How Are Enterprises Using Social Marketing – and Where Are They Seeing the Best Results?

September 17, 2014

This article is included in these additional categories:

Content Marketing | Digital | Marketing Budgets | Social Media | Word of Mouth

SpredfastForresterConsulting-Enterprise-Use-Social-Marketing-Sept20147 in 10 senior leaders managing or overseeing digital or social marketing at enterprise (at least $1 billion in revenues) companies in the US and Western Europe say that senior management believes in the value of social marketing, reports Spredfast [download page] in a new study conducted by Forrester Consulting. With roughly two-thirds of respondents indicating that social marketing is prioritized at their organization and that it’s integrated with broader marketing efforts, it’s safe to say that enterprises are paying attention to social marketing. Indeed, more than 7 in 10 expect that their social marketing budgets will have increased from last year to this year, though a plurality report that the increase will be less than 10%.

Of course, social marketing doesn’t only refer to marketing on the major social media networks, though 98% of respondents do so. Of the various social tactics identified that don’t involve marketing directly on public social networks, respondents were most likely to say they are currently curating social content on their own sites (61%), maintaining a branded blog (50%), and running a word-of-mouth program (50%). While fewer host branded communities or forums or accept customer ratings and reviews on their own sites, more than 4 in 10 claim to currently be using those tactics.

Those tactics also have high reported levels of satisfaction. At least 7 in 10 are satisfied with the business value they’ve achieved from hosting branded communities and forums (71%), running word-of-mouth marketing programs (71%), curating social content on their owned channels (73%), accepting customer rating and reviews on their own sites (77%) and maintaining a branded blog (79%). Similarly, 79% are satisfied with the value of business value achieved through social marketing tactics used on public social networks.

Overall, enterprise respondents to the Spredfast survey appear confident in their social marketing expertise. Asked to rate their agreement with a series of statements, a majority agreed that:

  • Their social marketing efforts are integrated with their broader marketing efforts (67%, top-3 box score on a 7-point scale);
  • They align their social marketing tactics with the stages of the customer purchase journey (61%);
  • They encourage and/or recognize customers that talk about them on social networks (69%);
  • They have a process in place to deliver timely content across social marketing channels (67%);
  • They have a process in place to deliver relevant content across social marketing channels (74%);
  • They use data and insights to identify social marketing strategies that influence customers (73%);
  • They have a process in place to track conversions and/or brand sentiment across social marketing channels (62%); and
  • They have defined systematic ways of using metrics/tools to measure business value created by their social marketing tactics (58%).

Even so, the old ROI question persists! Three-quarters agreed that they find it challenging to measure the business value created by social marketing tactics, and 78% find it challenging to determine the ROI of their social marketing tactics.

In other words, despite their apparent sophistication, enterprise organizations are having the same challenges as everyone else…

About the Data: Forrester Consulting conducted a survey in Q1 of 2014 with 160 participants currently employed by a company with revenue of one billion dollars or greater. All participants held a position of director level or higher and were managing or overseeing a digital or social marketing function area. The survey included companies across eight industry verticals, including Retail, Consumer Product Goods, Technology, Finance, Insurance, Media, Manufacturing and Telecom, with a total sample of 160 participants from the United States and Western Europe.

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