New Research from CMO Council Reveals Euro Marketers Struggle to Use Social Media to Better Understand and Engage Customers Rather Than Just Measure or Amplify Their Own Campaigns

Social media have become valuable sources of real-time insight into consumer sentiment and brand experience, but many marketers across Europe are still not tapping these “self expression channels” to listen more effectively to the voice of the customer.

Some 40 percent of European marketers surveyed by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council in new research released today admit they are unable to actually collect timely intelligence directly from social media data. The study, conducted in partnership with SAP Customer Experience and Hootsuite, revealed that 39 percent of respondents were also unable to translate social media content and commentary into greater learning about diverse, cross-cultural behaviors, needs, preferences, or intentions.

According to the new CMO Council report, entitled “Turn Up The Volume: Rethinking Where and How Customer Voice Enhances Experience,” marketing leaders across Europe believe current listening initiatives are only “fairly good.” They believe brands have perfected listening through corporate owned and operated channels but still struggle to source customer insight across largely unstructured digital domains including social media.

This lack of hearing has led 52 percent of marketers surveyed to admit their ability to deliver contextual and personalized engagement across an omnichannel journey is either not great or simply terrible. Most importantly, European marketers admit they are missing key indicators, feedback and relevant insights for improved customer acquisition and relationship development.

“Customers are actively leaving their thoughts and telegraphing their demands to brands who are willing to take the next step in customer listening and shift strategies from a more passive and reactionary stance – listening and reacting within known, owned and controlled channels – to rethinking what tools like social and service can deliver by way of intelligence to reshape everything from products and services to campaigns and content,” noted Mark de Bruijn, VP, Head of Marketing EMEA/MEE of SAP Customer Experience.

How tools are leveraged and utilized is a central issue. Some 64 percent of marketing leaders admit that their organization views social as a PR channel to amplify news and 55 percent believe it is a free engagement network to push marketing messaging.

“It is sobering to see that even in this age of omnichannel real-time engagement, so many organizations choose to view social as a free push tool and not a megaphone leveraged by customers who fully believe brands are already listening,” noted Liz Miller, SVP of Marketing with the CMO Council.

In fact, nearly one in four brands that felt social was important to marketing as an engagement channel, but far less important to the customer, indicating a misunderstanding of where the most valuable deposits of customer voice are being made.

European brands are looking to shift how success is measured, focused less on clicks, likes and mentions (38 percent) and instead defining success in the language of the business, namely revenue boosts and bottom line increases (62 percent).

Key insights shared in this report include:

  • Technology buying intentions to bolster customer listening in the year ahead

  • KPIs that measure the success of omnichannel engagement and experience (hint: clicks and likes are not the king of the hill any more!)

  • Assessments of current listening and engagement strategies and deployments

  • Points of customer voice intelligence application

  • Gaps and deficiencies impacting experience development and deployment

The report, now available for download from the CMO Council via visiting, includes detailed findings noted in 18 detailed charts, outlining the peer-powered insights of 160 marketing leaders across Europe. Some 42 percent oversee marketing for organizations with revenues in excess of $500 million USD across B2B (39 percent), B2C (16 percent) and Hybrid (BtoBtoC) enterprises (44 percent).