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A case study: One Executive’s journey to create the first digitally connected, socially enabled organization

Bryan E. Jones, Dell’s VP of Marketing, believes the future of marketing is social, and that we will see this transformation in the next 12 months, and he’s forging ahead and covering new ground by inspiring social media adoption across his 200+ North America marketing team. “You will not have a career in marketing without this skill set.”

Listening and connecting with customers across social media has always been part of Dell’s business and heritage, but Bryan’s vision is to formalize this into performance plans and create the first fully digitally connected, socially enabled marketing organization inside Dell.

Why? Bryan believes that social media is critical to Dell’s competitive advantage, and is a critical skill set for his organization; he is staffing, training, rewarding and creating a cultural shift for adoption, innovation and a new way of operating.

In my interview with Bryan, he reiterated the importance of having his marketing team have the right skill sets: “It is a great time to be investing in people as marketing evolves.”

The plan? Create a cultural shift that ensures every marketer is trained and uses social media in their role on behalf of Dell. For annual performance plans, Bryan made it mandatory that every employee get certified by Dell’s social media training program, SMaC University.

Certification and training is not enough, though; Bryan and team have created six profiles in marketers’ performance plans with specific tasks, tool adoption and actions. Each employee must map to one of the six profiles:

1. Employee Advocate: Integrate social insights into business processes and, on occasion, share relevant Dell content from personal accounts.

2. Listening Analyst: Analyze social conversations for insights to improve business, processes, and products, and share with key stakeholders.

3. Content Creator: Create a variety of rich content for external distribution (videos, case studies, white papers, etc.)

4. Subject Matter Expert/Topic Manager: Create, curate and amplify content around key topic areas; engage with customers and peers on key topics.

5. Community Manager: Manage social community on behalf of Dell.

6. Thought Leader: Drive true thought leadership for Dell around key topics.

What is impressive about these social employee profiles is that Bryan is pushing his organization to embrace the voice of the customer, attain rich business insights, engage with customers, create relevant content, and support employee advocacy. Where many companies are only focused on getting their brand story out, Bryan is taking a broader, customer-focused approach, to help drive the competitive advantage for his marketing team.

What happens if a marketer decides to not participate?

Bryan shares the following: “You have to socially adopt to be a good candidate for any strategic roles today. If you are not socially engaged, you cannot be at the pinnacle of what you do. What is your thing in social? It’s important to answer this, and dive in.”

It is impressive and exciting to see Dell’s leadership team prioritize their social culture and skill set for the entire marketing organization. We look forward to hearing about Dell’s innovation, business results and marketing impact, as all employees evolve in this new way of operating.