Nearly 50% believe it is a vital component of corporate communications that should be monitored at the executive level and allocated significant resources.
The responses of the marketing executives surveyed show that companies are taking social media seriously. Beyond the need for C-level support, another 30% see social media as an unconventional new opportunity that businesses must grasp with a sense of urgency. In addition, 95% believe social media will grow in significance over the next five years. When asked about the uses of social media, respondents endorsed it as a strategic tool to gain consumer insights (37%), build brand awareness (21%) and increase customer loyalty (18%).
The survey reveals that the early adopters ("Revolutionaries") are more advanced in their understanding and execution of social media marketing initiatives than more cautious marketers ("Wait-and-Sees"). First, nearly five times as many Revolutionaries are already implementing social media in their organizations and three times as many Wait-and-See companies are only at the learning stage. In addition, Revolutionaries are far more optimistic about the future of social media, with 81% saying it will grow in significance over the next five years. Only 33% of the Wait-and-Sees agreed with this outlook.
When asked about how they would use social media to influence their marketing initiatives, Wait-and-See companies put more emphasis on using social media for new types of marketing campaigns such as viral marketing and videos, while Revolutionaries focus more on listening to consumer and bloggers' points-of-view. One area where they were in accordance was that both Revolutionaries (95%) and Wait-and-Sees (60%) are eager to connect with other colleagues to study consumer feedback and learn from it.
Respondents endorse the role that blogs and other social media channels play in an integrated product launch campaign. The potentially most effective use of social media, chosen by more than 50%, is creating a user community of bloggers to provide user experience feedback. Another 47% believe that using social media vehicles, such as YouTube, to generate a viral campaign would also be very effective in a product launch. Specifically in the U.S., more respondents support the idea of utilizing social media to boost the effectiveness of their social media efforts than their global counterparts.