If you think that CMOs are really on the social bandwagon, you might want to reconsider. A new study from BusinessNext Social (Mark Fidelman's new conference) says only one in five CMOs are social. Doesn't seem to bode well for the social enterprise, does it?

Is Your CMO Social?

Here's the gist of this top 20 list: some CMOs are more social than they were before, and the ones that aren't have at least tried it. But the reality is, we have a long way to go before most CMOs really get this social thing. And that means, organizations also have a long way to go.

The original list for this study was supposed to be the top 25 (which is what was done a year and a half ago, and falls in line with what was done with the Top 25 Online SharePoint Influencers). The study was done by going to the websites of the Fortune 100 and finding the CMO or, if one didn't exist, the head of marketing and/or communications.

After they were found, 50 hours of research was done taking into account metrics such as Twitter followers, retweet frequency, social engagement frequency, social mentions, KRED scores and Klout scores. Scores were then done in a secret Mark Fidelman formula.

Who made the list? You will recognize the brands: Google, SAP, IBM, Apple, GE, Microsoft, Exxon Mobile, etc ... Who topped the list at #1? General Electric Company’s Beth Comstock (@bethcomstock), CMO and Senior Vice President. 

Following Comstock, we see:

  • 2. Google, Inc.’s Nikesh Arora (@nikesharora), Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer
  • 3. Apple, Inc.’s Philip Schiller (@pschiller), Senior Vice President, Worldwide Product Marketing
  • 4. IBM’s Jon C. Iwata (@coastw), Senior Vice President, Marketing and Communications
  • 5. SAP’s Jonathan Becker (@jbecher), CMO
  • 6. Dell’s Karen Quintos (@KarenDellCMO), CMO
  • 7. Exxon Mobil Corporation’s Ken Cohen (@ken_cohen) Vice President of Public and Government Affairs
  • 8. Microsoft’s Chris Capossela (@chriscapossela), CMO
  • 9. Cisco Systems’ Blair Christie (@BlairChristie), Senior Vice President and CMO, Government Affairs,
  • 10. Raytheon’s Pam Wickham ( @PamWickham1) Vice President of Corporate Affairs and Communications

According to Fidelman, 76% of the Fortune 100 CMOs don't have a Twitter footprint at all, 15 of the executives have at least 100 subscribers on Facebook and only 12 have a Klout score greater than 30.

So what's the story? Why aren't more CMOs taking a page out of the social business playbook and jumping into social media? Fidelman thinks many are still working from the old playbook and hoarding. We still see this culture of keeping everything in-house. Some might say that it's because they are part of a public company and they need to play it safe, but there are public companies out there on social media -- that's no longer a good excuse.

Where are the Top Social Brand's CMOs?

Here's an interesting question -- how does this list compare with the list of the top social brands? Fidelman looked at the top social brands recently. Topping the list we saw Viacom, Disney, News Corporation, Zynga, Google, NBC, Microsoft, TimeWarner, Coke, P&G and the list goes on.

Where on that list does General Electric sit? Even more importantly, where on the Top Social CMOs list does Viacom sit? Coca-Cola? Zynga? They aren't on the Top 20 CMO list. Google, Microsoft and Cisco are on both -- good to point out they are all IT firms. 

Who is Coke's CMO? It's Joseph V. Tripodi (Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer). Is he on Twitter? Yes (at least I think it's him) @JVTRIPODI -- but his tweets are protected. And I only saw 2 tweets anyway and one follower. What about Viacom? I couldn't find a CMO, but I found Carl Folta -- Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications. I couldn't find Folta on Twitter, I did find a LinkedIn profile (but it was private).

These are just two examples. What does it mean? You could suggest that it means many organizations are of the mindset that upper management does not have to be social for the organization to be social. That maybe they are just too busy to establish their own profile and engage with their communities. That's the job of the marketing department or the guys/gals who fall below the line of command. If that's true, I think there are many who would say that's crap -- and Fidelman would agree.

Consider the growth in Facebook, Twitter, what social media did for Obama's 2012 election campaign. He's a pretty social guy apparently. I would suggest that he's pretty busy. 

Ironically, these 100 CMOs are charged with leading social initiatives for the world's largest enterprises, yet our analysis shows that the majority have relatively little experience building influencer communities. That is a major stumbling block, according to CMOs and social business experts we have consulted," said Mark Fidelman, Conference Director at BusinessNext Social and lead author of the analysis. "The consensus among the people who top our list is that CMOs need firsthand experience building online communities to connect with customers and foster loyalty, trust and engagement.”

For the CMO Getting Started

Fidelman offered a few steps for the CMO to get started in social media:

  1. Open a Twitter account and start listening.
  2. Selectively engage around your brand.
  3. Develop a following.
  4. Mobilize that following around a cause or a problem.
  5. Learn -- and adjust. 

CMOs must participate in social media if they are to lead their organizations. Don't you agree?