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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Marketers focus on social media

Wednesday February 16 2011

Bazaarvoice survey finds CMOs looking beyond short-term sales goals to focus on social media as the source for intelligence and insight

Bazaarvoice survey finds CMOs looking beyond short-term sales goals to focus on social media as the source for intelligence and insight


Social commerce software vendor, Bazaarvoice, has released the second, annual Bazaarvoice Social Marketing Survey conducted with The CMO Club.


The new study examines the progress of chief marketing officers (CMOs) against their 2010 social media goals and benchmarks projected social investments, challenges, and expectations for 2011.


The survey shows that social media had become an essential component of executive marketing strategies by the end of 2010, with 90% of the 175 US CMOs questioned participating in three or more social media activities.


Perspectives and predictions


CMOs still focus on measurability and return on investment (ROI) but are recognising there is even more business impact to uncover. Nearly all (96%) said they were beginning to look beyond sales goals and web metrics to focus on how social media can deliver strong insights that fuel improvements across the business.


This is consistent with Forrester Research’s recent finding that more than 45% of all companies now use social media assets for product development in addition to customer engagement (83%), and indicates a sea change in the strategic value that CMOs place on social media today.


The 2010 survey showed that CMOs aspired to move beyond engagement (including numbers of fans and site traffic) to tie social to business metrics like revenue and conversion. While the 2011 survey shows the continued importance of measurement, it paints a more strategic picture of CMOs searching to find the true value of the customer voice.


Of the key findings, the 2011 survey pointed to a big shift in the power of social media and user-generated content, as brands begin to organise these voices into strong insights that serve as the launch pad for innovation and business change. In 2011, 93% of CMOs plan on using some form of user-generated content to inform product and service decisions. Top forms of user-generated content used in 2010 include customer stories (59%), product suggestions or ideas (54%), polling (49%), and customer reviews (47%).


Social proves harder to track


CMOs were optimistic about tracking ROI on social media investments in 2010 – 81% of those who participated in the 2010 survey said they planned to track social media to revenues last year. However, standard ROI metrics proved difficult to measure for many social efforts; only 40% of CMOs surveyed in 2011 successfully tracked ROI on their social initiatives. Measurability remains a top executive priority, with sales conversion and revenue attribution standing out as the two biggest growth opportunities in social measurement.


Product ratings and reviews remained one of the best-understood tools, with proven ROI. That is in contrast to more than half of CMOs, who still do not know or do not see retruns across many social media tools, in particular Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Bright spots include product ratings and reviews (59% see average or significant ROI); company or brand communities (56%); and company or brand blogs (48%).


“There is a tremendous change occurring in marketing today,” said Erin Mulligan Nelson, Bazaarvoice chief marketing officer. “CMOs have moved beyond fear and scepticism to embrace social media as the source for strategic intelligence that can transform their products, brands, and business. Social is much more than a campaign; it is now a launch pad for innovation revolving around customers.”