Thursday, October 08, 2009

Great Global Conversation: Some Still Tongue-Tied

eMarketer recently ran a fascinating article about a study released in 2009 that confirms the findings of the Makovsky 2006 State of Corporate Blogging Survey … with one important difference: the growth in the number of people who view the social media as an important factor in lead generation. It’s actually a little surprising, given the rapidity with which even B2B marketers are picking up on social media techniques.

Here are a few highlights from MarketingSherpa’s Social Media Marketing and PR Benchmark Guide 2009:

• A significant majority of social media marketing professionals believe that social media marketing is either “very” or “somewhat” effective at influencing brand reputation, increasing awareness and improving search rankings and site traffic.

• Marketers believe that the best specific tactics are user reviews, relationships with bloggers and discussion groups — but they also find those tactics difficult to measure. Only 1 in 10 report that they are “very accurately measured.”

• While only 13% of smaller businesses have a written policy to manage brand communications, a third of larger businesses do.

• About a quarter of businesses of all sizes report not monitoring social media commentary at all and only tiny minorities of businesses post public rebuttals to negative comments.

Clearly, marketers are still struggling to come to terms with the fact that social media marketing requires ongoing attention and can backfire if you just parachute in, parachute out. If businesses continue to think social media is just one more place to grab eye-balls during discrete campaigns, they will be sorely disappointed by the ROI and, more importantly, may have to answer for the advantages gained by competitors who are viewed as more transparent and, therefore, more trustworthy.

What’s more, it seems clear that social media marketers still have not fully figured out how to use this approach to communication and conversation to pull people through the marketing funnel. If we should become experts in one thing over 2009, it is the marketing funnel. Once one understands the sociology behind the rise of social media and the science of the marketing funnel, the sky’s the limit in engaging people in ways that raise awareness AND consideration AND action.

Technorati Tags: eMarketer, social media, social media marketing, B2B marketers, bloggers, business, Makovsky

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