While plenty of folks pay lip service to social media’s potential as a marketing platform, their estimate of its actual value remains fairly low, according to a new survey by the CMO Council, which polled around 150 top marketing executives across a range of industries, most of them from companies located in the U.S. and Europe, about their business strategies.
Asked what marketing strategies are proving most profitable, just 7% of execs surveyed cited social engagement, including click-to-buy and social plug-ins, compared to 49% for personalized engagements, 41% for cross-channel communications, and 32% for personalized deals. The CMO Council attributed the low marks for social media to the fact that many execs probably consider it a tool for gathering information about consumer preferences, rather than engaging them.
Indeed, 53% of respondents said they rely on social media feeds and 49% rely on social media listening to gain a greater understanding of their customers. However they are still struggling to predict how customers will react to engagement efforts, with just 3% rating their ability to do so as “excellent,” and 19% rating their ability as “good.” In the same vein, 41% said their data analytics is mostly retrospective, with little predictive capability.
This may have something to do with shortcomings in data integration: 48% of respondents said data is collected and analyzed separately and not well aligned, while 21% said it is not aligned at all and 10% said the data is currently too complex to align completely. Just 3% said they consider it completely aligned.
Last year I wrote about the results of a separate CMO Survey from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which polled 288 marketing execs about social media. When asked how effectively they believe social media is linked to their firm’s marketing strategy, 59.5% of respondents were neutral or negative, while just 40.5% believed it is linked very or somewhat effectively. Similarly, 45% said they haven’t been able to show social media’s impact on their companies’ performance at all, and another 41.8% said they have a qualitative sense but no quantitative impact. A mere 13.2% believe they have proved the impact quantitatively.
Echoing the CMO Council survey, 63% of the CMOs polled by Fuqua were either neutral or believed their company was generally ineffective at integrating customer information across purchasing, communication, and social media channels; at the other end of the spectrum only 3.2% said they believed their company was doing this “very effectively.”