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I’ve been a part of Jonathan’s marketing organization for several years now and following his journey from marketing leader to CMO has been both exciting and inspiring.  I’ve listened to him address our marketing team, the SAP community, customers and more and regardless of audience, two essential themes always emerge through his words: people and simplicity.

Jonathan encourages us to think about our work in terms of people – not business to consumer or business to business – but people to people. He also recommends we simplify the way we work, the words we use and get away from the acronyms that overcomplicate our lives.

So what does this have to do with social media? People and simplicity are at the heart of social media – good social media. To be successful in these channels, you need to be real, interact with people, have conversations, and keep your messages clear and simple.

Jonathan actively engages with thousands through his blog and on Twitter.  In fact, he was recently named one of the Top 100 CMOs on Twitter by Social Media Marketing Magazine.

I spoke to Jonathan about what social media means for him.  Check out his insight below. With CMOs and marketing leaders talking more and more about the importance of social media, it is refreshing to find a CMO who walks the walks, understands the channels, and keeps it real by making it all about people and simplicity.

LB: As an executive, why is social media important to you?

JB: I’m a big believer in abandoning traditional B2B marketing techniques in favor of a people to people approach. It’s especially critical for those conversations to be two-way.  Twitter is a fantastic way for me to listen to what people think about SAP and our solutions.  As an executive, you usually get packaged analysis after the fact.  Twitter is unfiltered and it’s real time.

LB: How do you apply what you hear in social media channels to your role as CMO?

JB: Social media channels, including Twitter, are an effective way to test out new messages, to get feedback on product positioning, and to encourage customers share their experiences.  Beyond that, I’ve learned about breaking industry news, competitor announcements, and even helped customers who were trying to buy from SAP.  Like all new channels, the danger is that noise overwhelms the useful, and interesting, information.

LB: How do you see social media engagement evolving for future leaders?

JB: There was a time when leaders were uncomfortable with email; some may still uncomfortable with SMS on mobile phones. As social media matures, we are likely to spend less time debating and extolling its particular characteristics. Social media will just be another communication channel, as comfortable for future leaders as participating in a meeting.

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