Posts Tagged ‘Holger Schulze’
Social media, content aggregation and curation, user-generated content and other developments have dramatically changed the B2B buying cycle over the past few years. Marketers need to think like publishers not only to improve their company’s visibility in search (which is where 93% of B2B buying cycles now start) but also to address the differing information needs of buying team members, at different stages during the decision process.
This evolution has changed life for sales reps as well. Prospects often don’t surface until much later in the buying process than they did just a few years ago. Buyers are better informed (and expect sales reps to be better informed about their industry and likely challenges as well), and often need only a few key questions answered (most critically, price) by the time they contact a sales person.
How can B2B organizations, marketers and sales professionals adjust to, and thrive in, this new environment? Find out here in some of the best blog posts and articles of the past year offering strategic guidance and insights for B2B marketing and sales executives.
B2B Marketing Trends, Tips and Strategies
The Top-10 B2B Marketing Trends for 2011 by Everything Technology Marketing
Holger Schulze laid out these ten predictions in January 2011. For the most part, the predictions were on target. And also, for the most part, these predicted areas of focus (e.g. social media ROI, lead quality, content marketing) will remain priorities in 2012.
Just What Do Marketers Do, Anyway? by MarketingProfs
Barbara Bix and Olga Taylor craft an intriguing case for focused market research and targeting using the example of a violin virtuoso playing in a subway for $32, after having sold out a concert with $100 tickets just days before. Bix and Taylor explain that “Quality and price are important, but only in front of the right buyer, at the right time and place,” then provide guidance on determining those attributes in order to maximize profits.
You’ve Got New Visitors at Your Site. Now What? by MarketingProfs
Contending that “Only by creating rich experiences—in the form of content, features, interactivity, and the like—can businesses convert visitors into more than just passing window shoppers,” Gretel Going details a process for creating the right kinds of content based on buyer types, stage in the buying process, and differing content preferences, utilizing an array of different formats from ebooks and webinars to video and mobile apps–in addition to great web page copy.
B2B Websites NOT Great At Demand Gen by Business2Community
The insightful Ardath Albee picks up on the theme of the post above, noting that while B2B marketers expend great efforts on SEO and social media marketing to attract visitors to the websites, research shows that their websites are then often “ignoring the very audience they worked so hard to attract.” This post details a conversation she had with Craig Rosenberg about B2B website usability, effectiveness and conversion rate optimization.
Is Youtility the Future of Marketing? by iMedia Connection
Frequent “best of” contributor Jay Baer writes that “The difference between helping and selling is just 2 letters. But those letters make all the difference. Your company needs to become a YOUtility. Sell something, and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.” He illustrates the concept of YOUtility with real-world examples and explains how any company can do this.
Because “getting to the top of the search results requires work and the understanding of not only what tactical methods you need to use to get there, but also what foundation you need to build and have in place to be most effective,” Rania Kort outlines three high-level strategies for optimizing a company’s presence in search.
101 awesome marketing quotes; A presentation by Thewebcitizen
Ilias Chelidonis shares 101 marketing quotes from a HubSpot presentation, such as “Remarkable social media content and great sales copy are pretty much the same–plain spoken words designed to focus on the needs of the reader, listener or viewer” and “Make the customer the hero of your story” (so true).
10 rules for entrepreneurial survival by TECHdotMN
Getting your attention by opening his post with “If you’re an entrepreneur, there’s something wrong with you. You have a genetic predisposition for risking it all…You are a masochist who is mentally prepared to run an ultra-marathon with an invisible finish line. Yet, you are confident in the pursuit of your destination,” Lief Larson of Workface goes on to list 10 survival rules for entpreneurs. For example, #8: “There are no shortcuts. There is only one right way to do things: the right way. Dig your heels in and be prepared to endure. ‘Overnight success’ can take years in the making.”
Why lead generation and branding aren’t mutually exclusive by iMedia Connection
Chris Chariton shares five ideas on how “sales and marketing can work together to generate leads and build the brand as part of the same effort.” Among her ideas is increasing your company’s “findability.” As Chris notes, “pushing information out to customers and prospects is not nearly as effective as it once was. Instead, you have to make sure they can find you when they’re looking” (which is why web presence optimization is crucial).
Addressing Changes in the B2B Buying Cycle
No One Wants To Read Your Whitepaper. Let’s Hope They Recycle It. by Marketing Automation Software Guide
Writing that “I have no interest in reading a War and Peace-style sales pitch — and, let’s face it, that’s what most whitepapers are these days…Companies need to find new and more direct ways to reach the buyer 2.0 without going all Tolstoy on them,” Lauren Carlson recommends alternatives focused on providing the information that buyers need, when they want it, in forms that are more digestible and engaging.
The Future of Buyer Relationships by Business2Community
Tony Zambito outlines seven aspects of changes in the buying cycle brought about by social media and the explosion of user-generated content, including the importance of building an online reputation, understanding how social algorithms work, and producing real-time content.
The Blurry B2B Buying Process | New Breed of B2B Buyer #2 by Chaotic Flow
Joel York offers his insights on reaching “the new elusive B2B buyer” who seeks to engage with sales “only when there is clear value to be gained, not just to get information.” He demonstrates the imperative of marketing automation through some interesting variations of the traditional sales funnel model.
Five Ways B-to-B Marketers Need to Change Their Game by Biznology
Citing dramatic changes in the typical B2B sales cycle – “Buyers don’t really want to talk to vendors until somewhere akin to 70% of the way down the road, at the stage of writing RFPs and getting quotes…Business buying processes are getting longer, and—most important—involving more parties than ever before. The so-called Buying Circle in large enterprise B-to-B—the influencers, specifiers, users, decision-makers—comprises as many as 21 people, according to Marketing Sherpa”—Ruth Stevens challenges marketers to “think differently” and use these specific techniques to maximize impact with buyers.
B2B Sales Trends and Strategies
Salesmen are Dying and Other IT Trends by IT Marketing World
Tom Pisello details changes in the B2B buying cycle resulting from the immediate access to vast amounts of information now available online. It isn’t exactly “death of a salesman” but it does mean death to the old way of selling. Pisello concludes that “Advanced ROI business case tools and training should be provided to direct and channel sales professionals to help them advance from traditional product / solution selling, to the value selling buyers now demand.”
Gartner: 5 Questions for Anyone Selling Technology by Inflexion Point
Bob Apollo shares five questions posed by Steve Prentice of Gartner in a presentation on the use of technology to drive business innovation, along with his interpretation of what those questions mean to those focused on selling technology-based products or services in a B2B context.
5 Ways To Influence B2B Group Buying Decisions by Social Media B2B
Noting that B2B purchases are normally group decisions, Adam Holden-Bache suggests “five things to consider as you create social media content targeted at B2B group buyers,” including highlighting the value of your offering (based on buyer roles) and showing how it will integrate with the buying company’s existing tools, systems and processes.
Future Trends: 2012 Online Marketing & Technology Predictions by TopRank Online Marketing Blog
This post opened with Holger Schulze’s predictions for 2011, and fittingly closes with Lee Odden’s prognostication for 2012. He challenges marketers to think how their audiences will be consuming information in the coming years (evolving online and device technology) rather than narrow concepts, then presents seven compelling reports and infographics outlining “key technology, social business and digital marketing trends for 2012 and beyond.”
If you’ve been following the Best-of-2010 series here, you’ve seen collections of some of the best articles and blog posts from last year in neatly organized categories including market research, cool social media and web tools, social media marketing guides and tips, WordPress hacks, Twitter marketing techniques and resources, guides to effective email marketing, content marketing, local SEO and more.
