Cover Story: Direct Marketer of the Year: Sandy Carter
To be great at social, says Carter, "you have to know how to optimize your searches. You've got to know what your keywords are. You've got to be comfortable tagging. You've got to be out there blogging. You've got to be using the technology.
"You can't just be sitting back and coming up with pretty words," Carter continues. "You've got to be able to frame 'em. And I do see that as a big challenge for a lot of marketers today. They're afraid of the technology. At IBM, we have a type of skill. It's called a T-shaped skill, where you're broad at something and you're deep at something. And the best marketers that we can see are those that are deep in marketing, but they have that breadth of understanding the technology—how to use analytics so you can analyze the output of your campaign; how to use the social tools so that you can reach your client much more effectively. How do you deal with Big Data so that you can do a focus group on the fly? And if you're fearful of those things, you're not going to take advantage of listening to all those watercooler conversations that are happening around the world."
If marketers are too scared to dive in, just dip a toe in the water, Carter suggests. Start by using tools that do a lot of the work for marketers.
Carter Going Forward
Her friends and colleagues agree on plenty about Carter, so the main difference in what they expect for her future is which type of company will be able to boast about her being its CEO.
"There is no question in my mind," Owyang says. "Sandy will be the CEO of a top 10 company."
Leighton thinks it will be a Fortune 500 or 1,000. "No limits," says Gary Swale, director of business development at South African company Knowledge Dimension, which uses IBM social business software.