When the CEO of all too many B2B companies sits down to decide on the three- or five-year strategy, a select group of executives are typically asked to front up with factual data and strategic opinions: The Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Commercial Officer and the Chief Operations Officer. Equipped with their inputs, the CEO usually feels he or she has enough information to formulate the strategy (perhaps supplemented with external advice). Then, and only then, the strategy is explained to the CMO.That’s because, when all is said and done, the marketing department’s key role in corporate strategy, according to top management, is to help communicate it. And as long as this situation prevails, Marketing will remain a penny of cost rather than one of profit.

Now imagine Marketing could approach the CEO with useful, up-to-the-minute and data-backed insights about market trends and sentiment, competitor intelligence and more. What if, for example, you were able to show that, if things continue as they are, then your company is quickly losing buyer attention (share of mind), and that this grim reality is due to a shift in buyer preferences or heavy competitor investment in a specific new area? What if you could document growing dissatisfaction with a particular competitor’s new product, creating a possible product development and sales opportunity. With a systematic market listening capability in place, it may not take long before the CEO starts truly valuing the CMO’s insights, too.

There are, for example, plenty of online listening tools on the market, allowing you to:

  • Tune in to and share the conversations that matter most.
  • Track trends.
  • Monitor your company’s reputation in terms of SOV (Share of Voice) and SOC (Share of Conversation).
  • Watch competitors.
  • Make more data-driven business decisions.
  • Generate leads.
  • Perform market research.
  • Discover key influencers with whom you can develop relationships.
  • Understand, evaluate, and measure the impact of campaigns.
  • Support customer care.
  • Uncover opportunities to innovate.

Most of these tools are based on social media and, if you’ve got the time and resources available (you need to spread your monitoring across several social media channels) such tools can be invaluable.