Now, there’s a study that helps to sum it all up.
The latest CMO Survey from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and the American Marketing Association (AMA) found that CMOs are increasingly relying on social media in their overall marketing strategies. More specifically:
Social media spending is on the rise. The 249 CMOs polled said they intend to increase their current level of spending on social media from its current level of 7.1 percent of their overall marketing budget to 10.1 percent over the next year. What’s more, they expect to see this number rise to 17.5 percent in the next five years. B2C marketing of a product reported the greatest anticipated increase over five years — to 24 percent of the overall marketing budget. That number currently is 10.5 percent.
Marketing budgets overall are on the rise, too. Despite economic indicators that are less than rosy, survey respondents said they expect marketing budgets to increase 9.1 percent, and companies plan a 7.2 percent increase in marketing hires over the next 12 months. The latter figure is up from 6.2 percent when asked the same question in February 2011.
Social media integration continues to be a challenge. On a scale of 1-7, with one being “not integrated at all” and seven being “very integrated,” almost a quarter of marketers (22.3 percent ) selected “one” to describe how well their company’s social media is integrated with the firm’s overall strategy.
Even social media integration within marketing is a challenge. Using that same 1-7 scale, 6.9 percent selected “one” for this question. Only 9.1 percent chose “seven” for social media being integrated within the company’s strategy (the average was 3.4) and 12.8 percent selected “seven” for the marketing strategy (the average was 4.0).
“Social media is fast becoming an important strategic weapon in company arsenals and has proven to be a valuable tool in acquiring and engaging customers,” said Christine Moorman, the T. Austin Finch Senior Professor of Business Administration at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and the director of The CMO Survey. “Effective use of social media is no longer an option for companies — it is a requirement. Going forward, companies which most effectively deploy social media will be best positioned to serve their client bases, particularly as digitally-savvy customers assume a greater percentage of buying power.”
A big part of effectively deploying social media will be integrating it with other marketing processes. Messages must be consistent across channels, and the digital data needs to be measured, analyzed and incorporated into CRM strategies.
“Social media is not an add-on or after-thought,” Moorman added. “However, until executives understand social media well, it is difficult for them to think strategically through the lens of social media. This will take time.”
The CMO Survey is conducted two times per year, in August and February. More results are available at www.cmosurvey.org/results.