The use of social media as a marketing tactic has shot up dramatically in the last two years, according to an online survey of B2C and B2B marketers. Moreover, marketers have shifted from using social media channels primarily for brand building and now use them as a tool for driving awareness and interest in their products and services.
This despite the fact that marketers also cite as a top concern an inability to prove ROI and having metrics to properly allocate the mix of traditional and digital media. And, interestingly, although roughly half said they are planning to spend less on marketing this year, a majority said they are actually planning to spend more on new media platforms.
The survey, which included 172 marketers and was conducted in June, is an update a survey conducted two years ago by BtoB magazine and the Association of National Advertisers. In the updated survey, 66 percent of the marketers said they were using social media, compared to 20 percent of respondents in 2007. Among B2B marketers, the number is 57 percent, up from just 15 percent in 2007.
Two years ago 65 percent of respondents said their main objective in using social media was to build brand. Today that percentage has dropped to 51 percent, while using social media to generate demand has increased from 10 percent to 30 percent overall. Among B2B marketers, the percentage is even higher at 47 percent.
So why are marketers flocking to new social media despite an uncertain economy, admitted concern over how to allocate and measure, and why is the use of social channels evolving so drastically?
I’m sure we could have some great discussions around it. But in a nutshell, smart marketers have realized that the ultimate goal of marketing is to drive someone toward measurable lifetime customer value. To do that, marketers must create relationships that benefit both the customers and the company. The rise of online social networking means that it's the buyers, not the marketers, who define their brands today. And social channels invite them to define the kinds of marketing they will receive. Successful marketers are evolving with their customers, going where they are, and providing them with opportunities to participate in dialogues and interact with their brands.