Understanding Social Media's Influence on the Supply Chain

Another great report, similar to the one conducted on B2B Strategic Market Strategy (find here), was written on the power behind integrating social media into the supply chain for both B2C and B2B.

Find it here — http://www.amfiteatrueconomic.ro/temp/Article_1177.pdf — titled “Social Media and Supply Chain” by Sonja Markova and Tatjana Petkovska-Mirčevska.

Quick Summary

First, before citing some of the more insight quotes and topics, I’d like to simply summarize my thoughts on the report and the information I plan on using for Octopi and our partners.

In today’s business environment, no true decision maker can deny the need for an effective social, digital foothold for their business. Companies, big or small, domestic or cross-border, are all adapting and trying to create their unique style of engaging with customers, clients, providing information, and so on. The two writers put it best at the conclusion of the report:

The winners over the next 10 to 15 years will be companies that use this new media to become good listeners, good engagers, and good closers.

The winners over the next decade(s) will be the ones who’ve fully adapted, analyzed, and created their authentic style of communicating, listening, and engaging their customers on a digital level.

This is essentially Octopi’s value proposition — we’ll work and dedicate ourselves to getting our partner to the level where their optimized and growing their digital self. The reason behind our vision and dedication to providing this service is very simple: we really do believe it’s the future.

Today’s Social Consumer

They do a great job explaining how and why consumers today are so integrated in social and digital platforms.

To understand today’s social customer it is important to understand the demographic facts. The Baby Boom (1946-64) generation refers to people born after the war. The economy was very strong after the war, giving families the confidence to have lots of kids. By 1957 American families had an average of 3.7 children. (Tapscott, 2009) The Baby Boom became the TV Generation, it was the impact of the communication revolution led by the rise of television that shaped this generation more than anything else.

The Baby Boomers were brought up, raised, and were the first to integrate themselves with TV. This explains why TV Advertising, as well as printed advertising, ruled the business world throughout the 20th century. The companies that were on TV were the same ones consumers trusted and bought into.

[Note Net Generations a.k.a. Millennials]

Each generation is exposed to a unique set of events that defines their place in history and shapes their outlook. Over the last 20 years, clearly the most significant change affecting youth is the rise of the computer, the Internet, and other digital technologies. When it comes to the Net Generation, compared with their boomer parents, time online is not time that could have been spent hanging out with their friends, playing soccer, learning the piano, or doing any od dozens of other things. More than anything, time online is time that would have probably been spent watching TV. At their age, their baby-boomer parents watched an average of 22.4 hours of television each week. (Tapscott, 2009) They were passive viewers; they took what they were given, and when the commercials came, they might have even watched them.

Net geners watch television less than their parents and they watch it differently. They spend a lot of time online researching products before they end up buying them in the stores. They were raised in a world of marketing and advertising, so they can detect a sales pitch. While they are not resistant to the power of advertising, they are more adept at filtering, fastforwarding, and/or blocking unsolicited advertising than previous generations were. Companies are eager to understand them because they earn and spend a great deal of AE Social Media and Supply Chain 98 Amfiteatru Economic money. In the United States, students earn almost $200 billion a year in part- or full-time jobs, and in 2006, they purchased $190 billion worth of goods. (Tapscott, 2009)

To be clear, Octopi Digital started and continues to be a company focused on bringing companies into this Net Gen Millennial era of consumer behavior and business trends. The reason is stated perfectly by Markova and Mircevska above. This generation today isn’t focused on TV anymore, they watch TV but very differently, and it’s the same reason why they shop differently — today’s generation of people have the ability to collect and analyze information, communicate directly with brands, and understand how fellow peers feel about the brands and products. They know what they want, how they want it, and when they want it — and now they want you, the business, to know it also. To personalize to each customer is the path to ultimate victory.

The benefits of adapting now

  1. Providing quality information, data, and content

Organizations of all sizes are increasingly using Facebook and Twitter to rapidly capture and respond to customer feedback. It’s certainly possible, then, to use social media to get real-time feedback from the supply chain, both internally (inventory, warehousing, and procurement departments) and externally (suppliers and contractors).

2. Faster and more efficient connectivity

Effective decision-making usually requires a balance between speed and contemplation. The rapidity with which many social-media platforms can provide video, audio, and written communications across a vast network of suppliers, in real time, will turbo-charge decision making in the supply chain. It will ensure that pertinent information is considered regardless of how fast a decision must be made.

3. Building communities around your brand

Given the risks inherent in global sourcing and the need for continual innovation in order to maintain a competitive advantage, supplier relationships must move beyond collaboration. The still-evolving demand for transparency in business requires ever-closer relationships with key suppliers. Building a community of suppliers where business-critical information, opportunities, and thoughts can be shared and built upon in real time will become the leading edge for many organizations. Social-media platforms are ripe to be the foundations for such communities.

4. Innovation

Creativity and innovation are the staples of any leading-edge organization. Engaging suppliers, such as through social media, is the best way to stimulate supply-chain innovation.

…more to come, contact me to talk in further detail on social media, digital marketing, and effective strategies in the overall supply chain

Octopi Digital