Gartner for Marketing Leaders has recently published its Social Marketing survey for 2013 based on marketers interview of 50 large U.S.-based companies (average revenue $5.1 billion) in seven industries (financial services and insurance, high-tech, manufacturing, consumer products, media, retail, and healthcare) to understand their future social marketing plans.
The survey shows that although the social marketing activities are yet to be fully explored, digital marketers have already rolled up their sleeves and are focused on consistently generating valuable and engaging content, generating leads, and coordinating in-house and external resources.
Content is King: Gartner’s 2013 U.S. Digital Marketing Spending Survey found that investments in content creation and social marketing totaled 21% of digital marketing budgets. Forty-seven percent of survey respondents see content creation and curation as the top role of their social marketing teams.
Content includes the text used in blog posts and syndicated messages; images, including infographics, photography, drawings, cartoons and line art; videos, slideshows, podcasts, e-books, white papers, and more. Social marketers create original content and curate third-party content. Gartner sees some brands creating their own newsroom-style publishing process to keep pace with social communities. Still 36% rely heavily on agencies and specialty marketing service providers to outsource it to fill the gap. Also, 38% of respondents say social marketing results in leads and fund their social programs.
Gartner’s social media survey performed year after year continually shows that the top reasons for businesses investing in social media is for improving customer relationships. The top reasons for investing in social media are the following:
1. Strengthen Relationship with Customer
2. Enhance Brand Awareness or Brand Preference
3. Share Information and Ideas With Customers, Suppliers and Partners
4. Establish Interactive Relationship With Customers
5. Increase Organization’s Revenue Through New Products, Customers
This is a significant finding for marketing organizations because it shows that the top five reasons for investing in social media for companies are certainly under marketing’s purview. In addition, these specific marketing purposes and use cases can ultimately be connected to an actual business benefit: Revenue from customers.
While investments and growth in social marketing is assured during the next two years, the ultimate success of social will depend on how well marketers can accelerate through the inevitable social expectation bust and make social marketing projects more than just “engagement” objectives and actually tie social activities to clear and measurable business objectives. Far too many companies are still following the hype of “social” and have created or participated in social media without a plan.
Download Social Marketing Survey findings from Gartner from here.