From Facebook to Twitter, a full 90% of chief marketing officers now participate in an average of three or more social media activities, according to a new report from ratings and reviews provider Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club.
In 2011, meanwhile, 93% of CMOs plan to use some form of user-generated content to inform product and service decisions. "There is a tremendous change occurring in marketing today," said Erin Mulligan Nelson, CMO of Bazaarvoice. "CMOs have moved beyond fear and skepticism to embrace social media."
Optimistic about tracking ROI for social in 2010, 81% of those CMOs who participated in an earlier survey said they planned to track social media to revenues in 2010. However, standard ROI metrics proved difficult to measure for many social efforts, as only 40% of CMOs surveyed in 2011 successfully tracked ROI on their social initiatives. As such, measurability is a top executive priority, with sales conversion and revenue attribution standing out as the first and second growth opportunities in social measurement, according to Bazaarvoice.
Top forms of user-generated content used in 2010 included customer stories -- 59% -- product suggestions or ideas -- 54% -- polling --49% -- and customer reviews -- 47%.
For their study, Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club surveyed 175 CMOs with U.S. and global marketing responsibility in October 2010. Respondents included executives at business-to-consumer companies -- 39% -- business-to-business companies -- 47% -- and companies serving both consumers and businesses -- 14%. According to Bazaarvoice, a wide range of industries was represented in the survey, including software/hardware -- 21.7% -- consumer goods -- 12.2% -- travel/ hospitality -- 6.9% -- media/publishing -- 7.4% -- retail -- 5.8% -- and manufacturing -- 5.3%.
Great, CMOs are on board with social media. Now, how many have a strategy, goals, target metrics, anticipated ROI? These should be in the mix. It isn't enough to just try out social and see what happens. CMOs who don't have this in hand can turn to staff in their organizations or proven outside specialists for help establishing the programs.
The results of the survey reveal great intentions by CMO's asked, but I am skeptical about the follow through. The results of the recent Forrester's research, according to the article published a few weeks ago in this blog, indicated that only one of four executives said that they seldom or never use customer feedback to change a business process. How can you reconcile these responses?
If CMO does not plan, or have a vision to incorporate customer generated content into the company's business processes, how can they justify real investment? Analysis of transactional data, like traffic volumes and such, do not translate easily into profitability metrics. The customer generated content is a raw data, indigestible by the enterprise information systems, doesn't help to improve profit margins until it it is transformed and integrated into management practices. Just because it is now fashionable to "listen to the customer" it doesn't really mean they know how or care to "hear" what customers have to say. Until that change.....