6 in 10 Senior Marketers Say Social Media Key to Company Survival

facebook-social-media-competitive-advantage-march2012.jpg59% of senior marketers either agree (39%) or strongly agree (20%) that companies that do not fully embrace social media will not survive, according to [pdf] a recently-released study commissioned by Facebook and conducted by Forrester Consulting. The survey of 101 VP- and C-level marketing professionals found 71% of senior marketers agreeing that companies can gain competitive advantage by leveraging social media, and 60% also agreeing that social media enables businesses to be more successful. Although the generally positive nature of the responses serves Facebook’s interests, on the flip side, the data also shows that 4 in 10 senior marketers do not agree that social media can drive increased success for their businesses.

Social Media Integration Still Immature

Despite a majority of respondents believing that their level of social media adoption could put their survival at stake, integration remains at relatively low levels. Just 37% said they started fully integrated social media into their marketing organization some time ago, while an additional 17% said they had begun doing so this year (the survey was conducted in December 2011). This means that close to half have not begun fully integrating social media into their marketing organization, including 16% of the respondents who have no plan to do so. This same trend was found in a survey of CMOs by Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, released in February 2012. Although CMOs responding to that survey expected to increase their spending on social media, they admitted that the channel remains poorly integrated with their firm’s overall marketing strategy. In fact, 18.4% of respondents rated the extent of their integration of social media a 1 on a 7-point scale, where 1 represents no integration at all. And only 21.1% of the CMOs rated their firm’s integration of social media efforts a top 2 box score.

Meanwhile, the Facebook survey indicates that levels of integration throughout entire companies are even less mature. Only 12% said they had started some time ago to fully integrate social media throughout their company, while 29% had started this year. By comparison, 20% had no plans to do so. Responses were similar when it came to social media integration into sales force enablement: 23% had begun doing so some time ago, while one-quarter had no plans to do so.

Most Lack Long-Term Strategy

Data from “Organize for Success in The Connected World” indicates that almost 3 in 10 senior marketers have no long-term (at least 3 years out) strategy for becoming a social business, and have no plans to begin implementing one. In fact, just one-third said they had started a long-term strategy either some time ago (17%) or this year (16%).

Social Strategy Highly Distributed

When asked to what degree various parties owned the social strategy for their business, respondents reported a wide array of partial owners, including sales (45%), corporate communications (41%), marketing (39%), PR agency (39%), the office of the CEO (38%), and a brand agency (35%). Marketing (39%) was most often tabbed for full ownership of the social strategy, followed by corporate communications (30%).