“I saw the writing on the wall with social media like I did with the web,” says Lori Marino.
I would say paid targeted promotion has been a competitive advantage for us, and we have the metrics to prove it.
In the late 90’s, Lori worked in graphic design and packaging for a conservative company that didn’t see the web as strategic. But eventually she convinced them to make the move online, became their webmaster, and later managed all of their external websites from a branding perspective.
Then, as social media gained popularity, Lori saw its potential for business even when her supervisors didn’t see it. At Thomson Reuters, she pushed for a social media presence and fought back against the perception that social media lacked business value.
Lori says they eventually gave her enough freedom to gradually build a team, create a hub and spoke model, and implement it. And in 2012, she joined Raytheon to do the same thing.
“When I started at Raytheon, the internal resistance to social media was similar to what I experienced at Thomson Reuters five years ago.”
“It’s like a linear path that people go through in business when they’re first exposed to social media. Their mindsets start to change once you start to show people how it can help the business and how it can be effective,” Lori says.
What helped that internal culture change? Lori says building relationships, collaboration, getting involved, and finding ways social can help. She explains, “It helped me to be embedded in the strategy of the business and the problems they’re trying to solve — especially externally.”
“Eventually, you get to a point that social media helps move the needle of the business and people are calling on you for help.”
She says at Raytheon, developing that business acumen is difficult.
You can really use social media as competitive intelligence.
As a defense contracting company, staying on top of current events and how they affect the business is a challenge. Lori says she consumes news for hours a day to stay informed. Another challenge: keeping up with their vast product lines and prioritizing the work.
As a part of the communications function, she organizes her priorities based on the VP of Communications’ plan for the year, sorting work into tier one and two initiatives. They collaborate across PR, community relations, organizational communications, executive communications, and trade shows.
Recently, they’ve been relying more heavily on paid social to reach business objectives.
“I would say paid targeted promotion has been a competitive advantage for us, and we have the metrics to prove it.”
Lori says Raytheon is unique as a BtoG. “Our goals might not be to sell a missile, but it may be to influence somebody, it may be to create awareness, or to help promote an idea and put forth a thought leader.”
Looking forward, Lori says she’d like social media to be an enabler at Raytheon.
She says social media can help pave the way for new markets by putting content in front of the right influencers and stakeholders to promote the brand.
“You can really use social media as competitive intelligence or discover things in social media that you wouldn’t be able to anywhere else.”
Follow Lori on Twitter and ask about what drew her to a career at Raytheon. Lori’s been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2014, and Raytheon has been a part of our community since 2013.