In this penultimate best-of-last-year post you’ll find a compendium of interesting, informative and valuable but difficult-to-categorize marketing-related articles and blog posts from 2010. The pieces presented here range from an extensive list of marketing cliches to avoid and tips to shorten the B2B buying cycle to guidance on branding, presentation skills, freelancing, job hunting and more.
Next week will feature the must-see Best-of-2010 season finale post here, then it’s on to new ideas and putting 2010 in the rearview mirror. Enjoy!
B2B Marketing Tips, Insights and Resources
Looking for inspiration for an original B2B marketing campaign? You won’t find it here! What you will find however are an extensive and insightful list of 101 over-used ideas to avoid, from the lightbulb (bright idea! Not.) and the baton pass to the mountain climber, the Post-It note and of course the ubiquitous handshake.
27 Marketing Lessons B2B Marketers Should Know by HubSpot Blog
Kipp Bodnar shares more than two dozen marketing lessons gleaned from the MarketingProfs B2B Forum event, among them: repackage expensive content (such as white paper content) into different formats—blog posts, webinars, bylined articles—to get the most out of your investment. Marketers are now publishers, and almost all content can be optimized for search. And one of my favorites, “Social media thought leadership is built by empowering employees to talk about your company and industry.”
The Business of B2B Social Media by Brian Solis
Brian Solis reports that social media is that area getting the biggest increase in B2B marketing budgets, explains why B2B vendors are embracing social media, and identifies which social networks are viewed as most effective in the business world.
5 Steps To Shorten The B2B Buying Cycle by Search Engine Land
Kerry Spellman shows how customer understanding, keyword research and content tailored to each stage of the buying decision process can be used together to shorten the buying cycle and bring revenue in the door more quickly.
Just how connected are the world’s top 5 IT services companies? by Earnest about B2B
If you work for a small to midsized company and are concerned that your company hasn’t quite perfected its use of social media yet—relax. Many large companies haven’t either. This post compares the social media activities of IBM, Fujitsu, HP, CSC and Accenture. While most are active to some degree on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and blogging, none exhibit a truly consistent, integrated social media presence. Efforts of the big five seem most mature in video, not surprising considering that as this post points out, “47% of IT professionals watch videos to research technology solutions on YouTube.”
The Top 7 Organizations & Events Every Agency Marketer Should Know by Business.com’s B2B Online Marketing Blog
Details on five associations that can help online marketers keep current as well as possibly connect with future clients, including the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), Business Marketing Association (BMA), and local interactive marketing association chapters.
Is Traditional B2B Marketing Dead? by Everything Technology Marketing
Presenting “an overview of the key dimensions of B2B marketing that I see changing…very dimension (including balance of power, audience focus and presence) has significant implications on the way we plan, organize, and execute B2B marketing going forward,” Holger Schulze contends that in the new world of B2B marketing, buyers have the power; messages must be more focused than ever before; a vendor’s primary marketing presence is digital; and key marketing skills have shifted from creative to analytical, among other changes.
Social Media for B2B Technology Companies by MarketPlane
In this Slideshare presentation, Ronnie Ray and Alison O’Brien share stats on B2B use of social media, show how to align different social media tools with marketing objectives, review several B2B social media success stories, and outline a phased approach to building a social media strategy.
5 Must Watch B2B Videos by Modern B2B Blogs
Maria Pergolino highlights five entertaining and informative videos for B2B marketers on the state of the Internet, social media, changes in business buyer behavior and B2B branding.
A Simple B2B Marketing Framework by Everything Technology Marketing
Another noteworthy post from Holger Schulze, again focused on the B2B marketing process but from a different angle. Building upon the Pragmatic Marketing framework and the RocketWatcher framework, Holger presents his own elegant 4-layer model, with marketing knowledge at the base and progressing through business strategy and tools & content to the marketing tactics layer at the top.
Seven Ways to Convert Online Contacts Into Sales by Entrepreneur Magazine
Starr Hall outline seven “marketing strategies you should add to your daily practice to set yourself apart and turn your online communities into profitable business transactions…these activities will increase the ROI for your online efforts without looking or sounding sales pitchy.” Her recommendations include sharing your knowledge and expertise willingly and generously online, build your “social proof” (testimonials and recommendations), and don’t ask for the business too soon—but don’t shy away from asking for it at the proper time.
The 10 Best Infographics for Internet Marketing Pros by Marketing Pilgrim
***** 5 Stars
Opening this post by writing “Look, we both know that this is linkbait—a top ten list combined with infographics, c’mon!—but you have to admit, it’s worth bookmarking or tweeting. Right?,” Andy Beal proceeds to deliver just that: a list of infographics worth bookmarketing and passing along, sharing 10 outstanding infographics for marketers, covering topics ranging from the history of search to Google’s failed social media forays to the CMO’s guide to the social media landscape.
Presentation skills: 5 secrets of the pros by iMedia Connection
Judging by some of the presentations I’ve seen recently, a lot of people need to read this post. Bronwyn Saglimbeni highlights several techniques for making presentations more dynamic and useful, such as focusing on the needs of your audience, involving them in the discussion, and fearlessly being yourself.
The English here isn’t perfect (“Today we are helping Freelancers for maintain design tasks using famous tools and resources for make better performance even track work”), but the list of online tools for freelancers and consultants is outstanding, ranging from time tracking tools like Slim Timer and timepost2 to apps for SEO, social media management, accounting, promotion and design.
5 ways to turn company slide decks into marketing weapons by iMedia Connnection
Heidi Jackman explains how to use social tools to make any live or web-based presentation more interactive and engaging for the audience. For example, before the presentation, “Online community tools like MeetUp and Ning, as well Twitter hashtags or a dedicated Facebook page, allow you to spread the word about your upcoming presentation.” During the presentation, invite feedback through Twitter (though Heidi acknowledges this can also potentially lead to “disaster if the audience begins posting negative or inappropriate comments while you are speaking”), and after the event, get additional mileage out of the presentation by posting it to YouTube, Slideshare and your company’s Facebook page.
Job Hunting and Careers
Cut Your Job Search Time in Half by CBS MoneyWatch
Eilene Zimmerman offers five tips for standing out from other candidates in today’s tough job climate, such as using social media and phone calls to conduct research on the company through customers and former employees.
Top 100 Niche Job Sites by New Grad Life
While the big job boards like Monster and CareerBuilder offer volume and convenience, they are also highly competitive; recruiters and HR managers may receive hundreds or even thousands of resumes for a particular position, making it extremely challenging to make yours stand out. Chad Bauer recommends an alternative—or rather 100 of them—niche job sites. This outstanding compilation lists niche sites for career opportunities in fields like accounting, advertising, banking, design, engineering, health care, higher education, IT, pharmaceuticals, public relations and more.
7 Ways to Find a Job Using Social Media by U Stand Out
Noting that “employers are looking for their next all-stars on social media channels,” HubSpot’s Diana Freedman shares tips for using social media to help find your next career opportunity, such as following individuals from a company you’d like to work on Twitter, watching their posts for news of job openings, and leaving insightful comments on the company blog.
Philip Zimbardo: The Secret Powers of Time by RSAnimate
This time-lapsed video presentation on differing perceptions of time is difficult to categorize, but fascinating. Factors like where you live, what religious beliefs you hold and how stable your family life has been all contribute to your perception of time, e.g. living in the moment vs. being future-oriented.
