Why Social Engagement May Be More Important Than Marketing

Carlos Dominguez, president and COO of Sprinklr, notes that while marketing is about getting people to want to talk to a company, customer service is about interacting with someone who is already invested in the brand. His goal: get companies to blend those tasks in “ways that are radically different.”

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Marketing today is not about what a company says. It’s about what customers say about the company.

To Carlos Dominguez, that kind of thinking is a truism. “Taking someone who’s got a problem — who’s already a customer in a bad situation — if you can satisfy them and convert them to an advocate, that’s kind of the way of the new world,” he says. “But very few companies are thinking through that lens.”

As president and COO of Sprinklr, a U.S.-based enterprise social media management company whose clients include 40% of the Fortune 50 and companies like Microsoft, Nike, Gap, and P&G, Dominguez leads the company’s marketing, sales, services, and partnerships teams. Before joining Sprinklr, Dominguez spent 22 years at Cisco Systems, serving the last seven as a “technology evangelist” and representative for the chairman and CEO while delivering keynote addresses worldwide.

In a conversation with Gerald C. (Jerry) Kane, an associate professor of information systems at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College and guest editor for MIT Sloan Management Review’s Digital Leadership Initiative, Dominguez talks about what the brightest digitally-centric companies are doing today.

Give us a quick overview of what Sprinklr does and where you see the market potential.

As social has evolved, businesses are finding that they need to leverage it in everything they do, whether it’s servicing their clients or talking to them or listening to what they care about.

From the very beginning, the whole premise of Sprinklr was to provide an enterprise platform for large companies to be able to do everything that needed to be done in that new world with all of those different channels. We want to give brands some power to be able to engage with customers in the channels that they are choosing to use. When I say power, it’s about giving them information. It’s aggregating stuff for them, making them more intelligent.


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As organizations rely increasingly on digital technologies, how should they cultivate opportunities and address taking risks in a fast-moving digital market environment?
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Comments (3)
We flipped angry customers and competitor customers fairly regularly at Autodesk as part of our overall strategy. It's all about timing and opportunity when it comes to engagement.
carlos dominguez
I couldn't agree with you more.  Every organization has to become a marketing company in this new world.  All functions in a company have to unite around delivering amazing customer experiences.  They need to listen to what's being said about them and leverage all of the contributions (good and bad) that customers are posting on a myriad of channels.

The biggest challenge is that data about the customer is captured in disparate systems that are not interconnected.  The silos containing this information makes it really difficult for companies to really know their customers.  The existing ERP, CRM and .Com systems will not go away.  So the art is how do you enrich these legacy systems with knowledge and information from the new world (social channels, blogs etc.)

I think we have a unique opportunity to know our customers in a way that was never possible before.  Either you adapt and leverage this available knowledge or your competitor will.
Robert Barzelay
Marketing has never been what a company says. Though, I must confess, that is what (too) many companies have made of it. Marketing starts the moment you have an idea. Marketing starts with needs research and extends all the way till after-sales. Marketing happens in every single step of a product's development to launch to sales to customer service. People tend to forget where the word MARKETING comes from. It comes from MARKET, the place where your customer or user is located. But alas, there is so much misconception of marketing. Ask the average corporate executive what upstream and downstream marketing is, and in most cases you get a blank stare. This ignoring or not understanding marketing is not only a startup problem, even large corporations don't fully understand.