Marketers’ investment in social media to increase: survey

September 07, 2011  |  Chris Powell  |  Comments

A new U.S. survey of chief marketing officers indicates that social media spending will account for a greater share of companies’ advertising budget in the coming year, but the tactic has some way to go until it is fully integrated within the overall marketing strategy.

The most recent iteration of The CMO Survey – a bi-annual survey of 249 CMOs conducted in February and August – found that 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%.

The shift towards social media will be particularly pronounced in the business-to-consumer sector, with the tactic expected to increase from 10.5% to nearly a quarter (24%) of the total marketing budget within five years.

Christine Moorman, a senior professor of business administration at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and director of The CMO Survey, said in a release that social media is rapidly becoming an “important strategic weapon” in the marketing arsenal and has proven a valuable tool in acquiring and engaging customers.

However, the study found that marketers still have some way to go when it comes to incorporating social media within their overall marketing strategy. On a scale of 1-7, with one being “not integrated at all” and seven being “very integrated,” only 12.8% of respondents selected the top score when asked to characterize how well social media was integrated within their company’s marketing strategy.

Meanwhile, in a new study produced by Marketing Sherpa, 31% of the more than 3,300 marketers surveyed said that social media is integrated to a “limited extent” with their other offline and online activities, while 26% of respondents said that it is “extensively integrated” with other marketing tactics.

In addition, 8% of respondents said social media is “extensively integrated” but only with other online tactics, while 11% of said that their company does not integrate social media with other marketing activities.

“Social media is not an add-on or afterthought,” said Moorman. “However, until executives understand [it] well, it is difficult for them to think strategically through the lens of social media. This will take time.”

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