The only social media marketing efforts that matter for major brands are those that become integrated with marcom - both the marketing and communications programs (don't call them "campaigns") and integrated into the internal marcom teams, themselves. You can't outsource all of social media. And you cannot apply social media as an afterthought on top of an bigger marcom program. The multiplier effect of social media-based word of mouth programs integrated with traditional marcom is where it's at:
- many types of social media add credibility to all communications
- social media programs can improve the performace of advertising
- you combine the deeper engagement of social media and the reach of traditional media (paid and earned) for a bigger result
- marketing and communications teams gain valuable skills that need to reside within the organization via social media
This last point is worth some attention. Marcom teams are at the early stages of a tansformation like that of the newspaper business: radical scaling down towards a new business model. The big difference is whether marcom is on the brink of the big scale-down or just a shift in emphasis away from interuptive advertising and towards relationship building and digital.
Every year the advertising pundits comment on the limited spend overall in digital. They are only tracking paid media spend but still it remains a barometer of where marketers are comfortable working. Compared to consumer behavior, we are "underspending" in digital. There is some truth there but not even the experts can agree on just what role "digital" - however you define that - plays in the marketing mix. Trying to treat the many digital platforms out there as just more channels for messaging devalues the true potential. Part of the growth of digital and social media marketing hinges on understanding new complexity. The UK reports that digital budgets are about 1/5 of overall ad spend in that market.
Social Media Spend to Reach 15% of ALL Marcom?
What if that jumped to 40-50 percent in the UK and NA markets by 2010? More importantly, what if your competitor shifted there marketing investment thataways? And what if their non-paid digital spend went from 3-5% to 15%? (e.g. if the paid media spend overall was $20m per year, then the non-paid digial that was $600K is now $3m) Confidence, competence and capacity is growing to make that possible. That's what marketers need to focus on - transforming their marcom organizations to think, plan and execute digitally. 'Social media' is the biggest change to come along in marcom in the past few years. The measurement models are getting there. Our own Conversation Impact will surface at this year's ARF in June. We are developing models that apply some of the logic of managing customer relationships to managing influencer relationships (not to mention influencers who are customers).
These advances in acountablity will boost CMO's confidence in social media-based programs. It will support their decisions to do more with social media after the initial enthusiasm for "jumping in the conversation" gives way to the business need for demonstrable results.
Read Write Web covered a recent Forrester survey that concluded that marketers will spend more on social media. They made a key point about marketers who incrementally skooch up their token social media experimentation budget:
"Unfortunately though, marketers who still fund social media projects only as experiments may be putting future initiatives on shaky ground. Without concentrating on measurable objectives, it will be difficult to justify further investment in the future."
Are you ready for the increased role of social media in the marcom mix?