Jeremiah Owyang has an excellent article in Forbes calling on CMOs to learn and deploy social tools to connect with consumers. His arguments support a couple of points that I've advocated for a while now.
First, marketing is the function that needs to lead companies into understanding, adopting and integrating social media tools into their mix. Second, that there needs to be an internal group that educates companies on how to spread the use of social media tools across company functions such as customer service. In either case, social tools cannot only be relegated to the province of outside agencies to implement in short term campaigns.
Two excerpts from the article:
CMOs must think of social marketing as a horizontal effort across all of their digital marketing assets--not as an independent experiment.
Dedicated social roles should be enablers, not controllers. We now know that social technologies are pervasive and affect all digital assets. Yet to be successful, CMOs should appoint dedicated staffers to coordinate efforts. Success will require these people to teach, provide resources and select technologies on behalf of multiple business units. Take, for example, Intel's Social Media Center of Excellence, which is a team that trains, helps, and enables other business units with this new medium.
It's no surprise to me that Owyang highlights consumer brands as leading the way in integrating social tools into their marketing mix. At many leading CPG companies it is marketing that leads the business, understands the consumers who purchase their products and owns the P&L for the brands. The marketing function therefore is not only is the natural function to begin the adoption and integration process but to lead company-wide education efforts.
I, for one, am fascinated to watch as this change starts to build.