Is Social Media Ready to Become a Major Component of the Overall Marketing Mix

Author: Jason Sem

If you asked this question to any digital native they would say that yes, social media is ready to not only ready to become a  large part of the marketing mix, but become the major driver in a company’s marketing efforts. However, a recent State of Marketing 2011 study by IBM suggests marketers are taking a more measured approach to social media as this online sprawl has lead to confusion and information overload.

The initial hype of social media has now waned and marketers are now looking for more in-depth analysis of online social efforts than the usual followers, re-tweets, likes and mentions.  These new online channels have opened up so many more possibilities for meaningful communications with customers, that it’s difficult to identify the most useful social channels and a means for measuring engagement.

Here are some quick points from the study:


·Once again, social media remains the reigning champion among emerging marketing channels, leading the way with 53% current usage. But marketers’ enthusiasm is burning less brightly than last year, suggesting that we have passed the peak of inflated expectations and are focused on finding the value that social channels can yield.

·This year, “measurement, analysis and learning” overtook “IT support of marketing needs” as the #1 marketing bottleneck.  After years of analysis paralysis, respondents identified “turning data-into-action” as their #1 org issue.

·92% of marketers appreciate the value and importance of web data, yet half or less apply that data to customer analysis and campaigns. And of those that do, less than a third believe their efforts are very effective.

The problem is many marketers don’t necessarily understand what measurements correspond with a customer’s action and aren’t familiar with the new buying journey consumers take when deciding on what product or service to purchase.

While a majority of chief marketing officers say they feel social media will pay off at some point, it isn’t doing so quite yet. The challenge for marketers now is to understand the costumers buying journey and then figure out what they should actually be measuring and what would be considered a success. Change doesn’t come easy for most so it will take some time for marketers to align social data with internal processes, customer decision cycles, and strategies. In the meantime social media will continue to be an integral element in most corporate marketing plans but it won’t be the major component until marketers can catch up to social’s potential.

Author: Jason Sem (

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