Social Media is emerging as a Direct Marketing channel with marketers planning significant investment in email marketing and social media programs in the second half of 2009.
So say the findings of a new report from email marketing company StrongMail Systems, Inc. The results are based on data from more than 500 marketers who responded to an online survey from May 21 to June 1, 2009.
According to the survey, there is still a wide-spread land-grab for ownership of social media within the various facets of marketing, with 29% of respondents stating that responsibility is owned by multiple departments.
However, social media appears to be emerging as a direct channel with 36% of survey respondents stating that the direct marketing department owns social media.
Surprisingly, only 9% of the respondents report that social media is owned by public relations departments, suggesting that marketing teams value social media more for its demand generation potential than awareness building. A paltry 5% have a dedicated social media department.
The survey also revealed that social media is a hot initiative with email marketers, with 66% planning to integrate the two channels in 2009, and 48% who have already formulated a strategy for achieving this initiative.
Funding is also exceptionally strong for both channels. Of marketers planning to increase budgets in 2009, 83% will increase spend in email marketing, followed by social media at 62%.
The increased focus and investment in social media underscores the importance of applying resources properly; however, there is still widespread confusion regarding how a social media strategy for email marketing should be implemented.
Some 55% of respondents report that one of their biggest challenges with integrating social media and email marketing is determining metrics by which to measure success. At 48%, establishing business goals for the program is a close second.
StrongMail believes that the intrinsic interconnection between social media and email make it an ideal direct channel. Email continues to drive engagement in social networks by alerting members of new content and updates, and the ability to communicate relevant messages within social networks is critical to a business' success in the medium.
"This new survey data confirms direct marketers' intent to integrate email with social media, and our three-pronged framework will help ensure that they are able to capitalize on its full potential," said vice president of strategic services and market development, Ryan Deutsch.
"Leveraging social media is a valuable tool for meeting direct marketing objectives, but, like any good direct marketing campaign, they need to be tied to metrics such as purchases, new customer acquisition or customer retention. The metrics should be in line with the business's overall direct marketing objectives."
Survey Methodology The StrongMail "2009 Marketing Trends" survey was conducted online by Zoomerang on behalf of StrongMail Systems. The poll, which gathered feedback from over 500 marketing executives in a wide range of industries, was conducted from May 21 to June 1, 2009.
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