Petra Neiger, senior manager-digital and social media at Cisco Systems, was named BtoB's Top Digital Marketer of 2013 at an awards luncheon in San Francisco.
The luncheon on Sept. 19 honored the 25 top digital marketers profiled in BtoB's June 10 issue. They were selected based on strong interactive vision and strategy, innovative use of digital technologies and proven results.
Neiger leads Cisco's social media center of excellence, which has evolved over the past three years from an internal social training center for employees to a core part of the company's business.
“When I started out, I was a one-person team,” Neiger said after accepting her award. “This would not be possible without the help and support of my team.”
Charlene Li, managing partner of research firm Altimeter Group, presented successful social business strategies in a keynote address that kicked off the event.
“You need to have deep integration of social media and social methodologies throughout your organization to drive business impact,” Li said. “Unless you have a clear idea of what those business results are, your business strategy is not going anywhere.”
According to an Altimeter study, “The Evolution of Social Business,” only 52% of survey respondents said their top executives are informed, engaged and aligned with their company's social strategy. Also, only 29% of companies measure the financial impact of their social media efforts. The study was based on an online survey of 698 executives and social media strategists conducted in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“Our research found some bright shining stars,” Li said, pointing to companies that are creative, successful social businesses. She cited these seven success factors common among these leaders: Establishing business goals; defining a long-term vision; getting executive support; creating a strategy initiative road map; establishing governance and guidelines; getting the right people; and investing in technology that supports social business objectives.
“I love shiny new objects, but resist significant investments until you better understand how social technology optimizes your strategy,” Li said.
The luncheon also featured a panel discussion among the 14 top digital marketers present, who focused on their interactive priorities and investment strategies for 2014.
“2014 is the year in which we make Big Data small,” said Sharon Crost, global online marketing-social media manager at Hitachi Data Systems. She said the company will invest in systems to gather Big Data and use the information to gain insights about customers so it can develop more personal communications with them.
Rishi Dave, executive director-digital marketing at Dell Inc., also discussed the importance of Big Data. “We have this great inbound [data collection] machine, and we know all the stats,” he said. “I am looking very hard at technologies that will allow me to grab customers as early as possible when they are digitally nurturing themselves.”
Content marketing will be another big investment area for marketers next year, according to the top digital marketers.
“The days of ambush marketing are over,” said Lauren McCadney, senior manager-social media at CDW Corp. “We are looking for technology that will allow us to positively identify who our influencers are and make sure our content is absolutely optimized to allow our advocates to more easily tell our story.”
Gail Moody-Byrd, senior director-digital, social and communities marketing at SAP, said “The big point for 2014 is technology to help us manage the content supply chain. We have so many people in the organization and in our online communities providing content that we have outgrown our ability to manage it on Excel spreadsheets.”