The Significance of Digital and Social Media

Filed in Blog, Guest Blog by on December 4, 2015
Significance of digital and social media

Today we are delighted to share with you a guest post by Dr. Natalie Petouhoff.

Dear CEO & CFO,

I’m writing to you because I fear you don’t get exactly the significance of digital and social media. Digital and Social media is the consciousness of a company. While that many sound air-fairy, it’s not.  If you listen to digital and social media, everything you need to know about a company is there – what is good, bad, what needs fixing, your brand reputation, what employees think of your company and your culture; whether you can even get the most talented people to come work at your company; what customers think; what your next products should be and if not exactly, what information your product developers need to come up with things customer don’t even know they want, but they will when they see it; what marketing slogans will resonate with your most profitable customers, what makes a customer loyal or not, what drives sales, what drive renewals…

Though digital and social media are rarely applied this way throughout an organization, there are some CEO’s and CFO’s that have dashboards. They do see what is being said and are acting on it. What’s the significance of this? Customers. And the feedback that is / was in contact center agents heads, is now spread all over the web, publicly for all to see – like cave paintings that last for millions of years. About 1% post, 9% respond – 90% of customers don’t post, but they read what others post. Social and digital media is the tip of the iceberg and an indicator (minus the “badvocates” who just complain to get attention) about the health of your business. Instead of focusing so much on whether you are making your quarterly returns, perhaps focus on digital and social to help make the decisions necessary to meet and exceed those returns.

Most companies don’t get this. But customers are dropping like flies – as they read bad reviews and choose to go elsewhere. It used to be that customers would go to a company’s website and see the abandoned carts or the people who just leave and never buy. But now there are third party sites, reviews, blogs, communities — many companies never know this is happening. It’s no longer that you get a million calls to a call center so you know your product or service is lacking, (though most CEO’s and CFO’s never listen to customer service calls either…) but today people just go, silently elsewhere. And businesses that don’t get this will wake up and wonder, “Where did my customers go?” When that happens, refer back to this blog post. They went to your competitors because you were not paying attention to social and digital media, and they were and their needs were met in a cost effective and efficient that was both desirable for the company and the customer. If anything, in 2016, you should know what your employees think of your company – not by some survey they are forced to take in January after having to return to work after a break, but by looking at sites like, where the comments are unsolicited and genuine. Have a command center where you bring in all the comments from customers and competitors and potential customers, so you are not fooling yourself into a false sense of security. Board of Directors should be demanding this. It is the compass they have longed for, and now no longer need to guess or use just intuition. They can use factually based feedback to guide their culture, company, employees and customers to a future that is brighter and more profitable, in both heart and bottom-line.


Dr. Natalie is the VP and Principal Analyst for Constellation Research Covering Customer Facing Applications including Social, Mobile, Marketing, IOT and Customer Experience. Voted as one of the top experts in CRM and Social Customer Service, she has written many social media ROI models and brings a wide range of experiences and background including serving as a Forrester Analyst covering Social CRM and Customer Service, a Systems Integration Management Consultant at PWC and the Digital and Social Global Strategist for Weber Shandwick (a PR & Marketing Firm.) Early in her career she began as a product engineer, with a Ph.D. in engineering from UCLA and under graduate degrees in engineering from University of Michigan.

Her work with brands has provided her a balanced view of the challenges companies face when implementing new technology. Her research and white papers are the subject of hundreds of articles in publications like USAToday, Adage, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, The New York Times, WSJ, Peppers and Rogers 1-to-1 Magazine and CRM Magazine as well as for interviews on national television. Dr. Natalie is an adjunct instructor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Business and UCLA’s Extension Business and Management Marketing Program.

You can find her musing on Twitter at: @drnatalie as well as on her blog: and her research can be found at

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