B2B Marketers Allocate Fewer Social Media Resources

June 1, 2010

Fewer B2B companies devote full-time staff toward or engage outside help for social media marketing than B2C companies, according to a recent study by digital marketing firm White Horse.

Four in 10 B2B Companies Have Full-time Social Media Staff
Forty percent of B2B companies devote one or more full-time marketers to social media marketing, as compared to 54% of B2C companies, according to the results of “B2B Marketing Goes Social.” However, White Horse analysts say that given the relatively smaller size of marketing departments in B2B organizations, this level of representation is significant and underscores the maturing role of social media as a core component of B2B marketers’ arsenal.

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It is also interesting to note that the percentages of B2B and B2C companies that devote two or three more full-time workers to social media marketing are almost identical, the divide occurs in the percentages that devote a single full-time employee (24% of B2B and 35% of B2C).

B2B More Likely to Devote Part-time Staff
Seventy-one percent of B2B organizations surveyed devote two or more part-time marketing resources to social media management, as compared to only 62% among B2C marketers. According to White Horse analysts, broader ownership of social media in B2B marketing departments reflects the “many hats” approach of B2B marketers, with marketing roles defined by product groups or customer types rather than by marketing specialization, such as digital and traditional.

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White Horse says this broad ownership of social media marketing in B2B companies is a positive trend as use use of social media can be more authentic and more personal when multiple marketers participate within their area of focus, but it also highlights the need for governing strategy and a common set of best practices, which most companies still lack.

Similar to the previous chart, the percentages of B2B and B2C companies that devote larger numbers of employees (three, four or five) to social media marketing part-time are fairly similar, as are the percentages that devote no employees part-time. The largest differences occur in the percentages that devote one employee part-time (27% of B2B and 38% of B2C) and especially two employees part-time (42% of B2B and only 19% of B2C).

Only 10% of B2B Companies Use Outside Help
Only 10% of B2B companies have engaged an agency for help with social media, as compared to 28% for B2C companies. White Horse analysts indicate this is consistent with B2B companies’ overall lower rates of agency engagement across all marketing activity, but say it demonstrates that agencies offering social media services need to work harder to define their value to B2B organizations.

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The survey asked respondents to identify in what capacity they used outside agencies for social media, and the sample size was too small to chart, but most indicated that strategic governance and planning were the primary roles. Most B2B organizations will manage social media effectively on their own if such strategy and planning is in place, according to White Horse.

B2B Marketers Have Little Social Media Engagement
Almost 60% of B2B marketers have little or no engagement in social media, according to other survey results from White Horse. A combined 59% of B2B marketers have only a basic social media presence (45%) or are not actively engaged in social media marketing (14%). In contrast, a combined 44% of B2C marketers have only a basic social media presence (26%) or are not actively engaged (18%).

About the Data: In March 2010, White Horse conducted a survey of 104 corporate marketers across a range of businesses about their companies’ use of social media marketing.

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