The social media “experts” are at it again. This time they are trying to convince marketers that they absolutely need social media and that there is a “gray area” of social media in which consumers read posts but never interact. Are marketers really that dumb?
First, let me say that I believe that social media is an essential part of any integrated marketing strategy, but don’t try and tell me that social media is going to influence my purchase of 99.9% of the brands in my pantry. What’s going to influence me, along with many others, is the brand experience and whether I “like” the product I purchased.
Then there is overall digital spending. Some of the companies talking the most about increasing digital investments are simultaneously posting slower or disappointing sales results. Given all the myriad factors that influence sales, it’s impossible to draw a straight line between digital spending and results. Still, it raises questions about whether more digital spending is really delivering more for the money and whether marketers, still pressing to increase the share of funds they spend on digital, may already be spending too much. DUH!
What marketers need to do is focus less on paper expert advice meant to sell books and listen more to consumers. Ensure that every brand touchpoint is a good one and look at their brand as a consumer first and marketer second.
Despite the increasing investment in social media, it’s still difficult for marketers to quantify their return on investment. Only 15% of marketers in the study said they can show the impact of social media on their businesses using quantitative approaches, while 40% of marketers can only demonstrate the impact qualitatively. Nearly half of marketers said they haven’t been able to demonstrate the impact of social media spending on their business at all.
In an interesting experiment, I was hired by a CPG company to test two strategies: the first was to increase our social media presence via promoted placements the second was an increase in POP displays. Result: POP displays increased sales over 124%, while social media did little to move the needle.
The truth is consumers don’s have time to listen to or engage brands on social media, but that won’t stop these con men from trying to tell you that you need to increase your spending on social media.