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Study Shows Social Media Marketing is Popular But Funds Not Allocated

Coremetrics has revealed the results of their second annual Face of the New Marketer survey. The results show that social media marketing is quickly gaining popularity as a way to gain a competitive edge. However, companies appear to be very reluctant to allocate funds towards the effort.

Coremetrics surveyed 116 senior marketing professionals during the third quarter of 2007. They asked these marketers which social marketing tools and activities they were using or intended to use, and how much of their time and budget is spent on social media as opposed to traditional marketing activities.

The study’s results show that the use of Web 2.0 or social media marketing tools, defined as “user generated content (including reviews), RSS feeds, podcasts and wikis” are becoming “more important parts of a complete online marketing program.” However, while most of the respondents recognize this trend and are eager to participate, very few have the budget allocated to perform those marketing activities.

More specifically, Coremetrics said that the findings included the following:

“A clear disconnect between the desirability of social marketing and the budget allocated to it:

— 78% of respondents see social media marketing as a way to gain competitive edge, but only 7.75% of total online marketing spend is devoted to it.
— This compares with an average of 33% of spend going to online advertising and 28% to online promotion design and implementation

However, progress is being made in the field:
— 58% of respondents have implemented user generated content or reviews in the past year
— 31% of respondents have implemented a blog in the past year
— 25% of respondents have implemented an RSS feed in the past year

The study results showed that most marketing folks have plans to implement a social media marketing program, even if it’s not within the next twelve months. Of those marketers, the majority of them recognize the need to implement or improve their social marketing programs. Apparently there’s a lack of tools and expertise–this was apparently their biggest challenges.
— 50% of respondents plan to implement user generated content or reviews
— 22% of respondents plan to implement a blog
— 20% intend to implement social networks, and another 20% plan to implement an RSS feed

Other notable findings included the fact that it’s not just social marketing activity objectives that are misaligned with time and budget allocation:
— Search Engine Optimization (SEO) was ranked as the number one priority over nine other choices, including email campaigns and online analytics, but ranked only fourth in terms of both time and budget allocation
— Email campaigns continue to demand most of a marketer’s time (22% on average), while the biggest portion of budgets (33% on average) go to online advertising. This is despite the fact that SEO was consistently ranked as the #1 priority
— Online promotion design and implementation was ranked as relatively unimportant, (#5 of 9) but comes in third in terms of both time and budget allocation, ahead of SEO, online campaign analytics and email marketing programs, among others

One of the reasons why funds might not be allocated for social media marketing campaigns is the fact that social media marketing is new–and many might not be convinced that social media marketing will bring any ROI. While search engine optimization is important, the SEOs and online marketers that “get it” now are focusing more of their attention on social media as a pre-cursor to SEO.

There may be great content on the web site but if no one knows that it’s there then how are they going to link to it? Links bring better search engine rankings. Social media marketing enhances search engine optimization.

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