Fifty percent of corporations surveyed in Forrester Research’s Social Media Playtime is Over report are increasing social media spending in the face of the recession. But that’s far from the point of the report, released today.
Three-quarters of those surveyed who knew their budgets said they allowed for $100,000 or less for social media tools over a 12-month period, according to the report, written by Forrester analyst Jeremiah K. Owyang. And they are not integrating social media into their overall marketing strategy. Instead, they are “experimenting” with isolated tactics and hoping that they will take the place of long-term strategy.
Furthermore, Owyang notes, social media is more of an after-thought than a marketing line item. “45-percent of marketers say their social budgets are determined as needed and 23-percent say they scrape together funds from wherever they can find them.”
“Our data shows that marketers intend to invest more in social media but have yet to justify substantial budgets. If you continue to fund social applications only as experiments, you’re unlikely to be able to do enough to make an impact or to have a secure source of funding for the future. One way to put these efforts on a firmer footing is to concentrate on objectives and measure progress toward those objectives, rather than just experimenting to see what happens….Without concentrating on measurable objectives, it will be difficult to justify further investment in the future.”
“…As one of the few marketing budget items increasing during a recession, social media marketing needs to be taken seriously and treated as a corporate asset. To be successful, social media marketing must be managed as long-term programs, not short-term experiments. To succeed, make sure you have dedicated resources in place, including both social media strategists and community managers,” writes Owyang.
Unfortunately, many social media strategists are still confronting conversations like this one, recently reported to me by a fellow social media strategist:
CMO: “We want you to get bloggers to write about our site and generate 250K monthly visits through their posts.”
Agency: What is your demographic? What is your goal for that traffic?
CMO: “We want them to spend money on the site, and we want to see how much traffic social media can generate.”
Agency:: What support will you give to your “experiment”? Does your budget include search engine optimization? PR? Google advertising? Company blog? Advertising on targeted blogs? A forum? An interactive website? Content sponsorship? Sponsored blog posts? Videos? Print advertising? Email campaign?
CMO: “Those cost money. We don’t have budget available for any of those”.
Agency:: Who on your staff has this campaign as his/her full-time responsibility?
Agency:: What other marketing tools can we employ? Can we create a blog? Facebook page? Flickr group? YouTube videos? Twitter? Can we participate in social networks including Friend Feed and other online communities?
CMO: “Our legal department says we cannot allow people to write on the wall on our Facebook pages. We can’t participate in Twitter because everything we say has to pass through legal first and approval can take several days. So any site where we are expected to engage in public conversation would be out.”
As the Forrester study indicates, until the corporate side of that conversation changes. not much else will. In other words, companies need to KISS.
Posted by B.L. Ochman
Josh Bernoff, Tom Cummings, and Emily Bowen also contributed to the Forrester Social Media Playtime is Over report. ($749)
Cartoon by Hugh Macleod
Why is the agency trying to sell tactics rather than discussing a sustained permanent benefit the CMO will realise by working with them?
I’m not surprised the CMO wasn’t interested, the above conversation doesn’t show any return on investment.
@comcastcares is an example of a positive ROI – they’re diffusing a huge amount of blogger complaints online. But I don’t see too many in social media just yet.
I think the agency was trying to explain that no one tactic would be able to work alone, and that a variety of tactics would need to be incoporated into a marketing strategy that could bring sustained benefit.
Interesting that you see it differently.
Very interesting Adrain Bye. Looks like you didn’t what was said in article.
You call them tactics. I call it plan, strategise, leverage, optimise or their wasting time and money.
You can’t play transparent with social media and then expect to control the masses with..
“We can’t participate in Twitter because everything we say has to pass through legal first and approval..”
I can see it now..
Twitter comment..”going to meeting..”
“I must first talk to my legal representatives and then, if I am ALLOWED to tell you..I will..”
The Agency, higlighted very important points.
1. What’s the objective.
2. What’s the strategy.
3. What tools one is given to use e.g. twitter, facebook etc etc..
4. When the wave kicks in, what support you have to facilitate this and not run like headless chickens and cry, “Oh, we didn’t expect we’d get this much response..”
And optimise, in giving the suppport to your team, the resources, technology, system and…to also provide a high quality service, support to the customers online?
5. How you going to measure the results to optimise and do better, and study the behaviour as well, why it’s happening to create more growth?
They had no idea for 1-2-3-4 -5
Hence, they might as well not bother.
Definitley, I’d say to them….KISS.
Though you have not specifically cited the client in your CMO/Agency example, I suspect that this is just as bad as the Ketchum PR snafu: http://shankman.com/be-careful-what-you-post/
The thing is, Social media is not a twitter account, a facebook page, or a flickr group. And there are no ground rules for using any of these applications. Twitter has been successful without “conversation” and forums/communities have thrived without admin presence. And bloggers DO write about websites without explicit incentive. SEO is a joke and PR belongs in the 90s.
Seriously, print advertising? Sponsored blog posts? A social media strategist is suggesting these funded channels?
The “CMO” knows exactly what social media is, and is well aware of the power to lower CPCs and increased engagement. But he understands that we do not live in a ideal business setting with freedom of expression and unlimited budgets.
There is so much coming out now in the way of reports, news articles, blog posts, etc. about what I call the “implosion” of social media. Social media outlets exploded onto the scene and now “marketers” seem to be the buzzkill as they blast these conversation locations with marketing speak.
Many marketing and business professionals have recently decided they need a “social media strategy”. I think what the Forrester Report and many of the other pieces being written are really illustrating is that marketers need to start thinking of social media outlets as tools to use and not an overall strategy and budget line item.
In the greater scheme of marketing department responsibilities choosing to spend money on social media tools just for the sack of trying something that everyone else is trying is rather silly.
The strategic direction CMOs and Agencies should be considering is how to stop marketing “at” people with ads and marketing messages and how to interact “with” people. For too long marketing and PR have focused only on talking at people–people are too smart for this now. People (consumers of all kinds) are far more impressed by real conversation that may be about a company’s market space or product types but isn’t self-serving marketing and sales speak.
I use a number of social media tools both personally and professionally and I am hoping someone will soon come out with a fabulous spam filter for them–I’m tired of seeing what are essentially advertisements in the forums, chat rooms, user communities and social interaction online locations.
Christine – absolutely, social media tools are merely PART of a marketing campaign – and a strategy is needed for incorporating them in a meaningful way. that’s what this post, the post about KISS, and 99 out of 100 other posts on this blog are about. I agree with you about the social media spam. It comes, however, from people who don’t understand the need for strategy.
Matt: You make the very big assumption that only one company and one agency could have the conversation detailed in the post. Sadly, there are many companies and many agencies having the exact same issues. “SEO is a joke and PR belongs in the 90s.” Oy vey!
Adam – I can tell you’d be fun to know. :>) Followed you on Twitter today.