Sometimes it’s essential to step back from everyday marketing tactics to ask the bigger questions: not just “how do we get more people to `like’ us on Facebook?” or “what apps should we be adding to our Facebook page?” but: why do we even have a corporate Facebook page? What are our key objectives for social media marketing? What conceptual models are we basing our marketing assumptions and practices on, and what new models should we be thinking about? Which emerging trends do we need to keep an eye on? Do we really understand why our customers buy from us? As we shift resources from traditional outbound marketing to inbound attraction marketing, how should we (re)organize to support that? As we rely more on all of our employees (not just marketing and PR) to represent our company through social media, how do we train and motivate them to do so effectively?
While you won’t find much in the way of “tips and tricks” in this post, you will find guidance on answers to these big-picture marketing questions and more here in some the best marketing strategy guides and insights of the past year.
5 principles of breakthrough success in the “Relationship Era” by iMedia Connection
Doug Levy contends that marketing has passed into its third major era—as we’ve moved from the primacy of product information through consumer persuasion to a new focus on sustainable relationships—and lays out five principles for success in this new realm.
Big Ed’s Top 10 B2B Marketing Trends For 2010 by Marketing-Gimbal
C. Edward Brice pretty much nailed the significant b2b marketing developments for 2010 (e.g. mass adoption of social media, but no clear way to measure ROI from it) in this predictive post. Was he prescient or just playing it safe? You decide.
2010: Social Network Advertising and Marketing Outlook by Brian Solis
Citing research from eMarketer, Brian Solis documents the continuing shift from interruption-based advertising to earned media engagement as the primary mode of marketing, as well as shifts within the social media landscape (e.g. from MySpace to Facebook). Remember when Facebook had “only” 350 million users? Yeah, that was one year ago.
Why Content is King No More… by Webfadds
Scott Frangos believes that content is no longer the “king” in online marketing strategy, but rather is now more like the “queen” with social media connection—your ability to share content and interact with readers—now playing the role of king.
The 3 Reasons That Motivate B2B Buyers to Buy by The Marketing Melange
Mike Frichol notes the disconnect between b2b technology vendor messages focused on features, innovation, technology leadership or competitive advantages and the three factors that actually motivate b2b buyers to make a purchase.
3 must-have marketing tools for small businesses by iMedia Connection
Eric Groves explains why low-cost, easy-to-use email marketing, online survey and social networking tools are essential marketing components for smaller companies.
“Sales organisations are reporting extended sales cycles, declining win rates, and that a growing number of apparently promising opportunities are ending in ‘no decision.’ At the same time, they observe that their prospects’ budgets appear to be shrinking, that more players are involved in the decision making process, and that their buyers are exhibiting increasingly risk-averse behavior.” What’s a sales executive to do? Bob Apollo suggests a three-phase plan to re-architect the sales and marketing process to better reflect today’s business buying process.
The Truth About Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing by Kuno Creative
John McTigue presents four reasons why both inbound and outbound tactics should be included in any b2b marketing strategy. For example: “unless you already have a well-known brand, it can take many months to build up a loyal following (in social media)…blending targeted outbound marketing into social media marketing campaigns can accelerate awareness and growth.”
According to Holger Schulze, “major shifts are taking place in B2B marketing…buyers and decision makers don’t want to get interrupted by a product promo email or a cold call that likely doesn’t come at the exact time they have a specific problem the caller can help with. And today’s customers are busier than ever. They want to be able to engage with a vendor when they are ready and actively seek out advice, often very late in the buying cycle, and have the vendor guide them through a complex buying and problem solving process.” He offers five steps, from understanding your buyers to investing in marketing automation systems to address this new reality.
Best Practices Produce Mediocre Results by iMedia Connection
***** 5 Stars
In this must-read strategy guide for 2011, the brilliant Rob Rose argues that “We follow ‘best practices’ because they’re safe. These are maps for us to follow to get the same results as those that went before us. In short, they are the marketing equivalent of sitting down at the restaurant and saying ‘I’ll have what she’s having.'” Making the case for valuing bold experimentation over the tried-and-true, he concludes: “We need to blow some shit up.”
In this must-read strategy guide for 2011, Rob Rose takes a hard look at “best practices” and concludes that “We need to blow some shit up.”
Framework and Matrix: The Five Ways Companies Organize for Social Business by Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang
Jeremiah–the only social media guru popular enough to achieve single-name status–presents five models of organization for social business (Organic, Centralized, Coordinated, Dandelion, and Honeycomb), along with the advantages and drawbacks of each, then asks executives to identify where their organization is today, and where they’d like it to be.
4 ROI Myths by Digital Tonto
Greg Satell identifies the four most damaging ways in which companies try to measure marketing ROI, then suggests an alternative approach that is more complex but also more comprehensive.
Abracadabra Moments, the Opening Line You Should Never Use, and 10 More Ways to Sell Ideas by Fast Company
***** 5 Stars
Sam Harrison offers eight smart tips for selling your ideas to any audience, among them: truly collaborating with your clients (team, co-workers, customers or whomever), one opening line to never use and ditching the handouts—”people follow handouts about as well as cats follow tour guides.”
Marketing ROI Should RIP by iMedia Connection
Another outstanding piece from Rob Rose, this one demonstrating why software tools and marketing tactics, important as they are, don’t deliver value in and of themselves—it’s the marketing people and processes that make these things work (or not). Accountability, yes, but ROI is hard to apply to marketing investments. “Have you EVER gone back after purchasing a piece of software and calculated whether or not you generated more money from that tool than what you spent on it? No, of course not.”
10 tiny signs of great leadership by My Venture Pad
***** 5 Stars
This very concise (<250 words) post should be required reading, and re-reading, for every executive. Les McKeown briefly yet brilliantly contrasts the attributes of great leaders with those of “tiny” leaders, e.g., “(great leaders) want to find the smartest person in the room. Tiny leaders want to be the smartest person in the room.”
Crucial Components for B2B Social Media Success by acSellerant
Bob Leonard details 14 key factors for developing an effective b2b social media plan, among them: include input from sales, develop target personas, have a realistic content development plan, and build in analytics.
Are B2B Marketers Missing the Point? by Marketing Interactions
Ardath Albee reacts to MarketingSherpa research indicating that a third or more of b2b marketers assign basic lead management processes like having systems in place for lead scoring and nurturing non-sales-ready leads to the “back burner.” It’s crucial, she writes, for marketing to align its processes with sales to agree on the definition of a “sales ready” lead and hand leads back and forth based on where the prospect is in their buying cycle.
8 marketing blunders to avoid by iMedia Connection
Jim Nichols delightfully details marketing blunders to avoid, richly illustrated with graphics and examples, such as trying to outcool Apple, vowing to make up for it in volume, and marketing on attributes versus benefits.
The Best TED Talks To Make Use Of Social Media by MakeUseOf
Angela Alcorn presents 10 of the best TED videos from leading thinkers in social media, including Seth Godin on “Tribes,” James Surowiecki on social media news gathering and the wisdom of crowds, Matt Ridley (“When Ideas Have Sex”), and Gordon Brown (yes, as in the former British Prime Minister).
B2B marketing without creative has no punch by The Social CMO Blog
Defining “creative” broadly, Billy Mitchell asks and answers a series of questions that demonstrate the importance of creativity in b2b marketing processes, that it is most definitely not simply “fluff,” and concludes with 10 ways to inject creativity into b2b marketing programs.
