Companies that launch listening and digital engagement initiatives are rewarded with improved customer satisfaction scores, loyalty and brand metrics, according to a Dell-commissioned research study conducted by Forrester Consulting. Results of the July 2011 study "Listening and Engaging in the Digital Marketing Age" on the state of social media in US firms was released today. Forrester surveyed 200 medium and large US-based marketers across three key industries, including high tech, media/entertainment, and utility and banking services.
Forrester's study revealed that while more than three-quarters of the companies surveyed monitor online conversations and respond to customer feedback through social media, only 20 percent of the survey respondents place social media at the core of their marketing plans. Technology companies lead in integrating social media programs throughout their organizations at nearly double the rate of media and one and a half times the rate of utility and banking service organizations. Nearly all the companies surveyed have specific plans to increase their social media investments, with 73 percent planning to add employees focused on listening and engagement initiatives in the coming year.
"Listening and responding to customers is so basic and fundamental. The emergence of social media elevates how companies can act on the feedback they get from customers," said Karen Quintos, senior vice president and Chief Marketing Officer at Dell. "As companies embark on social media, the key is to embed it throughout every facet of the organization--from sales to marketing to engineering to customer service to HR to finance. For Dell, this approach ensures that our customers connect with the experts who can address their unique issues and ultimately help them do and achieve more."
While making strong progress, businesses are still lagging behind their customers, 80 percent of whom use social media:
-- 50 percent of companies surveyed say their social media efforts are serious but not a core function
-- 16 percent reward customers whose ideas they use
-- Only 6 percent claim that their companies' listening and engagement initiatives are very integrated
But companies' investment in listening is on the rise and the benefits are tangible:
-- 64 percent of respondents are incorporating customer feedback into products or services
-- 76 percent distribute customer feedback internally
-- 31 percent are enhancing sales by offering incentive programs for customers who engage online, including deals and discounts
The publication of the "Listening and Engaging in the Digital Marketing Age" study coincides with the US introduction of Dell's corporate brand platform, "The power to do more." Dell began as a direct provider of great PC hardware and has long played a key role in pioneering online commerce. In recent years, Dell has been recognized as a social media innovator, using online networks to connect even more deeply with customers. "The Power to Do More" is a fully-integrated marketing campaign focused on helping businesses and technology professionals achieve more in their daily work. In the coming months, Dell business segments will communicate their solutions under this overarching platform. For example, Dell's consumer business recently previewed its new advertising campaign entitled "More You."
For additional information, please visit http://www.dellsociallistening.com/.
In this study, Forrester surveyed 200 US marketers to evaluate how effectively companies listen and engage with their customers and how these initiatives impact internal processes, performance, and metrics. Survey participants included decision-makers and influencers in their organizations' listening and digital engagement initiatives. The study began in June 2011 and was completed in July 2011.
Dell Inc. DELL -0.12% listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. For more information, visit www.dell.com.