Two-thirds (66%) of marketing professionals plan to invest in Social Media Marketing (SMM) during the next 12 months, according to the seventh annual markleting survey from Alterian.
Of those marketers investing in SMM, 40% said they would be shifting more than one-fifth of their traditional direct marketing budget toward SMM activities. This supports other statistics from the survey which found that the majority of respondents (67%) feel that social media is either 'increasingly important' or 'critical to success'.
According to Alterian's CEO, David Eldridge, "2010 marks the start of the digital decade for marketing. Untargeted and irrelevant marketing techniques have become largely redundant, and this survey shows that many in the industry already recognise this. One thing to remember, however, is that investment in Social Media Marketing is futile without adequate metrics in place."
The survey found that 36% of marketers are investing in social media monitoring and analysis tools, which is a significant percentage considering the maturity of the channel and, the company suggests, this reflects a growing understanding among marketers that a social media marketing strategy needs to be based on listening to customers and prospects, and that its ROI needs to be measured.
The survey also explored the extent to which organisations integrate marketing technologies company-wide. Almost half (42%) said they don't incorporate clickstream and web analytics data into their customer and email databases, which is perhaps worrying because it suggests that many are losing the competitve advantage that these valuable insights could give them.
With regard to customer engagement, the survey also found that 51% are expending a 'fair' or 'significant' amount of effort on moving from a campaign-centric direct marketing model toward multichannel customer engagement, and 7% said they are making no such effort at all.
Eldridge concluded: "Engaging customers is becoming paramount, and marketers now need to appeal to the individual and engage customers on a one-to-one basis. The easiest way to achieve this is by investing in Social Media Marketing and Social Media Monitoring, and by embracing the web."