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Friday, 22 January 2010 11:42

Social media the new focus for marketing professionals

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There’s a big move on by marketing professionals in Australian companies, and worldwide, to invest in social media over the next 12-months to avoid falling behind competitors, with many professionals seeing social media as increasingly important or critical to their business success.

In the annual Alterian global survey of marketing professionals released today, it was revealed that of 1,068 professionals surveyed worldwide, 66 percent of respondents said they will be investing in Social Media Marketing (SMM) in the next 12 months.

And, in Australia Alterian’s senior vice president Asia Pacific, Chris Tew, said Australian companies must invest in social media marketing in 2010 or “risk being left behind by their competitors.”

 The Alterian survey found that of those investing in SMM, 40 percent said they would be shifting more than a fifth of their traditional direct marketing budget towards funding their SMM activities, which the research firm says supports other statistics from the survey which found the majority of respondents (67 percent) feel social media is either ‘increasingly important’ or ‘critical to success’.

Tew said 2010 marked the start of the digital decade for marketing.

“Untargeted and irrelevant marketing techniques are now redundant and the results of this survey show many in the industry recognise this. The one thing to remember, however, is that investment in Social Media Marketing is futile without adequate measurement.”

The survey also found more than a third (36 percent) of respondents was investing in social media monitoring and analysis tools, a significant percentage considering the maturity of the channel.

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“This is a reflection of the growing understanding that a social media marketing strategy needs to be based on listening to customers and prospects and its ROI needs to be measured,” Tew said, adding that “without adequate investment in listening and measurement tools it renders any anticipated investment in social media ineffectual. The key to an effective social media strategy is listening."

Tew said the survey also explored the extent to which organisations integrated marketing technologies across their organisation, with almost half of respondents (42 percent) saying they don’t incorporate clickstream and web analytics data into their customer and email database.

“This is a worrying statistic as it shows many organisations are losing any advantage that this valuable actionable insight could give them,” Tew added.

On the importance of customer engagement and the survey found more than half of respondents (51 percent) were placing a ‘fair’ or ‘significant’ amount of effort on moving from a campaign-centric direct marketing model towards multichannel customer engagement.

 According to Tew, “engaging with customers is becoming paramount and the yardstick by which we measure those brands that survive and those that don’t.

“Marketers now need to appeal to the individual and engage with customers on a one-to-one basis. The easiest way to achieve this is by investing in social media marketing and social media monitoring, and by embracing the web.”

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