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2010: The Year of Measurable Social Media?
Unable to connect social media to quantifiable results has made marketers wary of the investment, but this year may be the year all that changes.
Posted Jan 6, 2010
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As marketers wind down 2009, they're ramping up plans for social media in 2010. According to a recent report released by the Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) Club, in a partnership with e-commerce solutions provider Bazaarvoice, 64 percent of the 133 CMOs surveyed plan to increase social media spending in 2010. More important, 72 percent of marketers who currently are not attaching revenue to social media initiatives plan to do so in 2010 and many expect up to a 10 percent impact on revenue.

"2010 will be the year where the first CMOs lose their jobs for not embracing social media," says Pete Krainik, founder of The CMO Club. Marketers have historically been the experts on the needs and wants of the customer. Social media, however, has fundamentally changed how they gain that knowledge. "We've got focus groups going on 24/7, 365 days a year," he says, emphasizing that the traditional, structured focus groups are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Marketers need to be where their consumers are and the majority (80 percent) of respondents report using customer insight to drive decisions at the executive level. That means, unfortunately, there's still a substantive group-i.e., one-fifth of companies-that still don't formally use consumer input.

Founded in 2006, The CMO Club consists of approximately 1200 chief marketing officers who gather at CMO-only dinners, in online networks, and at conferences to share insight and best practices. In his conversations with marketers, Krainik identified three key motivations for marketers aiming to enhance their social media strategy:

  • lead growth agenda for company;
  • know more about their customers than any of its competitors; and
  • add more value to their customers.

Therefore, these goals, while not different from the typical CMO job description, will be unmet should marketers continue to ignore social media. In 2009, social media was in its "trial run," as the report calls it. Only 36 percent of CMOs report measuring social media's impact on conversion, and only 22 percent connects that impact to corporate revenue. Nevertheless, marketers are aware of the imperative to connect social media to their business goals, with conversion ranking as a top metric, along side site traffic, for 2010.

For those who are measuring the performance of their social media strategy, the top metrics were:

  • site traffic (90 percent);
  • number of page views (85 percent); and
  • number of fans (83 percent).

While social media's prevelance is unquestionable, at least half of the marketers admit they are still "unsure about their return" on popular channels such as:

  • Twitter (53 percent);
  • LinkedIn (50 percent); and
  • blogs (50 percent).

Where marketers are finding more concrete benefits is through customer ratings and reviews, which speak to the fact that 59 percent plan to increase their use of this resource.

Assuming 2010 will be the year social media becomes measurable in marketing, Krainik is confident that by 2011, social media will become an enterprise-wide resource. "The CIO, CFO, head of sales, head of product are all going to have social networking ROI metrics," he says. However, Krainik points out the fact that it's not being proficient at social media that's necessarily going to help executives keep their jobs. It's the results. "They're not going to be fired specifically because they didn't use social media," he says. "They're going to be fired because they're not delivering and their competitors will blow them away."

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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