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CMOs Begin Rightsizing Their Social Media Expectations

Since businesses first started using social media marketing the big elephant in the room was how their activity on Facebook, Twitter or any other social network, was contributing to sales and overall revenue

If you run a company’s or business’s social media, odds are that topic has come up in a number of meetings. In a world of instant ROI, the position that engaging with customer bases in this way to achieve a larger, more long-term goal, becomes a difficult one to defend.

However a new CMO survey conducted by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business finds that more CMOs are moving away from tying sales goals directly to social media activity.

Here’s a screengrab from the report, which I borrowed from Marketing Pilgrim:

Despite the change in how CMOs corelate social media activity to direct sales, CMOs expect to increase the percentage of their marketing budgets that they spend on social media. This points to a larger shift in how social media is percieved and valued at a corporate level, likely more in line with CRM than with sales and direct revenue generation.

While I doubt this will put to bed the “How are we making money from this” / “How can I justify this spend without showing real ROI” arguments, this is another sign that the use of social media marketing and online community management in corporate and business settings is maturing as the C-Suite gets more familiar with how it works. Social media is seeming less alien.

The next step in the maturation process will be the revising of what the “Return” in ROI means when it comes to their social media marketing and online community management efforts.

Ultimately each business will have their own definition, because each are looking to achieve something different. That could further complicate things as corporations and businesses look for an industry standard that isn’t there.

We’re not there yet, but that’s the path that we’re on now.

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