Recession resistant: 95% of social media marketers will maintain or increase social media spending
by Josh Bernoff
Last year, we surveyed interactive marketers and found a strong desire to continue investing in social applications, even with a recession looming. Now the recession is here. What are they saying now?
Based on a more recent survey from December of 2008, they still will maintain or increase their social media investments. The full statistics are in a new report by my colleague Jeremiah Owyang called "Social Media Playtime Is Over." Remember, in late '08 the recession was nearly as gloomy as how it looks now. And yet:
1. More than half of interactive marketers plan increases in their social technology spending. (These stats are from 114 marketers currently using social media, out of the 145 interactive marketers we surveyed.) Only 5% plan decreases. Go ahead, name another marketing investment that's anywhere near this strong in recessionary times.
2. The most rapidly growing categories are social networking, blogging, and user-generated content.
3. Remember that the base of this growth is small. While the marketers in this sample all come from companies with at least 250 people, three quarters of them are still spending $100,000 or less on these social technology projects. This is a drop in the bucket compared to other marketing expenditures.
This has reinforced what I'm hearing out there anecdotally, which is an awful lot of marketers asking for (and paying for) advice on this topic.
What's driving this? As the executive summary of the report says:
These inexpensive tools can quickly get marketing messages out through interactive discussion and rapid word of mouth, and properly managed, can deliver measurable results.
The report includes recommendations for marketers. Here are some for my blog readers:
- If you are a marketer interested in social media, use these stats to get a realistic budget, then concentrate on measuring the results of your efforts to prove they work. Don't dabble; dabblers will see their budgets cut. Social media playtime is over.
- If you are a consultant or recently laid off person, yes, this is a growth area. But it is one in which there are already an awful lot of experts. To become successful, concentrate on developing expertise in implementation, management, moderation, or measurement of social media efforts; that's where the need appears to be, from the companies I speak with. In other words, social media playtime is over.
- If you are a technology vendor, case studies with proof of value will be far more effective than features, functions, and technology claims. If you can offer a consultative sale and handholding service, you'll be a lot more likely to win clients and thrive in this space. Say it with me, now. Social media playtime is over.
Got it? What do you think? Is the recession halting social media efforts at your company, or encouraging them?