Remember, Sometimes The Choir Can Use Some Preachin by iMedia Connction
One more from Rob Rose, this time reminding marketers that one of their most important audiences is the coworkers inside the organization: “Employees want to be motivated—and they desperately want to be on your side.” Just as with external marketing campaigns, it’s imperative do things like speaking the right language for your audience (even if your topic is the same, it’s important to use different words when talking about marketing with the IT group than with finance types), setting goals, and measuring results.
15 Inspirational Quotes About B2B Marketing by Modern B2B Blogs
Maria Pergolino shares a thoughtful collection of quotes from leaders like Valeria Maltoni (“Your writing doesn’t have to be boring just because it’s for other businesses. Businesses have people who read stuff.”) and Dave Jung: (“While an awareness of the customer’s use of your product is important, repeating what they already know obscures the real information they want. And that’s what B2B marketing thrives on … information.”).
The four engines of B2B marketing success by Reputation to Revenue
Rob Leavitt maps out and explains the four key “engines” that drive b2b marketing: content, relationships, lead development, and solutions development (combining products and services to produce “higher value solutions that respond more specifically to individual customer needs”).
Four takeaways from Marketing Sherpa’s B2B Summit by Marketing in a Downturn
Lawrence Mitchell shares lessons learned at MarketingSherpa’s October event about optimizing the marketing funnel, scoring and nurturing leads, and using advanced analytics to increase the ROI of marketing activities.
Six Secrets of Breakthrough Companies by The Six Disciplines Blog
Skip Reardon reports the key findings of Keith McFarland, a former Inc. 500 CEO who spent years researching thousands of private companies and interviewing their leaders in an attempt to identify the secrets of “breaking through.” Among the findings, which should come as no surprise but apparently do to a disturbing number of corporate executives today: Happy employees make successful companies. Money doesn’t solve everything. And “stick to the knitting” doesn’t always work; change matters.
Pam Moore advises businesses to avoid RAMMIES—”Random acts of marketing…that are not integrated, funded or properly planned.” She explains why they are bad, how to spot them, and how to deal with them (Step 1: “Get the RAMMIE planned, funded, measured and integrated. If this isn’t possible, then KILL IT!”)
Lead generation: Real-time, data-driven B2B marketing and sales by MarketingSherpa Blog
David Meerman Scott contends that marketers need to adopt real-time platforms and practices for lead generation, much like Wall Street traders have done in the financial markets. He explains how such systems can work and what marketers can do today to get started down this road.
The unique benefits of 5 marketing platforms by iMedia Connection
Gordon Plutsky describes how to use five marketing platforms–website, email, custom content, social media and mobile–in tandem to create an effective and comprehensive marketing media channel.
7 Steps to Creating a Sure-Fire Marketing System by American Express OPEN Forum
Contrary to the beliefs of business owners mystified by the “voodoo” of marketing, frequent best-of contributor John Jantsch argues that “marketing is not only a system, it may be the most important system in any business.” He then lays out a series of steps that lead to a “simple, effective and affordable approach to systematic marketing.”
7 Little Words That Sum Up the Entire Marketing Machine by Duct Tape Marketing
Following up on the post above, John Jantsch contends that “Marketing is essentially getting someone that has a need to know, like and trust you…the entire practice of marketing (can be) summed up in seven little words that make up what I call The Marketing Hourglass,” illustrated in this helpful diagram.
10 Marketing Blunders Many Small Businesses Still Make! by Masterful Marketing
Debra Murphy advises small business owners to avoid common pitfalls as they plan for 2011, among them not clearly defining the target market; delivering inconsistent marketing messages; and focusing too much on internal messages (OUR company, OUR capabilities) rather than on solving problems in the customers’ world.
50 Ways to Get Your Site Noticed by Nettuts+
Carl Heaton provides more than four dozen tips for building traffic to your website, ranging from the obvious (write fresh and catchy content, listen to your visitors, submit your site to online directories) to the obscure (send seasonal e-cards, sponsor a college project, or “Hide a Konami Code Easter Egg”).
David Edelman and Brian Salsberg write that “While traditional ‘paid’ media—such as television and radio commercials, print advertisements and roadside billboards—still play a major role, companies today can exploit many alternative forms of media,” and advise marketers to think in terms of paid, earned and owned media.
Data junkies, stats addicts, web trivia buffs rejoice — here are a deluge of social media, search and other marketing research facts and figures from 50 articles and blog posts published so far in 2010.
How are marketers planning to allocate budgets this year? What percentage of Fortune 100 companies are on Twitter? Which social networking site is used by 92% of senior marketing executives? What social media tool helps small business double their reach on Twitter? How do B2B social media marketing practices differ from B2C companies? What percentage of web searches stop after page one of the results? How much do small businesses spend on search engine marketing? How many journalists also maintain blogs?
Find the answers to these questions and many, many more here.
Social Media Statistics
Study: Spending On Email, Social And Search Rising by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Despite the fact that more than half of marketers responding to an ExactTarget survey planned to to either reduce their overall marketing budget for 2010 or keep it flat, 54% planned to increase spending on email marketing and 66% planned to increase expenditures for social media “even though about 80% of those acknowledged the difficulty in tracking ROI in the medium.”
A national survey of reporters and editors revealed that 89% use blogs for story research, 65% turn to social media sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and 52% utilize microblogging services such as Twitter. While the use of social media sources by journalists is growing rapidly, the reliability of such information remains an issue, as “the survey also made it clear that reporters and editors are acutely aware of the need to verify information they get from social media.”
Social Media Not Preferred Recommendation Resource by MediaPost Online Media Daily
In a study asking consumers to rate the most influential sources of information for their purchase decisions, 59% said “personal advice from friends or family members,” followed by 39% search engines, 36% articles in newspapers or magazines, online articles 28%, email 20% and social media 19%. Three caveats: first, though low, the influence of social media is growing. Second, social media and search are rated more influential by younger buyers and high-income consumers than by other groups. Third, the survey was heavily consumer-oriented; b2b figures would be different. The key takeaway — companies can’t put all of their marketing eggs in one basket, but need to balance budgets across several areas including email, social media, organic SEO, paid search and offline campaigns.
While 28% of U.S. adults say they give advice about purchases on social networking sites, only 17% say they seek out such advice when making buying decisions. “70% of social media users between the ages of 18-34 regularly use Facebook more than other sites such as MySpace, Twitter, and Classmates.com,” and women use Facebook more than men.
Senior marketing execs see their companies moving to social media in 2010 by The Viral Garden
In a recent study of high-level marketing executives, 70% plan new social media initiatives in 2010. 92% said they personally use LinkedIn, versus 56% on Facebook. While 28% planned to use internal resources to launch new initiatives, 25% turn to social media consultants. The two most important criteria when hiring a social media consultant are examples of previous work and recommendations; number of Twitter followers is the 12th-most important factor.
Another notable Pam Dyer post, this one summarizing a study from online advertising network Chitika which shows that Twitter is the best place to share news: 47% of the outbound traffic from Twitter goes to news sites, vs. 28% from Facebook, 18% from Digg and an imperceptible share from MySpace. Digg is the most technical; 12% of its outbound traffic goes to technology sites, vs. 10% from Twitter and 7% from Facebook. And for what it’s worth, Pam points out that “celebrity/entertainment is the only genre in the top 5 of all sites.”
