to success, having a large network will be a significant advantage and eventually an executive requirement.”
Next I asked, What can be done about it?
“Roll up your sleeves and get social. Only by taking the time to participate in internal and external social networks will you learn how to build and influence communities and develop reciprocal relationships with influencers.”