As I gear up for the NG CMO Summit in September, I sat down to interview marketing expert Jeffrey Hayzlett. Jeff was one of the first CMOs, most famously at Kodak, to “get” social and successfully leverage its power to redefine brands and build customer relationships.
Today he’s better known as a global business celebrity, TV commentator, bestselling author and “sometime cowboy,” as his official byline goes. You may have seen him on Bloomberg Television, MCNBC, or Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice.
He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his picks for today’s best and brightest in social media marketing—and what’s coming tomorrow.
Q: What’s the best way for big brands to create real personal interaction with their customers through social? Who’s doing it well?
A: You have to be real, be transparent, and stay engaged. Most customers just want to be recognized and be heard. As a brand, you need to be out there where your customers are. It’s really that simple. Walmart, United, Dell and Ford are great examples. Those brands show strong leadership through interaction and are taking the right steps to engage with their customers through social channels.
Q: What’s the most creative or effective social strategy you’ve come across recently?
A: A client of ours, DocuSign, takes content and uses a “step and repeat” process – they look for interesting ways to engage – and when they find it, they repeat it in other channels, tailoring it to the context. What’s right for Facebook isn’t right for Twitter. So, I like companies that go where the people are and say, “it’s not just one channel but many,” and those guys get it.
Q: What common mistakes do you see CMOs making in their approach to social?
A: Biggest mistake: Trying to control the brand. You can’t be afraid of what might be said or how the brand might be portrayed. For a lot of years, marketers tried to control the brand when they should have realized they were never in control. The customer is always in control. You can shepherd and nurture, but in the end, the customer is always in control.
Q: What’s on the horizon in social that companies need to be aware of?
A: Mobile, mobile, mobile – do you get it? It’s the most personal device in the world. You know where your phone is more than you know where your children are. Having a stake on that device is paramount to your brand’s success.
Thank you Jeff! Find Jeff on Twitter @JeffreyHayzlett and give him a shout out.