17 Jul Sweat and dollars: Strong social media programs grow in tight spaces
Although many marketers have been asked to slash their budgets due to the economy, Social media programs are still growing for companies.
Forrester’s first quarter 2009 CMO Recession Online Survey said social media spending will continue to grow for nearly half (47 percent) of the companies surveyed despite budget cuts.
On the surface, this seems like a ringing endorsement for Social Media — but its not a lot of money, Percentage growth is misleading in an environment where social media only accounts for 12 percent of the average overall marketing budget (according to Forrester’s 2009-2014 Interactive Marketing Forecast).
Forrester estimates that $716 million will be spent on the social media marketing programs this year — compared to $15.4 billion on search marketing and $7.8 billion spent on display advertising.
Forrester predicts that social media program spending will grow to $3.1 billion by 2014. However, even then it will remain a fraction of spending when compared to search marketing ($31.6 billion) and online display advertising ($16.9 billion).
Growth in social media spending is part of a broader trend towards digital. Website development (44 percent), online advertising (40 percent), email marketing (38 percent) and are also expected to grow in the current, shrinking economy. All areas of digital marketing (mobile, social, email, online display and search) will grow through 2014 despite anticipated declines in overall marketing spending. Meanwhile, offline ad spending will fall.
Aside from search engine marketing, achieving success with most digital channels are more about expending raw effort than raw dollars. Ironically, it’s these unanticipated manpower that often causes digital programs to fail. According to a 2009 poll conducted by Lee Odden of TopRank Online Marketing, marketers are focusing on social marketing tactics as a means of offsetting reduced budgets and raised accountability in the current economy. Lee’s survey of more than 500 marketers revealed plans for the top 10 digital marketing tactics in 2009:
- Blogging (34%)
- Microblogging (Twitter) (29%)
- Search engine optimization (28%)
- Social network participation (Facebook, LinkedIn) (26%)
- Email marketing (17%)
- Social media monitoring & outreach (17%)
- Pay per click (14%)
- Blogger relations (12%)
- Video marketing (10%)
Marketers can blog, microblog, video market and create their presence of social networks easily. However, getting customers and prospects to participate often requires investing a substantial amount of time, and energy. Social media programs can’t be pursued as a means of cost savings or free marketing. They need to be viewed as an ongoing investment for understanding, attracting, retaining and understanding customers. By necessity, social media spending going forward to 2014 will incorporate more manpower (people) than media power (impressions). Given current (dismal) employment trends, this is a good thing.
Digital Without Delay
Sprint’s 2009 ‘Now’ campaign, shown below, does a good job of illustrating the pace of change. To experience this sentiment on steroids, visit the Now Network website.
The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC.
WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.