When I joined NASDAQ in 2013, I was immediately struck by a dynamic that should be familiar to most highly technical engineering-driven companies: Our organization was focused on developing technologies and capabilities that were world-class in every respect, but it was not particularly interested in telling the world about those capabilities.
We were content to let our technology speak for us. As a result, marketing was not seen as a strategic partner to the business.
There was also a longstanding theory that social wasn’t going to influence a potential client to buy our product. If you’re selling exchange technology with up to a five-year sales process, the natural inclination is to say, “I’m not in a transaction business, I have no need for social.”
This is true on some level; no one is going to buy a multimillion-dollar technology on Twitter. But that does not imply social has no place in your organization.
So in the past 18 months, we’ve shifted the culture at the highest level and repositioned the marketing department from an extension of the sales organization into a true driver of new business. And social media has played a huge role in that transformation.
Social provides us with an opportunity to promote our sophisticated technology and elevate every division of our company in a variety of new ways. Beyond NASDAQ, an engaged, strategic social media presence can provide value for every organization, regardless of the industry, product, or audience. Every company can benefit from participating in and listening to their customers’ conversations. You never know what brand experience will influence a prospect. And when the time comes to begin the sales process, prospects will already have a relationship with your company and confidence in your capabilities.
As we work to establish relationships with our customers through social media engagement and experience management, we focus on three key areas: mining for insight, educating the market, and elevating our brand.
1. Mining for insight: When using social in a technical industry, it’s not beneficial to view activity from 10,000 feet off. To truly understand the business needs of our clients and prospects, it is crucial that we actively participate in the conversations. I am interested in the specifics–the topics, services, and events that involve our technology and the people discussing it in real time.
Many knowledgeable thought leaders and specialists have large followings and provide value to their audiences. Whether it’s a media personality or a CEO, these individuals have power and influence within this narrowly defined space. Social allows us to keep our pulse on new topics of interest and to work with these individuals to educate their audiences about our product. The credibility that these influencers bring to our company would not be possible without social as a facilitator.
2. Educating the market: Social provides a valuable opportunity to enhance our education programs here at NASDAQ. While public knowledge centers on the stock exchange division of our company, our goal is to raise awareness for all four of our business units: tech, trade, intel, and list. Even within our own client base, a troublesome 50% of people don’t understand the full depth of our capabilities.
In order to reposition our company in the minds of prospects and clients, we recently launched a branding campaign that highlights the full suite of our products. The entire campaign has social at its core: It is mobile-friendly, features user-generated content, and aims to drive engagement at every touch point.
By incorporating social into our branding campaign, we can elevate the reach of our efforts and reposition NASDAQ as more than just a U.S.-based equities exchange.
3. Elevating our brand: The cultural shifts under way in our company and industry are disruptive and crucial. Previously, only one-quarter of our business leveraged social. Now everybody’s thinking about it and moving us toward full front-office integration.
Through social, we’re able to raise awareness, provide education through thought leadership, and connect with key influencers. These activities are elevating our business and proving that there is true value in social for technical providers.
Time To Embrace Social
NASDAQ has always been on the forefront of innovation, embracing disruptive technologies and incorporating them into our product offerings. We are once again facing a pivotal time of disruption with the development of social. To us the choice to embrace social as a new technology is clear. We are no longer doing social; we are becoming a truly social organization.
This article will appear in Sprinklr’s Social@Scale Journal Volume 2, due out next month.