CMO Insights: Growing Role of Social Media

an interview with
Grant Johnson Chief Marketing Officer, Pega Systems

At The CMO Club Summit last week, Grant Johnson, CMO of Pega Systems joined a panel discussion on “new innovations in customer acquisition and retention.”  After the panel, I caught up with Grant and asked him about the role of social media in Pega’s marketing plans.  Here’s the Q&A:

DN: From a marketing perspective, how important is social media to Pega right now in the overall mix of options?
Since our goal is to allow people to more easily engage with and access the Pega brand however they want, social media is becoming increasingly more important to us as a part of an integrated and multichannel marketing mix.  It’s a small spend today, but we’re spending more time and effort focusing on this, and the activity has ramped up fast.  For example, you can find all Pega news items and links to a variety of content on Twitter, where we now have nearly 1,100 followers; you can view Pega videos and educational content on YouTube; you can engage with Pega employees and peers on our Facebook page and in our Pega Forums; and you can also subscribe to our content via RSS feeds.

DN: What needs to happen at your organization for social media to become a larger priority?
The biggest challenge with social media in most organizations, including Pega, is measuring results back to customer interest and loyalty.  There’s a lot to filter through in order to separate the noise from the signal. We listen closely to our customers and have the ability to focus more on this as their needs dictate. We use mechanisms such as “likes,” “downloads” and “views” to understand the impact of social content that is created, but ultimately we’ll need to be able to better drive customer activity and engagement as a result.  Pega has historically been highly customer focused and as with many of our other initiatives, we will always adapt to their needs in order to continue helping them meet their business improvement objectives.

DN: For Pega, does social media play a role in customer service?  If not, do you see that happening any time soon?
Yes, social media also plays an important role as a medium for customer support and feedback at Pega. Our customers are very vocal in our forums about areas that they would like support in or new features they would like to see in our products. We also have an internal community called the Pega Developer Network, which allows our customers to collaborate and get help specifically with regard to their unique implementations, so as to increase their product understanding and the value of our support. We see this activity growing more in the future as social media channels become more and more common.

DN: How do you think social media could impact Pega’s business down the road?
It’s already impacting us in a positive manner, serving as a real-time and dynamic channel to communicate with customers and prospects. Today, Pega provides social media capabilities within our products, allowing developers to use social media tools to collaborate on business processes and case work. Pega also provides social media capabilities in our CRM products, including the ability to monitor social media such as Twitter and bring that feedback into a customer service setting where it can be addressed. We see two emerging trends in customer service that could impact us even more down the road: first, social media is helping us better service our customers across channels, and crowd-sourcing and self-service is becoming a reality; and, second, we believe that the ability to listen, analyze and act via social media – to actually fix broken customer service processes more quickly – will improve service delivery and customer satisfaction in the future.

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