What Type Of Social Media Ads Are The Most Effective? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
According to a recent study from Psychster, “Among the seven most common formats, sponsored content ads — in which consumers viewed a page that was “brought to you by” a leading brand — are the most engaging, but produced the least purchase intent. Corporate profiles on social-networking sites produce greater purchase intent and more recommendations when users can become a ‘fan,’ and add the logo to their own profiles, than when they can’t. And ‘give and get’ widgets are more engaging than traditional banner ads, but no more likely to produce an intent to purchase.”
Study: Americans’ Social Net Use On The Rise, But Services Not Entirely Wasted On The Young by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Nearly half of all Americans are now members of at least one social network, double the proportion of just two years ago. While social network use is highest among the young, it’s not exclusively their club: two-thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds and half of those aged 35 to 44 also now have personal profile pages. 30% of social media users access a social media site “several times a day,” up from 18% in 2009. Also, nearly half (45%) of all mobile phone owners send text messages on a daily basis.
Deciphering Shady Social Media Stats by Social Implications
Yes, Facebook is a big deal, but there is no way it “controls 41% of social media traffic” as was reported in a post on Mashable back in April. Jennifer Mattern rips the statistical methodology behind this reporting to shreds and reminds us all of why it’s important to be skeptical of social media statistics that don’t sound quite right.
Social Media Revolution by YouTube
Social media stats in video form. Some of the numbers shown here lend themselves to the skepticism recommended in the post above, but all are documented so take `em for what they’re worth. There are more Gen Y’ers than Baby Boomers, and 96% of them have joined a social network. 80% of companies are using LinkedIn as their primary tool to find employees. 80% of Twitter use is on mobile devices. YouTube now hosts more than 100 million videos and is the second largest search engine. 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations when making purchase decisions; just 14% trust advertising. More than 1.5 million pieces of content (videos, photos, blog posts, links etc.) are shared on Facebook daily.
New Chart: Survey Says Inbound Marketing Budgets on the Rise by HubSpot Blog
In a study of 231 (likely a bit more social media-savvy than average) companies, 88% planned to maintain or increase inbound marketing budgets in 2010. 85% view company blogs as “useful,” while 71% said the same for Twitter (up from just 39% in 2009). More than 40% of respondents reported acquiring at least one new customer from Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or their company blog in the past year.
Erik Qualman updates some statistics from 2009, showing how rapidly this landscape is changing. If it were a country, Facebook would the third-largest on earth, up from fourth-largest in 2009. 80% of companies use social media in some manner for recruiting; of those, 95% use LinkedIn. 50% of mobile Internet traffic in the U.K goes to Facebook. And my favorite: “The ROI of social media is that your business will still exist in five years.”
Look Ma, No Hands: More Than Half Of Companies Say They Are Using Social Media With No Strategy by MediaPost Online Media Daily
Among companies who say they are using social media in a recent Digital Brand Expressions survey, only 41% said they had a strategic plan in place to guide activities, and only 69% of those (28% of all social media-using companies) have set up metrics to measure the ROI of social media activities. Worse, on 29% of firms with a plan in place (12% of the total) had written social media policies in place for employees.
52 Cool Facts About Social Media by Danny Brown
Two-thirds of comScore’s U.S. Top 100 websites and half of comScore’s Global Top 100 websites have integrated with Facebook. Twitter adds 300,000 new users and gets 600 million searches daily. LinkedIn has more than 70 million members worldwide — including executives from every Fortune 500 company. More than half of YouTube users are under 20 years old, and let’s hope they live long lives: it would take 1,000 years to watch every video currently posted on the site. 77% of Internet users read blogs, but only 14% of blogs are published by corporations.
Twitter Demographic Report – Who Is Really On Twitter? by PalatnikFactor.com
Who’s really using Twitter? According to this report, 44% are between 18 and 34 years old. A slight majority (53% to 47%) are female. Just over a quarter of tweeters qualify as regular users, accounting for 41% of all traffic, but the 1% classified as “addicts” account for a third of all tweets. Twitter users tend to be readers of TechCrunch, Wired magazine and CNN.com, but also (ugh) PerezHilton.com — so make what you will of that.
2009 Twitter Demographics and Statistics Report by iStrategyLabs
The largest cohort of Twitter users (47%) are in the 18-34 age bracket — but the second largest (31%) are 35-49 years old. 74% of twitterers have no kids at home. Almost half are college graduates and 17% have post-grad degrees.
Twitter Usage In America: 2010 Statistics and Ad Agency New Business by Social Media Today
While many executives still dismiss Twitter as a waste of time, recent research suggests it is one of the most valuable social networks for business. Awareness of Twitter has exploded; 87% of Americans said they were “familiar with” Twitter in a poll taken earlier this year, versus just 5% in 2008. Although only 7% of Americans maintain an active Twitter account (vs. 41% who are on Facebook), Twitter users “are far more likely to follow Brands/ Companies than social networkers in general. 51% of active Twitter users follow companies, brands or products on social networks. Twitter users frequently exchange information about products and services.”
Facebook: Facts & Figures For 2010 by Digital Buzz Blog
Interesting, though slightly out of date (Lady Gaga’s page is listed as 9th-most popular) Facebook infographic. Half of all Facebook users log in on any given day, and more than 35 million update their status. More than 100 million users access Facebook through their mobile phones. The US and UK have the highest number of Facebook users, but the #3 country? Indonesia.
Report: 6.8% Of Business Internet Traffic Goes To Facebook by All Facebook
How are employees using the Internet at work? A recent study concluded that almost 7% of all business web traffic goes to Facebook, twice as much as Google (3.4%) and well ahead of Yahoo! at 2.4 percent. DoubleClick got 1.7% of all business traffic due to its massive online banner advertising network. In terms of bandwidth use, YouTube takes the single biggest share at 10%, followed by Facebook at 4.5% and Windows Update at 3.3%.
The Ultimate List: 100+ Facebook Statistics [Infographics] by HubSpot Blog
Men and women both average about 130 friends on Facebook, but men there are more likely to be (or least claim to be) single (33% to 26%) while women using Facebook are more likely to be (or at least say they are) married, engaged or in a relationship (47% to 41%). The three most “liked” types of food pages are about ice cream, milk or chocolate. Facebook pages that use the words “collaboration” or “blogger” have on average three times as many fans as pages about SEO or optimization. Pages about movies and TV shows generally get the highest number of “likes” while those devoted to government and public service get the least. Within the U.S., Washington DC and South Dakota have the highest percentage of residents with Facebook accounts (one of the very few phenomena they have in common), while New Mexico has the smallest percentage of its population (10.3%) on Facebook.
Social Media Use in Large Enterprises
Among the world’s 100 largest companies, two-thirds are using Twitter, 54% have a Facebook page, 50% manage at least one corporate YouTube channel and 33% have created company blogs. Overall, 79% of Fortune 100 companies are using at least one social media channel, with the highest use in European (88%) and U.S-based (86%) companies. However, only 20% of these companies (28% in the U.S.) are using all four major social media platforms. 69% of U.S.-based firms in the study have a Facebook page, but just 32% have posts with comments from fans.
Fortune 500 favors Twitter over blogging by iMedia Connection
Among the world’s largest 500 companies, 35% had Twitter accounts in 2009, but only 22% maintained company blogs. Less than half effectively used SEO.
Twitter Moves Ahead of Blogs in Fortune 500 by Social Media Today
Among Fortune 500 companies, 108 (22%) have an active, public-facing corporate blog. 93 (86%) of those blogs are linked directly to a corporate Twitter account. 173 (35%) of the Fortune 500 firms maintain an active Twitter account, including 47 of the top 100 companies on the list.
