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Undercover Marketer

Undercover Marketer: We Have Lift-Off

This month our undercover marketer has the news we’ve all been waiting for – they got buy-in! Finally, someone gets it. The journey to social intelligence starts now…

I’ve only gone and done it! I’ve got buy-in!!

Someone somewhere has finally asked me the big question…’how much will it cost?’ Someone wants specifics, a timeline, a roadmap, an action plan. They want to remove blockers, create value, get sign off. Enough buzzwords? Thought so. Sorry, I’m just so excited.

I first started pitching this stuff over 2 years ago. It’s only taken 25 slide decks, a load of meetings and a gazillion emails with the subject line ‘social data is the future!’

And the thing is, it hasn’t happened at all how I’d imagined. The go ahead has come from an unexpected place, in a totally unexpected way. You see, I’d given up. Totally decided this wasn’t going to happen. I’d hung up my social data hero cape and decided to let sleeping hashtags lie. This was just too big of a battle for me.

And then, as if from nowhere I get invited to a meeting and asked…wait for it…’do you know how we can find out more about our customers?’

Well of course, good sir! Now, where’s that cape??

Puns and silly jokes aside (forgive me, it’s that excitement again), there are some learnings in this experience. For anyone who’s still banging their head against a giant social data shaped brick wall. In hindsight, here’s what I’ve learnt:

  1. Work It In

Over the last couple of years, I’ve developed a key skill – coming up with ways and approaches to get social data into the conversation. Whatever the conversation. And as you know it does fit into most conversations because this is social data and it is relevant to everything. It became a bit of a game in the end. Is there any part of the business who haven’t heard my enthusiasm for social data? Who can I find this week that hasn’t heard me talk about this stuff? The reason the buy-in has come from somewhere unexpected, in a context that I hadn’t actually thought of, is precisely because I never shut up about it. They’d heard that I champion this stuff and sought me out. The corporate grapevine, turns out, is a powerful thing.

  1. Start Small

When I first started on my mission to convert my colleagues into social data enthusiasts I prepared presentations with titles like ‘social data, the future of customer insight’ and ‘becoming customer centric’ and ‘social data is going to change everything ever’ (ok I made that last one up but I might as well have done). I was talking about concepts, transformations and approaches. We could move mountains with this stuff. I was getting people into rooms to hear me say ‘this stuff is really cool, don’t you think?!?!’ I got a lot of nods. I filled the room every time. But that’s not the same as getting buy-in. In fact, it’s a long way away. And what’s worse is the full room of nodding heads made me feel like I was getting somewhere. Senior people are nodding at me, I thought, this must mean they’ll sign.

  1. …And Be Practical

What I see now looking over all my decks of the past, is that I totally lacked application. I had lofty visions and beautiful big pictures galore.  It sounds so obvious now that bigger isn’t always better.

What I’ve got now is a small but significant project that will utilise social data to get results. Something actionable and practical that got more than just a thumbs up. The difference now is that this project has clear outcomes and objectives and the impact is measurable. Buyers need something to buy-in to. Moving mountains can wait.


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Undercover Marketer
Undercover Marketer
Ssshhh... It's a secret. I'm a mid-level marketer in a fairly big business based in a fairly big city in the UK. Hopefully, you'll never find out who I am but what I'm going to share is my frustratingly painful story of getting buy-in for social listening. More content by

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