May 29, 2023

Undercover Marketer: The Secret Conversations Behind Getting Social Listening Buy-In

Date & Time (GMT):
May 29, 2023 8:03 AM
Date & Time (EST):
May 29, 2023 8:03 AM

Welcome to the first article in our undercover marketer series.  If you want to know more about the social listening conversations that happen behind closed doors then this is the series is for you. No nonsense. No bullshit. Just a marketer looking to get buy-in for social listening….

First thing’s first, let me introduce myself. Actually, before that, some expectation management. I’m not going to tell you very much about me. Pretty much nothing at all actually.

In fact, I’m going to be doing my best to ensure you never know anything about who I am. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that if my boss got wind of what I’m doing here I’m likely to not have a boss anymore. And as much as I love spending my time in cafes writing blogs about who I’m not, I’d rather keep my job.

Anyway, enough introducing the introduction — to the point. Here’s what I CAN tell you. I work in marketing. I’m part of a team of marketing people covering most things you’d usually expect from the marketing department of a fairly big business based in a fairly big city in the UK. I’m not at junior but I’m not a senior.

What I Do…

My day-to-day tasks involve copywriting and tone of voice with a bit of analytics and SEO (though we have teams that supposedly deal specifically with those things). My background is fairly run of the mill too — I’ve worked in a few different industries, mainly on the creative side of marketing and always for large-ish organisations. None are huge sexy brands, but some have been household names.

The theme of my career so far seems to be frustration.

I often find myself in meetings where I feel like I’m speaking a different language or I’m an alien.

You see, every company I’ve worked for has been stuck in old habits when it comes to marketing. I got into this world, not to be an alien (sorry, I love a pun) but because I’d heard marketing was where the cool kids were at.

It’s where you can try new things, write, create, get excited and be loud. My school reports always said I was creative and my dad always pushed me to work for a ‘good stable company’.

Turns out those 2 things don’t mix too well.

At least not for me. Unlucky? Maybe.

Should’ve moved jobs? Gone for a funky startup with a beer tap and an unpronounceable name? Probably.

The Trouble…

Here’s the problem.

I kinda like being the alien. Who am I kidding? I love it.

I’m the game-changer, the forward-thinking, twitter-browsing, revolutionary with a ‘we need to change’ attitude and a speech ready for anyone who’ll listen about how the strategy is out of date and we’re all doomed.

And, when I look at where most of my crusades have focused, it’s customer insight.

I’ve got an obsession with customer knowledge. I remember being given my first copywriting task and asking ‘who am I talking to?’ and my manager looking at me like I was an idiot and saying ‘um, our customers’. Durrr. ‘Yes but WHO ARE THEY’ I wanted to shout.

Of course, I didn’t because I was young and green and scared. So, I imagine I wrote something generic and boring that sounds like any corporate ever talking to any human ever.

You can see where I’m going with this. Since then, through different jobs and different companies, I’ve continued to ask that question and though the answer has progressed — ‘here’s a survey’, ‘here’s a user persona’, ‘the customer is like my brother’ etc etc — I’ve never quite been satisfied.

Social Intelligence is the One

A few years ago, I was introduced to the world of social intelligence and I felt like I’d finally met The One for me.

This is data I can rely on, data that won’t let me down, that’ll let me be my creative self but will provide the kind of safety and reassurance I need to be truly happy, knowing that what we’re producing works.

And that’s why I’m here.

I’ve been on a journey. Well, maybe not. A journey typically moves forwards. I’ve been running around in circles.

I know social data is the answer, I know it’s great, but I can’t seem to get anyone to agree, let alone pay for it. I’ve mentioned this to other marketers at events and found that it’s quite relatable.

So here we are.

And so far so good. I’ve successfully booked a meeting. A whole meeting! The powers above me have graciously clicked attend to my invite.  The meeting name was a tricky one. I thought about ‘Social insight here we come’ but no no best to start soft. I’ve gone with ‘who are our customers’, nice and vague and not too corporate.

More coming soon!

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