Episode 17: How to Connect the Dots Between Social Media and Customer Needs featuring Frank Eliason of Citi Group

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Welcome to another amazing episode of the Marketing Nation Podcast, presented by Marketo and hosted by Marketo’s Digital Marketing Evangelist, DJ Waldow.

Frank Eliason, Director of Global Social Media at Citi Group, joins the Marketing Nation to talk about the power of customer service, why scalable intimacy is the future, and why there is a disconnect between social media and customer service.

Frank’s journey through social customer service experience started when he was working at Comcast. He spent most of his life helping customers and responding to inquiries on Twitter, until one day he needed to take the day off. Rather than being met with frustration and anger, his community rallied to help him, knowing that Frank was the person behind the handle and that he had important matters to attend to.

This incredible experience with such a supportive community is really what social media is all about. However, today’s brand strategy seems to be more about pushing marketing messages that are irrelevant to the customer instead of making personal connections. What has happened to the human experience and how can we reinstate it?

Frank believes that connecting the dots between what customers need and what a company can offer is key. "No one loves their cable company," Frank says, but that doesn’t mean their cable company can't be helpful in giving customers the service they deserve whenever they can. Instead of asking, "How can we help our company’s bottom line?" brands should be asking, "How can we help our customers?"

"Brands need to focus on being remarkable," Frank urges. This is where social media and customer service can intersect and become truly valuable.

In addition to a shift in social media focus, we will also likely see a shift in content marketing focus. Instead of building up a giant library of content for everyone, content will become more focused to suit a customer's specific need when they need it. DJ might call this "marketing automation," while Frank likes to call it, "scalable intimacy."

In the "shout out and/or plug" section at the end, Frank encourages everyone to check out his book, @YourService, where he discusses what customer service really is; how it applies to marketing, PR, and your company’s goals; why companies are having the crisis they’re having within social media; and how to fix whatever’s broken along the way.

Tune in to hear more about Frank’s experience at Citi, Comcast, and his personal stories on why customer service is so much bigger than social media and marketing.


Want to be a guest? Have a topic you’d like to share? Email us: podcast@marketo.com or drop us a tweet using the #MktgNation hashtag. Oh, and if you love this episode… share it with your friends, co-workers, colleagues, and family.

Frank Eliason is currently Senior Vice President of Social Media at Citibank and author of @YourService published by Wiley. Frank became well known in social media for the Customer Service outreach function that his team at Comcast was involved with. This work has been recognized by many news organizations such as ABC News, New York Times, Business Week, among many others. Follow Frank on Twitter at @FrankEliason.