Social media use by the Fortune 100 in visual Infographic form: the average Fortune 100 company follows 731 people on Twitter and is followed by about 1,500 (seems like small numbers for big companies). However, the average socially active Fortune 100 company has almost 41,000 Facebook fans and 39,000 YouTube channel subscribers.
Social Media in Business: Fortune 100 Statistics by iStrategy
According to a Burson-Marsteller study, 79% of the Fortune 100 are “present and listening” on at least one social networking platform. 20% of these corporate giants are using all four of the main social technologies (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and Blogs), and 82% of the Fortune 100 companies on Twitter actively engage with customers there at least once per week.
The State of Social Media Jobs 2010 – A Special Report by Social Media Influence
Although “the importance of social media certainly is resonating through many big companies,” just 59 of the Fortune Global 100 firms have hired staff specifically to perform core social media tasks such as customer outreach, PR, marketing and internal communications. The most social media “active” industry sectors include healthcare, telecom, retail and automotive, while companies in heavily regulated industries such as financial services, insurance, energy and utilities are among the social media laggards.
Social Media Use in Small to Midsized Businesses (SMBs)
Small Businesses That Blog Have 102% More Twitter Followers by HubSpot Blog
Still wondering if your business should have a blog? A HubSpot study of more than 2,000 companies showed that, for businesses of all sizes, companies that have blogs have 79% more Twitter followers than those that don’t. Blogging “increases Twitter reach by 113% for B2B companies and 30% for B2C companies.”
At the other end of the scale, for small to midsized businesses, marketing budget allocations are changing. Traditionally, small business marketers have favored email and search, and spent the majority of their marketing dollars offline. In 2009, only one-third of SMB marketers viewed Faebook as “very” or “somewhat” beneficial. But for 2010, 74% planned to increase their use of email marketing and 68% planned larger expenditures for social media. Over the next five years, social media budgets are expected to grow at a 34% annual rate — twice as fast as all other forms of online marketing. By 2014, Forrester predicts that social media spending will be higher than that for both email and mobile, though still much smaller than search and online display advertising.
Small Biz Lead Gen Surges with Social by eMarketer
According to a HubSpot study, “not only can inbound marketing bring leads for less money but it can also double average monthly leads for small and medium-sized businesses.” Twitter reach is critical for increased lead generation: “Companies with 100 to 500 followers generated 146% more median monthly leads than those with 21 to 100 followers. Beyond the 500-follower mark, though, there was no further gain,” as is blogging — but the study noted that “Businesses must produce enough content for their blog to kick off growth in leads, which starts with about 24 to 51 posts…more indexed pages on Google also translates to more leads. Every 50 to 100 incremental indexed pages can mean double-digit lead growth.”
Social Media in Small Business is Anything But Small by Social Media Today
The prolific Brian Solis reports on recent research showing that social media adoption by small business doubled from 2009 to 2010. 61% of small business owners now use social media to help identify and attract new customers, 75% have a company page on a social networking site, and 45% expect their social media activities to be profitable within the next 12 months. 58% say that social media has met their expectations to date, and only 9% expect to lose money on social media efforts for the next year.
B2B Social Media Marketing Statistics
B2B Marketers Severely Lag B2C Players in Social Media by My Venture Pad
Andy Beal reminds us that “It’s a pretty well known fact that B2B marketers have been slower on the adoption curve of social media (than B2C marketers.” But why? One reason is executive buy-in (or lack thereof); in a recent study, one-third of claimed low executive level acceptance of social media was holding back efforts, while only 9% of B2C marketers said the same thing. Another is that 45% of B2B marketers said their company had a basic social media presence but didn’t use it as an active marketing tool; only 26% of B2B marketers concurred. Finally, “46% of B2B respondents said social media was perceived as irrelevant to their company, while only 12% of consumer-oriented marketers had the same problem.” If you’re one of those 46%, hopefully you’ll find facts and statistics in the following posts to help build a business case for social media in your company.
The Business of Social Media: B2B and B2C Engagement by the Numbers by Social Media Today
***** 5 stars
Brian Solis breaks down B2B vs. B2C use of social media marketing. B2B companies are more likely to maintain a company blog (74% to 55%), participate on Twitter (75% to 49%) and monitor brand mentions (73% to 55%) while B2C firms more often advertise on social networks (54% to 42%) and use Facebook (83% to 77%) and MySpace (23% to 14%) as part of their social media strategy than their B2B counterparts.
Will B2B Companies Embrace Social Media in 2010? by MediaPost Online Media Daily
B2C companies led their B2B counterparts in adoption of social media marketing because more people are active in social networks for personal use than business, making it easier to target someone who is interested in golf than, say, machine tools. However, B2B use of social media is on the rise, with 6 of 10 companies planning to increase their spending on social media initiatives in 2010.
Creating Engagement in B2B Marketing by Buzz Marketing for Technology
93 percent of participants in a social media in business study believe that all companies should have a presence in social media. And 85 percent believe “companies should not just present information via social media, but use it to interact and become more engaged with them,” according to Paul Dunay.
Vital statistics for every B2B marketer by Earnest about B2B
75% of B2B marketers use microblogging tools such as Twitter vs. 49% of B2C marketers. The biggest barrier to adoption may be CIOs; 54% of CIOs block social networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter, in the work environment. 93% of B2B buyers “use search to begin the buying process,” and 9 out of 10 say that when they are ready to buy, they will find vendors. Plus much more.
B2B Spending on Social Media to Explode by eMarketer
B2B marketing on social networks is expected to grow 43.3% this year, and Forrester Research B2B spending on social media marketing to reach $54 million in 2014, up from only $11 million in 2009. Paid advertising is expected to account for only a small portion of spending, but “when companies budget for social media marketing in 2010 and beyond, a substantial portion of their expenses will go toward other initiatives, such as creating and maintaining a branded profile page, managing promotions or public relations outreach within a social network, and measuring the effect of a social network presence on brand health and sales.”
Vital statistics for B2B Marketers by EarnestAgency’s Channel (YouTube)
An entertaining and creative presentation which makes the case that B2B actually leads B2C in social media marketing — because that’s where their buyers are. 37% of b2b buyers have posted questions on social networking sites, 48% follow industry conversations on key topics of interest, and 59% “engage with buyers who have done it before.” 53% of C-level executives prefer to find information themselves rather than tasking subordinates with this, and 63% turn to search engines for their research. Many of the statistics used in this video can be found elsewhere, but not in such an engaging fashion.
What B2B Marketing Tactics Are Up, Down, Flat? (Survey Sneak Peek) by Everything Technology Marketing
Holger Schulze shares results from a study showing how b2b use of various marketing tactics have changed over the past three years. Social media saw the biggest jump in activity, with 81% of respondents doing more of it (as Holger points out, “not surprising considering social media use in B2B was still nascent 3 years ago”). Content creation (68%) and website marketing (56%) are also increasing, while direct mail and print advertising saw the biggest drops.
First Page Or Bust: 95% of Non-Branded Natural Clicks Come From Page One by MediaPost Search Insider
***** 5 stars
In SEO, how important is a page one ranking? This post tells you: according to a recent study from iCrossing, across the three major search engines, 95% of the clicks came from page one. While Rob Garner notes that this figure is higher than in other studies, the clear implication is that doing some extra optimization to move your site to page one from page two or three can pay off in dramatic traffic gains.
