Social media is more than that sexy add-on feature

A survey of CMOs indicated that social media spending will account for a greater share of companies’ advertising budget in 2012.

No surprise there, huh? I know. It’s great news for all of us: consumers, brands, businesses, marketers.

Here’s the unfortunate thing: An investment in social media within an organization doesn’t mean that it will stick around. Until it’s fully integrated within overall marketing strategies – organizations won’t fully realize it’s return. You know what that means, right? Naturally, if you don’t experience a return I’ll bet you can guess what’s likely getting scrapped from the budget at the next Quarter.

Let’s get this straight: social media should not be treated as an add-on feature after your marketing strategy has already been formed. It is a component that should be introduced at an early stage of your marketing strategy formation process. Try to avoid the whole “OH! and now let’s add some social media to this” sort of thing.

With the very few (under 10%) CMOs in the study who claim that they extensively integrate social media tactics with their marketing activities – it seems to only be integrated with their online marketing activities.

Hmm….we’ve got a long way to go.

Executives will continue to be hesitant on including Social Media in higher level strategies – BUT we have been through this time and time again in the past with Television, Radio, Print, etc. It will take time and a whole lot of education from those who understand it. These are people who yes, understand Social Media Marketing but also and very importantly those who understand and who have had experience working with various other tactics in a marketing mix and integrating them in strategies.

Some additional interesting data to look forward to:

  • Social media will account for an average of 10.1% of companies’ total marketing spend in the coming year, up from its current total of 7.1%.
  • Social media will still be particularly pronounced in the business-to-consumer sector
  • Social Media tactics to increase from 10.5% to nearly a quarter (24%) of the total marketing budget within five years.
  • CMOs intend to increase their current level of spending on social media from its current level of 7.1 percent of their overall marketing budget to 10.1 percent over the next year and they expect to see this number rise to 17.5 percent in the next five years.
[Statistics from The CMO Survey]