The Chartered Institute of Marketing’s head of insights, Thomas Brown, invited us to the launch of the latest wave of their Social Media Benchmark yesterday. We attempted to provide as much commentary as we could on our Twitter feed, and now we’ve had chance to think on some of the findings (see infographic below), we think there are some interesting take outs.
Marketers see the potential and are investing, but aren’t getting impact or value
According to the study, B2C and B2B companies alike are investing in social media in order to support their marketing campaigns, and plan to significantly increase their activity in 2012. That said, whilst half of the marketers surveyed say they see the potential of social to help their businesses grow, only a third say their senior management understand why they’re using it and only 9% say they’re getting as much value from social as they can.
In-house competency and capability falls short
Only 2% of marketers surveyed consider their in-house skills and competencies to leverage and manage social media effectively to be “optimal”, whilst 11% consider themselves “ill-equipped”. Only a small minority said they had significant strengths in key areas of digital capability, with digital leadership and measurement capability the biggest areas of weakness. To address this ‘capability gap’, marketers look set to invest in education and training rather than recruiting in digital capability or outsourcing to specialist social media agencies.
Blissful unawareness of legislation
As we have already seen in practice, marketers seem unaware of some of the new (and even old) legislation affecting their use of social media. The CIM study found that of the half of businesses that collect data from social media, less than a third are sure their doing so complies with regulation. Aside from the Data Protection Act 1998, there is a very low understanding of other regulations. A staggering 42% of marketers say they have a very low understanding of the CAP Code 2010. Perhaps the Advertising Standards Authority ruling this week will change that. If not, the ASA still has a lot of work to do.
If only we had the time and money…
Ask marketers about the barriers to doing anything and give them the options of not enough time and not enough money and guess what they’ll choose? So no real surprise that respondents to the CIM survey cite lack of budget and pressures on management time as the biggest roadblocks to improving in-house capability, using social media monitoring and measurement, and getting more value from social media. But are these excuses rather than barriers?
The findings around monitoring and measurement are quite revealing, especially when you consider that 50% of marketers strongly agreed that social media poses a significant reputation risk if left unmonitored and unmanaged:
- Less than a fifth rate their in-house analytical and measurement capabilities as a significant strength;
- Only 4% are extensively using some kind of sentiment analysis tools;
- Almost half lack the time or budget to purchase any tools;
- Luckily only 8% don’t see the value in monitoring/measurement.
There’s a problem though.
Beyond the time and money issues, around a quarter of marketers say that their inability to measure is a significant barrier to getting more value from social media over the next year.
I guess that’s either low or high depending on your viewpoint. As one delegate put it:
45% say we don't have metrics to engage senior leaders but orgs say they don't need metrics to proceed. Paralysis analysis? #SMBenchmark
— Cesar Lastra (@forrestgumping) June 21, 2012
It seems to us that, yet again, the crux of the issue is measurement. One has to wonder if, by using measurement as part of the planning process to determine the best strategy, track progress consistently and demonstrate business value, marketers might just be able to justify the investment and resource needed to overcome the time and money barriers.
Infographic below. Keep an eye on the CIM Social Media Benchmark website for the detailed results.