Are you ready to engage?

The last 18 months has seen some of the most significant changes in the marketing space in decades. As social media has exploded in popularity, businesses have begun to realize that anyone with an internet connection has the ability to damage their brand. Subsequently poorly targeted email campaigns or generic websites are no longer good enough to engage with both prospects and customers. Social media has empowered the customer in a way never before thought possible and brand engagement has had to evolve to provide the level of service the public now demands.

Late last week we launched the results of our annual survey looking at the methods marketers are employing and the areas in which they’re investing. The results through out some captivating statistics to support the evolution we know is taking place

  • 66 percent of respondents will be investing in social media marketing in the next 12 months
  • Of those, 40 percent said they would be shifting more than a fifth of their traditional direct marketing budget towards funding these activities
  • The majority of respondents (67 percent) feel social media is either ‘increasingly important’ or ‘critical to success’.

The encouraging thing is that businesses have begun to recognize the importance in engaging with their audience via social channels, and are investing the dollars they need to get results. 2009 was the year in which businesses began to experiment with social marketing programs; 2010 will the year in which they formalize them and are expected to get some tangible results from their outreach. And to do this they need some form of measurement.

Our research also found that more than a third of respondents are planning to invest in social media monitoring and analysis tools. This is a relatively high figure given the immaturity of social media but the need to listen and respond to conversations, and monitor the buzz that social media marketing is generating is critical.

Tools like SM2 can help businesses stay abreast of conversations and respond to customers and prospects – whether their conversations are positive or negative. Engaging with customers on a one-to-one basis is increasingly critical as marketers need to find a way for their brand or product to appeal to the individual. The question is, are you ready to engage?

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About Bob Barker

Bob is an innovative marketer with 25 years in technology marketing across all disciplines in small and large brands. A regular commentator on social business and digital marketing his passion is for unlocking the digital potential of both firms and their people.