When marketers tend to be laggards as it relates to the new world of social media, it isn’t that they can’t see the solution; it is they are unable to recognize the opportunity.
Alterian, a company that specializes in integrated marketing platforms on behalf of its clients (e.g., T-Mobile, Pizza Hut, Harley Davidson, etc.), just published their 8th Annual Survey about brand engagement. At the end of the year they collected feedback from 1,500 Marketers, Agencies and Marketing Services Providers (MSP). Key findings that stood out for me:
• Seven in ten respondents have little understanding of their brand’s social media conversations.
• One third of the respondents indicated that their company’s website’s main focus serves as a brochure; only 11% of the companies surveyed had an element of engagement built in.
• Nearly two thirds indicated they were not comfortable in the area of analytics.
• When taking all factors into consideration (budgets, resources, time management, etc.), three fourths indicated that their brand was at risk for not being engaged with their customers as they should be – 57% of the respondents plan to take action to rectify what they believe is a problem.
Candidly I am not surprised by the above findings. Over the past two years, every time I engage with my peers about social media, I usually field the standard query: “Great Jim, but what is the ROI?” Valid question! I admit it is difficult to tie social media initiatives back to increased sales. However, marketers need to recognize that metrics are morphing thanks to social media and when the dust settles the one measurement that will remain constant is increased customer retention/profitability. Consequently, the new class of companies that are being labeled networked enterprises are utilizing social web technologies to enhance their current CRM initiatives. Remember, the end result is still all about achieving a transaction. Social CRM now facilitates customer interaction/engagement that leads to long-term customer retention.
Conversations about your brand are happening whether you’re participating in them or not. Are you going to begin formulating your plans to engage and seize the opportunity in 2011 or are you going to be late to the party?