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The State of Social Marketing 2011 – 2012

Written by: Cheryl Morris, VP Marketing

Pivot Conference recently released a report on the state of social marketing, noting that board rooms are finally tipping their hats to the value driven by social networking and, consequently, are putting more budget behind it.

The results in the report are based on a survey conducted by Pivot with 181 brand managers, agency professionals and marketing experts. Half of the questions asked these marketers to define their (or their clients’) “social consumers,” and the remainder focused on the extent to which social marketing is being leveraged by their business. Here are some of the results we found most interesting:

The Social Consumer

Social consumers are defined as those who turn to their social networks to learn about products and services. They are undoubtedly some of the types of people you should consider targeting when advertising. So, who are they? Overall, they tend to be gender neutral, have higher incomes, be middle aged, and frequent Facebook by far and large more than any other social network.

Marketers report their social consumers are balanced on the gender front, with an equal number being male and female. As Pivot notes, this may surprise those who believe females frequent social networks more often than males. And while marketers report their social consumers span income ranges, the median personal income according to the study lies just above $60,000. As for age, marketers report their social consumers span age ranges from 18 to 55, centering in their 30s and 40s:

What social network do these social consumers turn to most often? “Facebook is ubiquitous,” according to the study, with marketers reporting 95% of their social consumers use the social network.

Social Marketing

Pivot Conference polled marketers around the impact, challenges and plans associated with social marketing.

Overall, marketers are divided around social marketing having moved outside of experimentation phases. When asked if social marketing would still be described as “experimentation” in their corporation a year from now, 49% believe it will be while 51% believe it already is mainstream or will have gone mainstream by then. It’s worth noting that more than half of those who indicate their companies will not move beyond experimentation in the next year believe they in fact will in 2013 or 2014.

And the above is reflected in marketers expectations that their social marketing budgets will grow from last year to 2013:

What prevents marketers from moving beyond experimentation in their organizations? Budget, unclear outcomes, absence of strategy, lack of understanding of the benefits and executive resistance make the top 5 reasons:

The report also made clear that marketers have concrete goals they wish to meet with social marketing. Topping the chart is using social marketing to increase sales, which was cited by 100% of respondents (and is why more and more marketers are taking advantage of our Ad Engine’s ability to optimize for purchases and ROI). Following sales are goals to generate consumer engagement, leads, increase brand lift and drive positive public relations:

Does your company’s social marketing outlook match responses outlined in the report? Let us know in the comments!

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