Social Media Responsibility Shifts In Marketing Organizations

Research buried in a recent Forrester Research report on social media investments suggests the responsibilities of social media within an organization continue to shift. Marketing operations is becoming more involved in setting social strategies, while dedicated social media teams are becoming less common for large companies.  

The follow-up Forrester Research report gleaned from The Forrester Research Q4 2011 B2B Marketing Organizations And Investments Survey identifies several reasons for the shift. For starters, 41% of the survey respondents indicate that marketing operations at their respective companies hold the primary responsibility for social media activities.

"Although corporate marketing still plays an important role in the direction of social media strategy for branding and awareness, marketing operations is better positioned to ensure that strategies and technologies are coordinated and integrated across various marketing functions," according to the report.

Aside from marketing operations, corporate marketing or marcom takes 15%, followed by brand or product marketing at 11%, Web and interactive marketing at 9%, customer support at 6%, social media team at 6%, executive team at 4%, field marketing at 4%, and events at 3%.

The research shows the disappearing act of social media teams, according to the report. Only 6% of the high-tech companies said their social media teams own the social media strategy and execution. Companies seem less likely to have a dedicated social media team in place, as social becomes part of other campaign strategies, such as search.

Despite the disappearance of social media teams, marketers said they will continue to invest in social media campaigns.

Branding and awareness are two areas where marketers can reap the most benefit from social media campaigns, according to the study. More than 52% of survey respondents plan to increase social media investment in branding and awareness. Fifty-one percent of survey respondents said product marketers will increase investment in social media in 2012, attributing the uptick to listening platforms, ideation and customer collaboration communities that incorporate customer feedback into product development processes.

Investment will also increase in social media for customer community management, according to half of respondents. Forrester expects tech marketers will add community strategies to social marketing campaigns, as online communities become a more effective way to communicate with consumers. There has been interesting cross-project collaboration in recent years, namely the Mountain Dew campaign through the DEWmocracy project.

6 comments about "Social Media Responsibility Shifts In Marketing Organizations".
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  1. Daniel Soschin from Speaker & Blogger, March 19, 2012 at 8:39 a.m.

    I think this makes sense. Marketing ops often manages systems such as CRM, and with social media become a mere component of an integrated marketing strategy, it cannot be isolated from other groups. And, one of the better groups to handle it might be ops, since they should be nimble/agile enough to provide quick responses from a customer service perspective.

  2. Andrew Eklund from Ciceron, March 19, 2012 at 9:05 a.m.

    My opinion is that the real value in social media transcends marketing, and those companies that organize interdisciplinary teams, consisting of product design, business intelligence, customer service, support, and marketing, will be the real winners. Companies that choose to continue to treat social as a "media" channel will be underwhelmed in the long run.

  3. Anthony Green from Optimal, March 19, 2012 at 10:29 a.m.

    Not surprising really. New tech scares the pants off traditional marketers initially. What we're seeing is Social stage 2 where it is being integrated into the rest of the marketing function, same as web sites and email marketing did 5-10 years ago

  4. Steven Arsenault from, March 19, 2012 at 12:26 p.m.

    Like CRM evolution what I believe is evolving here are integrated SRM platforms. Social Relationship Management - tools that place utility in the hands of marketing teams to manage not only social interaction but working with their existing web strategies allowing them to integrate their web, mobile and search strategies from a single platform while monitoring the results.

  5. Greg Davis from MBMG Media Group, March 19, 2012 at 12:51 p.m.

    Thanks for shining a light on this Laurie. It has been interesting to watch the land grab on social media over the past few years as it has been deemed the holy grail from Wall Street to small municipalities around the world. Social media is applicable to anywhere a company has or should have conversations. It has the ability to guide the business intelligence for applications beyond marketing such as customer care, operations, etc provide a dynamic learning framework with real-time, actionable research.  As most today are using social media primarily for community management the type of structure that best supports this is management from client side marketing with an mid-junior level role agency side or client side community manager for the chatter. Data analytics either side helping to find the conversations, measure the important KPIs and extrapolate the stories inferred from topical and brand discussions.

  6. Rochelle Brooks from, March 20, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.

    Ha,Awesome I think it's great

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