Posted by Brandon Gutman, Forbes.com
Originally published on Forbes.com on May 3rd, 2011
In this Brand Innovator Spotlight, Craig Hayman, General Manager of Industry Solutions at IBM Software Group, discusses the findings from IBM’s study “The State of Marketing 2011,” which was issued today from IBM’s Marketing Innovation Summit in Boston. The survey shows that while the proliferation of electronic channels — from email to social and mobile media — has opened up many more possibilities for meaningful communications with customers, this “online channel sprawl” has led to confusion and information overload. Marketers need better analytics tools to turn data into action overall and particularly in social media for which being there simply isn’t enough to win friends and drive business results.
Brandon Gutman: Is the social media channel ready to become a major component of the overall marketing mix?
Craig Hayman: This survey shows us that all things social continue to hold interest with more than half of marketers incorporating social media into their marketing efforts. The most popular social tactics are 3rd party networking sites such as Facebook and LinkedIn which ranked the highest on the list of social media marketing options at 60%. Despite these numbers or maybe because of them, social media marketing is undergoing some growing pains.
Irrational enthusiasm in this channel is tempered. What this suggests is that the inflated expectations of the initial hype cycle have passed and now marketers are focused on finding the value in social media with more targeted insights and actions. As a result, we expect to see marketers analyze their prospects more diligently across three major areas of social content including owned (what they create), earned (what customers create), and paid (what marketers spend money for).
Is 2011 the year that we can finally say that mobile marketing has arrived?
At this juncture it’s safe to say that the smart phone has clearly become an integral channel for today’s marketer. This continued momentum can be attributed to many factors including the maturation of the Google platform, the success of Apple and its iPad as well as the buzz around near field communication (NFC)-based mobile payments. These and other factors have sparked growing continued mobile marketing adoption with more than 40% of companies currently using mobile marketing tactics including mobile email, mobile websites and mobile applications. Looking ahead, another 20% stated that they plan to adopt mobile within the year, as the number of consumers adopting connected mobile devices continues to grow.
What is the biggest challenge facing today’s marketer?
Marketers have made it clear that bridging the “Data Analysis to Action” Gap is their biggest challenge. They appear to have more data than they know what to do with. According to our research, nearly 60% of respondents listed “measurement, analysis and learning” as their top information technology (IT) bottleneck. The study also found that more than 60% identified “turning data into action” as their top organizational issue. What’s interesting is that despite this appreciation for the value of Web data, half or less of respondents said they currently use data regarding individual online visitors/behavior to perform analytics or make decisions regarding offers and campaigns. Furthermore, while about one-third or respondents plan on doing both in the next twelve months a surprising 14% have no plans to use this data at all.
What role is technology playing for today’s marketer?
Marketers are increasingly looking for technology over other factors such as staff or external support to help them increase productivity. Specifically, we are seeing a growing need for software that breaks down barriers and facilitates coordinated marketing efforts. In this survey close to 90% of respondents expressed interest in an integrated marketing suite, as the industry’s need for sophisticated technology grows and adoption matures. Furthermore, more than half of marketers cited technology as the key to productivity and specifically to resolving the challenges of meaningful measurement and analysis, and to choosing the next best course of action.
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