At a time when businesses are looking to explore all possible benefits that can be derived from the fast-growing social media wave, marketing professionals are becoming busier by the day in trying to leverage from this medium.
As against general belief, marketing through social media has not only become a focus for businesses that target consumers directly, but even for companies that operate in the business-to-business segment. Marketing experts at IT services companies say that this is primarily happening as social media could influence present as well as future clients, and talent.
"The IT industry has taken several steps in terms of being present there," said Sachin Mulay, head-corporate brand and communication at Wipro. "The science of marketing has completely changed because of technology and it is rapidly changing. Technology is allowing us to do personal marketing, and customise information for customers. It is enabling us to deliver the right information to the right customer on the right device at the right time."
According to Malcolm Frank, executive vice president--strategy and marketing at Cognizant, companies in the IT services space are increasingly seeing tremendous benefits from social media. Social presence can influence new customers as they would become aware of the thought leadership at the company, while the medium also helps take the relationship with existing clients deeper, he added.
A few years ago, India's largest IT services company Tata Communication Services had set a trend by sharing its annual earnings in real time on micro-blogging website Twitter. Since then, the industry has come a long way with most companies and several industry groups indulging in interactive discussions with stakeholders on social networking platforms.
Bangalore-based Infosys recently, for the first time, used Twitter to interact with the media where thought leaders from the company discussed the key trends in 2014 across 13 industries. Infosys' #TweetChat lined up heads of 11 sectors who discussed trends in their respective industries and their plans for the future.
Some of these industries included retail, banking, utilities and big data. Infosys also provided links to these industries where one could access blogs, infographics, videos and trend cards.
"I think when you think of social media, there are different platforms that serve different purposes. So if you think about the three majors--LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter; when it comes to the B2B marketers we have become the platform of choice," said Olivier Legrand, head of marketing solutions (Asia Pacific and Japan) at professional networking website LinkedIn.
"When I look at the verticals and industries that are particularly leveraging and doing the best job at using LinkedIn, technology comes first. We have been working a lot with Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and other such companies."
With such evolution in the marketing space, experts say that the requisite skill set for hiring marketing managers has also changed in the recent times. In addition to content writers and design experts, companies are now also looking to hire data scientists for marketing teams who can monitor social trends, make sense of the same and extrapolate those for marketing purposes.
"It has now become a two-way communication with the market. Social is vitally important because you can start to get the voice of the customer continually on an ongoing basis. If you use social media correctly, it could be very powerful," said Cognizant's Frank.
"It is important today to get people who know how to do social (marketing), how to do it properly and start to get the true voice of the customer. The harder part is finding people in marketing who are data scientist, and if you don't get those people, then the whole concept of social goes waste," he added.
Very interestingly, with the fast adoption of social media, Melissa Womack, head - global corporate marketing at Pune-based KPIT Technologies says that marketing is now not limited just to the designated team, but gone into the hands of every employee. "It's not just marketing but it's everybody in the organisation who's on social media," Womack said.