Organic Search Still Reigns by eMarketer
Diving deeper into the iCrossing study referenced above, Google accounts for 74% of non-branded search traffic, with Bing and Yahoo tied at 13%.
Small businesses spending more on search by iMedia Connection
The average small business spent $2,149 on search engine advertising in the fourth quarter of 2009, up 30% from 3Q09 and 111% from the final quarter of 2008. Also, video is taking off in this segment: at the end of last year, 19% of small businesses were using video on their websites, up from just 5% the previous quarter.
Most Valuable Content and Offers for IT Buyers by High-Tech Communicator
***** 5 stars
If you’re trying to sell to technology buyers, note that a recent study shows the types of content they are most likely to click on are “news and articles (84%), competitive comparisons and buying guides (73%), and promotional content (70%).” These decision makers are about equally to click on offers for promotional content, online tutorials and demonstrations, competitive comparisons and buying guides, free research, and educational content.
Search Engine Marketing
SEMPO Report Suggests Measuring ROI Still Challenging by MediaPost Online Media Daily
The share of North American companies using paid-search marketing increased from 70% in 2008 to 78% in 2009 and 81% in 2010. 97% of these companies use Google AdWords; 56% advertise on Google’s content network. 59% of firms anticipate spending more on search marketing in 2010; 37% say budget3 will remain the same, while just 4% planned to cut spending in this area.
Study: Three-Word Queries Drive Most SEO Traffic by Search Engine Land
Three-word search queries are the most common, at 26% of all searches; 19% are two-word queries, and 17% use four words. Yet for paid clicks, keywords of 4-6 words in length drive the highest average CTR at 1.1-1.2%. The overall average CTR for paid search ads was 0.91%.
Other Online Marketing Statistics
What’s Changed This Decade (1999-2009) by Virtual Video Map
An enlightening, graphic guide to many of the changes seen over the past 10 years, from the growth of the U.S. economy and national debt to the incredible expansion of Internet use. Examples: The number of Internet users worldwide grew from 350 million a decade ago to 1.7 million today. One out of five (actually now almost one of three) of those users has a Facebook account. Cell phone use increased from one of out of 10 people in 1999 to two out of three in 2009.
Did You Know? (video) by EducoPark
The top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 didn’t exist in 2004. Half of all workers have been with their current employer for less than five years. There are roughly one billion searches performed on Google every day — more than ten times the number just four years ago. It took radio 38 years to reach a total audience of 50 million people; it took the Internet just four years to reach that number, the iPod three years, and Facebook only two years. There will be more pages of unique information published this year than in the last 5,000 years combined.
SuperPower: Visualising the internet by BBC News
This slick tool visually illustrates the growth of Internet penetration, by country, from 1998 through 2008.
Small-Biz Success from Deeper Online Interaction by eMarketer
Ye shall reap what ye sow online, apparently: a study by American City Business Journals concluded that small businesses who were most active online achieved higher sales than those who made less use of the Internet. The study concluded that “‘Interactors,’ the most active participants online in almost all respects, accounted for only 15% of businesses but 24% of sales. ‘Transactors,’ somewhat less active online but the group most involved in online selling, also overindexed in sales. The least involved groups, ‘viewers’ and ‘commentators,’ also exhibited the worst business performance.”
Here’s What’s Really Going On In Online Media Consumption by Business Insider
Of the four largest daily print newspaper websites (the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today), only the New York Times has gained visitors in the past 12 months — and that growth has been modest. Among weekly news magazine websites, The Week (focused on multi-source aggregation) has shown dramatic 170% growth in the last 12 months as Newsweek.com, once the leader in this segment, has seen a 17.5% decrease in traffic. Visits to the Huffington Compost are up 86% in the past year.
The Ultimate List: 300+ Social Media Statistics by HubSpot Blog
If this post hasn’t satisfied your data fix, knock yourself out with this extensive collection of videos, infographics and presentations compiled by HubSpot with still more social media stats and figures like: Twitter has 50% more activity on weekdays than on weekend days. Facebook is the most popular way to share information, followed by email, then Twitter. More than twice the amount of information is shared on Twitter as on Digg. 48% of bloggers are US-based, 2/3 are male, and 75% are college graduates. 35% of traditional journalists also blog. Social networks Bebo, MySpace and Xanga attract the youngest audience; Delicious, LinkedIn and Classmates.com have, on average, the oldest demographics. More than 210 billion emails are sent daily, which exceeds the number of “snail mail” letters sent each year. Etc.
Can the financial return on expenditures for social media business activities– in marketing, PR, customer support, HR, product development or other areas — be accurately measured? Can social media costs be justified on the P&L, so that as belts get ever tighter in this stagnant economy, these projects and tasks can be spared the budget axe?
Among social media pundits, the debate rages on. The “yes” crowd argues that of course social media can be measured, and must be in order to demonstrate value to the business. You wouldn’t buy a new machine tool or enterprise software application without an ROI analysis, so why should social media be any different? Executives don’t care about shiny sparkly things or the latest fads or buzzwords; you’d better know what you want to accomplish, be able to quantify both expenses and revenue, and have the analytics in place to track results before even murmuring the words “social media” in the presence of C-level types.
The “no” group will counter that the metrics and tools haven’t yet matured, or that social media is too amorphous to even be measurable, or that it is rapidly becoming simply part of the plumbing or wiring of a modern organization, making ROI immaterial.
My own thoughts (for what they’re worth) on the matter are that:
- • It’s challenging to measure the true ROI of social media activities with any precision because social media is as much (if not more) about influence than direct action. For example, if John Doe clicks through to your website from a tweet and buys something, that’s easy to measure. But if John Doe is influenced to buy from you based a tweet—but completes the purchase through another unrelated channel—there’s no way to assign the value of that sale to Twitter.
- • That said, there are many aspects of social media that can and should be measured, both to show results and to help guide future activities (e.g. determining which topics generate the highest traffic and comment activity on a company blog, what time of day is most productive for tweeting, etc.). In other words, the statement “ROI is challenging to measure accurately” shouldn’t be confused with “don’t bother trying measure anything.”
- • Metrics can be useful to help determine what to do more of, less of, or differently, but should not as the basis for whether or not to engage in social media. At this point, the adoption of social media tools is so widespread as to constitute just another communication channel. It makes no more sense for a business to shun social media until ROI can be demonstrated than it does to demand an ROI analysis for installing phone lines or email.
So much for my thoughts. What do other pundits have to say? Below are summaries of a variety of posts on the topic of social media ROI measurement from luminaries such as Danny Brown, Brian Solis, Erik Qualman, Michelle Golden and Sharlyn Lauby divided into their respective camps: yes, no, and maybe.
Is social media ROI measurable? Yes.
The Real Cost of Social Media by Danny Brown
This isn’t strictly speaking an ROI article, but Danny does dive into the “I” part of that measure, detailing the true costs (investment) of social media participation.
20 Metrics To Effectively Track Social Media Campaigns by Search Engine Land
Chris Bennett lays out the list of metrics he uses to analyze, track and “prove ROI’ from social media marketing. Compelling piece except for his use of the phrase social media campaign (argh).
Kim Cornwall Malseed summarizes the social media wisdom and ROI results gleaned from a panel of b2b marketing pros including Holger Schulze of SafeNet, Frank Strong of Vocus and Susan Cato of CompTIA. She reports on the revenue achieved, social media strategies used and measurement systems employed for tracking.
