Marketers Like Social Media for Direct Marketing

StrongMail Systems, Inc., released new survey data that points to the emergence of social media as a direct marketing channel and a significant planned investment in email marketing and social media programs in the second half of 2009.

500 marketers, responding to an online survey from May 21 to June 1, 2009, report a wide-spread reach for ownership of social media within the various facets of marketing:

  • 29% of respondents state that social media responsibility is owned by multiple departments
  • 36% of survey respondents state that the direct marketing department owns social media
  • 9% of the respondents report that social media is owned by public relations departments
  • 5% have a dedicated social media department

The survey revealed that social media is a hot initiative with email marketers, with 66% planning to integrate the two channels in 2009, and 48% who have already formulated a strategy for achieving this initiative. Of marketers planning to increase budgets in 2009, 83% will increase spend in email marketing, followed by social media at 62%.

There is still widespread confusion regarding how a social media strategy for email marketing should be implemented, notes the report:

  • 55% of respondents report that one of their biggest challenges with integrating social media and email marketing is determining metrics by which to measure success
  • 48% say establishing business goals for the program is the biggest challenge

Social media has grown to the stage where it needs an owner and a purpose within marketing, concludes the report. StrongMail believes that the intrinsic interconnection between social media and email make it an ideal direct channel, as Email continues to drive engagement in social networks by alerting members of new content and updates. And, says the report, the ability to communicate relevant messages within social networks is critical to a business' success in the medium.

Ryan Deutsch, vice president of strategic services and market development, concludes that "Leveraging social media is a valuable tool for meeting direct marketing objectives... but needs to be tied to metrics such as purchases, new customer acquisition or customer retention... in line with the business's overall direct marketing objectives."

For additional information about the study, please visit here.

5 comments about "Marketers Like Social Media for Direct Marketing".
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  1. Pavan Chawla from, June 24, 2009 at 8:37 a.m.

    Insightful. The sooner we take serious note of Social Media and the sooner Social Media gets a dedicated department in every significant business, the better.

  2. Patrick Boegel from Media Logic, June 24, 2009 at 8:48 a.m.

    Lets not go creating the social media silo or cube farm, if businesses small and large do not integrate social platforms into their general marketing efforts with appropriate strategic approach and voice, you are left with another competing entity in the food chain and most likely a "department" battling to be respected, budgeted and welcome to the table.

  3. Jenny Mirken from, June 24, 2009 at 9:29 a.m.

    i think it's important to note that the tone and subject matter of social media marketing can be very different than those of email. social media marketing - through twitter, fb, blogs, etc. - should be daily, even multiple times a day, and should feel more conversational and offer daily value to recipients (e.g. hot deal of the day or a response to a news item). emails, on the other hand, can be more produced and contain multiple messages, graphics, etc. if your company doesn't have something valuable to say daily or in a conversational way, then either tweak your strategy so you do, or stay out of social media.

  4. Britta Meyer from Loomia, June 24, 2009 at 2:31 p.m.

    Interesting study results. It seems that just like most other communications tools, social media are highly versatile and serve the organization, even beyond marketing, in different ways. Just like email can be used for informational, promotional and transactional purposes, social media promises to evolve into a category that can support multiple marketing disciplines, with PR and DM being obvious choices.

    When it comes to integration with DM programs, though, I do agree with Jenny, the rules of the social media game are fundamentally harsher: On one hand, users' expectations are towards genuine relationships and conversations, making a "hard sell" much more difficult to facilitate, and the reaction to unwanted promotions much fiercer. On the other hand, best practices to opt-in/opt-out, SPAM reporting and a general understanding of what's acceptable are all still in their infancy. Will be interesting to see if social media will become Direct Marketing 2.0.

  5. Tony De luz from socialocean, December 26, 2009 at 11:49 a.m.

    Without the social component, social media is just media; social marketing is just marketing. Social media/marketing allows the initial touch to be shared amongst a sphere of influence. These are critical factors that shake the traditional marketing schema to its core. The relationship is paramount AND public. Think of all of the operational areas social media impacts, QC, Customer Care, Sales/Marketing, Communications... etc. It is the manifestation of the quality of customer relationships.

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