Confusion over social and mobile reigns among the ranks of marketers according to the latest edition of The CMO survey by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.
Much like last year’s survey, CMOs said they plan to invest in social, mobile and digital. However, this year, there’s a catch: Much has been made of the disparity between marketing investment in social media and mobile technology and the return on investment (ROI).
Here are three examples:
1. FierceCMO: Study: CMOs are spending more on social and mobile
“The survey also found that just 11.5 percent of marketing leaders report they are able to prove the impact of social media quantitatively. A total of 40.6 percent report having a good qualitative sense, but not a quantitative assessment, while 47.9 percent report have not been able to show any impact yet.”
2. Marketing Charts: CMOs Predict Budget Growth Despite Limited ROI Gains
“Fewer than 4 in 10 (37%) said they’re able to quantitatively prove the short-term impact of their marketing spending, and even fewer (31%) said the same about proving the long-term impact of their spending. Those levels haven’t changed appreciably in the past couple of years.”
“However, only a fractional 2.8% of respondents rated mobile marketing’s contribution to their company’s performance as high (top-2 box), while the largest share (40.2%) said it doesn’t contribute at all to their performance.”
3. LinkedIn Marketing Solutions Blog: B2B Beat: CMOs Invest in Social But Do They Measure Its Impact?
“Stats from the survey show that marketers’ attitudes toward mobile marketing are similar to their attitudes toward social media marketing: CMOs plan to spend more on mobile, even if they can’t justify exactly why.”
Highly Inflated Expectations for Social Media
Expectations for social media have long faced inflated expectations. There seems to be this general consensus that a brand presence on social media inevitably leads to viral-appeal.
It simply doesn’t work that way, any more that it did in traditional networking. The business development manager that shows up at a local chamber of commerce happy hour and collects a fistful of business cards – only to then send each contact three sales emails, a LinkedIn invitation and a couple of direct messages on Twitter – can be found sipping in solitude at the next event.
By contrast, the networker that shows up at those events and consistently engages genuine business conversations will wind up with relationships over time that lead to new contacts and new business opportunities. Up until recently, these two approaches defined the difference between brand that found success on social media and those that didn’t.
Rent Media for Owned Media Purposes
What’s the engagement rate of a brand page on Facebook that doesn’t advertise? Today it’s next to nothing. Or near-zero. For those that haven’t followed the developments over the last few years, virtually every social network is tweaking algorithms to ferret out brand content.
There are a lot of good reasons – and a few bad ones – for social networks to do this, but the reality is, the organic value of social media is diminishing. The future of social media marketing is a path paved in payment.
But even paid social has a challenge: advertising annoys users. The solution is to make advertising less annoying…less like advertising…and that means a lot of rules about what a social network will and will not accept as paid content. Facebook has a bit of this now – the 20% rule about text on images is one example – but marketers can expect a whole lot more as traditional spend transitions to digital.
What this means to marketing, is that even paid spots on social media, marketers will need to act like that chamber of commerce networker that has genuine conversations. And marketers need to have a plan to ensure that digital marketing investment is engineered to build an “owned media” audience: the utilitarian corporate blog, newsletter or community website.
If you’re going to rent media, you’d better have a plan to use that investment to also add value to your own audience.
Also see the coverage of these related marketing studies:
5 Slightly Contrarian Views on a CMO Council Content Survey
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Study: Effective Content Marketing Has One Element
Mobile Investment is an Imperative, not an Option
The inability to quantify the value of mobile investments that stems from this survey is confounding. Nearly 300 senior marketers took this survey – those with the titles of vice president, CMO or better. How is it, that in 2016, mobile investment even a question?
It’s been nearly a year since the number of users searching for, and accessing digital content, on mobile devices surpassed those on desktop. It’s a trend that’s been very clearly moving in this direction for years. Google is now warning site owners in search results when a site is not mobile friendly.
Dear CMOs: the signal, to borrow from the legendary list of 200 doctrinal SEO terms, could not be more clear.
Any marketer that wants to engage customers, must consider the mobile user. Headlines, content, images – all must be mobile friendly. This isn’t novel or leading edge marketing – today it is the minimum threshold necessary to reach the majority of a potential audience.
Mobile investment is imperative, not an option.
4 More Marketing Stats that Stood Out
The full survey is available in PDF format and embedded nearby and is well worth a read. Here are a few more marketing statistics that stood out for me:
1. Optimism falls. 35% of senior marketers were “less optimistic” about the overall economy – up from 13% in August.
2. Budgets rise modestly. Marketing budgets are forecasted to grow 7% in the next 12 months. B2B product marketing budgets are expected to grow ahead of that average at 8%.
3. Marketing spend is 8.4% of revenue. Businesses on average spend 8.4% of revenue on marketing. The break out by segment was fairly consistent:
- B2B Product 6.9%
- B2B Services 8.6%
- B2C Product 9.5%
- B2C Services 10.4%
4. Marketing excellence. Here’s how the numbers look when asked to grade their organization on its “marketing excellence:”
- 32% graded their marketing organization as “excellent”
- 25% said strong
- 39% said fair or good
- 4% said weak or very weak
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Those are my takeaways – what stood out for you?
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Image credit: The CMO survey by the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University