Tuesday, September 9, 2008

CMOs Bang the Social Media Drum

In no way was I an early adopter of social media.

At Strategic Communications Group (Strategic), we introduced content about executive blogging on our Web site a few years back, yet there was limited client interest. And even more limited budgets allocated to fund social media-related programs.

That changed in the spring of 2007…big time! Social media is by far the fastest growing segment of our business. We are fortunate to be working with a set of innovative companies – such as British Telecom (BT), GovDelivery, Epok, TARP and Voxant -- to execute campaigns that include a social media component.

We believe social media work will represent 70 percent of our business this time next year. However, according to the findings of the recent Epsilon CMO survey we may need to be even more bullish in our projections.

Based on interviews with 175 senior marketing leaders in the US, the survey organizers reported that nearly two-thirds said their interactive/digital marketing budgets have increased in the past year. The more popular interactive and digital channels that marketers said they are keen to start experimenting with are:

-social computing (42%), which includes word-of-mouth, social-networking sites and viral advertising
-blogs (35%)
-podcasting (31%)
-mobile devices (29%), which include phones and PDAs

The take-away for public relations professionals is clear: by continuing to enhance our expertise in social media we can provide a greater return on a PR investment, as well as foster a deeper connection with the marketing organization.

CMOs Up Digital, Cut Traditional


Anonymous said...

We are a different sort of animal--a nonprofit with the vision of regional economic development with an integrated quality of life emphasis. Because this involves every aspect of life in a region--not just business recruitment and retention-- we adopted a viral marketing/social media model from launch (1.5 years ago). We combine this with targeted viral marketing and earned media, but no placed media. I think this is working, and I also think that this approach is consistent with the goals of the organization--kind of "forces" our target audiences within the region (i.e., nearly everyone) to participate in what's going on if they want to learn more.

I would love to learn more about how CMOs et al. are successfully employing social media and viral marketing, as well as adopting new technologies effectively (i.e., Twitter).
Jennifer, thrivehere.org

Larry said...

Marketing execs will do well to continue to explore social media channels. But before jumping in with both feet and a checkbook, they must understand the inherent differences between this new model and more traditional marketing strategies.

To illustrate the point, let's go back to the mid 1990s when first generation websites began sprouting like dandelions in May. These newbie.coms were very often just repurposed content from brochures and other print media. While this tactic certainly ensured consistency of brand and message, it did nothing to leverage the unique characteristics of the web -- interactivity, personalization, immediacy, etc.

Likewise, it is a mistake to simply repurpose and repackage existing marketing content to fuel the new social channels. While a brand's personality and message should always form the backbone of any marketing communications, success in social media demands new thinking, new tactics -- and yes, new content -- to encourage customer affinity, engagement and conversation. At its heart social media is what consumers tell friends about their favorite brands, not what marketers tell their customers.