For about 5 years I’ve been following a half dozen surveys about the investment in social media. All of them say the same thing:
- Spending on social marketing is up and continues to rise.
- Integration of social marketing into the overall program is lacking. (According to the 2013 Duke University CMO Survey, only 3.4 percent of B2B companies claiming their social media activity is integrated into their current programs.)
- Less than 30 percent of marketing executives actually ask for, much less use the data gathered from their social marketing effort.
- Marketing executives are finding it difficult to quantify the results
But one study I found this month brought up something very interesting that demonstrate why the final three bullets are problematic. The customer focus is completely off.
Engage Sciences, a company providing social analytics services, discovered that most companies put 75
percent of their resources developing content directed at potential new customers, about 20 percent into branding and less than 5 percent into engaging with rabid advocates of their product. Makes sense under conventional wisdom. You spend money on advertising, market collateral, trade shows and that’s where you find new customers, right? Not according to their study.
Almost 100 percent of all new business comes from recommendations from the rabid advocates. around 4 percent comes from branding efforts and less than 1 percent comes from traditional marketing efforts. What can we learn from this? Perhaps…
- All the money invested in traditional marketing is pretty much a waste of time because it is not directed at the most valuable source of new business?
- Social marketing, where you can best reach and engage with your best marketing assets, is still poorly understood and woefully mismanaged?
- B2B companies are clueless about marketing?
Maybe all three.
There is a simple fix for this. First, you don’t really need to invest any more money in social media, but you should probably invest more in analytics and then pay attention to what they say.
Second, you need to change how you create your content for ALL of your marketing. The emphasis should be on providing solid data, not marketing messages, that your advocates can run with. Start answering the questions the market is asking, rather than tell them the same tired superficialities that everyone else says.
At Footwasher Media, our primary work is showing clients that 20th century marketing doesn’t work in the 21st; that potential customers now have the ability to completely ignore the marketing messages you’ve worked out on whiteboards in committees or out of the fevered mind of the CEO; that they have the ability to connect directly with current customers without ever leaving the comfort of their office chair and discover the holes in those messages; and companies have more opportunities to discover their real worth.
Marketing executives and CEOs that cut their teeth in the business world before 2005 need to learn how to communicate with their market all over again. If they don’t have the time to do that, they need to bring people in who understand how it works and let them do their jobs.