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CMO's To Increase Spending On Social Media But Integration Still Lacking

A survey of nearly 250 marketing top marketing executives revealed an overall increase of spending of 9.1% over the next 12 months but... the survey also revealed that integration is still a long way off.

Conducted by Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, the twice a year survey "collects and disseminates the opinions of top marketers in order to predict the future of markets, track marketing excellence, and improve the value of marketing in firms and society."

And just as I did with the Trends In Social Advertising Survey by Brian Solis and The Pivot Conference, I am once again... going behind the numbers. My natural curiosity must come from watching all those mystery and copy shows growing up... is there such a thing as too much Columbo?

Nah...

Anyway, while I am happy to report that overall marketing spending is expected to increase over 9% over the next 12 months as per the survey findings - there are some intriguing, if not disconcerting, additional findings form the survey I want to bring to your attention.

The first one has to do with the overall spending increase itself. Look at the chart below...

Now, you'll see the aforementioned 9.1% increase but look at the trend from the February to August for each of 2010 and 2011. I realize it's only two years we're talking about but why the up and down from February to August each year? When the CMOs were asked in February about spending were they coming off poor holiday, end-of-year numbers and thus indicated via the survey they don't plan on spending as much as they indicated a few months later in August?

Were there different respondents at differing times of the survey to cause the fluctuation? Not sure how about that because if there were different responders, it would be one helluva coincidence then that these February to August responses were nearly identical. Unless of course different CMOs from different industries responded to the February survey than to those who responded to the August one.

More Emphasis On Price, Less On Innovation

Call it a sign of the times, the economic times that is but CMOs are putting a higher priority on price, which had the highest percentage increase (9.7%) form February to August - and less priority on innovation, which had the highest percentage decrease (6.8&) from February to August.

My fear is more companies are going to lower prices to solely increase sales - coupons, daily deals, etc., while sacrificing quality and innovation and service in the process.

 

Another disconcerting finding from the survey is the fact that spending on traditional advertising is decreasing. Now to all those CMOs who are in fact decreasing spending on traditional advertising, I would simply say 'don't go too far the other way.' What I mean by that is don't from rob from Peter (traditional) to pay for Paul (digital). I'm not saying that is in fact what's going on here but just in case it was... I want to remind CMOs that's all about and always will be about one word: Integration. I am a huge proponent of integration.  How huge? Well consider that just said so in a post titled Why An Integrated Marketing Strategy Is Vital To Success.

I'm also a huge proponent of social media and its use in any integrated marketing strategy.

It would appear however, that many CMO's agree with the former, and not so much the latter.

Spending On Social Media Up, Integration Still Lags Behind

As a percentage of overall marketing budgets, spending on social media is expected to increase 17.5% over the next five years.

That's the good news. The bad news is "...marketers admitted they have a ways to go toward integrating social media in their strategy. On a scale of 1-7, with one being "not integrated at all" and seven being "very integrated," almost a quarter of marketers (22.3 percent ) selected "one" to describe how well their company's social media is integrated with the firm's overall strategy.

The number was only slightly better for integration within the marketing strategy -- 16.9 percent selected "one" for this question. Only 9.1 percent chose "seven" for social media being integrated within the company's strategy (the average was 3.4) and 12.8 percent selected "seven" for the marketing strategy (the average was 4.0)."

For her part, Christine Moorman, the T. Austin Finch Senior Professor of Business Administration at Duke's Fuqua School of Business and the director of The CMO Survey had this to say about social media in general... "Social media is fast becoming an important strategic weapon in company arsenals and has proven to be a valuable tool in acquiring and engaging customers. Effective use of social media is no longer an option for companies -- it is a requirement. Going forward, companies which most effectively deploy social media will be best positioned to serve their client bases, particularly as digitally-savvy customers assume a greater percentage of buying power."

And this to say about social media and integration or lack thereof... ""It is also important that companies keep spending on social media among internal groups and not outsource it. Outsourcing increases the likelihood that social media and strategy will not be integrated."

I will agree with her on her first part for when she says "...companies which most effectively deploy social media will be best positioned to serve their client bases, particularly as digitally-savvy customers assume a greater percentage of buying power" she is dead on. Trust me the number of digitally-savvy customers is growing each and every day and right along with it is their collective buying power.

However, I will disagree with her stance that "... outsourcing increases the likelihood that social media and strategy will not be integrated." There are marketing communications agencies, like Star Group - full transparency here, that live and breathe integration every single day.

Ok, let's hear from you.

Do you plan on increasing overall marketing spending with an emphasis on social media?

Do you think an integrated marketing strategy is key or does it really depend on the audience and customer and where there most likely to be found - offline or off?

Are you a CMO or one who makes decisions for your organization?

Sources: cmosurvey.org, fuqua.duke.edu