Study: Marketing Execs Must Realize and Learn to Use Power of Social Media

Study: Marketing Execs Must Realize and Learn to Use Power of Social Media

Senior marketing executives in several countries agree that the use of social media for corporate, brand and product marketing is not a passing fad – with nearly half saying it is a vital component – according to research sponsored by TNS media intelligence/Cymfony.

Some 49% of execs say social media should be monitored at the executive level and be allocated significant resources:

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Among the highlights of the study:

  • Some 30% of marketing executives agree that social media is an unconventional new opportunity that businesses must grasp with a sense of urgency.
  • 95% say they believe that social media will grow in significance over the next five years.
  • Asked about the uses of social media, respondents endorsed it as a strategic tool to gain consumer insights (37%), build brand awareness (21%) and increase customer loyalty (18%):

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Below, additional findings release by TNS media intelligence/Cymfony.

Influencing Consumers: Listen, then Act

The potential business impact of social media was similar from country to country, but the US has a stronger point of view on the value of market research in social media:

  • Some 88% of US respondents and 65% of global respondents were in agreement that reading and analyzing social media to understand unfiltered consumer perceptions would have the most impact on the future of their businesses.

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  • Word-of-mouth campaigns were cited as having the second greatest impact: All countries were in broad accordance at 62%, but the US once again led with three-quarters agreeing on the effects of these marketing campaigns.

Respondents endorse the role that blogs and other social media channels play in an integrated product launch campaign:

  • The potentially most effective use of social media, selected by more than 50% of respondents, is creating a user community of bloggers to provide user experience feedback.
  • Some 47% also say using social media vehicles, such as YouTube, to generate a viral campaign would also be very effective in a product launch.

‘Revolutionaries’ Pull Ahead of the ‘Wait-and-Sees’

Early adopters (“Revolutionaries”) are more advanced in their understanding and execution of social media marketing initiatives than more cautious marketers (“Wait-and-Sees”):

  • Nearly five times as many Revolutionaries are already implementing social media in their organizations.
  • Three times as many Wait-and-See companies are only at the learning stage.
  • Revolutionaries are far more optimistic about the future of social media:
    • 81% of Revolutionaries agree it would grow in significance over the next five years.
    • Just 33% of the Wait-and-Sees agreed social media would grow in significance.

Asked about how they would use social media to influence their marketing initiatives…

  • Wait-and-See companies put more emphasis on using social media for new types of marketing campaigns such as viral marketing and videos, while Revolutionaries focus more on listening to consumer and bloggers’ points-of-view.
  • One area where they are in accordance is that most Revolutionaries (95%) and most Wait-and-Sees (60%) are eager to connect with other colleagues to study consumer feedback and learn from it.

Organizational Barriers

The leading barriers to social media adoption were the lack of both senior management commitment and best practices, followed by the absence of controls, standardization, time and resources.

Respondents also criticized marketing service suppliers for not providing sufficient expertise to help businesses understand and exploit blogs and social networks.

They noted that many agencies lack practical experience in social media initiatives and tend to apply traditional tactics that may not be effective in this emerging media space.

About the research: In late 2007, TNS media intelligence/Cymfony, in coordination with TNS UK, TNS media intelligence France and TNS Canadian Facts, conducted a survey dubbed “Harnessing Influence: How Savvy Brands are Unleashing the New Power of Blogs and other Social Media.” Some 70+ marketers from leading companies around the globe were polled about their experiences incorporating all types of social media tools in their marketing strategies. Represented countries include the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and France.