Booz & Company, the global management consulting firm, and Buddy Media, the social enterprise software leader, today released new research, “Campaigns to Capabilities: Social Media and Marketing 2011,” which reveals insights into how leading companies are transforming their marketing capabilities as social media plays an expanding role in advertising and branding efforts.
While there has been considerable research into the tactics brands are pursuing in social media, the Booz & Company/Buddy Media research focuses on the capability priorities, key areas for investment, the evolving role of partners, and major issues related to organization, talent and metrics that companies are confronting vis-à-vis social media. The research is based on quantitative and qualitative input from more than 100 leading companies.
Several key themes emerged from the Booz & Company/Buddy Media study:
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are the cornerstones of most social media strategies – 94% of respondents regard Facebook as one of their top 3 social media platform priorities. 77% view Twitter as one of their top 3 social media platform priorities; 42% say YouTube is one of their top 3 social media platform priorities.
Leadership of social media is concentrated in the marketing function – 81% of respondents said that the marketing department is responsible for social media. 35% of companies have a dedicated head of social media. 50% of respondents said they believe that this role is critical to social media success. And while social media is squarely on the functional agenda of senior marketers – 38% say that social media is CEO-level priority for their companies.
Advertising, PR and customer service are where companies are capturing the greatest benefits from social media – 96% of respondents said they are using social media for “advertising and promotions.” 88% said PR, and 75% said customer service. When asked where they see the most benefit from social media, 90% said “brand building,” 89% said “interactivity,” 88% said “buzz building”, and 81% said “consumer insights.”
Companies are exploring the value of social media outside of marketing … but this is still early in development – outside of marketing, PR and customer service, 56% of respondents are using social media to support market research, 40% for product development efforts and 24% are using it for internally focused communications to employees. While today the biggest benefits are associated with marketing, 48% are using social media for sales and commerce. And 38% have metrics in place to track this kind of transaction value (e.g., sales, leads generated).
Brand measures such as reach and engagement/participation are the key focus areas for metrics – 88% of marketers are tracking the reach of their social media efforts while in parallel they are closely monitoring engagement as well as participation. 81% are looking to measure social media’s impact on advocacy. 90% of respondents believe that social metrics need to be tailored and adapted to campaign specific needs. 97% have or are building their own in-house dashboards to monitor performance.
Content development, community management and data/analytics are the critical priorities for capability development and investment – 96% of respondents say they expect to be increasing their investments in capabilities related to social media. 57% are concentrating their efforts on hiring new people. What kinds of people investments are they making? 72% are planning to invest in creative and editorial talent; 59% are targeting community management; and 43% plan to upgrade their analytical resources.
Marketers expect to increase their spending on social media; social media in turn will become a larger share of marketers’ digital spending – today 89% of respondents said social media counts for less than 10% of overall digital marketing spend. In 2014, only 45% of respondents expect social to account for less than 10% of their digital budget. 28% believe social will grow to be 20% or more of their digital budgets. 79% say funding for social media will come out of their digital budgets versus other media (e.g., TV, print, radio).
“As social media grows in importance, leading companies are recognizing they need to shift their focus from campaigns to capabilities, and in doing so they are actively transforming their model for marketing from one of ‘brand management’ to ‘brand curation’,” said Christopher Vollmer, Partner and Leader of Booz & Company’s Media and Entertainment Practice.
“This new model is more dynamic and real-time, but also more iterative as well as content- and people-intensive. Specifically, it requires marketers to develop deeper capabilities in content development to connect with target consumers, in community management to manage, grow and activate audiences, and in data-driven insights to analyze consumer behavior and measure impact.”
“Every day we see the power of social media to power connections between brands and consumers,” said Michael Lazerow, founder and CEO, Buddy Media. “For brands marketers, choosing not to connect is simply no longer an option. We are at an inflection point where marketers will invest more in social as their marketing capabilities become stronger, pervasive and more tailored to the needs of social. We must continue to research and share best practices with the entire industry, so we can all move forward in the right direction.”
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