ROI: How to Measure Return on Investment in Social Media by Social Media Today
In this long but worthwhile post, Brian Solis reviews the evolution of social media measurement forms (e.g. “return on engagement”), the disconnect between social media marketers (most of whom can’t measure ROI) and CMOs (most of whom expect it), then offers his recommendations for improving the measurement of business objectives from social media.
While acknowledging that tight precision is impossible because the same measures from different tools rarely match exactly (and multiple tools are still needed to end-to-end social media tracking), Angel Djambazov nevertheless makes a strong case for developing ROI metrics for social media campaigns. Quoting Brian Solis and others, Angel points out that particularly in this economy, even great ideas without a hard-number rationale are likely to get slashed; ROI measurements are needed because CMOs demand them. The post also includes some strategies, tactics and tools to assist in social media measurement.
Social Media Monitoring Techniques by WebFadds
Scott Frangos presents a concise but clear outline of basic social media ROI measurement objectives, tools and analytics.
Counterpoint: Why you can calculate an ROI in social media – and why you should do it by iMedia Connection
Uwe Hook responds to the post from Ben Cathers (in the “No” section below) on why social media ROI can’t be measured, laying out a roadmap using metrics such as frequency, yield, sentiment analysis, NetPromoter score and customer lifetime value.
Socialnomics: What Social Media Success Looks Like by Fuel Lines
Michael Gass shares a social media ROI argument in video format. “Socialnomics: Social Media ROI showcases what social media success looks like. Social Media ROI: Socialnomics is by Socialnomics: How Social Media Transforms the Way We Live and Do Business author Erik Qualman. This video highlights several Social Media ROI examples along with other effective Social Media Strategies.” Though a few of the examples are vague or misleading, most are compelling. However, after showcasing companies that have achieved remarkable, quantifiable results through social media, Qualman provocatively asks, “Why are we trying to measure social media like a traditional channel anyway? Social media touches every facet of business and more an extension of good business ethics…When I’m asked about the ROI of Social Media sometimes the appropriate response is…What’s the ROI of your phone?” He seems to suggest that while ROI is measurable, it’s immaterial. Hmm. You can find more of Eric’s insights on his Socialnomics blog.
Making sense of social-media ROI with Olivier Blanchard by SmartBlog on Social Media
Rob Birgfeld talks with Olivier Blanchard, introduced as “perhaps the most sought-after expert for those looking to connect the dots between social media and return-on-investment.” Perhaps. Blanchard contends that most self-proclaimed social media “experts” have difficulty articulating ROI because they have no business management background (agreed, I’ve seen these types — which is why our agency has an MBA who helps clients with social media). With that background, he argues that “the question can be answered in about three minutes. All it takes is someone on the social-media side of the table who understands how to plug new communications into a business from the C-suite’s perspective.” He also makes the case that being able to prove social media ROI is essential. The post just doesn’t specify how to do this.
Social Media ROI — No.
Social media (finally) returns value by The Communicator
Peter Schram doesn’t come right out and say that social media ROI can’t be measured, but rather that organizations should “focus on five key areas where social media will create actual value” that aren’t strictly about sales ROI, including corporate reputation, employee engagement and customer service.
“What’s the ROI of Social Media?” Is the Wrong Question by Golden Practices Blog
Michelle Golden makes a compelling argument that ROI calculations apply only to discrete projects with a beginning, middle and end, such as a direct mail campaign. Social media is a tool, not an event, so such calculations don’t apply.
5 Problems With Measuring Social Marketing by Web Worker Daily
Aliza Sherman articulates some of the frustrations with any social media measurement, much less something as precise as ROI, including the fact that the term “social media” is nebulous and that many traditional marketing concepts (e.g., “reach,” “promotions” and “campaigns”) simply don’t apply to social media –and the industry hasn’t yet developed widely accepted new measures (though Daniel Flamberg attempted to answer this last challenge in 4 Social Media Mining Metrics).
Why you can’t calculate an ROI in social media – and that’s okay by iMedia Connection
Ben Cathers argues that, because the advanced analytics tools that would be required for such measurement have not yet been developed, “In many forms of digital media, you can spend 1 dollar knowing you will earn 1.30…Unfortunately, you cannot do the same in social media, just yet.” He suggests instead that marketers estimate the payback on social media by assigning a value to metrics they can track, such as each follower, each retweet, each “like” of an item, etc.
CEOs Love Pie: The B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 2 by iMedia Connection
In this follow-up post to Conversations that Aren’t about Mel Gibson: the B2B Social Media Case Study, Part 1, Eric Anderson writes that “today you can’t throw a virtual rock without hitting five blog posts about how we all need to simmer down about ROI,” and places himself firmly in the “simmer down” camp. He recommends instead serving them pie, as in pie charts showing measures like “the proportion of their paid impressions that can be replaced or augmented with free impressions. PR agencies have long been selling the value of this pie as earned media or ‘ad equivalency value,’ so CEOs are used to seeing it. They get it. Once you’ve done your social media market analysis, it’s relatively easy to project how big that social media pie wedge will be.”
Social Media ROI…Maybe.
Quantifying Social Results by eMarketer
eMarketer reports that while marketing pros generally agree that quantifying the benefit of social media marketing is important, they are split on whether it is possible. Measuring certain types of activity or behavior is easy; translating those measures into ROI, not so much. As this article notes, “There is a leap, however, between finding appropriate metrics and monitoring them on the one hand, and quantifying results on the other. Marketers must tie the social metrics they settle on directly to business goals, such as increased sales and leads, before social media return on investment can be quantified.”
A call for more accountable social media marketing by iMedia Connection
After acknowledging that “ROI is difficult, if not impossible, to measure with social media. An astounding majority of professionals do not even try to take it into account. According to a survey late last year from Bazaarvoice and the CMO Club, 72 percent of CMOs did not attach revenue assumptions to social media in 2009,” Jerry McLaughlin goes on to say that marketers must do it anyway. For example, one of his recommendations is to “reach specific social media goals with a tangible ROI, such as tracked discounts or coupons.” While that’s certainly not a bad suggestion, it covers only one very limited aspect of what social media marketing can do.
5 Ways To Set Goals & Measure Social Media Marketing Success by Smart Insights
Danyl Bosomworth summarizes a Jason Falls presentation on various ways to measure social media outcomes. While the post seems to suggest that measuring ROI is easy (measurement #5 casually includes “generation of sales and leads from blog visitors and from social interactions”), it also points out several other benefits that unquestionably have value (e.g., product innovation, branding and awareness, links for SEO benefit), though that value may be difficult to quantify. The message seems to be that if you can directly measure sales and leads then by all means do so, but recognize that social media can provide many other important though less quantifiable rewards.
Marketers Use Varying ROI for Social Media by Marketing Charts
According to a new study from King Fish Media, Hubspot and Junta 42 summarized in this post, most marketers perform some type of social media measurement (e.g., website visits from social media referral sites, new fans/followers, number of links shared, etc.). However, nearly half (43%) admit that they aren’t even trying to measure ROI. And only 29% say “they will have to show positive ROI to continue their social media programs.”
How CEOs are Using Social Media for Real Results by Mashable
Though Sharlyn Lauby shares numbers here from two CEOs able to correlate hard sales data with their social media efforts, she also points out that “even when there might not be data supporting a direct relationship between social media activity and sales, sometimes other metrics point to the connection” such as exposure, branding, customer satisfaction, recommendations, even employee recruiting. The conclusion seems to be that ROI may or may not be measurable, depending on a company’s specific circumstances — or at least that not all of the benefits of social media can be captured in precise sales and ROI figures.