66% Of Surveyed Companies Plan Budget Shift To Social Media

Social EngagementSo Alterian released the seventh annual, yes I said SEVENTH, Social Media Marketing Survey.

It comes as no surprise that more companies are shifting the budget to Search and Social Media, but it’s always fun to look at the numbers and then give my ever so observant opinion about what I think they mean.  Yes I know, you all hang out around your computers waiting for the witty and insightful words that stream from my blog posts, pleeeaasssee.

One of the most impressive points made in the report is where the money is being taken from.  I figured I would see most money shift from traditional print media.  But instead 40% were shifting 1/5th of their Direct Marketing budget over to Social Media?  I have to say, I’m not sure I understand this, an dit’s entirely possible I misunderstand it but Direct Marketing is usual a very accountable marketing medium, you only do it if it’s profitable, so why take money from it, take it from less accountable mediums.  You know the ones that tell you to advertise for a loooooonnnnggg time, because it’s the only way to see results.  They’re the same ones who have all your money before you realize the money you spent was wasted.

I digress!

Another really great point was that 57% of surveyed companies were planning on investing in engaging personalities to be their online voice that starts and continues conversations online.  I think this is a great move, if these personalities are given the freedom to truly engage.  Typically for larger companies this is pretty scary stuff, they tend to want everything to go through the PR department.  But the fact the companies are thinking beyond the box is hopeful.

The talent pool is growing as well, with layoffs in the journalism world there are great writers that can start to build careers as Engagement Creators. By the way I’m claiming that term!  I don’t want to see someone at a party attributing it to Steve Jobs, Seth Godin or Gary Vanerchuk.

For those of you that wish this whole process of social media was simple, well you’re not the only one.  In fact, 70% or respondents work with 3 or more vendors to make Social Marketing happen.

The lesson here is that Social Marketing has a cost. That cost is staff, experts and services which sub in for advertising costs you would have other wise spent. Unless you can get Meekakitty(youtube) to promote your product for free.

The report insightfully notes that Social Marketing needs to evolve, you can’t have 5 managers, controlling relationships with multiple vendors to create one on one experiences and engagements.  A sort of integration needs to occur, but the industry is to young, traditional marketing vendors don’t know how to co-ordinate the efforts for their clients efficiently yet.  All this is true, but also waiting in the wings for the best solutions leaves the door open for competitors to walk in and steal the next generation of consumers.

I don’t have the answer either, but  you can bet I’ll be thinking of one.

One such solution is the Customer Engagement Agency, they co-ordinate creative, data, media, delivery and technology as describe by Alterian. The term seems to have caught on, a quick Google search shows several agencies building offerings around the concept.

The report also mentions companies are having trouble finding good agencies to handle online and offline marketing.  Hmmm, no surprise there.  I would imagine the marketing agency are having trouble figuring it out themselves.  There’s a shift in thinking between to two methods of marketing, mass message vs micro message.  I can’t imagine a company being excellent at both.  It’s like a passenger airplane company being great at co-ordinating a taxi company.  Both are transportation but require unique skill sets to run efficiently.

I’m not going to go through the whole report.  You can read it directly from them and get it from the horses mouth.  But my key theme I want mention is social media has become a common place marketing avenue.  When Facebook holds more consumers than the United States Population you better sit up and notice.  Basically, you have a large nation of cross border users all communicating within a single medium.  That’s big, really big!

98 million people watched the last Superbowl, 1.6 million walk through Times Square daily, Facebook has 400 million users engaging daily.  Maybe this Social Media thing will catch on after all?

As Jean Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise was so fond of saying, ENGAGE!

You can download the report at: Alterian Annual Social Media Survey

We would love to hear your thoughts.