Social Media Marketing Trends

In January and February of this year, Anderson Analytics conducted an online survey of 1,800 members of the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) to get their take on various marketing trends. The study sought their views on industry buzzwords, geographic/demographic focus, and social media strategy.

Here’s what the 533 respondents (30%) had to say about social media.

Social Media marketing officially made the top-10 list for the first time this year, coming in at number eight at 42% behind Marketing ROI (58%), Customer Retention (53%), Brand Loyalty (53%), Positioning/Differentiation (52%), Branding (50%), Customer Satisfaction and increased customer experience (49%), and Mobile Marketing (44%).

The Anderson study shows that the importance of social media is nearly undisputed; about 70% of marketers are planning new social media initiatives in 2010. But while social media is viewed as even more important now than last year, it also remains a point of frustration; one of the “buzz words marketers are most tired of hearing”. This year, marketing executives’ frustration with Web 2.0 terms became more specific, focusing more on “Social Media” and specifically “Twitter”.

Overall, marketing executives said they are more likely to rely on internal employees than outside firms for their social media initiatives. Companies that are going outside for help with their social media strategy and implementation are much more likely to look to social media consultants and, to a lesser degree, interactive agencies than to Ad or PR firms.

(Among the various target demographics, MENG members still feel that Boomers represent the single most important group, followed by women and Hispanics. The overall importance of different demographics has not changed significantly since last year.)

Overall, marketing executives are much more optimistic than they were this time last year and their 2010 budgets still favor offline slightly (45% online vs. 55% offline). Smaller companies, the study found, are much more likely to favor online and plan to invest almost half of their marketing budget online in 2010 (48% vs. 30% at large companies)

More than 70% of the marketers surveyed work for companies that are planning new social media initiatives in 2010. Though social media is one of the buzzwords marketing executives are most tired of hearing, they realize its importance and are determining how to best leverage it for their companies this year.
The study found that individual marketers are more likely to maintain a presence on social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube. Companies are more likely to maintain a blog.  Marketers at smaller companies are more likely to have a personal blog. Large companies are more likely to have a presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and MySpace. Smaller companies rely more on LinkedIn.

And, when selecting a vendor for their company’s social media initiatives, marketing executives’ top four selection criteria are examples of previous work, recommendations, quality of response to RFP and cost. Different from general business consultants, influence over a target market and the extent of their network are important factors when selecting social media consultants. You can download the complete study on Anderson Analytics.


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