August 11, 2015

Expert Interview Series: The Problem with Enterprise Point Solutions

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Tags: Podcast

Jeremy Epstein, the VP of Marketing at Sprinklr, was a recent guest on the TechnologyAdvice Expert Interview Series. The series, which is hosted by TechnologyAdvice’s Josh Bland, explores a variety of business and technology landscapes through conversations with industry leaders.

In this episode, we discuss everything from social risk management to empowered and connected customers, as well as why marketing is both an art and a science.

Below are a few highlights from our conversation:

TechnologyAdvice: Customers are becoming more empowered and connected than ever before. How does this impact the customer experience with social media across the organization?

Jeremy Epstein: First of all, there’s a growing recognition that it’s really not about social media per se. It’s about how customer behaviors and expectations are changing as a result of the arrival of social technologies. As you said, they’re connected, they’re empowered. Over the last couple of years, the importance of engaging with the customer in a new way has gone from the social media manager level up to the C-Suite.

Now we’re having conversations with CMOs, CEOs, and CIOs of very large companies who say, “Wait a second. We need to have a way of delivering a consistent customer experience across all of these departments.” Because in the old days, it was fine if we had marketing doing whatever and customer care doing whatever. Now it’s not okay. They have to work in unison to deliver that customer experience.

So the first is the recognition that this is not just a technology, it’s more like a game changer in the way that business is done. That’s exciting. And the second thing is — what we’ve seen with many of our clients — is now we’re able to connect the dots for them between social initiatives like listening or engagement or content management, and tie that back to measurable dollars.

Then you can say, “Wow, if you’re doing these things, you can spot a potential crisis before it gets out of control. You can identify a sales opportunity. You can find an influencer and grow your brand awareness.” And we’re connecting the dots for all of these things. That’s ridiculously exciting because now it’s not just some sort of funky fad, it’s real business value and it’s making a difference for companies.

TA: How have changes in social media management challenged the way companies look at social?

Jeremy Epstein: For the last hundred years, companies have been organized around internally-focused, business-centric processes: How do we get marketing to work really well? How do we get customer care to work really well? There’s an entire industry that’s built up around that, a marketing stack, a customer care cloud, or a marketing cloud.

And people think, “If we just get a marketing cloud, that will help us.” But this assumes the way the world operated 20, 30, 50 years ago is the way the world operates right now.

That’s a false assumption.

Take a step back and forget business for a second and look at the macro trends like Arab Spring and Hong Kong protests. Or even how quickly gay marriage became acceptable. Those events were not even possible in a world without connecting social technologies. If governments and laws are changed at national levels because of these technologies, don’t you think business has to change how they do things — even a little bit?

That’s what we’re saying: you can’t just continue to reinforce a business silo.

You have to imagine the way you interact with the customer and your external environment and think not just from a marketing, customer care, or PR perspective. You have to think from an enterprise perspective. Then how each of those functions ties into that.

Not every company is there yet, which presents challenges. There are a lot of people who see an immediate problem and think, “Let’s just go out and get a point solution.” They aren’t thinking from a systems-wide perspective. Point solutions are focused on just reinforcing a silo, and I think those are the two biggest challenges we run into in terms of the industry.

Interview conducted by Josh Bland.