Marketers Lacking Digital/Social Media Analytical Skills

Social Media Engagement

Social Media Engagement

Global digital marketing spend is expected to increase in 2018. As we enter the new year consumer engagement levels and analytical skills remain limited. This includes across channels, according to Alterian’s annual marketer survey.

The survey polled nearly 1,500 marketers, agencies, marketing service providers, and systems integrators worldwide. This year’s topic, ‘How Engaged is Your Brand?’, examined marketing expenditure, social media measurement, and the level of personalization across digital channels.

About half of survey respondents estimate that overall marketing expenditure will increase slightly (5-25pc) over the next year. It is also seen that an additional 9pc said it would improve significantly (25pc or more). This, according to Alterian, suggests an opportunity for industry growth throughout 2017.

This is good news.

Similarly, three in four estimate their social/digital marketing expenditure will increase over the next year. Of those, one quarter is expecting it to rise by 25pc or more. The estimated growth for this sector of the marketing budget is indicative that digital will drive general marketing growth in the coming year. This is according to Alerian.

However, the survey reveals that less than a third of marketers have a firm understanding of social media conversations happening around their brand. In fact, seven in ten indicated they either have very little to no knowledge (31pc). Others use a few ad-hoc tools to track and measure social media conversations (39pc). While others state they are just flat out failing to track and respond to social media.

Is Your Brand At Risk?

Nearly 80pc admitted they are concerned their brand is at risk. The main reason for not being as engaged with customers is a lack of qualified resources. They also point to their failure to have a good grasp of how online conversations are impacting their brand. The majority said they recognize the problem areas and are taking action to rectify them. One solution they are looking into is dedicating a more substantial portion of the marketing budget toward the social/digital space. They realize this is important in order to gain the necessary resources for increased message customization across the web, email, and social media.

However, the survey said a significant portion of marketers appear to be limited in analytical competency, indicating they either have no analytical experience concerning digital media (6pc), stop at the basic systematic level (29pc), or struggle to tie analytics back to the campaign strategy (28pc).

According to the survey, the vast majority of marketers focus on creating a customized brand experience for at least one channel – website, direct mail, email, social media – with only 9pc admitting to not personalizing any channel.

A great portion of those surveyed regarding direct mail seemed confused as to the best options for postage to send a direct mail campaign. Most could not name an outlet to purchase postage outside of a local post office. The majority were unaware purchasing postage was available online.

A third of marketers surveyed said they use their company website as a corporate brochure, while more than half (55pc) concentrate on offers and campaigns to specifically drive website interaction. Only a small number of marketers (11pc) tailor each website visitor’s experience.

Most Companies Are Missing The Power of Social Media

“These figures indicate that a mass marketing strategy is still considered the norm by many,” said David Eldridge, Alterian’s CEO. “There is still much room to improve both website and email engagement strategy through message customization, particularly based on individual preferences and needs rather than a particular segment. However, marketers seem slightly more advanced when it comes to email, understanding the importance of targeted interaction in this channel.”

Forty-three percent of respondents said they use some segmentation strategy to deliver specific email messages to each audience, although only a small portion (13pc) deliver emails based on preferences at the individual customer level, monitored in real-time.

It isn’t enough just to have great content on your website or in your social media channels, pay attention when people want to engage with you, and then you have to engage the readers of the content. It is as simple as this, if you want to be known as an engaged brand, then you have to be responsive in a timely manner to the engagement your content receives on your website and on social media.

2018 is not going to wait, fix this, or be left behind.

Originally published: January 21, 2011